A few facts about me: I’ll be 31 in March, I have a 6-year-old daughter and I’ve been dating a guy (who isn’t my daughter’s dad, FYI) for almost four years. Actually, if you count the one year we dated in college, then make it five.
Now if you’re like most people you’re probably thinking, “Are you getting married soon?” And my answer? Maybe. Maybe not. I’m not really sure. We don’t even live together. Don’t get me wrong–I love my boyfriend dearly and could 100% see myself growing old with him. But moving in together and getting married? Honestly, I’m in no rush.
Given my age, it will probably come as no surprise that people constantly ask about my marriage plans as soon as they find out I have a boyfriend. Actually, allow me to clarify–women always probe about when I’m getting married and why we don’t live together and aren’t you afraid he’ll never ask. Men are just like, “Hmm, that’s nice.” I’ve actually started avoiding even mentioning him to people I’m just getting to know so I don’t have to deal with the same line of questioning that inevitably comes. Also, I kinda flipped on this one woman who insinuated I wasn’t smart for locking him down because I was getting old. “Excuse me, everybody isn’t thirsty for a husband like you, okay?” Way harsh, yes, but imagine how frustrating it is to have this discussion over and over again. Not every woman is looking to get wifed up ASAP, people!
I constantly see articles and Facebook posts about women choosing a childfree lifestyle and even as a mom, I’m all for that. It’s your life and God knows having a kid isn’t easy. But I often wonder why can’t people be just as understanding about a woman’s choice to get married? It’s just as big of a commitment as motherhood, so why the pressure to do it when you reach a certain age?
I’m often asked what’s holding us back from getting married? What are we waiting for? The truth is, we’re both content with the relationship as it is, so why risk mucking everything up by getting married just because that’s what people do? We both have our own apartments and therefore our own space, which is amazing. I like to keep my place super neat, him not so much. The beauty of our current situation is that I rarely nag him about it. Similarly, he has his money and I have mine. I don’t need him to support me and he doesn’t need me to support him. We split things like dinners and vacations, but it’s also totally fine that we both have our own money, too. I could go on and on–alone time, personal space, no splitting the holidays. Our relationship as unmarrieds is actually quite practical and enjoyable, so what exactly would being married change for the better? What difference does that piece of paper really make?
My 90-year-old grandmother has very little patience for my apathy toward marriage. She has flat out told me that I need to stop being so damned independent and just submit. And as rudimentary as that may sound, she actually understands what no one else seems to. I haven’t lived with someone (besides my daughter) for more than ten years; I’ve come and gone as I please since I left for college; I’ve been earning and spending my own money since I was 18. Hell, I’ve been raising a child on my own for the last six years. Does all of that amount to me being fiercely independent, bordering on selfish? Yeah, probably. But truthfully, why would anyone give that up? I’ll say it again–I love my boyfriend, no doubt about it in my mind. But I love me, too. And if marriage means giving up some of the liberties I’ve grown accustomed to, I’m not so sure about it.
Lucky for me, my boyfriend isn’t in a huge rush to get married either, so we’re good. It’s everyone around us that seems to feel weirded out by two thirty-year-olds in a long-term relationship without rings. But we can’t possibly be alone. Any other ladies in their 30s or 40s whose marriage clock is totally not ticking? Share your experiences in the comments. And married ladies, you’re welcome to chime in, too. Let me know what I’m really missing in the marriage department.