I’ve been with my boyfriend for over six years and we’re really happy together, but all of our college friends are getting married and starting families — and that means everyone wants to know when we’re going to do the same. Traditionally, we’re at that age where it seems like the appropriate next step, but it’s not what we want right now. Why is it anyone else’s business, anyway?
Not everyone wants to get married.
It’s not the norm anymore. There are plenty of happy couples who plan to spend their lives together, but never get married. I happen to want to get married one day in the future — how far, I haven’t really decided yet — but what if I didn’t? Why is it an automatic assumption that I do?
It makes me feel bad.
When I constantly get asked why I’m not married yet and get compared to other couples, it’s embarrassing. I’m well aware that I’ve now been a bridesmaid three times and been a guest at a handful of weddings. I’m well aware that most couples our age are at least engaged by this point. I’m also aware that we’ve been together longer than most of those engaged couples, but so what? It makes me feel like I’m doing something wrong, even though I’m not. I shouldn’t feel bad or guilty about my personal choices just because other people don’t understand it.
It’s none of your business.
Honestly, my relationship doesn’t concern you. If you’re curious about it, you should just trust that I’m making the right decisions for my own life. Sure, my mom and other close family members or even my best friends can ask, but that’s about it. Taking things slow in the beginning is what worked for us and continues to work for us.
What’s the rush?
I’m in a committed relationship, we live together, we have a dog, and most importantly, we’re really happy. What difference will a ring and a ridiculously expensive party make? Off the top of my head, I can think of three girls I know who got married in their early 20s and are already divorced.
I’m still young and I want my freedom.
I enjoy traveling and exploring. I’m guilty of living from paycheck to paycheck because I spend my money on experiences since that’s what’s important to me. People are living longer than ever, and I’m still relatively young and have plenty of time to tie the knot in the future.
I’m not ready for kids yet.
I know that many couples get married and never have kids, but I personally associate marriage with babies. I love babies, and I’ve worked with kids all my life. I definitely want a few of my own one day, but not quite yet. I’m not in danger of not being able to get pregnant yet, so I see no rush in the whole marriage/baby combo. When I’m ready to start the family stuff, I’ll be ready for the marriage stuff, too.
Marriage is expensive as hell.
I was my cousin’s maid of honor, and I know all about about every expense a wedding requires. I don’t have that kind of money, and I’m still in debt from paying off my college loans. Right now I’m content being part of a young, hip couple living in our tiny apartment. I’d rather spend the money on a vacation or for a down payment on a house, not on a dress I’ll only wear once.
Marriage changes people.
I’ve heard from multiple people that once they get married, there’s this expectation of how things should be. The white picket fence, starting a family, a clean house, a meal on the table every night, and a handyman husband. Marriage shouldn’t change you or your relationship. My relationship works as-is, and I see no reason to change it.
Marriage is no longer a given.
Most of our grandparents and some of our parents probably got married by the time they were 21 years old. Most of our grandmothers and mothers were stay-at-home moms and full-time home makers. There’s nothing wrong with that lifestyle, but today women are becoming more invested in their careers. We aren’t expected to stay home and be wifed up anymore, and that’s a good thing.
My career is important.
We all know the struggle of finding a good job after college. Everyone wants an employee with years of experience. Because of this, it’s taking longer to get on the right career path. I went to school, and I plan to use my degree. Getting married right now would change things. I need to keep climbing the ladder now — I can get married later.
The divorce rate is high.
According to the American Psychological Association, it was reported in 2016 that 40-50 percent of marriages ended in divorce. Those numbers are terrible. I’m making the right decision by holding off and really getting to know my partner on the deepest level possible before pulling that trigger.
When I get engaged, you’ll know.
I can’t wait to one day get married. I have it all planned out already and on a Pinterest inspiration board. I’ll wear my ring and most likely post some cheesy pictures on social media. There will be no question about it, so everyone can stop asking.
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