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Sex and the single girl

A few days ago, I remarked to Graham that I thought it was remarkable that so many women I know in their 30s and 40s are single and never married. His response, which I thought was probably appropriate, was that this is maybe the second generation where it's possible for women to make those sorts of choices about their lives.

I think he's probably right. I've never felt a particular pressure to get married from anyone. I did go through a rough patch in 2003 when I was attending a lot of weddings and wondering what the heck was wrong with me that I hadn't found anyone remotely resembling a partner--but I got over that relatively quickly. My parents have been really awesome about letting us all live our own lives. The closest they get to pressure is occassionally referring to Graham as a future son-in-law, and it's mild at best.

I do find it interesting that so many of us are not just out there, but tend to gravitate to one another. Maybe it's that we have a lot in common. We're driven either by academics or our careers, and we tend to be writers (at least on the internet). We have some other goal than "get married and have babies." We are college graduates, and spent a good portion of time supporting ourselves. We don't need to get married in order to survive.

And it appears that we're not the only ones. This article blames the economy for the marriage situation being so bleak for young adults (defined in the 24-35 range here, but I think it's also a product of the changes in the way we're raised to think about marriage.

Why do you all think we gravitate towards one another?

Comments

( 7 comments — Say something )
rainbow
Oct. 1st, 2010 12:54 am (UTC)
was that this is maybe the second generation where it's possible for women to make those sorts of choices about their lives. and We don't need to get married in order to survive.

i wonder if that's a post ww2 pov, actually, or it's very dependent on class, culture, and community.

a lot of the women from my mother's side of the family would be very surprised the people think it's a modern choice, since they made the same one in the 1800s and early to mid 1900s.

some never married and supported themselves; others wanted a family so they married, had kids, were widowed, and then chose to support themselves rather than remarry. (and others chose not to marry but stayed on the family farm and took care of parents or siblings).

they ran farms, hotels, boarding houses, post offices, and cafeterias. many of them owned her own home bought with her own money (rather than inherited or had given to her by family).

i think people gravitate towards each other due to shared interests. while "not getting married" isn't a particular interest, the lack of that focus probably leaves a lot mroe room in one's life and consciousness for a bunch of other interests. but i don't really know, especially since i'm not part of the academics/career/college graduate group.
raithen
Oct. 1st, 2010 02:50 am (UTC)
Why do you all think we gravitate towards one another?

Because awesome gravitates to awesome, of course :D
lawgeekgurl
Oct. 1st, 2010 03:05 am (UTC)
I think that part of it is social - in that I believe families socialize with other families, etc., and the ways they choose to socialize may reinforce that. I think the other part of it is generational. My mom thinks my dad "broke" my brother and I (no joke, she said that). I don't know on the other parts, hindsight is of course a different perspective. I do know that the older I get the more I want to control my environment and my destiny and the compromises I'd have to make to be with a partner make it less desirable. Or you know, I'm curmudgeonly. I still think if I met the right person, I'd make the leap but I think my choices in who and where I tend to socialize now make it less likely I'll meet the right person. So which comes first, chicken or egg?
clynne
Oct. 1st, 2010 09:36 pm (UTC)
I'm interested that that article discusses economics but leaves out one of the main reasons people I know with good jobs and long-term romantic partnerships are avoiding marrige: the increased tax burden.

...

That aside, I think the reason unmarried people gravitate toward each other is, as
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I'm interested that that article discusses economics but leaves out one of the main reasons people I know with good jobs and long-term romantic partnerships are avoiding marrige: the increased tax burden.

...

That aside, I think the reason unmarried people gravitate toward each other is, as <lj-user="rainbow"> said, because people with common interests gravitate toward each other. "Being married" isn't a common interest, but it stands to reason that folks who do get married might have more in common with each other, just as folks who do not get married might also have commonalities.

Of course, I'm married, so maybe it just means I can't hang out with you guys any more!
(Anonymous)
Oct. 2nd, 2010 02:38 am (UTC)
Personal Freedom
Marriage nearly always forces compromises, single is concentrated me.
Maybe we are just selfish.
colin
hatandfappy.blogspot.com
madjack
Oct. 6th, 2010 02:27 am (UTC)
single gal speaks
I think we all gravitate to each other simply because we have the time to further expand our networks as we get older. We aren't just hanging out with the same people everyday.

Ironically, most of the people my age who were married are now getting divorced, and all I can think is "Thank god I am single."

Sometimes I wonder what it is about me, that I haven't attracted a guy looking for more than sex. I think the problem is I am not sure I can handle a 24/7 relationship.

I wish we all got to gravitate more often to see each other. I miss everyone so much.
claris
Oct. 8th, 2010 12:26 am (UTC)
Oh, this just might cause me to write an actual entry for the first time in ever. Damn you, 'stina!
Even without this article, I've actually be pondering this due to watching a certain whirly-gig going on in my own verse, but here's my jumbled, abridged version.

I think, that to a degree, part of this is an equalization of the gender gap. We as women are becoming more and more comfortable with the idea of controlling a destiny that isn't entwined with someone else, and having that be acceptable in society.

I don't know about anyone else here, but for me and a couple of other peers (both male & female), we had Baby Boomer parents, and the good & bad that came with that idea of the "ideal" family, which included marriage, and the "traditional" male/female roles - my mom's life is so dependent upon my dad, and the ups & downs that came with that and the pressures I saw (and still see) her put on him to provide him with the life she wants -- the idea of doing that to someone else scares the crap out of me. And I think that, for me, that has very much manifested itself in a need to be able to take care of myself and be independent so that any relationship I'm in is less me being about the other person and more about me being with the other person.

So that in itself has made me far more cautious about such things, because (and maybe this is a California thing) it seems like there are a lot of people (guys and girls!) looking to get into relationships & making their identity being part of a couple in order to avoid dealing with becoming their own person. I dunno - possibly I'm diverging because I've watched someone spiral down a very unhappy path over the last year & a half doing this and so that's the first part of it that comes to mind as to why I'm okay with being single, but I think most of all, I'd want to come to the table on equal footing, and I just haven't found a guy who's okay with that. :shrug:
I think that marriage should be a part of your life, but not the defining entirety of an existence. Exhibit A: Audrey Hepburn's wiki entry. There's a woman that's remembered, but not (solely) because she was someone's wife.

In the meantime, I'm thinking that spending a couple months in Europe studying art & rowing in London the summer before the 2011 Olympics would be a damn fine experience for me to share with any kids I might possibly have in the future, so I'd rather work on that than freak out because I'm not married. After all, if I ever have a daughter, I'd rather she have a life and be an accomplished person, so best to practice what you preach, eh?
( 7 comments — Say something )

'stina

'stina is, surprisingly enough, a lawyer from Houston, Texas who rambles about quite a number of things.

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