Monday, January 02, 2006

Circles Again

**Posted originally on August 23, 2006. I just had to move it.**

I can't help that I liked to be kissed
And I wouldn't mind if my name changed to Mrs.
This is one side, my conventional side
An attraction to tradition
My vintage disposition
My sincere architecture
And I want to cook him dinner

But I'm more indecisive than ever
And who believes in forever?

Like any girl, I've fantasized it about it since childhood. The white dress, the cake, the rings, the veil. And not just the wedding, but the wedded part afterward. It's what I've always wanted. My reasons aren't tangible, I don't have boxes of evidence to back up my appreciation for the state of marriage. I just do. Because I've spent years watching my parents in a blessed union. Because nothing says I love you like a lifetime commitment. It's old fashioned, and antiquated, and probably silly, but it's what I want.

I waited a year to bring it up. Not, Hey, let's get married tomorrow, or even Are you going to marry me. Just Do you want to get married, ever? I start talking about marriage, and he starts spouting off divorce rates. I talk about successes, and he starts talking about his divorced and/or miserably married friends. I tell him he can't base his choices on other people's mistakes. He says we're perfect; why change it?

"But I want to get married one day," I say to the ceiling.

"I don't."


Who will be the one to marry me?

"This doesn't change the way I feel about you. It doesn't put an expiration date on us. I do want to be with you forever, I just don't want to get married." He pleads, almost.

"But I do. Do you realize what you're asking me to give up?"

"You can call me your husband."

"It's not the same."

A girl in the world barking up the wrong tree
A creature conditioned to employ matrimony
Crumbling continuity, I pick up the pieces
The ceremony make me zealous
As the past quickly ceases
Fear from being neutered
I'm now prude, now defensive
Quickly I'm altered and tempted by new love only rented

It's always me who finds the guys that have made the choice, somewhere in their shady pasts or murky presents, that they don't want to get married. Ever. Because it's "just a piece of paper."

"I don't need a piece of paper telling me that I'm committed to you. I already am."

"If you already are, then how does a piece of paper hurt?"

Round and round in circles we go. It's not about fidelity or lack thereof. It's just about making a commitment. About sharing a life. About saying in front of God and all of our friends and family that you want to spend the rest of your life with me.

"We do share a life together," he says, sweeping his long arm to include the bedroom we share, the bed we sleep in every night, the closet and dressers that hold all of our clothes together. It's true, we do. And nothing would change if we got married except for our ring fingers and my last name. But he believes it will change everything.

I try to explain to him that, if marriage isn't even an option, I'll change. And then we won't be perfect any longer.

Do you believe you'll marry me?
You might be the one to marry me?

My friends have all met the guys who wanted to get married. They meet awesome men who love them enough to marry them. Even porn stars get married. But not the men I date. No. They cower at the thought of standing in a church and saying I Do.

And, for some reason, it's me who has to give up ever getting married. Not the guy; he doesn't have to give up not getting married for me.

Back, looking back, looking back at me
I'm not how I used to be
Take me back, take me back into history
Diamond ring, tie me down, just like it used to be

I found the guy once, the guy who wanted to get married. And he wanted to marry me. But it wasn't right. And now I've found the right guy - the most perfect, incredible, amazing guy - and he doesn't want to get married. Everything else is there, just not the vows.

Instead of waiting for him to confirm what I'd already known, believed, I should have gone to him. "Look, I want to get married. If you're dating me, know that you'll eventually have to entertain the notion of marriage. Do with that what you will, but that's the way it is." I should've put him in the position of decision maker. Instead, it's me, sitting in my car, trying to cry, listening to songs that tell my story, trying to figure out what to do: give up marriage, or the man that is truly my other half.

I'm not going to gorge on false hopes this time. I've done that before, and it nearly ate me alive. I won't bother telling myself maybe it will be different with me. Maybe he'll change his mind. None of that. Someone told me before that he didn't want to marry ever, and I took it as a challenge. Billy told me the way he feels, what he believes, and I believe him. But why the fuck am I in this position again?

