Like, Love & Marriage

I remember the first time I was in love. She was pretty, smart, sarcastic and everything that I liked, with none of the stuff I didn’t like. I mean, we’d go places, do all kinds of cool poor kid activities like walk the streets of downtown Chicago around people that actually had money. Ahh, those were the days. That was several girlfriends ago now, but when she was the one, she was the one…until she wasn’t.  

I never really gave much thought to it at the time, the relationship ran its course, I had other interests so it was over. Simple as that! There wasn’t caring, gentle conversation when it ended, like in the movies, it was mostly silence, and an awkward transition to being 100% single again. I didn’t feel like an asshole at the time, though I probably was. My rationale was, I’m way nicer than my buddies and cousins that are out here doing absolutely everything whenever they feel like it. I at least claimed my girlfriend in public more often than not. So how does one go from all in to I’m out in less than a year?

“I don’t have a girlfriend, but I do know a woman who’d be mad at me for saying that”

Mitch Hedberg

Love is easy, right

I mean, if people are just walking around falling in it, seems to be pretty simple. It’s funny that you fall in love with someone when you know nothing about them, and when you get to know damn near everything, you can barely tolerate them. To be fair, the first feeling isn’t love at all, I’d say it’s a long winded infatuation. Love is difficult to achieve but easy to maintain. I think infatuation is common and typically meaningless, but sometimes it leads to either Like or Love…and when that love is really special it leads to a healthy love-like cycle. 

Liking someone you are around all the time is pretty difficult, at least it is for me, but I’m an introvert. I usually desire a cool pay period of alone time to recharge my batteries to go back to being Mr. Wonderful. I love the whole time, but I don’t like the whole time. Surely love is meaningful, but liking that same person is next level shit. Think of your favorite movie or song of all time. Listen to that one song or watch that one movie every day for the next week exclusively and see how pumped you are for it as the days go by. Let’s state the obvious really quick…

  • Somewhere between 40% and 50% of marriages end in divorce, no stats on how many remain happy over time.
  • The leading cause of divorce is infidelity, at around 60% (the study says lack of commitment, but that’s like saying the leading cause of death is not living)
  • Arkansas has the highest divorce rate in the U.S. This surprised me until I read they also have the lowest average age of marriage. 
  • If you get married to someone and you’re both over 44, there’s a 99% chance there was another sexual partner before you. 

So, what’s the point

I know I ain’t the only one asking this question. People listed the top reasons to get married according to a Pew research study and in order they are; 88% of people said love as the top reason followed by 81% marrying for the lifelong commitment, 76% for companionship and 49% for kids. If you’re reading that thinking “that’s almost 300%” you may be high right now, think family feud ranking. That aside, none of these reasons are exclusive to marriage, which is probably why almost half end in divorce. It’s not the players we dislike, it’s the game.

“Getting married is like trading the adoration of many for the sarcasm of one”

Mae West
Half of us understand

Let’s be real

Most of these people get married out of fear, tradition or convenience, but admitting that is not generally as acceptable as the flowery stuff. Young people do it because of tradition and that’s what they think you’re supposed to do when you love a person. The older crowd do it because they don’t want to die alone and end up as a sad news story. The convenience aspect is also poorly thought out because sex life when you’re married is typically not as cool as being single. Even with our realistic and flowery reasons for marriage, 30% of them end due to infidelity, that’s not including the ones that continue in spite of infidelity. Seems to me like we’re ignoring human nature. 

In every other aspect of life we seek specialists. Dentists, Optometrists, Lawyers, Mechanics, you get the point. Yet, marriage forces two specialists to be generalists and expect specialist level of service. It’s a recipe for failure! So people find themselves 5 years into marriage with the optometrist and their eyes are great, but these car issues arise the optometrist can’t fix. She needs a mechanic but her optometrist will be hurt if she goes to the mechanic to get the work done. So now he’s fumbling around f**king the car up even more until one day she gets fed up and takes the car to the mechanic. The mechanic has everything lubed and running properly, she’s satisfied and can now appreciate the optometrist for what he brings. Look, I’m not saying “go cheat” I’m just saying I understand why people do.

Marriage makes a person who is the one when things are great, The One, even when things aren’t so great anymore. Blame it on the complexity of divorce, the desire to give your kids a 2 parent home, and maybe even love to an extent. We’re told “love conquers all” but honestly it loses to “like” all day. Sure, love keeps you in an unhappy marriage, but you’re not happy. Seeing as the only unique advantages to marriage are financial, I think a lot of people are fooling themselves with a false sense of leveling up the relationship.

Advice You Didn’t Ask For

If I were to give anyone marriage advice, it would be don’t get married, but if you do, marry someone you really like a lot for reasons that make sense such as compatibility or tax breaks. Love comes with attachment, so even with people you don’t like or aren’t super compatible with you’ll find love. Like comes with mutual respect and sincere appreciation for what the other person brings to your life. That’s why you like being with them. Even so, it’s likely you’ll still want your specialists from time to time, but you’ll be happier with your generalist if you genuinely like them. 

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