I have a lot to offer potential partners, but I’m not the person who’s going to rush into an engagement or treat every anniversary like a holiday. I’m open to love and it would be great to find a partner, but if it doesn’t happen, that’s fine too. I’m not what you’d call “marriage material” and I’m totally happy with that.
I don’t want kids.
The stereotype of women having to convince their male partners to have children is not accurate in my experience. I have always known that children were not in my future, and while this makes long-term partners harder to find, it does make my life a lot easier. I’m grateful to have so much clarity around such a big decision. Having fewer potential partners to choose from is a small price to pay by comparison.
I actively avoid long-term commitments.
I don’t believe in being with one person for the rest of my life. Few couples manage to stay together “till death do us part,” and even fewer are happy about it. No one is the same person at 60 as they were at 30, and it’s rare that two people can grow compatibly at the same rate. I’d rather have a series of happy, supportive relationships that each last a decade than a single relationship that becomes unfamiliar and unfulfilling over the course of 50 years. That means even if I was “marriage material” now, chances are I wouldn’t be down the line.
I put my career before my relationships.
I used to feel embarrassed about how ambitious I was in my professional life, but I don’t apologize for it anymore. My career is something that I build on my own and which is still part of my life regardless of whether my relationships break down or flourish. The more I invest in my work, the less reliant I am on a romantic partner to bring me satisfaction and self-worth.
Divorce is a nightmare.
Marriage is legally binding, which means that getting out of it is complicated and full of paperwork. Not only is divorce an administrative headache, but it’s also associated with shame, as if the end of a long-term relationship was a failure. But all relationships have an expiration date, even the most stable and happy ones. I expect all of mine to end at some point, and I can’t think of a worse way of handling it than to hire a lawyer and squabble over who gets the sofa.
I enjoy my independence.
Independence is sexy for the first few months of dating, but give it a year or two and it becomes a liability. I only make compromises for very serious relationships, and it takes a while to get to that point. Committing myself to a lifetime of joint decision-making and compromise is not a choice I would make lightly, and this makes me a tougher partner to be with than most.
I’m not crazy about the baggage that comes with marriage.
Think about the traditions of marriage that are still widely practiced: brides wear white to symbolize their purity, women take the husband’s last name, and some vows still include the bride’s promise to “love, honor, and obey” the groom. Then there’s the fact that marriage continues to be illegal for non-straight couples in many parts of the world. Maybe it’s time we created a new type of commitment that wasn’t based on such patriarchal values. You can’t be marriage material when you’re not all that into the idea of marriage.
I prefer financial independence.
Marriage is a great way to consolidate resources with a partner and simplify taxes, but I’d rather keep my relationships and bank account separate, thank you very much. And I’m not just being paranoid: a study of over 4,500 couples showed that arguments about money are the number one predictor of divorce. Money is an emotional topic, and some people may feel offended if they think their partner doesn’t trust them with finances. But I would rather be single and in control of my money than married with a shared bank account.
I’m not great with in-laws.
Some people were born to be introduced to their partner’s family. These people are charming, extroverted, and masters of diffusing awkwardness. I am none of these things, which definitely means I’m not marriage material. Put me in a group of new people and I’m allergic to small talk, introverted, and can’t help speaking my mind even when it’s uncomfortable to do so. In short, I have never made a good first impression on potential in-laws, and no matter how much a partner says it doesn’t matter what their family thinks of you–it does matter.
If I’m happy with a person, why bother getting married?
As the saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” If you’re in a happy long-term relationship, why change anything? There’s no reason to get married when everything is going well, especially since marriage can ruin a perfectly good relationship. The formality of it changes how a couple views themselves. They start to get too comfortable and forget why they fell in love with each other in the first place.
I’m realistic about the odds of living “happily ever after.”
While the divorce rate in US has been on the decline in recent decades, it still hovers between 40-50%. In other words, marriage is a gamble no matter how committed you are on your wedding day. Sadly, this is not the sort of honesty most people want to hear from their partner. In fact, in my experience, being objective about divorce statistics is a reliable way to get someone to break up with you. No divorce necessary.
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