I love him so much. I just don't know what to do.

Who will be the one to marry me?
Who will be the one to marry me?

I'll say this, though: I'm not going anywhere right now. I just wonder if I'll hate myself for it later.

Song: Marry Me, by No Doubt


portuguesa nova said...

I suspect he'll change his mind. Boys have such a hard time imagining themselves in any other phase of life but the one they are currently enjoying.

I'm reaching my third year with Mr. "It's a Repressive, Archaic Institution that Becomes More Meaningless Every Day" (we always said we wouldn't be married if it weren't for the greencard/immigration issues, however, now that we're having a kid we've decided it would've happened regardless)....Also, I'm not sure if I'm an unusual case, but I think marriage and long-term cohabitation are quite different in a way I can't really explain.

Kat said...

Chica, I know you love him. I know you want to be with him forever. You need to do what makes you happy. I would hate to see you - lets say 6-12 months from now kicking yourself in the ass for wasting your time. But on the other hand, Billy seems like the one. Sounds like you know he's worth the wait. Love is very hard to stumble upon these days. Absorb everything,.. Absorb him.. enjoy it..

Melissa said...

Wow...I was just talking to your mom about all of this the other day...(well about myself and how I get into these situations ALL THE TIME)I'm at the point of giving up. But what I came to realize is that nothing can be just has to happen, but at the same time, if it's right...then there shouldn't be a problem. It's sooo confusing and frustrating, "I know" I"ve been there and back and right now at the point of giving up! I was with a guy for almost 6 years and I loved him with all of my heart and I wanted to be with him "forever" but I ended up leaving him and moving on because "forever never happened...but after a while I felt like I was wasting my what you feel you need to do, but don't wait forever. I could write on forever about this subject, but I know you'll get plenty of comments and I don't want to take up all of your space...Enjoy what you have and take it day by day...but don't wait forever, go with your gut, ALWAYS! If I knew that from day 1, I would be a lot better off!

Kristi said...

Its better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

don't compromise or give up what you believe in. Your dreams.

The paper, the comittment, the ring, DOES change things. It may be only slight for some and huge for others.
you are both asking the same of the other........
you are the only one that can answer your question.
is the answer one that you will look back on with regret.....

Ask youself if you can live with that

Life is too long to live it with regrets

my thoughts are with you

Tiffany said...

I somehow knew... I wish I had some words to offer you that would make it better or easier. You're so much wiser than I was 5 years ago...

At 22 I thought he would change his mind, I mean who wants to get married at 22? And I'm kind of glad I thought that then because I don't regret the 5 years we've spent. Not really.

But it's a hard place to be in now - 5 years later... Feeling like life is passing me by. My friends are finding men who think that they are worth spending the rest of their lives with and getting married and I... I am the forever girlfriend.

I almost don't have any tears left for me - but I seem to have found plenty of tears for you. I'm so sorry.

Anonymous said...

PN, with all due respect, I think you're comparing apples to oranges and it may be a tad easier to say that now that you're happily married. Men differ around the world in their thinking about marriage and furthermore I think most European/Foreign men are very open to marriage, while many American guys are so opposed to it and will try to hold out to singledom for as long as they can....maybe ii's fear. Fear of what I don't know.

Women have this notion of being able to change guys. I am sorry to tell you that it's not going to happen. And as harsh as it may sound, I really doubt Billy will change his mind on this. If he wanted to get married he would have asked Laurie by now. He's got one of the most beautiful(both on the inside and out), simply wonderful, incrediably talented, extremely passionate, women I've ever heard about, telling him that she'd like for them to one day marry and be able to spend the rest of her life with him. This girl is absolutely amazing!

And if it is simple as a piece of paper then they would be married. There is something more and he's not being fair and honest with her. That divorce rate excuse, that is BS and a cop-out! I am surprised anyone would put up with that stuff.

Laurie, sorry you don't live near me, cause I would sweep you off you feet! You are one of kind and an awesome person that only a idiot would let slip away. If you found someone who loved you 1/2 as much as you loved him, you two would be married by now.

