So Ily said she wanted to hear some asexuals talking about their views on marriage. So I guess I’ll talk about my views on marriage.
When I was still in Japanese class, I remember we were given some exercise, and I can’t remember exactly what it was about, but I think we were supposed to use the ~と思う construction to comment on what we thought our classmates would be good at, or would become in the future, or something like that. All, of course, in Japanese, so I can’t remember exactly what was said (nor could I decipher everything due to some of my classmates’ strong accents), but someone made the comment that they thought I would make a good mother, and thought I would get married and be happy someday.
I was… a little bit surprised, that someone who had known me for all of a week would think I would be a good mother, though I guess I shouldn’t have been because it’s a standard answer. I just figure you kind of have to know a person better than that to be a good judge of whether someone has kid-smarts (which I don’t), so unless I’ve heard a person specifically say something about motherhood, I wouldn’t even go there. Anyway, I said I didn’t want to get married, and everyone, especially the teachers, seemed shocked. I guess in Japanese culture it’s a huge thing to get married even more so than it is in western culture. They asked why, but I couldn’t really give a full answer because I didn’t want to sit there explaining my stance on marriage for ten minutes, especially since my ability with the language was not that great.
I can’t remember what I told them anymore. I’m not sure if I told them anything.
But really, I just don’t see marriage as being necessary, and given my circumstances, it’s not a worthwhile goal.
I grew up with parents who should have gotten divorced years and years ago. They stayed married because of their religious conviction that divorce is a sin, but my sister and I both think that even if that were true, it’s more of a sin to inflict such abuse on one’s children by staying married to a person like my father. I consider my mother a weak person because she lets herself be controlled by him. I’ve bit my tongue as my father proudly proclaimed to his relatives that they’ve made it 25 years, as if that’s an accomplishment. Quantity apparently is better than quality in God’s eyes. According to my father, God wants children to submit blindly to their parents, to quiver in fear like routinely kicked dogs. I wish I meant that as a figure of speech. That’s no god I want to be associated with. Even if I were Christian, I would completely reject the notion that marriage is a sacred pact meant never to be broken under any circumstances.
My views on marriage are much more practical. Marriage is only worthwhile if it isn’t an emotional liability. I realize, of course, that marriage takes work, and I am not at all advocating divorce just to avoid doing that work. I am not the type who would give up so easily—in fact, I would sooner stubbornly bash my head in trying to make a hopeless situation work. I realize because of this tendency to give everything I have without regard for my own welfare, I need to be especially careful when getting into such a serious commitment. To be legally bound to another person… What a frightening thought, especially since I’ve seen firsthand just how bad it can get. For that reason I am always careful to watch myself whenever I get into a relationship, so as not to get involved in something I can’t handle.
It makes me wonder, though, why someone would want to get married. I can see four different reasons: legal benefits, societal recognition, desire to raise a family, and sentimentality.
I lost the sentimentality a long time ago, though I must admit I was never particularly sentimental about it to begin with. As a child I assumed that one day I would get married, because it just didn’t seem like not getting married was an option. It was just what people did. But I didn’t fantasize about it. I didn’t imagine what kind of wedding I would have, as apparently other little girls are fond of doing. I didn’t really see the point, because I couldn’t look that far into the future. I could (and did) imagine what it was like for other people, but never for myself. I wasn’t there yet, and it was a non-issue, as far as I was concerned (so was sex). I would cross that bridge when I came to it.
I did, however, have some level of internalized sentimentality about love in general, and for a while I believed the whole “you complete me” bullshit that my ex liked to spout. I got over that around the same time that we broke up, maybe a little before. Subsequently I started really thinking about the idea of polyamory, and gradually all my mono-centric thinking went out the window. Although I know there is such a thing as an open marriage, I think a lot of what draws people to marriage in the first place is the idea that there can only be one significant other. I personally just don’t see the point if I can only marry one person (at a time), ever. I would rather all of my relationships be on equal terms, at least with regard to legal binding and social recognition. It would hurt me if I had two partners who were both incredibly important to me, and only one was recognized as such. I would want to marry them both or not be married at all. Since I can’t marry them both…
I don’t really have this need to have my relationships recognized by society anyway. Of course it would be nice if people did see my relationships as legitimate, but I’ve long gotten over the fact that they just don’t. Being in an asexual/asexual relationship means a lot of people are going to think you and your partner are “Just friends” even if you both feel that there’s a tremendous difference. I was in one such relationship, once upon a time, and I was forced to deal with the fact that people generally won’t validate a relationship like that. Nor will they validate polyamorous relationships, or even homosexual relationships. That last is gradually changing, but I’ve also decided that I don’t want to get married until my gay friends can get married too. It’s the same principle as I would apply to my own partners, if I had any.
That leaves the desire to start a family, which I don’t have, and the legal benefits, which are the only reason why I would consider getting married. I don’t care about tax breaks or whatever, but as a future ex-pat, I have to admit it would be nice to have the benefits that go along with marrying a citizen of my country of choice. I don’t see that happening, but it’s the only reason I would consider marriage, unless any future significant other of mine is MIGHTY persuasive.
All things considered, if marriage didn’t already exist, I don’t think it would occur to me to invent it. I might invent some other type of ritual bonding, but it would be more along the lines of a pagan handfasting or a Boston marriage. One other reason why I’m not looking to get married is simply that I don’t feel the need to be in a “romantic” relationship (whatever that even means); under the right circumstances, it would enrich my life, and I’d be happy to be in one, but if there’s no one who could enrich my life in that way, then I’d rather be single (or in “ambiguous” relationships instead). Being in a relationship just for the sake of being in a relationship is more of a burden than a blessing. I’m definitely a quirkyalone type!