Are Your Married, Yet?

 I don’t have a time line for when I want to get married. If you would have asked me ten years ago “TK, at what age do you want to be married by?” I would have laughed and told you no one would ever marry me. Setting aside the poor self-esteem I had as a child, my point here is that I never considered marriage to be a key goal in my life. I knew that, if I happened to meet the right man, I’d want the relationship to lead to marriage, but I had no concept of a ‘dream wedding’ for my future

Fast forward to today and I find I am in a happy five-year relationship. We’re not married and, while we discuss it here and there, we still have no time line set. I’m sure the time will come when I really want to be married, but that day is not today. I’m only 23. Why do I need to rush into things? Who cares how long I’ve dated my boyfriend? We’ll get married when it feels right.

Sometimes, it feels like everyone cares. Everyone is asking and everyone is appalled that I haven’t gotten a ring,yet.

This photo, “Marriage” is copyright (c) 2014 Wendy Longo photography and made available under an Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license

There are times where I get nervous about this attitude. Many of my friends are married and my Facebook is slowly being taken over by babies. People are visibly surprised when they hear I’ve been dating the same guy for five years and have no ring. Is it really that bad? Is there something wrong with being completely comfortable with things just the way they are?

It was with these thoughts in mind that I read ‘Stop Asking me “Are Your Married Yet?”‘ The woman behind this article is a bit older than I am. She’s nearing her 30s and is tired of this question. While I’m a bit younger, I can’t help but sympathize with her. My boyfriend and I hadn’t been dating for six months when the questions started. As I’ve gotten older, and attended the weddings of many friends, the question has increased.

This past weekend, I celebrated the birthday of a friend. One of the girls at the gathering told me she gives guys 18 months. In 18 months, she and the man she’s been dating need to have had a serious discussion about marriage or she’s done with the relationship. Her reasoning behind this is in a two-year relationship she had that ended up not working out. She views these years as a waste and is determined not to waste that kind of time again.

She is allowed to do what she wants with life, but, for myself, I find that ideology flawed. Can love really be so specifically planed? More importantly, were those two years really a waste? Did she not enjoy a moment of happiness?

The way I see it, every relationship we have serves a purpose. Even if it eventually devolves, our relationships take us to where we are today. Take my boyfriend. He chose the college he attended partly because of the woman he was dating at the time. They eventually broke up. As it would happen, I also attended that same college. Without that first relationship, we may have never met.

There are many ways in which a relationship affects a person. They may discover new interests, move to a new area or meet new friends. If the relationship dissolves, some of those changes will remain. A person is the accumulation of their experiences. It has long been my opinion that, if we like the person we are today, then we shouldn’t hate or regret our past. For example, there are some choices I made in middle school and high school that were motivated by low-self esteem. Those experiences taught me a lot about myself. They made me who I am today. While I may not agree with every thought and decision of my younger self, I would be a different person today with out them.

This is all to say that I have my doubts that woman’s two years were a waste, as she so claims. If D and I break up, I will not call these five years a waste. I gained a lot from our relationship and I can’t regret a single moment.

…but I’m still not 100% ready to get married. Don’t get me wrong, if he asked me to marry him today, I’d say yes. Behind closed doors I’d say, “yes, in about two years.” My boyfriend isn’t that kind of man though. He’s not the type of person who would go for a long engagement. He’ll ask me to marry him on they day he is ready to be married. Since I am in no rush, I have no problem waiting. People can keep asking if they want, but I’m not on any timeline. Marriage will happen  in my life when the time is right and not a moment before.

How often were/are you asked when you’re getting married? Do men get this question as much as women? Is it really so odd that I never had a concept of the age I wanted to be married by?

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79 thoughts on “Are Your Married, Yet?”

  1. I guess I fall into that category of nearing 30 and not being married, and yes I know the feeling of watching my feed slowly being taken over by pictures of couples, then weddings, and now babies. Honestly if you would have asked me 10 years ago I would have said I’d like to be married someday, now I’m not so sure anymore having done some growing up since that time. Surprisingly no one out of the six core group of friends I grew up with had me pegged as last guy standing, that bet was on my buddy Rick who is getting married later this month (days away actually). As for the question bit, yes I utterly despise those questions, just as much as when people get inquisitive as to why I am (very happily) single.

    I think for men it might depend on the culture more than anything, I am from a European household and while my folks are not staunch traditionalists (if your not hitched by 25 something is wrong) I also don’t escape the poignant looks, talks about “someday there will be grand-children”, and “honey you can feel free to bring a girl from any country you like home with you.” But that is the way it is, I think in some sense there is also a bit of pressure ultimately because I am the only male in the entire family able to carry on the name, not that it’s a huge thing for my folks but in a sense there is something to it I guess.

    No your perfectly fine not having picked an age to be married at, I think in this day and age more and more people are choosing to wait or pass over the institution completely.

    1. These days, when it comes to relationships, I think people should feel free to do what makes them happy. Our society seems to put a lot of pressure on girls to get married. Just this morning I was watching the morning news where they were talking with a woman who wrote a book. She recommended girls to find a man in college and, if their appearance needs any ‘work,’ to do it in high school. That seems like a lot of pressure on young girls. I wonder if we’re just being told that marriage will make us happy. That doesn’t mean it will.

      “…I am the only male in the entire family able to carry on the name…”

      Is it odd that I’m a girl and I think that way. I mean, I have a younger brother, so I guess he could carry on the name. There’s a part of me, though, that wants family that comes after me to easily know the family I came from. For that reason, I really want to hyphenate my last name when the time comes. I’m fine with my children taking my husband’s last name, but I want my name, too. Think of all the things your last name means to you. It’s your family, your legacy and a link to all who came before you. I want my link to remain as well.

