The Race to the Alter

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As I approach 30, it seems that everyone around me is getting hitched, popping out kids, or both (not necessarily in that order). It seems that every time I go home on a weekend, my parents ask if there are wedding plans for BF and I.  Then, I get lectured about my age (I just turned 28) and why BF and I aren’t “serious” about our relationship.  I think my mom nearly had a heart attack when I told her that BF was younger than me (gasp!).

My Thoughts on Marriage

Marriage is not the be all and end all for me.  About 4 years ago, I had a heart to heart with myself about my future and whether marriage was in the cards for me.

I was single at the time.  I had just broken it off with a guy I had been dating briefly, and the only other serious relationship I had was with my high school sweetheart (we dated for 4.5 years) which ended 2 years prior.

In the 2 years I was single, I was meeting guys, and dating, but things just didn’t feel right with anyone.  Dating takes work and effort, and I was tired of putting in all this effort just to get a man.  What gives?

Then I started to think that it is entirely possible, I won’t find anyone I’d want to spend the rest of my life with.  As those of us who are dating after college may agree – the pool of eligible partners shrinks significantly.

So I really started thinking about the things that I’d want in my life.  I want to be independent and support myself.  I want to own a home and be able to enjoy my life.  I want a dog, and maybe kids.  Truly, I didn’t really need a man for that (although, one might come in handy, sometimes, depending on the man).  If I really wanted kids, I could adopt one when I was financially secure and established in my career.

 A Partner

I didn’t need someone to take care of me, it was clear that I could do that on my own.  But I wanted a partner – someone who is truly my better half.  Someone to spend my life with and share my dreams with.  Someone whom I loved and loved me back.  Someone whom I respected and respected me.  Someone who had similar values and whom I could talk to about anything.

But I hadn’t found this someone in 2 years.  It was entirely possible that I may never find them, and I came to terms with that.  So, I started to plan out my life without a guy in mind and realized that I can be truly happy and fulfilled, all on my own.

Besides, being in my male dominated office, I see the guys around me refer to their wives in such a demeaning manner – it’s really quite depressing.  I’d much rather be alone than be spoken to in the manner I had witnessed.

I Wasn’t Afraid

I knew some girls who dreaded being single. They stayed with their boyfriends even when he treated them like sh*t.  I’ve had girl friends who were belittled and talked down to by their boyfriends in front of me, and when I asked them why they put up with it, they responded that they didn’t want to be alone.

One girl I knew told me that if she had dated a guy for a few years, she’d just marry him because she thought it was a waste of time if she didn’t.  She was 21/22 years old at that time.  Being a friend, I offered my thoughts that wouldn’t it be better to know while dating whether that person is the right person for us while we’re dating.  That’s what dating is for!  Besides we are so young, and we have our whole life ahead of us.  Obviously, we differed in opinions.

Then I met BF

Shortly after my heart-to-heart moment with myself, I started dating BF.  BF and I knew one another from school and had traveled together during exchange.  I thought he was a really nice, if not flaky guy (sorry, BF!!  But he was always late when we traveled together.)  But since I wasn’t worried about finding Mr. Right, anymore, I had a lot of fun getting to know BF and we eventually became an item.

Now, as we enter into a new chapter in our lives – BF is going away to complete his MBA at a top-notch school in the USA – I am so glad that we are doing this together.  :)  I know the time apart will be tough, but our relationship is strong, and I hope to build upon it and make it even stronger. And one day, when we are both ready, we can tie the knot – but it won’t be a race for us to the alter.  I guess, it will be like taking the scenic route.

What are your thoughts of a partner in life, or marriage?

PS.  Check out Krystal’s thoughts on marriage and wedding.   Very thought provoking.

Cheers,

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22 Comments

Filed under Personal

22 responses to “The Race to the Alter

  1. A while back I asked myself whether I wanted to get married and have children because it’s something I want or if it’s because society expects it of me. I concluded that it’s something I want.

    As the years passed, my views on marriage have changed. If I meet a guy that I can see myself wanting to spend the rest of my life with, I’ll want to marry him. But that’s not something I expect.