Anonymous said...


Sunney said...

I love how anonymous commenters always have such grand things to say, yet don't allow any form of identification of themselves.

Anyway... When I was 25, I was you. Not as cute, as smart or as clever, but the same ideas. Now that I've loved, been married, been divorced and am learning to love again - I have this perspective. Yes, like you, I want to be married. I hold a lot of the same views on it that you do. At the same time, I am learning (the hard way) that nothing, nothing takes the place of loving someone who truly loves you back. If it were me, and it may very well be, I would take the surety of true love over the marriage vows. Squeeze every drop of happiness and joy from that love that you can. If you love him, and love being with him, know that it is rare, very very rare to find someone like that. Cherish it, nurture it and hold onto it.

We all have to make sacrifices of some sort, whether they are relocation, not having children, giving up a job or not getting actually married. There was a time when those things were not even discussable for me, that if I didn't have what I wanted, I was out, knowing I'd be unhappy unless I got it. Now, I've learned that FOR ME, what is important is the magic of finding someone that is my soulmate. We don't know everything about you and Billy. We don't know all the little things. Only you do. But if you feel he is the one for you in your soul, if he is the reason you breathe, don't let go. Here if you need me...

anno said...

That piece of paper can make a huge difference in a lot of ways, financially and legally. That's at least part of the reason why gay rights advocates want to be able to get one.

Balancing heart and head is a lifelong challenge, and all my instincts echo what kat and melissa have said. Be generous with your heart now, but pay attention to your gut. Good luck.

Liz said...

I can't add any words of wisdom that haven't already been said. Just that you are in my thoughts.

The Editter said...

I'm with Sunney - the key is true love, not marriage. George doesn't want to get married again, he told me that early on, and I've never raised the question of marriage since. I might one day, but I don't want it to be a forced thing and I don't want to argue about it.

But I'm also with Portuguesa Nova - I reckon he'll come round to the idea because of your feelings about it. It may take a long time, but as one of my friends said, "I wore him down eventually!" She'd been with her man for 10 years and 2 children before they got married. He swore he never would, but loves it now. The children made a difference.

Anonymous said...

Another one?

Another man that isn't willing to think about a future with you. Or a family, or anything like that. When will you learn? When your heart is broken....Again? When you have spent another 3-4 years hoping and waiting? A woman like you, intelligent, beautiful and sexy, should not have to do that. I see all that you are, how really amazing and wonderful you are, and how you deserve better.......... Why can't YOU see that?

Casey said...

I agree that there's more to this than "it's just a piece of paper." I'm worried for you, in my gut.

I've wondered if this was the case with Billy. I know you have too, for awhile.

The real question is, for this man, can you live the rest of your life never being married? Are you willing to have children (if you want them) out of wedlock? How important is it to you to be a traditional couple/family?

I don't know about you. But for me, it's not only important... it's necessary.

theotherbear said...

Hmm. That's a tough one.

I think if I were you I would sit down with Billy and say to him "I know you don't want to get married. But I really, really do. I need you to agree to think about it, and commit to discussing it again in 6 months and see if we both feel the same way."

However, it is very easy to sit on the other side of the PC and spout how much better I'd deal with this if I were you. Which is not how I meant that advice, by the way.

I hope it all works out the way you want.

reddirtroad said...

At least you waited a year, I sprung my "life goals" on The Beau immediately because I knew he was a longterm bachelor and I wanted to get it out into the open. As I suspected, he really only wanted the sex and a very casual bootycall relationship and look what he got. But if you are irresistible, you will win. In my experience, this is how it will go down for you.

You will say "I don't mean right now, of course, but just think about it." He will say "No way. It's not in my cards."

Then a week later you will say "I'm not saying tomorrow, of course, but I'm just warning you that one day I will want to." He will say "Well, I'm a world traveller, I've seen it all. My parents blah blah or my friend's parents blah blah. I have just never wanted to."

