Following a Marriage Foundation report based on ONS statistics showing that ‘only half of the teenagers today will get married in the future, compared to 90 percent of people now in their 60s’ – which prompted ‘gasps and headshakes’ – Zoe Strimpel, writing in the Sunday Telegraph, says that ‘[r]einvention, novelty and options are the watchwords of today’, and that ‘[t]he old marital model is disappearing and we may as well accept it’.

She says she has ‘watched with gobsmacked fascination how on dating apps it has become utterly commonplace among men in their 20s and 30s (I can’t speak for women) to label themselves “ethically non-monogamous” – namely to refuse to enter into exclusive relationships’; she reveals ‘[a] recent conversation with a polyamorous young man of 29’ who was ‘upset because the woman he loved, with whom he is in a relationship and with whom he believed he might want to spend the rest of his life, was struggling to adapt to their shared “conviction” that their relationship shouldn’t preclude their sexual pursuits with other people. Both of them spent several weeks wrestling with it, and finally came out victorious, and they’re now both polyamorous’; apparently, according to ‘influential American sex podcaster Dan Savage’ this makes his semi-detached partner a ‘pud’ – “‘polyamorous under duress” at first, then keen and committed.’

It seems that women are exchanging exclusive relationships for abusive relationships, with promiscuity redefined as polyamory and love redefined as lust; one wonders what a non-ethical non-monogamous relationship might look like, but in these days of ‘consent, consent, consent’, apparently, extorting an agreement from a weaker party to something intrinsically unethical makes it ethical, recalling the ‘mind over matter’ approach – if she doesn’t mind, it doesn’t matter.

Even as feminists moan about gender pay gaps and the inequality of women, real feminism is under threat, because having children is routinely cited as the ‘cause’ of workplace inequality, and when, in the name of ‘choice’, their unborn offspring are valued so highly that they can be treated like rubbish to be flushed down the toilet, the status of women is bound to decline.

Not only can women look forward to workplace exploitation, but in their personal relationships, they can anticipate being treated like an object that can be picked up or disposed of at will. Ms. Strimpel says nothing about the effects on female solidarity from this new ‘freedom’ of polyamory’, as women ‘under duress’ are blackmailed by men with whom they are supposed to be in committed relationships into sleeping with men who are supposed to be in committed relationships with other women. No doubt feminists will insist that ‘men have always been praised for their promiscuity’, but in the antiquated days of love and marriage, a woman cheated by a man could count on the sympathy of other women, whereas in this Brave New World other women will be more interested in exploiting her misery by cheating with her partner.

Contrary to the re-written history favoured by modern feminists – actually it was libertarian men like H. G. Wells who promoted the ‘benefits’ of promiscuity – marriage offered a far better protection for women than the right to dispose of their own unborn children backed up by gender pay inequality initiatives – themselves a thin-disguised attempt to hold down men’s wages, which would negatively impact all but the wealthiest of women.

‘Generation Z’ may seem to be rejecting marriage, but it will not be because marriage has been tried and found wanting; as G. K. Chesterton observed regarding Christianity, marriage has been found difficult and not tried – especially relevant to a generation that has never tried it. For those who do try it, they will find marriage far from wanting, and men but especially women and children will benefit. What is certain is that this new experiment of committing to non-commitment is bound to fail.

Yours faithfully,
Ann Farmer