It just dawned on me. I have more love in my life now, than I ever did when I was married. You might find this strange, since, to most people, marriage is a contractual guarantee of everlasting love and bliss.
You might think that I was in a loveless marriage, eager to escape. On the contrary, I was married to the most amazing man on earth, my best friend, my soul mate. And yet, I still have more love now, as a single girl.
I’ve been struggling to put this into words for years now. As I watch my friends rush towards marriage as if it is the ultimate race they can’t afford to lose, I find it difficult to express that marriage is not going to meet their expectations. It is a lovely thing. It can be absolutely spectacular when it is all about pure love. But more often than not, marriage is about unrealistic expectations of a bygone era.
I don’t like to blast marriage. Having been there myself, I can honestly say that it is a glorious stint everyone should experience at least once in his life. But there is a good reason that the institution is failing, and it isn’t because there is something wrong with the world. It isn’t because this younger generation isn’t trying hard enough to live a life according to a contract, or live a life that is less than they are capable of. They are trying, but it just isn’t working.
I don’t want to analyze marriage trends, accuse anyone, or make it society’s responsibility to keep the institution alive. I am simply observing that for as long as I have been alive, the statistics have been on a downward spiral, and yet older generations, and media want us to believe that we are doing something wrong by not worshiping the institution hard enough.
I simply want to point out, that marriage isn’t all we are lead to believe. Sure, if prince and princess meet, they will fall in love, and that would compel them to tie the knot, sign on the dotted line, and live happily ever after. But the reality for those who have been there, is that somewhere along the line, reality bites. For as if you are to meet the conditions of that contract, then you will abide by the rules of tradition, prescription, and compromise to conform to society’s standards. You will force yourself to love even when you physically can’t love that person any more, adapt to a life of apathy and sexual indifference, even when you are yearning to experience more.
If you follow expert advice, you turn to counseling, and are force-fed psychoanalysis and medication, to make this bulging, balding spouse of 15 years look more attractive. Really? I find something wrong with the belief that if passion has waned, medical help is in order. For if you don’t subject yourself to therapy, self-help books, medication and religion to keep this contractual obligation interesting, you have no respect for the institution, and something is wrong with you.
It is no wonder, the younger generation is waking up, and saying no thanks to marriage. Should we really respect an institution that no longer serves us?
But this rant really isn’t about marriage, it is about the single life and this idea, that somehow single people are just starving for love. I can’t tell you how many well-meaning friends, look at me with their sorry eyes, and offer condolences that I am uncoupled. You have to see their eyes, and their expressions change when I tactlessly explain just how much love I am enjoying. And how good it is.
The fact is that this immense freedom some of us enjoy, is absolutely spectacular! There is much more love on this side of the fence, and it isn’t pathetic, sick, unfulfilling, nor wrong. Sure, there are many miserable singles out there, who would rather tie the knot with the first willing participant, than mark their 40th birthday without a significant other. They are the ones who are unhappy, subject to society’s pressure, and unfulfilled. But those of us who are thriving, learning, experiencing, expanding, welcoming all the ups and downs of this single life, and enjoying every minute of it, are ecstatic!
This isn’t something I can explain to my friends who fear they are approaching their biological expiration date, and tormenting themselves through every Match date and disappointment. It is as if society has pressed them into seeing marriage as the only option out of spinsterhood, and they will be damned to spend life alone.
This is something only a few can understand. The few who do, have higher expectations. They understand that life is for living, and that there is no reason to compromise. They demand the best for themselves, and refuse to settle for a life of tradition, mediocrity, or conformity.
As someone who has been single for 5 years, I can honestly say that I have never had more love in my life than now. All it takes to see this is a bit of open mindedness, willingness to explore, and healthy curiosity. There are many different kinds of love, and they all feel different. Like fine wine, the adventure begins with a tasting. There are no rules here, and you are not obligated to buy the full bottle. But what an adventure it is!
And as in life, once you develop a taste for the finer wines, you can never go back to the uninteresting house wines. You see that there is so much to be enjoyed, that the institution of marriage just can’t offer the same treats, the same adventures, nor the same benefits.
Who am I so in love with? Everyone! There are so many beautiful people out there, who offer love purely, and without a contract. They are young, they are intelligent, they are gorgeous, and I can simply choose. I’m not telling you shag everything in sight, by all means, avoid the old farts at all costs! You don’t need that.
My critics think that I am doomed- that I will eventually get bored with all my choices. But really, the adventure is in this immense sense of freedom that I have toward new experiences. Is it better to celebrate your 15th wedding anniversary in flannel pajamas and cheap lingerie, or to celebrate 5 yrs of freedom in Phuket with a dashing young analyst who trained his biceps just for me?
And to those who insist that I have closed myself off to love and permanent relationships, I say, no way. I am always open to love. But as someone who is always open, I always have love. And while I am always excited to meet someone new, now that I am fully satisfied, I can afford to make better choices. I no longer have to bend over backwards, or stand on my head to please anyone. I no longer have to subject myself to someone else’s games, follow someone else’s relationship rules, or fight tooth and nail to make a relationship last.
I am totally free of drama, toxic men, and people who do not please me. If that makes me selfish, pathetic, or bitchy, so be it. There is no more room in my life for dissatisfaction, lack of respect, or waiting. I have everything I want simply by taking more.
You see, love is all around you. And the pure love, is the kind that you don’t have to fight for. It is given freely, it lasts as long as both are satisfied, and passes when both have had enough.
I have learned that love will last longer when it is without obligation. I see that I thrive in all aspects of my life when I am free, I wither when I am under contract. That’s not to say I will never marry, but I insist on enjoying the single life, and all it has to offer now.
Enjoying every moment,