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Why I will NOT Marry the Man of My Dreams

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How many times have you heard someone say they are looking for the man (or woman) or their dreams so they can settle down and get married? For the first quarter of my life I was one of those people. Whether it was social pressure, or just my nature, I used to play dress up as a kid as if I were a bride. When I was about 7 I had a choice of gifts from a magazine (some celebration, a birthday or First Communion perhaps?) I wanted a plastic wedding cake. Another gift request around that time, a cake topper. Either I really wanted to get married or I really loved food….

Fast forward a few decades, I went through the engagement craze in college, assuming that I was reaching my expiration date at the ripe age of 23 and further assuming that the world’s population of men was rapidly dwindling and soon all the straight men who weren’t serial killers would be “taken” I settled for good enough twice, and twice almost married, but fortunately I knew these were not relationships that I wanted to turn into legally binding partnerships.

Looking back I see great value in both of these almost-marriage relationships. Both served important purposes in my development and I regret neither. However when the time came that I met the man of my dreams, the type of person I can see myself desiring to spend the rest of my life with a funny thing happened. I had no desire to get married.

Maybe because I was by then way past my expiration date!

Or more realistically because I see this relationship for what it is, a deeply felt, mutual commitment to each other. And by then I had sworn off sweets so there would be no potential for cake, why bother?

But seriously, this relationship is stable and committed, and we both share the perspective that we don’t need to turn it into a legally recognized arrangement.

Whether one marries is a personal choice and I do not intend to pass judgment on those who do or don’t choose this option. I merely want to illuminate an alternative path for those who feel insufficient because they have not taken that step to get married.  On a regular basis I read, coach and interact with women who are suffering greatly because they don’t have a marriage commitment. We question the validity of our relationships without it.

I am often asked “Isn’t it too easy for someone to leave if they are not married?”

My reply to this question is that I would much rather be in a relationship with someone who stays with me because they want to and not because it is inconvenient to jump through hoops to terminate the relationship!

This is the common mistake of viewing a ring as “Love Insurance.” Sorry Mr. Geco, there is no love insurance, not even with a ring and a legal document. What suffering could be alleviated if we could realize this!

Some also ask if I am concerned that without a ring others will not get the “hint” that my partner and I are unavailable.  It would seem the ring is not only assumed to be an insurance policy but a marker of status, a “reserved” sign on a restaurant table letting all others know to keep walking and find a seat somewhere else. I don’t need a ring to do this, I have a loud mouth and am not afraid to use it, perhaps that is why a ring would not seem sufficient…

As for the assumption that without a legal commitment it is too easy to skip out on a relationship, for some people that may be the case, but I believe it is the nature of the relationship, not its legal status, that counts.

There was one time, briefly, that the thought of marriage occurred to my partner. It wasn’t in the heat of passion or after a fight…it was about 6 years ago when I was first brought to the ER after a serious accident. Upon admission there were a lot of unanswered questions about how serious my injuries were, whether I would be able to work again and what the future would hold for me. Briefly my partner thought about whether marriage would protect my insurance in the event I couldn’t work. This was not necessary however, and our relationship grew through a long and difficult series of transitions in the recovery process. A year later, I spoke to a woman who had gone through a similar health crisis. Her husband could not cope and they were separating. Both were hurt and devastated.

So if you are judging yourself or allowing others’ judgments to influence you, because you don’t have the ring and the paper, rest assured, you are not missing out. If it really makes you feel better, buy yourself a ring, take a piece of paper and write a love letter to someone you care about. Be open to the love you deserve in whatever form it arrives.

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