Dearly Beloved….I’m Afraid I Don’t

My best friend growing up was a black-haired little girl whom I adored. We went to the same church, we lived less than a mile from one another, and when I think of my youth- it is impossible to not see her face. Together, along with her younger sister, we created rock bands, played detectives, and even were so obsessed with the show Sister, Sister, that we would pretend to be the twins (I was Tia, she was Tamera, if you’re curious).

We took dance classes, joined Girl Scouts, went through confirmation, and played outside on her tire swing until her dad made us go inside for the night. She was the first person I ever talked to about boy crushes and her name is scattered among the pages of my very first “articles” and diaries. Our names are even painted underneath the deck at my childhood home, stating that we’d be friends forever.

At one point, I distinctively remember one of our conversations and we decided that by the time we were 21, we’d be finished with college and we’d be married, and have a baby by 25. I would be living in New York, of course, and she wasn’t quite sure where she’d be. We were so certain on this path that we wrote it down and we dreamed up these ideas of what we thought our husbands would look like, what they would do, and what their names would be. If I remember correctly, my man would be an architect, he’d be tall with dark hair and blue eyes, and he’d be named Brian.

I’ve yet to date a Brian, so perhaps that may still come true.

But as I sit here, past the age of my projected marriage, but not quite to the baby deadline- I realize how unprepared, how unready, how absoultely terrified I am of actually being married. I’ve never thought of myself as someone with commitment issues and I really don’t think I sincerely have them- but when I think of saying “Yes, Mr. Standing-in-Front-of-Me, on this alter on display to everyone I’ve ever known and complete strangers, I will spend the rest of my life with you. No matter what. I promise. Scout’s honor” – I feel like I’m going to be sick. And really, all I want to say is “Dearly Beloved….I’m afraid I don’t.”

However, that friend did end up getting married to a guy she loves, and is living in our hometown, moving up the ranks at her job, enjoying her new home and new puppy. We don’t talk very often, but I was happy to be part of her wedding before I moved and we stay in touch from time-to-time. I’m thrilled that she found someone who she knows is Mr. Right for her and she’s satisfied with her life, and sometimes, I wonder why I’m not ready for that.

This year alone, I’m invited to six weddings  and I hope to attend most of them, if not at least send something from the registry. And my very best friend from college, L, got engaged over Christmas and for the first time, I’ll serve as the coveted Maid of Honor. While I’m incredibly happy for all of my friends and admittedly stalk all of their photos - I sometimes can’t understand why there is such a rush to the alter. I mean, at 22, 23, and 24 – do we really even know ourselves yet? How can we marry someone else when we aren’t even sure of what is that we want for our lives in the first place? Or maybe I’m the late bloomer who missed the flight to marital cloud 9.

When I think of my weeks spent writing these blogs, going to work for the 9 to 6 grind, attending events and fancy parties, and happy hours with friends, I realize how selfish of a life I really have. Every dime I make is geared towards me (or secure in my savings account), every decision I make is based on what I want and what’s best for me, and my plans change as often as the subway schedules. I’d rather buy a new pair of shoes than to buy a gift for a man – even when Mr. Possibility and I were at our finest - and if I don’t feel like cleaning or washing or saving money from the week’s paycheck or working out, I don’t have anyone to answer to but myself.

And really, I love it.

I’ve spent all this time obsessing, worrying, wondering, hoping, praying, and dreaming for a man to walk into my life and be my end-all-be-all. For him to take away all of the negative baggage, the disappointments, and the trust issues I have from guys from the past. For him to “rescue” me from a single life that for the longest time, I absolutely abhorred. But now, for whatever reason, it is more appealing to me than the life I imagined as a 10-year-old playing make believe under my favorite Oak tree.

As a single woman (or really just any woman, relationship-oriented labels be damned) – I think we get so caught up in this portrayal of a wedding, of happily ever after, of the romantic illusions of until-the-end-of-time that we forget that marriage is serious stuff. It is a lifelong commitment. It is promising not only your body to one single person and your heart, but vowing that every decision you make from this point forward will be dependent on what another person thinks, feels, wants, and needs. While I’m hopeful that the man I ultimately marry will find me beautiful at 60-years-old, the reality is that when you decide upon forever walking down that aisle, everything, including the love, will get old. The flame will weather in the wind, it will come and it will go, and there will be moments where even though you love the person you’re married to – you may not like them very much.

And the same can really be said about the relationship you have with yourself. There are days where even though I’m working towards loving me-and-only-me, I feel bad about decisions I’ve made and I don’t like the person I see staring back at me in the mirror. Each and every choice I make, where it be to take the C train or the B train in the morning or what to eat for lunch or if I should be texting back a guy I’m intrigued by – affects my life. Maybe not in huge ways, but in ways nonetheless.

For me, at my age, at this point in my life, with my career just starting to blaze forward – I can say with full confidence that I’m not ready to be married. I’m not ready to have that feeling in my heart-of-hearts that tells me this is the guy for me. I may long for a compainion and I may be able to imagine having a exclusive boyfriend, but I know saying “I do” isn’t in my near future. I missed my projected marrying age, so now it’s up to me to decide what my second-chance age will be.  And that ring finger that I used to look at, picturing a rock on, looks awfully good naked and bare. While I’m sure my mother and currently-smitten friends will tell me “you’d change your mind if you met the right guy tomorrow” – I can say that right now – I truly, really, honestly, don’t want to be engaged.

And guess what? That’s really just fine by me. If that isn’t progress, I’m not sure what is.

PS: If you’re a fan of Confessions of a Love Addict and want to be part of a new page on the blog, email Lindsay or send her a Tweet.

