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I have no interest in getting married again. Been there, done that. It was awful. Not just the whole abusive, controlling, manipulative ex part but the whole thing.

I was married once, and now I am in a very serious relationship. When I mention this, people often ask how long it lasted, and 10 years seems to satisfy them. To them, 10 years shows that yes, I did give it the good college try and do understand what this “marriage business” is all about. Then, they always want to know if I will marry again.  I was divorced at the age of 35, and I have become increasingly certain I’ll never marry again.

It seems the assumption is that I must want to be married, that marriage is the natural completion of a relationship, and that it is just what you do if you love somebody. There’s nothing fundamental about marriage in human relationships, though – marriage is a cultural and legal institution that’s a product of a specific history. A lot of what might seem fundamental about marriage is just commitment, and you don’t need the government or anyone else involved to be committed to each other.

As far as commitment goes, I personally don’t feel like I need tradition, religion, or social norms to validate my commitment. What’s more is that I don’t need the law and the often-high costs of divorce to enforce that commitment. Marriage isn’t the lifelong bond that some think it is, with the possibility of divorce usually a statistical coin toss. Marriage isn’t the finish line for a relationship. Relationships require a lot of continuous work. You must sustain them to keep them healthy and worthwhile. And people change. If our partner wants to end things, we’d rather they were free to do so with as little trouble as possible.

Marriage made a lot of sense once upon a time. Mostly, when women didn’t have the same roles and rights as men.

Marriage or the idea that my worth, purpose, or happiness should be tied to a man came to symbolize entrapment, restriction, and the loss of identity.  I do believe that life is better in a pair than it is single; especially if you find someone who is your “perfect” match, which does not mean they are perfect, rather they are perfect for you.  When I say I don’t believe in marriage, what I mean to say is that I understand the financial and legal benefits, but I don’t believe the government or a church or a department store registry can change the way I already feel and behave.

When you’re in a serious, long-term relationship, the terms “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” can begin to feel a bit juvenile, or at least insufficient for describing your level of commitment. But what do you call the person you share a life with when you’re not married, and don’t necessarily want to be? For me and Chris, we have settled on the term partner.

I wake up in the morning and I look at Chris and think, “I love you and I want you. I choose you above any other person. I chose you 14 months ago, and I choose you today. I believe you to be a constant in my life, and I a constant in yours. I am the Suburban Goddess Mom and you are the Suburban God.”

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