Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Is baby's mom a victim or an accessory?

Tampa Man Arrested for Allegedly Throwing Ex-Girlfriend's Baby Boy From Car

A four month old baby was found dead by the highway after Mom's former lay evidently chucked him out the car window.

Arrest records show McTear has a lengthy criminal history that includes several battery and assault charges, including domestic battery by strangulation and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

He is a fugitive on a 2008 felony battery charge in Hillsborough County, according to the Florida Department of Corrections Web site.

Did the mother know this and allow this man in her child's life? If so, she is guilty of reckless endangerment. Maybe we need to draft laws that hold parents responsible for when their friends/romantic attachments/lay of the week harms the child, if there's reason to believe that the parent knew the person had a history of violence.

Yes, if the man killed the baby, he is guilty, guilty, guilty and needs to fry. If he assaulted the baby's mother, he is guilty, guilty, guilty and needs to be locked up. But if she KNEW he was violent and allowed him in her child's life, she shouldn't be getting massive sympathy and a walk on this. The greatest danger to a child's life is Mom's latest "boyfriend". We need to stop treating women who expose their kids to dangerous people like they're helpless victims. They are choosing to have these people in their lives, and they need to be held accountable for the harm that they allow to happen to their children. It's no different from if the parent left the baby in a room with a dangerous animal, or let the child play unsupervised near a busy street, or let the child play in a swimming pool unsupervised. Deliberately allowing your child to be in a dangerous situation is child endangerment, whether the dangerous situation is somebody's pet cougar or the violent felon Mom has the hots for.


army_wife said...

Amen to that! Women SHOULD be responsible for the harm that their revolving bedroom doors can do to their children.

Amy said...

I wrote about this.

This is what happens when our culture devalues marriage and encourages women to shack up with whatever man happens to be available. The men are often losers and do stuff like this.

Women are certainly responsible, but it'd be great if feminism, moral relativism, and the other movements that made women think this was preferable to marriage took some of the blame, too.

Lilliput said...

I think you ladies miss the point - I just read the story and listened to the report. 4 month old Wesley was obviously an unplanned pregnancy of a woman who couldn't have had the best start in life if she was hanging out with that violent 21year old. This man was abused by his very violent father - also in jail.

The truth is that sometimes abortion is the most humane thing to do. Violent people are created by their environments and if you don't have the ability to provide a safe comfortable and nurturing environment for your children - don't have them.

Furthermore, its important to remember that in humans like in animals - the most dangerous thing for a young baby is an unrelated male of the species.

army_wife said...

There you go again... "it's more humane to kill the baby than take a chance that their circumstances MIGHT make them a violent thug later on". Please. That's just as bad as "it's more humane to kill the baby than take a chance it might be mistreated or abused later". Abortion is the same as child murder, which is the crime this man committed. Murdering a child (including abortion) is the ultimate child abuse.

If you don't want or can't deal with an "unplanned" pregnancy, then don't have sex. For those women who were forced, there is always adoption. If every unmarried person in the world just closed their legs then the only "unplanned pregnancy" there would be were the ones conceived in rape and there would be hordes of infertle couples waiting to adopt them immediately. Self control is a good thing.

And animalistic behavior is never justifiable. The man is a murderous clod and deserves to be punished accordingly. Humans know better and need to be held accountable. Animals just do what their instinct tells them. Humans are not feral animals. We shouldn't pattern our behavior after lower life forms.

Lilliput said...

Yes but there you go again too - complaining about this murderous clod ? He wasn't born evil - he was born just like any other sweet baby. He was made evil. That's what I'm trying to tell you. If you bring babies into the world under conditions fit to make murderers then don't complain when these adults go out and murder.

We cannot stop people from having sex - its been tried for centuries. It doesn't work. Do you have a better idea?

Christina Dunigan said...

Lil, abortion as a crime prevention measure is pushing capital punishment to the extreme, isn't it? Executing people because they're statistically more likely to eventually commit a crime?

If you want to prevent crime by killing people, argue in favor of the death penalty for any violent crime, drug dealing (how many murders are drug related?), gang activity (another huge cohort who become murderers), for voyeurism (statistically they're likely to become serial sex murderers), and for exhibitionism (ditto). Go after people whose OWN LIFE CHOICES have been to increase the odds that they'll become murderers, not for people who are just demographically in a higher crime cohort.