      That can all wait until the time is right. I think marriage is very similar to love. There is no rule, no right or wrong. When the time is right, it will happen. It’s not something that should be forced.

      1. Oh lord not that woman, I saw the article on her book and I actually read a bit of it before becoming almost physically I’ll. This is the same one I believe that says the reason her and the husband got a divorce was because he was from a no name school, while she was a Princeton graduate.

        1. Yeah, she has some warped ideas. That said, statistically, people with unequal levels of education have higher divorce rates. However, that’s just correlation. As of yet, I believe the reason behind that correlation is unknown. Still, the reason is not education, but may the lack of common interests which can result from different levels of education. Like I said, no one knows the reason behind the correlation, yet, as far as I know.

  2. Do you think we could ever become a society where we simply stop getting married? It seems to me that its easier not being married.

    —) Before marriage nobody second guesses you if you have opposite-sex friends. After marriage it almost becomes taboo to have coffee with a friend of the opposite sex

    —) Before marriage a lot of couples seem to be more laid back about finances…. but after marriage, I swear, it seems like the whole financial situation takes a drastic turn for the worse.

    —) Before marriage you can have more space. If you want to sleep in separate bedrooms or simply live in separate locations then nobody gives you dirty looks. But married couples who don’t sleep in the same bedroom (even though there are couples who do that) are looked at negatively by society

    On top of those things, with 50% of marriages ending in divorce, I often wonder what the point of marriage is; why not just be together and if it works out, it works…. if it doesn’t it doesn’t.

    The only exception I would make would be if you want to have children; that changes things because I believe the best home environment for children are two-parent families because it is easier to raise children if you have another adult you can count on. I’m not saying singles shouldn’t be able to have children; if they want to that is fine with me….. but it does make it easier 🙂

    1. I think we are reaching a point where it’s acceptable for a person to find marriage unnecessary. The younger the generation, the fewer people you find who actually want to get married. I don’t see any problem with not wanting to be married. I can’t say I would be 100% comfortable in a relationship that I felt was not headed in that direction, but I have no problem with people choosing to opt out of the institution.

      The things you list that you can do when you’re not married are all reasons why I think people who wait until they are at least half way through their 20s have lower rates of divorce. People need a chance to explore the world independently and to define themselves outside the bubble of a relationship.

      The stat that 50% of marriages fail is no longer true, and it annoys me whenever I hear it. That stat is actually 47% and comes from the divorce rate from the 1970s. With each passing decade, the divorce rate has gone down. The highest levels of divorce on in southern states, while the north east enjoys the lowest levels of divorce. It’s also important to note that people in the northeast tend to wait longer to get married, marry at an older age. They are also more likely to choose not to marry at all. In contrast, people in the south tend to marry at a younger age and after a shorter dating period.

      There are a lot of factors at work, and, unfortunately, I think religion is one of them. People who describe themselves as ‘very conservative’ and/or ‘very religious’ tend to have higher divorce rates. I wonder if that is because of the pressure to marry in those kinds of households. You’d find a documentary called ‘How to Lose Your Virginity’ very interesting. It’s all about how purity and virginity are viewed in the US and how that affects our society. In one of the previews, a woman talks about her first marriage, for which she was very young. It was something they did because they were young, in love and were ready to have sex. Obviously, you have to get married first. The relationship quickly dissolved because, while love may have been there, they didn’t have the maturity to make it work.

      This has become a very long comment. Long story short, I think marriage can work well, but it can’t be burdened by all of our expectations and planning. Wait to have sex until marriage. Only get married if you want kids. Only get married before the age of 25. Have 4 kids before you’re 35. Only get married under this religion, not that religion. Don’t live here once you’re married. All these rules we apply to the ‘perfect marriage’ before we ever even think about getting married need to be scrapped. Marriages are as unique as relationships. They don’t have to fit a plan or a mold. I think we ruin them by trying to force them to fit our ideal of what society tells us marriage should be.

  3. We live in a world that holds on to the ‘husband and wife’. It is that simple.
    Do men get that question, yeah we do but not so much by the male friends. as we talk about the single life more than marriage 😛
    Ooh maybe that hat to stay a secret 😛

    You are right that it feels like it has to be a must, be a wife and a husband when living together. Guess we still are to close minded about the idea of two people just living happily together.
    One could even go as far as to question if it is a code in our DNA or that it is just a simple case of indoctrination and group pressure. Though that can be considered to controversial to the term, ‘Normal’.

    1. I feel like it’s really just a lot of tradition. For generations, getting married was just a rite of adulthood. It was necessary and something was missing without it. Now, the idea that a person could be fine without marriage is seen as odd by those generations. It’s also linked to disbelief in a higher power. I have heard my father say at least once that there is no way a person who doesn’t believe in marriage could believe in God.

      Which isn’t to say I don’t believe in marriage. I just don’t think it’s something worth rushing into.

  4. Is it wrong to not have a ring yet? That depends entirely on how you feel about it. If you are good with how things are, then what everyone else thinks doesn’t matter. If you’re not good with it, I guess you need to think about what you want and how to get it. And by that, I don’t mean pressuring someone to do something they don’t want to do, but rather, find someone who wants the same thing you do.

    1. I completely agree. What’s right for one person isn’t always right for another. I don’t understand why people don’t get that. Just because getting married as soon as possible is one person’s idea of happiness does not mean the same must be true for everyone else.

