Single Purpose?

More women are single today (51 percent vs. 35 percent in the 1950s) than any time in recent history. Women are marrying later when they do marry. There is a new book on the subject, Now and Not Yet, that tackles being single from a conservative Christian viewpoint. I'm reluctant to broach anything having to do with God, but I'm going to try to do this topic justice anyway.

The author is Jennifer Marshall, director of domestic policy studies at the Heritage Foundation, living in Arlington, Va. In the book's introduction, she writes "Life is about more than marital status, and singleness is more than a holding pattern. This book is about redeeming the time between now and the not yet for which we hope." In a Washington Times interview, she explains "Today women have all kinds of career opportunities, but obstacles seem to be in the way of finding lasting love. Feminism has complicated relations between the sexes and created more confusion about singleness...Extended singleness has caused spiritual doubts...churches [are] family-oriented and [single women find] it hard to fit into the spiritual community at their church."

Okay, some valid points here. I imagine single women feel a bit odd sometimes at conservative churches that focus on family values; it's important for those congregations to welcome everyone. Being single -- temporarily or permanently -- offers many rewards. However, I know many people who are too busy living their lives to think about "the not yet for which we hope." Laying blame on feminism for "complicating" relations between the sexes? (My view is that intimate relationships are inherently ridiculously complex and that feminism threw a twig on a bonfire for some -- and for me, feminism made the whole thing a lot simpler.) Singleness causes spiritual doubts? (Never heard or experienced that one before.)

The subtext here seems to be that it's okay to be single for a short time, and wrestle with what the author considers a no-woman's land in between childhood and marital bliss. But beware, says Marshall: Being single is so daunting that women on their own for too long are in deep trouble. (No word on whether single men are also at risk.)

My times of being a single, adult woman -- in my early 20s between college and my first marriage, and the years immediately following my divorce -- are among the richest, most carefree periods in my life. Work, friends, dating and travel filled my days to bursting. My life didn't lack "purpose" and I didn't feel that I was living in the "unexpected in between," as Marshall describes this period. I especially cherished the luxury of leisure time: not having to rush out of the office or the gym or the supermarket to relieve the babysitter or meet my husband's train. And being single was certainly far better than being miserably married.

What's your view? What are the pros, cons and opportunities of being married vs. being single? Would you be happy living forever in the "unexpected in between?" Isn't it inherently biased to call single life an "in between" phase? Why or why not?

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  June 21, 2007; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Moms in the News
Previous: Skating Beyond Exercise Fits and Starts | Next: Yum, Yum!


Add On Balance to Your Site
Keep up with the latest installments of On Balance with an easy-to-use widget. It's simple to add to your Web site, and it will update every time there's a new entry to On Balance.
Get This Widget >>


Comments

Please email us to report offensive comments.



First!

Posted by: NewSAHM | June 21, 2007 7:16 AM

I was 20 when I met the boy who is now my husband, and we've been together ever since. I've always thought that having met him when we were young was one of the luckiest things that ever happened to us. We were able to spend our 20s building a life together and working for our future goals.

That said, I don't think that being single is a bad thing. And to treat is as an "in between" phase implies that the single person isn't living a whole life. I think such an attitude sells people short.

Posted by: NewSAHM | June 21, 2007 7:21 AM

Single is good...married is good. Whatever works for you. Personally I could not imagine not coming home to my wife every night and spending our lives together.

Posted by: HappyDad | June 21, 2007 7:45 AM

Would you be happy living forever in the "unexpected in between?" I don't consider my life as stagnant waiting for a man to make it complete...how insulting and condescending.
My life is very full and very satisfying with work, friends, family. Apparently, I am supposed to be miserable and rabidly searching for a man to marry.
I choose to be single. I date but have not found anyone with whom I would want to be in a longer term relationship. I decided long ago that I would rather be happy alone than simply in a relationship because that is what I am "supposed to do".
Yes, sometimes I do feel like the odd man out but the joys of my life much outweigh any sorrows.

Posted by: Single by Choice | June 21, 2007 7:45 AM

I can't believe it, I agree with everything Leslie said today!!

Posted by: experienced mom | June 21, 2007 7:45 AM

Once again, implied male bashing by Leslie. If single is so good and marriage (and children) bring so many complications into life, just stay single!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 7:50 AM

Experienced Mom - I'll try to come up with something you disagree with!

Posted by: Leslie | June 21, 2007 7:51 AM

I know I'm biased in my response because I don't look to the church for any direction in my life, least of all my personal life.

However, it makes sense a single woman would feel like an outcast within a Christian religion, seeing as how one of their goals is to pretty much go forth and procreate. Kinda hard to do that when it's just you.

I see nothing wrong with being single. Before I was married, my days of living on my own and attending college were some of my best. Everyone just needs to 'do life' on their own time.

Posted by: Just wonderin' | June 21, 2007 7:52 AM

What percentage of single women are widows?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 7:59 AM

What got me is this: "Singleness causes spiritual doubts? (Never heard or experienced that one before.)"

Seems to me that what causes spiritual doubts is a church culture that tells women that their only purpose in God's eyes is to find a man and bear his children. The irony of Ms. Marshall writing a book to help people deal with the very doubts that her culture instills is beyond words.

I'm luckly that my mom raised me to believe that my "purpose" was to live a productive life following my dreams; if the right man came along, that would just make an already-rich life that much richer. Yes, I wanted very much to find the right man and fall in love, and I ultimately did. But it never occurred to me that before that happened, I was just passing time waiting for my real life to begin, or that that period of my life was so critically flawed that it needed to be "redeemed." To reach back to the 80s, gag me with a spoon.

Posted by: Laura | June 21, 2007 8:04 AM

Why is it when somebody tells the truth - being a single woman is easier that being a wife and mother - it's man bashing? I was called a man-hater for years because I wouldn't settle. I wanted a man who could do two things - 1. treat me like my dad treated my mom - with respect and 2. make it worth the added responsibility. When I was in my 30's, I finally did. He's wonderful and makes it all worth it.

Thank God, my 1950's-housewife-mom was such a feminist. She made sure all of her girls were educated and self-sufficient so we didn't "need" a man but would be equal with our husbands. It's a shame that a lot of men haven't caught on that this is a good thing.

Posted by: SAHM | June 21, 2007 8:06 AM

Leslie - did you read the book? It's obvious from your post that you're not the targeted audience and completely missed the point. The author is trying to help singles deal with the spiritual aspect of being single. When I was in my twenties, I also had a very full life with work, friends, travel, classes, etc. But I also found it difficult to just live for myself and struggled to find a way to better develop my spiritual life as a single. I think singles, especially those who've never married, tend to think that getting married makes spriritual life easier because you now have someone to sacrifice for, share with and practice loving. I know now that it's not necessarily easier when you're married, but nevertheless, I don't deny that single people of faith (especially conservative Christians because of the standards they put upon themselves) struggle to grow their spiritual life. When you say that you never heard of or experienced spiritual doubts about singleness it says to me that you're probably not very spiritual and probably haven't or don't practice a religion faithfully. I think the book speaks more to the targeted audience, i.e. the conservative Christians or others faithfully practicing their faith who firmly believe that a full life is a life lived for God and all that entails.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 8:08 AM

On being pressured to marry...my younger brother is single. My parents really, really, really want him to find a nice girl and get married (not so bad that they would condone his marrying hastily and thoughtlessly, but you get the idea). I happen to agree with them.

His life right now is exactly what many have described...limitless, full of possiblities, no constraints from children or spouse, carefree. And he flounders in all that mental room and time he's got. It's like he's got so many choices that he's paralyzed and can't make a choice (and he's not real happy with this indecision). Getting married would constrain him in some ways, but I think a little less wide-open choice would get him into a groove. Kinda like when you have a huge, wide corridor with a ton of people and no limitations on where they can go...they go everywhere, every which way, total gridlock and chaos. Put a couple of aisles in that space, and everyone gets organized and gets moving more easily.

My $.02...

Posted by: librarylady (married) | June 21, 2007 8:08 AM

I don't usually comment on the blogs however this time I do seem to fit the profile. I am a single 27-year old female living in the deeeep south. My coworkers find it almost shocking that I 1) have managed to not have kids yet; and 2) have yet to settle down with a serious guy. I don't attend a regular church however as a musician rotate between a number of churches in the area. I have found that churches put a great deal of pressure on young people to be married with the subtle implication that to be happy and single is somehow...wrong. I think that if I was a regular attendee of one of these houses of worship, I too would feel a "spiritual doubt." In my own personal experience however, I find I am lonliest and most spiritually doubtful when I have been dating someone for an extended period of time. Sure, I might have commitment fears, but I also don't think I contradict myself in quite the same fashion as Ms. Marshall does in her introductory remarks.

Posted by: SingleGirl4 | June 21, 2007 8:09 AM

"I know I'm biased in my response because I don't look to the church for any direction in my life, least of all my personal life."

For very good reasons. "There is a new book on the subject, Now and Not Yet, that tackles being single from a conservative Christian viewpoint". Jesus was a bachelor!

Most women end up single at the end of their lives. Is that period in life another "unexpected in between"? Are these gals living without a purpose in life?

Stupid, stupid, stupid!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 8:18 AM

"Unexpected in between"? What a ridiculously facile statement. Every stage in life is "in between" something and something else - most obviously, birth and death.

I also find it interesting that the "in between" she talks about is childhood and marriage. The attitude still exists that you're not a "real" adult until you're married. For instance, I didn't receive most family invitations addressed to my home until after I'd married at 27. Not because I wasn't invited, but because I was included in my parents' invitations, despite the fact that I lived 500 miles away in another state.

Here's my advice for single women to counter all the idiotic "rules" advice out there. Make important decisions, buy a house, travel on your own, dine out alone - generally, act like an independent adult who isn't waiting around for a partner to make life "real." By all means, stay open to relationships and marriage, if that's what you want, but realize that whether you marry or not, being a single adult is not an audition. Ultimately, you'll be happier, less desperate, and be a more attractive mate to the kind of person you want to attract.

Posted by: Not A Mom | June 21, 2007 8:19 AM

I'd be interested in seeing how women who remained single through their 30s feel about this topic. Certainly, being single beats being in a bad relationship, but I'm not so sure that Leslie's rich, carefree years of being single "in [her] early 20s between college and [her] first marriage, and the years immediately following [her] divorce" are, at their core, significantly different than Jennifer Marshall's implied "being single for a short period of time is okay." To me, it sounds as though the time Leslie was single was merely a short period of time. Maybe for those women in my mother's generation and a half generation ahead of me, a few years of singledom seems long, but for single, never married women who are now hitting their early and mid-thirties, those years just seem like time spent finding oneself. I'd also be willing to bet that many of the peers of those generations were going through the same things....marriage, children, divorce, finding oneself, second marriage, etc. Having friends with whom to share experiences is invaluable. The reality for those of us who are in our thirties and never married is that we have to work hard to maintain existing and forge new friendships (and hobbies and so on) to keep our lives full because our married peers begin to orbit in new circles. We're just in different stages of life: to the extent that "everyone" gets married at some point, then sure, we are in a holding pattern.

Posted by: Single Sorta by Choice | June 21, 2007 8:21 AM

"I think singles, especially those who've never married, tend to think that getting married makes spriritual life easier because you now have someone to sacrifice for, share with and practice loving."

Boo hoo for the poor singles.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 8:22 AM

I met my husband when I was 29. I'd been dating for 14 years at that point. It was fun to get dressed up and go to great restaurants, shows and games with some new guy. Dating is fun. It was fun to wonder if "he" would call or when we'd kiss. It is better being married, though. I am married to my best friend. He is my top concern every minute of every day.

Single people need to remember that being single ONLY means that you have not lucked into or had the opportunity to meet someone you want to be with long term. It does not mean you are inadequate. It does not mean you are not attractive. You dont "deserve" a life mate anymore than you "deserve" lots of money, a great car, a huge house or a satisfying lucrative job. Some folks get those things thru hard work, luck, family relations and other folks dont. For some reason, we treat the life mate like something that you should keep a watch out for and when you are deserving or lucky enough--that mate will just appear. Wrong. We are all on a path. Keep going and see what happens.

My one piece of specific dating/potential marriage advice: agree on money. If you dont have similar retirement, saving and spending goals then you are going to be in trouble. My husband and I are very similar with money. That is good because the number one thing about being married is you will share your money with him and plan for retirement with him. You better trust him and the choices he likes to make or you will have problems. And you already know those choices since you have been in his car, his house (or apt.), seen his clothes and been out to dinner when he tips a waitress.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 8:23 AM

I see what you're saying, librarylady, but marriage may not be the answer. I have a sister that's sounds exactly like your brother, and when she got married, all that did was add one more "wanderer" to her pack.

The key here is if they marry someone who lives a life YOU'D like your brother to live, but more often than not, wanderers seem to seek out -- and find and marry -- other wanderers, and then the problem's doubled.

Posted by: Just wonderin' | June 21, 2007 8:24 AM

I wonder if she includes advice for how to remain abstinent until marriage for all those 30 year old single Christian conservatives. It's easy to preach abstinence until marriage when everyone gets married at 19. Feels a bit strange waiting another 10-15 years just to have sex.

Posted by: momster | June 21, 2007 8:27 AM

I think the "spiritual doubts" thing is something that affects both male and female people who are religious. It's just a fact that you see all these happily married people and there is a feeling "why not me? What is G-d's plan for me?" I'm not surprized that Leslie didn't experience this because she wasn't single for very much of her adult life! Talk with people who have never been married and are in their late thirties and regardless of religious affiliation, I think you will have a lot of them admit that there is some spiritual doubt. Perhaps the problem is that I have a broader view of what is spiritual that Leslie and others? For example, I would consider statements like "I wonder if my 'one and only' was killed in a war or something before I met him and that is why I'm still unmarried at 39" as a spiritual statement. Leslie and others, does this also strike you as expressing "spiritual" sentiment?

From what I've seen with friends and family who are unmarried, it DOESN'T matter if you are religious or not-- being single can be very painful. People who are religious may use different words when expressing their feelings about it, but both groups are equally affected. i concur that Ms. MArshall's words "gag me with a spoon", but the religious people in my life, both men and women who are single are more likely to seem at peace about it than my non-religious friends. (Almost too "que sera, sera" ""if's it's God's will . . . ", yadda, yadda, yadda for my taste!)

In fact, it is possible that being religious actually gives them greater comfort in the moments of doubt and fear than those who are not religious.

Posted by: Jen S. | June 21, 2007 8:27 AM

"When you say that you never heard of or experienced spiritual doubts about singleness it says to me that you're probably not very spiritual and probably haven't or don't practice a religion faithfully."

I disagree with this. I think that this book doesn't just speak to a religious point of view; it speaks to a very specific religious point of view that not everyone shares. I come from a religious tradition (Catholicism) that insists that its clergy be not only single, but celibate (stow the smart remarks about pedophilia, please).

There are plenty of religious traditions out there that don't place the priority on couplehood that this particular type of evangelical Protestantism does, so don't make the mistake of thinking that someone who doesn't have spiritual problems with remaining single isn't necessarily religious.

Posted by: Lizzie | June 21, 2007 8:30 AM

Jen S.

"In fact, it is possible that being religious actually gives them greater comfort in the moments of doubt and fear than those who are not religious."

And maybe it doesn't. What does it have to do with being single?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 8:31 AM

I wonder if "single" is defined here the way it is defined on all those forms. You are in either the married, divorced, widowed, or single box. So single here means "never married."

I do wonder about all those people who are in deeply committed relationships. I'm sure they don't consider themselves single. I bet they also get a lot of flack for not conforming to "right" relationship by getting married.

I bet a lot of the spiritual angst about being single comes from having sex without marriage. For divorced singles, they feel ostracized by the church. Lots of churches have singles groups. My mom's church has an over 40s singles group. Of course the church envisions it as a matchmaking service, but it helps singles feel at home.

Personally, I never wanted to be married. I thought it was a silly piece of paper that could never define what I feel. But the man who is now my husband convinced me. Would I be as happy without the license? Absolutely. Our life together would be exactly the same (minus the wedding presents). But to him, and to lots of other people I bet, it means so much more.

Lastly, and back on topic, implying that being single is a "stage" or an in between time is insulting. Living your life for the future means you're never living in the moment. If you're convinced that you won't be whole until you marry, you won't be.

Posted by: Meesh | June 21, 2007 8:31 AM

It all comes down to sex. If you want to experience the most intimate communication known to mankind, you are a good candidate for marriage. However, the sacred bond of marrige includes a lot of work, responsibility and a serious, life long commitment.

If you are not interested in sex or have problems cultivating close relationships, or no desire to procreate, staying single is probably be your best prescription for happiness.

Sex and marriage, which go together like bread and butter, is not for everyone!

Posted by: Lil Husky | June 21, 2007 8:33 AM

The modern Catholic Church supports being single as a lifestyle choice. Please don't lump all Christians into one category.

Posted by: experienced mom | June 21, 2007 8:36 AM

Spirituality is a crock.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 8:38 AM

Jen S.

"In fact, it is possible that being religious actually gives them greater comfort in the moments of doubt and fear than those who are not religious."

And maybe it doesn't. What does it have to do with being single?

--------------

sorry I thought the fact that I was talking about single people was pretty much implied-- i.e. "I think it is possible that being religious actually gives SINGLE people more comfort . . . "

I'm just basing this on comparing my single friends in their late thirties-- many are religious, many are not. Both groups have moments of joy and aof pain in their singleness, but the religious folk are overall much less distraught during the low points and more happy, less cynical about the high points.

Posted by: Jen S. | June 21, 2007 8:41 AM

Experienced Mom and Other Catholics -

That may be the official church line NOW, but it is not the message young Catholics I knew in college and pre-marriage took home, nor is it the message young and not-so-young singles I know now get. The pressure to marry may not be theologically correct anymore, but it still exists and is cloaked in religious/spiritual terms by clergy and lay people.

Posted by: Not a Mom | June 21, 2007 8:42 AM

Leslie, I think you're missing something about the feminism comment, though I can't speak for the author and what she meant.

In a sense, feminism DID make things more complicated, though that doesn't mean it was wrong. Before feminism, it was assumed that the husband would be the breadwinner and the man had his set duties. Women had set duties, different from the man's, as well. This may not have been right, but it was easier. When you got married, you knew whose job was the "important" one and knew that, if the job moved, the family was going to follow the husband's job.

As I said, this wasn't right, though it was simpler.

Posted by: Ryan | June 21, 2007 8:47 AM

One other thing. My older brother is single at 30. He doesn't have a girlfriend. Right now, he's working and getting his Ph.D. I think it's more important for him to deidcate his time to that than chasing girls around to find one to marry.

Of course, I want him to find someone to love for the rest of his life. I couldn't care less if he never marries.

His group of friends includes three married couples (including me and DH) and about 10 singles. We all value these friendships equally.

Posted by: Meesh | June 21, 2007 8:48 AM

Single women looking for a mate at church is not far-fetched. Every church I am affiliated with (attended previously, currently attend, community ties) has a singles group, one of which is so active and well-attended that it atracts hundreds of single 20-60 somethings a week.

As for Leslie feeling "free and carefree" during her single periods - well, gee - join the rest of us. Yes, being single in comparison to a crappy relationship is good. Being able to workout, go to happy hour, work late, sleep in - all very nice. What Jennifer Marshall may have been getting at is that women that are widowed, divorced (not by choice) or lonely view single life as hard. I don't see anything strange about that at all. I have had those lonely periods, although they were short-lived, and I don't think that is unusual. If Leslie were to divorce now after being "happily married" perhaps her opinion would change.

If you have found peace in your single life I could not be happier for you and I don't think Jennifer is speaking to you in her writings. Unfortunatly I know quite a few "lonely" divorced women, women in their 30's that have not found Mr. Right and elderly women that are lonely and sad.

Posted by: cmac | June 21, 2007 8:51 AM

The other day I met the most awesome single woman- a respected academic in her field, she had been living in various places overseas, traveling, etc, and now she has found that she has so many clients in her side consulting business that she's leaving academia and heading off to an exotic city to set up her own office.

What a wonderful life she has made for herself! She seemed quite happy and excited about her future. I doubt she's up at 3 am crying about not having a husband or children, as our society imagines that single women must do.

No, it's not the life for me (I'm not nearly as talented as she is anyway) but I am glad that women can make choices like this if they want- thank you feminism.

Posted by: randommom | June 21, 2007 8:53 AM

"Unfortunatly I know quite a few "lonely" divorced women, women in their 30's that have not found Mr. Right and elderly women that are lonely and sad."

So who would buy this book?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 8:54 AM

I'm single, and I've never had any doubts about my spirituality--oh, wait, never mind, haha, I believe in "tarotcardism." My spirituality is invalid to begin with. ;-)

In all seriousness, I wouldn't have a problem staying single until late in life. I would like to marry Mr. Mona someday, but if it doesn't happen, I would mourn losing him more than I would mourn a potential marriage.

To the person who said you must agree on money, I couldn't agree more. Mr. Mona and I don't disagree on money, but the fact is he knows how to use it, and I only know how to spend it. I know one could perpetuate a horrible stereotype about women spending their husbands' money here, but honestly, I never learned how to invest wisely or save for the future; the attitude in my family and community was "I have it now, and I'm going to spend it now" and "you can't take it with you." Having grown up in poverty anyway, this is not an attitude conducive to fiscal solvency.

Luckily, BF is a whiz with numbers, money, investments, etc. He's teaching me all those things I should have learned in high school and college about wise financial decisions. (Some are common-sense things, but as we all know, common sense is not common.) I know he's concerned about my spending habits, especially because he makes a great deal more than I do at this point and invests wisely, and I can't blame him for not wanting to bail me out if I make a stupid decision.

This is a major problem for us (me, actually), since the #1 thing marrieds fight over is money. I'd like to reach a point where he can hand over the family finances to me and feel confident that I won't screw anything up. I'm not trying to insult myself here, but I know my strengths, and good financial habits are not among them. Luckily, BF is patient and caring enough to teach me everything I need to know.

