The Marriage Goal

The Marriage Goal

According to a coworker, and that veritable institution, the Lansing Journal, 1 in 3 of all recent marriages started from an online relationship. Which means all those $39.99 fees paid off for 1/3 of 2 million unions in 2012. That’s quite astonishing, especially based on my experience.
Reading the article today does cause me to reconsider my self imposed ban from Match.com and ever so slowly consider revoking my ‘DNR’ profile. Before I type in my numbers, I need to think – is  marriage really my goal these days? I mean I really really would love someone to take me out for dinner on occasion and make me a cup of tea in the morning, but do I really want to be married again?

I loved being married to Matt – loved it. The sense of permanence (hahahha), the sense of commitment and solidity (hahah), plus I just adore men (especially those with 5% body fat). I love they way they smell, the way they look, the way they make me feel and not least, the physical comfort of sleeping every night with my leg wrapped around someone. Nothing like it. Nothing.
When it ended I couldn’t wait to recommit if only to fill the gap and not feel like the only single person in the world. Lord knows, there seemed to be a lot of guys other there as desperate as me to reseal a deal, so I quickly found I wasn’t alone in the remarriage goal. Thank god my friends and therapy helped me stop making any more bad decisions… and to retire that goal for a while.

Now I’m 6 years single and I sort of like doing my own thing. I like wandering around my apartment at 3.15am with a glass of milk, going to bed at 8pm just because or eating a dinner of chicken breast and carrot juice. Going out for drinks with 5 minutes notice or stopping off at a bar, just because.
I’m not sure I’m so eager to sign up for bristles in the sink and petty resentments. Cheating, inherent expectations around vacuuming and laundry, being a ‘Mrs’ again and the routine that seems to arise in bed. Men yes, but marriage???? The committee is out.

Divorce

Alongside those 2 million white meringues last year were 200,000 angry couples sleeping on the sofa, arguing over who owns their copy of  ‘Bonfire of the Vanities’ and wondering why they spent $40,000 on a party 5 years ago. Divorce in the US (and also the UK) is high. For every 10 chicks skipping down the aisle this year, there will be one angry and sad chick lining up to file divorce papers. If you know 10 married couples, start seeing who’s getting snarky at your next dinner party because stats say that one of them will be over by the end of the year (especially if you’re living in Arkansas, Nevada or West Virginia – don’t ask me why, them’s the stats).

So, before I start googling white dresses, I guess I know that chances of happily ever after are pretty slim. But, I’m 41.. and I’ve been there before, so at this point, I’m content to settle for ‘happily this year’.  Because, terrifyingly, divorce rates for second marriages are around 60% (firsts are only 40%)..and the average dude only lives to 76 so I’m thinking marriage at this point could only really be for 20-25 years. Hardly forever. And that’s only if I didn’t kill him with my cooking experimentation first.
Still 20 years is a long time to sit across the dinner table from someone who stabs their food and I’m not known for my ability to tolerate routine. Maybe there’s a different answer?

Cohabitation

I do love living alone. Its the major bonus of being single. No-one else to pick up after, no mess other than your own (or the dogs), and for me, no-one to steal that last candy bar you were saving. If you get lonely you call a friend or go out. If you want to be alone you shut the door. No-one questions your evening attire of wifebeater and wool socks, and if I want to wear pig tails while I Swiffer in the nude, no judgement (the dog doesn’t care).
And yet… again, the sleeping in bed with someone. Back to back, spooned or even just a limb thrown akimbo across a body part. There’s something so reassuringly comforting about it. I haven’t slept in bed with someone who was sleeping, sound asleep, for years and I do miss it. When I used to wake up for my 3am worry session, there was something reassuring about stroking his back or listening to him breath.
I liked calling out ‘I’m home’ and having someone answer back (even though a tail wag also works really well these days), and on a bored Sunday, it was nice to have someone to go do something spontaneous with that didn’t involve babysitters, plans, time limits or other commitments.

Could I do it now? I’d like to think so. But then I was a lot more of a people pleaser back then. Maybe my new spine could cause some problems? Maybe I’m more rigid these days or at least more vocal when pissed off.  Maybe I need my own space where bike parts aren’t sitting in the kitchen and no-one questions why it takes me an hour to wash and dry my hair.Where I can maintain some mystery and retain the delight that is ‘dressing for a lover’. No-one needs to see me hopping around in my knickers and curlers in my hair.

A girlfriend of mine keeps her space separate from her partners – different houses for almost 10 years – and its the envy of quite a few. You retain your independence,  you can choose how often to see each other and can be yourself while also being partnered. But do I want to carry my underwear around in my purse? Would I ever feel intimate with someone who I only saw on their good days? (and vice versa). Would I want to have a ‘drawer’ in my partners abode? And is it worth the payoff of never having to pick his hair out of your razor? It feels so ‘in-between’. So transitory. And as someone who’s pretty black and white, cohabitation without a commitment – especially at this age- feels too vague for me. Clearing out a drawer only takes 5 mins and cardboard box. I think I need to know that its not that easy to be dismissed.

Dating

I’ve said a million times that I hate dating, which I do. And lord knows, no-one other than Heff wants to date as a goal. Ok, maybe people under 30.. but over 40? Dating is hell. Interviews without a job or benefits package. Naked try outs with cellulite and pot bellies. And I know for sure that I don’t want to be dating at 50 or 60. I like meeting people, but not that much, plus at 50, it would take me hours to cover the basics.. Can you imagine trying to explain the relevancy of your elementary school friend at the age of 50? How would you go about covering, say, the last 20 years?  Kill me now.

I think my goal, should I choose to accept the Match.com throw-down,  is to find someone to date for a long time. I believe they used to call it a boyfriend, though at 41, I hope I’m not dating Beiber anytime soon.  Maybe the old goal – marriage – is moot, and cohabitation too ‘in-between’ for a black and white person such as me. I probably need to dig out the goal of my 16 year old self. To find a boyfriend. Someone to hold my hand, make out in public places (though not too public), and have fun with. Someone who calls, wants to go and have adventures outside of the bedroom and who likes me, for me. Yes… I think that’s the goal I can commit to.

So Lansing Journal, thanks for the kick up the butt. I had quit the whole online dating thing after my humiliating forced departure from eHarmony, but this does make me think its worth a shot. After all  my goal might not be marriage, but surely someone can find me a date in Colorado?  Bring on the profiles Match.com . I’m saddling up for another ride. Yee-Haw!!!

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