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Single Ladies and Wedding Fever

Full Disclosure: The following is a rant in the eternal quest to figure out what I want in my life.  Just remember that you don’t have to read it if you don’t like it.

I was reading February’s Marie Claire yesterday and came across an article in the “Love/Sex” section about unengaged women (many single) who are planning out their weddings entirely.  I was surprised to find that a lot of the women interviewed were in their mid to late 20s (my age.)  One woman bought two different engagement ring settings while another had designed invitations and picked out her dress.  I understand that most women fantasize about their weddings by picking out flowers or locations or flipping through bridal magazines to look at the dresses, but many of the women interviewed had completely designed their weddings down to the invitations (one woman designed three different options!)  According to the article, on the popular wedding website theknot.com, the “Not Engaged Yet” message board is the second most popular.  This is a board just to discuss the pain of not being engaged yet.  So why are women so obsessed with their future weddings?  Note, these women are planning out the wedding day, not the marriage.

Before I go any further, I should mention that I have never been the wedding girl.  I’m often more of a romantic than I would like to admit, and I’ve thought about dresses, but generally the thought of planning a wedding gives me the chills.  I’ve been in one wedding and am currently in another one so I have a good idea of what goes into the planning.  To be honest, I’m not really looking forward to it.  I don’t care about most of the little details and don’t believe that it will be “the best day of my life.”  That being said, obviously I have thought about it at least a little bit.  I think that in our society, you’re surrounded by it so it’s hard not to.  I’ve been to the weddings of multiple couples of friends and have others in the future.  When it’s all around you, it’s almost impossible not to think “How would I plan my wedding?” or “How would I do it differently than this bride?”  And I feel the pressure to get married.  I’m 27 years old and haven’t dated anyone in five years, so of course I feel the pressure.  My question is where does that pressure come from?  Espeicially since there’s a big part of me that wonders if I even want marriage and kids.   In November 2011, there was a lot of discussion of an essay in The Atlantic, “All the Single Ladies” by Kate Bolick about the fact that women no longer need to get married.  We can be financially independent and have successful careers that we love.  We can create our own families of friends and lovers and have children with donated sperm.  Marie Claire claims that because we no longer need marriage for financial stability, we have romanticized the institution to the point where it represents the ultimate form of happiness.  Apparently, 51% of college-educated women believe married people are happier than single.  Why do we believe that they’re happier when the divorce rate is so high?

So what’s bugging me so much about the Marie Claire article?  I guess it’s because of the pressure I’ve been feeling to date which partially comes from the pressure to get married.  It’s one of the reasons I’ve been spending more and more time on okcupid lately despite my hatred of online dating.  It makes me crazy that I can enjoy being single so much (doing what I want, when I want) and still have this extreme desire to just…have someone.  Like I’m not a whole person because I’m not in a romantic relationship.

And that desire is why I’m going to continue with online dating (and real life dating.)  I will not, however, start planning my wedding yet.



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