Thursday, September 13, 2007

Get married in your 20s and stick it out

So listen, if you're not up for vitriol and the F-word, you should probably skip this post.

Get married in your 20s and stick it out. This is what I have been saying to my 20-something friends.

Seriously. Find someone reasonable, marry them, and then stick it out. Be nice to them, and figure out how to make it work.

Because by your 30s? Dating is so complicated.

Because does anyone say, "Wow! You're beautiful! Like, incredibly beautiful. And smart! And funny? How come you're not married?" with the implication that there's something wrong with you, when you're in your 20s? No. In your 30s? All the fucking time.

So I should be less attractive. Or less articulate. Or not say as many funny things on dates. Because then, then perhaps it would make more fucking sense to the man in front of me that I'm not married. And I wouldn't get asked that fucking question.

I'm tired of being complimented in one breath and then asked what's wrong with me in the next. The next time someone asks me that, I'm going to pick up my salad fork and stab them in the hand. I'm not kidding.

By their 30s, people have gone through bad divorces. They've been cheated on or had affairs. They're jaded. Cautious. Angry. Bitter. You name it. They've lived through too many hurtful situations, have made mistakes they don't want to repeat, are scared to commit, scared to get hurt, scared to trust.

So, seriously. There are plenty of perfectly reasonable single people around in their 20s. Pick one you like and marry them. And stick it out. Even if you loathe the person sometimes, stick it out. Unless you loathe them all the time, and then I imagine it's pretty much impossible.

Now, it's true that in terms of marriage I don't know what I'm talking about, because I've never been married, much less in a bad marriage. People say I've never been in a loveless marriage, and I have no idea how terrible it is. This is true. I've also, that I know of, never been cheated on. So I don't know anything about marriage.

But I do know an inordinate amount about dating in your 30s. And while some of it is really fun? Get married in your 20s and stick it the fuck out. This is my advice to men as well, not just women.

Unless they person is mean or abusive, a felon, a pedophile, a substance-abuser, or, I don't know, I'm sure there several more extreme things which are not coming to mind. So, OK, if there's some extreme issue, bail post-haste.

But for the smaller things with reasonable people - there must be a way around them. Annoying habits? There's got to be a way to break them. Boredom? Work through it together. If you can't, get some interesting hobbies. Or more interesting friends. Your spouse doesn't need to be your entire world.

Jaded? Me?


  1. I'm trying I swear!

    On a sidenote- was this motivated by a particular date?

  2. Get married in your 20s, and (if that person is mean or abusive) get kicked in the face while you're young/strong enough to take it.

    Get married after that and stick it out. This is what I've been saying to my jaded 30-and-40-something single friends.

    I'm not getting divorced again because, frankly, I'm too old and tired to go through it and get back up.

    What did Chris Rock say? "Single and lonely, or married and bored."

    Toothy grin-mace.

  3. I am a whole-hearted follower of your call to action.

  4. On the one hand, it's nobody's damn business why you're not married. Maybe you like it! On the other hand, it's better to have some bonehead wonder why you're not married considering how pretty and funny you are, than to understand why you're not married because you're ugly and boring. Or you could just go with the fork in the eye. Much more gratifying in the short run!

  5. Awww!

    I got married in my 20's. Planned to stick it out.

    Then had a sneaking suspicion that he was gay.

    Couldn't stick that one out!

    Don't worry, you'll have better luck!

