I read an article this week and I immediately went, “OMG! That was me!” Now yes, I was never married, but my in my last relationship, I felt my usual level of extroversion plummet. And that sucked. Because I liked meeting people where ever I happened to be in the city. I’d talk to people on the train, or in bars, and when I was in a relationship, it was really hard to do that. First, because my ex hated talking to strangers, especially on the street, or you know, helping them with directions, and it’s weird to talk to strangers in bars when you’re with someone – even if you’re only talking to them in the hopes of meeting interesting people platonically.
The article also says that people who get married are better at self-control and forgiveness. Well, that’s good because if you’re legally tying yourself to someone for eternity, you better learn how to forgive because they are imperfect, and you better learn some self-control so you don’t have sex with anyone else (if you are monogamous, that is).
The follow excerpt is also particularly rage-inducing for me, personally:
The pattern is backed up, at least among women, by an earlier and much smaller US study published in 2000, in which the researchers tested the personalities of just over 2,000 middle-aged participants twice over of a period of between six and nine years.
In that time, 20 of the women married while 29 of them divorced. Relative to those who tied the knot, the divorcees showed increased extroversion and openness, as if freed from the shackles of wedlock. Newly married men, by contrast, showed benefits compared with their divorced peers, scoring higher on conscientiousness and lower in neuroticism.
Now these are small studies, but they basically say: men are better off being married, while women are better off not being attached. Where’s the happy medium?
I think this stems from the fact that marriage makes a man seem desirable, while marriage for a woman validates her as a person because someone (finally!) “chose her.” As outdated as a theory like that may sound, I think it’s still pretty relevant. Have you heard someone ask, “What’s wrong with her that she’s (insert age) and still single?!” People rarely ever say that about men. They’re just “focused on their careers.”
Is this 100% true for everyone who gets married? NO. I’m saying that I related to these hypotheses and studies, and their conclusions.
I once thought that I would like to get married. Then I thought, “Meh, I’d just like an engagement ring because: shiny” and no reason to get married. Now I’m at a place where I’m all, “Nah, I’d rather not walk around with thousands of dollars on my finger that someone could want to steal, or worse, I could lose, and I don’t need to legally bind myself to someone either, thanks.”
I’ve written before about how it irks me when people get engaged and say, “I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you!” like an engagement and a piece of paper guarantees that. I’ve seen enough divorces occur to know that it doesn’t. Would I like to “settle down” (another phrase that irks me) someday? Maybe? I don’t know. This could be a bad reaction from my last relationship, or it could just be a realization that I’m not made for marriage, and that doesn’t make me any better or worse than anyone who is. I love the idea of living with someone and having separate bedrooms. Which is totally catching on but it’s still confusing people who are all on board with the “normal” way relationships “should” be.
Of course, I also love the idea of a relationship with someone and not living with them at all. I own my place (#blessed) so the idea of renting this place out to rent some other place with a possible future significant other is unappealing. My place is also too small for two people to live in. I won’t live here forever, but right now: I’m not leaving it.
I think, regarding losing your extroversion in a relationship or marriage, I also should acknowledge that you need to find a person to lifts you up, not suffocates you. I was definitely suffocated. The light inside of me was burned out and for that, I am grateful AF to be #single again.