I’m never getting married. Okay, maybe that’s a little too definitive, Justin Bieber did tell us to “Never Say Never” (in 3D). But at this point in my life, I can’t imagine getting married. I don’t daydream about a white dress and I am not concerned with who would be waiting for me at the end of the aisle. Truthfully, I’m not really capable of even functioning in a relationship because I viscerally oppose changing my “I” into a “we”. And that’s fine with me. None of this is a problem on it’s own. The problem comes from the fact that all of my friends are getting married. ALL OF THEM.
I have four best friends. We’ve been together since elementary school. We read Harry Potter as a group. We have matching tattoos. It’s a thing. In the past year, I’ve been asked to be a bridesmaid for three of their weddings. The first happened in December. It was my very best friend, Lia. I was the maid of honor. I stood in a pretty gold dress and handed her their wedding rings while pretending I felt like an adult and not the 13 year old who obsessed over Orlando Bloom with her. The second wedding happened just a few weeks ago, at the very end of June. And the third wedding will be happening in April. Very soon, three out of four of my closest friends will have husbands. They’ll be part of a permanent “we” while I maintain my solitary “I”.
Now, these days are some of the most important in my friends’ lives, but let’s get down to the most pressing matter, how I feel! I won’t lie and tell you that it doesn’t occasionally give me anxiety. I sometimes find myself resorting to the oh-so-typical “I’m going to die alone!” jokes that seem to currently run rampant through our generation. I worry they’re all going to find married friends they can play Bridge with and talk about lawn decorations (that’s what married people do, right?) And there were twinges of sadness. Lia was the first one to get engaged. As previously mentioned, she is my very best friend and has been for a decade. In high school, we did everything together. We were never separated. When she got engaged, I felt a bit like Samwise Gamgee in The Lord of the Rings, trying to swim after Frodo’s boat yelling “Don’t go where I can’t follow.” That’s a phrase I often found running through my head.
As someone who is so far from being able to maintain a serious relationship, it can be daunting to think that all of my friends have found their life partners. It seems as though they’re entering real, mature adulthood and I’m still sitting at the kid’s table. On an even deeper, scarier level that I tried very hard not to delve into, it felt a bit as though they were leaving me. I’m not my best friend’s best friend anymore. Her husband is. Yes, friendships are different than romantic relationships and both are incredibly important. But the truth is that she’s still the person who knows me better than anyone and I’m no longer that person for her. Or for any of them. If all of my best friends have other best friends, than where does that leave me? They’re entering a new stage of their life with experiences and hardships that I can’t relate to. “Don’t go where I can’t follow”, I repeat, but like Samwise Gamgee, I don’t know how to swim and the words get lost in the water.
That’s how I used to feel. I’ve come to realize, not for the first and certainly not for the last time in my life, that I was wrong. Being married is not a prerequesite for being an adult. Really, it isn’t. Criminally immature people get married all the time and some very mature people are single. Even though we’re made to feel as though it does, nothing about your marital status says anything about who you are as a person. My friends aren’t getting married because they’re more mature than I am. They’re getting married because they were incredibly lucky to find partners they want to spend the rest of their lives with.
And that’s another thing I was wrong about. My friends aren’t leaving me. They haven’t gone anywhere that I can’t follow. They’ve actually just brought more friends into my life. Their husbands are men who love them, truly and completely. They care about them, they support them, they make them laugh. They’re good people and now they’re part of our group. I’m not saying I want them showing up to our girl nights when we drink Sangria and watch The Vampire Diaries (not that I’d ever watch that show… ), but I think that the more kind, caring, funny people you can have in your life, the better.
My anxieties about my friends’ marriages really came down to my anxieties about myself. I was insecure about not being important to the people who are most important to me. I felt unstable in my own life, unsure of what I wanted and where I was going. Seeing the people closest to me have such a set path for their future made me feel inadequate. The remedy was simple. As soon as I was honest with myself about my own fears, I was able to confront them. I figured out that I’m exactly where I want to be. Maybe, eventually, I’ll find someone I want to spend the rest of my life with and I’ll marry them, but then again, maybe I won’t. Either way, I’m surrounded by people who love me and that number just keeps increasing every time one of my friends ties the knot. ”