SOURCE: Huffington Post
1. Most people aren’t in a hurry to get married anymore.
According to Pew statistics, back in the early 1980s, the median age for marriage was 25 for men and 22 for women. But in 2011, the median ages for first marriages hit all-time highs of 29 for men and 27 for women. The report credits this change to, among other things, the fact that couples no longer feel the need to be married to become parents and the “competition from other lifestyles,” like living alone or living with partners. So, there’s no need to stress about not getting married — everyone else is staying single too.
2. In fact, many people feel there aren’t many advantages to being married.
A 2010 Pew survey states that, by and large, single people do not feel married people have many advantages in terms of a “fulfilling sex life, being financially secure, finding happiness and having social status.” And 24 percent of those who do feel marriage makes a positive difference in life say that when it comes to work, getting hitched can significantly hinder one’s chance at getting ahead in one’s career.
3. For men, being married could be connected to being overweight.
It’s a tired cliché that women feel they can “let themselves go” once they get married, but a recent study published in the journal Families, Systems & Health shows that men are more likely to be the heavier ones in a marriage. After monitoring the eating habits, physical activity and the weights of 2,300 young men in the Midwest, married men were 25 percent more likely to be overweight than men who were single or in a committed relationship. And according to the study, about 60 percent of married men were overweight compared to about 40 percent of married women.
4. Marriage can present a slew of financial problems.
Many older people are choosing to live together and not get married due to financial reasons. In some states, laws require those in a marriage to be responsible for their spouse’s debt, and for the elderly, that could mean a variety of expensive medical bills. And depending on what state you live in, nursing home fees can cost more than $14,000 a month — money that some elderly people might like to see go to their children or grandchildren.
5. Marriage can seem like an outdated institution, and some people just don’t want to fit into that mold.
When The Guardian interviewed a group of millennials about their thoughts on marriage, many had a dismal outlook. Peter, a 25-year-old from New York City, said he was not getting married. “Marriage is a conservative institution that organizes child-rearing and defines commitment, relationship and love,” he said. “In the United States’ current social climate, such a metric is quite popular, and therefore, relevant. However, marriage is expensive and likely to fail.”
6. Getting married can put your friendships at risk.
While this probably applies more to folks with mostly single friends, many people sense strains in their friendships after they get married. In a New York magazine piece, Amy Sohn highlights the ways some couples lose interest in their social lives after getting married: “Ever since I got married, my friends have treated me like I contracted a communicable disease. The dinner invites stopped, and the late-night phone calls, and then I started hearing of hot rooftop parties to which I hadn’t been invited. Of course, I changed a little, too. Without an incentive to man-hunt, I was less interested in going to parties and bars.”
7. Marriage can lead to the risky habit of relying on one individual for every emotional need. Bella DePaulo, a social psychologist and author of “Singled Out: How Singles are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After,” told The Huffington Post that many married couples make the mistake of turning their spouse into a “Sex and Everything Else Partner.” They look to them for all sources of contentment, like “companionship, intimacy, caring, friendship, advice, the sharing of the tasks and finances of household and family, and just about everything else.” This creates an unrealistic “cultural fantasy” that ultimately results in disappointment and unhappiness.
8. These days, a happy marriage requires a serious commitment of time and energy that can be hard to maintain.
Eli J. Finkel, a psychological researcher who studies human relationships, concludes that in marriages today, “individuals who can invest enough time and energy in their partnership are seeing unprecedented benefits.” And how much is enough time? According to sociologists Jeffrey Dew and W. Bradford Wilcox, married couples who spend time alone talking or doing an activity together at least once a week were 3.5 times more likely to be happier than those who did not.
9. And, as dim as it sounds, plenty of marriages in this country end up in a divorce anyway.
For almost every couple, with marriage comes the potential for divorce. And divorces can be tricky and very expensive. In a Pew Research study conducted on 122 people who lived with a partner in Columbus, Ohio, 67 percent of middle-class participants said despite being excited about marriage, they worried about “the social, legal, emotional and economic consequences of divorce.”
10. Plus, there’s a good alternative to marriage. It’s called a civil union or a domestic partnership.
If you want to form a meaningful (and official) bond with your significant other, but you just don’t like the idea and practice of marriage, you always have the option of entering a civil union or a domestic partnership. While these are mostly popular with gay couples, straight couples often have these options as well. For example, when Illinois passed its civil union bill in 2010, state Rep. Greg Harris (D), the bill’s chief sponsor, made sure that heterosexual couples were able to have access to the option. And civil unions could also help senior citizens greatly. By opting into a civil union instead of remarrying, they can hold onto their survivor’s benefits from Social Security or pension benefits.