In a comment to my article Open Post: Why I Got Married the First Time, I was asked the following questions, related to selecting a woman for marriage and motherhood:
You can have what you might think are good vetting techniques (I wouldn’t say I do personally at this point), but women and people in general can be skilled at passing them. Time is the only way to properly uncover these kinds of things. I suppose I’ll avoid getting a girl pregnant until after I’ve been with her for awhile. What do you think is a reasonable amount of time to allow for whatever unacceptable behaviors to surface before you can conclude that a woman is safe to impregnate?
Time is not the only issue here. It is continual exposure. Therefore, I think it is impossible to fully vet a woman without cohabitating. In my opinion, you should only take this step if you are seriously considering marrying her and having children with her. Otherwise, you only waste your time and hers. The reason you need to cohabitate is that a woman set on deceiving you about her true nature can do so indefinitely long if you only spend hours or even days at a time with her. She can always return to her apartment or her parents’ place to recharge and let her inner bitch out. The next time she meets you, she’ll just pretend to be the woman of your dreams again.
A sidenote is that I think part of the reason cohabitation was frowned upon was not just that premarital sex was a taboo. I also think that people used to have a rather clear understanding of female nature, certainly much more than today’s soy-boys. Thus, the patriarch of the family, knowing how erratic his daughter could act, would not want her to move in with any of her suitors because he wanted to marry her off. Would he let her go off on her own, chances were high that the potential future husband would get sick and tired of her after a few weeks and disappear. Then the father would get his daughter back, with the added flaw that she’d no longer be a virgin.
Society used to set a devious trap for you: you were told that you needed a wife, yet you could not get unfiltered information. You went out in the world, tried the best to establish yourself and once you made some headway in life, you could beg various patriarchs for the hand of their daughters. You could not even meet them without supervision. The entire setup was such that you only got to interact with some kind of mirage. What is worse, due to makeup and clothing, you had no idea what your potential future wife even looks like, compared to today’s women who put everything on display.
I don’t think that women were necessarily saner back in the days. Sure, motherhood kept them grounded, but you certainly had plenty of bitchy young daughters around who would only unleash their insanities in marriage. At that point it was too late because divorce was not an option. On that note, popular mythology has it that women were suppressed because they couldn’t divorce men. Yet, back in the days, women did not have to earn a living, so a man who found out that his wife was fucking insane could not get out either. Yet, he would have had a lot more to gain from divorce than the wife.
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An important caveat is that if your setup is such that she has a very strong social network or family in the same city, she will be able to deceive you indefinitely. In the end, this is similar to her not living with you at all. The problem is that whenever she feels she’s about to explore or do something completely bonkers, she can just do a time-out and visit a friend for a few hours or her family for a weekend. You may think that this sounds a bit extreme. Surely, I can’t be such a monster that I suggest putting her in a situation where she’ll be cut-off from friends and family. I don’t say that. However, you may want to see if you can at least temporarily create a situation where you are perhaps both on your own somewhere else. Studying or working abroad for a few months works; vacations could work, but that may not give you enough time with her. If you can’t set this up, you will be at a severe disadvantage and may not really get to know her.
Regarding the amount of time spent, I would say that you are looking, at the very least, at one year. Anything shorter will make it easy for her to still fly under the radar. I think it is also important to experience her in different situations, including stressful ones. For some women, the bar is incredibly low and can be as low as some girlfriend seemingly ignoring her for half a day. Anything that involves planning is also good, or seeing her in the run-up to examinations, or preparing for job interviews. You will find that some supposedly tough girls are incredibly frail. In fact, you commonly don’t even need to cohabitate with women to figure that out. Hanging out with a chick you’re banging is often enough to learn about their psychological strengths and weaknesses, but we are talking about long-term psychological assessment here and about women who seemed sane when you only sporadically interacted with them.
In any case, it can be incredibly difficult to determine if a woman would be a suitable wife. I would say if you have any doubt at all, even if it is a supposedly irrational one that is not based on anything objective, listen to your gut and let her go. It is too risky, in many ways, to naively get married and telling yourself that you’ll sort things out as you go along. This would work in principle with a sane woman but if you have not figured out that your wife is, for instance, actually clinically insane or has a nasty drug habit, it will be too late then. You most likely will not be able to turn that ship around, and even if you did the cost would just not be worth it. There is also the very real risk that she will wreck your life in the process and she can do this in a myriad of ways, some blatant, some much more subtle. She may not even be aware of the fact that she’s torpedoing you.
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