  5. I never really worried all that much as to when I was going to get married. I knew I wanted to get married by the time I was 30, but I was never caught up with the “OMG, when is Mr. Right going to come along”. Now, I must confess, my worldview is a Christian one. But hasn’t always been. I had several boyfriends and romantic relationships up until the age of 20. Then I just came to a point where I started to ask all sorts of questions about life, death, morality, right and wrong, etc. I made a personal decision to follow a god-man (notice I didn’t say religion). And I made this decision with logic and reason, from what I had read and what I was seeing of the world. Since then, I decided that it’s not worth giving myself to someone wholly until I’m sure that he’s the one I’ll commit to love forever. I decided that I wasn’t into dating. I decided that the only way I was going to completely open up and share my soul, body and life with was when I met someone that I could see myself choosing to love forever. Not because of goosebumps and feelings, not because of sexual attraction, but because we shared a common vision, he was a good guy that believed the same as me, had attributes that I wanted in a man, would be a good husband and father, yada yada yada. And today I can say that I have been married for 10 years now and will never leave that marriage. It hasn’t been easy, actually, it’s been stinking hard. Sometimes I’d like to beat the living s@$t out of him, and I’m sure he’d like to do the same to me. But love isn’t a feeling. No, love is a verb-action world.
    Anyhow, those are my two cents on the topic.
    Great blog you have here by the way. Great to see that there are people out there that are deeper thinkers.
    =)

    1. Thanks for your story. I feel like mine up to this point runs just a little opposite. I grew up in a very religious household. While, as a child, I never thought I’d marry, I still had an idea of what marriage was. Up to when I started college, I had what I would call a very fairy tale vision of marriage. It was the thing to do when you loved someone enough. I no longer think that’s enough. You may love someone, commit yourself to them and live with them, but none of that is a sign of maturity. Now, when I look at marriage, I see it as being a huge challenge. It’s something that forces us to examine who we are and to grow into better, more compassionate people. Still, I saw a lot of my friends get married under the idea of that fairy tale. I worry for them because I’m not convinced that “I love him/her so much” is enough. It requires, patience, teamwork and a whole lot of forgiveness. I can say I’ve found the man I’d like to marry, but I can’t say I’m 100% prepared for that, yet.

      So, I guess to make what is becoming a long story short, I’ve found the truth in my life is that love needs to be allowed to grow without a lot of restraint. By this I mean that I don’t want to schedule love. I’ve seen a lot of people get married in their 20s and go on to live through one or more painful divorces. I’ve also seen people date around and never marry until their 30s or 40s and go on to be very happy. As far as I’m concerned, there’s no golden rule. Love happens when it chooses to and two people marry when they both feel ready. If one of the two gets tired of waiting for the other, then they can do some soul searching and decide if the relationship is right for them anymore.

      I like that you call love a verb. I completely agree. Love is like constantly dating. Did you ever read that list of things a man said he learned about marriage after his divorce? He said something about falling in love every other day, over and over again. People change and part of love as a verb is making sure you get to know and love the person as they change.

      1. “Still, I saw a lot of my friends get married under the idea of that fairy tale. I worry for them because I’m not convinced that “I love him/her so much” is enough.”
        –Well, marriage definitely isn’t a fairy tale, that’s for sure. Unfortunately, at least in the western world, a lot of people buy into that whole idea. I think that English word for ‘love’ is so vague and empty. We can love our spouse and we can love ice cream. I love how the greek language separates the types of love that exist. I even did a post on it here: http://stacilys.wordpress.com/2014/02/14/love/.
        Before I got married, my feeling we’re up and down constantly. Marrying something really is something you need to do, not just with your heart, but also with your head. Why marry if you’re not willing to do the work and be responsible. Why marry if you’re not willing to sacrifice and live, not just for yourself, but for the other. I’ve heard it said before the when you get married, you shouldn’t be doing so so that you can be happy, but so that you can make the other happy.
        “As far as I’m concerned, there’s no golden rule. Love happens when it chooses to and two people marry when they both feel ready.”
        –I can see what you’re saying here. However, even though this may be how a lot of the western world sees things, it’s seen very differently in other parts of the world. I had a friend that was from Bangladesh, and she had an arranged marriage. Then another guy friend of mine went back to Bangladesh to get arranged married and soon after the event he returned to Canada –without her. I asked him why and he told me that it was because he didn’t love her. Well, my female friend was so upset with him, coming from her world view and a Bangladeshi mind set. She said to me, “You learn to love”. That really made sense to me actually. Not that I would like an arranged marriage or anything, but the whole idea of love being a choice, an action, and not something that is dependent upon feelings. Feelings come and go, but love, in the purest sense of the word, goes so much deeper.
        Great conversation here. So glad you’re a thinker.
        =)

        1. I wish I could remember the name of the study, but I remember reading something comparing marriage to the hierarchy of needs. It described the three types of marriages that America has seen. In the early days, you got married for protection, so that someone would make food for you and so you could have children to carry on the family line. As society progressed, people got married as a sort of business transaction. People wanted to marry up in society and they viewed things like money and large estates as reason enough. Now we’ve moved on to this idea of finding someone who ‘completes’ us. The study mentioned that this is the hardest form and many don’t work out. However, people who do find the one that ‘completes’ them seem to be enjoying happier marriages than we’ve seen in the past. It follows the hierarchy of needs. We can get food, safety and even love on our own for the most part. The next two steps are esteem and self actualization. Viewed in terms of a relationship, it’s like people today are looking for that person that motivates them to improve themselves.

          I found that to be a very interesting way of looking at marriage as it has existed through time. And, of course, I’m not trying to say that what is right for me is the right way for anyone else. Different cultures have different ideas of what it means to be married and the reasoning behind it. At the end of the day, I think it’s important to find your own answer. The kind of relationship and/or marriage that works for one will not always work for all. I think that’s really what I’m trying to get at with this post. I don’t think we should let society, friends or family define what marriage should mean to us. We should define for ourselves what we want and need.

