Straight From His Mouth: Do Men Feel The Pressure Of Marriage As They Age?
At this point in my life, I’m six groomsman’s tuxedos in and two tuxes are already in plain sight for me for two of my closest friends’ weddings in 2014. And yes, everyone is starting to look at me and ask the question, “Do you ever see yourself getting married?” I’d be lying if I said no. I have always seen myself as a married man with a family, but unlike women, as men get older and see the opportunities fleeting, the pressure doesn’t intensify. I imagine that every man reaches a point in his life when he rids himself of the envy and stops worrying about if he’ll ever get married.
Does this mean that I’m electing out of marriage, or don’t see it as something I want in my life? No, I very much believe in marriage and family. My feelings have only changed in that I don’t see marriage as completely necessary in my life. I tweeted a couple weeks ago, “Sometimes you come to a point in your life when you realize that some things may or may not happen and that’s perfectly okay because they weren’t required anyway.”
Yes, there are times when I look back over my life and the relationships that I thought would have ended in marriage and I wonder if I’ll ever experience that again. And like my father has always taught me, I’ll more than likely experience it again because I’ll always be okay. I worry if I’ll meet someone at the same stages that I’ve met my exes in my past. But I don’t worry that I’ll never find someone who meets the companionship criteria I’ve set for myself. As I get older and experience more and more relationships, I have a good idea of what it takes for a relationship to last. As I get older, I’m less likely to jump into a relationship because I know the flaws of the past ones. For that reason, there’s no reason to worry about if I’ll find someone, I just worry that it won’t be easy and some feelings will be hurt along the way. Like most things, nobody likes to be told that they’re not the right person for you when they are convinced they are.
And yes, by the time most men reach their late-twenties they’ve got a boatload of weddings and friends getting married. I realize that is almost the exact opposite for some women. I have plenty of lady friends who tell me they’ve only been to one or two weddings; many have never been in a wedding. When I tell them I’ve been in six and am heading towards seven and eight, they look at me like, “Where are all these men who are getting married?” In fact, the question should be, “It seems like you know all the women who aren’t getting married, where are they at?” Unfortunately, the two may never meet.
I find comfort in the fact that anyone, man or woman, who is not married probably shouldn’t be married at this point in their life. That takes away a lot of the pressure. One of the things that we learn as we get older is acceptance. When I was younger, I had these goals that were set in stone. I wanted to meet the girl, marry the girl, and have the family. I knew in my mind that I wanted those things at a certain age. And then, each deadline I set for the goals started to slip. I met the girl, I broke up with the girl, I reached the age I wanted to start having children and it passed. In addition to goals about relationships and family, other goals in life slipped or were not met and I realized that things happen at the right time, not my time. I accepted that, if it were meant to be, it would happen when it was meant to happen.
I can’t tell anyone not to be worried or envious of their friends and others in their network settling down. I can tell you all that I am not worried. I joked, “I’ve been to the championship twice without a ring. I’m sure that if I get back there I won’t walk away without a ring. However, if I never got back there again, it wouldn’t make my life a failure.” That was a joke, but it was probably one of the most sincere jokes I’ve ever told. I choose to just wait and see. I don’t waste my time in relationships that I don’t think will get there. I let people know early on if I don’t think it will last. I learned that sleeping alone, doesn’t mean being lonely. And with all those things, I found myself to be more happy than sad. In fact, I appreciate all the things that some people hate about being single or unmarried. It’s not that I am in love with the idea of being single, I just choose to see the glass half full for now.