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Why I Don't 'I Do'

Why get married when you can be happy?

As I sit here writing in my dimly lit living room—because yet another ceiling light has blown out—I think about marriage.

People ask me all the time, "Do you think you'll get married again, Susan?" The answer, "HELL NO!"

Now, that doesn't mean marriage is horrible or awful, revolting, abnormal, icky, exhausting or archaic (just to name a few things that come to mind). For many, it's not.

But, having done the veil and gown, walking down the aisle, vow swapping, ring placing, first-dance dancing thing once, I can honestly say I don't feel at all a need to do it again. 

I suppose the idea of being with one person "until death do us part" is a beautiful thought for many. And, sure, that theory made sense in the days when folks lived to 42 and looked 98.

But, today? Really?

Today when we have Botox and lipo, pole dancing and porn, the , Facebook, and the sexiest president ever sitting in the White House... are we seriously expected to commit ourselves  to sleeping with the same person until the day we die?

That's a tall order, and from where I sit, not a lot of people are having an easy go at it.

And, yet, there is still so much shame placed on couples who get divorced. Let's face it, people, the world still views divorce as a failure.

In my book, when two people have the balls to say, "It's not working, we tried, we had some good times, we have beautiful kids, but we're not happy anymore..." that takes a whole lot of courage. That, in my mind, is a success.

Better to be honest than to stay in a marriage, have an affair, bite your tongue at every moment, and go to sleep wondering, "Is this all there is?"

So, here it goes, folks—get ready to fire up the hate e-mails. says, "Divorce is not a failure. Divorce is a success."

Oh, boy. If people were outraged by me for dating my , I can only imagine what they're going to say about this.

But, look, just because I have no desire to get married again does not mean that I am anti-marriage. I'm not. I just happen to be pro-divorce.

I have known, met and seen many unhappily married couples. Couples who got married when Axl Rose was still sexy and skinny and touring in bike shorts. Couples who in the throes of one long Guns N' Roses concert popped the question during Sweet Child O' Mine not realizing that in a few years they'd be really living life to the tune of Welcome to the Jungle.

But, guess what? Axl got fat, left the band, became a recluse and now sings rap. If he can change (for better or for worse, far worse) why can't married people? And if married people do change and it just so happens they don't change together... why can't they quit the band?

I say they can.

You met as Democrats, now he's a Republican. You were a lawyer and he loved watching you in a courtroom, now you're a stay-at-home mom knitting baby clothes. He had hair...

I suppose I bring this up because the other night Hannah and I decided to eat at the new joint that just opened in Studio City. We got seats (finally) and next to us sat a couple, possibly in their 50s, married and miserable.

I mean, MISERABLE. The wife was nagging his ass all through the meal: "I like the other burger place better," "You call these caramelized onions?" "My bun is too sweet," "The patty has too much fat," and on and on.

And her husband just sat there, quiet, trying to eat the delicious burger he clearly was secretly enjoying but obviously far too afraid to show any joy over.

"I mean, you don't like it, do you? Do you like it?" she asked.

Oh, crap. What's he going to say? If he says yes, she'll make him sleep on the couch, and if he says no he'll have to stop eating and watch a perfectly yummy Umami Burger that he waited an hour in line for get tossed in the trash.

Instead, he mumbled, "It's (garble, garble, garble)..."

She was not only ruining the Umami experience for her husband, but I was ready to burst into tears as well because, honestly, I loved the burger but somehow I was afraid she would get angry at me too if she knew.

Now, through it all I didn't say a thing to Hannah. Being an expert at listening in on other people's conversations while still being fully engaged in the one I'm in, we just ate, laughed, drank our sodas out of the bottles and had the best date ever.

Yet, when we walked outside, my 9-year-old daughter turned to me and said, "Can you believe that woman next to us? I'll bet she nagged him into marrying her."

Clearly my kid has inherited my talent for multi-tasking at a meal.

As we walked home we talked about that couple, laughing at how horrible it all was, and wishing somehow we could've adopted his ass and taken him home.

But, something about it was also extremely sad and real to me.

As I tucked Hannah into bed and kissed her many times over "good-night," she looked at me and said:

"I bet she's still nagging him. Poor guy."

I looked at her and gently smiled,

"Baby, don't ever marry someone that treats you like that."

Here's the thing. Just because I won't get married again doesn't mean I don't want my daughter to experience falling in love, being a bride, having kids and growing old with someone. I absolutely do. As long as she's happy. Cared for. Respected. Loved.

And if she's not... she will always know there is no shame in divorce.

As for me, I may not have any desire to be a Mrs. again but that doesn't mean I wouldn't like to have a partner. Someone to share my dreams with. Someone to talk to at the end of the day. Someone who makes me laugh. And, most of all... someone to change the hard-to-reach ceiling lights.

That would be awesome.

justin forbes April 18, 2011 at 10:09 PM
It obviously would be a fiction piece...and a sick comedy piece. I doubt you would even be able to tell the difference. Wait, why am I wasting my time responding to you? Enjoy your misery.
Rabia April 19, 2011 at 10:27 AM
Justin Forbes, actually you're the one who seems unable to distinguish what kind of piece you're commenting on here- it certainly hasn't been framed as a fiction piece OR as a "sick comedy" piece. My criticism is 100% valid and cannot be pushed aside regardless of how many dime-a-dozen sexist comments you may make. You seem awfully frustrated about not being able to shut a woman up. Its entertaining to watch. As for my not being able to tell the difference, ironically its you who keeps trying to justify obvious factual errors in a journalistic piece of social commentary by applying standards from fiction. So thanks for the laugh. Its also ironic how you keep pouting and sulking while accusing others of misery. Hilarious.
justin forbes April 19, 2011 at 12:21 PM
It is entertaining, you are right! Or better yet, why dont you make the effort to come up with your own original form of self expression and stop being a know it all and ripping others up for doing what you dont have the balls to do. I am SO miserable, you nailed it. In fact, everything you say is spot on. So please, give it a rest.
Rabia April 20, 2011 at 10:55 AM
Funny how you were pretending to lecture me on the different forms of writing but arent aware of the simple fact that criticism is a form of writing as well and thats the right I'm exercising here. Fudging facts doesnt take "balls", at least not in the estimation of those who arent willdly disconnected from reality. Yes, looks like I did nail it- with every message your misery screams out more. I have a right to say what I want and thats precisely what I'm doing. Your tantrums arent going to stop me. :)
Barbara Krause October 22, 2012 at 01:59 PM
I was once asked to give the children of my sisters one piece of important advice for the future. My answer was that the person who you choose for your partner is the most important decision that you will ever make.

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