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1. Because Not-Married Doesn't Mean All Alone

If you're married, it's generally assumed you'll always have somebody—for better or worse. But I'd just like to say that when you're not married, you'll also always have somebody for better or worse, somebody to count on, love, laugh with, fight with, miss, confide in and rely on. Because being not-married doesn't mean you're alone. It means you're living your life with friends, lovers, sisters, brothers, neighbors and co-workers. You're just not living with a spouse. Maybe you're dating. Maybe you're in a relationship for two years, then in another for five years. Maybe you're like me: in a relationship for a decade and aiming for life. Maybe you opt for no romantic partner at all. Instead you connect with friends over big pots of soup and crusty bread, go on road trips and encounter strangers, work for social causes, swim in the ocean, play the violin in an amateur string quartet. You don't need to be married to have all the things marriage is supposed to give you—a life rich with experience and intimacy.

2. Because Love Is a Mystery...

And marriage, by definition, is a contract, plain and simple. I neither want nor need my love defined in business or legal terms. The beauty of love is that it's undefined to begin with—and always changing.

3. Because Real Security Comes from Being Known for Who You Are and Cared For No Matter What

Upsetting stuff in life happens, and marriage doesn't stop it. Security, on the other hand, makes those rough times endurable. I get mine from my children, every time they crack me up by serenading our mutt with their improvised blues songs. I get it from my partner, every time he reads my mind and knows I'm craving a late-night snack of kettle-cooked potato chips—and then whips out a package he just happened to buy on his way home from work. I get it from my best friend, every time she senses I'm burnt out and takes me kayaking or mails me a poem. Feeling known and adored by the people around you—be they lovers or co-workers or chums—provides the greatest security of all. And you don't need a spouse to rely on it.

Next: The one thing you can still have


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