As much as I like to think of myself as still a spring chicken, my parents and my worsening hangovers would argue otherwise
My parents frequently remind me that I am in my late-20s now, and should be considering getting married and having children. It’s a moot point really, considering that I don’t even have a serious boyfriend, but they are just so excited at the prospect of having grandchildren. They have a massive four bedroom house on a lake, and my dad just bought a rowboat and is already entertaining thoughts of taking his grandchildren fishing! Being the eldest of the kids, I’m clearly feeling the pressure.
Quite a few of my close friends are, or have been, married. It is a sad fact that quite a few of them have become divorce statistics. I particularly remember one of my girlfriends, who recently separated from her husband, proclaiming to me during her engagement that her that justification for getting married at the age of 24 was because she knew that this was the guy that she wanted to spend the rest of her life with, so why wait? The thing is that I’m sure she meant it with all her heart at the time, but how quickly things change.
So putting this together with my experience in failed relationships, it just makes me think, how do you know when you’ve met a person that you could actually grow old with? And say that you’ve met this person – it’s obvious that you have to keep working at the relationship, but how do you know when it’s beyond repair?
Of course, these are all pretty academic questions, and not particularly relevant to my situation right now. What really got me thinking was my mate Steve who, over lunch, posed the question to me, ‘do you want to get married?’
If you had asked me this question five years ago, I would have quickly answered with a resounding YES!, as most women probably would at the age of 23. However, I have watched my girlfriends get married over the last few years and seen a fair few fail. I have also observed that the ones with the highest probability of success (in my opinion!) are those of the more settled personalities – homebody types and comfort creatures. When I compare myself to these girls, I can clearly see that I’m not like them at all. In fact, my personality is more akin to the girls who have separated or divorced their husbands – having the burning desire to be anywhere but at home, never content and always seeking adventure, and really feeling that life needs to be actively sought out and experienced.
Then add to this my questioning of marriage as a concept. Perhaps I’m wrong but, from my point of view, it seems to be a more of a religious thing – being joined in the eyes of God and all that – and I’m not at all religious. When divorce just seems like such an easy option these days, what’s the point of vowing to love and cherish ‘til death do us part, when it’s really, ‘til I decide I don’t love you anymore? And do you really need to sign a piece of paper to show this commitment to one another, let alone spend the equivalent of a house deposit on a wedding with all the trimmings? Considering that it’s so socially acceptable these days to have a long-term committed relationship and kids without marriage, is it really necessary to go through all the legal paperwork? And for the sake of what? I just don’t think I see the point.
I am really in such a state of confusion over this topic, and I definitely feel more confused as I get older whilst my feelings against marriage also get stronger. I feel like I’ve been conditioned all my life to expect marriage, and just assumed that it would happen when I met the right person and the timing was right. Maybe I just haven’t met the right person? Maybe I haven’t lived my life the way I’ve wanted before I wanted to have a family? I just don’t know.
Sometimes I feel like I’m a bit of a social outcast, being happily single in my late 20s, particularly when compared to my numerous married friends. Now I’m reading that apparently ‘freemales’ now outnumber married women! Sure, it’s absolutely wonderful to be in a loving relationship where you’re both committed to the other’s happiness, but can anyone explain to me why you’d need to take it one step further?
(I had intended on tackling the kids issue too, but this has already become quite the dissertation so will save that for another day!)
* Image courtesy of stock.xchng