I really don't know where I'm going with this, except to agree with the above poster about agreeing on money. Coincidentally, I have some serious financial issues I have to deal with ASAP, so I'm signing off for now. Everyone have a great day, and maybe I'll see you in the afternoon. :-)

Posted by: Mona | June 21, 2007 8:54 AM

Momster,

Somehow, I don't think those conservative Christians who are single and in their 30's are really honoring that "don't have sex until you get married" mantra.

The single friends I have aren't really worrying about why they aren't married; if they find the right person, then it will happen, but if they don't, then they're OK with that too. It seems to me that they don't feel the pressure to marry the first man (or woman) they find that's "good enough", so they are more selective.

Posted by: John L | June 21, 2007 8:54 AM

"Unfortunatly I know quite a few "lonely" divorced women, women in their 30's that have not found Mr. Right and elderly women that are lonely and sad"

There are millions of MARRIED people who are lonely and sad!

Happiness is largely a matter of choice!

Posted by: Elaine | June 21, 2007 8:56 AM

I'm a single woman in my early 30s. I have to agree with what Jennifer Marshall says about fitting into the community at church. I belong to a Catholic church in NOVA, and I often feel lost or left out when I attend mass. Just about everything at this parish is family oriented, and to be honest, it's hard sometimes to walk in there, sit alone, and watch all the new parents with their babies share in their religion. It's a very lonely feeling in the middle of a place that's supposed to feel the most welcoming.

I think what it comes down to though is if, as a single person, you're in that time of your life where you've started to think about the "Not Yet." I imagine that someone who is truly happy in their singleness wouldn't see it this way.

Posted by: LV | June 21, 2007 8:59 AM

Feminism may have allowed women to be single longer, but I don't think that's bad. Instead of women choosing poor mates in their early twenties, for fear they might lose their "bloom", they can now wait until they find a decent match.

Some single people would rather be married and others wouldn't. I think after one's friends start having kids it's hard to be single, from the point of view that those friends are preoccupied with other things, and have other priorities. I think a primary difficulty of being single is the fear of having no support in a situation where you are sick or hospitalized or something. There ought to be a system in place, sort of a "surrogate family" provision in the law, where one can choose people who would have access to you in the hospital, etc. Gays have been fighting for this for years, but really all those who are not married (in the legal sense) should have some mechanism available to allow them to have access to this kind of support.

Posted by: m | June 21, 2007 9:04 AM

One poster wrote "I think the book speaks more to the targeted audience, i.e. the conservative Christians or others faithfully practicing their faith who firmly believe that a full life is a life lived for God and all that entails."

My question - why does a life lived for G-d, by definition, involve marriage? I am 33 years old, and long ago decided I'd rather be happily single than unhappy as half of a couple. Not that I'm closed off to the idea, but my life isn't on hold until I find that someone special. And a life lived for G-d, to me, means being ACTIVELY ALIVE! Yes, I give back to the community with a variety of projects, including as a mentor for the last 4 years. Yes, I have a close, loving relationship with my family, and actively share in their lives. Yes, I am emotionally there for my friends, supporting them in their choices and challenges, and appreciating them as they do the same for me. Isn't that really what G-d asks of us? To be good, honorable people who contribute to the betterment of the world? There is no commandment that says you must marry and have children. And in today's world, there are many children in need of a parent, single or otherwise. So if parenting is important, you can have a drastic impact on the life of one or more children, providing a safe loving home, and still be single. And no matter what any religious text or leader says to that - I think that the best thing we can do to be spiritually fulfilled is to know that we make a positive impact. And adopting a child is one of the biggest sacrifices and committments and impacts someone can make.

I can't see spiritual fulfillment coming from marriage specifically. And religious leaders who consider singles, especially single woman, as somehow less valid or valuable than married individuals, are comitting a great sin, devaluing the life of another and causing doubt, instead of reminding people that we are all loved.

Posted by: Jewish perspective | June 21, 2007 9:05 AM

Single or married, I believe people are most content with their lives when they feel they are fulfilling their "mission" in life. Why are you here? Is it to party, have fun, amass toys? If it is, and you're doing that, you'll be content whether you are single or married, and no one -- family, friends or church -- has any business criticizing you or pressuring you to live your life according to *his* idea of what your "mission" is.

Kay Hymowitz, of the City Journal, has written a book entitled, "Marriage and Caste." The thesis of her book may be found in a City Journal article on the Web:

http://www.city-journal.org/html/16_1_marriage_gap.html

Here is an excerpt:

"Educated, middle-class mothers tend to be dedicated to what I have called The Mission, the careful nurturing of their children's cognitive, emotional, and social development, which, if all goes according to plan, will lead to the honor roll and a spot on the high school debate team, which will in turn lead to a good college, then perhaps a graduate or professional degree, which will all lead eventually to a fulfilling career, a big house in a posh suburb, and a sense of meaningful accomplishment.

"It's common sense, backed up by plenty of research, that you'll have a better chance of fully 'developing' your children--that is, of fulfilling The Mission--if you have a husband around. Children of single mothers have lower grades and educational attainment than kids who grow up with married parents, even after controlling for race, family background, and IQ. Children of divorce are also less likely to graduate and attend college, . . ." (Kay Hymowitz)

If your idea of your "mission" in life agrees with Kay Hymowitz's, then you will be happier getting and staying married than you will be remaining single or getting divorced. If your idea of your "mission" does not include children at all, let alone maximizing their "educational attainment," then her advice simply does not apply to you.

I married late in life because I waited until I found the right one to ask. I was not happy being single, but I would have been a lot unhappier had I married, say, my college girlfriend just for the sake of being married (and so would she have been unhappy). Don't let anyone in church or family pressure you -- no marriage is better than a bad marriage.

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | June 21, 2007 9:09 AM

Our society isn't necessarily marriage - minded anymore. The "rules" surrounding marriage (commitment until death do us part) don't seem to apply anymore. It is married until we get into a bad spot in the marriage and then we can divorce and move on to someone else.

So, if you are single, you DO need to be happy with your life as a single person. And if you DO get married - you need to be committed to that person and the marriage.

The view of the principles of marriage needs a huge overhaul in our society. The reason there are so many single folks is partially due to people's fear to get married because of how easy it is accepted by society for folks to walk out on their marriage and children.

Posted by: C.W. | June 21, 2007 9:10 AM

"Happiness is largely a matter of choice!"

How do you CHOOSE to be happy???

Posted by: to elaine | June 21, 2007 9:11 AM

My older sister is now approaching 50. She has never married - in a way I'm very thankful because she was unfortunately a bit of a "loser magnet" back in her younger days and most of her serious boyfriends were, well, losers. (Among them, two or three current alcoholics - NOT on the wagon; at least one guy in jail; and various other folks you don't want at the family reunions.:-) She has been teaching school for over 25 years. She's very active in her (Catholic) church, and is quite happy with her situation in life. She feels no pressure from her church group to get married. Her one complaint is that all too often, when the husbands of her friends decide that they want to have a mid-life crisis, they start hitting on her! Seriously - she claims it's happened at least four times; they seem to think that since she doesn't have a husband who would shoot them, it would be easier. Or maybe they just think she's lonely; who knows?

I got married at 28; I had more people at work trying to set me up on blind dates and get me married off than I did at church. I had gone to grad school, much like Meesh's brother, and quickly figured out that there was no time for any serious relationships. (Cheap stereotypical aside: not that there were very many females at "Purdon't", anyway.) Afterward I wanted a few years on my own. I met the right person at the right time about four years out of grad school.

My brother, on the other hand, got married at 18. So we learned from him how not to go about life. (His then-girlfriend's family kicked her out. Their policy was that once you're 18 and graduated from high school, you're not their responsibility so get out of their house. They did that for all their kids, both boys and girls. The boys mostly joined the military. My brother's girlfriend didn't want to do that; she had nowhere to live and a job paying barely minimum wage. My brother figured out - correctly - that if he married this girl, our parents would let them both live at home while he went to college. They had two daughters, and divorced about 10 years later. The now-ex-wife couldn't be alone, so she remarried shortly after, to a man who didn't want anything to do with these two daughters who weren't his. She chose the new husband over the daughters, which is how my brother came to be the single father of two girls.)

We've tried to convince all of our kids that they want to be single and on their own for a few years after college. They learn much more about life that way.

Posted by: Army Brat | June 21, 2007 9:11 AM

momster: great point. And I think the celibacy issue may explain why singleness causes "spiritual doubts" in the words of the author. If my religion told me I had to be celibate until marriage, and I was still unmarried at 30, I'd be a raging mess of spiritual doubts.

I liked singleness well enough, but I'm an atheist and therefore single didn't mean celibate.

Maybe this is what the author means about feminism "complicating" singleness for Christians. Feminists (at least my kind of feminists) believe it's OK for women to have physical needs & fulfil those needs whether they are married or not. Christians (at least some Christians) emphasize marriage. Some of my Christian female friends have had great difficulty reconciling these two sets of beliefs.

Posted by: worker bee | June 21, 2007 9:13 AM

I'm single, 27, and actually sort of in the process of coming back to the (Catholic) Church after many many years of wanting nothing to do with it. I don't feel a great deal of pressure to get married in the church I attend...though some older, married congregation members will helpfully remind me of "singles" events or have this nice young nephew they could set me up with, I take it in the spirit it's intended, which is friendly. I like being single, I like dating, I may never get married, or I may meet someone who's perfect for me. Who knows...but I don't really feel like it's hurting me spiritually to be single, and I'm not going to go through life seeing marriage as an ultimate goal.

Posted by: CE | June 21, 2007 9:14 AM

More thoughts from CURRENTLY single women, please. I'm single in my early thirties and find that now married previously single women remember their brief single-hood through rose-colored glasses. For example, just as statements such as 'I was so happy and care-free in high school' rarely reflect the whole of what was going on at the time, but more part of the equation, statements about single-hood being the best/easiest time of your life are equally one-sided. Although there are good aspects to being single there are undeniable downsides (that seem to be later forgotten) in a social culture very much geared towards couples. And I'm not even speaking of religious culture. I have not read the book and would be upset if it proposed sexist 'solutions' to this 'problem', but I don't think just writing a book that acknowledges or tries to help people deal with this is sexist.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 9:16 AM

Personally, I never wanted to be married. I thought it was a silly piece of paper that could never define what I feel.
==================================
Marriage is NOT a piece of paper. It is about stopping and thinking about your committment. It is about making specific promises to another in a very public fashion. It is not the same as muddling along in a consistent habit.

Posted by: Wish it was Friday | June 21, 2007 9:16 AM

Jewish perspective-- huzzah!

"Isn't that really what G-d asks of us?"

Doesn't this echo "what does G-d require of thee but to do Justice, love Mercy and to walk humbly with thy G-d?" Book of Micah (sorry don't know chapter and verse!)

Nothing in there about marriage! ( I LOVE this quote-- really keeps things in perspective.)

Posted by: Jen S. | June 21, 2007 9:19 AM

Meesh (and others) - I don't know if you were calling me out specifically for calling marriage (or motherhood or anything else) a "phase"; I didn't intend it to be anything more than a point on a person's life. Sort of like, "Sarah's going through a 'I hate broccoli' phase now."

Posted by: Sorta Single by Choice | June 21, 2007 9:20 AM

There are millions of MARRIED people who are lonely and sad!

Happiness is largely a matter of choice!

Posted by: Elaine | June 21, 2007 08:56 AM

I agree and disagree with this. Some people are miserable by choice - some have true hardships that lead to loneliness. There are millions of sad and lonely married people that would still be sad and lonely even if they were single, rich or better looking. Glass half empty or full applies here.

LV - I can imagine you do feel lonely at your church. Are you opposed to going to a singles group at another church or are you looking only for a Catholic mate? You may not be looking for a mate at all, but there is a large non-denominational Church in Tysons that has a huge singles group that people of many different faiths flock to - it is the McLean Bible Church.

Posted by: cmac | June 21, 2007 9:22 AM

I loved being single and, comparatively, carefree. Sure, life had its problems then, but they were by and larger less complex than the ones I have now (married, 2 kids). I never once felt that, as a single, I was in an in-between stage in my life and did not look to get married. Heck, I did not even date.

Age, however, probably plays a role. I was in my 20s when I was single. I have a few single women friends now (never married), and they all are constantly looking for a potential partner, feel that "time is running out", generally feel a bit lonely and to on about how they wish they were in my situation. The grass is probably always greener. I envy their freedom and independence.

Posted by: Nena | June 21, 2007 9:24 AM

I know one woman (my very oldest friend, actually) who never wants to get married.

You know why she says that?

Because she has serious issues.

We've been friends forever and I love her like a sister, but she keeps getting more strange and isolated as the years go by. It's really sad. Her mother was the same way.

If one is a truly loving and giving person, I can't imagine him/her choosing to not have a partner to share life with. It's flat out strange.

Single Women in their late 30s+ are obviously a tad off. They are. I don't know of any single older women OR MEN that know how to communicate and have a relationship with anyone.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 9:24 AM

Today, for the first time since Hurricane Katrina, U.S. officials offered some specific answers, the results of a landmark study of the flood threat.

After nearly two years of levee repairs, the chances are 1 in 500 that nearly all of the city will be flooded again this year with more than six feet of water, according to flood risk maps issued today by the Army Corps of Engineers.

There is a 1 in 100 annual chance that roughly one-third of the city will be flooded with as much as six feet of water. For dozens of city blocks, the chance of significant flooding is twice as high.

"If I were moving or returning to New Orleans, I'd have one of these flood maps in my back pocket," Donald Powell, the Bush administration's Gulf Coast recovery chief, said at a meeting to release to the information. "I'd want to be safe."


It is stupid and a waste of money to rebuild that town.

Posted by: Told ya! | June 21, 2007 9:30 AM

So, 9:24....you suggest marrying someone you don't really want to just to avoid being single and (GASP) 30+?

Posted by: Not settling... | June 21, 2007 9:30 AM

"I know one woman (my very oldest friend, actually) who never wants to get married."
---------
Have you shared this opinion with your "very oldest friend"? I think it's "a tad off" to make sweeping judgements about a whole population based on your knowledge of one person.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 9:31 AM

I do not think that I am single by choice - I have not really ever dated much... not sure why not. I enjoyed being single in my 20's but now that I am in my 30's and have a child I would really like to marry and settle down to have more kids. It is just really hard to meet people these days - or perhaps it is me. either way if you are not happy with yourself single you will not be happy with your self in a relationship. It is not going to solve all problems.

Posted by: single mom | June 21, 2007 9:33 AM

I didn't marry until mid-thirties and had lots of experiences with the "unexpected in between" phenomenon. Not because I was in a holding pattern, but because people seem to expect me to be. My friends (single, male or female, churched or not) were 'surprised' every year when I prepared Thanksgiving dinner, put up a Christmas tree, and did all those "homey" things that apparently I was supposed to forego while single. I had a home (ok, apt) and saw no reason to not live the life I wanted regardless of whether anyone was sharing it. Now my husband appreciates the homey touches, too. Life's still good, just different. Waiting for the next phase of life as somehow better than the current -- whether its marriage, then kids, then kids growing, then retirement, whatever -- is a perpetual state of dissatisfaction and, IMO an immature outlook that fails to appreciate either the present time or the full process/path of life.

Posted by: waited for marrigage, not for life | June 21, 2007 9:35 AM

I didn't marry until mid-thirties and had lots of experiences with the "unexpected in between" phenomenon. Not because I was in a holding pattern, but because people seem to expect me to be. My friends (single, male or female, churched or not) were 'surprised' every year when I prepared Thanksgiving dinner, put up a Christmas tree, and did all those "homey" things that apparently I was supposed to forego while single. I had a home (ok, apt) and saw no reason to not live the life I wanted regardless of whether anyone was sharing it. Now my husband appreciates the homey touches, too. Life's still good, just different. Waiting for the next phase of life as somehow better than the current -- whether its marriage, then kids, then kids growing, then retirement, whatever -- is a perpetual state of dissatisfaction and, IMO an immature outlook that fails to appreciate either the present time or the full process/path of life.

Posted by: waited for marriage, not for life | June 21, 2007 9:35 AM

cmac - Thanks for the suggestion. I've heard a number of people that really enjoy McLean Bible Church. It's not that I'm necessarily looking for a mate, it's just that I'd like to find some people to share my spirituality with who are in a similar place in life as I am.

I've found for some time now that the Catholic church can be a very hard place to settle in. I can't explain it in words - maybe it's that I'm still trying to find my own spirituality.

I think someone here mentioned the question "what is God's plan for me?" and that is exactly how I feel. I've accomplished so much of what I set forth to do and I'm left sometimes feeling that "now what?" or "What's missing?" So in the end, it's hard to connect a loving God with one who would leave me with this feeling of "what's missing." Isn't God supposed to fill the void?

Posted by: LV | June 21, 2007 9:37 AM

It is stupid and a waste of money to rebuild that town.

Posted by: Told ya! | June 21, 2007 09:30 AM

Wrong blog, bucko. Wrong blog.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 9:40 AM

So in the end, it's hard to connect a loving God with one who would leave me with this feeling of "what's missing." Isn't God supposed to fill the void?
==============================
I'll bet the people in the Sudan feel exactly the same way.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 9:42 AM

I'll bet the people in the Sudan feel exactly the same way.
==============================================

But apparently the UN doesn't feel the same way about them!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 9:44 AM

Wow, not very many people seem to understand the author's perspective here.

"Seems to me that what causes spiritual doubts is a church culture that tells women that their only purpose in God's eyes is to find a man and bear his children."

I think this is a deliberate misrepresentation of the reality. Christianity (at least Catholicism, but also evangelical Christianity) encourages people to think in terms of vocations. Marriage is the vocation most people will eventually be called to, and it's a natural longing. Some people will be contented to live a single life, but I think it's natural for most men and women to want to find that person they can love and share their lives with. When that's something you desire and believe you're called to, it's hard when things don't happen right away -- you may believe you're ready for marriage at a younger age, but simply not find the right person. And while happy to be working, and finding fulfillment in family and friends, there is a sense that the single time after college and stretching sometimes into your 30's is "in between." Marshall's book speaks to a feeling I've experienced and observed in many of my friends and family.

As for sex, crude comments aside, yes, it's part of it, but only as a part of desiring the intimacy of marriage. It IS possible to wait until marriage even if you're older, though, to the "realistic" skeptics on here. My husband and I both waited until marriage in our late 20s (after dating 3 years also). My siblings are all in their 20s and waiting until marriage; most of my friends did the same.

Posted by: KAL | June 21, 2007 9:45 AM

There are women out there who feel that it is their destiny and their deepest desire to marry and have children. For them, waiting around for a very long time single may indeed cause spiritual doubts - why won't God give me the life I so desperately want? Furthermore, plenty of churches treat single women like lit firecrackers: dangerous, attractive nuisances for stupid boys (ie, the married men in the congregation). It is a stupid prejudice among "good Christian people" that needs to be eradicated -- but can also be used as a useful barometer for which churches to avoid. So for a segment of this society circling in misogynist groups (women have one purpose, and are wastes until they fill it), and for a segment that sees motherhood as its true calling whatever group it cirles in, this stuff probably rings very true.

I really did want children. I really could feel my clock ticking. But I never saw being single as a huge waste of time, or as just what I did while I waited for Mr. Right to come sweep me off my feet. Nor is my husband strictly a sperm donor to me, of course, but I admit to sometimes seeing him as just another obligation during the day. What worries me is that women struggle with both of these messages simultaneously - and impose sets of values on each other that make it harder. There are at least two realities out there, and they can't even talk civilly at charity events because they come from different planets.

Posted by: bad mommy | June 21, 2007 9:45 AM

I am 26 and have been dating my guy for 5 years. We plan to get married eventually and talk of the family and future we will have. We live together, plan together, save together... am I single or married without a ring?

Posted by: confused | June 21, 2007 9:48 AM

I am a little surprised at what I am reading because most of you seem to be living in a world in which married and otherwise off-the-market women don't constantly pester single women with "are you seeing anyone?" "are you looking?" "I'm sure you'll find someone soon." I wish I'd been on your planet when I was single.

I was in my mid 30s when I met my now-husband. I lived and worked in the District. During the dozen years before that in which I was either in committed relationships or not, depending on the moment, I felt far more support in my church for living my life as it was unfolding, then I did elsewhere. The pressure to have a date to bring along to every social or work function was intense. No matter how secure you are in your singledom, it remains challenged directly and constantly. "Are you seeing anyone?" is the question that never dies. No matter the grace with which you respond, if your answer is some version of, "no, and I'm fine with that," the receipient's face conveys, "Loser." So, who cares? I didn't, but it was a hassle and indicated that the village that is Washington isn't as enlightened as everyone here today wants to believe.

It's part and parcel of the competitive culture, of DC in particular, that you are challenged to be successful in every area of your life, and dating success often is projected to be about having a successful, attractive mate. The reason there's such a market for Carolyn Hax's column is not only that she's an excellent writer, but that she writes what most of us know we should believe -- about being secure in yourself and not viewing singlehood as a gap-filler -- and tell ourselves intellectually, but for which there is precious little public support.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 9:49 AM

'Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be. A. Lincoln'

This is just too tempting to let it slip by without my 2 cents worth. I have been single all my life. Marriage and children were never on the agenda. My mother could not stand to be in the same room with her children so I assumed nobody else could want me either. My parents' marriage was a long, silent, angry ordeal. I don't recall them ever having a conversation. Maybe they didn't want us repeating things in school, maybe they didn't have anything to say to each other, but sometimes the silences were deafening. (It amazes me to see parents actually talking to each other AND to their children!) Mom was also a control freak. I never, ever wanted to be under anybody's thumb again so I made up my mind at about age 15 to learn a skill (typing in high school) and get away from home as soon as possible. Dad made Mom something she's always wanted to be -- a widow. She hasn't said a single good word about him since he died but he treated her like a queen. I loved him very much and still miss him to this day.

At 19 I left home to work for the Gov't in DC. My inspiration was Helen Gurley Brown and "Sex and the Single Girl" so you can probably guess my age. Got my own apartment -- a folding cot, a card table and a clock radio were my only furniture. Over the years I worked continuously to support myself, worked two jobs to go to night school for a degree (not a dime from parents). I didn't date since I never dated in high school. I think it's demeaning and horrible ordeal. Sort of like sampling ice cream at Baskin Robbins to pick your favorite flavor. One man in my apartment building asked if I wanted to go out sometime and I replied "What for?" Don't get me wrong -- I am a heterosexual, I'm just not terribly impressed with men but they're fun to have around occasionally. I've worked with men all my life, from accountants to lawyers to bureaucrats to foreign service types to police and firemen. None of them impressed me enough to want to give up my FREEDOM and some were downright ridiculous.