          Thank you for joining me in this conversation. I’m always a bit nervous because I know I don’t always express a popular opinion. I always appreciate being able to read other people’s stories and opinions. It’s the only way I can grow my own views on life. Thanks for reading.

          1. I wouldn’t worry about expressing a popular opinion or not. It’s your blog and you’re inviting people to chime in on some intelligent conversation. Good on you.
            Will be following you.
            =)

  6. In answer to your question, kind of. I have a great aunt who at every family gathering never fails to ask, “Do you have a boyfriend yet?” I kindly reply, “No,” but really want to rant about how I don’t need a man to complete me/am waiting until there is someone worth calling my boyfriend! Great post. I think it’s great that you are waiting until it feels right. 🙂

    1. Thanks! I admit, sometimes I get really nervous. With all these questions, I ask myself “is five years really too long?” “should I be married by now?” “What if we date for ten years and we’re still not married.” But, I feel like all these questions are born out of other people telling me what their answer is. I can say right now, I don’t like the idea of us being together for ten years without being married. But, I also don’t know much about the person I will be next year or five years from now. All I know is that, when I think about planning a wedding, meshing finances together and all that’s involved, I don’t feel ready. Maybe I’ll feel ready tomorrow, or three years from now. Who knows? I’m happy now, so I will just live in the now and let life happen.

      Thanks for reading.

      1. Great post and great points! Marriage is an institution from a time when women were literally not considered people. I’ve been with my partner for over 5 years and we’re not married. That doesn’t mean we love each other any less or are any less committed to each other and our future together. At the end of the day, you have the power to determine your own values and goals, and life for that matter!

        Suzanne Heintz, an art director/photographer, did a really great photo series in response to being asked whether she’s married yet her whole life (as most women are). Here’s the link in case you’re interested: http://suzanneheintz.prosite.com/7996/135487/gallery/life-once-removed

  7. I rarely get that question, but I’m single. You’re right to do what feels right for you. I think guys know (in less than a year) if they feel the woman they’re with is “the one.” And some women (who absolutely want to be married) wait around for him to be ready only to break up, and see him marry someone else. They bide their time. In your case, sounds like you’re both comfortable and if it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it on account of other people.

    1. I can’t see the future. It’s possible the day will come where I will be ready and he still won’t be. I’ve already told him point blank. the day comes that I can’t take it anymore, I’ll do the asking. When you say no, that will be the end. We’ll move on. I still don’t see that as a waste of time.

      We’ve talked about it enough that I know he wants to do the asking. We discuss things like finances or names of future children. He’s known since the day I met him that I wanted a marriage. I’ll just have to wait and see what time makes of us.

  8. Definitely don’t need to worry about marriage. It is in the end a piece of paper and has no bearing on the happiness you experience in your relationship. Models of relationships are socialized by TV and movies, and sort of antiquated notions passed down from older generations when the world was a different place. Just do what makes sense to you. And I also agree that there are no rules to these things. If there were specific rules then everybody would be doing it. My wife and I moved in together on our second date and got married 6 months later. We’re in our 12th year of marriage. That’s just how it worked out. There is no reason that it always has to work out that way and I don’t expect what works for me would work for others either. Focus on filling your life with happiness and don’t worry about all that official stuff like a marriage license until you feel like you want it. 🙂

    1. You know what I always find funny about TV dramas? The main characters are rarely married and almost always have various relationships throughout a series. It doesn’t matter if the character is 20 or 50. While society is telling us to marry in our 20s because that’s just the way it should be, a lot of the media features characters older than 20 who still aren’t married. I’ve always found that contradictory.

      If I really examine my feelings, I think I want to be at such a place in my relationship that I feel little will change after a marriage ceremony. That may not be how everyone feels, but it’s how I do. A marriage, to me, is simply a commitment to date the same person for the rest of your life. Obviously, some things will change. Many things will be hard. I just don’t want to be in the relationship that says “Now that you’re my husband/wife, you must act in this way.” I’m going to be me. I will grow and change, but I’m not going to morph into a stepford wife overnight. I don’t think I should be expected to.

      You and your wife must have an amazing story. I know of only a handful of people who met and married so fast. I mean that as a compliment. I think it’s rare that people can find such happiness like that. Congratulations.

      1. Thank you! 🙂 I agree that it is unusual. I don’t know I think when it comes to love I’ve always been a bit of a risk taker and one to let myself get swept away in the moment. But I think I’ve always been good at reading people and had enough relationship experience to know what I want. The moment she walked through my door (I made dinner for her my second date), she just felt like “home” to me. I can’t really explain it. That being said it is quite unusual and I will have difficulty telling my son to be cautious when his dad moved in with his mother after the second date. LOL But that’s why I refuse to believe there are any rules.

        I think you have a great attitude. We got married, and then 2 years later we had a wedding. For me the wedding was about having lots of friends and family around and to celebrate our union. And while it was a wonderful wedding, but looking back it seems somewhat immaterial compared to things that make a relationship work and what happiness is about. I think your attitude is great and the fact that you talk about it with him and are reflective about your relationship and your feelings is really about the best you could do. 🙂

        1. I’ve never considered getting married and not having a wedding (or having the wedding later). Honestly, a huge part of the reason I’m not ready for marriage yet is because I dead the wedding day. I’d skip it all together or elope, if I could. The few things I do want for my wedding are going to make people angry. There is no chance I will avoid making people angry.

