Marrying again? HARD PASS.
I'm making the choice here and now to never get married ... again. Am I just some divorcee who's become jaded about love and monogamy? Absolutely not. On the contrary, I'm in a loving, monogamous relationship.
I'm absolutely crazy about my girlfriend and help to raise her/our two kids. She and I are both divorcees, who were coincidentally married to our exes for the same number of years. So we share first-hand knowledge of what marriage can do to a relationship that starts out with the best of intentions.
Armed with personal experience I can confidently say: I'll never marry again.
When a marriage is in turmoil, cultural and societal expectations make you feel forced into working it out. It doesn't matter if you still love your spouse or not — you're married, it's just what you do. Right?
To add even more pressure to a loveless marriage, there are the legal obligations. Nothing kills the vibe faster than the comparison of your vows to a legal contract. That's exactly what they become. In fact, when I got divorced, I learned that technically, I was suing my wife. Yes, ladies and gents, when you file for divorce you are filing a lawsuit against your spouse.
My ex-wife and I married young. We pushed the wedding date up just to be the first of our friends to get married, like winning some kind of matrimonial contest. Yes, we loved each other, and after years in a committed relationship, we felt as if we had to get married in order to fit some social norm. I've never been one for normal but I'll admit the social pressure convinced me that marriage was what was supposed to come next.
I recall people saying things would change after marriage. I always shrugged it off thinking, what do they know about us? Unfortunately, they were correct.
Not right away, but over time, my wedding band started to feel like the world's smallest handcuff. When I went out with my single friends I was known as the married guy, socially typecast in a role with rigid definitions of how I was supposed to behave.
The use of the word "married" in conversation, and the site of a ring on my left hand, seem to immediately trigger some implanted social schema in whomever I was speaking with. If I didn't act accordingly, I was judged.
There's a freedom to being single that no one appreciates until you're not. When you're single, you're an individual, a lone wolf free to stand out in a crowd and do as you please. When you're married, you're grouped in with all other married people and expected to follow the rules.
My then-wife was feeling similar pressures and we had good enough communication to express our experiences with one another. That's likely how we were able to hang in there for eight years.
Our marriage ended after a night of alcohol-infused infidelity. Maybe it was her, maybe it was me, but who committed the deed isn't relevant to the topic of why I'll never get married again. What is relevant is that I blame, at least in part, the institution of marriage and all the pressure that comes with it for our vow breaking actions.
Trust me, no one's trying to worm out of anything here. I understand the emotional damage cheating has whether you're married or not.
Historically, marriage has been used as a means of survival. No doubt, the world around us in the days of old was dangerous. Having a clear definition of marriage and the roles a wife or husband needed to create a template that ensured a greater number of offspring made it to adulthood. The more little ones a couple had, the more hands to work the fields, tend the livestock and care for the parents as they aged.
Marriage has also been a means of protecting one's family legacy, furthering one's social standing, acquiring lands and title amongst a myriad of other reasons to wed. All of which seemed to have little to nothing to do with love.
If marrying your daughter off could ensure financial stability for generations to come, then off she went. More often than not, age, physical attraction, or even whether or not the betrothed was a cousin, was overlooked for the sake of family stability.
This is not the case in this day and age. Very few of us work the fields, tend livestock or gain any social standing from marriage. For the first time in history, we are completely free to marry for love. Why, then, are more than half of marriages in the US ending in divorce?
We could blame the accessibility of internet porn, dating apps that offer easy hookups, or simply that we don't need to be married to give our kids a stable life. It seems the only benefit of acquiring a marriage license are the tax breaks. Maybe you're an accountant and that's sexy to you, but it's not to me.
So again, why do we need marriage? We don't. Don't get me wrong, I have a romantic side. I believe in the power of love. I even have a great admiration for tradition and ritual. Perhaps, If marriage was solely defined as a ceremonial expression of lasting affections, I would be more keen to try for round two.
All we can do is base our opinions on what we see and experience. My own marital disintegration, my girlfriend's failed marriage, the broken vows of my parents, and even the failure of my father's second marriage (not to mention my ex's parents divorce) don't make a very convincing argument that it's worth the trouble.
I always keep an open mind, but as it stands, love seems better off when society and the rule of law keep their hands to themselves.
We live in a world overrun by rules. Let love be our escape to utopia. An affirmation of free will expressed through frequent shows of affection and honesty. If a relationship hits a rough patch, it stands a better chance of survival if the quarreling lovers make the choice to work it out because of love, not an obligation.
To each their own, but I'll never marry again.