Saturday, January 17, 2009

Maybe it's genetic

I'm sure that every family has their quirks and mine is no exception. In particular, there are certain things that always lead someone in the room to say, "It must be genetic" because the behavior is something that other people in the family do too - like the way that I, my mom and my aunt all tend to crack ourselves up with our jokes, even if no one else is really laughing, or the look that my sister and aunts have perfected when someone does something completely stupid (and yes, I realize these things are more nurture than nature but that's not the point).

Along similar lines, it dawned on me recently that I can probably credit my family with my single status, or rather, with being so comfortable about my single status. In my family, being married seems more the exception than the rule. Perhaps even more interesting is that I still have plenty of relatives who are in committed, long-term relationships, just not married. For example, my mom's older sister has been with the same man for over thirty years but they never got married (both are divorced and decided they just didn't want/need the marriage thing). My mom's younger sister got divorced when I was four and raised a son by herself; nowadays, she has more of a social life than I do, with a tight-knit 'tribe' of lifetime friends. I have three cousins on my dad's side who are all in committed relationships but not married; in one case, my cousin was planning to get married, had to postpone the wedding, then got pregnant and although she and her partner are still together (and now with three kids), they never got around to having that wedding.

My own parents have one of those 40-plus-year, rock-solid marriages but I think even that has made me feel more OK about staying single, not less, since I tend to think that unless I can find what they have, what's the point in getting married? It also helps that I get absolutely no pressure from my family whatsoever about my relationship status. I realize this probably puts me in a minority among thirty-something single women (and certainly among Asian-American women!). I'm always a little incredulous when I hear other women talk about the bizarre (to me) things that their families have said to them about 'settling down' or 'finding a nice man', partly because I honestly can't imagine my family ever saying those things to me.

Maybe it's because my family is all in the Bay Area, where the idea of 'non-traditional lifestyles' was practically invented. Or maybe it's genetic. Whatever the reason, I am deeply grateful to have the family that I do...

1 comment:

onely.org said...

"My own parents have one of those 40-plus-year, rock-solid marriages but I think even that has made me feel more OK about staying single, not less, since I tend to think that unless I can find what they have, what's the point in getting married?" I had actually been puzzling over why I am so marriage-indifferent when my parents have a great marriage. I was wondering why I wasn't so excited to find that same thing, having it right there in my face for over thirty years. But of course, you've hit the nail on the head--because I have such a good example of what marriage should be, I am able to recognize examples of crappy marriages/relationships and avoid them. Of course. Thanks. --Christina at Onely