          I mean, it makes me nervous enough thinking about my parents reaction when I tell them I’m moving in with said boyfriend. I don’t even want to think about telling the that I don’t want to be married under the religion I grew up in (which is not the same as wanting a wedding without a religious element). The few friends I have discussed eloping with usually says something like “but I’ll be there, right? You’ll tell me?” I just drop the conversation because that cop out is just to avoid other people’s expectations.

          The day will come when I will handle it all. I will have to put my foot down and say this is about us. It’s about our union, our beliefs and our love. We are happy to have you celebrate with us, but the wedding is our own, not yours. Yeah…. I am not looking forward to that conversation.

          1. Sorry for the late response as there has been much hecticness (made that word just now) yesterday.

            It definitely sounds like you have a different set of stresses that are making it difficult for you to define relationships that you want. I am sorry to hear that. Despite the fact that my mom is very religious she has always been supportive of my rights as an individual to make my own decisions regarding love. I am sure there are some things she wouldn’t completely understand but doesn’t interfere.

            My father’s side is Indian and so many of my cousins also have faced a lot of pressure about who they can date and marry and often had a lot of constraints on how they approached relationships. It sounds like you are moving in the right direction and hopefully you and your partner will get to be the only ones to decide how you want to live your lives together and celebrate your love. 🙂

            1. At the end of the day, my partner and I are the decision makers. The thing is, I still love my parents and family. I don’t want to make anyone upset, but I know I will. I’ve been trying to slowly move my parents into my ideas of relationships so some things don’t surprise them. I hope their reaction would be something like “That’s now how it’s traditionally done, but I guess your not really the traditional type.” Then they’d just roll with it.

              I’m happy I live a few hours away from most of my family because it will make it easier for me to live with my decisions without interference. I just hope that, when I do have a wedding, all family members who want to be there show up. For example, my uncle is a Catholic priest. I’m not sure where his opinions are now, but I know he has refused to marry couples in the past because they lived together before marriage. Will he even show up?

              Like I said, at the end of the day, I will do what’s right for me. All the same, I’m can’t help but care about the feelings of those I love. There’s got to be some way to make most people…. complacent…. with what I want for life.

  9. Oh my God. One of the many reasons why I am happy I don’t have facebook lol. I was actually just thinking about this last weekend when I was wedding dress shopping with my best friend. She was trying all of these lovely dresses on and not once did I think, “I want to try one on.” Nope. Never even dreamed of my wedding when I was younger. I was more interested in the love than the wedding. That’s how it should be. People are mistaken if all they think about is a wedding. Sometimes I feel like people only want to get married FOR the wedding. And that is why people like you and I will have prosperous relationships.

    1. “Sometimes I feel like people only want to get married FOR the wedding.”

      I couldn’t agree more. I don’t want to get married just because. I don’t want to get married because everyone simply expects that to be the next step. I do want to get married when it all feels right. And, of course, when it feels right to me may not be the day it feels right to my boyfriend. I may be in the minority in this, but I don’t mind waiting a bit so that he can become ready on his own and without pressure. I don’t want to force him into something he doesn’t want.

      Of course, there is always risk in this. Maybe I will reach a limit where I am done waiting and be forced to make a tough decision. I’m fine with that too. that’s not how I’d prefer my life to go, but I acknowledge that, by being willing to let him take his time, I risk the possibility he will only come to the realization he doesn’t want me like that anymore.

      That used to really scare me… but then it dawned on me. If we were married for 35 years, he could still tire of me one day. No ring, or vow or paper will prevent him from leaving this relationship if he wants to. So, I no longer worry. Whatever is meant to be will be. I’ll make it through whatever the future has in store for me (until I die. I can’t overcome that one, unfortunately).

  10. I am asked this all the time. As I approach 30, people can’t fathom why I am unmarried by choice. They either assume I can’t get a guy to commit or that I don’t want to commit. Neither are true and neither are really anyone’s business. There’s more to life than getting married.

    1. It’s never anyone’s business unless you choose to discuss the idea of marriage with them. I imagine the questions will just keep coming. Luckily, most of my closest friends leave it along unless I bring it up. I am a little scared. Like, maybe I should want this more. Maybe, after being with one man for so long, I should have a real craving. I don’t though.

      It’s funny because, part of the reason I don’t want to get married is that, every time the topic comes up, all I can think about are the people who will be mad or offended at what I want for a wedding. I’m not ready to deal with that drama like an adult, yet, and so I will happily wait.

  11. My family asks this all the time. I’ve been with my boyfriend for 2 weeks shy of a year and they’ve been bringing it up since last summer. Kind of boggles the mind. I have a ton of friends who got engaged after only 6 or 7 months of dating– if that works for them then that’s great. But people are on their own timelines and it’s really no one else’s business. We talk about getting married and I imagine it will happen sooner rather than later but I plan to soak up the last year or so I have of living on my own, managing my finances on my own, and completely directing my life. It’ll be fun when that time gets here but I’m a fan of enjoying wherever I am at the moment and not rushing off to the next.

    1. Most of my friends got married right after college. I had five weddings to go to the summer after I graduated. One was my cousin who is 26, so that doesn’t count, but everyone else… they were 22 or 23. My one friend’s husband wasn’t old enough to drink yet at his wedding!

      I wonder what people would have said if I had said “Yeah! We’re getting married next month!” after 6 months of dating. Would they really have been happy? No one would have asked if I wanted to finish college or have a career first? Asking about marriage so soon just seems unnecessary.

  12. people need to mind their own business! i used to get that all the time. then when i got married, it was when are you going to have kids. now that i have a kid, when are you going to have another? ugh, i can’t eve…it’s like, STFU and mind your business!

