Follow by Email

Sunday, May 26, 2013

I Want A Boyfriend, Not a Husband

Yesterday I read a beautiful piece in the Modern Love section of the New York Times by the incredible Augusten Burroughs about his recent marriage to his boyfriend. It is long overdue that anyone who wants to get married should be able to do so. I am thrilled that finally it has become legal for all who desire to make that commitment. I however am not one of those people.

I was married, Once. For twenty years. When I got married, at 20, I was thrilled. The marriage produced three incredible chidren and it was good, until it wasn't.

I believe marriage is wonderful for those who wish to do it, and think it's certainly desirable for those who have children. The security of knowing mom and dad are married is important. But for me, post-small child raising, it is not something I need or want.

The thing is, at this point in my life, I don't want a husband. I like having a boyfriend and want to keep it that way.

I like that we choose to be together. And if we decide to not be together it is between us and not dueling lawyers. I like that he still romances me and puts effort into our relationship. I like that he takes me to dinner and movies. I like planning a nice dinner to make for him and making an effort to look pretty. I like that I still want to shave my legs every day and look nice for him. I like not taking each other for granted. I like treating each other with kindness - no sniping allowed. My boyfriend doesn't snap at me. If he did, he wouldn't be my boyfriend anymore. And I don't nag him. We treat each other with kindness.

He is someone who is there for me, I know would do anything for me, and vice versa. But I think that marriage changes a relationship when it goes from a choice to a given. Knowing that person is legally obligated to be there changes it. I think marriage can be (but doesn't have to be) a bit of a buzz kill.

The thing is, marriage brings no guarantee of fidelity, love or kindness within the relationship. I often think that once you know your freedom is gone it makes it less appealing than being there by choice, not legality.

I like being free to make my own (often poor) financial choices, shopping choices (see bad financial choices) and doing what I want. Of course I factor in my boyfriend and am, I think, a considerate and thoughtful partner, as is he. We just don't tell each other what to do. Within our commitment to one another is an inherent freedom to pursue our own interests, friendships and work, but within that we treat each other with respect and thoughtfulness.

On a recent night out as we walked down Commercial St in Provincetown, MA he looked down at my feet and purely out of curiosity asked, "Is that a different pair of boots?"  To which I smiled and replied, "Yes, and that is why I'm never getting married again."  He looked confused. I went on to explain, when you're married you often need to defend purchases, explaining why you own three different pairs of black boots, need another guitar or whatever you decide you want or need. My money, my rules. His money, his rules. Problem solved.

I am so happy that Augusten Burroughs, and so many people are thrilled to be married. I fully expect backlash for this and for people to expound on all the positives and practicalities that being legally married brings. To those I say, good for you! Mazel Tov and all wonderful blessings to you! But I plan to stay happily loving the person I am with in un-wedded bliss. Having a boyfriend works for me. Having a husband didn't.

No comments:

Post a Comment