The F Word: If I have to answer that question one more time...

2010-10-19 08:02

I’ve been in a relationship with the same guy for almost six years. It’s had its ups and downs, like any, but for the most part I have been happy.

Since we reached the five-year mark the question: “When are you two getting married?” arises more frequently. My response is always the same: “I don’t want to get married.”

My response is usually met with disdain and expressions filled with horror and disappointment, sometimes even with the shaking of the head, and more often than not a big, fat: “Why?”

This is the part that gets to me. The part that annoys me to my core. It’s the part where I begin to feel word vomit boil up inside me, as I silently pray it will subside.

That “Why?” hits like a ton of bricks each time, despite being prepared for it. Despite knowing that my response will be a calm, cool and collected: “Just a personal preference.” And even that cordial answer is met by a further “why”.

What I would really like to say is: Why should I explain myself to you? Why does it matter to you? Why do you think that marriage is the obvious next step? Why do I have to be married to my partner for societal approval?

Have you ever noticed on personal forms there is never a block for “dating and happy”, it’s either single or married.

Reactions are different, depending on the people who are asking. Sometimes they respond: “Do you come from a single-parent home?” For the record, I don’t. My parents have been married for 25 years.

Others say: “That’s a bit selfish, don’t you think?” I really don’t know what that means.

I’ve also heard: “Don’t worry you will change your mind one day.” Maybe, maybe not.

But my all-time favourite is: “Oh shame, does your boyfriend not want to marry you?”

Maybe, just maybe, I as an educated, independent, working woman may not have illusions (delusions?) of being a home-maker and wife. Is this so hard to grasp?

When friends and family announce their engagements I don’t blurt out: “Why?” I accept it politely, quietly and more often than not, until the invitation to the wedding arrives, I genuinely forget that the two lovebirds will soon be entering into matrimonial bliss.

I don’t blurt out “Why?” when the bride gushes over her white gown or blurt out “Why?” when the groom struggles to hold back his tears at the sight of his beautiful wife-to-be and I certainly don’t blurt out “Why?” when people announce their plans to have babies.

Perhaps one day my mind will change on the matter. Maybe it won’t. But I do hope that people’s mindsets will change: That being happy and dating is enough. That being at that stage of a relationship for as long as possible before any real responsibility hits is okay. And that one day when someone asks: “When are you two getting married?” and I respond “I don’t want to get married”, someone will say “Congrats!”

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