You Don't Have To Put A Ring On It: Why I Don't Ever Want To Get Married

by Erin Lengas

There wasn’t a defining moment that pushed me over the edge when I decided marriage wasn't for me.

I wasn’t affected by the breakups of Britney and Justin or Brad and Jen. I’m not scarred by some messy divorce in my life; my parents have been married for over 30 years. I’ve also never had a boyfriend abandon me; starting with my first “serious” boyfriend in the fifth grade, I’ve done the breaking up.

Really, I don’t remember ever wanting to get married in the first place. What sounds like a beautiful tradition to some, to me sounds like a trap and a trend that began so long ago as a way to strengthen business relationships between families.

It’s not that I've never dreamed about my special day; I have a perfectly curated wedding board on Pinterest and I know I want a small, oval-shaped engagement ring. I want a strapless dress of silk chiffon in a cream color and I want peonies and Polaroid cameras and flowers in my hair.

That, however, doesn’t reflect my desire to actually be married and bound to someone. I love beautiful things, and a wedding is an amalgamation of all things beautiful, but notice how I never mentioned my perfect spouse.

When I tell people my thoughts -- my mother, my grandmother, a random man named Anthony who unsuccessfully tried to hit on me last week -- I get the same response, and it's never “good for you” or “tell me more.”

According to them, I’ll meet the right person some day who will change my mind, or I’ll suddenly snap out of it because “that’s how men are supposed feel about marriage, not women.”

It’s not that I don’t believe in love or commitment -- I do. I believe in a commitment that two people make in their hearts to each other. No piece of paper or expensive ceremony will make someone stay.

People never stop growing mentally and emotionally. Nobody can confirm that a couple will grow and change together rather than apart, and that uncertainty scares me.

In the best marriages, couples work through struggles and continuously renew their love, but sometimes, don’t you just need to know when to walk away? Is it always worth it to keep fighting a losing battle?

At some point, it’s natural for relationships to end, but the complexities of divorce might keep people from moving on and finding what they truly want.

My idea of relationships is ever-changing. I constantly hover between the thoughts of a cynic and a hopeless romantic, altering my views with every experience.

After dating too many of the boys in my 86-person high school class, I spent my four years at college as a single woman -- if not for a lack of trying. I frequently dated, experimenting with guys who weren’t “my type,” but I was unable to find someone worthy enough to disrupt my independent, single life.

Mid-way through senior year, I started dating my current boyfriend, someone I met early sophomore year and continued to go back to time after time. I love my boyfriend more than I ever thought possible. He’s made me a stronger, more considerate and fair person. Is he The One?

Marriage is an incredibly romantic gesture, and if I’m being honest, I like the thought of him choosing only me. I feel a pressure in my chest when I think about it, but is that a sign that we should commit our lives to one another? How do you ever know?

I’m sure marriage is the right choice for some couples, and it might be right for me someday. However, I wish it were more of an option, like adopting a dog or staying in on a Saturday night,  than an expectation.

I’m told that when you know, you know, and although I’m not sure that rule will apply to me, I’ll keep my mind open if it does.

Photo Courtesy: We Heart It