  6. Oh and BTW, check your Lemon Gloria email.

  7. or.......fuck marriage all together!

    i strongly advocate this option. i'm strongly considering it myself, even having been with jason for almost five years - it's just too fucked-up of a thing, you know? people hassle you about it! people freak out about it! people do desperate, stupid, mean-spirited, jealous, harmful, nasty things because they aren't married / are getting married / are trying to stay married / aren't married anymore / are trying to get remarried....

    ahhhh. stop. stop it. get off the hamster wheel, because once you opt in, it seems like it doesn't stop. i mean, if you'd been married at 27, there would've been quizzical "why aren't you pregnant yet?" questions by 27 1/2. and then "why aren't you having another?" and then "oh, you're going back to work so soon, huh? hmmm." and so on and so on forever and ever amen.

    so, in sum - do stab them in the hand with your fork. and then tell them you're never getting married :)

  8. I think what I admire most about you, Lisa, is your subtlety. There's just so much left unsaid... ;)

    I mind less the "I can't believe..." than I do the "Why aren't you..." approach. The expression of surprise seems much more like a compliment, whereas people ask the question and then actually stand there and wait for an answer. Like one is actually forthcoming. Like I'm going to have some kind of epiphany right there in front of them. Hey, you know what? Come to think of it, I know exactly why! Thanks for asking; now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to land me a wife!!

  9. SL - Good to hear! And yes. And I got your email and it made me laugh. I'll write you back later.

    Jordaan - Ugh. Yah, I could understand that. You seem really happy now though.

    Amber - Ha ha - I suppose it is a call to action.

    Riley - Yes, I suppose the former is better than the latter. A friend just wrote and said that stabbing with a fork can get you arrested, so I'd better rethink this all around.

    ST - I forgot about gay. That should definitely be on the list of good reasons to bail.

    kate.d. - You are so right. Everything you said is dead on.

    WiB - Ha ha! Yes, I've always prided myself on my subtlety. I dunno - I think people do want an answer. The most recent guy did, anyway.

  10. I'm two months shy of 30, and just recently found myself at the end of a 4 year relationship. So now I read your posts with a different perspective - but this one? No different for me. I was married young and I decided at 22 I wasn't ever going to do it again. I think all it does is make you postpone decisions that you know are right.

    Thanks for writing such a great blog.

  11. Hmmm (checks watch). Just about... yep... 7 months.

    My mother recently told me that all I needed to do was find a nice boy. I told her that was a bit difficult when you're working a night job at a strip club.

    No, I didn't. But I do know what you mean. I expect to give up dating altogether in a short while, simply to avoid stabbing prosposective suitors when they ask me that very same question.

  12. I have never understood why people ask that question when dating especially early in the dating relationship. Too me when asked that it tells me that someone is looking to head into "quick" relationship and marriage because it is such a pointed question. I enjoyed the post and have fun dating.

  13. I wonder whether they're annoyed when they're asked the same question. I mean, if you're on a date with them, I'm presuming that they are themselves single and in/near their 30s. So what's wrong with them, I wonder? (It's not like it's any easier to answer if they're divorced, either.)

    So the next time someone asks you that, you can simply reply, "You first."

    Or if they start with the, "I can't believe..." you can simply reply that it's beginning to dawn on you why they're not married yet...

  14. Wow! You're beautiful! Like, incredibly beautiful. And smart! And funny? How come you're not me?

  15. That's a surprisingly old-fashioned (as in "19th century", or "18th century", or "17th century", or . . . ) stance to take, Lisa.

  16. Allison - Hmm. That's an interesting point of view. Thanks!

    Dagny - No, no, no. You definitely shouldn't give up dating altogether! You're too lovely!

    Sean - I have no idea. Particularly on first dates. It pisses me off no end (as you can tell).

    WiB - I'm going to try that next time. Although a lot of them are divorced, so they do have this background of having tried marriage, anyway.

    LMNt - Ahhh, thank you!

    Mark - Don't you remember what I wore to Ascot? I'm shockingly old fashioned.

  17. You know, being over 30 and not married doesn't mean something's wrong with you, it means something is wrong with all the other cute good boys that haven't figured out how great of a catch you are!

    (Hmmmm, couple of years to go, and I don't see myself walking down the aisle by 30 either... Crap)

  18. I'm not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, I'm no fan of dating in my 30s either. But on the other, as a divorcee who has been through a lot of crap, I don't think I carry all of it into new relationships in a way that makes them more difficult.


