I’m turning 50 and I’ve never been married.

spinster_with_catsI never imagined I’d make it to 50 without marrying. Of course, I felt the same at 30. And then 40. Throughout my 40s, I thought surely I’d meet someone and I’d be married by 50. Surely. I had an entire decade, after all. But here I am, 92 days from 50, and living alone with 2.5 cats.

I know being married isn’t necessarily better. I know lots of people who are single at my age, having divorced. Some of them have remarried. (How they found two people to marry, when I haven’t found one, confounds me.) Some prefer to remain single, succumbing to the allure of freedom. And there is a lot to be said for freedom.

If someone were to ask me why I’ve never been married (and this happens all the time), the honest answer is: I have yet to meet the right man for me. I could have been married. But if I had married any of the men I’ve dated long term, for one reason or another, I would have divorced. At times I’ve thought it would be better to have one marriage under my belt so I can say I’ve done it. So I can say I’ve chosen the single life. So I don’t appear to be unlovable. Luckily I realized that’s a stupid reason to marry.

Sometimes I wonder whether I really want to be married. After all, my life is kind of cushy. I’ve got the same list other singles rattle off:

  • I can stay up late reading in bed.
  • I can sleep in when I want.
  • I can travel where and when I want.
  • I can fill the bed with kitties.
  • I can leave dishes in the sink.
  • I can pass gas when I need to.
  • I can spend money how I want.
  • I can meet the girls for happy hour on a moment’s notice.
  • I can spend my time how I want without reporting in.
  • I can write when I want, without interruption.

But what about the benefits of marriage? One of the basic benefits no longer applies to me. I don’t need to marry to have babies. I’m past that, both biologically and emotionally. More financial security would be nice. But who’s to say marriage would provide that? I know a woman whose husband has squandered most of their retirement in an attempt to strike it big. He’s close. So close! He’s been close to striking it big for years. Meanwhile, the account and the security dwindle. I am acquainted with several other women who are providing the financial security in the relationship. I was almost one of them. While marriage may bring financial security, it doesn’t always. Then there’s the fear of being alone. Dying alone. Realistically, the odds are he’ll die first. I’ll be alone, and perhaps die alone, regardless of whether I marry.

I’ve heard marriage can be quite lovely. If you get so lucky as to find the right one. What I want most from a relationship: companionship and intimacy. Maybe I’ll find that by the time I reach 60. After all, I’ve got an entire decade.