Consider an Alternative to a Committed or Traditional Relationship
Many of us would be better off devoting years to developing relationship tools and practicing more manageable sorts of relationships, such as friendships and separate-abode romances, rather than to become pulled into the vortex of a traditional, committed marriage. (If you truly love someone, Katherine Hepburn once commented, live next door to them.)
If having children is your prime motivation for a relationship, explore arrangements for conceiving or adopting without a mate, and for single parenting. While single-parenting is a handful, it beats constant conflict with a partner. And some people are better equipped for parenting than for marriage. If you are getting married so that you can make love, seriously consider a more liberated approach. Enjoy love-making and leave it at that.
To enter marriage simply for the sake of sex or children is to sacrifice long-term well-being for short-term fulfillment. Neither marriage nor kids are automatically in everyone’s best interest.
One couple I know wanted to marry, but appreciated that the independence and spaciousness of being single were equally important to them. To accomplish this, each kept their own apartment in different sections of Manhattan. What made this especially practical for them was that each was willing to give up having children. After fourteen years together each continues to enjoy their own place half the week, while living with their partner the other half of the week.
As evidence that marriage is not for everyone, many people who in later life lose their partners are not so eager to remarry. Once there is no child-raising to do, and the hassles of marriage have been experienced, marriage loses much of its attraction.
Many mature adults enjoy a wide spectrum of activities and a broad social life without tying themselves a second time to a mate. Friendships, a good book, travel, sports, humanitarian work are all cheerful alternatives to messy marriages – and good antidotes to the loneliness of the single life.
If you are single, dreaming of marriage, and looking out at all those happy couples consider the fact that many partners are perfectly miserable and dreaming about nothing more than getting out of the whole thing. This is not to say that the single life is easy. The point is to do what is right and true for us, what we are ready for, as opposed to trying to fulfill a fantasy, or escape from ourselves.
Instead of hurtling into marriage, many of us would be better off healing ourselves and enjoying life to whatever degree possible. In any case, coming to terms with our own fears, hurts, and rages, produces the foundation for a solid marriage.
Consider an alternative to a committed or a traditional relationship. Ask yourself: Am I ready for committed relationship?
If yes, what would the relationship look like if it ideally suited your needs? Would you live together as a couple full-time? Would you have children? Imagine the exact kind of situation you would like. See it as completely as you can, from waking up to going to work, to going to sleep. How does it feel? Is there anything about it that makes you uncomfortable? If so, what adjustment would you like to make to this image of primary relationship?