    1. I know! It’s such a personal decision and it’s not even a decision that’s right for everyone. I’m in no rush and that should be okay.

  13. Ugh I get this a lot too! Especially because we have to spend so much time apart, since he’s Japanese. I’ve been dating him for a little over two years now, but I haven’t seen him in person more than 1/4 of it. And last time, it was an 11 month wait until I saw him again. But I can’t even really complain anymore because people tend to say things like, ‘why don’t you just get married?’ or ‘you knew what you were getting into’ (umm, he’s my first boyfriend ever, so no, I really didn’t – plus not having a boyfriend for so long made me think having a far away one would be easier than never having one (it sounds like I don’t like my boyfriend when I say that. But the truth is being separated is harder than being alone in a lot of ways – but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not better, if that makes sense).

    For getting married though, it seems like such a big step in life, and the end of some freedom, and the end of a chapter of life I’m not ready to close. Also, marriage wouldn’t solve our problems – I know there’s a couple that regularly vlogs on YouTube with the name myhusbandisjapanese, and even though they’re married they *still* are separated a lot of the time. I’m not going to get married to him to see if I want to be with him. I want to be with him to see if I want to marry him. Does that make sense? And while I love our Skype sessions, it’s not the same.

    Mostly though, it’s my own issue. He’d probably say yes if I asked him. He’s said he’d be happy being both my first and my last boyfriend. But I’m just not ready.

    1. In your situation, I don’t think I could even think of marriage until we had solid plans to move near each other. The idea that you should get married because you are so far apart seems crazy to me. (and yes you make sense)

      D and I are definitely in a place where we already know we want to spend the rest of our lives with each other. Some people don’t understand why, then, we wouldn’t just get married. At the end of the day, there is no reason to rush this kind of thing. People should get married when they feel ready, and not before.

  14. I love this article and the great conversation it provokes. I have been married. It lasted 23 years. I am now in a so far 6-1/2 year relationship. We live together. It is a traditional relationship other than the fact that it is outside of marriage. I don’t see the point in it. Perhaps someday I will, but I don’t foresee it.

    1. I think it all depends on what is right for the individual. Marriage may not be for everyone. I have a cousin who is in a committed relationship with another man. They have children together and I think he even gave her a ring, but they’re not married. They both come from troubled homes and saw divorce tear apart their families. As such, they don’t believe in marriage. There is no shame in that if that’s what works for them.

      No one should be pressured into marriage if they don’t want to be. There are other ways to build happy relationships.

  15. To consider a rel.ship “wasted time” if it doesn’t develop into marriage within x-amount of time seems very wrong to me… Rel.ships, love & marriage cannot be measured in a scientific way!! I understand there may be societal and family pressure, but I encourage everyone to travel and do whatever they want for as long as they can… 23 is very young 🙂

    1. I agree! You have no idea how many people my own age I know who are married, though. I wonder if it’s a small town thing. That’s just one more reason why I needed to get out of there. I don’t feel ready for marriage yet.

      I think each relationship is different. We can talk about stats, about what works and about what doesn’t, but at the end of the day, every single relationship is going to be uniquely different from all others.

      1. I come from a small town too and know the mentality…. Thank god I left as soon as I could 😉 (after finishing high school)!! I understand everyone doesn’t have the urge to travel and experience, but I think living alone, traveling, meeting different cultures, doing different things is where one get intelligence! They are the best schools of life.

        Maybe this sounds radical, but if ppl stay all their lives in that small place (wherever it is), the marriage may work for them, but to me it is an artificial environment (a static space with very few influences –> ppl change less than they change in big cities)…

        PS I think I missed it; where do you live?

        1. We are two like minded people. Since I was 10, my biggest dream was to see the world. I’m planning a trip to Peru next year and plan to travel as much as I can. I also set myself a goal of living by myself for at least one year (which has been accomplished.) It’s fine is people are fine with everything remaining the same… but that’s just not me.

          I’m in Chicagoland right now, but I grew up in an insanely small town in Iowa.

          1. I have now lived almost half of my life abroad and do not regret one second 🙂

            I also think ppl change a lot until they are 30 or so, but of course everyone’s life is different…

            When you meet someone, a lot is about luck: whether your dreams, goals and projects meet in future, if you grow the same way….

            Peru, wow!! I would love to go there.

  16. You’re not alone in not having an age you want to be married by. I’ve always thought that it’s not a big deal whether I marry or not – just like you, I don’t consider it a life goal.

    1. I feel like that’s the new trend. Since I moved to the city, I’ve met a lot of people who don’t consider marriage a life goal or who flat out don’t want to get married. If I date, I date to marry, but that doesn’t mean I need to get married soon. There is no problem with taking your time.

  17. I understand completely how you feel. As I’ve been dating my BF J for going on 9 years now (we met in High School when I was 16), i can’t recall exactly how many times I’ve been asked: When are you going to get married? When’s the wedding? When are you two going to have a baby? You’re how old… and you don’t have a kid yet… why not? I can’t help but feel that maybe the people asking me these questions just don’t have as strong as a relationship with their partners as I do. Or maybe it’s a generation gap thing. I mean, we like hanging out just the two of us and having a great time. Plus, no one seems to consider that Kids and Weddings cost MONEY like a lot of money it’s kinda ridiculous. I’ll say, “I’m waiting until we have enough money to have a wedding and support a kid.” The reply is always the same…”If you wait you’ll never have one.” Personally this is my take on it, we’ve got our entire lives to make final decisions on these things. We’re happy with the way things are now. If only people could see that as a good thing :/

    1. That’s all crazy, but I’ve heard it all before. No one should get married unless they really want to. It’s not for everyone. People need to chill out.