Lilliput said...

Firstly, I think drugs should be legalised immediately. Just like telling people to stop having sex, telling people not to take drugs is just as useless. Lets legalise, tax and use that revenue now going to drug barons to help people who get addicted.

Its a bit difficult for me to think harshly of an adult - who had a childhood of abuse or neglect where he/she wasn't taught how to regulate and work with their emotions who in a fit of rage does something dispicable. Its not evil. Its a human tragedy.

Where is your line between mental illness and life choice? Are you telling me a healthy mind would throw a baby out of a car?

I am not arguing abortion as crime prevention - I'm saying that there is clear evidence here where abortion is part of a reproductive strategy is still required.

army_wife said...

By aborting a baby that would have been born in "bad circumstances" that "might" become a violent criminal, you are also stealing from that child any eventual possibility of happiness, success, overcoming one's challenges in life, and robbing the world of any impact that the child may have had.

My own personal background by your standard should have disqualified me from "breathing YOUR air", so to speak, because it "should" have made me a violent pedophile. Instead, I'm a happily married mother of two. Yes, I still have things to work through but for the most part I am a regular Jane. Would you take away my right to exist, make an impact on the world because of what I "might" have been?

I hate to break it to you, but people are not "born good". People are born with a clean slate, but with tendancies to do bad things. How bad it gets depends on how thoroughly an INDIVIDUAL chooses to disregard their conscience. Individual choice. The more you deny the Holy Spirit's prodding (your conscience), the less prodding it will do. Observe a child's development. They have an innate (not taught) tendency to disobey. If a child is not properly disciplined (taught lovingly the right way to live), he or she will continue down a lawless path. The problem with society is that parents are not teaching their children to be diciplined, self-controlled people who do the right thing just because it is the right thing to do. They are teaching their children to do what feels good at the time, regardless of the negative consequences to themselves and to others.

That's where problems like sexual promiscuity, drugs, drunkenness, and other associated social problems come in. Lack of self-control.

There are people who have mental illnesses that need treatment (many of which have physical causes, such as depression caused by chemical imbalances of the brain). In a healthy society, they would be identified and helped before they grow into adults who chuck infants out of car windows.

If this man was so mentally ill that he thought it would be fine and dandy to throw a baby out of a window, then why didn't anyone notice any kind of peculiarity in his behavior before? Mental illness doesn't just pop up out of the clear blue sky. "Temporary insanity" is a legal invention (to excuse bad behavior due to poor self-control in stressful situations).

I still believe that what this man did - throwing a baby out of a car window - is just as bad as any abortion. They are one and the same to me. The same complete disregard for the life of a helpless child.

Kathy said...


You may be *saying* that you're not arguing that abortion be used as crime prevention, but that is *precisely* what you are doing. It's sort of like you saying it's a good idea to throw babies off a cliff, and then act surprised when they end up a mangled mess at the bottom of the cliff, as if the action had nothing to do with the result. Ludicrous.

Lilliput said...

Army wife, there are many different kinds of mental illnesses other then depression. We are only now discovering how the brain works. I would highly recommend reading at least some science along with the Bible. I am sure that it would be something
G-d would allow. A good book to start is " Why love matters by Sue Gerhardt"

This was not his first brush with the law - he had been violent before. How do you go back and teach a male adult empathy, respect, discipline and self control when he never saw that modelled for him as a child. You can't - which is why they end up in jail and maybe get the support they need - but at that time they have destroyed someone else's life.

"Observe a child's development. They have an innate (not taught) tendency to disobey"

I am - constantly - as a child psychotherapy student. What you say is outdated - that is why I urge you to read.

Kathy said...

Lilliput, I don't know in what alternate reality you are living, but you are just so wrong. Take a peek into my life right now (I wish I had a webcam) -- my 4.5-y/o and my not-quite 3-y/o are squabbling and fighting over wanting to sit in the same chair. You should have heard them screaming! I must have amnesia, because I can't remember teaching them to argue and fight and be selfish. Nor have I had to teach them to disobey me -- rather, my life is filled with constantly trying to get them to obey me, rather than their own selfish and childish impulses. Please take your nose out of your books for just a day or two and look at real life, and you'll see that what they're teaching you is a load of bull.