  19. Bah! Addressing Kate.D, well, hell... she's wrong. I was married for seven years, and though it certainly didn't end as I'd hoped, dreamed, imagined or expected, I wouldn't trade the experience for anything in the world. In fact, I cannot wait to get that feeling back... I'm certain I want to be married again. Just... for good this time.

    As for you, well... damn, thanks for making me feel crappy as an over-30. Misery loves company, eh? Especially the suddenly-single-again set.

  20. From someone who probably will be married in her 20s. I get the why aren't you married question all-the-f*cking-time. Especially because Bergle and I have been dating for several years. People set timelines for you but you have your own. Sometime you just have to ignore what people say.

  21. Being from the deep South (where many think you are clearly damaged or have three heads if not married by mid-to-late-twenties), I've long gotten past caring how people size up my marital status.

    I defitely agree marrying on the downward side of the 30's fence is preferable with its upside, but I'd take the other side on before settling for someone who'd make do. I have way too many friends divorced for doing that, and that's a path I'm staying faaaaar away from.

  22. I can totally relate to this. But I'll relate what my dad says to me when I think the same thing: to find someone worth being with, you gotta be patient. Now you know things you didn't know in your 20s. Now there are things you won't put up with for your own good. Now there are things you see in someone that you'd have taken for granted back then.

    It's definitely hard. There are a lot of times I don't want to try either. But there are people out there worth the effort who will see that in you and not be intimidated and know (in a good way) how lucky they are to be with someone of your qualities.

  23. I tried, really I did. But then I decided I'd much rather be dating in my 30's than stuck with the wrong guy just for the sake of staying married and not having to date.

    The next time you're asked that, turn it around and ask them right back.

  24. BB - Oh, thank you! And I really don't mean the minute you hit 30 it gets complicated - honestly!

    JM - I have no idea whether you do or not, but most people seem to.

    Justin, my sweet, sorry to bring you down, but I know you're bright. And I know my title and first line of the post did not mislead you into thinking you were going to be reading about puppies and rainbows.

    Jo - You know, I never think about getting pressured in your 20s, because I never did!

    LJ - Yes, good reminder that when people settle they wind up unhappy and divorced. And maybe I'm dating too many people who settled then and are recovering now.

    Jess - Thank you. It's true, and I look at everything from such a different vantage point now. I'm not even dying to get married. I'm just tired of being made to feel bad for it.

    G&D - Yah, I know. And you did the right thing. And yes, I am going to ask them right back next time!

  25. This is great considering I just got married this year and I'm 29 for a couple more months. My wife will be 26 later this month.

    Every time we go out, I'm reminded of how glad I am not to be dating. It's sad what you single people have to deal with: guys with no game, girls with baggage, etc.

    Society is all messed up these days. I blame it on the internet. Damned internet.

  26. I usually tell em' i just got out of prison... then watch em spit their beer..

  27. Lisa, my sister emailed me a fairy tale the other day... this one's for the single girls (I include myself in that now, BTW)...

    Once upon a time, a girl asked a guy, "Will you marry me?" The guy said "No," and the girl lived happily ever after and went shopping, drank martinis with friends, always had a clean house, never had to cook, had a closet full of shoes and handbags, stayed skinny, and was never farted on. The end.

  28. Ha. I tried to stick out but in a matter of a year my ex kdnapped our baby, my inlaws ransacked my house and took everything and my husband hit me. We had to split. Sometimes it is better to be alone and 30 than married to a complete a-hole.

  29. My mom's Asian so I get the "What's wrong with you?" thing all the time. She's kicking herself for not having arranged a marriage for me.

    I just keep telling her I'm too smart to get married.

  30. S_B - That is truly hilarious. I couldn't pull it off myself, I don't think, but I'd like to see it.

    Almost - Ohh, I love this! Thanks for that!

