Five Reasons Why I Never Got Married
(Disclaimer: Before you begin reading this post, please be forewarned that it is not intended to trash the institution of marriage nor those who have dipped their toes or built their lives around it.)
I used to worry my pretty little head not only about not ever having been married, but also not ever having been asked. Deep down, I have always been a party of one, or as my friend Brian used to call me, "the lone wolf". I was the kid who could entertain myself for hours in my room and did not want to be interrupted, who became the adult literally traveling solo throughout each juncture and road change. And deep down, I have always liked it that way.
But somewhere along the line, it became painfully obvious to me that I had never checked the box of a ring on my finger with a cyclone of life plans ensuing. Don't get me wrong: I never liked the idea of the before and afters in the institution of marriage. I hated the idea of making a public commitment with a big sloppy kiss to my S.O. in front of 100 staring onlookers. It just felt interlopey, slimy, and weird from day one.
And yet, I fell prey to the hum of pressure that happens when you are in your late 30s, still not married, and a goddamn woman. (There is a story, and that will be for another post!)
As a woman in my early 40s, I have a purpose I accept with full gratitude. I live in the incandescent wokeness of post-Me Too; I thank the movement for making it more okay for people like me to exist without justifications. I now look back with interest and clarity on the many reasons marriage never appealed to me.
In order of importance, here are my reasons why I never got married!
REASON 5: FINANCES
I am somewhere in the middle when it comes to fiscal responsibility, but I can tell you that I have always dreamed of retiring early. Retirement here means my "second", and likely DIY, career of music playing at bars and exercise class teaching. Although I have had some wealthy suitors, I intuited that once one combines finances with someone else, the dreams of post-hustle work gulag life narrow into what the two of you agree on doing in future. I have yet to meet anyone who is TRULY willing to maybe go work in a national park season/ maybe go work on an organic farm/ maybe go live in New Orleans and hustle gigs... I am a maybe gal with a huge imagination. TBH, that's what my money is gonna go finance!
REASON #4: RELIGION AND SPIRITUALITY
Whereas the institution of marriage largely sees these two things as open-space areas for discussion, I see them as deeply personal-- too personal to expose time and again. I frankly don't believe you have to share everything with your partner. Now, I know couples who hold different religious beliefs, and even educate their kids on both, but somehow, the space and who believes what always crosses over into the light of day. Additionally, as a child, I saw many marriages sanctioned by my church fall to shambles (or worse, persist for the totally wrong reasons) when it turned out one of the two people (usually the woman) deep down did not want to be married to the other. Finally, "love, honor, and OBEY" pissed me off, as a young kid relegated to watch women time and again promise to obey their "ehh" husbands. FUCK.THAT.BULLSHIT.
Reason #3: LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!
A number of years ago, when a cousin got married to a person who truly seems like a great partner for her, I whimsically mused that I hoped that kind of match would happen to me someday. One of my parents said, "You'll meet someone when you stay in one place." Due to the nature of my work, and my goals for retirement and a sweet post-hustle life, it turns out, staying in one place is just not going to happen for some time to come. Who knows who I'd meet if I were to relocate to, say, Colorado? Vancouver? Some place in which the people seem chill and real and honest and very happy to consider non-traditional ways of partnership. But I'm not willing to give up anything in search of a partnership that may require me to give up even more down the road. The gamble never seems worth it to me.
Reason #2: LINGERING IDEALISM
Ok, so there have been suitors. And some of their resumes kind of knocked all my friends and family over, so much so that they believed it might actually happen... but no. I laugh writing this because I know exactly one big reason why: these impressive men, these charming men, these good-looking men, these men on the "right path" and why the hell are they single (notice how no one ever asks that about single women) were NOT/NOT what childhood, teenage, college, late-twenties, inner-ROCKERA me ever saw or wanted for myself. (And just so it doesn't look like I'm all imagination, I have had the love of some me-idealistic partners, and it is truly like coming home after a long prison sentence... ish!) Regimented men: Gag me with a spoon. I grew up crushing on the glams and the queens, the guys with lip gloss and big hair, in which resume never enters the dialogue... and I never stopped. It's never going to be my fate to be matched with this kind of person, but the lovely, idealistic, unicorn ME does not allow me to give up the dream.
Reason #1: I AM A LATE BLOOMER
I'm going to get real with you here: I was an ugly, awkward teenager, turned passable twenty-something, with persistent acne, emotional problems, and insecurities that almost totally consumed me. So when I turned swan in my early-30s and kept it going, I started to make up for lost time. When I was in my late 20s, I had a boyfriend who wanted to get married. He was aight (actually pretty outwardly intense to be honest - I don't like that characteristic in a partner), but my parents liked him aight, blah blah. But - I knew what was coming. I was going to be dynamic, I was going to go back to China and get into the Foreign Service, I was going to keep this fitness thing going, and I was going to be a beautiful person, inside and out. My peak was still far down the road from where I am now. Knowing this, I just couldn't let him "lock it down". And to be honest, I'm still discovering myself. The longer I stay unmarried (I'm currently in a "situationship" but who knows what will come of that!), the more I learn how to rely on the skillset I bring to the table, the personality I was born with, and the lovely, lovely things that can happen to you when you are traveling solo.
So while it would be nice to dip my toe in the pond of matrimony - MAYBE - I'm pretty cool with things just as they are...