Psychiatry is based on Sigmund Freud, who identified himself as "a godless Jew"; and he said his intention in psychiatry was "to dethrone God." He just made up psychiatry, and the world followed. The world has been following his rotten plan for the last 100 years, and you can see the rotten fruit it has borne.

Somehow you think you can take a person and by telling him that he is merely the product of his environment, and just a more highly evolved animal (but still with basic animal tendencies which he cannot control), that you can make him better. In other words, you merely justify his bad behavior because he "never had a chance," rather than telling him the truth, and that is that he is not an animal, and he can control his actions regardless of how poor his background was. Tell me, which do you think will help a person overcome his... I'll call them "weaknesses" -- letting him wallow in "I can't help it"-ism or giving him the tools and encouraging him to overcome?

Lilliput said...

Kathy, believe me I do loads of toddler and mother/baby observations so I do get out there and have watched plenty of squabbles in nursery schools and babies trying to do something there mother isn't so happy about. Its not because they want to disobey the adults - its because that at their level of mental/emotional development - they haven't yet realised why they can't do whatever it is that the adult doesn't want them to do. Babies and young children are supposed to think that the world revolves around them. If they are secure that they are the centre of the world when they are young then they are able to grow up into confident capable adults who have the space to care about others.

I can understand how you feel about Freud - but what do you want to do - go back to the good old days when mentally ill people were thought to be posessed, devils or witches?

Why is it that you think the old days prior to Freud were so good? What exactly have we lost? That's the alternate reality I'm really interested in?

Kathy said...

But children disobey from a young age -- and I'm not talking about things like continuing to cry while the parents are saying "shush," but just plain disobedience -- they know that they are not supposed to do X, but they try to do it if at all possible. And, actually, letting babies and children think the world revolves around them is setting them up to be selfish brats their whole lives long. Which means that when something comes along which requires them to be selfless (such as adulthood, building a stable marriage, taking care of children, etc.), they have a much harder time adjusting to the needs of others -- like getting up in the middle of the night with a hungry baby, or a sick child, or going to work even when you don't "feel" like it, or continuing a pregnancy when a baby would make life hard, or not throwing a screaming child against a wall, etc. Certainly there is a place for making a child feel secure, but keeping them the center of their own little universe is simply ludicrous.

Um, let's see -- the good old days... things like marriages that lasted; nuclear families; low rate of unwed birth; people taking personal responsibility for their actions instead of your favorite -- "they're just highly evolved animals and can't help their base instincts"; all sorts of sins are excused as a "sickness" or a "syndrome" -- or worse, that it's not even considered deviant behavior, but is accepted as normal. Of course, when you look at his fixation with sex, it makes you wonder if he was a sexual predator or deviant himself, and trying to assuage his own guilt by telling others they shouldn't feel guilty for their actions.

Again -- which is more helpful -- telling people they can't help their own actions, or giving them tools and information so that they can overcome their weaknesses?

Lilliput said...

But Kathy, that's what I'm saying to you - the good old days you describe:

"Um, let's see -- the good old days... things like marriages that lasted; nuclear families; low rate of unwed birth; people taking personal responsibility for their actions"

Could not have been that good - otherwise we would still be there. They were obvioulsy good for a few people - but the majority it patently wasn't.

As for the children - the process of childhood is about getting to grips with the fact that you aren't the centre of the world and getting to know how to live well with others - its a process. There is more then ample proof to show that a baby who starts of being the centre of its mothers world grows up to be a healthier human being then when it isn't.

Finally, Kathy - everything in this world has to do with sex and money (power). G-d set it up that way. Freud wasn't the first one to recognize it - he was just the first to talk about it.

Kathy said...


Are we just highly-evolved monkeys or did God create us?

Also, I cannot believe that you really think that "It can't have been that good" is an adequate explanation for why we as a society have moved away from strong families to weak or non-existent ones. I don't know about your country, but here in America we are sort of in the middle of an obesity epidemic -- primarily caused by eating too much of the wrong foods (particularly fast foods) and not exercising enough. Using your post-hoc reasoning, I could say that we are getting fat because "it couldn't have been very good" to eat natural, healthy foods and to get regular bodily exercise. But that would be wrong, and everyone recognizes it. Everyone knows that it is good to eat right and exercise, and that it is bad to eat bad foods and be sedentary. The problem, though, is that many people do not choose what is right, but instead choose what is wrong. And that's the same with these other things. It's not so much that it "must not have been that good" to have good, strong families, but that -- like eating right and getting exercise -- it takes more effort to do what is right than to follow the path of least resistance, and give up on marriage, cheat on your spouse, etc. Freud just made it easier for people to do what they had always wanted to do, rather like a crackpot medical doctor who might tell his patients that it doesn't matter if they eat right, exercise, smoke, or not. You wouldn't fall for it in medicine, but you will fall for it when it comes to society.