Then two weeks later you will say "Not right now, but I want you to know that one day I want to get married. If you didn't want to get married you should have told me in the beginning." And he will say "And you should have assumed that I didn't want to get married because we never talked about it."

THEN two months later, when you are constantly fighting (not about marriage but about everything but marriage) you will begin to see the change begin. He will become a real asshole you will still want to be with him. So you stay with him. Right up until the point where you can't take any more of it and you then you will still stay. Then you will break up. Then you will move out.

ONLY THEN, at the prospect of losing the only girl who will put up with his bullshit, will he deem you worthy enough to "maybe" one day call you his w-word.

Then you will move back in and life will be peachy. You will buy a house and buy a dog. During this time you will be saying things like "Babe, you better enjoy this impromtu sex on the dining room table because when we have kids things will be a bit different." He'll think about it and say "Whatever! The sex better not end when we are married and have kids."

Then you will know you have him. ;)

Leandra said...

Hey Laurie,

I cannot begin to imagine how you feel. We all know it's not just a piece of paper. It's a scary thing.

But please don't make a decision in this stressful time. Don't even think about it! All in all, it really hasn't been that long since you've moved in together, right? At least not to me, I guess it's all in your opinion of what is a long time.

Let the storm pass, then do some serious thinking. You are young. You are beautiful. And things are going great anyhow, right?

portuguesa nova said...

I can't figure out who, amongst these people who are questioning if he loves you as much as you love him, is a blog reader and who knows you and Billy in real life....and amongst both categories who has a crush on you (!).

What guy asks a girl to move in when he's not serious?...besides a guy who needs someone to split the rent or who is gay.

Especially at this phase of life, people change. A lot. Is one year of dating really long enough to chalk things up as a waste of time or a lost cause? I recently came across some e-mails that my now husband and I had written to each other after a couple of years of dating and if our names hadn't been on the e-mails, I would have not even recognized them as being written by us.

As for own experience with Western Euros (I have a large group of foreign friends, though most are either Brits or Ibericans--and all middle class) is that they are much less into marriage, often buying houses together and living togehter. Marriage only comes when it's time to have kids.

Jasika said...

Oh honey, NO!

That is all B.S. I havent read through all of the comments so forgive me if Im repeating.

From what I've read about you and Billy, you two seem to have a strong, loving relationship. So much so that I've been envious of your words.

But marriage is HUGE. I could never compromise that for anyone. Like my religion, my identity. There are things that should not be sacraficed. Especially something as important as this. We're not talking about have a birthday party or celebrating Valentines Day.

Let me put it how I know it: Sex and the City- Big. Carrie. Natasha. enough said.

I dated a man for 3 years who I absolutely adored. We're great friends now and thats how we were in our relationship as well....BEST friends. He had initially told me he never wanted to get married or to have children because of his parents' divorce. I waited. We fell more and more in love and he yo yo-ed with the idea and would say things like "I want to name our son Issac" or "I am NOT moving to so and so when we get married". More time passed, comfort set in, problems happened and he was back where he started. "I. AM. NEVER. GETTING. MARRIED.". It was like a knife through my heart. He's been with his current gf for about 3 years. He celebrated his 30th birthday in May and when I ask him when he's going to propose - he stands true "never". I still wonder years later if i did the wrong thing ending it, because he is so amazing. The difference is...I wasnt willing to stick around to find out that I was right.

kate said...

i wish i could give you a hug right now. that's pretty much all i have to offer. i have no words of wisdom.

RC666 said...

I stumbled over from Jasika so I don't know the whole story but being in the same shoes as your guy I feel the need to throw in my 2 cents. Guys are all different. I have been divorced and said that I was never going to get married until I found the girl I am with now. At first our conversations were like yours but then I realized and told her that I will marry her someday. But I told her it won't be for a couple years. I want to make sure this time as she should that we are not gonna end up getting divorced again. So he may change his mind and he may not. Like most said before it's just a question of if you're willing to stick around and see. It really is a tough call.