Over the years my older married sister got a divorce from a horrible marriage. My married brother got a divorce from a horrible shrew of a wife. I remained single, carefree, fiercely independent. I traveled. I went to college. I eventually bought a house near the Chesapeake Bay that has tripled in value since I bought it. My roommate is the four=legged variety who doesn't do drugs or ask to borrow the car. My house is my own. My car is my own. My time is my own when I'm not working to pay for it. I don't have annoying in-laws to deal with. No obligatory holiday dinners to host. I don't have to cook if I don't want to, but am quite good at it when I do. (Leslie can't even bake a birthday cake.) I don't have to haul spoiled little butts to soccer practice, music lessons, or psychotherapy. I mow my own lawn, deal with auto mechanics, have to take a day off to wait for repairmen to show up. I volunteer with a cancer organization and a local shelter for battered women, and previously was an EMT on an ambulance. I pay my own way. My life is full to the brim.

Contrary to popular belief, single women are not rabidly prowling bars every night looking for anonymous sex. Frankly, I think married people have wild uninhibited sex 24/7 and they have twice as much money because of two incomes. See, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.

Yes, single is better than miserably married. As a poster said this morning, there are a lot of miserable, lonely married people. When you're single you make your own hell. When you're married somebody else makes it for you.

Posted by: Kudzu--Another Happy Single by Choice | June 21, 2007 9:49 AM

I think this author is not my cup of tea.

No one church has a monopoly on God or on spirituality. If you're single and feel excluded at your family-oriented church -- it's time to find a new church.

Being married is great, being single is great - I'd far rather someone be happy whatever their relationship status than un-happy.

But the notion that you can't have a fulfilling spiritual life and find a spiritual community because of your relationship status is wrong.

I'll go farther and say that any denomination that does not welcome people because of the life relationship they choose to pursue is suspect in my eyes.

I'm not going to say that they have to recognize the relationship as holy or sacramental, but they need to welcome the individual as a child of God with no strings attached.

Posted by: RoseG | June 21, 2007 9:51 AM

LV -

"So in the end, it's hard to connect a loving God with one who would leave me with this feeling of "what's missing." Isn't God supposed to fill the void?"

Definitely sympathetic here - all I can say is yes, God does fill the void, but for most of us it's a lifelong process of prayer and devotion to fully understand and appreciate our relationship to Him. We don't always feel like He's around, but just going to Mass every week and working on spiritual and prayer life can help over time.

For social life, it can be hard to fit into parish life sometimes, but have you tried going to young adult ministry activities? The Washington archdiocese is really active -- Theology on Tap nights are currently going on on Tuesday nights at Four Green Fields in Cleveland Park. I think the Arlington diocese does these talks and social events also.

Posted by: KAL | June 21, 2007 9:53 AM

How is looking to God to fill the void any different than looking to a man to fill the void? Fill your own void, that way you can make sure it is done right. God has a lot on his plate right now.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 9:55 AM

8:08 Anon poster. Thanks for explaining why, for an actively Christian single woman, being single raises spiritual doubts.

But I have to admit it sickens me that you think being married, "having someone to sacrifice for", by itself leads to greater spirituality. Is your husband God?

I have always felt that spirituality came from a connection between an individual and his/her conception of a divine being. NOT A HUSBAND! And I also think this attitude puts a lot of weird pressure on one's husband.

And I also wonder: is being single also hard for men? Do they find greater spirituality when they get married?

Posted by: Leslie | June 21, 2007 9:56 AM

To Lizzie - I don't come from the same religious tradition as you, I grew up Protestant, but I am now a practicing Catholic. I tried to leave my comment as open-ended as possible so that people of all faiths could be included, whether they are evengelical protestants or not. It's my experience that having a spiritual life is often difficult regardless of which church you belong to and whether or not you're single.

To Jewish perspective - I agree that a life of God doesn't have to involve marriage. Being married now, I think sometimes it's harder for me to be spiritual and "one with God/universe/whatever" because of the many distractions of family life. But I do think that being single can be difficult because it can be lonely and so often it's hard to figure out what a life with God is when you're single, especially because it's not obvious many people.

The single life as a vocation is still uncommon and difficult to understand for those who are single (for many years) and trying to figure what they are meant to do with their lives besides the usual work, friends, travel, etc.

Posted by: baltimore | June 21, 2007 9:57 AM

To Lizzie - I don't come from the same religious tradition as you, I grew up Protestant, but I am now a practicing Catholic. I tried to leave my comment as open-ended as possible so that people of all faiths could be included, whether they are evengelical protestants or not. It's my experience that having a spiritual life is often difficult regardless of which church you belong to and whether or not you're single.

To Jewish perspective - I agree that a life of God doesn't have to involve marriage. Being married now, I think sometimes it's harder for me to be spiritual and "one with God/universe/whatever" because of the many distractions of family life. But I do think that being single can be difficult because it can be lonely and so often it's hard to figure out what a life with God is when you're single, especially because it's not obvious many people.

The single life as a vocation is still uncommon and difficult to understand for those who are single (for many years) and trying to figure what they are meant to do with their lives besides the usual work, friends, travel, etc.

Posted by: baltimore | June 21, 2007 9:57 AM

"More women are single today (51 percent vs. 35 percent in the 1950s) than any time in recent history."

The study the NYT cited for this article included women as young as 15. See the correction on this page: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/16/us/16census.html?ex=1329195600&en=e8c52c0503cc79eb&ei=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink

When you make the minimum age of a woman 18, the percentage drops to 48%.

Single != unpartnered. It's also not the same thing as "never married". By the definition of the NYT article, I am single, although I am engaged (and was widowed). I will continue to be single after the wedding because my most recent relationship is not recognized in the census data.

To answer the question, I was okay with being single again once I was past the worst part of the grief. I'm also quite happy to have found someone to share my life with again.

Posted by: "single", not single | June 21, 2007 10:00 AM

Yes, Ryan -- Thanks. I agree with your explanation that strict gender roles were "simpler" although not necessarily better, particularly for women. I'd rather have today's complexity!

And true those who have pointed out that I haven't been single for most of my adult life. I was married from 23-26 and then again from 30-41 (now). Although I do agree with those who say the loneliest they've ever been in life was when they were in a bad relationship...

Posted by: Leslie | June 21, 2007 10:02 AM

"There is no commandment that says you must marry and have children."

Posted by: Jewish perspective | June 21, 2007 09:05 AM

Actually, there is, but it doesn't apply to you if you are a woman. Genesis 1:28 says to Adam and Eve, "Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the Earth and subdue it." Also Genesis 9:7, to Noah and his sons, "And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; swarm in the Earth, and multiply therein." But that commandment does not apply to women. Mishnah Yevamot 6:6, "The man is commanded concerning being fruitful and multiplying, but not the woman." A man does not risk his life when he procreates. A woman risks dying from complications of pregnancy, labor or delivery. This is not one of the commandments for which the Creator wants people to risk their lives, so women are exempt.

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | June 21, 2007 10:04 AM

"And I also wonder: is being single also hard for men? Do they find greater spirituality when they get married?"

Yes if you mean spirituality of purpose, in my opinion. Otherwise men can easily fall into the trap of work, bars,hookups, work,bars, hookups etc. I believe marriage gives people purpose and the ability to not just think of ones' self all the time. As far as making you connect to God,No. God loves singles as much as married people and works through them too. I enjoy being married far more than being single. I believe men and women were made to find each other and that is a better situation for MOST people.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 21, 2007 10:05 AM

Kudzu -- I'm jealous. Your life sounds great. Being single -- by accident or on purpose -- is often far better than being married. Also don't you think you could be "called" to being single, just as some people are called to being married?

Posted by: Leslie | June 21, 2007 10:05 AM

"Tuesday nights at Four Green Fields in Cleveland Park."


NO! It will forever be 4 Ps in my heart!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 10:08 AM

"My husband and I both waited until marriage in our late 20s (after dating 3 years also). My siblings are all in their 20s and waiting until marriage; most of my friends did the same."

Waited for what? Masturbation, intercourse, oral sex, anal sex?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 10:10 AM

Leslie,

Husbands (and wives) aren't God - but in Christian marriages, they are supposed to help each other in spirituality and faith. Catholic attitudes are that it takes "three to get married" - couples can't make it without God as a part of the marriage. Also for Christians, sacrifice is definitely a part of love. The Bible encourages husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the Church "and gave himself up for her." Everyone's heard the "greater love hath no man than this" line; for Christians, our whole faith is based on Jesus dying for our sins because he loved us. That's not to make marriage sound scary, as a sacrifice all the time, because love is also joyful, kind and hopeful. But we do tend to understand marriage as being a relationship that can help us become more spiritual and holy individuals.

Being single is also definitely hard for men and marriage definitely helps their spirituality (look at all the statistics that show married men are more likely to attend church and be religious). However, they do have a bit more time biologically to have the related vocation of parenthood - women really do have less time.

All of that is not to say that you can't or shouldn't be fulfilled as a single person - which is the point of Marshall's book! Don't just feel, as a single person, that you're only "in between" and in limbo until marriage - live up to your potential and embrace life now also, as of course you should. The need her book speaks to is the reality that many women who would like to be married and mothers sometimes struggle with not feeling just "in between."

Posted by: KAL | June 21, 2007 10:10 AM

10:08 - I know! I had to force myself to type that out ... I still call it Four P's myself : )

Posted by: KAL | June 21, 2007 10:11 AM

I stayed single until 36 - we married a year after meeting. That qualifies me as really being "out there" for some time. Funny thing was, even though I had an interesting career, am attractive and had an enviable college as an alma mater... I was becoming viewed as having something wrong with me because I was in my 30's and still single. I was waiting for something great, instead of something mediocre. I really question if women have made any strides at all, sometimes. Our society still treats us as if we're nobodies until we're married. It is as if you are better off in a stale, mediocre marriage than happily single and enjoying life on your own. It is as if people can't accept that is possible. Weird - and infuriating.

Posted by: mdmom | June 21, 2007 10:11 AM

"Waited for what? Masturbation, intercourse, oral sex, anal sex?"


Somebody woke up in a randy modd this morning.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 21, 2007 10:12 AM

"Waited for what? Masturbation, intercourse, oral sex, anal sex?"


Somebody woke up in a randy mood this morning.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 21, 2007 10:12 AM

To Just wonderin':

LOL You're absolutely right! Wanderers do seek out wanderers...I think the stabilizing force is assumed in the family's definition of "a nice girl" :)

Truly though, I do recognize that he needs to find his way, but it seems like what's keeping him from hitting his stride is just the fact of having SOOO many options. A few limitations (marriage could be one, but there are many other possiblities) would do him a world of good IMHO.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 10:12 AM

"Marriage is NOT a piece of paper. It is about stopping and thinking about your committment. It is about making specific promises to another in a very public fashion. It is not the same as muddling along in a consistent habit."

Well, that's your opinion. In fact, marriage is a legal contract and, if you're religious, a sacrament or some other religious act.

I think what you're talking about can apply to any committed monogamous relationship.

Posted by: Meesh | June 21, 2007 10:16 AM

Better to be a lonely single woman with no one to love you than a lonely married woman with no one who loves you.

Posted by: Diane, Baltimore | June 21, 2007 10:17 AM

Leslie: "And I also wonder: is being single also hard for men? Do they find greater spirituality when they get married?"

A qualified "yes" on the spirituality part. I found that after being married I concentrated much less on my own needs and wants than on other things in the world - not just on my wife and children, but on the world writ large and what impact it has on my wife and children, and they have on it - and spirituality/church was an important part of that.

On the first part - was being single "hard"? No, not really - spiritually, I was happy - I was involved in my church then, and didn't feel pressure from that quarter. I could also focus on my own wants/needs - grad school, job, saving money, planning for the future, having fun in the present - while worrying much less about others.

Posted by: Army Brat | June 21, 2007 10:22 AM

Where is the balance in this post?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 10:24 AM

Is it a big surprise that yet another conservative Christian has written a book blaming feminism for all the ills of our society? The advent of television (and all the sex and violence that it brings into peoples homes on a day-to-day basis, not to mention the social isolation that comes along the 25-35 hours a week the average American spends in front of the boob-tube), the widespread availability of illegal drugs, our burgeoning waistlines and god-awful commutes, and the shrinking size of the American middle class have absolutely nothing to do with it. Let's just blame Gloria Steinem, she's the reason we're such an unhappy nation. PLEASE, give me a break! I've met some intelligent Christians in my life, but for some reason they never go after the book contracts (where is M. Scott Peck when you need him...). Single or not single, don't use drugs, turn off the tv, keep the junk food and fast food out of your mouth, get involved with your community, don't live and hour away from work, and figure out a way to make a decent living - your life will be just fine, whether you are deeply spiritual or not. There's no big secret here, and hours spent in pew listening to a rigid, self-righteous fearmonger (who could probably never manage to get so much power and attention so easily in any other line of work) is not prerequisite. Happiness doesn't require marriage or God, it just takes a little common sense.

Posted by: rumicat | June 21, 2007 10:25 AM

I think the epidemic of single moms is disastrous for women. I think having children with a man you are not formally married to can be devastating to a woman. A man who does that is a terrible choice for a father for many reasons. He has no real stake in the situation and can walk away. He may pay child support but he will not be supporting his child or the woman he impregnated and probably will be in the same situation with another woman at some point. I also think Hollywood is partly to blame as they celebrate this but leave out the facts. Many single star moms in hollywood have money and can purchase services to smooth things out but the poor 20-25 year old girl barely making ends meet is left in situation with few attarctive options.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 21, 2007 10:25 AM

pATRICK - Yes, although these types of people just like to be deliberately nasty towards anyone who says they're waiting until marriage.

Posted by: KAL | June 21, 2007 10:26 AM

Leslie: Thanks. I have been jealous of you because you came from a rich family. Your parents paid for cars and college. I got mine the hard way -- I worked for it.

Diane, Baltimore: Just because I'm single doesn't mean I'm unloved. I have siblings I love with all my heart. I have neices and nephews who visit and I enjoy them while they're here. When they're gone the house is all my own. I have friends, neighbors and co=workers I cherish. My funeral will not be unattended and it's written in my will that I'm leaving funds for a party! When I die I'm leaving my hard-earned money to charity and my family will not be picking my bones for it.

I used to hang out with a bunch of women from work. Some were married, some were single, a couple were divorced. It got boring because the married ones kept moaning and groaning about their hard lot in life. The single ones never complained about their 'hard lot' in life. We were really quite happy.

Posted by: Kudzu again | June 21, 2007 10:28 AM

"happiness doesn't require marriage or God, it just takes a little common sense.

Wrong, RUMICAT, true happiness springs forth from God. The one with the axe to grind is you pussycat.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 21, 2007 10:29 AM

"'Seems to me that what causes spiritual doubts is a church culture that tells women that their only purpose in God's eyes is to find a man and bear his children.'

I think this is a deliberate misrepresentation of the reality."

No. It is a deliberate, accurate representation of the reality that I have seen in some of the churches my friends have gone to, and which I have attended on occasion.

I do agree that feeling you are called to do something, and being frustrated in achieving that, can lead to spiritual doubts and angst. I dealt with that myself. And I believe the role of the church is to help people discover and pursue their purpose and support them through the inevitable frustrations that arise in any search of that kind.

But at least in my own experience, a lot of that frustration is in fact instilled/reinforced by a number of churches (specifically including those the author of this book represents), which tell women that marrying and having a family IS their divine purpose. And it annoys me that their proposed solution is to "support" those who haven't achieved their One True Purpose with pitying books to read while waiting for their real lives to start, instead of evaluating how their own messages and actions contribute to the problem.

Posted by: Laura | June 21, 2007 10:30 AM

LAURA I suppose SEX IN THE CITY was a show you enjoyed which showed women's true purpose. Multiple hook ups which left them empty, buying shoes and endless talking at cafes.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 21, 2007 10:39 AM

I lived alone for 10 years, "in between" splitting from my first husband (married too young and for the wrong reasons) and taking up residence with the (truly wonderful) man who would become my second husband.

Those 10 years were hard and often lonely, but they were also strength-building. During that time, I went through a difficult divorce, bought my first house and a couple of cars, got my first cat, got laid off of one job and fired from another, got into law school (and quickly back out again; it was much too $$-oriented for me), took a few jobs I hated, finally got one I loved (which I'm still doing 18 years later), went through five years of therapy, and basically just kept keepin' on. Also, I had a lot of fun.

It didn't feel like in-between time; it was my life. And while I was living it, I met my "Bashert" (a Yiddish word meaning "soulmate").

That 10 years on my own made me much of what I am today, and it sure never felt like waiting around for my life to get started!

Posted by: another view | June 21, 2007 10:39 AM

pATRICK, rumicat, let me butt into a conversation that I wasn't part of.

I think rumicat is saying that people don't need the church as an institution to help them be happy. Some people are not spiritual. She's right.

I think pATRICK is saying that God wants all His children to be happy and helps them acheive that, whether the people are open or not. He's right in his own way too.

So I don't really see a disagreement.

Posted by: Meesh | June 21, 2007 10:41 AM

From Leslie: "Also don't you think you could be 'called' to being single, just as some people are called to being married?"

----------------------------------

I do, and I'm not even a member of any sort of organized religion. I think that faith, in general, gives many of us strength. When I was 28, I somehow came to have the belief that things would all work out for me in the "end" - that whether I was single, married, divorced, widowed, whatever, *I* would be okay. How do I know? I don't know how; I just believe it. And that gave me great comfort as I hit 30, when many of my friends, both male and female, began to panic that they were still single, hated their jobs, didn't own property.

Comfort with who and where you are comes from a confidence, and whether that is derived from faith or otherwise depends frequently on your world view or religion, if you have one.

Posted by: Single Sorta by Choice | June 21, 2007 10:42 AM

Laura - I take it back, you're right - some churches really do seem to be pushing the message that women can only be fulfilled as wives and mothers. I guess I was approaching it from a Catholic (not evangelical) perspective, where your statement would have been a misrepresentation, since the church has much more of a place for singles(theologically speaking) but there may nevertheless be some spiritual distress among those who feel they are called to marriage rather than singlehood as a vocation. (It's not that the Church tells them they're doing something wrong, it's just their own desires and hopes to find marriage.) But you're right that other churches do push the message you said and can contribute to some women's distress. Sorry for attributing deliberateness!

Posted by: KAL | June 21, 2007 10:42 AM

MEESH, I can live with that.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 21, 2007 10:43 AM

I think an earlier post asked what women in their 30s think. I'm 36 and hope that I find someone but why take just anyone just to get out of being single? I see desperation out there because many women want kids now. Do they join churches to meet nice men to marry?

I'm the reverse of this situation: I'm a lapsed Catholic who wants to find a non-Catholic church but clearly not one that strongly encourages marriage & family. I have a hard enough time connecting with God & I don't want the extra pressure.

If you're single & want to be married, just have hope. You can make it happen.

Posted by: Rockville | June 21, 2007 10:46 AM

pATRICK, Sex and the City also portrayed the deep love among friends, happy marriages, and the love of mothers and daughters.

The point of the show, IMO, is that it showed all kinds of different lives women could have in this day and age. It showed the choices women have and the impact of those choices.

I'm assuming you never actually watched the shows.

Posted by: Meesh | June 21, 2007 10:46 AM

"Laura - I take it back, you're right - some churches really do seem to be pushing the message that women can only be fulfilled as wives and mothers."

Find another church, God loves women and wants them to be happy whether they are married or not.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 21, 2007 10:46 AM

"There are millions of MARRIED people who are lonely and sad!"

I agree with this! Just spend a few minutes on truemomconfessions.com. Marriage isn't the magic bullet some people make it out to be.

Posted by: NoMarriageForMe | June 21, 2007 10:47 AM

I guess as a Christian and also a committed single, I wouldn't see the need for this book. I feel completely fulfilled in my life and no need at this time (I'm in my early 30s) to add anything - so I don't feel inbetween anyhting. That being said, I know a lot of women in my church who desperately long to be married and have kids. I know women like this who are concerned about making big decisions b/c they aren't married yet (buying a house, looking to advance their careers, even getting a pet). For them, this book might be a good thing - realizing that where they are is OK and how to live in the now rather than doing everything for some eventuality (that, really, may never happen).

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 10:51 AM

Thank you...totally agree with your points.

Posted by: To Rockville | June 21, 2007 10:54 AM

No MEESH, unfortunately, I watched a LOT of them because my wife watched them. I think they were funny and sad.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 21, 2007 10:58 AM

"LAURA I suppose SEX IN THE CITY was a show you enjoyed which showed women's true purpose. Multiple hook ups which left them empty, buying shoes and endless talking at cafes."

pATRICK, geez, I thought you knew me better than that by now. I'm way too cheap to spring for HBO.

And Kal, I also realized that my comment could have been misconstrued as a slam on all churches, which I certainly didn't intend. I myself belonged to a very supportive church that helped me through a lot of those soul-searching moments. I was lucky to have both parents and priests who wanted to help me discover and achieve my own purpose in life, without dictating what that should be. Which was probably good, because I'm ornery enough that when someone tries to tell me what I "should" do, it gets my back up (especially if it's phrased as "women should. . . ," and if they then pity me for not having achieved it!). :-)

Posted by: Laura | June 21, 2007 10:59 AM

I'm "single", 4 years post-divorce from an 8 year marriage. Honestly, its a constant struggle for me to be happy with my singlehood.

On one hand, between taking care of a 5 year old, working full time, and trying to maintain a house, makes me so glad there is not somebody else in my life to have to "take care", or even think about dressing up on a nice date for. Ugh, who has time?!

On the other hand, after a long, stressful day at work or with child, I long for the intimate company of what I had during those good years of marriage. Just somebody to talk to, to unload to, to feel like I had a "partner" sharing the ups and downs.

One thing is certain, I'd rather be single than with somebody who wasn't willing to give a 100% to a relationship.

