The Marriage Project, Reflection 22- “With a healthy dose of independence and other personality traits that make it a poor fit for me, I believe.”

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( Spinster Goose.)

 

Ann Friedman told me I could use her full, real name. She’s a 29 year old magazine editor who lives in Los Angeles.

How did you arrive at the decision to not get married? How firm are you in this decision? 

This is going to be kind of rambly, but… I’ve never really wanted to get married. For lots of reasons. I want to invest in more than one personal relationship in my life, and feel that marriage encourages a super insular support system. It is designed so that one person is your everything, or almost-everything. I don’t feel that’s healthy or sustainable, and it’s not something I want. I do see myself having serious relationships throughout my life, and am not opposed to being in a lifelong relationship if it happens to work out. But I do not aspire to marriage or a lifelong monogamous romantic relationship. I believe that, from a perspective of the state, government should allow every adult to pick their “point person.” For many people this would be a spouse, but in essence it would normalize non-coupledom. I could choose a close friend, and not worry that my parents would be my default decision-makers in the event I am sick or incapacitated. Gay marriage would no longer be an issue. The list of reasons goes on and on.

Where did you get your thoughts about marriage? 

I was raised in a very conservative Catholic home, where marriage was seen as something not only to aspire to, but almost inevitable. My opinions on the subject were probably created out of general rebellion to that upbringing. And, later, my feminist beliefs. With a healthy dose of independence and other personality traits that make it a poor fit for me, I believe.

What do you say to folks who ask you when you’re getting married? 

I don’t plan on ever getting married.

Why do you think there’s such a stigma against women who aren’t married/choose not to be married? How do you think this stigma has affected you? 

People don’t believe I’m telling the truth. Or they think I am somehow damaged an unable to form meaningful, lasting relationships. (This is false! I have tons of loving people in my life, who I’ve known for years and years, and have had several long term serious relationships.)

What are your feelings on the word “spinster”? 

I want to reclaim it, like “bitch,” until it carries the same connotation as “bachelor”: free, fun, independent, loving life.

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8 thoughts on “The Marriage Project, Reflection 22- “With a healthy dose of independence and other personality traits that make it a poor fit for me, I believe.”

  1. TrayfDaddy says:

    I hope i get invited to some spinsterman parties!

  2. [...] Of course, folks like Rick Santorum are already taking the completely nonsensical position that gay marriage is to blame for the plummeting rates. But I’m excited by this news. Let’s start experimenting with alternative family structures, y’all! Perhaps on day soon, we’ll even successfully reclaim the word “spinster.” [...]

  3. [...] forms. GOOD executive editor Ann Friedman, who has no interest in getting married, has proposed reframing the term “spinster”: “I want to reclaim it, like ‘bitch,’ until it carries the same connotation as [...]

  4. [...] GOOD executive editor Ann Friedman, who has no interest in getting married, has proposed reframing the term “spinster”: “I want to reclaim it, like ‘bitch,’ until it carries the same connotation as ‘bachelor’: [...]

  5. robindenning says:

    I totally agree with you concept of a Point Person. I had come up with a Designated Next of Kin. Like you say, people should have the freedom to select a legal point person and then marriage is not necessary.
    This is the first time I’ve heard anyone else talk about this.

  6. Trish says:

    I think the benefit of marriage *is* that there is a singular other person that you can completely depend on. Ann’s still very young and the majority of her friends have probably not yet gotten married, had babies, or even paired off in significant numbers. But as she gets into her late 30s, she will start to notice how many people are very eager to choose this insular lifestyle and how all those best buds she used to rely on are suddenly not as available. And as we get even older, and they have babies, and you don’t, or they get married, and buy a house, and move out of the city, and you don’t, you will start to feel more and more and more alone. You will have to have an extremely large network of friends who you have to do stuff with on semi-regular basis to fill the void. It’s just not sustainable for the long term. I can see my current social mix working for the next 3 to 5 years, but in 10? No. I never realized any of this until the last few years. When I was 30, I was like, ‘Oh, who needs a lifelong partner! So outdated!’ That’s because I had at least four full time BFFs I did everything with, and slowly that changed. You will be replaced. You need to find someone who will be there for you and vice versa through it all. No one tells you this about female friendships, but they are only place holders for the so-called main event. It’s sad, but true.

  7. pdf says:

    I’m amazed, I have to admit. Rarely do I come across a blog that’s both equally educative and
    engaging, and without a doubt, you’ve hit the nail on the head. The problem is something that not enough folks are speaking intelligently about. I’m very happy
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  8. [...] Keep your name: “I’d like to undo the remaining traditions and legal structures that carry forward the idea that women are men’s property and are passed from the ownership of their fathers to their husbands on their wedding day. The biggest offender in my mind is the symbolism of fathers ‘giving away’ their daughters at the altar, a practice that’s become a bit less common but still happens regularly (and totally creeps me out). There’s also that tradition that’s far more widespread: Women changing their last names to their husband’s.” — Bryce Covert is an editor at The Roosevelt Institute. Appoint your “point person”: “I love the idea of the state leaving marriage to individuals, families, and religious institutions, and instead adopting a framework under which adults could identify which person is going to care for them, assume their debts, and help raise their offspring. I’d make it love-neutral. I think the government should allow every citizen to pick a ‘point person.’ For many people this would be a spouse. For young people, it might be a parent. For single people, it might be a platonic best friend. (Shout out to my bestie, Amina.) Simply changing the term from ‘marriage’ to ‘civil union’ doesn’t go far enough, because it still excludes single people from accessing dozens of benefits and protections. I don’t plan on marrying, but I’d be a fool to think I’d never have a medical crisis that required me to rely on another person. I want the employment flexibility of adding a close friend to my health insurance plan or affixing myself to hers. And I want everyone to have these rights without having to pledge undying love and sexual fealty. Because we all know how well that tends to turn out.” — Ann Friedman is a journalist. Aminatou Sow is her point person. (Her interview for the Marriage Project is here.) [...]

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