  18. Thanks for reading my blog, it led me to yours! 🙂 I relate to this post a ton. I’ve been in a nearly 7 year relationship, and am constantly asked about marriage by some people. Not only that but no matter how many times I tell people I don’t want to have kids, it’s declared that I don’t know this about myself yet. The whole wedding industrial complex is something I could rant about for a while. Appreciated your post!

    1. Oh man, don’t get me started on the kids thing. Growing up, I thought I wanted kids because it was just what you did. Now that I’ve seen more of the world, dealt with finances and started to work on my own dreams, I’m not that excited about having children. One of my first post was about being ambivalent towards children. I don’t really care either way anymore. For the past five years people have been telling me ‘just wait until you’re older’ or ‘you think that now…’ Is it really THAT odd that I’m not desperate for children?

  19. Me and my fiancé are coming up on the 5 year mark of our engagement. It drives everyone nuts. I definitely had to grow thicker skin since day one because it seems like everyone around us is obsessed with our marital status.

    1. Wow! That’s a long time to be engaged. Still, it’s no one’s business. Plenty of people have long engagements. I don’t see what the big deal is.

  20. I get this same question a lot. I’m 23, and I’ve been with my fiance for 6 years going on 7. We’ve been engaged for only a year, but I’m not in a hurry to get married. We discussed it, but it’s nothing pressing. My fiance says that people at his work ask him about getting married all the time. I honestly don’t see why there is such a rush to find someone and get married. Some might be more focused on having a baby than having a supportive partner. I’m not sure though.

    Although, it does seems that as soon as you get married, the question “when are you going to have a baby?” comes up. I don’t really want to deal with that one right now, even though we have already been asked that a few times as well.

    1. I’m your same age, so I totally get it. I think the baby question comes because a lot of people assume the only reason to get married is to have kids. I mean, it’s written into the vows in some religions that you will have children. I think it just all follows tradition. People tend to push others to get married and have kids, then they complain that youth is wasted on the young.

  21. Fuck anyone who asks these questions of anyone but themselves. Seriously.

    And the whole 18-month deadline thing? Please. That woman is focused on marriage as an institution, and not on finding a true partner.

    You’re doing fine.

    1. Thanks. She surprised me as well. But then, I think she had a very religious view of marriage. There’s nothing wrong with respecting marriage as a religious sacrament, but finding the right partner should really be top priority.

  22. Well, a bit late to this party, but . . .
    We went to our first wedding last year of one of the kids. They’d been dating for 10 years and the bride picked the tenth anniversary of their first meeting at driving school. They had their daughter with them at the wedding and even if we, as parents, would have preferred them to be married first, so what? They needed a lot of time to decide on each other, to grow up (she was 16 when they met, he was 18), and to experience many things both with and without each other. It made all the sense in the world that it was a long courtship. I’m glad they got married although the final reason for it may have been as prosaic as being able to be on insurance (yes, a U.S. thing).
    Marriage is a very social institution that is, on the one hand, rather surface oriented, but also is very deep and full of different archetypes. Just try on for the size the term “wife” and “husband” instead of boyfriend/girlfriend. They really feel different for most people. I didn’t want to be a wife for a long time! So I was single for several decades between my two marriages. I liked being a girlfriend (hey, aphrodite over hera). Now married over 8 years to my second husband, I am happy to be a wife (to be a hera), but I really had to wrap my head around the word and its meaning to me, and live with it.
    You may decide to not marry yet be as devoted as any married couple – I have friends who’ve been together over three decades in unmarried bliss. But for me, the commitment was important. It does make life a bit easier on some practical levels and it is somewhat more protective of children and both parents (especially men). But lots of folks work out everything as un-married partners and depending on where you live, that might be easier or more difficult.
    It seems the proper response should be “nunna yer beeswax” to the nosy, but that often isn’t practical or polite. Maybe easier might be to say, “wow, we hadn’t even considered that!” and then walk away, absorbing this new information. That should shut them up.
    Good luck on whatever you ultimately decide to do – or not. Happily it’s your life!

  23. We were together 20 years before we got married. Commitment is crucial but a legal document does not change that, really. Do what feels right to you both, forget everyone else. 🙂

  24. Better to wait then make a mistake. Your right listening to your gut instinct.. always go with that and don’t let anyone tell you that you are making the wrong decision. Tell them politely to kindly F*** off and worry about themselves 😉 Enjoyed your post

  25. Wow. This is like the story of my life. I’m 24 this year and still single. And that’s eating everyone I know away. My family, idiot relatives, snobby friends. This post is supporting and VERY comforting. Really. I needed to read this… Thank you for penning down this piece. I can be happier now. 🙂
    Love, Mahrukh

    1. You’re welcome. I just turned 24 and am in a 5-year relationship. That makes me a bit different from you, but it still eats at some friends and family. Even coworkers chime in. Just the other day, my boyfriend sent flowers to my work for my birthday. They were joking about how a ring is the next step. I just let them talk, but it was a little frustrating. I’m in no rush. The absence of a ring on my finger doesn’t bother me. Marriage will come someday, when I’m ready. I still feel too young at 24.

      1. Oh. Hahahaha. No, in my society it’s an abomination if a girl doesn’t get married before her 25th birthday. We are modern in a lot of things, but the society is very harsh and backward in this marriage thing, especially if it’s related to girls. My mom is super stressed out on the fact that I’m single. She’s trying her very best to introduce me to her friends and etc in hoped that I’d get a good marriage proposal. Oh. Did I tell you I live in Pakistan? Hahaha.