So all you who have posted about your single, intelligent, smart brothers, please send them my way if they're interested in a fatigued, but funny and smart single mom!

Posted by: Single Mom | June 21, 2007 11:03 AM

pATRICK, from the far other side of the spectrum, I agree with you about Sex & The City. I was surprised at how little fun the characters seemed to be having, and how neurotic they were often portrayed to be.
Admittedly I didn't watch the whole series so I'm sure I missed a lot.
Instead of a celebration of women's freedom it often felt to me like a cautionary tale of some kind.

Posted by: worker bee | June 21, 2007 11:04 AM

I was just starting to enjoy my single life when I met my wife. Had my own place for the first time, with no roommates, parents, or anyone else to boss me around. Thought I would be lonely but wound up loving it. I rented and my wife owned her place so it made $$ sense to move in with her. But it was very difficult for me to do this. To this day, I sigh when I remember the great times I had. Sure does tick off my wife. :)

Posted by: Bob | June 21, 2007 11:05 AM

I have been debating whether to post or not on this subject. So many interesting and firm opinions. How can you be so sure about "marriage not for me" or "children not for me"? Looking back on my life (I am in my early forties)I think that I sort of grew in/out of certain stages and the opinions I held in my early 20's were totally reversed by the time I was in my early 30's. My single stage (by which I mean no steady and serious boyfriend) ended at 26. My married stage started at 30. In retrospect, I clearly think that I had an in between stage when I lived my life to the fullest, traveled, went to grad school, developed my career, and shared it with family and friends. But these were lonely times too and I think one of the reasons I accomplished so much was to make myself so busy that I had no time to be lonely. I was so happy to finally be in a relationship. It's great to share things with family and friends but it is different to be in a romantic relationship. You share things differently with somebody who is "into you". If I did not meet my husband I probably would not feel as fulfilled and content with life as I do now, although our marriage is not a fairly tale marriage: we argue, we fight, we sometimes feel like why the hell we got married, but then we talk, we make up, and we realize that we are each other's best friends.

Posted by: anon for today | June 21, 2007 11:06 AM

to rockville and others who are struggling with finding a faith-- I think the "Belief-o-matic" personality test is a pretty quirky way to learn more about yourself and other belief systems. This is the web address: http://www.beliefnet.com/story/76/story_7665_1.html
but if that doesn't work, just google belief o matic and you'll find it.

Posted by: Jen S. | June 21, 2007 11:06 AM

I have been single all my life except except for 2 years when I was in my mid twenties. I am now in my fifties and enjoy life to the fullest. Of course, there are moments when I wish I had a companion whom I could trust, and may be one day I will. Until that time comes, I am not sitting lamenting my single state. I am enjoying my life by being around friends, helping family members and joining volunteering communities.

Posted by: MS | June 21, 2007 11:06 AM

Whenever I think of the fun I had being single, almost always it seems ,my daughter will pop up, hug me and say " I LOVE YOU DADDY! and run away giggling. The "good times" of the past pale to the reality of today.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 21, 2007 11:09 AM

The biggest problem with the perception of marriage leading to a fulfilling life is that the couple thinks that there devotion to one another
will lead to increased happiness.

Just like some people think that joining a gym will make them healthier.

Wrong!

In both cases, it takes commitment, effort, and hard work...

Or a lot of time and money will be wasted.

Posted by: Lil Husky | June 21, 2007 11:12 AM

Posted by: Lil Husky | June 21, 2007 11:12 AM


Been back to beachweek? Heard you like to get busy there.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 11:18 AM

"That reminds me of my sister, I was in gifted History and Poliical science and she kept getting the nazis and communists mixed up, to my eternal frustration.
Posted by: pATRICK | June 1, 2007 11:56 AM "

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 11:19 AM

"I think the "Belief-o-matic" personality test is a pretty quirky way to learn more about yourself and other belief systems."

Heh; I took that test and it said I best matched the UU, New Age or Neo-Pagan religions.

Mainstream Christianity was way, way down on the list. Not surprised.

Posted by: John L | June 21, 2007 11:22 AM

Thanks, Jen S. -- love the Belief-O-Matic! Apparently I'm Unitarian Universalist (gee, and here I thought I was Episcopalian). Although I'm also close to Reform Judaism, which may explain why my husband and I get along so well. . . .

Posted by: Laura | June 21, 2007 11:24 AM

I'm a single Catholic woman in her early twenties and I faithfully go to church every Sunday. I have a very good life, with an interesting career, great friends, fun hobbies. I enjoy the independence and freedom that comes with being single, that my time is pretty much completely my own. However, even with all the great things in my life I still feel a piece is missing. I want to find someone to share the rest of my life with in the partnership of marriage. Do I enjoy the single life? Yes. Do I want to remain single forever? No. Experienced Mom is correct in that the Catholic Church views the "single life" as being a worthy and fulfilling vocation in and of itself. However, personally that's not what I want for my life. I want to be married and raise a family. The pressure I feel to fulfill this goal is not coming from the Church, but from my own innner desires.

Posted by: 215 | June 21, 2007 11:25 AM

"That reminds me of my sister, I was in gifted History and Poliical science and she kept getting the nazis and communists mixed up, to my eternal frustration.
Posted by: pATRICK | June 1, 2007 11:56 AM "

HUH?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 11:28 AM

Meesh & Others, re: being "single", but not really -
I am 26 and have lived in a deeply commited relationship for 3 1/2 years, always with the thought that someday (after grad school for both of us, jobs, some level of financial stability...) it would turn into marriage. Well, graduation is past, we both have jobs, I am studying for the bar, and there is no ring in sight. Is it on my mind? You betcha.

Neither of us comes from a religious background, but there is a deeply-seated expectation in both of our families that we don't have a "real" "adult" relationship until we are married. I tend to buy into the tradition, he thinks marriage is just a piece of paper (and, to be honest, nothing - except that piece of paper and the presents - would change about our lives if we were to get hitched).

Most of our friends are married, some quite unhappily, but even those look down on us for cohabiting and refusing to make the "commitment" of marriage. Although our families support our lifestyle, there is DEFINITELY a feeling of inferiority placed on our relationship by friends and family. In this way, it can be difficult to be legally "single."

Posted by: scr | June 21, 2007 11:28 AM

HUH?

Posted by: | June 21, 2007 11:28 AM

I think a troll was taunting me. Yawn

Posted by: pATRICK | June 21, 2007 11:30 AM

I LOVE being married. I don't look back too fondly at high school or my single days. Don't get me wrong, it was crazy fun, but I feel a deeper commitment to life now that I have responsibilities to other people (first my husband, then my daughter).

I have single friends who are happily single but open to marriage and those who are dying to get married. I love both groups equally and want nothing more than for them to be happy. I don't find those wanting marriage pathetic or sad because I totally understand the longing. I want them to find spouses, because even though they may come to peace with being single, it's not what they really want.

Posted by: atb | June 21, 2007 11:32 AM

Kudzu, I'm really glad you're happy in your life. I'm really glad you have a life that gives you what you want. I'm even more glad you didn't choose a bad husband just for the sake of having a husband.

However, I do think that to experience everything life has to offer, that one has to be open to possibility. It seems like you are clutching to your independence so tightly that you wouldn't even look at even a good man who would treat you well and make you happy, which is sad to me. It's good to be happy or at least content with one's circumstances--it's not good to ignore the possibility of something wonderful right in front of you.

I'm married to a good man who treats me well and strives to do better even when he screws up and I do the same for him. There are certain things that I will never do because I am married, but this doesn't mean that I lost my freedom. It means that I chose this man, I chose this marriage, because I wanted them more than anything else. Each day, I continue to want my husband and my marriage more than anything else. I expect nothing less from him.

Posted by: to Kudzu | June 21, 2007 11:33 AM

pATRICK, I've been very happy in my life in recent years, much happier than I was as a christian years ago. There are some aspects of religion that are quite good for people though, the sense of optimism that is promoted and the connection with an extended community. The belief that somebody loves you never hurts either. However, religons tend to promote a rigid idea of being good that sometimes has nothing to do with real goodness. The rigid misguidedness can be moderate or severe, depending on the sect you are speaking of. Hence most christians I know worry alot about gay marriage but very little about the future of the planet, the poor, and the well-being of children. They will spend days ranting and raving about the right of a clump of cells that has no feeling, no reaoning and no consciouness and about 2 seconds coming to the conclusion that immigrant children chould be denied health care because their parents hopped over the Rio Grande illegally. Where's the common sense in that? I'm just happy that people like you have Pat Robertson and that big document the catholic church piecemealed together 1600 years ago to save you from having to think about it too hard.

Posted by: rumicat | June 21, 2007 11:38 AM

the thing that I like about the Belief o matic is that it just gets you to think about these things. I was taught that there was just one option and to have it presented like-- "well actually you could believe this that or the other" is pretty amazing!

Unfortunately it's not an exact science-- the Belief-o-matic pegs me as a liberal quaker, when the reality is that I couldn't handle the way Quakers function by consensis (I'm a majority rule kinda gal and the consensis model would drive me crazy) and I'm not a strict pacifist as the Quakers typically are, so there would be some tension there. And I'm terrible with silence, so the meditation emphasis is totally incompatable. I'm a much better fit with my second place belief o matic selection-- Unitarian.

So there are lots of nuance to sorting out your belief system that Belief-o-matic just can't uncover. If anyone knows of something better out there, please pass on!

Posted by: Jen S. | June 21, 2007 11:41 AM

I think a troll was taunting me. Yawn

Get over yourself.

Posted by: Joe Jr. | June 21, 2007 11:44 AM

You just exposed your undaunted ignorance with your 11:38.

Posted by: To rumicat | June 21, 2007 11:46 AM

"I'm just happy that people like you have Pat Robertson and that big document the catholic church piecemealed together 1600 years ago to save you from having to think about it too hard. "


Jumping to conclusions seems to be what you believe in now. I don't follow Pat Robertson. I suspect that you fell out because it was probably easier to do whatever the hell you felt like. Too bad. Your convoluted understnding of the bible probably didn't help either.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 21, 2007 11:47 AM

pATRICK

"Your convoluted understnding of the bible probably didn't help either."

Spelling Police!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 11:49 AM

Rumicat sounds like a bittercat. She is taunting and mad and needs to get off her morally-superior high horse.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 11:51 AM

The "morally-superior high horses" are ridden by the religious posters.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 11:54 AM

To Kudzu 11:33 -- I'm glad you're happy with your life, too. So stop pestering me. I see the spouses other women chose and I think "Thank God she got stuck with him and not me" and I thank God we live in a country where arranged marriages are not the norm. Your Prince might be someone else's ogre.

Ann Landers took a poll of her readers once and found that 80% of married people would divorce in a heartbeat if it were possible. (Not that I live my life by Ann Landers' preachings.) As it stands now, 50% do get divorced. That tells me something.

Posted by: Kudzu | June 21, 2007 11:54 AM

pATRICK


"Your convoluted understnding of the bible probably didn't help either."

Way to go pATRICK! Jesus would be proud!

Posted by: Born Free | June 21, 2007 11:58 AM

The "morally-superior high horses" are ridden by the religious posters.


Posted by: | June 21, 2007 11:54 AM

They aren't the only ones up on that pony!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 11:58 AM

Oh great, born free, live free or whatever is back. Which troll name will you post under today?

Posted by: pATRICK | June 21, 2007 12:00 PM

"Post your name, strident posts like yours that are anonymous merely indicate that you are a coward.
Posted by: pATRICK | June 1, 2007 02:21 PM"

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 12:01 PM

Kudzu- Why are you so angry? You seem to hate married people and assume most of us are unhappy. I'm not sure how much water an Ann Lander's poll holds, either. I think 11:33, despite being anonymous, sounded reasonable. You're tone is very aggressive. You attacked married people and freaked when someone attacked back.

Posted by: atb | June 21, 2007 12:04 PM

Oh please, this blog is not named "On pATRICK." Why must you trolls antagonize him? Just let him make his point. You many think it's funny, most of us don't.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 12:04 PM

"His life right now is exactly what many have described...limitless, full of possiblities, no constraints from children or spouse, carefree. And he flounders in all that mental room and time he's got. It's like he's got so many choices that he's paralyzed and can't make a choice (and he's not real happy with this indecision). Getting married would constrain him in some ways, but I think a little less wide-open choice would get him into a groove."

So he should just marry the first woman who says "yes", and regard himself as a fixer-upper? Or burden HER with all of his angst? I can hardly wait for the midlife crisis that will likely provoke. I'm certain she'll love hearing, "I never should have married you, I was forced into it. I love you, but I'm not in love with you. Maybe I never really loved you..."

Ugh.

Sounds to me like he should stay single until he finds a woman he wants to marry. Let's hope someone wants to marry him, too.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 12:05 PM

pATRICK

"Oh great, born free, live free or whatever is back. Which troll name will you post under today? "

Yes, I'm back in town. I had a lovely time in France. Hope you are recovering from the sad loss of your dogs. What's new?

Posted by: Born Free | June 21, 2007 12:07 PM

pATRICK, Sex and the City also portrayed the deep love among friends, happy marriages, and the love of mothers and daughters.

The point of the show, IMO, is that it showed all kinds of different lives women could have in this day and age. It showed the choices women have and the impact of those choices.

I'm assuming you never actually watched the shows.

Posted by: Meesh | June 21, 2007 10:46 AM


pATRICK obviously you didn't see the end of the show- in which Samantha has cancer, finds love, and dared to maintain some semblance of style, sexiness, and grace while bald.
Miranda cares lovingly for her Alzheimer's ridden mother-in-law- in Brooklyn, married with a child.
Charlotte find true love with a bald pudgy lawyer and adopt a baby.
Carrie ends up with Mr Big.

None were single- they realized that their paths to happiness was finding love and a partner to share their lives

I cried like a baby at that series finale.
sigh...

Posted by: 'Sex' fan | June 21, 2007 12:07 PM

to mdmom:

It is as if you are better off in a stale, mediocre marriage than happily single and enjoying life on your own.

I hate that too. It's so untrue.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | June 21, 2007 12:10 PM

"there is no ring in sight. Is it on my mind? You betcha." Why?

"and, to be honest, nothing - except that piece of paper and the presents - would change about our lives if we were to get hitched" Soooo not true.

scr,

You're sending some very mixed signals here.

First, you say that "there's no ring in sight," suggesting that you're waiting for Prince C to officially "claim" you.

But then you say that nothing would really change if you were married, anyway.

So, what is it that you want?

Will marriage "validate" your relationship among your family and friends, and is this enough of a reason to do it?

And, you know, if you guys are living together in a "committed relationship," seems like you ought to be talking about this with him -- not waiting for him to whip out a ring. It's not just his decision, you know.

Finally, there are actually some things that change when you're married. My husband and I lived together for nearly 5 years before we got married. One of the reasons we decided to tie the knot was that we realized that we wanted to be each other's next-of-kin. That is, the person who makes decisions for the other person in the event of emergency or incapacity.

Unless you guys have your relationship legally protected in some way (other than marriage), if something happens to one of you, it'll be your parents who will be entitled to make the decisions. Are you comfortable with that?

Sounds like you guys have a lot of talking to do. Maybe you should get started soon!

Posted by: pittypat | June 21, 2007 12:10 PM

"I suppose SEX IN THE CITY was a show you enjoyed which showed women's true purpose. Multiple hook ups which left them empty, buying shoes and endless talking at cafes."

First, it's Sex AND the City.
Second, you forgot to mention (what I personally loved about the show) girls talking real about sex!

DH has Sopranos, I have S&C. It's my mecca ;)

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 12:13 PM

"Oh please, this blog is not named "On pATRICK." Why must you trolls antagonize him? Just let him make his point. You many think it's funny, most of us don't."

COMING SOON!

The Best of pATRICK (Part One)

"wonder how many "save the hymen" shirts I could sell outside one of those "purity balls". ( Which I think sounds a little weird too if you catch my drift)"
Posted by: pATRICK | June 1, 2007 10:42 AM

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 12:14 PM

First, it's Sex AND the City.
Second, you forgot to mention (what I personally loved about the show) girls talking real about sex!

DH has Sopranos, I have S&C. It's my mecca ;)

I confess to loving "Gilmore Girls". I don't have cable and I generally can't make it past 10 p.m., so I've only seen a couple of S&C. I enjoy it though.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | June 21, 2007 12:15 PM

kudzu, I have to agree with atb. You sound very angry about marriage and at married people.

Posted by: cmac | June 21, 2007 12:22 PM

To "Confused" at 9:48 AM, who said "We live together, plan together, save together... am I single or married without a ring?"

Ask that question to any of your insurance companies, to the Social Security Administration, your mortgage company.........

Posted by: Single and hating it | June 21, 2007 12:25 PM

To "Confused" at 9:48 AM, who said "We live together, plan together, save together... am I single or married without a ring?"

Ask that question to any of your insurance companies, to the Social Security Administration, your mortgage company.........

Posted by: Single and hating it | June 21, 2007 12:26 PM

When I was single I often contemplated this bible verse: "Where two or three are gathered in my name I am there with them." and I truly longed for the day when I would meet someone whom I could pray with that could round me out by being my "two" to pray to God. Being single in the Catholic church is hard - even being married and pre-children is a little weird because every event is for the attached school. Spirituality and balance are always related and I appreciate this post. Many people do believe that finding balance to be a good mom and a good wife and a good worker (in whatever form of work you might do whether at home or outside of the home) requires a lot of patience at the very least.

Posted by: Engineer | June 21, 2007 12:27 PM

Why are people reposting stuff that Patrick posted? It is just annoying.

Oh, and I hated being single.

Posted by: scarry | June 21, 2007 12:29 PM

Any other women out there "pop the question" to her husband? This came after we were discussing having children together.

Posted by: Marian | June 21, 2007 12:29 PM

I am glad that you were able to see what I was not able to articulate - that this whole conversation is about mixed signals... girls are brought up to be the beautiful bride in all dressed up in white, and to view men as the prince who will rescue them from the dragon of being, gasp, single. But, on the other hand, women of my generation are raised to see men/future husbands as equals, and to expect a fulfulling life beyond a house, marriage and kids. Although I am very happy in current situation, I do care about what other people think (by that I mean my family, not society as a whole).

Believe me, we are talking about it. We want to have a family within the next few years and I believe that kids should have married parents (although - before everyone jumps all over me - I realize that this is not always possible or desirable). I also believe in the commitment of marriage in a way that long-term cohabitation does not fulfill, even with money-sharing, etc.

I truly appreciate your ability to call me on my contradictions, but the contradictions seem to be what this is all about (and here is where the balance comes in) because I am struggling to find a happy medium between "you can have it all" and reality. In the first scenario, I should be able to be a blushing bride who makes fantastic baked goods and keeps a perfect house while having a successful legal career in this cuthroat town. Of course, reality puts me with a man who I love unconditionally, but who is "intellectually" opposed to marriage because why would two professional adults in a committed relationship need a piece of paper to make their lives whole? And, in reality, I agree with him because I don't want/need the big wedding or the diamond, or the picture of perfection, but I would like some acknowledgement that we have a "real" relationship from the families.

And, so, the conversation continues...

Posted by: scr - to pittypat | June 21, 2007 12:31 PM

Although our families support our lifestyle, there is DEFINITELY a feeling of inferiority placed on our relationship by friends and family. In this way, it can be difficult to be legally "single."
===========================

This is because you are living together. You haven't done anything to make this relationship different other than to keep coming home. It is significant to stop and make a public declaration and promises about your life together whether it is religious or not. Meesh, you sound like loads of fun. The birthday party is probably just a silly gathering to you too. You are not Kurt and Goldie, you are Meesh and Mr. Meesh - stop being so disaffected, its so 80's anyway.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 12:34 PM

"Oh goody, another feminazi womyn discussion. Men bad yadayada, women
oppressed yadayada, society prejudiced yadayada. Wake me up when the
leftist pity party is over. YAWN!

Posted by: pATRICK | 20061030 12:10"

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 12:35 PM

And, in reality, I agree with him because I don't want/need the big wedding or the diamond, or the picture of perfection, but I would like some acknowledgement that we have a "real" relationship from the families.

For what it is worth, it sounds like a "real" relationship to me.

You'd be just as devastated if he died or decided you were no longer his number one.

It's harder to get the paperwork in order if you are single, as you know, but not impossible.

My boss and her paramour have been an unmarried, committed couple for 25 years. His family views them as being a couple, so does hers.

Good luck!

Posted by: anon for Blog Stats | June 21, 2007 12:35 PM

"Where two or three are gathered in my name I am there with them." and I truly longed for the day when I would meet someone whom I could pray with that could round me out by being my "two" to pray to God
=========================
So you honestly think he's taking roll and keeping count. Don't be so literal.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 12:36 PM

...remember that, according to the new constitutional amendment, any arrangements that unmarried people make for each other may not have a legal leg to stand on. So if your partner's parents contest, say, your hospital visitation arrangements, your documents don't count.

If you can marry, and you want legal protection, do it. Because if you don't or can't, you're screwed.

Posted by: If you're debating marriage and live in Virginia... | June 21, 2007 12:36 PM

Marian,

I popped the question and we got married in city hall followed by an elegant but small (close family and friends) reception. We got married b/c we wanted to start a family and the little "wedding" ceremony was a way for us to involve our loved ones in our decision. And yes, he did surprise me with a lovely ring!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 12:37 PM

First, you say that "there's no ring in sight," suggesting that you're waiting for Prince C to officially "claim" you.

Not this crap again.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 12:39 PM

It is significant to stop and make a public declaration

Doesn't telling EVERYONE that you are a couple, and here's your partner, qualify as making a public declaration?

That's how I view it anyway. Particularly for my same-sex friends.

As far as I'm concerned, no one can say that gay marriage doesn't work, because legally gay marriage doesn't occur. And no one else's marriage or divorce has any bearing on the "success" or "failure" of MY marriage.

Posted by: praying for death | June 21, 2007 12:39 PM

"If you're debating marriage and live in Virginia..."

So much for "Virginia is for Lovers"!

Posted by: Maryland Mother | June 21, 2007 12:41 PM

I am impressed they can find that stuff. I think it is funny that they would rather repost me than add their own voice but that's the net I guess. You are right, it is Sex And The City. Been a while.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 21, 2007 12:43 PM

Doesn't telling EVERYONE that you are a couple, and here's your partner, qualify as making a public declaration?

