Dear Evan,

I’m in my early thirties and recently married. I’d consider me and my female friends to be very independent by nature. We received good educations, advanced in our careers and had the moxie to travel far off the beaten path. Quite a few of these girlfriends are now at that stage where they’re moving in with or getting engaged to their significant others. Being at this point in our lives has led me to make an observation:

For all the effort we women put into finding a mate (and I was no exception), it seems that life becomes a little dull for a girl once her match has been made.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I LOVE my husband with all my heart. He’s my best friend. It’s just that, before I found him, life felt full of possibilities. I do still try to mix things up. I’ve just started training for my first triathlon. I enrolled in new subjects at the local college. And yet, overall, it seems my life course has been charted. Focus has been set (as in babies & making a bigger/better home for our family) and for the most part, everything seems pretty predictable.

In my girlfriends, I’ve seen various examples of how having a settled lovelife can change you, and not necessarily for the better. One girlfriend, whom I’ve always described as reliable has suddenly become flakey about every activity that doesn’t involve her live-in boyfriend. Another gal pal, who used to be up for any spontaneous adventure, now won’t even agree to a dinner double-date unless it’s at one of a tiny handful of restaurants, her boyfriend being such a picky eater. My friend who used to be one of those women you see jumping around on ESPN in bodybuilding competitions, now physically can’t perform half the fun activities she used to do with me because her fiance’s foot injury has kept them from exercising.

Another friend’s fiance persuaded her to do one of those expensive personal development seminars – you know… one of those $2000 weekends where, once participants “graduate” from the program, their next major “personal development” task is to recruit friends and family to sign up for the next $2000 seminar. Anyway, needless to say, she’s become a bit less interesting to talk to.

I really do GET most of the choices my friends have been making, since I find myself doing uncharacteristic things too for the sake of our relationship. My husband is a solid, affectionate, dependable guy with many things in common with me; he is nevertheless a different person with different interests. Plus, he’s caught up in the same family goals as me, which leaves us less time to relax and have fun together. When you’re married, you just have to put the partnership before oneself in order to make it work. I know it’s absolutely worth it.

It’s just… some days, the tedium gets to me more than on others. It really makes me wonder about how to keep one’s identity intact once you’ve committed to a whole other human being. And the conclusion that all this seems to be leading me to, is that a relationship takes a little bit of the shine off your personality, particularly if you’re a person who really enjoyed her independence.

What do you think? Is there some truth to that? Am I still just adjusting to being married?

Finally, I just wanted to say to all the single women out there, appreciate the freedom you luxuriate in now while you still can. Women invest so much time and effort into the search for love. The reality is that the return on investment is rarely what one expects – qualitatively and quantitatively. So the next time you’re feeling down on yourself for not having found a mate yet, just remember that there is always good to any bad, and vice versa. Then would you please go and book yourself the next last-minute fare to Sabratha or Santigron or Sokhumi… for me? Thanks.

Phia

Believe it or not, I’m not going to add anything to that. All I’ll say is that Phia has articulated my fear of marriage better than I could ever have done. Readers? Married readers? Your thoughts?