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27 thoughts on “Dearly Beloved….I’m Afraid I Don’t

  1. I’m not sure about my position on marriage at the moment… still working through that concept now that I’m older. But what I do know, is this – If you’re not slightly selfish and concentrate on making yourself the type of person that is ready, it doesn’t matter if you meet the right guy tomorrow, because you still wont be ready… x x x

  2. I don’t see why you have to have a second chance age. You can have a second chance age after or if you get a divorce.

    Ironically you mentioned before you were attempting to adopt a guys attitude towards relationships (or something to that effect, I’m paraphrasing here.) but you just couldn’t do it. However you are nearly there if this post is the enshrinement of your actual thoughts on the subject.

    And hell yeah it’s a big commitment to get married. I think most guys aren’t actually afraid of getting married or committing to one gal. I think the big fear with guys is just the opposite of girls. Where as girls fear never getting married, many guys (myself included at times) are afraid of never being alone. Once we are married we have this girl who will always be there no matter what and frankly that scares the hell out of some guys.

    It’s truthfully hard to explain Lindsay. Like I said yesterday, it’s the whole cowboy & desperado thing.

  3. Haha interesting insight Michael! :)

    A while ago I ended a relationship with a man who wanted to get married and start having children after only a year together – it completely freaked me out. I was just having thoughts about this very topic today as I’m going to have to see him soon. Whilst I’m sure he’s moved on after 8 months, I couldn’t help think- what if he suggests we get back together? My response to myself was that finally, I am beginning to enjoy being on my own and doing my own thing. Life isn’t always perfect and certainly I’m not saying I don’t have my bad days, but I do not have the time nor the inclination to *make* time to work on a relationship as well!

    So, the thought of marriage is scary? Try: Terrifying!

    And I think if everyone stopped and had a REALLY good think about it, most people, man or woman, would be completely freaked out by the prospect. Perhaps as we get older the commitment becomes harder because we do tend to think about it more? If I had been proposed to at the age of 23 by my then boyfriend, I probably would have said yes and walked down the isle without any hesitation- but when he DID propose to me 5 years later, after 8 years together, I couldn’t do it.

  4. Good things to ponder, Lindsay! When you actually think about getting married, we often don’t think about the hard stuff. We know we want someone to love us unconditionally and take all our pain away, but guess what? There is another person in the equation, and if we want them to love us unconditionally, we have to be willing to do that for them, even when their ugly parts come out. We all have them. You really have to know yourself well. People do get married young. A lot of my friends are married, and somemtimes I have felt jealous, but when we get down to it, sometimes they envy me, too. I am trying to enjoy my time to be me and do me things now. Later on, you will have responsibilities for other people.

  5. I just recently made the decision that I’m no were NEAR wanting or ready to be married nor engaged. I decided this when my xboyfriend asked me one day, “How long do we have to date for you to think about marriage?” (we’d been “dating” for a couple of months. I flat out told him, “I have already thought about. I don’t want to be married 20 year old. I still have much to learn and I wanna be independent and rooting in myself before I even THINK about marrying anyone.” I think it’s perfectly okay to not want to get married at this age, it’s just the beginning of our “adult life.” We are learning, building, testing, enjoy our lives at this age.

    Micheal, there are a good amount of girls who are afraid of marriage because they won’t get “alone time.” I am one of those girls. I LOVE my alone time. Just a time to sit back and stare at nothing and everything. I hate an overly attentive man. One of my boyfriends was like this and I threw a shoe at him. I loved him dearly, but he wanted to please me in every way possible, I had no room to please myself. As a person, the most important thing is to be able to please yourself, even in a relationship.

  6. Of course I worry about that too…whether or not I really knew Mr. R (or myself) well enough at 27 and 24, respectively, to commit to spending the rest of my life with him. But I think something just clicks inside of you and you honestly get to the point where you think of every aspect of your life with that person in it—you can’t imagine making plans for five, ten, or twenty years down the road and NOT having the person somewhere in there. I guess it’s just a gamble, in a way, but I rolled the dice and I wouldn’t take it back for the world. <3

    I will say, though, until I met Mr. R, I honestly NEVER thought I would get married before I was at least 30. EVER. So, there you go…sometimes we fool ourselves (haha…actually, MOST of the time we fool ourselves :P)

    Love you, Linds!!

  7. When I was in high school, a career advisor went off on a tangent about how senior year of college, we’d all return from Christmas break to find everyone was engaged. (banner career advising going on right there!)

    It didn’t really work out that way, at least not that quickly. At almost 28, I still only have a handful of friends who have taken the plunge. But the relationships are getting longer and more serious and it’s only a matter of time before everyone is walking down that aisle. Of course it has me thinking.

    I really don’t want to be married in my twenties. I’m not there yet. And yes, people will say “Well, you’ll change your tune when you meet the right person,” I still don’t feel ready to settle down at this point. I think when you’re young, your twenties seem like this magical age of taking every single step in your adult life all at once. When you get there, you realize that it doesn’t have to be that way. And that’s okay.

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  10. It’s so important to value time as a single lady. It’s a part of the journey we all go on. To obsess over marriage during a time when we should be appreciating single life, means missing out on an entire portion of our life!

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  15. Hi! Found your blog through 20SB. It’s awesome. I’m really thrilled that you write about your life and share it with us the way you do, because of how familiar the feelings are to whats happening in my life. I’m glad i got to read it all the way from India :)

    Never stop! :)

    Best,
    Your newest follower (pooja)
    [http://yellowromancandles.blogspot.com]

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