=============================
There is a big difference between "telling" everyone (I told everyone in 6th grade that I was going to marry Marvin Dickenson) and having a ceremony and making vows publicly. Something that is open to same sex couples. If you don't have the gumption to offically acknowlege your relationship then why should I?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 12:44 PM

I really think couples that live together and are everything but married are trying to say something. It's not that hard to get married, and there are real legal benefits. So, what are they saying?

Posted by: atb | June 21, 2007 12:44 PM

Scr,

"why would two professional adults in a committed relationship need a piece of paper to make their lives whole?"

You said it in your post...you prefer to be married when you want to start a family. The question is, does he want kids?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 12:46 PM

Anyone try the new diet pill Alli?

Posted by: Going commando today | June 21, 2007 12:48 PM

Haven't posted on this blog for a while, but this one turned my head. I'm related, by blood and by marriage, to conservative Protestants, including some who are single. I think many of them would find the premise behind this book as bizarre as I find it. I can understand being single and wanting to be married, but not being a single adult and feeling that this means that your life hasn't really started yet.

The thought that being single would be a barrier to being spiritually fulfilled also struck me as bizarre. If so, how come the world, even the modern world, contains the number or monks, nuns, and unmarried clergy (celebate or not) that it does? I haven't done this myself, but I can relate to that in a certain way- devoting the energy that would otherwise be directed towards your family towards your religious community and/or public service instead.

I'm a Unitarian Universalist by upbringing, and have also played around with the Belief-O-Matic- it seems to give "Unitarian" as a result if your beliefs don't fit neatly into any of the other religions listed, which makes sense in a way because we're non-creedal. But, IMHO they left out two important questions: "Are you willing to develop and examine your own beliefs and ethics while in a congregation including people with beliefs quite different from yours?", and "If you're not politically liberal yourself, would you be bothered by being around many political liberals?" If your answer to the first question is yes and your answer to the second question is no, you might like UU. (You're not required to be politically liberal, but you will find people with a liberal-activist bent in practically any UU congregation.)

And from someone with some pagan leanings, happy Summer Solstice everyone!

Posted by: SheGeek | June 21, 2007 12:49 PM

"I really think couples that live together and are everything but married are trying to say something. It's not that hard to get married, and there are real legal benefits. So, what are they saying?"

They are saying in a nutshell, "let's not ruin a good thing"

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 12:49 PM

Ladies, there are reasons that your guy says its only a piece of paper. They know that piece of paper DOES mean a lot of things,legally, socially and financially, that is why they resist it and make milestones that come and go. Wake up!

Posted by: pATRICK | June 21, 2007 12:49 PM

I think that Leslie isn't the target demographic, and it's silly to critique the book through a liberal, secular lens.

For the record, I'm not the target demographic either. But I say: live and let live. If a female has strong faith and believes in marriage, today has got to be a confusing time. This book is a roadmap for such individuals. Better than being told you're a spinster.

Posted by: Jane | June 21, 2007 12:50 PM

ATB there are lots of different reasons for living together.

Sometimes they are saying that they are both in college and don't want to lose their financial aid or their parents benefits, other times they may not be ready or don't care for the establishment of marriage. I lived with my husband for five years; we have been together for twelve. We had a lot of changes when he graduated from college and just didn't really think about marriage until I graduated. I loved him then, although I love him more now that he gave me two children. I think we have a deeper bond now that we are parents and raising children together. I guess it is just different. That is not to say anything about anyone else's relationship. This is just my opinion on mine.

Oh and if you think living in Virginia is hard when you are unmarried, try Utah. :)

Posted by: scarry | June 21, 2007 12:51 PM

scr,

You hit the proverbial nail on its head. Mixed signals happen when people aren't sure what they want and/or how they feel and/or what's "expected" of them -- or if they feel that an important topic is somehow off-limits.

When my husband and I decided to get married, we were both 40. We'd come through some tough stuff together, and, like I said, we wanted to make each other our next-of-kin.

But there was also a sense -- especially from my husband -- that we wanted to make a statement publicly about our committment. Also, we had been experiencing a growing spirituality (NOT religion-based) that contributed to our sense of belonging together.

Neither of us wanted "the big wedding or the diamond," either, and we simply planned a small, intimate wedding that included our immediate family and a couple of close friends. Twelve people in all. We decided what we wanted to say to one another, what symbols we wanted to use, and what was meaningful in our relationship that we wanted to share. It was a really happy occasion -- maybe all the more so because we both felt sure and ready.

These things are so hard to figure out. One thing I learned, though, was that, if you do marry, it's important to make sure both partners are happy with the plans. The event belongs to the two of you and no one else, so make sure each of you is happy with what's shaping up.

You sound like you are someone who takes in the world with a level gaze. That should be invaluable as you move through this perplexing phase in your life.

Good luck!

Posted by: pittypat | June 21, 2007 12:53 PM

"I loved him then, although I love him more now that he gave me two children."

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 12:53 PM

I really think couples that live together and are everything but married are trying to say something. It's not that hard to get married, and there are real legal benefits. So, what are they saying?

Posted by: atb | June 21, 2007 12:44 PM

That neither wants to be branded with the "wife" or "husband" moniker? Who cares? So you send out invitations to two people, or with two separate names rather than one.

Also, if you are in the same field (and my professional field is relatively small), you don't want to legally shortchange your potential for promotion by hitting the "nepotism" button. The federal government does pay attention to that, for those who are not political appointees.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 12:54 PM

I love him more now that he gave me a big diamond and a Benz.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 12:55 PM

Scarry, want to elaborate on Virginia law versus Utah law regarding unmarried couples?

What do you think about it?

Posted by: curious | June 21, 2007 12:55 PM

There is a 1 in 100 annual chance that roughly one-third of the city will be flooded with as much as six feet of water. For dozens of city blocks, the chance of significant flooding is twice as high.

"If I were moving or returning to New Orleans, I'd have one of these flood maps in my back pocket," Donald Powell, the "Bush administration's Gulf Coast recovery chief, said at a meeting to release to the information. "I'd want to be safe."


It is stupid and a waste of money to rebuild that town."


Ever heard of the NETHERLANDS?

Posted by: pATRICK | June 21, 2007 12:57 PM

To hell with the "one perfect rose".

Posted by: Dorothy Parker | June 21, 2007 12:58 PM

Theology on Tap - for young adult Catholics, and I'll bet anyone can attend.


www.arlingtondiocese.org/offices/family/tot-home.html

Posted by: experienced mom | June 21, 2007 1:00 PM

"I love him more now that he gave me a big diamond and a Benz."

And boinked me!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 1:00 PM

Where to start? Where to start?

Okay. The business about "the time between now and the not yet" will make sense only to those who have at least a passing acquaintence with Christian spirituality/theology. It's not necessarily a conservative thing, although it may well be more a part of conservative Christian jargon than it is a part of liberal or middle of the road Christian jargon.

Having gotten this out of the way, let me list my own biases. I am a 53 year old female, never married. Have never felt either the need or the desire to get married, in spite of my Christian upbringing. I was influenced by the women's movement of the 1950s-1960s-1970s, although my feminist roots go far deeper than this most recent incarnation.

My mother never pressured me to get married. She married her high school sweetheart in the early 1940s. He never made it home from the war. She married my dad after the war, gave birth to my brother and me in the early 1950s, was working full time by 1959. While my parents have had a long and loving life together, my mother is well aware of the financial, psychological, and social realities of marriage. I think she's always known that I'd be better off single.

My dad, on the other hand, bugged me off and on about marriage until I was about 30. At that point, he realized that it just wasn't going to happen. The fact that there have been other single women in our extended family who've lived long and fulfilled lives sans husband and children helped him realize that marriage and family are not the be-all and end-all of a happy life. They are certainly not for everyone.

Incidentally, it's not just the conservative Christian churches that promote "family values." The attitude that "couples are best" prevails even in the most theologically liberal congregations. I attended a More Light congregation in my area (i.e., a congregation that is openly accepting and affirming of gay, lesbian, and transgendered members) and was appalled when one of the gay members stood up during worship one Sunday and stated openly that "two are better than one" - meaning (I can only presume) that if you're single, you're somehow deficient. Guess which church I'm not going to anymore?

The anti-single bias in this country goes far beyond our churches. It's inherently cultural, not just theological or spiritual. Those of us who have chosen the single life are dealing with it as best we can. I doubt, however, that it will go away anytime soon.

Posted by: Murphy | June 21, 2007 1:00 PM

I love him less since I cought him peeing in the shower.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 1:01 PM

http://www.unmarried.org/storiestold.html

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 1:01 PM

"I really think couples that live together and are everything but married are trying to say something. It's not that hard to get married, and there are real legal benefits. So, what are they saying?"

Not to speak for everyone, but my reason was that marriage included a number of privileges and assumptions that I didn't feel applied to me. For instance, I did not want anyone to automatically assume I was about to have kids. I didn't want to join a club that my gay friends could not join. And I didn't want anyone assuming that I was financially dependent upon my husband.

Some of these things were my personal chip on the shoulder & have relaxed over time (I don't much care if people believe I share finances with Mr Bee, even though we actually don't). Some things have changed in society (gay marriage is now legal where i live).

Posted by: worker bee | June 21, 2007 1:03 PM

And I also wonder: is being single also hard for men? Do they find greater spirituality when they get married?

Posted by: Leslie | June 21, 2007 09:56 AM

who cares?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 1:03 PM

"Where to start? Where to start?"

Nowhere. That is the point.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 1:03 PM

Ever heard of the NETHERLANDS?
====================
Yup, dumb place to put a country.

And boinked me
=========================
Not so much. Anyone could do that. I'm more fond of the ice and the Benz

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 1:04 PM

Any other women out there "pop the question" to her husband? This came after we were discussing having children together.

Posted by: Marian | June 21, 2007 12:29 PM

Yes! I did! It is considered a funny family story now that I asked my husband to marry me. Best thing I ever did. After 22 years we are still together, very happy and very much in love.

Posted by: in virginia | June 21, 2007 1:05 PM

Neither he nor I are comfortable with the religious history of marriage. I feel that a legally binding marriage would steal from me a large part of my identity.

We stay together because we love, trust and respect one another.

For those who are wondering, they were both raised in religious households.

Posted by: my boss said, | June 21, 2007 1:06 PM

Cultural Tidbit of the Day -- in honor of the Summer Solstice (since most of us couldn't make it to Stonehenge today, except for maybe Londonmom!).

Here are the lyrics to the oldest surviving known canon (i.e., a round, like "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" or "Frère Jacques"):

Sumer is icumen in,
Lude sing Cucu,
Groweth sed, and bloweth med,
And springeth wude nu.
Sing Cucu!

Awe bleateth after lambe
Lowth after calve cu
Bullock starteth, bucke varteth
Myrie sing Cucu
Cucu, cucu

Well singes thu Cucu
ne swik thi naver nu.

Posted by: catlady | June 21, 2007 1:07 PM

For instance, I did not want anyone to automatically assume I was about to have kids. I didn't want to join a club that my gay friends could not join. And I didn't want anyone assuming that I was financially dependent upon my husband.

Sounds like you are spending A LOT of energy living your life based upon what others might think. That might be the dumbest thing I have EVER heard. Who cares if people assume you will have kids or are financially dependent? I'm baffled.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 1:08 PM

"I feel that a legally binding marriage would steal from me a large part of my identity.

We stay together because we love, trust and respect one another."

Wonder what else will be stolen from you when he packs up and leaves and you have no legal protection or rights. He gets to have sex with you and can walk away at anytime and leave you holding the bag? Not hard to find a man under those circumstances.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 21, 2007 1:10 PM

"And I also wonder: is being single also hard for men? Do they find greater spirituality when they get married?"

No, the men lose control of TV remote when they marry. That's it.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 1:11 PM

It seems strange to give up next of kin because you don't like the term "husband/wife" or because you're relationship is so fragile that it might disrupt things. You don't have to have a wedding. It's really a quick little thing at the courthouse. And you don't have to change your name. And if you're having kids with someone you're not sure you want to marry, eek. I'm surprised.

Posted by: atb | June 21, 2007 1:11 PM

I have to say, I'm SHOCKED at the reasons not to get married! At the risk of being flamed, they're all ridiculous! It's all about taking yourself too seriously or caring too much what others think! Wow. Just wow. Wow.

Posted by: atb | June 21, 2007 1:16 PM

Why do married men still masturbate and pay hookers for oral sex? Isn't that what wives are for?

Posted by: Question: | June 21, 2007 1:17 PM

Read last week's article in Slate in the history of the ring, and you'll run screaming from he idea of it. The diamond ring was developed as collateral for a woman because they didn't wait in teh "good 'ol" days as we had been told. If they had premarital sex, it was something that they could sell to make ends meet because woumen were considered "damaged goods" at that point. A broken engagement prevented her from finding a 2nd "Mr. Right" to "take care" of her.

When my BF and I decide to get married, the thought of an engagement ring scares me. Unfortunatly, in my office when someone gets engaged, you have to stand around and oogle. I'm generally not oogling, but thiking, "how many people died for the rock on her finger," or ,"Ithat could go towards the down payment on a house." What am I supposed to say in these situations?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 1:18 PM

Who cares if people assume you will have kids or are financially dependent? I'm baffled.

Posted by: | June 21, 2007 01:08 PM

Because those people pester the h*ll out of couples who don't plan to have kids (at all or not for a long time) and who are financially independent.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 1:19 PM

"Why do married men still masturbate and pay hookers for oral sex? Isn't that what wives are for?"

I don't know. Why don't you ask pATRICK, God's conduit to Jesus?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 1:19 PM

"I feel that a legally binding marriage would steal from me a large part of my identity.

We stay together because we love, trust and respect one another."

Wonder what else will be stolen from you when he packs up and leaves and you have no legal protection or rights. He gets to have sex with you and can walk away at anytime and leave you holding the bag? Not hard to find a man under those circumstances.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 21, 2007 01:10 PM

Ha-ha-ha. They've been together 25 years. They both very, very well paid and highly regarded and respected in their professions. If one should leave the other (she could leave him first you know), the other isn't going to the poor house. (For example, the house is in both their names and has quadrupled in value since they purchased it.)

Not everyone is without resource, pATRICK. Not everyone wants to be married. Some married couples I know are simply marking time until they can get out, or die.

Posted by: anon for Blog Stats | June 21, 2007 1:20 PM

ATB, i agree. Not joining a club becuase my gay friends can't? WOW.

HIM: I love you and want to marry you and spend the rest of my life making you happy.
HER: I 'm sorry I can't marry you because I don't want to join a club that other gay couples can't belong to.
HIM: Check please

Sorry, I couldn't resist.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 21, 2007 1:20 PM

marriage does not necessarily = ring, wedding, same surname, same bank account, etc.

Posted by: atb | June 21, 2007 1:22 PM

http://blog.ourtalkworks.com/happily-unmarried/

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 1:22 PM

"Why do married men still masturbate and pay hookers for oral sex? Isn't that what wives are for?"

If men could perform fellatio on themselves, there would be a LOT less hookers and wives.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 1:22 PM

To Kudzu and Rumicat: Rock on! What gets to me is the intolerance that people have for others' recipes for happiness. Hey, if having a spouse and children is what will make your life meaningful, so be it; if not, then not. Currently single, I see the same things (pressures, judgment) that I saw before I was married. The judgment tends to be that someone can't possibly have as much meaning and joy in their life if they don't have family of "their own," and while I respect the right of people to have that opinion, I disagree.

Love is available everywhere because you are everywhere you are. Look in the mirror and you are always rewarded with someone who is a source of love. My ex-wife and I did not have any children, biologically or adopted, but that is not to say I didn't have a hand (and still do) in raising thousands of children. I taught school for twenty years, and although I have left the profession, I still enjoy spending time with my best friend's children--playing, helping with homework, attending events, salving wounds, and changing diapers. It's all good. They don't have to be biologically connected to me to matter enough--if there is a great purpose and all that, it stands to reason that we all came from the same place and we are all heading back to the same place. To me, no soul is more or less valuable than another. This (among other beliefs) takes all the pressure off and allows me to be my best in the present instead of ruminating about what I am supposedly missing. If a measure of immortality is part of what's being sought, I already have it by having lovingly touched the lives of others.

Peace.

Posted by: Married before | June 21, 2007 1:22 PM

http://www.pobronson.com/factbook/

Really interesting facts.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 1:26 PM

Wonder what else will be stolen from you when he packs up and leaves and you have no legal protection or rights. He gets to have sex with you and can walk away at anytime and leave you holding the bag? Not hard to find a man under those circumstances.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 21, 2007 01:10 PM

pATRICK,

That's just ridiculous and completely bass-ackwards.

If a woman is going to marry a guy, she wants him to be loving, trustworty, and loyal. If he's not these things -- that is, if he's someone who will run off and leave her "holding the bag" -- then why would she want to marry him in the first place?

Getting legal protection by marrying a creep (which is the sort of guy you seem to be talking about) instead of living with him for a while seems pretty short-sighted. He can still take off, but now he can leave behind all the debts that are in both their names.

Conversely, if after a few years a woman feels that the trust, love, loyalty, and integrity are there, then she can safely attach herself to him legally.

I'm not saying that all couples should start out that way, but your assumptions are ludicrous.

Posted by: pittypat | June 21, 2007 1:27 PM

married before- I'm afraid I don't put you in the same category as Kudzu. You actually sound happy about your life and the lives of the married people you know. You sound like a great guy to have around.

Posted by: atb | June 21, 2007 1:28 PM


"ATB, i agree. Not joining a club becuase my ... friends can't? WOW."

pATRICK, would you send your children to public school if only white people could send their kids to public school? Would you own property in a gated community that only permitted white owners?

Why or why not? What is the difference?

Posted by: a question | June 21, 2007 1:30 PM

"married before- I'm afraid I don't put you in the same category as Kudzu. You actually sound happy about your life and the lives of the married people you know. You sound like a great guy to have around."

Yes, wonder if he and pATRICK are available for a double date.

Posted by: Nigel | June 21, 2007 1:31 PM

Sounds like you are spending A LOT of energy living your life based upon what others might think. That might be the dumbest thing I have EVER heard. Who cares if people assume you will have kids or are financially dependent? I'm baffled.

Posted by: | June 21, 2007 01:08 PM


I have a dislike of repeated conversations based on misconceptions. Maybe it's just me.

To your larger point, though, you're right, none of this would have been an obstacle had we actually felt a NEED or even a strong WANT to get married. We just plain didn't. It's not as important to atheists like us, for starters, and also we both had supportive families who weren't pressuring us one way or the other. We had the leisure to consider it from a bunch of different angles because it just wasn't a huge thing either way.

atb, I have heard some really odd reasons TO get married. The bottom line to me is whether the reasons make sense to the couple in question. Someone asked, I answered.

Posted by: worker bee | June 21, 2007 1:32 PM

What's up with Foamy?

Posted by: Lurker | June 21, 2007 1:37 PM

Thanks, Married Before. FWIW my first very deep crush was on my male science teacher. I have a great deal of respect for teachers, male or female.

I don't think I sounded angry, attacking or freaked. I'm just stating my opinion. If it differs from atb's opinion, WTF. Married groaners are boring, just like single groaners. 50% of marriages do end in divorce. So where's the anger? Just do whatever floats your boat and stop telling other people how to live their lives.

Posted by: Kudzu | June 21, 2007 1:37 PM

"It is significant to stop and make a public declaration and promises about your life together whether it is religious or not. Meesh, you sound like loads of fun. The birthday party is probably just a silly gathering to you too. You are not Kurt and Goldie, you are Meesh and Mr. Meesh - stop being so disaffected, its so 80's anyway"

Kurt and Goldie? Who are they?

Anyway, you think I'm disaffected. Okay. I think people like you have read too many romance novels and fantasized about "your big day" ever since you were 10. You think I'm a joke; I think people like you are a joke. To each his or her own. Live and let live.

Posted by: Meesh | June 21, 2007 1:38 PM


pATRICK

"He gets to have sex with you and can walk away at anytime and leave you holding the bag? Not hard to find a man under those circumstances."

It's hard for a lot of us fatties to find a man!

Are you into plus-size women?

Posted by: Serafina | June 21, 2007 1:44 PM

I am honored by the compliments. Some of you people put a lump in my throat, and it's too early in the day for that! (PDT, I live in L.A.)

Meesh: Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn is the reference, I believe (why, I don't know, but no matter).

The Giver is inside all of us. Find it, regardless of your singlehood or marriedhood, and be at peace when your time comes.

Posted by: Married before | June 21, 2007 1:46 PM

"He gets to have sex with you and can walk away at anytime and leave you holding the bag?

Is that how you were before you were married, or how you'd be if you could've talked your future wife into skipping the wedding?

Posted by: To pATRICK | June 21, 2007 1:47 PM

"Getting legal protection by marrying a creep (which is the sort of guy you seem to be talking about) instead of living with him for a while seems pretty short-sighted. He can still take off, but now he can leave behind all the debts that are in both their names.

Conversely, if after a few years a woman feels that the trust, love, loyalty, and integrity are there, then she can safely attach herself to him legally.

I'm not saying that all couples should start out that way, but your assumptions are ludicrous."


PITTYPAT, you have missed the boat. First off, What if he STILL does not want to get married after those years? My post was to the idea that marriage is just a piece of paper. If he can have the advantages of marriage without committing to it, is that a sign of a good partner? No it is not. That type of relationship has one foot out the door at all times. Many of these situations end up with the excuses she talked about, once we do this than marriage and that comes and goes. At somepoint that man may give the "I need my space talk" and guess what, all he needs to do is pack and leave, which is what he wanted the ability to do the whole time. When a man says it is just a piece of paper, he is saying I DON'T WANT TO MARRY YOU! I don't want to be committed to you legally. Don't delude yourself.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 21, 2007 1:49 PM

A few good reasons not to get married:
A marriage license costs about $40. A divorce costs about $4,000. It's a trap set up by the legal system in most states.

Many couples will postpone marriage to defer the expenses of child delivery onto social services. If getting married will take a woman off the ranks of welfare, this can be a very financially prudent decision.

