"How we end up marrying the wrong people"
Feel free to check out this article from The Philospher’s Mail, titled the same as this blog post. (I stole it, shh. Quotes help.)
Or you can read my loose paraphrase below, riddled with my own opinions. Because fancy words used to describe social phenomena are boring. And the more genre fiction I read to de-stress at the end of the day, the more “smart” words confuse me.
We Don’t Understand Ourselves: We don’t actually understand anything, at all. The best theoretical physicists in the world thought they found the God particle—Higgs Boson—recently. So far, it seems to shed no light on well, God. But more importantly, when it comes to marriage, we don’t understand ourselves.
If we’re lucky, by the time we get married we know what sports we like and our favorite kind of protein. And that’s about it. Because it takes so much solitude to know ourselves and so much time and also, a basic IQ number.
And we’re all fucked up. All of us. So it’s important to be able to tell a serious partner how you’re fucked up. But first, you have to know your feelings, unblock your past from your subconscious and figure you out.
We Don’t Understand Other People: You think you know a person, then 30 years later you’re a cautionary tale on Dateline about a marriage ending in murder. It happens, watch Dateline sometime. The point is what we think we know about someone and use to justify years of pointless dating (I mean really, you could’ve married three weeks in and been divorced after a year, hands clean) is only the tiniest, bareliest scratched surface.
And mostly, we lie to get people to like us anyway.
We Aren’t Used to Being Happy: Our ability to choose a partner wisely is muddled very much by the fact that most of us have beaucoup baggage from our childhood. And since we model what love is on those initial relationships, we often chase down situations in which we’re likely to be familiarly miserable (rejected, disdained, condescended to, ignored, bored to death by spoiling) than be unfamiliarly happy.
Being Single is So Awful: Right!? Well, depends on where you are, who are you are and how much you buy into your social media accounts. If you live in bumblefuck and are over 30, never married, being single will suck 1 million times worse than living in a city where you have way more options at any age. If you suck at parties, being single is going to suck a lot more for you than someone who has social skills. Most importantly if you lack self confidence, being single is going to suck no matter where you are. Or what you look like.
In spite of the facts just stated, most of us think being single sucks because we think we’re supposed to think being single sucks because we’re supposed to be married “by now.” Which.is.dumb.
Conclusion: this section is sort of pointless because being single only sucks as much as you make it suck. Or rather, how you make it suck.
Instinct Has too Much Prestige: We like to feel things. We’re very feely animals. We may or may not be more feely than other animals, since we don’t know how to read other animals’ feelings yet. We put a lot of import on how we feel. The article says this is wrong.
I say, feelings are free, so fucking feel them. Just know what they are. And what they’re not.
We Want to Freeze Happiness: Nothing wrong with that. But we think marrying will do it. And it won’t. To use an example from the article, unless you and your spouse can sit and eat gelato on some Venetian canal forever, or whatever moment you decided you were in love, you’re fucked. Happiness is ephemeral. So is sadness.
We Believe We’re Special: It’s funny how each generation has some idea of the proper time to get married. And a vast majority of the members of that generation just happen to find the one right at exactly the time their society tells them to or before. It’s like God sent down his particle and shot it at everyone. Everyone who was special, like you.
We Want to Stop Thinking About Love: Sometimes we just want to wake up next to a body we know how to manipulate, and one who knows how to manipulate ours. A voice we’ve heard before. A smile we value. No surprises.
And then we get bored and get divorced. Appropriately so.
Men Think They’ve Found Someone Sane: There’s really nothing I hate more in female stereotypes than the “crazy” girlfriend/chick. Why this term, which is used and perpetuated by teenagers persists into adulthood is beyond me. Because most of the time a well educated woman who was your “crazy” early twenty-something lover matures (just like you) and acquires diplomacy skills she didn’t have when she was younger.
So when you you’re like I don’t know 28 and you fall for that 34 y/r old woman because she’s just so chill compared to all your exes remember she’s most likely learned diplomacy and self control. Because she’s older. You may have found your soul mate.
Or…you may be losing the real love of your life from Sophomore year in college (or last year) having dumped her because she was just too “crazy.” And instead you settled for the one you think will give you a calmer, easier relationship. Even though crazy also had you crazy in love because of your connection in other areas. And calm has you in like, because there’s no real connection in any area that counts.
We think We Have the Same Life Span As Our Parents And/Or Grandparents: And, drumroll, the number one reason why we get married to the wrong person, in my humble opinion, is because we’re modeling our life expectancy, our years of activity and our years of fertility on the one or two generations right before ours. Which is why it’s important to keep up on technology and current events.
These days people are active and healthy and totally great looking well into their 50s and 60s (if they take care of themselves). It seemed our parents and grandparents had one foot in the grave by then. We think we will too. But we won’t. We’ll most likely live much, much longer and much healthier until we finally kick the bucket, extending our ability to energetically raise kids who were born later in our lives, and still be able to capitalize on watching our grandchildren grow.
And when we’re young, we just can’t see that far ahead. We can’t grasp that living with someone for 65 years is just too damn long in most cases (and that’s still a “late” marriage by many (totally wrong) standards: 35 to dead at 100.) 20 years is too damn long in most cases.
But you just wait, Mr. Higgins, some day people will cluck their tongues with pity and say how sad that living only until 80, being active and healthy only until 48, people were once forced to marry in their 20s or 30s. Like how we pity the child mortality rate of the 18th and 19th centuries.