Draw your own symbolic conclusions from this photo choice

This weekend, I was back in my hometown for a childhood friend’s wedding. It was just a coincidence that I ended up spending a lot of time talking about my own. More specifically, how it isn’t happening anytime soon.

I’m not marriage phobic in the grand scheme of things (and am delighted to see my friends getting married to people who are worthy of their awesomeness) but when it comes to my own life, I do find myself defensively approaching the topic on a semi-regular basis–especially where there’s family involved. You see, my family is what one might call “traditional.” More specifically, of the Catholic variety. They know I’ve been with the same parentally-approved partner for several years now, know that at least one of us is gainfully employed (hint: it isn’t me), know that my dad may have alluded to my partner’s future son-in-law status (presumptuous, but fair) after a couple of Miller Genuine Drafts at a recent family reunion, and know that between the two of us, my partner and I are in possession of three university degrees. Narratively, marriage makes sense. Plus, I’m pretty sure all of my family members have seen enough of me over the years to gather that I’m probably not the easiest woman to be with. That I’ve found someone who is not only tolerant of my mood swings and liberal judgeyness, but who actually 1.) is an amazing human being and 2.) CHOOSES to remain with me, well damn! What could I possibly be waiting for? Tie on that ball and chain before dude comes to his senses!

What many of them don’t know is that I’m living in sin (note: if you are my aunt/uncle/grandparent, thanks for reading my blog. I had no idea. Also, surprise!). And, as such, they don’t know how much I like it.

Cohabitation without things being “official” on paper, to me, represents the best of both worlds: the comforts (and reduced living costs) of sharing a space coupled with the outside understanding that you are still your own person, as opposed to one half of a traveling unit. This tends to happen when people get married. Living in sin, not so much.

Another great benefit of putting off the marriage thing is that weddings are expensive. I was discussing this with my uncle a couple of days ago during one of my many recent “why marry?” vs. “why wait?” debates. It went a little something like this:

Uncle: “Being married is the best thing in your life. If you know you’ve found the right person, why put it off?”

Me: “Finding yourself! No rush to make babies! Self-actualization! Selfish 20-something blah blah blah! Also, I’m broke! So broke!”

Uncle: “Weddings don’t have to be expensive. They can be small, intimate. Sometimes those are the best kind.”

Me: “Have you seen the size of our family?!?!?!?! Who would I volunteer to exclude? Argh– anxiety attack just thinking about it. BREATHE, KELLI, BREATHE!”

Clearly, this is an issue inside my own head, and I’m not sure if and when I’ll get over it.

Technicalities aside, neither the bf nor I are in a rush to “make it official” because, let’s face it, in this day and age (and, particularly in Canada) you just don’t have to be. People are no longer expected to get married as soon as they’re in their mid-20s and have a few years of shared coupledom under their belts. But, on that same note, I’m not sure if the bf shares my stubborn, adamant aversion to the idea. In fact, I don’t think it’s something he thinks about very much at all, and it’s certainly not something that his (progressive Jewish as opposed to conservative Catholic) extended family is on the edge of their seats for. Which is probably why he’s a whole hell of a lot less neurotic about the issue than I am.

When did this happen? I always made my Barbies get married as a kid. Getting my own tanned-and-dimpled Ken was part of the fairytale narrative I envisioned for myself in between episodes of Full House, so what’s my deal? Is it fear of commitment, or–even more scandalous–fear of monogamy? Yeah, could be, I guess. I think a bigger aspect is what it would mean, symbolically, for me to get married now–which is, that I’m a bona fide grown up with my shit together and all that jazz. And, really, let’s be honest here…

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