First of all, I'd like to say that I hate the notion that women have to be married to be whole. I'm not a traditionalist, in any sense of the word. But wanting to be married and not being married is often the result of choosing the wrong men. I see this all the time in women I know, and in myself.
That said, the concept of having to choose one person forever terrifies me. My own personal history of dating awful human beings notwithstanding, I am a terrible decision maker. I can admit that I chose the wrong people in my past relationships. Even with better options, for some reason I was drawn to those men who were dysfunctional, narcissistic, mean, damaged assclowns, for the most part. I had the same reasons other women do; I was abused and didn't feel I deserved love and respect, I thought kindness was equivalent to weakness, I wasn't ready for a serious relationship.
So what if I make the wrong choice? I don't want to consider divorce as an option, because why get married if you're already giving yourself an out? However, I don't trust myself enough to make such an important decision.
A lesson on trusting oneself, if you don't have faith in your own abilities, decisions are increasingly difficult to make, even the simple ones. Although I have been working for a number of years through my depression and self-doubt, I fear it will always follow me. I have a lot of work to do in order to trust myself, my instincts and my mind. I don't necessarily want to subject someone I love to lifetime of that, potentially - or myself to a lifetime of apologizing for it.
I was never a girl who fantasized about her wedding as a child. The idea never entered my mind, and I wonder where other women got these ideas. Did their mothers instill that in them, because mine certainly did not. Instead, I was taught the value of independence and being able to rely on yourself; even though my parents have been married for nearly 33 years, and knew each other for a decade before marrying. My parents taught me about love and marriage through example. My parents are the people who still hold hands when they go shopping. And they drive each other crazy, because they are polar opposites. It hasn't always been easy for them, and as an adult I understand what they have overcome to make it this long.
Though I have seen marriage work, to some degree I believe that forfeiting the independence I've cultivated might destroy me. That said, I do want to be married, and have a family. I know marriage doesn't necessarily equal family anymore, but I'd like for it to.
For some women wife is an identifier, and marriage their savior. I don't know if I will ever be such a woman. I can't know where life or love will take me. I know I can't avoid mistakes indefinitely, but I hope that if I do ever choose to get married, that it will be to the right person. So the big answer to the question of why I am not married seems to be the obvious but true: because I haven't met the right person yet.