The option of a girl friend is much better than marriage.
See Chronicles I  2:46 on the girl friends that Caleb the friend of Yoshua Ben Nun had.
To most rishonim this is perfectly allowed, Raavad, Ramban, Rosh etc.

On marriage, the  guys I know,  are telling me the same story; don't do it. It just turns to garbage no matter what you do. They'd rather be independent. At best it's a tedious bore. At worst a living hell with financial ruin thrown in for good measure. The problem is that when you're young, you just naturally fall into this mind set where your whole self image is based on how women regard you, and so you spend all your money and energy trying to make yourself acceptable to them. Then later in life the shine wears off and you finally realize that you've wasted yourself on a bunch of garbage.

I couldn't even begin to list all of the  folks I know from work or through my family with kids they either don't get along with, are disappointed in, or are so distant as to not even be a factor in each other's lives.

Marriage is a sham for men. There is no benefit. If you are about to get married, think it over. Don't let your sexual desire do your thinking for you. Don't let your  "I'm in love" euphoria put you on auto-pilot. You will wake up in a hell of a hangover staring at this woman who will control your life.

A few years ago  I started talking to all the  guys I knew...and they all said the same thing; "don't do it, it's hell. Even when it's not bad, it's hell." You end up being closely tied to an old woman. Think about that. I can go to Europe or the south seas tomorrow. If I was married I wouldn't have the money and I'd have to ask HER permission. Don't get married unless you are absolutely, religiously in love with her. Like you'd carry her sick aged body to the toilet and wipe her ass and be happy to do it kind of love.

What I'm saying is that human beings are nasty weak treacherous creatures that are for the most part totally untrustworthy. Experience is my basis for this statement, both mine and others who I know or who have written reliable histories. If you can find a woman to be your companion who is not treacherous, a deceitful little actress, a sly whore or a manipulative nag or a shrieking hag, then you are among the lucky few. Congratulations. I hope your luck continues to hold out.

OK, assume that you will end up divorced and won't see your kids and lose half of your assets, how different is that from being married?

Most married guys I know are working their asses off to pay bills, rarely to get to spend time with their families, mediocre or no sex life, and have wives that spend as much of their money as absolutely possible.

My problem with marriage isn't a fear of divorce; it is that the whole thing sucks divorce or not.

What security is there for men in marriage?

If I cheat on my wife, she gets half my stuff.

If she cheats on me, she still gets half my stuff.

Why the hell should I get married?

Man, it's easy to get depressed about not being married when we live in a society that constantly feeds us the image of the happy couple. It's one big lie. The happiest person alive is someone who isn't a prisoner dependent on another human being... We only have 80 or so years on this rock to achieve true freedom

Very few marriages last nowadays, and even guys older than me are telling me not to even think about it... It's a grossly overrated source of happiness. And for the 80% that do go through divorce, it will financially ruin you for life. Period. You can take your best 10 earning years from say, 35 to 45 and take all the wealth you would have accumulated and flush it down the toilet. Because it will go to her and her lawyer. If it happens naturally and it's good then great, good luck. But the worst thing is to force it, to make gross exertions and ignore all sorts of red lights going off just to be hooked up and "normal." Get some hobbies. Relax. Hang out. Enjoy. Take life as it comes.

As men, we all know that a woman's primary objective is to marry. After years of experience I've discovered their most commonly used strategy. here it is:

1. Girl pressures guy for marriage.

2. Guy delays.

3. Girl gradually starts destroying guy's self-esteem and eliminating his friends.

4. Guy becomes too weak and too much of a loser to find something better than what he has.

5. Girl starts to limit sex. In effect, she's controlling the only good thing in the guy's life.

6. Guy is in despair. Capitulates to marriage.

Then 5-10 years later the guy is an empty shell of his former self. Girl is a ruthless manipulating machine. Girl divorces loser husband. Girl takes 80% of guy's stuff because the guy is too brain-dead to find a good lawyer. Girl lives happily ever after. Guy becomes bald alcoholic who dies of heart attack at 45 years old.

Marriage turns to garabage no matter what you do. At best, it's a tedious bore - at worst, a living hell with financial ruin thrown in for good measure.
American women put up a "pre-marital  show" to impress you. Make you think you're in love. But once you sign the dotted line of marriage, BAM, they get fat, bitchy, cheat on you, and screw you in divorce court.
American women offer up a  worm sandwich and then get pissed off when men go elsewhere to eat.

If I ever think I want to get married, I'll find a woman I don't like and buy her a house.