    I definitely want to have children. And I will not be denied this desire simply because I’m not married. A friend advised me to just get married before having children, regardless of whether I saw the father-to-be as my life partner. I think marriage is sacred, and if I’m not 100% committed to keeping my marriage sacred at the outset, I don’t wanna do it.

  2. Cassie

    Today has been the day of wedding posts! It’s been interesting.

    You struck a major chord with me when you mentioned how the guys in your office refer to their wives in such a demeaning manner. I know exactly what you mean. For a period of time I had completely lost faith in men; not only were they completely demeaning towards women, a lot of them were cheating pigs! I was disgusted. Fortunately a change in companies did help change that, and a lot of the men I work with now are quite respectful, but I still run into it a lot. A lot of The Boy’s friends are dismissive of women’s opinions and abilities, as is his father. Fortunately, he is not.

    My mom has been pushing for me to get married and have kids for years. As soon as I start seeing someone, she asks if he has long term potential. If I’m single, she’s starts suggesting every guy with two feet and a heartbeat. Feet optional.

    In spite of this, I am still a very strong believer in marriage. I very much look forward to the day that it (hopefully) does happen. I also want to have kids of my own. I know that I’m more than capable of looking after myself and living a full life, I’m just not interested in doing it by myself. I want to do it with someone I love, and not just in a common law relationship.

  3. I’ve been divorced for 2 years and 5 months. I went on quite a few dates early on; I guess I needed to prove that I was “dateable” and could find guys who were interested in me. The problem was that I really wasn’t interested in them – at least not on a level where I could picture myself in a relationship. I finally decided to stop dating because I just wasn’t ready.

    I feel like I’ve healed now and I’m not anti-men or anti-marriage, but I just don’t know that it’s a risk I’m willing to take again. I have a busy life and I just haven’t felt that need to have someone in my life, so unless that changes, I’m happy being single. :)

    • When my ex and I first broke up, I was also in a phase where I wanted to prove that I was “dateable.” After 2 years, of dating, I realized, that yes, I was indeed “datable”, but that wasn’t the problem :)

      Looking back, I’m really thankful that I got to be on my own for 2 years. It really helped me figure out the person I wanted to be and become a stronger person.

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  5. I love where this story ended. I’m sorry for what led to that ponderous moment, but the moral of the story seems to be stop trying so hard and let life happen. For me, that’s when the best things happen, too.

  6. ST

    I hate the societal pressure that by age 30, you should have a great career, be married and have at least 1 kid. Life isn’t scheduled and relationship stages shouldn’t be either. I had a good 2 years of being single in between serious relationships and looking back, i really needed that time to get over the previous boy, figure out what I want and will not tolerate from a relationship and learn to make myself happy instead of waiting for that person to come along.. He eventually did come (although i had to date a lot of frogs first)! I’m approaching 30 and although I’m set to get married myself in the next few months, many people feel I’ve waited too long (not that I could really help that) and so the next question is when are you going to have kids? Life shouldn’t be rushed…enjoy the moments you have in the present!

    • Thanks for the reminder, ST, and congratulations!! :)

      Sometimes, I get so caught up thinking about what’s going to happen in the future that I’m at a loss for what to do in the present.

  7. belowhermeans

    I’m almost 30 as well and I go back and forth between, “WHY AREN’T M. AND I MARRIED YET?!” to “Ohmygod, marriage is scary.” :/

  8. I think it’s so sad that some people believe that marriage is the only way to be “serious” about a relationship. I have a frenemy at work that makes fun of me and calls me a commitment phobe because Mr. Dollars and I aren’t married, and are only moving in together this year. Hello, we’ve been together for (almost) four years, how is that not commitment?!

    When you know what you want, it’s a lot easier to eliminate potential partners (as opposed to marrying them because it’d be a “waste of time” if you didn’t) because you can stand firm in your beliefs (does that make sense? It’s kind of late). I don’t want to have kids, and I’m undecided about marriage. I’m definitely not in a rush, but it’s kind of weird to think that that’s a legitimate life choice now that we’re in our late (eek) twenties. I agree with Belowhermeans though, sometimes I’m like “Yeah marriage would be cool, he could be my hubbo and I could be a wife!” and other times I’m just all “NOPENOPENOPE DIVORCEISSCARYANDEXPENSIVE”.

    In short, what I’m trying to say is that this is a very introspective and thoughtful post, I loved it :)

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed this post!

