There is a clear current theme in the blogosphere, and it's writing about why we're not married.
In case you live under a rock, yesterday, the Huffington Post ran this article from Tracy McMillan, a writer for Mad Men and The United States of Tara and a self-proclaimed "jailhouse lawyer of relationships -- someone who's had to do so much work on her own case that [she] can now help you with yours." In her piece, McMillan explains that the reason you are not married is because one or more of the following applies to you: You're a Bitch, You're Shallow, You're a Slut, You're a Liar, You're Selfish or (You Think) You're Not Good Enough. Though I actually think the article was well-written and made a few interesting points, it's not hard to see how it pissed off a lot of people. Responses have been flooding Twitter and Facebook, most notably those by Jessica Ravitz of CNN and Laurie White of BlogHer. And, well, given some recent events in my life, recent conversations with friends and the increasingly frequent questioning from well-meaning relatives, I figured I'd kill a few birds with one stone/join in on the trend and share why I, too am not married.
Firstly, I'm a Career Girl. My well-meaning but very traditional grandmother called me this recently. "Oh, you'll get married some day," she told me. "Right now you're a career girl." I started to get defensive, but then I realized that she's actually right. I am way more interested in my career than getting married right now, and my attitude is reflected in my behavior. That's not to say I wouldn't be open to getting married if the right guy came along, but so far he hasn't and I'm too busy creating my brand, managing my website, launching my app and writing my book to go out looking for him. Which brings me to my next point...
I'm Self-Focused. Not narcissistic, mind you. I care deeply about my friends and family and am truly devoted to them. But what is my main focus in life right now? Number One, AKA, me. I suppose McMillan would say this makes me selfish, except I'm not focusing on, as she puts it, "[my] thighs, [my] outfits, [my] naso-labial folds," nor am I thinking about "how marrying a wealthy guy -- or at least a guy with a really, really good job -- would solve all [my] problems." Um, no. Rather, I think a lot about my career goals, my emotional development, my place in the world, the travelling I'd like to do and the life I'd like to build for myself. I'm committed to being the best possible contributing member of society I can be. I fully recognize that I don't spend a lot of time thinking about how to attract my future husband...but I'm also certain that I'd rather eventually marry a guy who spends his waking hours thinking about his own interesting, exciting life and not how to find himself a wife. Also, even if I found him...
My Dating Skills are Shaky at Best. I don't play by the rules. I don't wait for the guy to call. I always offer to pay and drive. I routinely try with all my might to articulate my feelings and it frequently backfires. I sometimes, though not frequently, have sex on the first date (which I suppose also makes me a slut, according to McMillan), and I never play hard-to-get. I have no idea what I'm doing and it shows, but I am unwilling to commit myself to a dating "program" a la The Rules. I'm waiting for someone who gets me and whom I get to show up, and, until he does, I will probably continue awkwardly along the "mostly-first-dates-and the occasional pseudo-relationship" path I've been on since my last actual relationship.
Sure, sometimes I wish I were married--mostly so that I can stop going out on awkward first dates, but also because I look forward to, as McMillan calls it, having "a long-term opportunity to practice loving someone even when they don't deserve it." I believe in monogamy (for myself, anyway) and in the power of a long-term, committed relationship, but I am also glaringly aware that I need to figure out how to give myself unconditional love before I can give it to someone else.
Honestly, the number one reason I'm not yet married is that I'm not yet ready. I have a lot more work to do on myself before I can see focusing a large portion of my energy on someone else. Most of the time I feel sure that I will eventually be ready but I also know that I might never be...and that will be OK too.
Regardless, however, I stand with this lady.
very well said! i concur :)
Interestingly, you can be all of those things and STILL be married. I know plenty of supposedly monogamous sluts, "devoted" high-maintenance gals, and Mrs. No-Self Esteems.
Finding someone to love you can be hard. Finding someone to love back can be just as difficult. I like your attitude- it will happen when you're ready and willing.
