When it comes to dating and relationships, everyone has different expectations when it comes to the future. Some people choose to remain single, some get married, and some are in a romantic relationship for a long time, but have no intention of walking down the aisle. There are many reasons why some women don’t want to get married, and they range from wanting to focus on other things to simply just not wanting to be married.
In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, as of 2017, 42 percent of U.S. adults live without a spouse or partner, which is up from 39 percent as of 2007. And, also according to the 2017 stats, approximately six in ten adults younger than 35, 61 percent, live without a spouse or partner versus 56 percent from 10 years prior. So, unmarried people are far from alone, so to speak, and it seems to be a trend that’s becoming more and more popular.
Of course, when it comes to getting married, there’s no right or wrong answer since every person has to choose what’s best for them. “Statistically, more and more people are choosing to stay single,” Antonia Hall, psychologist, relationship expert, and author of The Ultimate Guide to a Multi-Orgasmic Life, tells Bustle. “For some, it is a conscious choice to not repeat negative experiences — their own and their parent’s failed relationships guiding the decision.” She adds that other reasons to stay unmarried include maintaining a sense of independence, freedom, and control over one’s one life and finances; a lack of desire to have children; and the lack of belief in "The One."
“Overall, many people feel happy and satisfied with their unmarried status, so why change what’s working by complicating things,” Hall says.
Exactly — different women have different reasons for not wanting to tie the knot. Below, women share why they don’t want to get married.
1. Elisa, 28
“I’ve grown up in a (regular) happy home, but with many friends who came from homes of divorce. Later, of course, I’ve seen many friends get cheated on or cheat on someone — so the idea of staying with one person forever, even through those situations, doesn’t make sense to me. However, I fully respect the idea of marriage for people who choose to honor it, but it just seems like a title and joke to me personally.
I almost got married a few years ago, but the idea of being tied down really got to me. I’m now very happy that it didn’t happen — I would have felt a bit shameful about getting married even though it wasn’t what I wanted. I also don’t plan to get married because of the cost, dress, venues, food/liquor, rings — it all just seems so frivolous for a ‘love commitment’ that I can’t buy into it.”
2. Leslie, 39
“I don’t want to get married, and I’ve been in a relationship with my fiancé for 10 years. Yes, I am engaged — I wanted to experience what it would feel like. For me, it’s an entirely different feeling from being boyfriend/girlfriend/significant other. I’ve greatly enjoyed the heightened feeling of love and devotion and am all set now, in terms of titles. I’m just not interested in marriage — it’s not something I want or need to do in my life. I’m also not comfortable having an expensive/extravagant event in my honor — I know I wouldn’t be able to handle the pressure of planning a ‘perfect day.’ I realize I could elope, or go to City Hall, but again, marriage won’t change anything in my relationship. I know it’s cliché, but I just want to be happy.”
3. Kelly, 56
“For the last nine years, I've been traveling full-time. I housesit (and even wrote a book about it!), where I live at no cost in someone’s home and care for their pets while they vacation. I’ve housesat in London, Amsterdam, Berlin, Gibraltar, throughout Africa, Hanoi, Osaka, Kuala Lumpur — even Ya'an, a village in China! I’m now in Mexico, where I housesit every spring. It’s a great lifestyle... and one that would be really difficult if I were married. I’ve never been married, and have no plans to change my single, globe-trotting ways now!”
4. Nina, 30
As someone who is both of Nigerian descent and a Christian, people tend to be totally shocked when I tell them that I don’t want to get married. Both of these cultures are extremely patriarchal and tend to judge a woman’s worth in terms of her relationship to men — with the role of wife and mother being seen as the ultimate crown of womanhood — and this is to the point of overshadowing whatever other amazing feats she may have achieved beforehand or even go on to do afterwards. As a result, I grew up witnessing multiple female role models either forfeit their dreams, stay in abusive relationships, or operate from a place of low self-worth due to these religious, cultural, and social constructs.
Because of this, marriage (or the idea that my worth, purpose, or happiness should be tied to a man) came to symbolize entrapment, restriction, and the loss of identity very early on in life. So, to quote Jessica Knoll (bestselling author of The Luckiest Girl Alive), ‘ever since I was a little girl, my fairy tale ending involved a pantsuit, not a wedding dress. Success meant doing something well enough to secure independence’ and, ultimately, my freedom.”
5. Hazel, 31
“Even though my girlfriend and I can (finally!) get married, we don’t want to. We both believe that as long as we’re committed to each other, we don’t need a piece of paper to tell us that, too. Plus, we’d rather do something else with the money we would have spent on a reception!”
