One Minor Clarification

I have realized there might be a discrepancy between how I REALLY feel about certain topics, beliefs, “institutions,” &c. and between how I have conveyed said “issues” here. I mentioned in an earlier post that I want to start “clarifying” these matters one at a time because, given the very idea behind this “blog,” I want to make my “perspectives” and feelings about these important and often universal topics absolutely clear. I know that – perhaps because of the way I speak, which is, by the way, very much like the way I write – people often tend “misread” my beliefs. In person, I have had good friends of mine hesitate to tell me they were engaged, saying things like “I know you do not believe in marriage … but I just got engaged” almost ashamedly. I think one of the topics over which MY personal beliefs are most frequently brought into question is the topic of MARRIAGE. This is not some hypothetical miscommunication on my part or something “lost in translation” over the Internet – it is a very REAL confusion expressed TO ME IN PERSON by some of my closest friends.

To put it succinctly, I have no problem with marriage in and of itself: I would love to be married one day! I was hoping it would have happened by now – and if I let my mind wander that way, I do find myself somewhat “confused” over the matter (another topic again, I realize!) – but the reality of my life right now is that I am in no physical position or condition even to have someone around me 24/7 even for a few days. The truth of the matter is that my “wishes” and the REALITY of said “wishes” simply could not coexist right now – and in MY reality, at any rate, THE PHYSICAL REALITY necessarily wins.

HOWEVER … THIS DISCREPANCY IS THE POINT AT WHICH I START TO GET INTO TROUBLE WITH THE IDEA OF MARRIAGE – AND WHERE MOST PEOPLE, I BELIEVE, GET INTO TROUBLE IN GENERAL WHEN THEY GET MARRIED. Marriage is not some cutesy “OH I LOVE YOUUUUUU!” kind of thing; If that’s what you’re looking for, please, for the love of YOURSELF, get a pet, (The same goes if you think you want kids because “THEY’RE SOOOOO CUTE!!” It frequently seems that people almost FORGET that parenting children implies, at the very least, that you are in absolute control of another COGNIZANT BEING’S LIFE -that means … so so so much….) Furthermore, I would need an entire book even to begin to be able to explicate the social conditions that go INTO the often conflicting beliefs we have regarding marriage and the SOCIAL CONDITIONING THAT LEADS US TO MARRIAGE IN THE FIRST PLACE. One of the primary “conflicts” is the expectation that ONE INDIVIDUAL CAN SIMULTANEOUSLY act as best friend, confidante, sexual partner (and fulfilling sexual partner, at that), romantic partner (i.e., love – love and sex are two very different things, much like sex and procreation are two different things – they are to me, at any rate), parent, soulmate, caretaker, provider, &c. &c. &c. The list could go on and on – we EXPECT “our” partners suddenly to become EVERYTHING to us in “marriage” and to do so INDEFINITELY AND WITHOUT QUESTION. The main problem I find here is that there is a sharp divide between “romantic partner” and “LIFE PARTNER” – that is, I find it incredibly difficult to believe that MOST PEOPLE find ONE PERSON who CAN BE both “best lover evAr” and the person who holds your hands through all the shit life throws at us. If we look at these two positions even somewhat objectively, it seems apparent that the people who COULD fulfill these positions are often very different in terms of their personal characteristics, &c. How many people can HONESTLY say they have been in a long-term relationship and have never wandered off ^/v NEVER FANTASIZED about someone else (or others!) trying to find that “something missing?” I am not married and I have never been married, but I have been in my “fair share” of “long-term relationships” (when I say that, I mean to insinuate that the cumulative number of years I have been in these relationships is longer than the “long-term” marriages of most of the people I know personally) and I cannot say that I have NEVER “cheated” if the definition of “cheating” were defined as “wandering off” and /or wishing you were with someone else, &c. I would LOVE to find someone who meets “all” the criteria “on the list” … but the logical part of my brain says it’s incredibly unlikely that the “majority” of people actually DO find that “one” person who can play all of those parts while not “wandering” and while maintaining his or her sanity and, perhaps more importantly, his or her inherent HAPPINESS.

And that’s the place from which my “issues” generally start to generate – how can so many people (even just all my exes, for example) find their “soul mates” when the above is true? How many MEN (in traditional heterosexual relationships – I must clarify that again because that is my only personal experience) marry women who are just like their mothers because of that FAMILIARITY factor – that is, they don’t have to do too much thinking about things when they get home after a long day of working? How many WOMEN find men with big “S’s” stamped on their foreheads for a multitude of reasons, most of which have very strong financial implications? I know both of those questions have strong misogynistic implications … but I do not see many “exceptions” in those “marriages” around me. There are just so few “PURE” relationships that I see – even the ONE I might have mentioned here that I had regarded as a “true love marriage” has since revealed its “true colors” to me (that is, the man gave up everything for kids and the woman used that in order to get what she wanted … it looks so horrific and antiquated in writing but it is so common it is almost universal, sadly) – that just the “bartering” nature that underlies these “relationships” kind of tars the entire institution in my mind. Perhaps I am the one with the “unrealistic” expectations; perhaps it is because I KNOW how I am in relationships – that is, I have very high expectations of myself and of others and I CAN play “all the parts” (more or less) and can do so gladly – but the only “trade-offs” I expect are reciprocation to the fullest extent, honesty, and enough time alone. (*Note: I am, without doubt, one of “those people” who believes that you really have to love everything about yourself before you can expect others to love you. In order to really love yourself, you need the TIME BY YOURSELF to learn to do – and this is not a once-and-done process! Furthermore, loving yourself means you NEED TIME ALONE just to be with yourself and straighten up things mentally, emotionally, spiritually, &c., so that you can go on to give yourself to others in whatever capacity that might be.*)

I really could go on and on here, but I really did just want to note that I AM IN NO WAY OPPOSED TO MARRIAGE. I wanted to state “for the record” that I WOULD LOVE TO BE MARRIED. It’s just a difficult thing to try to sort out for someone who is a hopeless romantic at heart but is, in the head, someone who has to understand everything deductively and theoretically. Perhaps that is why I do not really “understand” how so many people just jump in to marriage so easily and so quickly – or perhaps STAY IN unhappy marriages. “Judging” the marriages of others is none of my business, I realize; when I write about these sorts of things here it is out of an expression of the INTEREST IN THE SUBJECT – and this subject just happens to be a sort of “universal” subject and arguably one that has MADE US (the debate over getting married to have kids is one in and of itself … and certainly a debate that changes with every passing day as we destroy the planet more and more every day….). I suppose, like most things, it is probably something I just think about “too much.” I don’t know that I did myself any justice in trying to make a “minor clarification.” If I had to phrase it “more” succinctly I would say that I believe in marriage and I would love to be married but I think in order ever to get married I and the other person would have to be very clear on our “expectations.” To take a vow of “forever” with the CURRENT social expectations (those mentioned above) only perpetuates problematic marriages and unhappiness – the combination of those two things leads to the absurdly high rate of “failure,” i.e., divorce. To put it MUCH MORE succinctly, I will leave you with this “analogy” – I know cars are dangerous – I have had far too many friends die in car accidents – but that doesn’t keep me from getting behind the wheel and driving.

I hope that did clarify things a little bit! And I hope you are all having a happy and healthy weekend wherever you are in the world! I am actually pretty sick, so I don’t know how “coherent” any of that was (I DID go back and *edit!*) and I really do not know if I will be back later today … fo sho I will certainly try! Thanks much for reading and remember, my heart is ALWAYS with YOU!

❤ Always, Beth


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