I graduated high school.
Made it all the way through college.
Fell in love.
Found a great job.
Check. Check. Check. Check.
So what comes next? Society says marriage. If you fall in love and have (somewhat) of your life together, then that’s just the next step. Right? Well, the problem is that, despite my almost eight-year relationship, I don’t want that. *Insert gasp here.*
“You’re not engaged yet?”
It’s the first thing that people ask me at family functions and friendly reunions. Especially after they hear the words seven years come out of my mouth. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard that question, I could buy myself my own engagement ring. Not to mention the face I get after I answer the question with a big, fat no, which is either genuine shock or instant judgment. Let’s just say that I’ve gotten really good at reviving a dead conversation.
Growing up, I didn’t dream about my future family or what color the flowers would be at my wedding. You won’t find a page on Pinterest about DIY wedding centerpieces or ring shapes, either. Instead, I dreamt of creating. Of writing articles and books and helping people through my words along the way.
I know the inner-psychologist in you is trying to figure me out right now. Let me clear a few things up; I’m not from a divorced family, I’m genuinely happy with my life, and I’m not scarred from a past boyfriend. It’s not as complicated as people make it seem.
Marriage just isn’t important to me.
To be completely honest, as in love with my boyfriend as I am, if he asked me to marry him right now, I would probably say no. It’s brutal but honest. There are so many things I desperately want from my life, but marriage isn’t one of them. Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely love my boyfriend and want him there along for this ride through life. I just don’t want to worry about a wedding and a joint bank account when I could be putting my time towards something that means more to me.
For a while, I felt like something was wrong with me because I didn’t want to get married. Was I unhappy with my relationship? Did I do something wrong? Should I change my outlook? No, no, and no. As soon as I realized that this is my life to live, and no one else’s, I realized that I had the power to feel any way I wanted.
There are situations when it gets sticky. Like when I see all my friends on Facebook posting their ring shots or when someone in the family has a wedding or a new baby. But ultimately, I feel like I deserve to feel any way I want without being subjected to feeling guilty for not being on someone else’s path in life.
If I choose to have a partner for life without heading down the aisle, that’s my decision. If I choose to create ideas instead of children, I don’t think that I should be judged. I refuse to give up my personal happiness for societal norms.
And if somewhere down the line I decide to change my mind, that’s okay too. Because, after all, nothing’s permanent. Not even a marriage certificate.
Feature Image via Unsplash.