Ever since I was young, I’ve known that marriage wasn’t the highest expression of love the way movies and fairytales tell us and that it was never something I would want to take part in. Here’s why I still feel that way, even after finding lasting love.
I don’t need a contract to prove I love someone.
If I’m in love, signing my name on a legal document won’t make my feelings any more real or reliable, and I don’t need someone to do the same for me in order for me to feel secure. As far as I’m concerned, the whole concept of marriage is outdated and superficial. I’d much rather know that the person I’m with is staying with me out of genuine commitment rather than legal obligation.
“‘Til death do us part” is a big promise these days.
Hundreds of years ago when people only lived to their mid-50s, “’til death do us part” wasn’t that big of a deal. But nowadays, life expectancy dictates that for many us, “till death do us part” commits us to being with the same person for 50 or 60 years or more. While it’s perfectly possible that some people will still be happy together after all that time, it seems pretty presumptuous and optimistic to make that call right now.
I don’t like the historical stereotypes of marriage.
Having a professional life is standard for women these days, but we are still expected to give up our careers in order to have children, and the vast majority of household duties still fall on our shoulders. In fact, a recent study shows that even when the wife is the breadwinner of the family, she is still the person who does the majority of the housework. Until that stereotype is broken, I refuse to validate the institution of marriage by becoming someone’s wife.
Marriage destroys good relationships.
People make jokes about how the excitement in a relationship dies as soon as the marital vows are made, but it’s no laughing matter. Studies have shown that most divorces happen in the first three years of marriage, even if the couple had been living together for years before that. Remember Brad and Angelina? They were together for over a decade and had six children together, but when they finally got married, it only lasted two years. Case closed.
I want to keep any serious relationship alive and changing.
Everyone has certain assumptions about marriage before entering into it. But these expectations can create a feeling of stagnation. You may go into a relationship thinking that stability and comfort is what you need, but over time realize that these things cause your relationship to feel predictable and lifeless. I want a partnership that has no expectation beyond change, and to me, marriage doesn’t offer that option.
I don’t want to deal with all the expectations of parenthood that married couples have to deal with.
As soon as you get married, people want to know when you’re having kids, and then why you haven’t had kids, and then whether or not you’re able to have kids. Eventually, people feel so sorry for you for being “childless” that they don’t ask anything at all. I’d rather avoid the pressure to have children that marriage imposes on people.
It sets a precedent.
I don’t ever want to be conventional, and choosing not to marry makes a powerful statement that I will never be a person who takes the traditional path in life just because it’s safe and everyone else is doing it. The older you get, being unmarried and happy about it is a declaration of individuality that I want everyone to see in me from the moment they meet me. I don’t ever want to be “normal.”
Divorce is a nightmare.
From what I’ve seen, divorce is one of the most excruciating experiences a person can have. It’s expensive, time-consuming, and seems to make even the most amicable split a bloodbath ending in permanent scars and anger. I’d rather not have to go through that kind of pain when I part ways with someone.
Weddings are expensive.
The average wedding in the U.S. in 2019 cost just under $34,000. Unless you’re independently wealthy, that is a lot of money to spend on one day at the beginning of a relationship that is supposed to last forever. I’d much rather put that price tag toward a mortgage or save up for a college fund for a potential child. Blowing it all on a single day that’s just a formality anyway seems genuinely crazy.
Marriage allows you to get lazy in a relationship.
Because divorce is such an agonizing process, a lot of people choose to stay in their marriages in order to avoid the ordeal. If I’m truly unhappy with a relationship, I want to be able to walk away with no legal or financial strings attached. People change, and I want to be able to change and separate from relationships that aren’t working without devastating my entire life.
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