06 April 2007

Love and marriage, or something

I think the topic of women and love has been studied to death, but I can't help my fascination. I know how some women feel. I met a man when I was in college, when I was 20 years old. He was two years younger than me, and was perfect for a scared little virgin like me. (To be frank, I dated a lot in college, and was known to be a partier, but was very aware of my sexuality and knew I wasn't ready to have sex, so I didn't.)

We totally fell in love, and after six months we slept together. And it was perfect. We stayed together for the next three years until I (finally) graduated, and then broke up. I was devastated.

I spent almost a year nursing a broken heart while pouring myself into grad school. I didn't date. I had zero confidence. And then my mother reminded me of something.

When I was a little girl, I never daydreamed about my wedding day or scribbled a make-believe married name in my notebook. My mother reminded me that my daydreams were about being independent, about having my own place and career. About living an exciting life where I was in charge. Remembering that really changed my outlook, and I realized that I could still have those things. The future, in my mind, was not tied up in a man.

Now, when I start feeling lonely, I stir up some of those girlhood fantasies (some involved an artist's life in London, others involved a dancer's life in New York) and take comfort. Do I ever feel lonely? YES! Do I ever suffer from a broken heart? Of course. In fact, just recently, I ended a several months long relationship with someone, and it hurt like hell and I really miss him.

The difference this time is that my pride and confidence didn't take a beating. I know I'll keep going through my life, and I'm making some major changes in my life soon which I might not have done if romance had clouded my vision. People ask me how I handled my divorce so well, and I tell them that I didn't define myself by my marriage or my husband, so I wasn't losing a part of my identity.

This past weekend, at my cousin's wedding, a female cousin (actually, the groom's sister) kept saying that she wanted to get married so badly. I finally asked her if she had someone in mind, a boyfriend, and she said she didn't. My heart just sank. I don't want her to wait for something that may never happen. Too many women put such value in marriage that they often don't care who they marry, just so he wants to get married, too.

And we wonder why marriages fall apart. I firmly believe that marriage changes the dynamics of a relationship. Ex and I lived together for a long time before we married, and we were perfectly happy just cohabiting. As soon as we were married, things changed, because we knew that we had submitted to an outdated institution that really wasn't right for us. I married him because that was what we were "supposed" to do if we moved away. And then all that indoctrination came flooding in. I forgot my dreams and ate up all the bullshit the media and society feeds us about blissful married life. What a crock. Weddings are only fun if you are not a participant.

Yes, it's possible that I'll get married again someday. But he'll have to be out-fucking-standing, and he'll have to be willing to sign a prenuptial agreement. I can dream, can't I?

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