10 May 2007


Why do people fixate on the 'normal' progression of relationships? Here's how it goes, according to our parents, Disney, and every issue of CosmoGirl out there...

Boy meets girl.
Boy and girl date.
Boy and girl get engaged.
Boy and girl get married.
Rugrats soon to follow.

What about the things before? In between? What about the people who don't fit this paradigm?

People go on and on about the divorce rate in America, and how it's so high. There are a lot of reasons for that.. education, for example. More equal treatment in the eyes of the law and society. Access to alternatives (doesn't it sound cold, referring to a 'new relationship' as an alternative?). And so on. But I also wonder how closely it correlates with the number of people who force their relationships into this timeline, when they really have no business doing so? And why do they expect other people to do so, too?

I think there's a huge gap between a sensible outlook, and a desire for social conformity. And I've seen it both ways. I've seen women (and men. JUST as many men) go on and on about how they want to get married some day, how they want to find their soulmate and raise a family. And I've seen men (and women) go on diatribes about how they don't believe in marriage or they have no desire to rush into this social dynamic just because people think they should.

Both camps miss the point.

It's not about 'getting married.' It's about who you are or are not marrying. A judgment that you want to be married or you never want to be married is complete bullshit, because a marriage (and the decision to get to that point) isn't a solo act. It takes two people. What you're really saying is that YOU do or do not want to marry that person, regardless of their own feelings. You're just trying to spare yourself the guilt of hurting theirs.

Marriage is not about 'completion.' Sure, there's something to the idea of soul-mates I guess, as people who match you so well it's startling. But I don't think this is just one person. What kind of evolutionary mechanism would that be? If it were the case, believe me, population problems in this country and globally would be non-existant. But if one significant other sees the other as critical to their identity as a whole person, well, doesn't that make love less than altruistic? They become needy of the other person. It's in their interests, not in the interest of the relationship, to keep the other happy. It's selfish. And what happens when both parties change, as so often happens? Rather than develop into his or her own person, the needy spouse now has to conform to what the other has become. Can we say resentment? No wonder the divorce rate is so high...

1 comment:

Hannah said...

Ah. You had a conversation with your mother today, too, huh?!

Good to see you back.