For some reason, there is this social norm involving marriage.
After you've been dating for an extended period of time (or a few weeks, if you're some celebrities), gotten to know a person and maybe moved in with them, the next step is to marry your significant other.
I've known my girlfriend for seven years now, and we've been dating for six.
That's like a lifetime for two 20-somethings living in New York City with over a million other 20-somethings bursting with sexual energy.
But despite the fast-pace lifestyle of the big city, the temptations surrounding us and the pressures from relatives and society... we're not married.
We don't have plans to get married, and we're happy.
Sure, there are some nice things about being married, but there are some great things about not being married.
Here are just a few:
No wedding costs.
This one kind of depends on your financial background.
I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth, and neither was my girlfriend. Our parents couldn't throw in thousands of dollars for a wedding, so we'd be left with a pretty hefty bill.
It's not something I'm really willing to deal with. I'm already struggling to decide whether I want a roof over my head or food in my belly.
No inherited debt.
You don't have to share a bank account, but a lot of people do when they get married.
That means they also share costs, credit reports, debts and bankruptcies.
I have my bank account, my girlfriend has hers. I have my amazing credit score; she has her mediocre credit score. I have my debts; she has her massive student loans.
While we help each other out sometimes, there's no official obligation that affects each other's financial well-being.
Less fear of unfaithfulness when engaging with the opposite sex.
No, this isn't some weird open relationship thing we're into.
I'm talking about going out with friends and meeting a new person of the opposite sex. Maybe we have a few drinks, talk or even exchange numbers (gasp).
My married friends would never dream of doing this. They all give me a hard time when I do it, but my girlfriend and I do it regularly when the other isn't around. And it's not a problem.
It usually ends with a jab, "Oh, got yourself a new sugar daddy, huh?" but it's nothing serious.
She can still get a guy's number. That just means I have a girl coming home to me whom other guys want.
I guess this doesn't apply to everyone. A lot of people are having kids before marriage, but it's still not the "normal" thing to do.
Once you get married, though, it's "So, when are you going to start having kids?" When you're not married, no one asks that question.
We don't have kids. No one expects us to have kids. Instead, everyone who's married and does have kids tells me how jealous they are that we were able to take a last-minute trip to Europe last spring.
They tell us they're jealous we can go out at night, wake up at noon on weekends and don't have to pay for diapers and daycare. You get the idea.
Having kids means what you want doesn't really matter anymore.
There's no obligation to stay.
Once you're married, you are officially, legally bound to that one person. We don't feel that pressure.
We have a mutual, unspoken understanding that neither of us is obligated to stay in this relationship.
If one of us gets a job across the country or overseas, take it and run with it. If one of us finds someone who is truly better, go to them and be happy. If one or both of us are unhappy with the relationship, cut ties and don't look back.
Of course, neither of us is ready to leave. We've got a good thing going (knock on wood), so why ruin it?
But it's nice to know that, if it does end, we won't have to go through a legal divorce process and the awfulness of knowing we have become another statistic in the staggering divorce rate.
They say marriage isn't for everyone. Right now, it's definitely not for us.