The problem is, we're lazy. It's a lot of work to have a good relationship and a good marriage. Most people won't put forth the necessary effort, and bail out as soon as life gets a little rocky. Marriage vows used to mean something -- you know, the "for better or for worse" and "till death do us part" bits. Now, it's just a mockery.

And, back to the child being the "center of the world" -- I'm not saying that a mother should neglect her child at birth -- that's ridiculous. I'm very much sympathetic with the "attachment parenting" philosophy (breastfeed on demand, baby-wearing, responsive to baby's cries, absolutely no "cry-it-out", etc.); the problem comes when the child is allowed to remain in that too long -- and I have seen NUMEROUS examples of spoiled brats who never learned that they were not the center of the universe, and then had very hard problems in life when the world at large did not treat them like they thought they should be treated. Very sad -- and very bad for the child. [And for the record, being overly ignored is not good either.]

Lilliput said...

Kathy - you make a very sound argument and I can't think of anything to refute it. However I would like to point out that this period of idyllic marriage and healthy eating is a blimp - a handful of decades, in termsof our history as mankind. Most of our history has been spent in polygamy or monogamy with mistresses. In terms of food - there were maybe a small percentage of people eating their daily allowance but the poor majority were starving. It is now this poor majority that are most affected by obesity. I don't know about America but in England - it is much more expensive to eat healthy fresh food.

In terms of your question - I have no problem believeing that we are highly evolved monkey and that G-d created us. G-d created the laws nature follows just like he created nature - and we are part of that. He also gave us the knowledge of DNA to wonder at His creation and to piece things together.

Kathy said...

In America it can also be expensive to eat healthy fresh food -- but it doesn't have to be. Many people waste an awful lot of money on non-nutritious food (potato chips, soft drinks, etc.); or overpriced food (fast food, restaurant meals, boxed dinners, etc.); or on just plain too much food, or "too much of a good thing" (a lot of meat, as an example, which is a lot more expensive than the same quantity by weight or volume than other proteins like rice and beans). It's just far too easy to eat unhealthily these days!

Re: polygamy & mistresses -- you may be right, but that doesn't mean it is the best or the ideal... much less even good. I daresay you would not want your husband to have several wives or mistresses on the side (or even one, besides you), nor would a man want to share a woman with any other man. So, you acknowledge then, that the ideal is for you to have a man joined to you for life. What was too much in the past is much like what we have today, except people aren't even going through the motions of marriage. One man can sleep with half a dozen women, just like they were his harem, but he doesn't even have to take care of them like he would have in days of yore. These women remain basically unattached, though wishing they *were* attached, getting little more than an occasional orgasm from the guy, while he gets access to frequent sex from numerous women. He only has to maintain his own lifestyle (spending occasionally on dinners out, so he can have sex with his date), while the various women all maintain themselves by working their own jobs, renting their own flats, paying their own bills. Sounds like a man's paradise to me, and females are getting the short shrift.

You should check out creation.com for more information on the weakness of the evidence for evolution and strength of evidence for creation -- particularly the "creation vs. evolution" link which discusses the impossibility of humans being descended from apes, even granting the generous assumptions made by evolutionists. The "science" just isn't there, the way evolutionists pretend.

Lilliput said...


You're right about the above - its like olden days except the man doesn't have to look after his harem. But its also different in the way that women don't belong to the men like chattel, they don't need to get beaten, they inherit, they can work and be mistresses of their own destiny. The fact that there are a few women who are dumb enough (in my opinion) to choose to raise kids by men who don't want kids and won't help them - should not spoil it for the rest of us modern women who don't have to put up with marrying just to survive.

I'll have a read at creation.com - but you have to understand that science is based on theories which have the least amount of unanswered assumptions. Evolution is just a theory - but its the best theory we have to explain how we got here. Just like creation is a theory - you will never be able to prove that G-d exists and that he created the world in 6 days. People choose which is easier for them to believe in. I have a degree in zoology and was tought by Christian Professors who like me are very comfortable with accepting both evolution and G-d.