      Sometimes, I wonder if life would be easier after marriage – cause at least you got that part figured out, right? But, I don’t think that’s the case – life just throws you other curveballs! :)

  9. Great post!!

    I’m single right now and I really enjoy dating — to the point that the more of it I do, the less inclined I feel to settle down with someone. I was in a 4 year relationship and our happiness with each other was mediocre, but I didn’t even know that until I got a chance to see how happy I am alone (or maybe just without him?). Since then I’ve had some great dates and some great short-term relationships that I’ve loved every minute of, even when they ended.

    I like the idea of being independent and raising a child on my own, and maybe just having a lot of relationships that come and go over the years (not flings but maybe 5 or 10 year relationships) and learning & growing from each experience. I don’t really think about getting married, but maybe if I met the right person it will happen.

    I think relationships are very fluid and transitory, but we’re continually trying to stuff them into finished boxes. Marriage doesn’t even mean that you’re “done” anyway — your relationship will continue to grow and evolve and change, regardless of its legal status.

    At 26 I don’t get too much pressure to be married & start having kids, but I know it’s coming. I’m not really worried what anyone else thinks, my life is right on schedule for me!

  10. I really enjoy your more personal posts. I totally understand your perspective on the behaviours of married men. I work in the financial district where there’s a lot of high-powered men, and the amount of piggish behaviour by married men is absolutely depressing. I just just “hit on” by a colleague from a remote office last week AT A WORK EVENT. I didn’t respond because of the inappropriate situation. Later, I found out that he was married and had a young child!

    Too often I see women who are too focused on getting the ring that they don’t take the time to enjoy the relationship. I don’t really understand the whole “marriage for the sake of marriage” mentality either. It’s one thing to have a happy marriage with the man of your dreams, quite another to pressure a male to marry you because that somehow is the thing we’re supposed to strive for.

    My best friend’s mom is a firm believer in marriage. She pressured a man to marry her because she wanted kids, and he started cheating on her and left her around 10 years after that. Despite all this, she is very adamant that marriage is the ultimate goal of relationships, and that women who don’t have the ring are not wasting their time with a man. When I pointed out to her that a ring or even a marriage certificate don’t necessarily mean commitment, she simply replied “well, at least I can take pride in being married at one time”… Needless to say, we’re on opposite camps in our views on marriage.

  11. I just recently got married and I think marriage beautiful and sacred, and that you pick your spouse wisely. When it comes to marriage and relationships in general, I always tell people learn to be content/happy as a single person before you start entertaining thoughts about marriage. Otherwise you’ll most likely unhappy/unhealthy relationship and have unrealistic expectations on the significant other. I have friends who focus soley on getting married by a certain age and they find themselves with guy treats them poorly and manipulative relationships. My friends who learn to be content when they were single have healthier relationships where there is mutual respect.

    • Congratulations and Thanks so much for your wise words, Jessica. Happiness must come from within. If you don’t love and accept yourself, it’s hard to be happy, single or in a relationship! :)

  12. Daisy

    I found your blog through “Well Heeled Blog” and was poking around and found this little gem. I have to tell you just how much I LOVE this post. Despite how our social roles have altered over the past few decades, I think almost all women I know my age (29) feel incomplete or less of a woman if they aren’t married or in a serious relationship. I have seen women change themselves completely, or settle for much less then what they deserve to achieve “married woman status” and I just think thats so sad. At the end of the day, they still have to live with that relationship and I don’t think social norms can help you when you ended up committing someone who isn’t right for you.

  13. LittleFrugalista

    Absolutely love this discussion! I just turned 28 as well and I’m feeling panicked. I come from a cultural background in which marriage is expected to be the end result of a relationship. The whole concept of ‘dating’ is foreign to my parents, and the fact that bf and I have been together 3 years with no marriage in site probably blows their minds. On top of that, all my high school friends got my married and I’m the last one of the group that hasn’t. Because of the changes I’ve recently made in my career, I’m starting from scratch and bf doesn’t want to get married until I’m more established. I resented him for it because I felt like I NEEDED to get married soon, but I’m realizing this isn’t true. No point doing it when neither of us is ready. Slow and steady wins the race as someone else pointed out!

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