Tag Archives: marriage

Till Things Change Enough that We Should Part

Insights from meditation are notorious for being both obvious and profound at the same time.

One of the key insights Buddhism offers is that “everything changes.” Look anywhere, and it’s obvious this is true. Yet every day, we live life as if this is not true, as if there are things we can count on to last forever.

This is one of my (many) beefs about marriage. “Till death do us part” leaves little room for the change and growth two people might go through in their lives. In the examples of long term marriages I’ve seen, too often it appears to be that one or both people make major sacrifices in their happiness and self-fulfillment in order to maintain the relationship. My independent self chafes at the thought.

Yet I’m also unafraid of the kind of commitment to working through hard places that marriage requires. I have been in several long term relationships which required challenging, emotional conversations. I’ve learned to enjoy digging in to these messy places as “the goods” – this is where trust and intimacy and connection are forged.

My initial forays into online dating have been focused on casual connections with people who seem interesting, attractive, and fun to spend an evening with. My profile is playful, focused on meeting new people, detailed about the activities I’d enjoy having a partner for, short on qualities I possess that might be interesting to people seeking a longer term relationship.

My beefs about marriage have had me turning my nose up at the thought of a long term relationship, something even more than the serial monogamy I’ve practiced most of my life. Yet I have other models. Some friends of mine say that their long-term partnership will remain, as long as it’s still better to be together than to be apart.

On my meditation retreat, James Baraz talked about love and lovingkindness. In his book Awakening Joy, he talks about his marriage, and how his commitment with his wife was to use their relationship as a vehicle for growth. In his talk on love, he asked (as I remember it), “What beliefs do you hold about love that might not be true?”

I was able to see instantly a core belief about relationships. My belief that “Marriage = Stagnation of Self” has had me ignoring all the other forms that long term relationships can take. If I stop believing this is true, what forms of relationships might I really want?

I’m not entirely sure of the answer to that question yet, but I think it’s going to require an entire rewrite to my online dating profile!

Coming Out

I came out to my mother.

In a less conventional way than the normal coming process, of course. I can’t even follow the proper trajectory for a coming out story.

“I don’t think I’m ever going to have a ‘normal’ looking relationship, where I find one person that I want to move in with and have babies with and spend all my time with.” I clarified, “It’s not because I think I can’t have that. I could have had that a hundred times if that’s what I wanted.”

I took another breath before I spoke directly, “I just don’t want a normal long term relationship. It’s not where I want to put most of my energy when I feel like I have so many other things I’m here to do.”

I gauged her body language. The last thing I wanted was to be told, “If you just found the right person, I’m sure you’ll feel differently.” I kept breathing.

She shrugged her shoulders. “You don’t have any of the same pressures that I had growing up, where unmarried women were jeered as spinsters and old maids. You have so much more freedom to choose what you want to do! It’s inspiring that you are doing what you want to do.”

And I know this about my mother, but it still surprises me every time. She revels in the choices I have available to me, and celebrates when I choose the unconventional.

For Your Health: Don’t Say “I Do”

News flash: If you are independent and like to have a lot of control over you life, it might be bad for your health to get married.

“If you look at never marrieds who are high on mastery — they feel like they are in the driver’s seat and in control of their lives — and high on self-sufficiency — they know how to take care of themselves — they actually have better emotional well-being than married people” – Jamila Bookwala, author of a study on people over 40 who never married