It's June. Wedding season is officially here, having been kicked off in April by the royal wedding. Hugh Hefner is marrying his child bride on June 18th and Kim Kardashian just got weighted down with a 20.5 carat engagement ring worth a little over 2 million dollars. Love is in the air—or at least celebrity marriages are lofting about. Am I feeling left out? Not really.
I recently read an article in Marie-Claire called Did You Marry The Wrong Guy? Typical women’s magazine subject matter—but effective. It got me thinking about my life and why I’m not married. I know why I’m not married, but it’s a question often asked by the men I date. They are looking for something wrong with me. They are looking for a flaw. Once bitten, twice shy. Too good to be true. All that jazz. Why can’t they just recognize a good thing when they see it and say “wow, where have you been all my life?” and quickly put a ring on my finger, before some other man gets the same idea.
While I don’t try to pass myself off as internally flawless, the rating given to the most pure diamonds, I do consider myself to be VVS1—or very very slightly imperfect. One of those imperfections is that I have cats. Most men hate cats. But, if they saw the way I cared for them, they’d want to come back in a future life as a cat with an owner like me. I don’t have children, so give me a break guys, and let me have my cats. No need for concern. I have a two cat maximum—until I get married. Then all bets are off. What's important to note is that while I may have some microscopic flaws, I'm not in any way synthetic or artificial. I'm the real McCoy and it takes a special man to recognize the value in that.
The Marie-Claire article says “according to recent research conducted by Jennifer Gauvain, a therapist in Denver, 30 percent of now-divorced women say they knew in their gut they were making a mistake as they walked down the aisle.” And yet, they got married anyway. Recipe for disaster: 1 part reluctant bride + 2 parts societal pressure + 1 part ticking clock. Simone Grant discusses this subject of being Long Term Single in a recent blog and comments on how people perceive the perennially single as being unable to commit. They see us as flawed because we have not been married. Yet, they see no flaw in being divorced. Pot. Kettle. Or as Yukon Cornelius said about peanut butter versus pea soup, "You eat what you like, I'll eat what I like." And I'd like to be single until I find the right man for me—the one I can envision spending the rest of my life with.
I was the child in school who never failed any subject. I might have gotten the occasional C+ in math or physics (which still haunts me to this day), but I never failed. So why ruin that perfect track record with marriage? For me, failure is not an option. While there is nothing wrong with failing at a marriage, it's just not something I want to do. Besides, I have been in enough “wrong" relationships to know very specifically what makes for the “right” relationship—for me, anyway. Now that I know what I want, I refuse to settle for anything less. I want to get married. Once. I want to get married and stay married and have a partner for the rest of my life. That may sound unrealistic to you, but it doesn’t to me. I have avoided making a mistake that so many women make, because they feel they should get married—that it’s time to get married. The only time to get married is when you know this is the person you can and want to spend the rest of your life with.
The answer to why I am not married is two-fold: I wasn’t looking. I come from the first generation of women who were told we could have our cake and eat it too. The cake being career, marriage, children, house in the suburbs, and a happy marriage. Oh, we ate it all right. A steady diet of career frosted with bittersweet sexism. I was too busy trying to have a career to look up long enough to find the right man. By the time I did look up, the biological clock was ticking loud and the batteries were running out—and now I'm not willing to compromise, because I don’t want to wind up divorced. I know. There are no guarantees in life. But why start out of the gate with a handicap?
I believe in fairytale endings and I believe in happily ever after. I will get married. Not for financial security, not to have a baby, not because I feel I should get married, but for the right reasons. For love. And I hope to hell it lasts!