I got a phone call from an ex yesterday. He happened to be in my side of town (after three years, quite surprisingly). He told me he got married in a rush (two years ago) to his next-door neighbour. I congratulated him and asked him which of our common friends he was still in touch with (I ain’t since dropping off the social media grid!).
Even more ironically, this piece of news elicited no emotion in me. Conventional romance tropes would say I am supposed to feel something. When he asked me if I was ‘dating or married’, I didn’t even feel the need of giving out that information.
All of the once-great loves of my life are married now – except my most recent, Mr. Narcissist – to women they met after we broke up or women whose profiles they stared at on matrimonial websites. As I continue my 30s trajectory, society tells me that I’m supposed to feel some sense of loss or bitterness that it’s not me in those happy pictures; all I can do is thank God.
I’m quite happily unmarried. I don’t see any particularly good reason to take a trip with a man down any aisle that isn’t in a movie hall/ supermarket.
At my first ex-boyfriend’s wedding, when the band started playing a groan-worthy clichéd waltz that is supposed to epitomise romance, I had to try hard not to tell my date that I felt truly secure in all my (wise and poor) romantic decisions.
The boyfriend I attended the wedding with is also married now – I figured he would be, since the insurmountable issue in our relationship was his desire to get married and mine to avoid it at all costs. I ran into him a few years ago on the street before a Slash concert, and the much older woman with him was his wife. We made small talk for a minute. The last time I heard from him, he was going on a trip to Bali with his wife and twins.
While I am sure that each of my exes has a loving, productive marriage to the woman who is his soulmate that will last ‘forever’, their nuptials and pictures of their lives together always feel far from anything I’d want to be part of.
I know that I’m expected to be at least weirded out when my ex-boyfriends marry. I got a few sympathetic calls from our mutual friends when the above-mentioned boyfriend was set to wed. They couldn’t believe how calm I sounded. When they tied the knot, I was happy for them to have found what they wanted. in one another.
Growing up, I watched a ton of princess fantasies yet didn’t daydream of being in one. I avoided the very Indian cultural conditioning that marriage was the life goal of every woman. I stuck (stubbornly at times) to what I believe, including the decades-old insistence that people pronounce my name correctly when it would be a whole lot easier to just let them shorten it.
I’ve also never been one to join the herd. I never wanted to be married all these years. It didn’t seem like something I had to do for any other reason. But not getting married – and openly not wanting to get married – as I get older increasingly feels like pushing at a windmill while my ex-boyfriends walk to the other side and add to the wind.