From the earliest age we as women are told to "get the ring." Even modern, empowered women like Beyonce are singing "If you liked it than you should've put a ring on it." Well, maybe that just isn't for everyone.
I know people who have given up on relationships that were working in the present because of a future that they had plotted out in their heads. Hell, I even did that myself. This is why we settle for less than we really want because what we really want doesn't fit our future. I settled and I hated it. I married a man who I thought would be faithful and loyal and take good care of me and he did nothing of the sort. I gave up on those guys that weren't "marriage material." What is marriage material anyway, and more importantly - why do we care.
So I am two years out of my 15 year marriage and happier than I have ever been in my entire life (including being eight years old at Disneyland.) The man I am with treats me like gold. I actually know how it feels to be loved for the first time in my entire life. Now our relationship is not without its share of problems but I stay with him because from day to day he makes me a better person, a better woman, a better mother and a better me.
So for the negatives. He doesn't do presents. So no birthday, no Christmas. Nothing. Zip. Nada. He does, however bring over lots paper towels (This is kind of a little joke. My ex husband was a mega-environmentalist and we never had paper towels. After the divorce, I went on a paper towel bender - I used them for everything.) He also works 80 hours a week. He is a business owner and very busy. On the plus side - I know he doesn't have time for anyone else. Finally, he doesn't want to progress in our relationship. No moving in. No marriage. Ever.
For most women, that is a deal breaker. But for me, it's a relief. It was a bit to get used to, because after all we are bred as women to bring that man to the alter at all costs. But truly, I don't see any need to get married again. Ever. As far as living together, I would relish the thought of sleeping in the same bed with him every night, but I love the fact that when we do see each other, it is special. I still get butterflies after two years of being together. As someone who is pushing 40, feeling like a giddy schoolgirl can be quite the treat.
I had to stop myself from my usual m.o. and stop thinking about the future and just think about today. I can say that it is incredibly refreshing. But I have also already had my children, I have had the wedding and wore the white dress. Even though I have seen the wizard behind the curtain, I would never tell someone who had never experienced the joy of dancing on your wedding day or the amazing love you feel holding your child for the first time that they should give that up. But for me, I don't need to experience it again.
So we are on a road to nowhere, my man and I. As much as I want to be that bored six year old in the backseat asking if we are there yet - I'm going to be a passenger with the wind in my hair, enjoying the ride.