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WHY I NEVER MARRIED

personal • 19.08.17

Although capable of commitment, of affection, of intimacy, of companionship and care, of all the functionality around sex and desire, I never liked being coupled. I never liked the simple fact of it with its expectations and demands. The consequence over thirty years of having such a reluctance was abject misery for all concerned. When others wanted exclusivity, when they wanted a conventional family life and were unhappy when I didn’t deliver, in contrast I was horrified at these prospects. I sought non-conformity and the freedom to pursue lateral impulses, to live the creative life, invariably selfish, individual and unfettered.


Turning fifty I found myself unable to tolerate the situation. I would no longer engage women romantically, so tired was I of the ensuing battles against absolute monogamy in a traditional setting. Looking back now I’m increasingly resentful of that, resentful at being forced into a bind for which I was unsuited, resentful at the culture for its lack of imagination and failure to cater for complexity.


For it is true, humans are complex, and the customary partnership with its one-size-fits-all protocols probably suits only a minority, leaving many dissatisfied. Yet monogamy and marriage are so heavily indoctrinated, close to a religion, that alternative lifestyles barely get a look in. I agree with those scholars who argue that sexual exclusivity is neither historical nor natural. Neither is two adults with two children living in a small house, the shoebox as I call it, aka the nuclear family. Only by rigorous moral coercion have such customs been viable. Just as often the rules are flouted as men and women furtively revert to their native impulses.


At long last current movements are changing attitudes in these matters. That increasingly you can choose your sexual orientation and gender identity without being crucified for it is a welcome development. For the non-monogamous like me though, there is still a long way to go toward acceptability. In a world of LGBT..+ they’ll have used up most of the alphabet before my type is catered to.


And what was my type? Well, being a tad over-sexed I’m not sure what I was cut out for but it certainly wasn’t standard monogamy. That I was expected to conjoin with one other soul and do everything forever in consort felt ridiculous. Polyamory might’ve been somewhere in the zone but it remained an outlier. Friends with benefits was an alien concept. These emergent relationship models come not before time but are too little too late for me. I'm too old for the fray now and barring some adventurous romp am pretty much done.


I sought non-conformity and freedom