Love by any other name

I was watching the movie,  He’s just not that into you last night and I got annoyed. Not only was I annoyed by the continual under-boob-sweat I was having (it’s been stoopid hot and humid here for several days now) but I was annoyed because – yet again- I got excited by a movie that hinted at the possibility of being able to be unmarried and live happily ever after only to be betrayed by the of-course-you-have-to-get-married-to-be-happy ending.

*possible spoilers following*

In case you haven’t seen it, Jennifer Anniston has been partners with Ben Affleck for seven years. They live together, have made commitments to each other and for all intents and purposes live as a married couple. He doesn’t want to get married because he doesn’t believe in it and doesn’t feel that it would change anything. Jennifer wants to get married and splits up with him after she asks him if he will ever marry her and he doesn’t answer.

I was happy when he stood by his principles and moved out. I wasn’t happy when he caved at the end of the movie and asked her to marry him because he realised that was the only thing that would make her happy.

Why the hell does he have to give in and give her everything she wants?

“Because he loves her,” said M to me in explanation after I’d ranted to him about how annoyed I was with the ending.

Well, it’s all fine and dandy that he loves her, but I can’t help feeling that he was forced into an ultimatum – you marry me or else I’m going to be on your back about marriage for the rest of your living years.

Why can’t she accept who he is and be happy with what she has?

I know I’m probably kicking myself in the head by watching chick flicks and expecting something other the fairytale ending, but  it’s 2011 not 1892 and I think we should be able to be happy without a rock on our finger.

I’m not sure why marriage is still the holy grail. I feel it’s about as out-dated as shoulder pads and blue eyeshadow. Gay couples can have children, transsexual males can be female cabin attendants, so why can’t a couple that is not married be seen to be ‘on par’ with a couple that is. Why is being married better?

Legally in Australia, a de-facto relationship that has continued for six months is exactly the same as a marriage, so there can’t be any sort of ‘property rights protection’ as a possible reason behind getting married. You can also be married and act like you aren’t, by keeping your maiden name and having separate lives. Marriage doesn’t protect you from a cheating partner or ensure that you have someone to help you raise kids. So why does it have to be the be all and end of life?

I find it all a bit bizarre.


8 thoughts on “Love by any other name

Add yours

  1. You’re probably right.
    On principle that is.
    Being a strong and independent woman I do believe that every girls fantasy is not about the rock on the finger, but the dream you had when you were just a little girl about being a princess and dress up.

    Every girl wants to wear the dress one day and be the most special woman that day. I know…. I am married for over 12 years now and I still keep that enourmous dress clogging up space in my dressoir. Still, it is my weddingdress, reminder of that special day. Life didnot change after the vows, still the symbolism behind it, I think it is beautifull.

    Tip: take chickflicks for what they are, make a drink, a snack and relax… They don’t solve the problems of the earth, but well, they re not supposed to.

    xxx Anne

  2. It’s hard to be deprogrammed of propaganda?

    I hassled mine until he married me, and I don’t regret it because I love him and always will, but marrying him didn’t make me feel more secure or him act any more responsibly. We never had kids and I’m the one working. Yet I do love him, and one reason is that having him for a partner taught me to take care of myself. Odd, but I got through the times I wanted to kill him and became grateful for that. I also appreciate him and the reasons he attracted me to him in the first place more than if the marriage had changed him into what my childhood program of indoctrination told me he should be.

    And I never watch chick flicks.

  3. I agree with Ann.. Every little girl wants to get married to their Prince and live happily-ever-after. And as they grow the dream evolves into something more meaningful. Maybe the security of a real home with someone that loves you no matter what..

    I also agree that you don’t need mairrage to be secure in your life or relationship.. But some do.

    And I just watch the chick flicks for entertainment value usually with a snack and a drink. Usually with snuggles from my Master!

  4. I’ve watched that movie. Those things are made of fluff but of course they are marketed to people who want to watch fluff that doesn’t require too much thought because at the end, everything falls into its good old traditional place. But the situation you are referring to was really an either/or right? Either she had to give in to him and accept non-marriage or he had to give in to her and accept marriage. This wasn’t something that could be fixed by compromise because there is no such a thing as being half married. So in this case, he gave in to her (because in our society we still prefer to portray males giving in because we are still trying to get over all the centuries of male dominance and all that jazz) But had she given in to his “I will never get married” and stayed put while somewhat unhappy, the rest of us would have called her a doormat and spineless for not going after what really makes her happy.
    *I* don’t really believe in marriage as it stands nowadays. There is no logical reason for it anymore. In Canada like Australia, common law partnership is essentially the same as marriage and of course you can turn a marriage into something legally clean and separate by signing a prenup. The part of it all that I take issue isn’t the signing of the piece of paper. I think people spend way too much money on one night and allow it to stress them far too much. You end up with empty bank accounts and have to invite people that you don’t even know or like because if you don’t someone will be upset and the whole thing is so tiresome that you end up too tired to enjoy it. Essentially a lot of people do it to show off and so they’ll have pictures.
    But while many people I know get married because that’s what you are supposed to do. I know equally as many people who get married because they enjoy celebrating the tradition. It’s like celebrating Christmas. It has the potential to be a beautiful genuine marker celebrating what we hope to be a long life together. If you can separate all the “musts” and “shoulds” from the process and just perform it as a celebration of love, then it has the potential to be nice.

  5. Not sure why marriage is the holy grail? The same could be said of a collar.

    I agree with what Dark Eyes said.

    Btw, not every little girl grew up wanting wear the dress etc.

  6. Yep I am one of those girls who didn’t grow up wanting the big day and the dress … I still don’t.

    Under boob sweatage yeah I haz it. I hate this stinking hot weather here 😦 TMI? hehe xxx

  7. ummm…..agree with the …same could be said of the collar business… ever thought of why western relationships/marriage breakdowns are so common place…..??? I think one reason could be that we jump at labelling things… hence the man in this movie was a pussy as he did what she wanted…when it was simply coz he loved her and could deal with marriage which she really wanted….or we are ready to become gung ho about bra burning feminism… y does any1 need the marriage sanction etc…..why is it that we get political about just a marriage….???

  8. I agree with a lot of what you are saying but I just wanted to point out that in the US, where I believe this movie takes place, you do not have the same legal rights being in a relationship as you do when married. As a married couple in the US you are able file your taxes jointly which allows you to divide your income among family members. Being married allows you to leave an estate to your spouse tax free in the event that you die. You are able to receive health insurance through your spouses employer if one of you decides to stay home and care for your family. It insures your visitation rights in the hospital should your spouse fall ill and also gives you the right to make their medical decisions should they be incapacitated.
    In addition you are allowed visitation right should your spouse end up in jail for any reason. As a married couple you are also allowed “marital communications privilege” which mean you cannot be forced to testify against your spouse in court.

    In the US an unmarried couple receives none of these rights, legally they are not seen as anything more than roommates.

    So those are all the logical reason that marriage is important to me but my biggest reason for wanting to get married someday is more sentimental. To me when you get married you go from being a couple to being a family. I still find the old fashion idea of taking your husbands last name very appealing for this reason. Before you said your vows you are two people, very much in love, with two last names, after you are one family. Maybe the day to day details of your life don’t change when you get married but to me it still holds a lot of meaning.

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