Friday, March 30, 2012

Dear Prudence: Should A Man Leave His Infertile Partner?

The couple have been together for four years and are unmarried. They recently found out that she cannot have biological children. The man doesn't know if he wants to adopt and is considering bolting. He writes:

"I know this sounds cold and callous, but the whole infertility issue is beginning to look like a deal breaker for me. Am I being a jerk?"

The advice given seems reasonable:

"If you do love her, you will take some time to absorb this news and slowly explore the consequences for both of you."

What I found interesting was Prudence's statement, here:

"If you were married, would you divorce her? If you would, there would be general agreement that you were quite the cad."

Marriage, some tell us, is an institution that exists primarily for male-female couples to bear and raise their own biological children. Yet, here we have an advice columnist noting that the general consensus would be that a man who leaves his infertile wife is a cad- a man who behaves irresponsibly toward women!

Interesting, right?

Here we have a male-female couple incapable of fulfilling the alleged primary purpose of marriage- procreating and raising the resulting children together. In this regard, they are just like all same-sex couples. And yet, Prudence is opining that most people would consider this guy a jerk if they were married and he left his wife.

This narrative, I contend, both demonstrates how, contributes to the notions that:

(a) many people view marriage as primarily a mutually-supportive relationship between two people, rather than a vehicle for child-bearing/child-rearing, and that (b) including infertile man-woman couples while excluding same-sex couples from legal marriage is an illegitimate, illogical exclusion.

[Cross-posted: Family Scholars Blog]


Kiara Somers said...

It’s not for anyone to judge how relationships should be carried on, basically. Happiness is a personal choice. If couples are involved, then guidance should be given, but never rebuke or stereotype people because of personal choices. And, Fannie, it would be great to have a wider look at how those two notions work in different circumstances.

santamonicafertilityLA said...

Infertility has traditionally been thought of as women's problem. For years and years it was woman who was always blamed when a couple can't have child. But now about one out of every three cases of infertility is due to the man alone.

Infertility Clinic