Marriage 2.0: In it for the short-haul

The Valentines Day onslaught is upon us. Yet I survived another round of societys insistence that You must find a long-term monogamous relationship. Only then will you be content and valued in your community!

Im still here, despite being a nonconformist.

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Dont get me wrong. As a once-married, mid-30s fellow, I feel a certain admiration when I see happily married couples of many years, holding hands as they saunter contentedly down the street. Seems some folks are built for monogamy. Power to them.

But were not all alike. That happily married (monogamous) couple also makes me feel a bit squeamish; a bit like Im in a warm room wearing a wool sweater.

Despite being a single-ish fellow (a term I recently discovered), I dont entirely begrudge Valentines Day. I proposed to my past partner on Valentines, and the experience was positive. After all, she said yes.

We had a loving and supportive relationship.?After a decade or so of marriage, it was time for a change. Friends and family lamented the break-up, and fairly so.

As time went on, however, I started wondering why a relationship of that duration and overall happiness was being mourned rather than celebrated. Is a marriage only successful if the couple in question reaches a ripe old age? Is it only successful if death do us part? Seems rather morbid and, frankly, a little scary.

For those who find the concept of forever daunting, I propose a new approach: The Term Marriage.?Heres how it works: You meet someone, fall in love and propose. But rather than a forever time span, you select a term youre both comfortable with from myriad options, such as five, 10, 15 or 20 years.

Term Marriage does away with the forever fear factor. After all, youre choosing a time-frame youre both comfortable with. Theres no reason why the couple in question cant still be together until the bitter (or sweet) end. Once the term is up, you can renew if you both want to.

Term Marriage is also an antidote to complacency. Imagine youve signed up for a 10-year marriage. When your particular term is nearing expiration, around year eight or nine, youll realize that your partner might well be on the market very soon. That realization might just lead to a few more romantic dinners, a few more flower purchases on your way home from work.

Perhaps its time that marriage isnt til death do us part or nothing. We rationally understand that marriage has a poor track record, but go boldly (perhaps blindly) forward with often unrealistic expectations. Then were disappointed when it ends prematurely.

When we go to the movies, we have choices. When we go on vacation, we have choices. When we take out a mortgage, we have choices. When it comes to marriage, why not have choices?

So when the next Valentines Day batters you with conformist message, dont be afraid to question the system. Find a relationship approach that works for you.

For more from Jeremy, you can find him on Twitter @JeremyTwigg.

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