Tag Archives: Marriage

First Comes Love, Then Comes…The Rental Agreement

25 Aug

Anthony and I

My boyfriend, Anthony, and I have been dating for six love-filled years. There have been countless hugs, I-love-you-s, tears, shared failures, and triumphs. I have dated him through the end of my teens to our current mid-twenties. And, that is why we feel we are ready for the next step, the proclamation of our love, putting our commitment to each other in writing, making it official.

That’s right, we are signing a rental agreement and moving in together.

Sixty years ago, the next step would have been marriage and for some, it still is. But, after many conversations about tying the knot, it seems, marriage is not for us. And we’re not alone.

Here are some facts:

The Washington Post reported the present as a record low for prevalence of married couples and the “proportion of adults who are married”.

Only 51% of adults 18 or older are married, which is a 6% decrease from 2000 and a sharp decline from 72% in 1960.

There has been an increase in the median age when people first marry. It’s at an all-time high of 26 for women and almost 29 for men.

40% of Americans under 30 think marriage is passé.

And, lastly 7.5 million couples in the U.S. are living together without being married.

Some attribute these drastic changes to the rising divorce rates in the 70’s and 80’s. Perhaps, many are thinking more carefully about marriage, before entering into it. That would explain the fall in the divorce rate in recent decades. Maybe those that would have married and divorced are waiting.

Really none of that has anything to do with my reasons or my significant other’s reasons for abstaining from marriage. We are not religious. We are not in a hurry to start a family. But, really the largest factor is: we are happy. If it ain’t broke, why marry it?

Studies like those reported by Rachael Rettner of MSNBC in 2012 found those living together to be happier than comparable married couples. Why mess with something that works for us? I have known many, many happy couples who married only to be suffocated by their commitment. No more fun. No more spontaneity. No more sex. All that kept them together was the piece of paper declaring them man and wife, until…not even that kept them together. When have you ever had a married couple tell you that the fun really began after marriage? No, no, no. The marrieds I know always tell nostalgic stories from when they were dating, almost longingly. I never want to look back at the best time of my life. I want to live in that time forever.

Anthony and I are committed to each other in our own unconventional way. We don’t want to be with anyone else and have vowed to each other over and over to love and support one another for the rest of our lives. Isn’t that enough? Isn’t it enough that I choose to wake up everyday and be with him rather than be bound together by a legal document? I guess, it all comes down to what marriage means to the individual. For some, it has religious significance or traditional meaning and I wouldn’t dream of devaluing that. But, for Anthony and I, I think we’re fine just being us, sans the white dress and copious amounts of floral arrangements.

No certificates, no ceremonies, just us, and our lovely little rental agreement.

© Copyright 2012 hairsprayandhemingway

Merge Left for Marriage

18 Jul

Photo by Anthony Delgado

At what age do we become real grown-ups? Is there an invisible boundary between twenty-four and twenty-five that activates the marriage and mother gene? If so, was I absent that day?

It seems everywhere I look; I am surrounded by Bugaboo strollers and blinded by bright, shiny engagement rings. The really strange part about it is I know some of these strollees and diamond slinging offenders. It’s as if I woke up and suddenly there is this Domesticity Partition separating the marrieds from unmarrieds, the yes-I-want-kids from the yes-I-want-to-travels.

My best friend and engaged traitor, Shayla, has been moved over the Partition, and now attends grown-up soirees for New Years and receives fancy thousand dollar plates as engagement gifts. As a sort of a UN peace ambassador between the two sides, Shayla gracefully balances between her life affianced and her friendship with me, student and poor person.

“But tell me this” I asked her over the phone, “when did it become normal to talk about diapers and poop for hours? No one bats an eyelash! They just keep talking and talking about puke and poop as if it’s the most natural thing in the world”

“Well, no one wants to hear about your child’s poop. They should know that. They probably were never very interesting to begin with” she told me.

“But it’s true! People that are only four years older than me have these completely alien lives, they have kids and husbands and I can’t even pay my phone bill on time”.

It was then that she went into a long story about her favorite aunt and uncle who had it all. They traveled, had kids, and retained their ability to relate to people without kids. But it just seemed so distant to what I had experienced, like a sort of fairy tale ending. She popped out a kid, went back to work, and then they traveled the globe. The End. No poop.

I told her about how earlier that day, I leaned over the balcony in the mall that overlooks the kids play area. The loop of multi-colored plastic couches were crowded with moms watching their children slide through tubes and jump into a sea of red, yellow, and green plastic spheres. The women were all probably a few years older than me, but no more than five or ten years. As I watched them sip their four dollar lattes and smooth the imaginary wrinkles from their perfectly coordinated track suits, I wondered, am I the strange one?

What happened to making a friend in the sandbox when you were five or later proclaiming lifelong friendships over too many beers? Are those days over, to be filed away with old yearbooks and Hanson CDs?

“Yes, you are weird” she said. “You call breast implants enlarged mammary glands; you’re weird. But I promise, when I have kids, I won’t talk about their poop. I’ll probably want to forget that I ever cleaned it anyway.”

That’s what I love about Shayla, no matter how far we get from our 18 and 22 year old selves, we’ll always be kindred, even if she does enjoy doing laundry and I haven’t had my car washed in two months.

So with that, I resign peacefully to my half of the partition with the comfort of knowing that maybe we don’t have to pick a side.

© Copyright 2012 hairsprayandhemingway

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