Tuesday, February 23, 2010

What does it mean to be married?

On Dating Advice (Almost) Daily, Terry responds to a reader who really wants to get married:
Just because you're attracting men who are willing to do everything with you except make it legal doesn't mean all men reject the idea of marriage (not by a long shot). The next time someone refuses to marry you but suggests you bear his children, just say, "No, thank you. I want to get married, and I'm going to hold out for a man who wants to get married and spend the rest of his life with me."

Then walk away.

In the meantime, picture yourself being married, not to some clown who asked you to give birth to his children, but to a man who treasures you and makes your happiness a priority.

What would this marriage look like? Feel like? Taste like? Sound like? Smell like?
Now, I have no problem with the Law of Attraction [my personal M.O. for life includes thinking a LOT about what I do and don't want so if the things I want then happen, who am I to say that it wasn't the 'Law of Attraction' at work?]. But I keep wondering: if that woman actually sits down and tries to picture herself married, does that picture really look different than a committed, lifetime relationship that isn't called 'marriage'?

This isn't a trivial question - it's one I've been asking myself a lot. I have always said that I really don't care about being married, largely because I know a heck of a lot of couples who are in lifetime relationships but who aren't legally married (interestingly, all straight couples). What I do care about is being with someone who is committed to me and our relationship, and by that, I mean someone who fully expects to spend his life with me and is willing to do the work necessary to make sure we stay happy together.

But of course, one has to be careful what one asks for (btw, this should be in huge letters on the front of books about the Law of Attraction!). My relationship with J is pretty much exactly what I'm always said I wanted, right down to the fact that he does not want to get married. It's not a commitment thing - he says he is committed to us, wants to grow old with me, and I believe him. For him, it's a political thing - he's super-libertarian and he doesn't think the government has any business being involved in marriage in any way. He actually has no problem with a wedding (which is good, because I want one, but that's the subject of another post) or being married by a minister, if I were religious (which I'm not), but I don't think we will ever be married in the eyes of the State. And I think I'm OK with that. But once in a while, I'm not sure. And then I start wondering why I'm not sure (did I mention I think a LOT about what I want?) - how would being married be any different than not being married? Am I just reacting to society's expectations? And let me be clear that by 'society', I do mean the nebulous world 'out there' since there isn't a single person who I care about personally that would ever ask me "why aren't you and J married yet?" or the equivalent. But it's hard to fight the subtle matrimania that seeps into every aspect of our lives.

This will surely be a theme I return to a lot, especially with some big weddings coming up this spring. As always, I welcome your thoughts...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A few things I think are awesome...

I recently discovered the blog 1000 Awesome Things and it is, well, awesome. I can't necessarily relate to every single thing but there are a couple that really, truly can only be described as awesome (two of my favorites: #714 Changing the channel during a commercial break and then flipping back just as the show's coming back on, and #986 When you pull up to a red light and the guy in front of you nudges up a bit so you can make a right turn). Anyway, there were a couple things that happened this week that made me want to add these to the list:
- Craigslist. I've used Craigslist a bunch of times to get rid of random stuff - it's really amazing what people will take off your hands if you list it under free stuff. But this week takes the cake because someone just came and picked up a couple sets of vertical blinds that I took out of a room I'm remodeling. What's particularly amazing to me is that one of those was 91.5 inches wide. I don't know if the guy actually has a window that size, or he figures it's close enough (or he doesn't realize it can't be shortened) but I just have to say, I'm psyched that I didn't have to figure out how to put that thing in my garbage can.
- Ebay. I've never really been a huge eBay person but I got it in my head that I want a Wii (long story there) and I swear, every single store in San Diego that might possibly carry them is sold out. But I went on eBay and not only was I able to buy one but the total cost for the package I bought (with an extra controller and games) was cheaper than if I'd bought it at Best Buy, Fry's or any of the other places I looked. Yeah, I have to wait a week to get it but that's still sooner that I could have gotten it otherwise.
- Southwest. I know that some people hate Southwest's cattle call boarding but since they started their numeric boarding system, I love it. I set an alarm on my phone to remind me when it's 24 hours before my flight and then I check in online so I've never not been in the A group. But the best thing is that unlike every other airline I've ever flown, Southwest doesn't charge you anything to change or even cancel your flight (other than any difference in fare). If you cancel, they don't refund your money (you get a credit toward a future flight) but they don't charge you $100 extra either.

What awesome things have you encountered lately?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Quirkyalone Day!

I've said before that I love Valentine's Day - basically, I love any day that gives me an excuse to eat chocolate and candy without guilt! Ironically, I think I like it more when single than when coupled. When I was single, I could just eat my candy, send silly cards to friends and enjoy feelin' the love. As part of a couple, Valentine's Day seems to create all kinds of weird expectations. J and I both think it's no big deal but somehow, even if we agree on that, not acknowledging the day at all seems weird.

But rather than spend even more energy feeling weird about it, I thought I'd go in a different direction and remind everyone that today is also National Donor Day. According to the OrganDonor website:
  • As of February 1, 2010, there were 105,525 people waiting for an organ for transplant.
  • Approximately 35,000 children and adults in our country have life-threatening blood diseases that could be treated by a marrow/blood stem cell or cord blood transplant.
  • Every two seconds someone in America needs blood, more than 39,000 units each day, according to the American Red Cross.
If you go to their website, you can get lots of information about how and where to donate organs, blood, blood marrow or stem cells. Show some love!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A new start

When I first started this blog, I thought it would be a place where I would share random thoughts about life and the world, but I particularly wanted to focus on my life as a happily-single thirty-something woman, since that is a perspective that I think could stand to be heard more in this society. The only problem is that ever since I went from being happily-single to happily-coupled, I've felt somewhat conflicted about writing here. I know I've been hesitant to write about certain things connected to my relationship because it feels sort of like a 'betrayal' of my single self, like the fact that I'm happy now somehow diminishes how happy I was then. Actually, to be more accurate, what bugs me is the idea that other people might think that.

But I've decided that I need to just get over myself. I'm still me, and I think I still have an interesting perspective to share, partly because I've gone from being a Quirkyalone to being part of a couple that is most definitely Quirkytogether. I want to tell people about my relationship because I was happily single and this relationship wouldn't be what it is if I hadn't been.

So I'm hoping to get back to what I had originally wanted, to simply write about whatever strikes me - a quirkyeconomist - as worth writing about. I certainly hope that whatever that is will be interesting to other people. I also wanted to warn anyone who has been following this blog for any amount of time that my posts in the future may be even more random and disjointed than in the past but also, hopefully, more regular...