Too Many Choices

“The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

A recent article in the New York Times by Gabrielle Zevin entitled,’ Why Don’t You Just Get Married? Let Me Explain’ deals with an aspect of this issue today.

In essence she has been with a man for twenty-two years and they have never married. As she is turning forty she is looking at the choice. And it is a choice today; not like years ago when women were not independent, educated or able to stand on their own two feet. As a matter of fact, about forty percent of the babies born in America today are to single women!

Her point is that she had no need to marry and choosing on a daily basis to remain in the relationship perhaps made her relationship work better than her married friends.

I kind of agree with that. It means not taking one another for granted. Either party can leave at will, and there is an element of being on your best behavior in a sense. It means maybe not doing ‘gross’ things in front of one another and not being so familiar and ‘safe’ that you are not boring or too ‘relaxed’ about the behavior.

There are some benefits to being married however as one gets older. She points out that getting, sick, and being in a hospital may be easier for partners to share if they are legally bound. There is also the issue of finances and Social Security benefits for example. Travel and sharing a place to live becomes easier for married people. All that notwithstanding, many couples choose to be together without the walk down the aisle and piece of paper.

The choices today are there.

Recently I was at a dinner and seated next to a divorcee about forty-five. She, naturally told me her story. She was married for about twenty years, and had no children. She had a career and her husband was a ‘free spirit’ and liked camping out and not being confined in a job too long. It finally got to her so that she had to end it. Now she is alone, and not seeing anyone and scared of all the choices out there.

We talked about on-line dating sites and they frighten her. She doesn’t meet too many ‘eligible’ men. While she is young looking and bright and quite ‘dateable,’ she is lonely.

Interestingly when I speak to men they talk about too many choices. There is always someone ‘better’ that could come along.  They don’t even have to be attractive or successful. They just have to exist. It is a different ball game.

With all the women looking for men it becomes as though they are merely a commodity.

Now don’t get me wrong; I still believe both men and women want to love and be loved. They just go about it differently. Most males are the initiator still.

I think lots of experience is good. It helps in final selections.

I also think that when married we should have to re-choose one another every so often; maybe every five years. That would put us on a different track and behavior.

We might do as the penguins; get together to have offspring and then when they are not totally dependent on us move on to a new partner. Without wanting children marriage takes on a whole new perspective.

I saw a TV interview with Ivana Trump when she said she prefers younger men now after two divorces after Donald. She would rather be a ‘babysitter’ than a ‘caretaker’ is the way she put it I think. Again; choice.

Whom we choose to share our lives and love and bodies with is entirely up to us. We do not have arranged marriages here. We choose. How we choose is related to many factors and how we come to our conclusions has many predetermined factors. Who we are; how we became who we are; and what our society tells us all factor in.

To choose and to be a non-conformist about something so traditional and time honored is not an easy path. Explaining our choices is not always easy.

However, in the end only we can make the choices and only we live them. So, choose wisely as the price and consequences for poor choices can be quite high. But you can also learn from bad choices if you take the time and effort to.

“A good marriage would be between a blind wife and a deaf husband.” – Michel de Montaigne

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