Kathy said...

Thank you for giving the website a chance -- that's more than many people will do. I would challenge the assumption that evolution is the best theory to explain how we got here -- rather, it's the only possible alternative other than some form of creation or intelligent design. But that takes a higher power (not necessarily God -- some people might say alien lifeforms, I guess, are in charge?), and evolutionists as a group are absolutely set against allowing the possibility of a god.

There's a movie called "Expelled" which I am going to be getting in a few days and watching, which also has great promise. From what I can gather of the promotions, Ben Stein goes around interviewing various evolutionists, and they essentially admit that the basic premises and assumptions of evolution are fundamentally and fatally flawed. I've read numerous quotes on various websites, of evolutionists saying the same things -- that the odds of life happening at all is so infinitesimally small as to be mathematically zero... yet they still cling to the belief that it happened, because the only other alternative is that God created everything, and they refuse to believe that as a possibility.

I agree that people choose to believe the things that are easier for them to believe in; but it doesn't always come down to believing what is logically or statistically the most plausible explanation. Rather, I would say that these people cling to evolution as a belief system, because the alternative is that there is a God; and if there is a God, then they ought to give him credence and listen to what He has to say -- but they are staunch atheists, so refuse to entertain the possibility that there is a God, thus leading them to reject a plausible theory while clinging to one that they admit to being impossible.

Lilliput said...

Hi Kathy

I'll try and get a copy of this expelled movie as it looks good.

I think that the majority of people that know about evolution - are very comfortable melding it with a belief in G-d. I think there are very few atheists around actually.

"Rather, I would say that these people cling to evolution as a belief system, because the alternative is that there is a God; and if there is a God, then they ought to give him credence and listen to what He has to say"

I think this is the most important issue - What does G-d have to say - if anything at all - as all that has ever been written is G-d only knows how many times removed. And if he did say something - why did he say different things to different people eg Torah, Koran, Vedas, Buddha, Christ etc so because we don't know what G-d wants us to do - we bumble along by looking at the world around us to unlock some of its secrets - as that is the closest we will ever get to G-d.

Christina Dunigan said...

I'm gonna pop into the evolution thing quickly with these thoughts:

1. Think of the massive amount of information on a single strand of DNA. Development of an organism is the process of systematically SHUTTING DOWN pieces of that information, so that each successive generation of cells "knows" less and less, until the cell reaches its final designation and then it somehow "knows" to stay that kind of cell and use, rather than shut down, the information remaining. That seems rather too complex to have happened as a result of chance mutations.

2. DNA polymerase. It's an enzyme that cruises up and down an organism's strands of DNA, looking for wrong molecules. When it finds a mistake, it goes and fetches the right piece and makes the change. An agnostic in my genetics class, upon learning of DNA polymerase, said, "I don't care what they say about monkeys and typewriters -- SOMEBODY had to have come up with that."

3. If evolution works so well, wouldn't rabbits and possums have had enough generations go by since the invention of the car to weed out the "stare down oncoming headlights" gene? Only the ones with sense enough to get the heck out of the way survive, the rest die of AIDS (Asphalt Instant Death Syndrome). Shouldn't car-evading critters have evolved?

4. How can random mutations develop into relationships between species? How could bees and flowers, for example, have just separately evolved by chance?

5. How can random mutations result in something as complex as, say, an eye, which needs multiple genes to tell it how to form and function?

Lilliput said...

Christina and Kathy

I've just watched Expelled - its available for free on the net. Its very interesting and I recommend it - I never new Dawkins could be such and Asshole. I also then rrecommend you watch some of the responses to expelled if you want to know a fuller picture.

Just two small notes to address your 5 -

2. Evolution takes a long long long time so cars have not been around long enough to have an effect.

4. Bees came first and flowers later. A relationship evolved between the two as it was so mutually beneficial.

Christina Dunigan said...

What the heck were bees eating before flowers?

Kathy said...


We got "Expelled" today, so I will be watching it soon. I'll comment further afterwards. (And depending on how long it takes me to actually watch it, may comment on some other topics sooner.) I wanted to give you a link, since it touches on a topic you've discussed frequently (if not on this thread, on others) -- namely, chasteness before marriage, and particularly, what to do when you just wanna have sex. I really like the whole blog, and would recommend it to you, but this particular post just reached out and grabbed me.

