I'm not sold on the whole marriage thing. Here's why.
I'm polyamorous. Sort of. For the last couple years, I've lived a polyamorous lifestyle, which means that I date and love multiple men at once who all know about each other. However, recently I've done a bit of soul-searching and I’m now back to dabbling in monogamy. Overall, revisiting monogamy has been a positive experience but I have still have a few concerns about the current state of modern-day marriage (or pseudo-marriage A.K.A unmarried couples who are monogamous). Interestingly, it’s not monogamy that I have a problem with; it’s what happens to people because of monogamy. Here's 6 of my most pressing concerns:
1. You stop trying to impress each other. I’ve seen this happen to a good majority (AHEM, all) of my friends. The resounding chorus from married couples I know seems to be: "Once you're married, you can stop playing the game." By “the game” I mean winning your spouse over. "We're married now so I don’t have to worry about continuing to make a good impression on my husband/wife because they're stuck with me.” I hate that concept. I don’t want to be impressed by my husband because I'm keeping score; I want to be impressed because it shows that I’m worth making the effort for. If I’m the most important person in the world to you, take a little time to show me that....for the rest of my life.
2. You're not hot anymore. The appearances of many couples I know seem to change drastically within the first few years of marriage. I’ll never forget one guy friend confiding in me, “I never knew she didn’t have blonde hair until after we were married and she started letting her roots grow out.” Here's the thing: It's not about the hair; it's about the overall principle. It’s as if couples no longer feel the need to look their best because they already have someone legally bound to them. Newsflash: we are sexual beings and we are attracted to what looks good. By no means am I saying look good or else he'll cheat on you; I'm saying don't give up on your appearance just because you're married. I don’t need a Brad Pitt look-alike; I just want one that cares enough to try and be attractive to me and vice-vera. In healthy polyamory, there's no competition but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t aware of the fact that other women were trying to impress my man. Same goes for marriage: If you're not impressing your significant other, someone else will. Trust me.
3. You give up the things that make you YOU. We've already talked about physically giving up (see #2) but I also want to address the tendency for married couples to give up things that make them who they are, i.e. their hobbies and interests. As two lives mesh, It’s not uncommon for people to settle into a routine that results in them becoming more of one person and less of two but nifying two separate lives shouldn’t be at the expense of your own. I’ve watched people set aside their passions in an effort to spend more time doing activities that are mutually enjoyable and while the compromise is nice, it makes me sad too. What I love about polyamory is that although my partner(s) and I spend time doing things we both love, it's also very important to us to retain our individual identities. While I love growing together with my partner, I'd hate to grow too far away from the person he fell in love with: me.
4. Where da romance at? This is a point many women will attest to. The grand gestures, the sweetly planned dates, many of the things people do to win another’s heart all seem to fall by the wayside once you get married. That's not cool. If I ever get married again and the romance suddenly stops, I’m going to wonder if my partner’s feelings have changed towards me. I’m also going to feel like I’m missing out on one of the most awesome benefits of being in a relationship. In a healthy polyamorous relationship romance rarely dies because in order to keep everyone feeling loved, we all make a conscious effort to continually pursue our partners. Modern-day marriage has lost that element, which is a shame since I want romance to remain a BIG part of my love story now and forever.
5. You expect each other to change. Isn't it funny how quickly those endearing qualities you loved about your spouse suddenly become major annoyances once you're married? Hilarious, right? But here's the truth: You married who you married, not who you wanted to marry or who you thought you might eventually marry. Polyamory isn't out to change anyone because we're extraordinarily accepting of who someone is right this moment, which is great because I'm a flawed human being. For example, I despise cooking. (Sorry future-husband-of-mine, a hot dinner will not be served every night.) Yet time and time again, I watch couples ignore issues they have with their partner, thinking marriage will magically fix all their problems. Spoiler alert: It won't.
6. You expect way too damn much. This is the one thing that worrries me the MOST about modern-day marriage: Why do couples expect their spouse to be their everything? For startes, I don’t have the time or capability to be everything for someone. I need to be me and I need you to be you. And while that sounds simple enough, people in modern marriages seem to forget that. As they lose themselves in each other, they start expecting things from their spouse that are above and beyond what one person can reasonably give someone. I love polyamory because I can be some things for some people and what I can’t be, they're free to get from someone else. (And I'll be honest: some days I’m barely enough for myself.) If two people can’t be two full, individual persons on their own, please, please, PLEASE wait to get married because marriage was created to unite lives, not to complete you.