Dear LA, a potential suitor recently asked why I wasn’t married. It was a loaded question and it came with a full set of assumptions.
It wasn’t so much an enquiry as a subtle judgment – “A woman like you in her 30s should be married by now. If you’re unmarried, there must be something wrong with you – Perhaps a dark past or you’re unmanageable and no man can control you”. (As if marriage were a time stamped project devoid of human considerations and life’s complexities).
So, I decided not to dignify his query or satisfy his curiosity or ignorance thereof. Instead I said something rather cheeky, rejecting the premise of the question. I simply indicated that he was far older, unhappy and unmarried, hence his question was moot!
But lately, after reading your letters, I’ve chosen to clarify my position, at least to myself. It will influence the course of my future relationship.
First, do I want to get married? Of course. Have I been asked before? Yes. So, why didn’t I say yes? Simple – Choice and Conviction. Perhaps I’m a romantic idealist but I believe marriage is a serious institution. It has mystical connotations and should not be treated lightly.
I won’t get married because society expects it, my peers are doing it, my biological clock is ticking or I’m lonely. I’m not brave, stubborn or unrealistic. Just truthful to myself. No one else but me and the person I eventually choose will deal with the consequences of the decision. I’m also acutely aware that marrying the wrong person can wreck my peace, health, future & potential. I’m not fooled by the smiling faces of the married who cry in distress when no one sees.
In the meantime, I deal with the usual pressures as well as I can- sex for one. Perhaps if I was getting my freak on regularly, the decision to wait would’ve been easier. But I guess I was lucky enough to experience my “mid-life crisis” at an early age. Principles have finally prevailed and I choose not to sleep around. Anyway, doing so will do nothing for my personal happiness. It’s a temporary fix at best.
To be sure, I have the opportunity to indulge and the knowledge to avoid unwanted “medical conditions”. I have no fear of a besmirched reputation as I can opt for foreign flings. I also seem to serve a very forgiving God:). So rationally, my primary reason for sexual prudence is I’ve never understood how to split my sexual favours in several places. And so loneliness has become a constant companion. I’m sapiosexual, you see.
I have multiple ideas every day, so deeply desire a home for my head; a counterpart; conversations that matter; laughter. Someone I can relate to; whose mind sharpens mine; who’ll be able to relate to my fantasies without being aghast! I do admit to sometimes using work to chase the loneliness away but I’m thankful for it. Prevents me from calling those I shouldn’t. I’m also grateful for those who are there for me.
So, there you have it LA. Perhaps the next time the question comes my way, I’ll be better prepared to give a factual response. In the meantime, I continue to focus on happiness, no matter how obscure. I choose to wait even if it doesn’t accord with so-called popular wisdom or convention. I choose to make the best relationship decisions knowing I can’t fully control outcomes or the future.
I remain as always your mentee, Subomi Plumptre.
[This was a submission for the #DearLA Twitter series by Leke Alder (@Leke_Alder). Other series in the collection include #Letr2Jil and #Letr2Jack]