Lilliput said...

Bees must have eaten pollen from plants or other insects.


Thanks Kathy for that blog. I read it and - believe it or not completely agree with the premise that if you want to marry a guy, you won't have sex with him immediately.

Us unchaste women know that there are men that we want to marry and men that we want to sleep with - very very very rarely do you actually meet someone that is a healthy combination of both - in fact I have never met one.

Kathy said...


So far, hockey has outranked "Expelled" so I haven't watched it (I could watch it w/o my husband, but I know he wouldn't like for me to). But I will comment on the link you submitted -- do you not see the huge assumptions built into everything they say about the fossil and bees and wasps in general? First is the dating (and you can look up creation-science websites to see how they base dating on a bunch of assumptions, as well as how they throw out dates that they have already pre-judged to be too old or too young, and only allow as accurate dates those which meet their assumptions). It assumes that wasps turned into bees, rather than them both being created as separate species OR them being a single "kind" using Biblical terminology and then speciating into the two different types through mutations. It also accepts the assumption that floral diversity expanded rapidly, rather than than a great amount of flora was buried in the flood several thousand years ago.

As to the sex issue -- yeah, there are cute, handsome, good-looking "eye candy" guys around, that could serve as a temptation to me if I let them -- and before I met my husband, I did let my mind "wander" a bit about them (it's called lust). But I never acted on it. There were several men that I have known that I thought might be "marriage material" but I never got beyond simple talking with them -- and for me to consider them to be marriageable, it would also have to include being physically attractive to me -- not that I was shallow, but I sure didn't want to be married to someone that I would have to cringe to wake up to him every morning. But the good thing about that is, when you get to know a person, looks don't matter as much as personality; and one's looks can change depending on one's personality. At least it's that way for me -- people I like, I think look better than people I dislike -- even when I recognize that the disliked person is "better looking" to the general population, I am turned off by his attitude, so think him worse looking than the "average"-looking person who is nice. "Beauty is as beauty does," is the old saying, and it's accurate. I wouldn't sleep with a man I wouldn't marry -- plain and simple. Just too much risk involved for a few minutes of

Lilliput said...

Kathy, I'm not talking about sleeping with someone just because I like the look of them. I'm talking about meeting somebody I genuinly like but because they have different backgrounds, ideals wants, or are in a different life stage to me - we're not compatible for marriage. So we enjoy our time together, love each other and say goodbye when the time comes.

It makes me think of this example - say I really wanted to drive a porsche but couldn't afford one. Does that mean I don't drive anything while I save up to buy it. No - cause then I'd never get anywhere - never mind work which would help me raise the money. So I drive a good enough car until I can purchase my porsche. In that way I have gained experience in driving and won't crash the porsche when I drive it.

Go Hockey Mom!

Kathy said...


I understood your analogy, but do not think it is an accurate depiction of what happens in human relationships of this sort. I've heard of numerous studies that looked at sex, age of first intercourse, number of sexual partners, number of times of living together, number of times of marriage, and haven't heard of any that suggest that "practice makes perfect" in this area. Granted, the studies that would be brought to my attention would be those that generally agree with my point of view anyway, because of what I choose to read, what email groups I'm on, etc. If you know of any studies that show that the more people sleep around before marriage, the more stable their marriages are, feel free to bring them to my attention.

Among the studies I have heard about include the fact that 50% of first-time marriages will end in divorce; and of the divorcées that get remarried, an even higher percentage will get divorced; and if they get married a 3rd time, the percentage is still higher. So, rather than "practice making perfect", it seems that whatever caused their marriage to fail the first time, they took with them to their subsequent marriages.

Also, people who "live with" someone and split up, then later get married to someone else are much more likely (80%) to get divorced than either people who never live together prior to marriage, or those whose first and only live-in relationship is with the person who becomes their spouse.

I've also heard (but this may be from an anecdotal survey, rather than a scientific study -- I never tried to track it down to see for sure) that when U.S. virgins marry, their divorce rate is 5% or less -- about what the divorce rate was in the 1800s. Of course, that may also be because those of us who maintained our virginity until marriage have various other factors that would reduce our divorce rate -- such as stronger religion, taboos against divorce, better "vetting" of would-be spouses, better relationship skills, etc.

