I was recently listening to a really fun & awesome podcast called Why You Suck In Bed, which is all about sex, love, relationships, and sex. It’s really a good listen if you’re open minded and not at all prudish. In this episode, the two lead hosts — both women, both divorced — were adamant about not ever wanting to get married again. They both gave plenty of reasons for why they felt that way and have moved on in their relationships. One is dating a man 15 years younger, and the other is having fun dating around, both men and women.
Their “marriage sucks” perspectives got me wondering how I felt. Would I ever want to get married again? It was an interesting question.
Even though my marriage crumbled and ended, I haven’t been consumed by bitterness or pessimism towards love and relationships (though occasionally I can toss out some snarky comments for fun). I still love Valentine’s Day, even though it’s been a really, really long time since romance played a role in the holiday (right now it’s mostly about the kids). I find that I’d still love to surprise a special woman with a silly, over-the-top romantic gesture each February 14. Ever since I started thinking about such things as marriage (shortly after discovering girls were very, very interesting…), I always assumed I’d spend most of my adult life as a married man. Even after marriage #1 didn’t work out, in the back of my mind I figured one day I’d find myself waking up in the mornings snug and warm next to a more compatible woman, wedding ring on my finger.
However, when I examine the emotions and my headspace around the topic of marriage, I find that it’s not something I need. I mean, if I were my age and had never been married and never had children, I think I’d feel some sort of pressure or disappointment at having never accomplished either of those basic milestones in our modern human existence. Having had two awesome children, I certainly don’t feel the need to have more, and having been married I don’t feel the need to get married again (especially not for the sake of getting married). I suppose you could say I’ve checked those boxes off my bucket list.
That’s not to say I’m against either idea– if I found the right woman, I could totally see myself getting married again, and perhaps even having another child if that was something she wanted. But if the next love of my life wasn’t interested in having children with me, or wasn’t interested in getting married, I’d be totally fine with that too.
In a weird sort of way this ambivalence is really liberating. I’ve always felt that bi-sexuals had it pretty good– they got to chose awesome people from both sexes to possibly date and have relationships with. Similarly I guess I could call myself bi-relational: I’m up for dating women who might want to get married one day, or women who never want to get married. Either way is cool, so long as our relationship is healthy.
I suppose if I found another woman who felt the same way as I do, it could really lead to a more interesting and mature relationship than I’ve experienced before– one where we’re not really looking at future milestones we’d need to be checking off over the years, but one where we can focus on us, the here and now, and what makes each of us happy, healthy and loved each day. To live and love in the moment, with no loftier goals than each other’s happiness and well-being.
Hm… isn’t that really another way of saying “friends with benefits?”
I suppose it could be… but that phrase seems to be tied to younger folks who are looking for care-free sex without complications of love. I’m talking more about care-free love without the complications of an agenda, structure, a timeline, or artificial expectations.
Maybe one day when I wake up in the mornings snug and warm next to a more compatible woman, our hands entwined… we’ll have promise or “fede” rings on our fingers instead of wedding bands– not proclaiming our marital status but rather our commitment to love, friendship, and loyalty.