Posted by: Lil Husky | June 21, 2007 1:52 PM

Someone very wise once said to me that it's far worse to be lonely in a marriage than it is to be single and lonely. So true.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | June 21, 2007 1:53 PM

I am happily single and have no intention of ever changing my status. I was married for almost 25 years and have been divorced for 18 years. I have family, children, grandchildren and friends. I have a job I enjoy. I have the freedom to do what I want when I want. I love my single life and would not change it for the world. I am alone but never lonely. It may not suit everyone, but it suits me just fine.

Posted by: carrot | June 21, 2007 1:54 PM

PITTYPAT, you have missed the boat. First off, What if he STILL does not want to get married after those years? My post was to the idea that marriage is just a piece of paper. If he can have the advantages of marriage without committing to it, is that a sign of a good partner? No it is not. That type of relationship has one foot out the door at all times. Many of these situations end up with the excuses she talked about, once we do this than marriage and that comes and goes. At somepoint that man may give the "I need my space talk" and guess what, all he needs to do is pack and leave, which is what he wanted the ability to do the whole time. When a man says it is just a piece of paper, he is saying I DON'T WANT TO MARRY YOU! I don't want to be committed to you legally. Don't delude yourself.


Posted by: pATRICK | June 21, 2007 01:49 PM

It's nice that you assume all men are scum (like you probably were before you found Jesus).

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 1:54 PM

worker bee- Oh, I completely agree with you there! I swear half of the people who get married are in it as far as the wedding and haven't considered that there's a whole lifetime past the BIG DAY. Bleck. But I still don't see how atheism has anything to do with getting married. Historically, it's a religious thing, but I live now.

Kudzu- You don't read your posts as angry? Who's telling you how to live your life? You're now angry AND paranoid.

Posted by: atb | June 21, 2007 1:56 PM

Re: "just a piece of paper" - I have an aunt (my mother's sister) who has been married and divorced twice.

Then she met her "soulmate" - the one guy who was truly for her. They lived together for 15 years, but never married because she was afraid it would screw everything up. But they did live together, share finances, etc. (FWIW, he was a widower with two grown children.)

During their time together, she became partially disabled because of a work-related accident. She got a small settlement, but certainly not enough to live on in Boulder, CO. No problem, he took care of her.

Then he died. Yes, he had arranged in his will to take care of her, but then his children challenged it. After all, they had never married, so why should she be entitled to anything from him?

I'm not a lawyer, and maybe some of you who are have an idea of how this SHOULD have gone, but the bottom line was that after spending thousands in legal bills, she was able to get herself declared his "common law wife" and thus get a survivor's benefit from his pension, but the kids got everything else.

She was told that had they been legally married for most of those 15 years, the outcome would have been significantly different and it's possible the children would never have challenged the will in the first place.

So while it may just be a "piece of paper" to you, it has substantial implications to others.

Posted by: Army Brat | June 21, 2007 1:57 PM

There is a long list 1000+ of civil and financial benefits that you attain when you are legally married.

Not only ownership, social security, credit, insurance, and estate rights, but rights to medical information, end-of-life decisions, etc.

We are all born single, and some of folks choose marriage.

Nothing wrong with either one, but don't be fooled into thinking that the government, financial institutions, insurance companies, etc. view them the same way.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 1:58 PM

Further to the critics who didn't like that my reasons for not marrying had to do with other people's opinions:

Remember that marriage, also, is about what others think. If it was just about a promise between the couple, there wouldn't be a need for the huge public party and the ring and the official documents and the sharing of names.

Posted by: worker bee | June 21, 2007 2:00 PM

Whenever I think of the fun I had being single, almost always it seems ,my daughter will pop up, hug me and say " I LOVE YOU DADDY! and run away giggling. The "good times" of the past pale to the reality of today.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 21, 2007 11:09 AM

Actualy that is about being a parent, not being married. I know of many women who have chosen single parenthood for this reason. And before the religous arguement about premartial sex comes into play some chose this path by adoption so no conflict with that moral issue.

Posted by: Divorced mom of 1 | June 21, 2007 2:04 PM

ARMY BRAT, you posted the scenario that many of these people face. Thank you.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 21, 2007 2:04 PM

to pAtrick -
Your assumptions about a man saying that the piece of paper is meaningless is making me laugh out loud. That is TRUE for a lot of men (and a lot of men I know), but very UNTRUE for a lot of others. My friends and I have seen more than half of our parents get divorced. We tend to take a long look at relationships and expectations before tying the knot - and we all have a little fear of the "M" word because we know that it can and does fall apart. While I do not enjoy the fear or the loooonnnng waiting period, I think it is healthy for people in long-term relationships to be honest about where they are coming from and what they expect for the future. Being unsure about marriage is not necessarily a big red flag it can be an invitation for a discussion on expectations and plans.

Posted by: scr | June 21, 2007 2:04 PM

I guess I am a "tad off" b/c I am 37 (soon to be 38), female, and still single! My attitude is that being married and being single are simply two different places to be in life and each has its advantages and disadvantages. I do think it is challenging to be single as you get older, simply b/c of societal expectations and pressure. I am really enjoying life right now b/c I have financial security, an interesting job that I love, good friends, a healthy family (mom and dad are still in good health), I am probably in the best shape of my life b/c I have the time and money to work out with a personal trainer, and if I want to fly to Paris to visit my friend for a long weekend at the drop of a hat, I can. I appreciate these aspects of my life. Of course I realize that being married has its own advantages, but I certainly do not view it as a "better" place to be in life - it is just different. Maybe some people do view me as "off", a "freak" or a "failure" b/c I have never been married, but I have enough sense of self to know that I have made the right decisions regarding my personal life and have no regrets. Of course this doesn't mean that I wouldn't like to fall in love some day and share my life with someone. I would really like that to happen, but I refuse to sit around and throw myself a pity party until that happens. And if it never happens, then I guess that is just my fate and I am hopeful that I will find a way to lead a happy and productive life as a single gal until the end - hopefully without living in an apartment with 20 cats and lace doilies covering every surface :)

Posted by: ArlingtonGenX | June 21, 2007 2:05 PM

there wouldn't be a need for the huge public party and the ring and the official documents and the sharing of names.


Posted by: worker bee | June 21, 2007 02:00 PM

Except for the official legal documents, none of these is a requirement for marriage.

Posted by: devils advocate | June 21, 2007 2:06 PM

Army Brat, do you know how his will was prepared and on what grounds it was challenged? It sounds like the children succeeded in getting it set aside, which makes me wonder if he had written it himself - these are often much easier to challenge.

Had she been married to him by an officiant, the children may not have had an incentive to challenge the will. In Colorado, as in most states, there's a default set of rules that apply to an estate with no will, which give a portion of the estate to a surviving spouse (I think it's 50% here), which is what she eventually got by proving that she was his common-law wife. She probably spent the most money proving the existence of the common-law marriage (which can be difficult), and the kids must have been hoping she wouldn't be able to do that succesfully when they challenged. If she didn't have to prove that, the kids may have had less of an incentive to challenge the will, knowing that she would automatically take half the estate even without the will. But, if the will cut the kids out altogether, they may have challenged whether they were married or not. And of course, not all states recognize common-law marriages anymore, so had they lived elsewhere she could have been cut out of the estate altogether when the will was set aside.

Posted by: Megan | June 21, 2007 2:08 PM

atb, what I meant about it meaning less for an atheist is that I had no moral pressure to marry--unlike some couples whose faiths or families don't permit them to live together without being married.

Posted by: worker bee | June 21, 2007 2:08 PM

carrot

"I am happily single and have no intention of ever changing my status. I was married for almost 25 years and have been divorced for 18 years. I have family, children, grandchildren and friends. I have a job I enjoy. I have the freedom to do what I want when I want. I love my single life and would not change it for the world. I am alone but never lonely. It may not suit everyone, but it suits me just fine."

Same here, except that I have been a Merry Widow courtesy of MetLife for years.

Two joyous highlights of my life:

The day all the pets met each other for the first time.

The day all the grandkids met each other for the first time.

Posted by: red | June 21, 2007 2:10 PM

Why is this directed towards women? Aren't men single, too? The discussion is pointless unless everyone is included.

Posted by: Denver, CO | June 21, 2007 2:10 PM

Except for the official legal documents, none of these is a requirement for marriage.

Posted by: devils advocate | June 21, 2007 02:06 PM


Exactly--and yet so many couples opt for them anyway. Just saying people aren't making their marriages happen in a private vaccuum--we're all, like it or not, influenced by (or against) what other people think or expect.

Posted by: worker bee | June 21, 2007 2:12 PM

"Being unsure about marriage is not necessarily a big red flag it can be an invitation for a discussion on expectations and plans."


Hi SCARRY, your post is very valid. My point was the one who wants to ACT married but does not want to provide the legal protections marriage brings.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 21, 2007 2:12 PM

PITTYPAT, you have missed the boat. First off, What if he STILL does not want to get married after those years? My post was to the idea that marriage is just a piece of paper. If he can have the advantages of marriage without committing to it, is that a sign of a good partner? No it is not. That type of relationship has one foot out the door at all times. Many of these situations end up with the excuses she talked about, once we do this than marriage and that comes and goes. At somepoint that man may give the "I need my space talk" and guess what, all he needs to do is pack and leave, which is what he wanted the ability to do the whole time. When a man says it is just a piece of paper, he is saying I DON'T WANT TO MARRY YOU! I don't want to be committed to you legally. Don't delude yourself.


Posted by: pATRICK | June 21, 2007 01:49 PM

pATRICK, you are assuming that in all instances it is the man who doesn't want to be bound by "that piece of paper", followed by the prattle.

There are plenty of women who DO NOT WANT TO BE MARRIED.

And what is it with you people assuming that everyone is fat? For what it is worth, neither my boss nor her partner are fat, unattractive, stupid or working for peanuts. They've had to think about their commitment every step of the way, every single time they filled out another legally binding document stating that the other person is the beneficiary, etc. Nothing came easily by saying the "magic words" in the "magic place".

They're the happiest long-term couple I know.

Hell, both sets of my grandparents have passed their 50th anniversaries and loathe one another. My parents have hit 40 years and certainly aren't happy.

Posted by: anon for Blog Stats | June 21, 2007 2:13 PM

ArlingtonGenX -- you are not a "tad off," you are fabulous! I enjoyed reading your post.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | June 21, 2007 2:16 PM

"What if he STILL does not want to get married after those years? My post was to the idea that marriage is just a piece of paper. If he can have the advantages of marriage without committing to it, is that a sign of a good partner? No it is not. That type of relationship has one foot out the door at all times."

pATRICK,

You're missing a bigger point (boat?) here.

Why are you assuming that the woman in a couple always wants to marry the guy? That is a very '50s kind of perspective -- she's always trying to get him pinned down, he's always trying to stay unattached.

Many women stay in committed, unmarried relationships because they want to negotiate the terms of their future with a particular guy IF they decide he's the one they want to marry.

I don't know anything about your friends, relatives, and acquaintances, but among mine, living together, then marrying, is pretty much the norm, and I can't think of one case in which they divorced afterward. I've had friends move across country for the right person, then marry them several years later.

There's a lot to be said for good judgment, pATRICK, but you seem to be insisting that women don't have the capacity to make good judgments about men. That's a step away from saying they need to be protected by their males relatives from all the bounders out there just waiting to take advantage of them!

Time to move into the 21st century, pAT. Your daughter(s) will thank you.

Posted by: pittypat | June 21, 2007 2:17 PM

Exactly--and yet so many couples opt for them anyway. Just saying people aren't making their marriages happen in a private vaccuum--we're all, like it or not, influenced by (or against) what other people think or expect.
================================
I married my husband because I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him and have a family together. We had a wedding to share that joy and the brining together of our two families with those that we love. I cannot imagine doing either to affect the perceived assumptions of people who are at best aquaintances (otherwise they'd know who you were and what you are about). Do you choose your outfit to please the people on the metro in the morning? That's like adopting so people wouldn't assume you were having sex. WHO CARES?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 2:17 PM

ANON, the same advice is for a man. The "prattle' is to take one couple you know and say "See here they work" and forget about the majority that don't. Like saying being a single mom is great and easy, SEE "insert hollywood celebrity here" MAKES IT WORK. Means very little to the 22 year old who has a small child and the BF ran off.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 21, 2007 2:19 PM

"ATB, i agree. Not joining a club becuase my ... friends can't? WOW."

pATRICK, would you send your children to public school if only white people could send their kids to public school? Would you own property in a gated community that only permitted white owners?

Why or why not? What is the difference?

Posted by: a question | June 21, 2007 01:30 PM

=====================================
How about you stop using all petroleum based products since using them supports regimes that oppress women, minorites and gays not to mention a supression of relgious freedom?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 2:21 PM

COMING SOON!!!

The Best of pATRICK (Part Two)

"Spiritual Wisdom as told to pATRICK by Jesus" - skip the middle man and get it straight from the horse's mouth!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 2:22 PM

My SMF is living with her baby's father, but she has no interest in marrying him. For her it's because she feels he's just not "the one", even though they have a child together; if there was no child she would not be seeing him at all right now. They have a decent relationship but she does not legally want to tie herself to him. He helps her financially and with the baby, but there's no long term plans between them other than raising the child.

Posted by: John L | June 21, 2007 2:23 PM

What about domestic partnerships? It's available here in DC. It gives you access to hospital rooms if admitted and you can add your partner on your health insurance.

Does this = marriage?

Posted by: 2xmami | June 21, 2007 2:24 PM

PITTY, that is not what I am saying. A man who puts himself in that position is at risk too. The conversation started at a woman whose bf would not marry her. Women do not have the corner on making bad judgements about people PITTYPAT. Living together for a couple of years and figuring out whether you want to be married is different than 6-8 years wondering. And hopefully a kid won't pop out during this time of wondering whether he or SHE is god enough to marry.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 21, 2007 2:24 PM

Means very little to the 22 year old who has a small child and the BF ran off.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 21, 2007 02:19 PM

Let's not forget the 45 year old men who take off on their wives and children.

Yeah, sure you can divorce them, sure you may get awarded some share of the money they stole (when it's in excess of 50%) and squandered, sure you can get some sort of child support decree, but it's horribly difficult to get the money. Marriage doesn't make any of this work.

DNA-testing helps that 22 year old get child support. It's been around for more than a decade, you know.

There are and were plenty of people who have taken off while married. Happens all the time and always has. Ever heard the term "grass widow"?

What are you going to do pATRICK? Round up all the unmarried couples and jail them until they do what you want? Shoot them?

Not everyone wants to be married. Not even those who ARE married want to be married. See that divorce rate in excess of 40%?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 2:26 PM

whether he or SHE is (good)-sp- enough to marry.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 21, 2007 2:27 PM

The conversation started at a woman whose bf would not marry her.

What time was the posting?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 2:28 PM

BTW, I'm married. My engagement ring was a less-expensive-than-diamond stone, by my choice. I also gave him a man's-style ring. I didn't change my name. We had both sets of parents walk behind us into the chapel rather than my father "giving me away" (worse than the expensive ring or name change as a patriarchal relic, IMHO). We don't have children. Old saying- if you assume, you make an a$$ out of u and me.

I've seen just about every possibility occur in others' long-term, non-married relationships. Some (including gays who would get married if they could legally) stay together for a long time. Other times, the scenario pATRICK describes occurs. I also know of at least one hetero. couple where she said she didn't want to marry yet so she could focus on her career, then married someone else soon after that "common-law" relationship broke up. Marriages break up too, of course, but the "piece of paper" binds you legally in many ways, which vary from state to state.

Posted by: SheGeek | June 21, 2007 2:28 PM

"I see the spouses other women chose and I think "Thank God she got stuck with him and not me""

Except of course, when you are shagging those spouses that you're glad you aren't stuck with. If you are so happy in your single state, why bother having affairs with men that you don't admire? Is life really that lonely.

BTW - You stick out like a sore thumb, whatever your change your name to does not hide the bile inside.

Posted by: To Kudzu, aka Childless by Choice | June 21, 2007 2:30 PM

The statistics for marriages involving a person who has bipolar disorder are especially sobering--an estimated 90 percent of these end in divorce.

pATRICK,

Got any thoughts on this? First-hand experience?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 2:30 PM

When my BF and I decide to get married, the thought of an engagement ring scares me. Unfortunatly, in my office when someone gets engaged, you have to stand around and oogle. I'm generally not oogling, but thiking, "how many people died for the rock on her finger," or ,"Ithat could go towards the down payment on a house." What am I supposed to say in these situations?

Posted by: | June 21, 2007 01:18 PM

Nothing. You say nothing. You wish them the best and walk back to your desk. Don't make their happy day your time to jump on some soapbox.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 2:31 PM

"Spiritual Wisdom as told to pATRICK by Jesus" - skip the middle man and get it straight from the horse's mouth!

You mean the horse's ass, right?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 2:31 PM

NEGATIVE INTERACTIONS IN MARRIAGE CAN LEAD TO MORE HEALTH PROBLEMS IN OLDER COUPLES
Even Outweighs Any Positive Behavior Effects
--------------------------------
medical comorbidities common in people with bipolar, including heart disease, cancer, endocrine disorders and autoimmune disorders, lead to complications, overall poor health and a decreased life expectancy.

Posted by: to 2:30, 2:13, others | June 21, 2007 2:38 PM

When my BF and I decide to get married, the thought of an engagement ring scares me. Unfortunatly, in my office when someone gets engaged, you have to stand around and oogle. I'm generally not oogling, but thiking, "how many people died for the rock on her finger," or ,"Ithat could go towards the down payment on a house." What am I supposed to say in these situations?

Posted by: | June 21, 2007 01:18 PM

Nothing. You say nothing. You wish them the best and walk back to your desk. Don't make their happy day your time to jump on some soapbox.

Posted by: | June 21, 2007 02:31 PM

I agree with the anonymous poster, and secondly, wow, jumping to a few conclusions, aren't you? First off, not all diamonds are conflict diamonds. Secondly, when did it become your problem to worry about their finances? It is possible they already have money set aside for a house. Or that buying the ring was more important than a house. Or whatever.

Either way, it's THEIR life, not yours. Let them deal or worry about that stuff -- criminy, all your coworker or friend is asking for is your excitement at their engagement.

Posted by: Just wonderin' | June 21, 2007 2:38 PM

Megan, thanks for the comments. I don't know how the will was prepared - he may well have written it himself. (My father did that, too, FWIW, but there was nobody challenging his when he died.) IIRC, his kids challenged it on grounds that there was no marriage, common law or otherwise, and that my aunt had unduly influenced him in preparing it - basically, that he didn't execute it freely and in sound mind (or whatever the terms were; I don't recall precisely and I'm an engineer, not a lawyer :-). Yes, she had to spend quite a lot of effort proving the common law relationship, and IIRC the kids challenged a lot of things before she finally got the court to agree that one did exist.

Interesting point somebody made about end-of-life decisions: he had a heart attack and was DOA at the hospital, so there were no such decisions to be made. But I'm wondering what would have happened had there been decisions to make.

(Slightly off topic: we're preparing a medical directive for our 18 year old daughter when she goes off to college this fall. It will note that if she's unconscious we have the right to make decisions for her - and yes, that's what she wants. A good friend found out the hard way last year that without such a document things can get ugly. Her 19 year old daughter was seriously injured in a car accident and was comatose for a week; the hospital would neither confirm nor deny that her daughter was a patient, and wouldn't let her talk to the doctors or have any input - per medical privacy laws. She had to go get a court order naming her as her daughter's legal guardian for medical purposes. Sheesh - talk about a pain!)

Posted by: Army Brat | June 21, 2007 2:39 PM

We UUs may have a rep. for being non-judgemental, but anyone who has a child and does not provide for that child financially and emotionally if they are able is a lout- a male or female, single or married, gay or straight, etc etc, lout.

Posted by: SheGeek | June 21, 2007 2:39 PM

A question, you asked "pATRICK, would you send your children to public school if only white people could send their kids to public school? Would you own property in a gated community that only permitted white owners?"


Sorry to get all practical, but with marriage least there is some benefit to joining the "club" whereas racially restrictive schools and communities have no redeeming value to anyone. not these days, that's for sure! Very bad investment property wise, and placing your children in a situation where they will be presumed to be bigots would put them at great danger-- setting aside the fact that homogeny isn't conducive to a great education!

To consider the question from an ethical perspective, I apply Kant's "Catagorical Imperative" (my "go to" when WWJD just doesn't work)-- i.e., if all hetrosexuals were to henceforth decide not to get married because it is not available to homosexuals, what would happen? would the world be a better place? I can't imagine that it would. So I don't feel guilty for getting married even though my homosexual friends can't. YMMV.

Posted by: Jen S. | June 21, 2007 2:39 PM

You've been busy born free, live free etc. Too bad it's the same old tired thing from someone who can't ever post anything that adds anything.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 21, 2007 2:39 PM

For all of us, particularly we "she-geeks"!

http://www.apa.org/releases/sexualization.html

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 2:39 PM

I don't really understand the resistance to patrick's point concerning the legal protections of marriage - that's the whole point of marriage. I have no problem with couples who mutually decide not to marry for whatever reason - as many have said, couples should do what works for them. But there's no denying the fact that both people are giving up certain rights and protections in making that decision. And if it's not a mutual decision, if one partner wants to be married and the other does not, I think it does create a very difficult and precarious situation for the partner who wants to be married.

Posted by: Megan | June 21, 2007 2:41 PM

Do you choose your outfit to please the people on the metro in the morning? That's like adopting so people wouldn't assume you were having sex. WHO CARES?

Posted by: | June 21, 2007 02:17 PM

Do you get on the metro in your birthday suit? Do you go to job interviews in ripped jean shorts? The convenience of others may not be the first thing on your mind when you get dressed, but you aren't acting completely according to your own desires either.

To me, it's simple. When you have a deep personal reason for something--which you obviously did in your marriage--that trumps social expectation. But I, unlike you, didn't care much about marriage personally. I already lived with Mr Bee and was happy that way. When we discussed marriage, we took into account some social factors because we are interested in these things. I'm surprised this seems to have become a point of contention.

This began when someone asked why people live together without getting married. We were wondering the opposite--why get married when we already live together? Eventually we did get married, but it could have gone either way. The point is, we would still be a committed couple regardless.

