Recently I read an article about why it’s a waste of time to date someone whom you know you are not going to marry. This notion has been around for a long time, and I’ve forever despised it. But the thing that bothered me most about the article is that it makes a lot of faulty assumptions:
- It assumes that everyone wants to get married one day. What if you never plan on getting married? Does that mean you can’t date?
- It assumes that everyone else dating is looking for something serious. There are plenty of other people out there looking only for something casual.
- It assumes that the reason why you aren’t going to marry the person you’re dating is because they aren’t right for you, or more accurately, they aren’t good enough for you. Implicit in this view is the idea that this person does not meet your criteria, but you are with them anyway because you are lonely, or as the article put it, “lying” to yourself.
It’s high time someone set the record straight. The truth is that there are lots of good reasons why you might want to date someone whom you know you aren’t going to marry.
1. Not everyone is at a place in their lives in which they can date to marry.
There is a plethora of reasons why someone might not be interested in dating someone that they are considering marrying: they are focusing on their career, they have family or friends that they need to invest a lot of time in, they are living in a totally different location temporarily, or they are just not interested in getting married.
2. You learn about yourself.
Even if you have every intention of getting married one day, meeting and dating lots of different people is one of the best ways to learn about yourself, your strengths and weaknesses in relationships, and what you are looking for in another person. It arguably makes your marriage later on far more likely not to end in divorce. And speaking of divorce…
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3. There is nothing permanent about marriage.
So you’ve met “the one” and you put a ring on it. Congratulations, but plenty of marriages end in divorce. Does it mean you shouldn’t get married if it might end? Of course not. Follow the same logic and you might ask yourself,
- Why take a vacation if it’s going to end?
- Why start a job if you know that you’re not going to be doing it the rest of your life?
The reality is that no one knows the future. Do what makes you happy. Just because it could one day end doesn’t mean it’s not fantastic now.
4. Great sex.
Need I really say more? Good sex is a perfectly legitimate reason to be with someone, assuming both partners are on the same page about the direction of the relationship. Even if you are looking for something serious and meet a great lover instead, nothing wrong with killing time while having awesome orgasms.
5. You could be wrong.
There’s nothing wrong with not wanting to get married anytime soon, or at all. But if you do want to get married one day, you are still not wasting your time dating someone you think is not your type. Many times I’ve begun dating people whom I thought weren’t right for me or weren’t the “serious relationship type.” Then suddenly I realized that we were perfect for each other. In those situations, I often ended up dating that person long-term.
Relationships have innate value: they can make us happy, satisfy us sexually, help us learn about ourselves, and make us better partners for our future partners. Who says they need to last until you die?