Hi, I’m Liz. I’ll be writing about dating and living in Boston every week. Welcome to Funkytown.
What is it about turning twenty five that injects ideas of marriage and long term commitment into my head? Granted many of my best friends are engaged, married or have a one way ticket to nuptial-town that they purchased in college. There seems to be a fundamental shift from age twenty four to twenty five that strikes me as a bit contrived. Maybe it’s all in my head, which is typically the case.
So naturally when I’m drinking too many beers with my best gals, the topic rears its ominous head, as if to say, ‘Guess what? You’re getting older and the pressure to settle down is greatly increasing while the pool of eligible partners is decreasing. What’s that? You don’t necessarily subscribe to the idea of a mandated age for marriage? Well, too bad.’ Subsequently the regularly dynamic and intelligent conversation with your best friends will devolve into talking about it: marriage. Worse than a psychotic clown.
“Fuck that.” My friend blurts out.
We all turn to face her, hopefully anticipating her refreshing and contrarian points of view. She’s the kind of person who makes everything instantly cooler- with her natural confidence, incredible sense of humor and keen eye for art.
“Who says everyone needs to get married? I’m not so sure I do.”
When probed more deeply about this seemingly haphazard opinion, my friend explains a more complex and well thought-out argument against what most consider conventional marriage.
“But you and Dave are so in love. And you’ve been dating forever.” We all nod in agreement.
“So? Just because we’ve been dating a long time, doesn’t necessarily mean we’re going to walk down the aisle eventually.
To me, there is no sequential timeline for partnership. Dave and I love each other, and are committed. I think that’s enough.”
“Do you think your parents and family will think it strange to never get married?”
“Of course. My parents are your classic overbearing Jews who want me to get married and have lots of Jewish babies. But right now, I don’t believe in ‘forever.’ I think deciding you want to spend the rest of your life with someone is unrealistic.”
Over the next few days, I thought a lot about what my friend said. Did forever make sense as a concept? What if you met the right person? Would it seem less daunting, or should committing to one another independent of a third party suffice? The idea of not getting married had definitely crossed my mind being the product of a messy divorce, but I considered myself a true enigma: a jaded and cautious closeted hopeless romantic. I held out hope for real love and the concept of long term, at least, but was cynical of its actual existence.
This led me to think about another one of friends, Chev, on the opposite path. In a few months, she is taking a stroll down the aisle. She’s in one of those incredibly inspiring and healthy partnerships that give you hope. When I was prone to drinking Jim Beam straight from the bottle to quell anxiety before a second date that I couldn’t cancel since I had already lost interest, she was the friend rubbing my back . She brings a different and more conventional point of view when it comes to tying the knot. Having just graduated with her Masters in Social Work, landing her dream job, finding a perfect apartment, and marrying the love of her life, she puts most of us ‘ I dunno, maybe I’ll move to Austin and start a band,‘ to shame.
When I asked her how she knew of her readiness for such a serious commitment at age twenty five, she responded in such a logical and mature way, I don’t why I was remotely surprised.
“Marriage was never absolute for me. In addition, I was unsure if I would find a guy who could love me for me. I had a lot of awkward tomboy years that scarred my self image well into my twenties. I was rather content dating men, sleeping with men and enjoy my life with my friends.
That was, until I met Gerard or as I like to think of him, the game changer.”
“So meeting the right person led you to a church wedding in all of its conventional glory?”
“I suppose so. When you meet the right person, it doesn’t really matter. I think it will please our Catholic parents, and it makes the most sense. I just can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with him.”
So there you have it, kids. Two perfectly legitimate reasons to get married or to abstain. Whether you cannot wait to find your future husband or wife and settle down, or refuse to get married until every citizen can, or never want to marry because you think monogamy is a load of shit, or are unsure until you’re sure you’ll be sure when you meet the right him or her (I read a lot Dr. Seuss as a kid), it all comes down to personal preference. You’ll have to live with whatever decision or indecision you make for the rest of your life, or until you get divorced, so make it the correct one for ultimately the right reasons.
Until then, realize that no matter what you decide to do, you can always adopt a health code violation amount of cats and become a shut in.