6. Christine, 35
“If I got married, I’d have to take on my partner’s debt. No thanks. I’d rather our finances be completely separate.”
7. Angela, 33
“I don’t want to get married. I grew up as an only child, and have never really felt the need (or desire) for a partner. I have had relationships that rival your fave romance novel, and tragedies that Adele couldn’t fathom singing about, but at the end of the day, I’m always the most satisfied when I’m single. I’m also a digital nomad, and while I know plenty of nomad couples, I honestly think having another person in my life would simply get in the way.”
8. Kaley, 31
“This year will mark nine years that I’ve been with my boyfriend. For context, I met him while I was a freshman in college (he lived in another city, and we were long-distance for about four years). He was my first and only serious boyfriend — we have no children, we are not religious, and we do not want children. Purchasing a house together this year has felt like our version of marriage or a wedding. In ways, it feels like a bigger deal and more of a milestone than getting married ever could.
Our situation is not a result of him ‘dragging his feet’ or a lack of commitment, which is a common assumption of those who don’t know us. If anything, I’ve ‘led the charge’ on proactively writing off the idea of a marriage. I think the confidence and independence I developed being in a long-distance relationship is part of the reason I (and he) don’t want to, nor feel compelled to, get married. We know each other so intimately, we trust each other whole-heartedly, and I’m confident that marriage wouldn’t catapult us into a new level of closeness or intimacy — I wouldn’t feel ‘safer’ or any more ‘taken care of’ by being married to him.”
9. Stefanee, 28
“I’ve been with my partner for almost four years. In addition to being incredibly dated, the entire tradition of marriage is steeped in sexism. A man is essentially treating the woman as a possession by first asking a woman’s father or mother for permission before asking the woman. He then proceeds to ‘buy’ her off by offering her an expensive present (ring) in return for her last name and loyalty for life. Separate from the sexism, I don’t believe in getting state law involved in my partnership with another person. I’m all for celebrating love and wouldn’t/don’t criticize friends and family who get married. However, for me, the idea of marriage is the opposite of romantic, and not a tradition I choose to practice or promote.”
10. Shannyn, 31
“I was engaged back in 2013, and after discovering some serious dishonesty, I called the wedding off. I’m now in a loving relationship with a man I see as a life partner, but have no interest in getting married. We’ve been together about three years, and, all the time, people ask when we’re tying the knot! I just bought my first house (it’s mine!) and I have a reputation, including degrees with my maiden name which, past 30, I don’t want to change. We keep our finances separate, and emotionally, spiritually, and otherwise, I’m completely satisfied. Marriage wouldn’t add anything to the table, financially, and I haven’t been able to research and back up what benefits it would give us beyond the emotional ones. Since we’re both happy, I have no interest in changing what works!”
11. Lisa, 40s
“When I was younger, I was more open to getting married, but I wasn’t a person who absolutely wanted to — it was more a case of if the right person came along. As my 20s turned into my 30s, I was less and less open to marriage. Now that I’m in my 40s, I would not get married even if I found the love of my life/soulmate, because: 1) Money: This is my biggest concern when it comes to marriage. I worked very hard for the money that I have, and I don’t want risk losing it (I own property and have investments). My money is mine and I decide what I do with it. 2) Lifestyle & values: I work very hard at my job. Many times, I have put in 60 hours plus at my workplace. Can my husband deal with someone who works as hard as I do? I also take my religious faith very seriously and attend services every Sunday, as well as endeavor to follow the tenets of my religion in everything that I do, not just on Sunday. 3) Children: I do not want children; regarding having children, you can’t compromise. 4) Infidelity: I understand that one-night indiscretions happen, but what if it wasn’t a one-and-done incident? What if it was something that was going on for months or years? What if a child came about due to an affair? How do you resolve an issue like that?
Yes, there are those who are very happy in their marriages, and I wish them all the happiness in the world. But marriage is more than just loving someone — it is sharing your time, money and most personal self. While single life can be lonely at times, any problems that I have are mine alone to deal with. I don’t have to worry about my husband putting us into debt or how I will raise my child because I don’t have a husband or child. It is just me.”
As you can see, there are several reasons why some women prefer not to get married, and you may be able to relate to some of them. Whatever the case may be, only you know your reasons, and it’s best to honor them above all.
Pew Research Center (2017) The share of Americans living without a partner has increased, especially among young adults, https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/10/11/the-share-of-americans-living-without-a-partner-has-increased-especially-among-young-adults/
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