While it may seem intuitive that the way to get good relationship skills is to have a lot of opportunity to practice them, and a lot of different people to practice them on, what seems to be actually happening is that people are learning how to make failed and broken relationships, rather than to work on a relationship that certainly has its share of problems (as do all relationships between two erring humans) and to make it work in spite of the problems. These multiple romantic and sexual relationships are teaching people and giving them ample space to solidify their inherent selfishness, which means that when tough times come (and they always do!), it becomes that much easier to take the easy path to Splits-ville, rather than do the harder but better thing to give a little here and get a little there and heal the relationship and work past the problems. I'm not telling you it's easy; but I am saying it's worth it.

I will ask you something for your consideration -- what if a man that you not only "could" marry but actually *would* marry passes you up, because you are in a sexual relationship with someone else? What if you are (to use a cliché) shooting yourself in the foot, willing to accept a cheap imitation so you can pretend you have what you want, accidentally passing up the real deal in the process?

Another hypothetical rhetorical question: what if one of your "love 'im and leave 'im" guys could actually be turned into a "keeper", but you blunt his emotional and relational development by giving him sex too soon? By keeping your body from him, you force him to pay attention to the non-sexual aspects of you, which makes him learn to love and appreciate the deeper aspects of you, rather than just skimming the surface -- digging only as deep as you require for him to get you in bed.

Lilliput said...


You raise many interesting points and i have to agree with you on the following:

1. people who live together have a higher risk of divorce
2. if I'm busy with someone imperfect ( however discreetly) I'll miss out on mr perfect

I'll disagree on the fact that I might miss a keeper by giving sex too easy because in my case - its just so easy to tell which is which.

I guess i come at this from a different perspective then you. I am a child of parents who although are excellent parents - should never have married. The only reason they did was because they were religious and dated chastely for three months before getting engaged. Once married, they were encouraged to stay together because of the stigma of divorce ans its supposed implications on the children. It wasn't a very happy home for my parents - I guess they tried to pretend everything was ok for our sakes.
I have nothing against divorce - it wouldn't be the worst thing that would happen to me - much worse is to stay with someone who isn't good for me. I believe they wouldn't have gotten married if they had lived with each other for any length of time.

Also, in 1800 when the divorce was that low - how high was infedelity? Women weren't even allowed to vote - never mind leave a less then ideal marriage.

I just think that you have a very idealistic version of matrimony. I don't think there is anything wrong with that - as long as you realise its a dream and not reality.

Kathy said...

The implications of divorce are not just "supposed" -- they're real. You said you were in child-psych studies, right? (or something similar) -- perhaps you can check out some of the studies on divorce's effects on children; most of the studies that I've seen have only the abstract available, and this discussion is not worth the several hundred dollars it would take for me to read every study.

This is not to say that ALL parents and ALL children are better off staying together; but that divorce causes more problems than it cures. In one of the studies I saw, the abstract noted higher rates of poor behavior among children of divorce, but said that when they adjusted for children who had poor behavior prior to their parents' divorce, that the noted effect was not as sharp. Still, I would give you my husband's story as an example: when he was 9, his dad left his mom for the first time (for another woman), although they did not actually get divorced and eventually reconciled... sort of. Most of my husband's teenage years were filled with his parents' marital strife and discord, including multiple affairs on his dad's part. My husband and his twin brother turned to drugs and alcohol, and in other ways were sort of regular juvenile delinquents. His parents finally divorced when he was about 19 or 20. Had he been in the study, just looking at the raw data, the researchers would have said, "Oh, well, he was a Juvey D before the divorce, so the divorce wasn't so bad on him after all. The only problem with that is, that it is not necessarily or strictly the divorce that causes problems, but that marital problems which lead to divorce also cause problems in the home and with the children, leading them into or causing them to become more susceptible to bad behavior. My husband remembers with tears being "a happy-go-lucky kid" like our sons are now, and although he takes responsibility for his actions, says that his parents' volatile marriage was a huge factor in his teenage behavior.

So, in some ways, it may have been better for him and his brothers had the marriage ended in divorce earlier -- the instability of an on-again, off-again marriage was worse in some ways than the permanence of divorce -- but what would have been far better for everyone is if his parents had worked at a good marriage.

