“Dating to Marry”

So I was watching Sex in the City the other day. You know the part in the series where Charlotte gets divorced and consequently meets Harry who happens to be her divorce lawyer. Well they start dating and then in the season finale Charlotte tells Harry she is falling in love with him. Harry then turns to her and says but I’m Jewish, I have to marry a Jewish girl.

This always struck me as odd. Charlotte and Harry had only been dating for what could only have been a couple of months and Harry was already thinking about marriage. So that made me wonder, at what point in your life should you be “dating to marry”?

I’ve dated plenty of guys who I knew weren’t marriage material. But I was so young and marriage seemed so far that I did it anyways. I eventually broke up with them but the pressure of marriage was never on the table.

I am turning 25 this year and I am slowly starting to see everyone around me get married and settle down. Marriage is a very real possibility at my age. The marriage pressure is on.

Que my dilemma. I find myself dating a guy, T-Man. He has a lot of great qualities and we have amazing chemistry. But even from the beginning when we first started dating I knew that he wasn’t someone I could see spending my life with. I don’t know why and I can’t put my finger on it. But I just know. It’s not that he isn’t marriage material, he would make a great husband, but just not for me I guess. But I kept dating him anyways. I figured, why not.

We have reached a point in our “relationship” where we have started talking to each other about what we want in the future and what happiness looks like. As we were lying in bed last night T-Man launched into a big spiel about the point of life. According to T-Man, the point of life is to have a family and pass on knowledge etc. to another generation & his idea of happiness is to have children. I just froze up.

Shit. At that point I started screaming in my head: “It’s only been a few months why are you talking about having a family?!? Why are you ruining it? We were doing so well.”

It’s no secret among my friends that don’t want children. I have been saying this for the past five years and I am still holding strong to it. It just isn’t something that I want out of life. I have no desire to have children, or a family. I never have. It’s just not me. I’d rather have a successful career. This isn’t something that I will change my mind about. It’s a non-negotiable. And I realize that having children is also a non-negotiable for a lot of men (the majority of men).

I guess I have this delirious idea that someone will love me enough not to care that I don’t want children. That love will conquer it.

It’s my biggest insecurity, the one thing that I won’t tell until I have to. And I am completely valid in this insecurity. There is this idea that men don’t think about marriage or a family in their 20’s. Which is so false. Within the first couple months of seeing each other, the last two guys I’ve dated have both brought up their desire to have children and a family and get married, etc. It wasn’t directed at me necessarily but came about due to the fact that we were dating. Guys in their 20’s definitely think about that stuff. Often.

So my question is, at what age should we be “dating to marry”? When should we start dating people with the thought of marriage in mind?

I don’t think T-Man is the one. But I’m seeing him anyways. But should I not be? Am I just wasting my time?

3 Comments Add yours

  1. I think it really depends on what you want. I will be 26 in a few months, and this has also been weighing on me. In my past, I have had a tendency to not pursue relationships with guys that I don’t think I would want to spend my life with. It’s not that I have actively wanted to get married to any of them, but that I don’t want to accidentally end up in a long-term relationship where we aren’t on the same page. I’m re-evaluating that a bit now: I’m more interested in seeing multiple people in noncommitted situations for a while. This has never actually worked for me in the past, so we’ll see what happens.

    As far as your relationship with T Man, I think you should do what makes you happy and not focus on dating to marry or breaking up with him simply because you don’t think you’ll marry him. That being said, it is probably worth having an actual conversation about what you want out of the relationship (and potentially your future, especially in terms of kids). Otherwise, he might assume that you are marriage-and-baby-goal-oriented like people tend to assume about women our age. If you guys are both on the same page and both okay with a relationship that isn’t going to end with a walk down the aisle, I don’t think anyone else’s thoughts or ideas matter, even though they will probably force them on you. :/

    1. Thanks for the advice! Yes, I probably should have a conversation with T-Man but that has never been one of my strengths. Good luck with your relationship pursuits, it’s good to know that there are others out there who feel the same way I do!

  2. Phoenix says:

    I’m opposite. I’ve been ‘dating to marry’ since I was 19. It’s just expected in my family and something I’ve always known I wanted– alongside a kick ass career. But the problem I’ve ran into ‘dating to marry’ is I give a lot of guys, second, third, fourth glances because “they’re the good guys” i.e. the kind you marry. And despite no capability I keep to it, saying maybe if I just give them another chance. So I think there is a hazard in that as well. I think it is about doing what’s right for you. But also be aware of the other persons needs/wants/desires because granting them the hope of having their dreams with you, when that’s not your dream can be just as hurtful.

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