@Scooter, I hear you. My intention was not to deride myself or the fact that I'm not married. I truly have no interest in getting married right now and I also didn't think that I HAVE to explain it--I was inspired by McMillan's article and the subsequent articles and I wanted to.
I think that McMillan intended to be somewhat tongue and cheek in her piece. I too intended much of my post to be taken that way. Of course I don't think I can't be a "career girl" (a term, by the way, that I would never have used if my grandmother hadn't said it) after getting married. Hell, I KNOW I'll be a career girl for life. I just meant that I am more interested in my career than, really, anything else right now--including dating and/or marriage. As for the part about my shaky dating skills, they ARE shaky. I realize there is no cure-all dating mojo to be attained, but I'm just not very good at relationships right now--mostly because I've realized that I don't really want to be in one.
Thanks for your thoughts. And for the record, on the occasion that I make it to a second date, my damn fine cooking skills do come in quite handy.
i agree-well said....you don't have to be anything you don't want to be or because it is what people think it is what you are 'supposed' to be...i have been married twice- it is not all it is cracked up to be...it is 'nice' in some ways but it is not the be-all and end-all of life...i now live with someone- for 13 yrs- longer than either of my marriages- and have no desire to be 'married'- it does not make one happy..ONE makes one happy-you do...and not being married to someone can be just as rewarding as being so...we are more committed to one another than alot of married friends we know and our relationship has outlasted some of their marriages...we try harder- we work harder when we have to at it...and there is no pressure to be all the 'things married people are supposed to be' but we have a great relationship...i like knowing i am here because i WANT to be- not because i have a piece of paper that says i HAVE to be and i like not having my finances tied up with someone else's...it works for me and for him and we are both happy...
love is a choice- it does not fall from the sky or magically 'happen' to one...you choose to love someone- have an inselfish concern for their well-being no matter what that is...that is how it 'works' and you don't need a ring or contract to make the choice...
just be who you are and choose to be happy and one day if you choose to marry still be who you are..choose someone who is not threatened by it or wants to change who you are- someone who is secure enough in himself to let you be you..and you can be all the things you want to be AND married ;-)
I would love to get married, but not to any of the douche bags, peter pan boys, bores or men falling into any other categories I've sampled thus far... I often wonder if it's a product of my selection of men, or a meager market that hasn't offered me any good options yet. Hmmm....
It's so nice to read this & know I'm not the only one who feels this way. I'm not the biggest fan of dating at all, and honestly, I'm pretty damn happy being single.
Rock on Gabi. :)
I really liked your thoughts on this. I agreed with Scooter that marriage shouldn't define you, but, I have to say, marriage (or equivalent long-term serious relationship) does change your life in a big way in most cases. Not who you are, but your day-to-day. Married people (not all!) tend to hang out more with other couples, live in one place longer, compromise on travel/career/housing decisions, etc. I think that it does end up changing your lifestyle in most cases, intentional or not.
In the same way that people say you can be a super hands-on mom and have a full career - I agree that that's true in theory - it's sure hard to find more than a handful of truly happy/successful examples. And marriage is truly an investment of time . . . it's hard to imagine you doing all that you're doing now and funneling so much creativity into your work while at the same time committing yourself to someone else in a huge way.
In the end, I think that there is a somewhat finite amount of energy/creativity that people can manage on a day-to-day basis, and it's pretty hard to "add" ANY major things to your life (whether it be marriage, school, marathon running, etc) without lessening your focus on others.
When the right person comes along, it would be worth that slight shift and refocus, but with so much going on personally and professionally, who would have time to worry about anything else?!
As a man of my gender (... ;-), this, your writing here, occurs to me as great: real, articulate, and just plain awesome. It is easy, yet unworthy of people all around, to put others in boxes to categorize them, unmarried or not (hmm, double negative...), as the article that spurred your blog seems to have done. Much media can be about getting attention and sparking debate, not doing justice to a topic. Thank you so much for you contribution.
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