Your parents may be an example of people who would have avoided an unhappy marriage had they lived together beforehand, but I will note two things about it. First, they may have avoided one unhappy marriage, only to fall into another one; and second, they could just as easily be used as an example of people who should have taken more time in the premarital side of the relationship, rather than just going into marriage after just a few months. Perhaps they would have benefited from more or better guidance from their own parents; perhaps they should have had premarital counseling that would have uncovered problem areas before they got married, leading them to working on strengthening their ability to communicate and work through problems before they entered into marriage, or else exposing that they could not work things out properly so ought not to get married at all. Before getting married. Before having children.

You asked about infidelity in the 1800s -- I don't know. However, this is the study I mentioned in my previous comment (I'm shocked I found it, because I wasn't looking for it), and again it is one of those you have to pay for, so maybe you will have access through your university and can see if it gives the rate of infidelity. I haven't been able to find that, and rather suspect that it wasn't being studied at the time, so hard data would be hard to come by.

But, just because women weren't allowed to vote doesn't mean that they couldn't leave their marriage -- particularly one in which the husband was unfaithful. Divorce was typically only allowed in cases of adultery or abuse or abandonment, and I daresay the aggrieved wife got the better end of the deal, since she was "the innocent party." I know that as late as the 1930s or 40s (whenever it was that Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier left their spouses for each other), that they automatically lost custody of their children for being the parties guilty of adultery in their respective divorces; I suspect that disposal of property would follow similar lines -- the guilty party would get little or nothing while the innocent party would get the lion's share. But that's just my best educated guess -- if you have hard data, feel free to share.

Also, women have always been less inclined to cheat on their spouses than men have been, so such divorces would favor women as a group, being the typical innocent party.

Lilliput said...

Hi Kathy

I don't think that its the divorce itself that affects the children - but rather the behaviour of the parents durung and after the divorce. If you have two mature adults realising that they cannot live together but want to continue to put their kids first in their lives - then you will have emotionally healthy children. If you have parents that are using their kids to get at each other or parents that just disappear - you will have problems. What's true is that growing up in bad marriages is just as harmful as bad divorces.

I have to get back to you on the marriage thing. There seems to be many books about it an dI will have to read - this looks like a good one:


I'll let you know what I find out. I don't think that we can use the examples of such famous adulterers - they are probably the exceptions that prove the rule - but let me read up first.

I wonder why your mother in law stayed with her husband? Does he know?

Kathy said...


I agree with you to a certain extent that the parents' bad behavior during marriage and/or divorce may be the greater causative factor than whether or not parents live together; and that some divorced people can live apart more amicably than some married people live together. But I'm still shooting for "best" which is married people in a good relationship raising their children in the same household together. It seems to me that if adults can be mature apart, they should be mature enough to work together. The inherent problem with marriages that fail is selfishness and not putting the other person's needs ahead of our own.

Re: the famous adulterers -- I would think that if anything, the famous people would be more likely to "get the breaks" in a divorce, just like they tend to get kid-glove treatment with other misdeeds (you don't have to look very far to find celebrities that were let go with a slap in the wrist for things that us "ordinary folk" would get a huge fine or even time in jail). I don't think that the innocent spouses were famous (although I'm relying on my memory of reading a biography of Vivien Leigh, when I probably read it in the late 80s, so I may have forgotten it), so if anything it seems that the adulterous couple would have gotten "star treatment" while the innocent spouses would have gotten shafted (by standards of that day). I know it doesn't always work that way -- sometimes celebrities might get harsher treatment by judges "making an example" out of them because they are so famous and/or people look up to them and may imitate their stupidity. However, my impression from reading the biography was that Leigh and Olivier got standard treatment -- and I can almost say that they entered into their adulterous relationship with the understanding that by so doing, they would give up any rights to their children, because the laws concerning divorce were standard that way. That's the impression I got, anyway, because I remember thinking at the time how stupid it was for the adulterers to go into their relationship knowing the definite negative outcome, but even the knowledge that they would lose custody of their children was not enough for them to keep their pants zipped.

As far as my MIL -- I don't know why, but probably fear of the unknown and fear of being a single mom, and wanting to keep her family together. Too bad my FIL was too selfish at the time to do what was right for his sons. We still feel the ripple effect of that, even though the divorce was 20+ years ago, and the bad marriage was even longer ago.

Kathy said...


I just came across this, and thought you might be interested: The Science of Sex.