    Anon - God, that's a terrible story. There's no reason to stay in an abusive relationship. I'm sorry you went through that, but good for you for getting out.

    Kim - Hahaha! I think that's what I'm going to start saying.

  31. Eh. I was married in my twenties. And I stuck it out. But he didn't.

    And yes, that question is offensive. Honestly, though, dating in my 30s has been better than the 20s. There's less of that horrible vibe, are-you-the-most-special-lady-ever-who-will-make-my-parents-proud-and-impress-my-friends-and-like-all-the-same-pottery-barn-furniture-collections-that-I-do? It's less shallow and more about the individual.

    I agree that question is offensive. But I think it's something you would only hear from a guy who has no experience or judgment. Or empathy. Stop dating these people. Find someone who has USED his or her extra time for something worthwhile and interesting. They're out there.

  32. This is great. I have an almost irresistable urge to email it to an ex. It would be saying - I told you so.

    Seems like it could just be a mean thing to share this with him though. It seems like an arguement for rushing into marriage with someone who seems ok. And that seems sort of like comprimising principles.

    Good post!

  33. My usual response to "Why aren't you married?"

    "Just lucky, I guess."

  34. "Just lucky, I guess."

    suz, don't steal my lines.

  35. dearest lg,
    i've been reading your blog for about a month and i find you terribly entertaining and very much aligned with the same kind of "crap" i've been through. and trust me, if i could get married in my 20s, i would! my mother keeps telling me i'm turning into an old maid - mind you, i'm not even 25 yet! i suppose that is what i get for having a mother who was first engaged at the "ripe" age of 19 and then got married at 24. but i must say, if you think dating in d.c. is that bad, you should come to l.a. and see what we have to deal with. hollywood is quite the place and it makes it difficult to date with so many model/actress/whatever wannabes. it's actually quite sickening.
    in any case, i just wanted to drop you a line since i feel like i know you so well by now.

    hope all is well.

  36. I have to tell you that you're so wrong.

    Many of us don't have our act together in our 20s. Many of us don't turn into our ideal selves until our 30's- or maybe even 40s.

    This is the case with most people I know. Therefore we were not hit with all this "when will you get married?" in our 20s. Most people I know waited for the right person (the correct way) and didn't let the calendar dictate the schedule, and they're fine.

    BTW I'm a never-married male in his early 40s (and I know I'll be married in my 40s) so you may very well ignore what I'm saying.

  37. Whatever you do " DO NOT GET MARRIED IN YOUR 20'S" more than likely it will not las. You don't even know who you are yet, and you will drastically change between 20-30. Get married at 30 or beyond. Your priorities will change, and that guy that was so great in your 20's will look and act like a shmuck that you would not give the time a day to in your 30's. Believe it.

  38. I enjoyed your post. Quoted you in this post!

  39. If you want kids, or life-long companionship with the same person... get married.

    If you are too immature to handle a relationship, too anti-female or anti-male, or you do not want kids... then don't get married.

    Its very simple really. Figure out what you want and do it, BUT DO IT WELL!

  40. I actually have gotten this comment, and I am mid-twenties. I've mentioned to my friends the exact same points that you make, adding that perhaps the person asking should tell me what they think is reason I'm single, after all, I think I'm pretty fabulous!

  41. Even before I hit my 20's I knew I would never be married in my twenties. I have always said my 20's are the time to find out more about me. I think your 30's are the perfect age to get married. I am turning 27 this year. Even though I have 3 years to go I promise you I won't be getting married until I reach 30. Unlike most women I can't wait to be 30! I love the aging process the older I get I find the happier I am in all areas of my life. I sometimes wonder who put this idea into our heads it is terrible for a women to get old so you should do everything 'domestic' such as getting married and having children in your 20's before you hit 30 - Was it men or did we do this to ourselves???

  42. Don't think that's for me, I don't plan getting married until 26 that's for sure, I'm too young to accept so many obligations at my 20. IT Support London

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