Posted by: worker bee | June 21, 2007 2:42 PM

What does "YMMV" mean?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 2:42 PM

Once again, cherry picking of facts and incomplete analysis buttress an ill formed opinion.

What the Corp of Engineers released today was the current state of flood protection in New Orleans. Much more work has already been authorized which would mitigate the flooding effect on the city. Try reading the whole story next time and then commenting.

"The corps also did not release maps indicating the risk of flooding once the area's levee system is improved to withstand the effects of a 100-year storm. Those maps will be completed in a few weeks, officials said.

The absence of those future flooding maps, which are expected to project risks to the year 2011, disappointed many observers, including community leaders who otherwise praised the analysis itself." From the Times-Picayune


http://blog.nola.com/updates/2007/06/risk.html

Posted by: to told ya! | June 21, 2007 2:42 PM

I'm generally not oogling, but thiking, "how many people died for the rock on her finger,"
================================
When you get in your car and pick up your groceries brought to the store in trucks and put in plastic bags, do you think "I wonder how many young men died in Iraq so I can have these things?" When you find affordable produce do you think "I wonder how many migrant workers and their families were exploited so I can have cheap peppers?"

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 2:43 PM

"A question, you asked "pATRICK, would you send your children to public school if only white people could send their kids to public school? Would you own property in a gated community that only permitted white owners?"

Sorry the 60's are over. I know marching to protest something like this is your wildest fantasy but unfortunately it has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with what we are talking about here. Try again.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 21, 2007 2:44 PM

This is NOT flaming someone for a typo. But the image is priceless!!!

"We had a wedding to share that joy and the brining together of our two families with those that we love."

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 2:44 PM

I saw "bipolar", so here I am! The only way to get me to respond faster is to write "BPD"...

In case anyone is wondering, here's a very, very brief blurb about why I will NEVER EVER try and persuade any of MY kids to marry. Mind you, it took over a decade for my husband to finally be properly diagnosed as bipolar. Imagine how much longer it would have taken if I didn't have excellent health insurance and a reading fetish.

"An alarming 90 percent of marriages in which one partner is suffering from bipolar disorder, end in divorce. The most obvious reason for this disintegration is the substantial social morbidity that results from the patient's maladaptive behavior. Serious social drawbacks come from the patient's abuse of alcohol or drugs (over 40 % cases reported), suicide and/or accidents brought upon by the patient during manic, depressive, or mixed fits (15 to 25 % cases).

Of course, the daily interactions of manic-depressives can be a threat to any social relationship, including marriage, as these patients have trouble containing their emotions. Their response to a usual joke might be shockingly unexpected (on extreme of elation or depression). A word of mild reproof can bring thoughts of suicide. And so, it is not difficult to link bipolar disorder and divorce. Living with someone having the condition is very stressful and teeming with misunderstandings and conflicts."

No kidding. And this little blurb has been extraordinarily spiffed up for the neophytes.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | June 21, 2007 2:45 PM

pATRCICK

"You've been busy born free, live free etc. Too bad it's the same old tired thing from someone who can't ever post anything that adds anything."

How could your words of wisdom ever be the same old tired thing? You are too modest.

COMING SOON!!!

The Best of pATRICK (Part Three)
Common Sense - The Final Frontier

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 2:46 PM

Marriage has always been a religious thing? Not true! The institution of marriage began - and remains - a mechanism for the transfer of property. The religious and cultural trappings that most Americans associate with marriage are recent phenomena. For those who choose to live with another person in a long-term committed relationship, marriage can provide some useful legal benefits. But let's be candid about what those benefits are!

Posted by: Murphy | June 21, 2007 2:46 PM

2:44, that is pretty funny.

Army Brat, that's interesting - sorry your aunt had to go through that. It does raise a good point though that having a very good estate attorney (one who will draft a will that won't get set aside, of course) can help mitigate the legal consequences of not getting married. If you have a good will, medical directive, powers of attorney etc drafted I would think you could secure some of the benefits and protections, although of course it will always be open to challenge by other family members.

Posted by: Megan | June 21, 2007 2:48 PM

"We had a wedding to share that joy and the brining together of our two families with those that we love."

Cute....

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 2:52 PM

MEGAN, I found it strange too. Protect yourself and your legal rights. For that, I am a scum, horse's ass etc. Such is the joy of posting on the internet.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 21, 2007 2:55 PM

For Megan or MN--

I would imagine that any legal document could be challenged by any family member, at any time. Right?

I actually need to know this, as I have signed plenty of paperwork through the years naming other parties as beneficiary of many things. I gotta protect my money from my husband and his manias. That includes my living will and durable powers of attorney, etc. He gets to decide NOTHING about my fate--I suspect he'd do whatever he could to ensure he gets the money he thinks he's entitled to receive as my spouse.

He can go blow his inheritance, but I'm not inclined to let him blow my retirement money (for the kids) if I should die first.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | June 21, 2007 2:55 PM

"I know marching to protest something like this is your wildest fantasy but unfortunately it has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with what we are talking about here."

Why doesn't it?

So you would be just fine with owning the whites-only property and sending your kids to the public whites-only schools, then?

Posted by: a question | June 21, 2007 2:56 PM

Murphy is right; marriage even back in my grandmother's time (late 1800's) was about who would get the property when the father died.

Typically the eldest son inherited everything, but only if he was legitimate; therefore, in order to have a legal heir a marriage had to occur. Wills were only for the very rich; for everyone else the transfer went automatically as I said above.

I'm sure a lot of you are asking "what about the wife? What did she get in this case?". Well, based on what my wife in her genealogy research discovered, she didn't inherit anything but typically she stayed on the property that the eldest son inherited. Now, if he decided to give/sell part of that property to his siblings or his mother he certainly could do so, but it wasn't required.

What made her genealogical research so difficult was the tendency for families back then to name the eldest son the same as the father, and when the property was transferred often the name didn't change on the deed. It took some digging and cross referencing using census data to discover that elder Smith was no longer alive, and Smith Jr now owned the property.

Posted by: John L | June 21, 2007 2:56 PM

Have you considered paying an attorney for a consultation rather than asking for anectdotal evidence from a blog?

Posted by: To: Maryland Mother | June 21, 2007 2:58 PM

"'Why do married men still masturbate and pay hookers for oral sex? Isn't that what wives are for?'"

"If men could perform fellatio on themselves, there would be a LOT less hookers and wives."

Posted by: | June 21, 2007 01:22 PM

Any statistics to back this claim up? Like, how many wives and hookers there are in the Cape Cod region of Massachusetts?

"There once was a man from Nantucket . . ."
-- old limerick

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | June 21, 2007 2:59 PM


"So you would be just fine with owning the whites-only property and sending your kids to the public whites-only schools, then?

Posted by: a question | June 21, 2007 02:56 PM "

SEE BELOW FOR YOUR ANSWER


"NEW: Questions As Weapons" by Charles Jacobs unmasks a little-noted rhetorical strategy often employed by the jihadists and their allies:

"Why did you kill your grandmother?" That's what Professor Ruth Wisse said to an Arab student at Stanford who asked her, "Why is Israel an apartheid state?"
The student was flummoxed and tried again, "Why is Israel an apartheid state?" Wisse again responded, "Come on now, tell us why you killed your grandmother." A few more rounds of this and the student relented.

According to the Chabad Rabbi who invited Harvard's Wisse to speak, Wisse then explained how some questions are not questions at all, but weapons: If she would have answered his anti-Israel accusation, she would have been trapped, and done damage to her cause.

Her "grandmother" riposte was the perfect demonstration of that point:

Having to explain why you're not guilty as charged is a losing proposition.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 21, 2007 3:01 PM

Have you considered paying an attorney for a consultation rather than asking for anectdotal evidence from a blog?


Posted by: To: Maryland Mother | June 21, 2007 02:58 PM

Did I address a question to you? Do you have any anecdotal experience I can use? A suggestion for a particularly good web site, or reference book based upon your law degree? Anything useful?

No?

Then go piss up a rope, would you?

Posted by: Maryland Mother | June 21, 2007 3:02 PM

Then go piss up a rope, would you?

Post of the day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!HAHAHHA

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 3:03 PM

Patrick, I asked a legitimate question which you chose to ignore. What is the difference you see between the two scenarios of denying access to a generally available good?

People have spoken eloquently about the legal benefits of marriage and how not being married can be a legal liability even for long-term partners. Doesn't this strike you as a problem that it be denied to a subset of long-term partners?

Posted by: a question | June 21, 2007 3:05 PM

Then go piss up a rope, would you?

Post of the day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!HAHAHHA

Posted by: | June 21, 2007 03:03 PM

I'm glad you enjoyed it, but remember, only Fred bestows the much-coveted "Post of the Day" award. He owes me one ride in the creepy van so far.

But I will donate it to someone else, if they wish.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | June 21, 2007 3:06 PM

"What percentage of single women are widows?"

How about what percentage of single men are widowers?

Here's one, in late 20's. Would take marriage over single life, but only for the woman I lost. And the woman I may meet in the future.

Posted by: itiswhatitis | June 21, 2007 3:07 PM

In marriages ending with the death of a spouse, about 3/4 of the surviving spouses are women. Only about 1/4 are men.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 3:09 PM

"Patrick, I asked a legitimate question which you chose to ignore. What is the difference you see between the two scenarios of denying access to a generally available good?

People have spoken eloquently about the legal benefits of marriage and how not being married can be a legal liability even for long-term partners. Doesn't this strike you as a problem that it be denied to a subset of long-term partners"

First off you called me a racist. Second you can pull anything out of your rear to point out as an injustice but your question was not about what I assume is gay marriage but segregation which is not related to the topic. I have utterly no desire to get into a flamewar about gay marriage today sorry.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 21, 2007 3:11 PM

Me again.
Not only do I decline your rather crude offer, and bitter attempt at humor, but I think it would be more entertaining if you could provide us all with a demonstration.

...btw, there are even free, or pro-rated legal clinics to address this, but the adivce varies by state.

Unfortunately, unless a Maryland family law attorney chimes in, the blog anecdotes are from a more geographically diverse audience.

With an attitude like this, no wonder you are concerned about your husband terminating life support.
Try relaxing with a walk, glass of wine, or a hot bath.

Posted by: To Maryland Mother: | June 21, 2007 3:14 PM

As a person who is married for the legal benefits, but who nonetheless thinks it is wrong that gay people cannot marry, I will answer the question you posed to Patrick from my pov.

I got married not because I wanted children, and I think that kids benefit from the legal status of their parents' marriage. Perhaps, if there were no child involved, I would be willing to forgo these benefits in the spirit of protesting what is an injustice to gay people, but I am not willing to sacrifice my child to my politics in this way. If schools were still racially segregated and there was no means by which I could possibly educate my children in a desegregated environment, I would still send my child to a segregated school, because an education is better than no education at all, but still teach tolerance at home in the hopes that one day, things would be different.

Posted by: Emily | June 21, 2007 3:18 PM

To Maryland Mother:,

Oh, go piss down the rope too.

Posted by: scarry | June 21, 2007 3:19 PM

Actually, with an attorney who costs me $350/hour, I don't mind getting a nudge in the right direction from others.

No time for that. Someone has to keep the house, kids and animals going. No point in waiting around for someone else to do what needs to be done.

Speaking of Fred, how's the Zelda Fitzgerald biography going? A good read?

Posted by: Maryland Mother | June 21, 2007 3:19 PM

To Maryland Mother:,

Oh, go piss down the rope too.

Posted by: scarry

Now that I can do!

Thanks Scarry!

Posted by: Maryland Mother | June 21, 2007 3:21 PM

I meant to say I got married because I wanted children. Changes the whole meaning. Sorry.

Posted by: Emily | June 21, 2007 3:21 PM

I called you nothing of the kind, but drew a historical parallel to the current situation, which happened to involve race. (I'm too young--and assume you are too young--to remember a time when women could not vote or sign their own contracts if married, but that also would have worked.)

Perhaps you aren't historically informed enough to consider it relevant.

Posted by: a question | June 21, 2007 3:22 PM

Maryland mother,


hahah, no problem. I find it particularly annoying when someone is rude and then acts like the other person did it.

Posted by: scarry | June 21, 2007 3:23 PM

I would rather be pissed off than pissed on!

Posted by: old saw | June 21, 2007 3:23 PM

With an attitude like this, no wonder you are concerned about your husband terminating life support.

Why don't you try reading my posting at 2:45 and then give us your life experience with a bipolar spouse. I'll make it easier for you, how about a severely depressed spouse, parent or child.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 3:23 PM

Kudzu - you have BIG problems. Please seek out the help you need. You had a tough life as a kid but you shouldn't let it impact the rest of your days on this planet.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 3:26 PM

YMMV= your mileage may vary. Sorry!

totally second emily's post-- wish i could write like you do!

Posted by: Jen S. | June 21, 2007 3:26 PM

I think the comment was more an incentive for MD Ma to get moving to protect herself, so that she will be able to take the best possible care of her family and home.

just sayin'

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 3:27 PM

What about dealing with a schizophrenic family member? Unless they're a threat to their own or someone else's life, they can't be involuntarily committed, and they don't think they're ill, they think they're being persecuted.

Posted by: No name today | June 21, 2007 3:28 PM

Anon at 2:30: You're quite wrong and you must have Childless stuck in your craw. Insecure much? Maybe you think your husband is one of her conquests.

Posted by: Kudzu | June 21, 2007 3:28 PM

"'NEW: Questions As Weapons' by Charles Jacobs unmasks a little-noted rhetorical strategy often employed by the jihadists and their allies:"

Posted by: pATRICK | June 21, 2007 03:01 PM

Watch whom you're calling "jihadists"! A Muslim does not have to be a jihadist to ask a Christian, "How can you get married knowing that American law (Reynolds v. U.S., 98 U.S. 145 (1878)) allows Christian men to have as many wives as their New Testament allows, but denies Muslim men the right to have as many wives as their Koran allows?"

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | June 21, 2007 3:29 PM

Kudzu - you have BIG problems. Please seek out the help you need. You had a tough life as a kid but you shouldn't let it impact the rest of your days on this planet.

Posted by: | June 21, 2007 03:26 PM

Don't let experience cloud your judgment. Just hop on a motorcycle without a helmet on a rainy day. Voila. Memories gone.

Posted by: to Kudzu | June 21, 2007 3:29 PM

Kudzu - you have BIG problems. Please seek out the help you need. You had a tough life as a kid but you shouldn't let it impact the rest of your days on this planet.

Posted by: | June 21, 2007 03:26 PM

Don't let experience cloud your judgment. Just hop on a motorcycle without a helmet on a rainy day. Voila. Memories gone.

Posted by: to Kudzu | June 21, 2007 3:29 PM

YMMV

No, no.
It means, "you make me vomit." Right, Mona?

Thanks, Jen S.

Posted by: Emily | June 21, 2007 3:29 PM

Thanks, Emily. I appreciate the candid response to a serious question.

Posted by: a question | June 21, 2007 3:29 PM

emily's post

Is that related to Emily Post?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 3:30 PM

Maryland Mother,

Sigh. A quick search yielded more legal resources protecting the rights of the patient (important, but so are the rights of spouses and children) than those of spouses.

I hope the following article is helpful. It might be worth it to phone the contact at the bottom of the page too. If I come across anything else (maybe as late as next week, I'll post it on the blog). http://www.schizophrenia.com/family/estateplan.html

I'm sure you will need an attorney/will, etc. I hope the article might give you some talking points or the organization could refer you to a trust/estates attorney with expertise in helping families with someone with mental illness.

Posted by: Marian | June 21, 2007 3:30 PM

"Perhaps, if there were no child involved, I would be willing to forgo these benefits in the spirit of protesting what is an injustice to gay people, but I am not willing to sacrifice my child to my politics in this way. If schools were still racially segregated and there was no means by which I could possibly educate my children in a desegregated environment, I would still send my child to a segregated school, because an education is better than no education at all, but still teach tolerance at home in the hopes that one day, things would be different."

So to someone like A QUESTION, you would be fine to be complicit in the denying of black children their right to schooling? Of course not, but to people like that, there's no real world.

Posted by: pATRICK-to EMILY | June 21, 2007 3:31 PM

"Is that related to Emily Post?"

Nope, because you see, I have no class.

Posted by: Emily | June 21, 2007 3:33 PM

"None were single- they realized that their paths to happiness was finding love and a partner to share their lives

I cried like a baby at that series finale.
sigh...

Posted by: 'Sex' fan | June 21, 2007 12:07 PM"

That's why I HATED that show. A woman can't be happy alone? Though I did cry when the supermodel guy shaved his head in solidarity.

Posted by: Mona | June 21, 2007 3:34 PM

I hope the following article is helpful. It might be worth it to phone the contact at the bottom of the page too. If I come across anything else (maybe as late as next week, I'll post it on the blog). http://www.schizophrenia.com/family/estateplan.html

Ooh, thanks Marian.

Yes, I have found much information on protecting the rights and privacy of the mentally ill adult, but very few seem to give a tinker's dam about the effects of the patient on their family. Even NAMI.

I'll forward that link to the BPD board too.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | June 21, 2007 3:35 PM

A question, i think the examples you give are pretty weak to justify not getting married if you are heterosexual. If I had been a woman at the turn of the century, I wouldn't have wasted my time urging men not to vote or to sign contracts because1) I probably would only be able to get a small population to do so and those would be the type of people most likely to vote for the people that responded to my feminist interests and sign contracts that were to my benefit and 2) if I were somehow wildly successful and all males stopped voting and signing contracts, then our society would be bereft of institutions that benefit, generally speaking, everyone, even those who aren't directly allowed to participate in the institutions.

Gosh, I really am a "practical gal," aren't I?

Posted by: Jen S. | June 21, 2007 3:36 PM

oh, mona...

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 3:37 PM

Actually, Patrick, I thought that "a question" posed a fair question, for which I gave a fair answer. I like questions, usually. Good ones often challenge me to re-evaluate my assumptions.

Posted by: Emily | June 21, 2007 3:37 PM

Gosh, I really am a "practical gal," aren't I?

Posted by: Jen S. | June 21, 2007 03:36 PM

Only took 150 years for women to get the right to vote!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 3:38 PM

Well EMILY, I thought it was lame but I thought your answer was first rate. Congrats.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 21, 2007 3:39 PM

Even if separated at the time, the spouse is liable for expenses. Therefore, although it appears to be inappropriate, the best protection for the spouse of a mentally ill person may be divorce.

This is sad. From the schizophrenia link.

Posted by: Bedrock | June 21, 2007 3:40 PM

That's why I HATED that show. A woman can't be happy alone? Though I did cry when the supermodel guy shaved his head in solidarity.

Posted by: Mona | June 21, 2007 03:34 PM

Why does everything involving women have to be a reflection on every woman who have ever lived?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 3:41 PM

"Why does everything involving women have to be a reflection on every woman who have ever lived?"

Because this is ON BALANCE that's why silly rabbit!

Posted by: pATRICK | June 21, 2007 3:43 PM

The book Leslie refers to sounds like there is no "there" there. Some people are single. There have always been single women in my family (I married young myself). They were not considered spinsters or mavericks. They were what they were.

The only thing I can say is that most women will have to support themselves at one time or another, single or not.

Last year, my husband lost his job, and after ten years, I re-entered the paid work force.

Life can be a struggle, single or married. With children (we do have kids) or without.

To each her own, but make sure you're really choosing what you want. I don't think it's all that complicated.

Posted by: Kate | June 21, 2007 3:44 PM

OT to Maryland Mother --

Ok, speaking as a MD attorney who does not practice in that area, I'd strongly advise you to go see an attorney who does. But some general propositions (taken for what they're worth, which is not much, given that you don't have any reason to believe I have the slightest clue what I'm talking about):

You are likely ok on the "will challenge" front. All those papers you signed naming beneficiaries probably represnet insurance and 401(k) plans and the like, which will go directly to whoever you named, regardless of what your will says. Same with joint bank accounts or property you own as joint tenants with right of survivorship.

If you do have assets without a designated beneficiary, you should be ok under MD law, because an ex is not considered a "surviving spouse."

BUT: I suspect your biggest risk is through the kids. If your kids are minors when you die, they cannot manage their own money, and so the court will appoint a guardian. And guess who that's likely to be??? So if you want someone other than dad to be managing your kids' money, you MUST go to a lawyer and have a simple trust set up, where you identify the trustee who is going to manage the money for the kids. You can even specify in that trust things that they can and cannot use the money for -- which will be important, since Dad would probably have some right to some of that money to cover the cost of raising them (so, for ex., you can specify that paying for college tuition is ok, but paying for dad's new sportscar is not).

Finally, you can protect yourself pretty well with a proper will and doublechecking all of your listed beneficiaries/co-owners. But you can never guarantee that someone won't get a bug up his butt and challenge it anyway. Which is why my initial advice was to go see a lawyer who specializes in this, who can make sure your will is written and trust to be as air-tight as possible. But also, knowing that you've already got a lawyer on your side may provide an added incentive for the ex just to stay away from it.

Posted by: Laura | June 21, 2007 3:46 PM

Got to go! Have a nice evening!

Posted by: pATRICK | June 21, 2007 3:46 PM

I didn't ask anyone to justify getting married. I was originally responding to Patrick's scoffing at the idea that worker bee _would_ take a principled stand (not marrying because access to this legal set of protections was restricted). Some people do take principled stands, but it is tough for the reasons that Emily cited. Additionally, denying yourself access to a public good that others are denied access to doesn't actually do any good unless you make a lot of noise to let people know that you have done so. Otherwise, your sacrifice is invisible.

Voting doesn't really work as a parallel, because people who can vote can lobby in the interests of those who cannot. But the ability to sign contracts works.

Posted by: a question | June 21, 2007 3:48 PM

Thanks, Patrick. I also think marriage has some great practical benefits. I like it and highly recommend it to those who are ready.

About being single, I agree that it can be hard on people, whether they are religious or not. Our society is really geared toward couples. But I think it is imperatively important for people to experience the single life and get to know themselves before they marry. It may be great fun or it may be a time to soulsearch and discover yourself. Whatever it happens to be, people need to go through it, because they cannot be whole in a marriage if they were not whole on their own. No marriage will fix your problems or make them go away. And for some, a marriage just exacerbates them.

