Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Only Spinster in the Village

I've never been a serial monogamist.  I tend to take a really, REALLY long time between relationships.  Really.  Like, years. And this is why I've had a grand total of four serious relationships in my life (or five, if you count NOLA dude, but I usually don't, only because it was way more serious in my mind than it was in reality and had no honest potential).  This also accounts for why I've never been married.  See, none of these serious relationships, despite their seriousness, lasted very long.  The first one lasted four years.  The rest never made it to two years.  One didn't even make it to a year.   The most recent one was the only one that resulted in an engagement, but of course it didn't work out.

Yes, you heard correctly. I'm 41 and I've never been married.  And apparently I'm the only person on the face of the planet to boast such an achievement.

While this doesn't necessarily bother me, a great many others seem to be unable to receive this fact about me without a little fizzle, pop, and a "does not compute" error message in their brains. Suffice to say it really fucking irks me when people ask me why I've never been married, mainly because they ask it with such curiosity and incredulousness, as if I'm sporting a third eyeball and they want to know how it got there.  How should I answer this?  I have never quite figured out the one-size-fits-all answer. "Because no one ever asked" used to be my standard comeback, but that's no longer true.  My most recent ex DID ask me to marry him.  I bought the ring, but still, he did the proposing.  A few times, in fact.

I went on a date last weekend with a man who was quite possibly one of THE worst matches on record.  I feel especially bad saying this because it was a rare non-internet hookup through a co-worker/friend's father.  He thought this guy and I would make a good match simply based on the fact that we're both single, child-free, and in our 40's.  But other than those three things?  We had not a thing in common - which might not necessarily be a bad thing, except we had GLARING fundamental differences in spirituality, philosophy, politics, and life goals.  Nice guy, very polite - my friend's dad wasn't wrong on that count - but not my type AT ALL.  And he basically blew it fifteen minutes into the date when he turned to me and said, "so...how come you never got married?"

My bristling cringe must have been obvious, because he immediately said, "I'm sorry - that's a really personal question.  I shouldn't have asked."  I said, "no, it's okay," but inside I was seething.  Why did it fucking MATTER?  So I'm 41 and I've never married.  SO WHAT?! Am I somehow a better person if I'd gotten married and then divorced?  Does having spent tens of thousands of dollars on a wedding and then again on a divorce lawyer somehow make me a more valid individual for having had the experience?  Is making a life-altering mistake for the sake of sporting a diamond ring and walking down an aisle in a fluffy white dress and feeding 100 people chicken in bearnaise sauce before doing the Hokey Pokey and Electric Slide something I have to do to prove my worth to the rest of the world?  To make me "normal" in the eyes of potential mates?


I'm not opposed to marriage.  Quite the contrary.  Because I am a hopeless romantic underneath all this piss and vinegar, I view marriage not in the economical or political aspect, but as a spiritual bond representative of the deepest love one can share with another individual.  When two people pledge their lives to each other, it's kind of a big deal.  It allows for a deeper development in intimacy (not just sex, mind you - intimacy is way more than that), and the stakes are higher - not because the threat of divorce looms overhead, but because they have made a serious and binding commitment.  Yes, yes, I know..."why do you need a piece of paper to validate your commitment?"  Well...maybe you don't.  But my point is that I wouldn't enter into such a commitment unless I truly, deeply, honestly believed I would honor my vows to this person, and once I'd made those vows I would do everything in my power to uphold them.

And so far, in all my nearly 42 years, I've yet to find someone who feels the same way.

So I guess that's my answer.

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