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You might find yourself surrounded by friends, family and co-workers who all seem to be getting married or who are married. It might feel as though everyone is taking the plunge.
However, a growing body of research shows young adults are increasingly getting married later.
In recent years, as a culture, young adults are more focused on attaining personal and professional goals prior to marriage.
Data also finds there are more single individuals in the United States than ever before, as well as more and more committed couples of all ages who choose to live together or create a life together who are not married.
Women are increasingly able to take care of their own financial needs, have babies using a variety of methods that do not require a steady man in their lives and attain higher career and educational status.
Some women do not want to take on a wife role, feel they do not need a piece of paper to complete their relationship, do not want to change their last name or fear marriage will put stress on a great relationship.
These trends lead me to two important questions:
The answer to both questions is a big yes! It is absolutely possible to find love without marriage, and many people do.
Below are five strategies for dating if you do not plan on getting married but hope to develop a committed relationship with someone special.
This does not mean it should be the first statement that comes out of your mouth on a date.
However, it is important and fair to be upfront about not wanting to get married on your dates.
You don’t necessarily have to share this on your first few dates with someone (unless it is brought up – the bottom line is never to lie.)
However, you should bring it up sooner rather than later if you are both developing feelings.
It is natural to assume most people who are dating are looking for marriage, but like you, that might not be true.
Let him show you who he is and give him the opportunity to share himself through active listening, open body language and non-judgment.
Once in a relationship with a man, it is beneficial to address topics such as marriage, children, location, lifestyle preferences, religion and finances to see if your values and goals are compatible in the long term.
I understand ending a relationship with a man you care for and have invested time with is devastating.
In this case, though, it is important to not take it personally.
If he walks away, the true causes are differences in values and varying relationship goals versus anything being wrong with you.
Resist the urge to put yourself down if it feels like he is picking his dream of having a wife over you.
I have worked with single women who say they do not want to get married.
After exploring why, it became clear to them they were avoiding marriage to protect themselves from the potential disappointment and heartbreak of never finding a husband.
It is common to get used to the idea of spending a lifetime single as a means to not get your hopes up or get hurt.
However, sometimes after meeting the right man and finding love or developing insight about themselves and why they are hesitant to marry (commonly it is fear or not wanting to repeat their parents’ mistakes), these women become more open to marriage.
Whatever your reason is for not wanting to get married, it is your right to have it and stick with it (without judgment) but also allow yourself to change your mind if it feels right.
As I previously stated, there is absolutely nothing wrong for not wanting to get married and you can still create rewarding, loving relationships with men.
It is so important for you to believe in yourself and your ability to create this so any negative or self-defeating beliefs do not block you from being open to love.
Regardless of your goal to marry or not to marry, you are a great catch who deserves love.