Nellie,

I felt the same way you did about commitment and marriage. With both of my husbands, I was in it for life, no matter what. The only good reason I can think of for getting a divorce is if a person or their children are at risk of bodily harm.

If a person leaves their children on someone's doorstep, they can be prosecuted for abandonment. How is divorce any different? If you are the one left behind, then people say "oh, you'll find someone better", like the solution is just to keep swapping partners till you "get lucky" and find one that sticks around.

I went to a symphony last night with a bunch of friends. All of them were in "pairs" (dating, not married). It was wierd, I didn't really envy them. Most of them have had numerous boyfriends/girlfriends and it all just seems so ridiculous. More than half of these people probably won't even be talking to each other in a year. Even though I sound real bitter sometimes, I still have to think it is better to have a friend (male or female) for life than it is to be just another ex-girlfriend or ex-wife. Removing the element of sex has allowed me to really get to know the men I hang out with now. I think that at first a few of them wanted some kind of dating/relationship thing, but since I'm not up for that, they now know that they have no need to "impress" me anymore or just show me their good side. Every time I see this change occur, it convinces me even more that my choice is a good one. I don't have to find out months or years down the road that the "person" they pretended to be at first is not who they really are. Or to put it another way, I haven't invested myself in a so-called relationship or sacrificed anything major, so I don't care if they "change" somewhere down the road.

Choosing not to find another "partner" is not as depressing as some might think. Just wanted you to know that there are other options that can be quite fulfilling that have nothing to do with scoping out another person to marry. If I sound bitter, it is because I'm mourning my loss of innocence concerning most people's lack of commitment, not because I need to find a replacement. I happen to agree with you that the vast majority of people have no concept of what it means to be committed. I also believe that you don't need to find another mate to make your life worthwhile. I highly resent the notion that lessons learned from failed relationships (like the ones we've learned this year) mean a thing or even mean that future relationships will be better. All we can do is find some way to cope.