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Study Says: Want to Keep the Dad Around? Don’t Marry Him.

Wanna keep your baby daddy around after the kid comes? Don’t marry him, or at least that’s the conclusion of a study by researchers at the University of Maryland.

Actually the blessed union isn’t the deal breaker; it’s just not effective for keeping the guy around. Traditional wisdom said that if a couple got pregnant, marrying the man was the best way to keep him in the picture. However; according to this study wedding vows aren’t a terribly effective motivator for keeping Mr. Man put. What does commit a man to mother and child is involving him during the critical months of pregnancy. The more involved he is in the preparation for the baby (shopping, birthing classes, etcetera) the more likely he’ll build that emotional attachment to you and the baby. This is something a piece of paper declaring you both married won’t necessarily do.

But is their more to the story? Could a “shotgun wedding” actually do harm to a parenting relationship? A forced commitment rather than an organically developed one may sour the deal for some guys. Sadly, we’re trudging into a lot of male stereotypes. Does marriage put undue pressure on a parenting arrangement? Are men so spooked by marriage the “threat” of it will drive them away, even from their own kids? Are men happier to take accept their parenting responsibility than marriage responsibility? Is the thought of marriage to a man more frightening than fatherhood?

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