        Marriages are very different here. Families choose husbands for their daughters. and having boyfriends/girlfriends is frowned upon by the society. Yeah. So things are a bit different on my side of the world. I am getting my Bachelors, atm, but once I get the degree which is really soon, that’s when things will get super weird for me. Hahaha.

        But really. I think you’re absolutely right. Even though things are different at your end, I can still relate to you, in a way. And yeah. Just in my society, girls have 3 kids by the time they are 24. My mom was 21 when she had me. So, that constant pricking will always be there.

        But yeah. You couldn’t have said it any clearer. That’s what I’m going to say from now on, marriage will come to me when I’m ready. Thanks for the wise words. God bless. 🙂

        1. That is indeed different from where I am, but I still feel you. Currently, I live in an urban area, but I grew up in a rural one. Back in my home town, I’m an anomaly. Most of the people I knew from high school are married and have at least one kid. I have a cousin who is only one year older than I am and she has 3 kids! I count myself lucky to live in an urban area where I’m not completely surrounded by that anymore. Marriage is a big deal and it’s not something that should be rushed.

  26. Oh my, i thought this young marriage thing only happened to asian girls :p
    me and my friends, whether girls or boys do experience the same thing as you and we’re like 23-25 years old. people are fussing around asking when are you going get married?. I mean things like this makes us feel like we’re not good enough for the society, as if like marriage will makes us a perfect person or something. people thought that you will be happy when you married, well its not entirely true right, some marriage end up in divorce. and i agree in what you said, marriage is a big deal and shouldnt be rushed.

    1. Yeah, after writing this, it seems like pressure to marry might be a universal thing, at least for women. Luckily, most societies allow women to have a successful life without being married. All the comments from friends and family are annoying, but they can’t (usually) force you into anything. In the United States, the age people get married is rising. I think when I last checked, the average American woman is 27 when she gets married. The divorce rate has been steadily decreasing here since it’s height in the 70s. Many suspect getting married at an older age, when a person is arguable more mature to handle the responsibility of marriage, is part of the reason what that rate is going down. (if your’re curious, the average American man is 29 when he gets married)

  27. PREACH! This is such a great post. I’ve never understood why people put love on a timeline. When I was in high school, I had a friend who absolutely wanted to be married and have a baby by the time she was 25. Even back then, I remember thinking that was crazy. Did that mean that she was just going to marry/procreate with whatever guy happened to be there when she was 25? What if he wasn’t the right guy? Why does it have to be on a schedule? Would she think that she was failing at life if that *didn’t* happen? I still don’t get it.

    I’m *almost* married (it’s happening later this year), but we’ve been together for almost 9 years. The funny thing is that people stopped asking about it after 6 or 7 years, so hang in there. 😉

    1. Oh thank God. I’ve been with my boyfriend for five years now. When we first met, I used to think I’d want to be married around 25 years old. Now that that’s only a year away, I no longer think that way. It’s ludicrous to put a timeline on these things. That can result to rushing which can ruin a relationship. People, including myself, should get married when they feel ready. The pressure is just so exhausting. The funny thing is, you would think people would be okay with waiting for marriage. As the average age or marriage rises, the divorce rate decreases.

  28. I can relate to a specific part of your article. My ex-girlfriend was obsessed with her facebook friends who were getting married and having kids left and right. After having been dating for less that two years at that point, she scoffed at me for being content with our relationship as it was. The pressure to keep up with her friends was a contributing factor in the destruction of our relationship. That kind of societal and cultural pressure is needless and wasteful. Thank you for writing this, TK.

    1. I’m sorry to hear that’s what destroyed your relationship. I do want to be married someday, but I don’t have a date or an age when I want to be married by. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with marriage. The problem is in the pressure society puts on people to get married. As more and more people ask when you are getting married, a person can start to wonder if they should be married. Maybe they’re making a mistake. While there are never any guarantees in marriage, it’s not something a person should be pressured into.

      1. Well, it was one thing among several that sank us, but it was definitely a major issue. I am not opposed to the institution of marriage, but society grossly over-emphasizes its importance, to the point that the unmarried feel subhuman compared to those who are.

  29. This was an interesting piece to read. Like you, I was not one of those girls who grew up envisioning a future that involved husbands and weddings. I planned an education and a career but not that personal stuff I had little or not control over. I had friends who had already planned their weddings and decided on names for their future babies before they were in their teens. Nevertheless, despite my plotting and planning it, I met the man who was to become my husband at the age of 17, we became a couple on my 18th birthday and I got married when I was 20 when we were both still undergraduates. We, therefore, had the opposite experience. Instead of people asking us when we were getting married, we had people questioning why we had married and how we expected it to last (which it has, incidentally, as we are happily married after 21 years together). However, we held off becoming parents until ten years into our relationship. The question we were constantly asked, therefore, was, “When are you going to start a family?” People asked whether they thought us having babies was a good or bad thing and regardless of how well they knew us. It was as if people thought that marriage and mortgage and professional careers meant that babies surely had to follow. For years those questions were just irritating, sometimes offensive when they came from intrusive, nosey virtual strangers. But then, when we discovered we had some fertility problems, they became downright upsetting and harder to ignore. I think sometimes people get so locked into a traditional view of life that they cannot imagine the possibility that people choose to deviate from those timelines or paths or make different but equally valid, satisfying and ultimately successful choices in life. So my advice is to continue to ignore the questioning but don’t be afraid to put people in their place when they overstep the mark too.

    1. Yeah, the baby thing bothers me too. I’m sure the second I get engaged, people will be asking when I will have kids. I don’t really care if I have children or not. It’s not a big deal to me. I’m sure that will become another blog post once I really do get married.

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