Saturday, January 18, 2014

You don’t need to be married to live happily ever after

I have been thinking about marriage recently. Not that I particularly want to get married or think it will benefit my life in anyway but after reading Singled Out by Bella DePaulo, the discussion around marriage seems to be everywhere I look.

DePaulo’s book started me thinking about marriage as well as my own life style choices.

I had a great childhood; fun, adventure and character building experiences where all part of it in equal measures. As a result, I have lots of passions and interests that I want to pursue and since then I have spent my life doing a lot of interesting things and contributing to society in every way possible – all without a man!

I bet you’re half expecting me to say I have regretted my choices as well as how unhappy and unfulfilled I am because I am not married or in a relationship. But in reality none of these things are true.  

The overvaluation of marriage is nothing new or specific to America or Europe. Here in far-away Australia such attitudes are still going strong.

I have written about this before but in more traditional and conservative communities, a person is only seen through the prism of their relationship status.

This was doing the round on Facebook and is outrageous.
Through this prism, singles are miserable, immature, lonely and marking time until they are wed. DePaulo states that single people are defined negatively, in terms of what they do not have – a serious partner. 

Couples (a man and woman), on the other hand, are the epitome of maturity and have achieved the ultimate human goal. If you live in a de facto or a committed gay relationship, you are living in sin.

With marriage being the ultimate goal, they find it hard to connect to people on a human level and without someone’s marital status indicating how they should relate.

Such religious communities aren’t the only ones treating singles like this (it is that they do it blatantly and are less tolerant of diversity) and Bella DePaulo reminded me that it is a common issue in society in general.
   
DePaulo hits it on the head so often in her book, apart from being lonely, envious of couples and miserable, singles are ‘commitment phobic, or too picky, or have baggage. Or maybe, they figure you are gay and they think that’s a problem, too’. Also that single people are selfish and that couples “get you” and know more about a person than the individual does.  DePaula says that they ‘are left scratching their heads and wondering what’s wrong with you and comparing notes (he’s always been a bit strange; she’s so neurotic; I think he’s gay)


You defiantly do not need marriage to be happy, content and fulfilled. Marriage doesn’t make you a better person or complete you as an individual. It is not that I am anti-marriage but against placing too much value on it as an institution.  






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