A Wedding, Not a Marriage

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I've made a decision. I didn't consult any outsiders to reach this decision. The choice is purely mine based on what I've seen in recent years of my life. I've chosen not to marry anyone. Ever. I don't want any parts of the legal union that for more than 50% of people in this country ends in separation, anger, hurt and unprecedented expenses.

Break-ups are already extremely tough. Marriage brings an added level of humility and stress to the situation. I don't believe that it's practical to promise someone that you will feel the way you feel about him or her today for the rest of your life. Humans are ever-evolving. The way we are now is not the way we were a year ago. Five years ago. A decade ago. We gain new interests, attractions, skills, successes, etc. To plan on growing at the same speed, in the same direction, with another person is illogical. That being said, I admire the people who marry person they're in love with…regardless of how it may or may not end.

There's the argument that love is a choice. We can choose to unconditionally love and support our partners, true.  But does that mean that if we marry and then someday we don't actually want to be married to that person any longer we're stuck? Are we going to sacrifice our own happiness and "stay together for the kids"? That's not the kind of relationship I want to look forward to or build my life around.

After all two people can devote themselves to each other without getting the government involved. Two people can make a sacred promise to be monogamous and wear symbols of their togetherness with rings, necklaces, tattoos, and other keepsakes. 

A big part of my decision is the cheating factor. Haven't we all heard the phrase, "everyone cheats"? Does everyone cheat? I don't know what the statistics are for cheating. If I did know them, I don't know that I'd trust them. I'd probably feel cheated out of the true numbers. I have a theory that most people don't cheat on their first love. The problem is the first cut is the deepest. After tasting heartbreak for the first time, we never open ourselves up in the same way. Sure we fall in love again (I'm still waiting). I just don't think we fall in it the same way: the pit is no longer a completely vulnerable, open, raw, honest, trusting pit. When our first love affair is over, we won't hold our next partner in the same regard. It may be an extremely close regard but never the same.

For example, my ex-boyfriend cheated on his next girlfriend with me. For whatever it's worth, I didn't know they were still together when I engaged in a night of rekindled love and lust with him. The next morning he told me they only have sex once every couple of weeks. He also confided that he loved the girl, but wasn't in love with her. See what I mean? The new girl and he had only been together a mere seven months (but who's counting?) at the time of his infidelity. When you're with someone, the seven month mark is usually part of the lovey-dovey, honeymoon stage. It's not a time for disrespect, creeping, back-stepping. 

In the two years I was with said ex-boyfriend we were attached at the hip. We disgustingly and shamelessly molded ourselves into one entity. We were "a team", as he put it. We were each other's first loves and we had tunnel vision. We didn't see anyone else. That made us liable to hurt each other in ways no one else could. I never cheated on him. I like to believe he never cheated on me. I look at the relationship as a blessing and a growing experience, as most first-love relationships are. We were at the right place at the wrong time. As it appeared, my ex and his new interest didn't share the bond we shared. I didn't see him treat her with the same respect he treated me with. 

I think chances are high that my future boyfriends will have already had their hearts broken from their first love experience, as I have. I don't want to be a wife to someone who subconsciously has his guard up because he sees me as an emotional liability in the same way I don't want to be a wife who has a quiet fear of divorce. I also don't want to be a wife to someone who cheats on me with his ex and tells her, instead of me, that he's not head over heels in love with me. 

Some will say I'm a "Debbie Downer", jaded, bitter, closed off. I don't think of myself as a pessimist but rather a realist. I like to keep it real with myself. Can you blame me? 

These days I find my position easiest to explain by saying I believe in love, but not marriages. I adore the idea of celebrating love, spreading it, dedicating myself to another person. But when the love fest ends--and it will end--I want to have the comfort and luxury of packing my things (precious, loving memories included) and walking away. No divorce papers. No attorneys. No courtrooms. I dream of a relationship in which my partner and I can be honest about our feelings, good or bad. We'll respect each other enough to let the other know when it's just not working anymore. We'll be mature enough to let it go when it gets sour and not taint its beauty with spiteful, revengeful antics. We will always hope for each other's blessings and be of support when needed. 

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