We are entering peak wedding season, and I’m freaking out a little bit. I’ve never been to a wedding in my life, and suddenly this year everyone seems to have found a good reason to get married this year, and it’s all happening. I’m going to three weddings and I’m the maid of honor in one and I am freaking the eff out. I mean, I’m really happy for my friends. They’re all people who want to get married, are in love, and are ready. But a divide seems to be forming between those who are getting married and those who jus don’t want to get married… maybe ever.
I don’t really know where I fall. To me, being married has never seemed important. If I have someone I want to be with, I’ll just be with them. But I’m aware I’ve changed a lot in the past few years and I don’t know how I will change in the future. At least for now, I don’t want to get married, and I’m totally OK with that.
Because just as there are a whole lot of good reasons to get married, there are a whole lot of reasons not to, too. It can sometimes be difficult to remember that because society treats it as a universal and inevitable end goal, but that’s just not the case.
Here are seven reasons it’s OK not to want to get married, because it’s nobody’s damn business:
1. It’s Nobody’s Business
Firstly, normally the pressure about getting married doesn’t come from you or, if you’re in a relationship, your a partner. It’s normally from family during some horrible gauntlet of awkward Thanksgiving questionings. So, so many random relatives. But it can also be from friends, co-workers, women’s magazines — it’s just so expected. But it’s not anyone’s business if you want to be married or not. None. It can be hard to remember this when you’re getting a lot of pressure from people around you, so just remind yourself— it’s your life. Yours. No one else.
2. It’s Completely OK To Want To Be Alone
If you’re happily single, there’s no reason you shouldn’t remain so. Independence should be something that’s celebrated, but for some reason we put so much more emphasis on partnering up. Everyone is different, and there are some very good reasons for not wanting to be with anyone. Maybe it’s just at this point in your life, or maybe it’s forever.
3. Paper Doesn’t Mean A Thing To You
If you are in a relationship, that doesn’t mean you need to get married. If it makes you and your partner feel better, or it’s important to you, great— go for it! But for a lot of people wanting to be together has nothing to with a piece of paper. Maybe you’re not religious or maybe you just think you don’t need it. In either case, what’s the point in spending all that money and time if you don’t think it will change your relationship? It doesn’t make you less romantic or less in love, it just means you don’t care about having paperwork to show it.
4. It’s Not A Guarantee You’ll Stay Together
You may think that marriage “binds” you forever, but studies show that’s not true. That’s not to say that couples can’t stay together forever, but getting married won’t necessarily guarantee that. Although the divorce rate may not be as high as 50 percent anymore, divorce is still a normal occurrence — people get divorced all the damn time. So using marriage as synonymous with “forever” isn’t accurate.
5. If You Don’t Want It, You’ll Resent It
If you are forced into a big decision you don’t want to make, chances are you’ll resent it— and marriage is no different. When I’m doing something I felt pressured into I start to blame everything that goes wrong on that decision. So if you didn’t want to get married and then suddenly times are tough, you’re probably going to blame it on the marriage. You don’t need that and neither does your relationship.
6. There Are Other Ways To Show Commitment
I get it — you’re standing up there pledging your life to each other in front of your friends and family. And if that’s what commitment means for you, then you do you. But there are other ways to show commitment too, and you may find an alternative that’s better for you. Whether it’s moving in together, having children, or just talking about what you mean to each other and your plans privately, there are so many ways you can say “you’re the one for me” without throwing rice.
7. And There Are Other Ways To Be Fulfilled
Like I said, if you’re in a relationship you don’t need to be married, and if you’re single there’s no reason you need to be with anyone. If you have a job you’re passionate about, people you’re close to, and hobbies that take up your time and make you excited, there may be no need— or even any room— for marriage on top of it. That’s totally fine.
You need to think about what being happy and fulfilled is for you. Marriage doesn’t have to factor into that just because every rom-com tells you it should.
Originally posted on Bustle