Kudzu has opted to stay single because her experience of marriage in her own family was not great, and it colors the way she sees the world. For her, being single is the way to peace, perhaps. I would never urge her to get married because she is not there yet, and may never be. For her and her circumstances, the single life might be the best option. I actually admire her for being smart enough not to fall into the trap of thinking that marriage can fix things that are wrong with you. Many people do that and fail miserably, make themselves unhappy, make another person unhappy, and even make their children unhappy. Not a good life recipe.

Posted by: Emily | June 21, 2007 3:49 PM

Thanks Laura.

Fortunately I have trusted family who I named as guardians of the assets for the kids benefit. Until they reach majority.

He can have the IRA, it's undernourished anyway. My real money is the 401K. I doubt he'll toss the kids out of the house.

Definitely stuff I will print out and work on before I spend the $350 and up.

Correction, before I go find an attorney who specializes in this topic AND has lots of experience with the ins-and-outs of mentally ill family members. Gotta be around here somewhere, right?

Posted by: Maryland Mother | June 21, 2007 3:50 PM

http://www.concernedcounseling.com/communities/bipolar/related/support_7.asp

I pay particular attention to 4, 8, 11, 13 & 14.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 3:52 PM

a question: while I'm not particularly proud of it, I was partially educated at whites-only schools, and I think Emily's response was a pretty good one.

My father was career Army (hence the tag), and you go live where the Army tells you to go live. You send your kids to school at whatever schools are available there. Large Army posts in the '60s (e.g., Fort Knox, Fort Sam Houston) had their own schools precisely because of segregation - it provided equal and integrated schooling for all dependents regardless of race. But if you were somewhere that wasn't big enough to have its own school system, you went to the local schools. If they were segregated, that was too bad - you weren't given a choice (and there really wasn't much home schooling in the '60s). So, a couple of the schools I attended were segregated. My parents always made it clear to us that they thought segregation was wrong; they encouraged us to avoid the worst of the racists (relatively few, fortunately); and in fact I attended fourth grade at a school in Mississippi when it was first integrated via forced busing.

Because of the way I was raised, I will never live in anything resembling a segregated area nor send my kids to the kind of private 'academies' that serve to provide segregated schooling still today. But in response to your hypothetical question, if there were no other choice to educate my children, and home schooling was not an option, and I couldn't move away, then yes, the segregated schooling, supplemented with intense values education at home, would be better than nothing.

Just out of curiosity, what would YOUR answer be?

(What was today's topic, again? Singles and spirituality? Hmm, this certainly sounds related.)

Posted by: Army Brat | June 21, 2007 3:55 PM

But you can never guarantee that someone won't get a bug up his butt and challenge it anyway.

Consider leaving your ex- a tiny amount of your estate, just enough so s/he has something to lose by challenging your will (maybe 10%). Then ask your attorney whether you can insert a no-challenge provision. That way, if your ex- tries to challenge the will in court, s/he automatically defaults all right to anything from your estate. You might want to designate another relative to receive any property/money that's challenged, like your children (sneaky, huh?).

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 3:55 PM

Mona, that's why the ending of the show rubbed me the wrong way too. It was like the writers suddenly decided that they couldn't end the show without attaching every character to a man. Oh well, the rest of the show was good!

Posted by: Meesh | June 21, 2007 3:57 PM

"Just out of curiosity, what would YOUR answer be?"

Fair question, since I asked it. :) As I replied to JenS, it's hard to make the stand and doesn't necessarily help those who are denied access. So I'd probably send my kids to school absent an alternative (private schools would also potentially be an option; I stipulated _public_ schools) and supplement that with training as your parents did. But I wouldn't mock those who chose to boycott the system for reasons of principle.

Posted by: a question | June 21, 2007 4:06 PM

That's why I HATED that show. A woman can't be happy alone? Though I did cry when the supermodel guy shaved his head in solidarity.

Posted by: Mona | June 21, 2007 03:34 PM


No, I don't think ANYONE can be happy alone.

I don't know one older truly happy single person. The reason someone is a life long single is due to some traumatic event that forever altered their personality. Either that or they are incredibly selfish.

I think true happiness comes only with a long term relationship/marriage.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 4:11 PM

a question: While I did think of it as a principled stand, I didn't think of it as a sacrifice--it wasn't hard on me not to be married. I thought of it more as participating in statistics. It's not a highly visible way to be counted, but it is (literally) a way to be counted. A bit like a boycott. Walmart will never miss the $6.98 I didn't spend with them today, but if a thousand or ten thousand other people behave like me...

Posted by: worker bee | June 21, 2007 4:15 PM

"No, I don't think ANYONE can be happy alone.

I don't know one older truly happy single person. The reason someone is a life long single is due to some traumatic event that forever altered their personality. Either that or they are incredibly selfish.

I think true happiness comes only with a long term relationship/marriage."


Right! That Jesus dude was single and he was incredibly selfish!

Posted by: red | June 21, 2007 4:15 PM

Kudzu doesn't sound angry to me. You guys are just jealous. Me too. Go Kudzu!

Posted by: The Lascivious Strumpet | June 21, 2007 4:17 PM

To anonymous defensive poster: Are you a therapist? How could you recognize someone who might need therapy? People who know me think I'm kind, generous, thoughtful, completely selfless, independent and have a great sense of humor. You can analyze me on only a couple postings? Yeah, right. Sure, you can. I've been able to support myself since I left home at 19, put myself through night school by working two jobs, bought my own house and a couple cars on my own with no financial support from parents or spouse, so everything I have done has not been a disaster. Perhaps you're jealous that you've not been able to do the same. Or maybe you're a lawyer. I have been treated for ulcers and major depression. Working for lawyers does that to you. 28 months and counting.

Posted by: Childless by Choice | September 19, 2006 01:40 PM


I look at these younger women coming out of daddy-funded college and they really believe they are entitled to big bucks and a corner office without any work experience or seniority. Get a grip, girls, and stop whining and pouting. Equal rights means pulling your share of the weight, not dishing out privileges to you merely because you are female.

Posted by: Childless by Choice | September 19, 2006 09:51 AM


Posted by: sounds familiar | June 21, 2007 4:18 PM

Walmart will never miss the $6.98 I didn't spend with them today, but if a thousand or ten thousand other people behave like me...

Posted by: worker bee | June 21, 2007 04:15 PM

They still wouldn't miss it.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 4:20 PM

Well, a question, I wasn't scoffing at Ms. Bee-- I was scoffing at your alleged "parallels".

I still don't see how encouraging men to not sign a contract would have been an effective way to increase the rights of women to sign a contract. Principaled? Sure. practical? Nope. It's "throwing the baby out with the bathwater", "making the perfect the enemy of the good," etc.

If "back in the day", my husband had said "i will not sign and contract and I will not buy our family a home unless and until you have the same rights to sign a contract that I do," I would have said:

"Frank, shut up and buy us a house. We'll live to fight that battle another day."

i guess balancing between your principals and the practicalities of life would be a good topic here. I'm worried that my adamently practical nature will have an adverse effect on the moral development of my children. Luckily my husband is very principaled so at least they have his influence to balance mine! (I.e., i can imagine us actually having the conversation above if we were living in another place or another time!)

Posted by: Jen S. | June 21, 2007 4:21 PM

"Got to go! Have a nice evening!"

Was beginning to wonder if you had a life outside of this blog!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 4:22 PM

"Kudzu has opted to stay single because her experience of marriage in her own family was not great, and it colors the way she sees the world. For her, being single is the way to peace, perhaps. "

Great observation. So true of many of my friends who are scared sick of marriage because they grew up in homes where a parent cheated, abused, or just abandoned their family.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 4:22 PM

a question: I'm not sure it's "mocking", but I'm among those who think it wasn't particularly smart of worker bee to not get married because her gay friends couldn't get married. Hey, it's her life; and it's her choice and Mr. Bee's choice as to whether they're married or not. They should make it based on whatever criteria they want. But others of us have opinions, and stating them is sort of the point of blogs like this.

(My parents were no strangers to "principled stands", FWIW. When I was in sixth grade, my parents took us all out of school to attend my father's court martial. He had deliberately disobeyed an order from a Colonel that he considered to be an unlawful order, and was up on charges over it. He had faith that the system would work the way it was supposed to, but he wanted us to know what was going on and that it was important to stand up for what you believe in. He was acquitted; the jury agreed that it was an unlawful order and it was his duty to disobey it. But that was a situation where by his actions he could have a significant impact and right a wrong; something he could not do by holding us out of the segregated schools.)

(And the private schools at the time were worse than the public schools - not only were they segregated by race, they were stratified by socio-economic class. Definitely NOT a way to interact with a cross-section of America.)

Posted by: Army Brat | June 21, 2007 4:22 PM

COMING SOON !!!

The Best of Childless by Choice

"People who know me think I'm kind, generous, thoughtful, completely selfless, independent and have a great sense of humor. "

"I have been treated for ulcers and major depression."

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 4:23 PM

I started a ruckus and pATRICK hijacked it and then took all the bullets! I might do that more often...

Posted by: atb | June 21, 2007 4:23 PM

We have some really good lurker/anon moments. Spotting the Kudzu/Childless by Choice "coincidence" was great.

Posted by: atb | June 21, 2007 4:26 PM

atb

"I started a ruckus and pATRICK hijacked it and then took all the bullets! I might do that more often..."

Oh, no! The I'll run out of material for "The Best of pATRICK"!!!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 4:27 PM

Geez, I'm so practical I repeatedly misspell "principled"! yikes!

Posted by: JEn S. | June 21, 2007 4:28 PM

I'm still stuck on piss up a rope...

And I'm VERY confused -- why on earth would someone choose whether or not to marry based on the right, or absence thereof, of gays to marry? I mean, really -- what do 'Adam and Steve' have to do with YOUR life?? How is it helping the cause of gay marriage if two straight people decide to not get married? By that logic, every time two straight people DO get married, the cause of gay marriage takes a hit! I'm conventional, and a product of my generation, so I still have some mental progress to make toward the idea of gay marriage being just great (like many over-40 folks, I'm working on it), but my opinion on the subject isn't important anyway. It doesn't affect me, so why should I care how two consenting adults choose to conduct their own personal lives?

Folks gotta do what they gotta do. Don't worry, be happy and all that.

Posted by: educmom | June 21, 2007 4:28 PM

Wow, I don't know what's sadder, that Kudzu is Childless by Choice or that someone actually took the time to dig up previous posts...

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 4:31 PM

They still wouldn't miss it.

Posted by: | June 21, 2007 04:20 PM

Sigh... all too true!

Posted by: worker bee | June 21, 2007 4:33 PM

4:31 -- Definitely the latter.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 4:40 PM

"'m among those who think it wasn't particularly smart of worker bee to not get married because her gay friends couldn't get married."

Army Brat, it's legitimate to question the wisdom of choices that people make and whether the payoff is worth the stand. Patrick chose to skip the questioning and go straight to the mocking. Yeah, I got irritated.

Of course it's dangerous to deny yourself legal protection you're entitled to. You mentioned one example of how unmarried partners can get shut out of the protection their partners had originally intended for them. I know personally how that legal protection helps you. Someone asked if domestic partnership is the same thing, and the answer is, no, it isn't. Domestic partnership covers only a subset of the legal protections available through marriage.

Posted by: a question | June 21, 2007 4:43 PM

Kudzu (or CBC) or whatever you want to be called this days....

BUSTED!!

Bwahhhahahahahaha

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 4:43 PM

huh, I didn't think kudzu's posts sounded angry at all, and I doubt there's only one woman in DC who left a bad home at 19. Even if she is the same person, so what? Her posts were civil and on topic.

Posted by: Megan | June 21, 2007 4:47 PM

At least she's no longer bragging about sleeping with a married man. That's progress.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 4:49 PM

Kudzu,
I didnt' mean to suggest that just because you (or anyone else) is single that you are unloved. On the contrary. I meant to emphasize that some people who are married are unloved. So, solely in the context of not having the love of a "significant other" (my comment wasn't about enjoying or not enjoying all the other wonderful possible forms of love besides that kind) I meant that it is better to be single and lonely (not that all single people are lonely) than married and lonely. Sorry this comment is so convoluted.

Posted by: Diane, Baltimore | June 21, 2007 4:53 PM

I was going to post all the paranoid or nasty comments by Kudzu, but there were just too many, so I gave up.

And she called a woman a horrible shrew. I got chewed out for calling a woman a nagging hag.

Ala Hax: Just sayin'

Posted by: atb | June 21, 2007 4:56 PM

the writing style is the same. So are the facts. If it looks like a duck....

"Over the years I worked continuously to support myself, worked two jobs to go to night school for a degree (not a dime from parents)."
kudzu
AND

"I've been able to support myself since I left home at 19, put myself through night school by working two jobs, bought my own house and a couple cars on my own with no financial support from parents or spouse,"

cbc

Posted by: not a coincidence | June 21, 2007 4:59 PM

Maryland Mother, I was so sidetracked by the Kudzu-CBC discussion I forgot to respond to you. I don't really have much to add to what Laura said, as I only have a very vague understanding of all this (not my area of practice!). I think you are on the right track, and definitely correct to seek out an attorney who is experienced with these specific issues.

Also to keep in mind that there may be other ways of handling your estate as your children get older, depending on how the situation looks, and so to remember to update your planning periodically. OH, and to definitely continue to regularly update your powers of attorney - I gather that sometimes, particularly with a financial POA, there can be a problem with "freshness" - if it was executed a long time ago the banks will worry that you revoked or changed it and may hesitate to honor it. Good luck with all this!

Posted by: Megan | June 21, 2007 5:02 PM

where does she brag about sleeping with a married man? Ooo ooo post it!!! I love On Balance character assassinations!

Posted by: atb | June 21, 2007 5:02 PM

where does she brag about sleeping with a married man? Ooo ooo post it!!! I love On Balance character assassinations!

Posted by: atb | June 21, 2007 05:02 PM

well that's lovely of you

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 5:05 PM

I have friends who chose not to get married because they each have serious medical concerns. If, at some point in the future, catastrophic medical expenses wipes out one of them financially, the other won't be destitute.

I don't know the legalities of medical expenses responsiblities of unmarried vs married couples, but this is the reason they said they would never get married.

Children aren't involved since sterilization procedures were performed due to the hereditary nature of one of the medical conditions.

Property is jointly owned in both names and I'm not sure if the house could be lost or just half the value.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 5:11 PM

Maryland Mom - Subject to the usual disclaimer that you should consult with an attorney, regarding your retirement accounts - Unless you're already divorced, you won't be able to change the beneficiary of the 401k, pension, and some other accounts covered by ERISA unless your husband consents. Your property settlement in divorce will probably include an order limiting the way you can dispose of this type of property accumulated during the marriage - your ex will be entitled to a portion of yours and you will be entitled to a portion of his. Often, you can "buy" a current spouse's consent or an ex-spouse's waiver of his rights by paying him money or agreeing to purchase a life insurance policy.

BTW, I have to differ with the person who recommended leaving him something as incentive not to challenge. The only people who can generally challenge a will in Maryland are people who are beneficiaries or who would be intestate heirs (for you, your spouse and children). There are some narrow exceptions, but I don't think they ever apply to ex-spouses, absent some contract or court order relating to the disposal of your estate. If you die after divorce, your ex will no longer have this status unless you include him in the will. If you die before, he's entitled to a forced spousal share of the portion of your estate that passes by will or intestacy anyway.

Posted by: Not A Mom | June 21, 2007 5:24 PM

I could be wrong, but I thought Maryland Mom said at some time that she wouldn't divorce her husband. I think she may be looking for ways to safeguard assets for her children without having the husband be in control.

Posted by: lurker | June 21, 2007 5:28 PM

Okay pATRICK, the Pat Robertson thing was a little on the mean-spirited side. But the Bible, as you read it today, was pretty close to what the church accepted around 400 AD. If you read about the history of the New Testament you will find that it's creation was quite a complicated political affair, which makes it quite hard for me to see it as anything but what people wanted to believe about God, say, 1600 years ago. But if you have faith, you can believe whatever you want to believe. Fact, history, science, none of it really matters. That's the fun thing about religion. In fact, you can choose to believe in the Great Spaghetti Monster if you want to, although that will hardly make you poplular with the spiritual correctness crowd.
And, yes, when it comes to religion I can be a bitter cat indeed. I've seen it tear apart friendships, ruin the lives of some of my family members, and take down thousands of innocent people a few Septembers back. I question everything and I don't apologize for that, except again for the Pat Robertson thing, lo siento.
Married before I enjoyed you post, it's nice to hear from people that really enjoy teaching and who care about kids.

Posted by: rumicat | June 21, 2007 5:28 PM

Get a life. Sheesh.

Posted by: To lurker | June 21, 2007 5:40 PM

More of Leslie's feminist drivel.

Posted by: sigh | June 21, 2007 6:03 PM

Kudzu sounds like she is consumed with sarcastic anger. I don't care if she hates religion, she mocks others' faith and tries the "whatever floats your boat, it's your life, bla-bla-bla, we all have our opinions" crap and everyone thinks she is being just.

She is nasty.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 6:03 PM

More similarities

I once worked for a local police department....

Posted by: Childless by Choice | July 18, 2006 09:42 AM

I have volunteered to work with battered women and rape victims...

Posted by: Childless by Choice | July 17, 2006 12:10 PM

And it was not character assassination. It was truth:

And I thank my lucky stars I don't have children when I look at the wretched messes everybody else is raising. I chose not to have children because my lover is married and I didn't want to burden him with it.

Posted by: Childless by Choice | July 18, 2006 10:21 AM

Posted by: Does Kudzu have a split personality? | June 21, 2007 6:08 PM

Hey, Kudzu, what happened? Did the boyfriend go back to his wife?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 6:20 PM

Stick a fork in her. She's done.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 6:39 PM

you people are as mean as she is

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 6:40 PM

The happiest I've ever been in my life was when I concentrated on my career, school, and family. To say that remaining single is an "in between" phase is a generalization that all women are seeking relationships, marriage, and children eventually.

Being single and not dating allows me to lead a stress free, drama free existence. Is it lonely? Sure it is, at times. Is it unhappy? Not at all. It's very fulfilling, for me. My life wouldn't work for everyone. Not everyone is meant to be single, but everyone is not meant to be married either.

Posted by: Lady Lana | June 21, 2007 8:12 PM

COMING SOON !!!

The Best of Childless by Choice

"People who know me think I'm kind, generous, thoughtful, completely selfless, independent and have a great sense of humor. "

"I have been treated for ulcers and major depression."

Posted by: | June 21, 2007 04:23 PM


Um, make that pancreas disease and you've got Scarry! Everyone who knows her likes her too.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 8:31 PM

WTF??? We all sure wish you'd go crawl back under the rock you came out from.

Posted by: To 8:31 PM | June 21, 2007 8:51 PM

I am a single practicing Catholic woman, and its difficult. I am single by choice, and there is a subtle message from the Church that I should be married. The Catholic Singles groups are all geared to the under-30 crowd, and marriage is definitely an expectation for them. But more troubling than the Church's attitude is the attitude I get from people around me, who never quite know what to do with me at dinners, weddings, and the like. I like being single, but apparently others do not relish the reminder that marriage is not the only choice.

Posted by: Sandy Eggo | June 22, 2007 6:45 AM

I am a single practicing Catholic woman, and its difficult. I am single by choice, and there is a subtle message from the Church that I should be married. The Catholic Singles groups are all geared to the under-30 crowd, and marriage is definitely an expectation for them. But more troubling than the Church's attitude is the attitude I get from people around me, who never quite know what to do with me at dinners, weddings, and the like. I like being single, but apparently others do not relish the reminder that marriage is not the only choice.

Posted by: Sandy Eggo | June 22, 2007 6:45 AM

Um, make that pancreas disease and you've got Scarry! Everyone who knows her likes her too.


Well if she only knew two people that would still be two more people that liked her and not you. You suck.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 22, 2007 9:06 AM

9:06 sounds like Scarry

Posted by: Anonymous | June 22, 2007 9:27 AM

This blog has reaffirmed my long-held low opinion of women. You give the rest of us a bad name.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 22, 2007 11:31 AM

Relapse and impairment in bipolar disorder

MJ Gitlin, J Swendsen, TL Heller and C Hammen
Department of Psychiatry, University of California, Los Angeles 90024- 6968, USA.

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the outcome of bipolar disorder in the context of maintenance pharmacotherapy.

METHOD: Eighty-two bipolar outpatients were followed prospectively for a mean of 4.3 years (minimum of 2 years); symptom rating and psychosocial outcome scales were used, and pharmacotherapy was rated on a 5-point scale.

RESULTS: Despite continual maintenance treatment, survival analysis indicated a 5-year risk of relapse into mania or depression of 73%. Of those who relapsed, two-thirds had multiple relapses. Relapse could not be attributed to inadequate medication. Even for those who did not relapse, considerable affective morbidity was observed. A measure of cumulative affective morbidity appeared to be a more sensitive correlate of psychosocial functioning than was the number of relapses. Poor psychosocial outcome paralleled poor syndromal course. Poor psychosocial functioning, especially occupational disruption, predicted a shorter time to relapse. Depressions were most strongly related to social and family dysfunction.

CONCLUSIONS: Even aggressive pharmacological maintenance treatment does not prevent relatively poor outcome in a significant number of bipolar patients.

Posted by: for Maryland Mother | June 22, 2007 1:31 PM

This blog has reaffirmed my long-held low opinion of women. You give the rest of us a bad name.

Posted by: | June 22, 2007 11:31 AM

If you have a long-held low opinion of women, at least have the courage to look in the mirror and admit you need counseling. That certainly would be a more positive step than disclosing your lack of confidence on a blog and doing nothing.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 22, 2007 2:08 PM

9:06 sounds like Scarry

You think everyone who posts is scarry.

Just like we think you are scary.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 22, 2007 2:17 PM

For a clue to finding meaning in life, talk to some women nearing the end of the theirs. Ask them what brought them the most joy. Those I've asked this question put their families and friends high on the list, and their work fairly low. Married or single. Here's my conclusion: Happiness comes from love and community.

Posted by: Carol Frey | June 28, 2007 3:37 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 

© 2007 The Washington Post Company