If I ever get married again
May 9, 2016
When I was in my early 20’s I was spared the whole push-to-marriage that so many young adults deal with because I was already married when I was 19. (I was also spared the push-to-college but that’s a rant for a different day).
I celebrated my 3 year divorceaversary last month and well- meaning family and friends keep asking me if I’ve thought about getting married again. The short answer is “no.” The longer answer is “maybe, but not right now.”
I’ve heard all sorts of bullshit rationale for why I should revisit the whole death-do-you-part lifestyle and I’m not buying any of it.
1. Your kids would be better off with a father at home
A. Really? Because we are still recovering from that. I am, at least. Maybe kids are more resilient, and I’m sure they are, but the neurotic codependent me that bows to the narcissistic “man of the house” hasn’t died yet. The anxiety of monitoring the mental well-being of my ex, constantly on edge, afraid that the kids would bother him and he’d get angry and scary or abusive… Why would I subject any of us to that again? In reality, even if the man were perfect, my fear is still there. It’s called PTSD and still results in nightmares and insecurity even though it’s so far in the past. Without a man in the house, we can all relax and live in peace, unlike anything I’ve ever experienced and it’s awesome. Why would I want to lose that?
B. So I should just go round up some kind of dadman for my kids because they’d be better off? I don’t think so. As I already mentioned, we are all still recovering but more importantly, any man I choose to bring into my life is going to be for ME, not for my kids. Kids grow up, they move out and move away. A marriage is supposed to outlast the child rearing years. Any man that I want to bring into my life will be a man who appreciates the temporary nature of the parenting years and will still love me as my kids outgrow their need for me. Rushing into a marriage for the children’s sake is just as insane as staying in a bad marriage for the sake of the kids. I wouldn’t WANT a man who was in a hurry to put me back in the role of a wife before I was done healing. That’s not honoring me.
2. Aren’t you afraid you’ll die alone?
Yes and no. I mean, don’t we all die alone? I guess if that happens it will be because I’ve failed at mothering so badly that none of my kids cares enough to hold my hand and kiss my forehead goodbye. Maybe it will be because my sister has gone before me and I have no family left. It will be because I’ve failed to maintain friendships or outlived all of my friends and I actually am alone. Lack of romantic love on my deathbed isn’t something I ever worry about. Ever. No one gets laid on their deathbed.
Oh dear, I mean, they shouldn’t… right?
I mean I guess we all have to go sometime. Either way, I’m getting off track here. The odds of me fucking up every relationship I have with everyone in my world and actually “dying old and alone” are slim to none. A romantic relationship is nice, but you don’t get into one simply because you’re afraid of some abstract future moment that you’ll never remember anyway. That’s the worst kind of desperation and I don’t want any part of it.
3. A husband would make financial sense, you can’t do it all alone.
I know. But I’d rather try and fail than to rush into a marriage simply because I don’t have the job skills, education or income to take care of myself. I feel sorry for the man who marries a woman who isn’t self-sufficient.
Nothing is more oppressive than feeling trapped financially and it doesn’t seem healthy to factor that into a romantic relationship. Imagine how stressful that would be to everyone in the house. Poverty is stressful too, but growing accustomed to living a lifestyle you can’t afford without your man seems like the ultimate romance-killer. I’m going to keep trying. On my own. And if I ever do get married again it will be AFTER I have proven to myself and my daughters that I can take care of us on my own.
As a woman, I think I owe them the experience of seeing that financial struggles don’t have to make us miserable and that women can overcome obstacles and make it in this world, without selling out to the highest bidder. When my job isn’t enough, I pull odd jobs and occasional freelance gigs and write online in my spare time and it works out. I’d rather my girls have a role model of resourcefulness than a hopeless sell-out forever dependent on her sexual partner for financial sustenance. It might be the oldest profession, but it’s not a life path to plan for.
4. You’re not getting any younger.
No shit, Sherlock. And neither is anyone else. This is, by far, one of the worst things I’ve heard. Just to be clear, if I do get married again, it’s going to be to a man who also isn’t getting younger. We are going to not get younger together. We will have both spent our entire lives not getting younger, so it’s going to seem like the natural thing to do; continuing to not get younger, while being together. That’s what people do. Whether they’re married at 25 or 85. Duh.
Eventually I might remarry, but I’m not going to rush it. And definitely not “for” my kids. What a ridiculous burden to lay on a child.
And not for fear of loneliness in my old age.
It will be because I love being with him more than I love being with anyone else. It will be because we already spend every spare minute together.
It will be because he’s already become part of the family, organically and because my kids have fallen in love with him on their own time and because they’ve all already worked out their own relationships.
It won’t be a quick decision, it won’t be a difficult decision, it will be the next most natural thing to do.
I don’t understand where women are coming from when they bounce from one marriage to another so quickly. Or men, for that matter. It seems like a deep and imbalanced sense of self that would drive someone to couple again before they’re comfortable experiencing life on their own.
There’s nothing wrong with being king of your own castle. There’s nothing wrong with being alone, letting relationships grow slowly and not rushing into a commitment that’s supposed to last the rest of your life. The rest of my life isn’t going anywhere as far as I know. The “right one” will be ready when I’m ready.
So don’t ask me again if I think I’ll ever remarry. I’m too busy being me to even think about being someone’s wife again. Being me is exhausting, but far more gratifying than being someone’s wife ever was. I know you mean well, but I’ve got another 10 years or so of this mothering gig and I’m not going to screw it up be reinventing our family AGAIN.