The Jane Austen Protest

Marriage, marriage, marriage.  It’s enough to make your head explode.  Being an English major, I have been subjected to reading literature from the Regency period to the Victorian era, on my own and while under duress, and all I can say is, what is so bad about not getting married?!  I do understand that it was a product of the time period, and women needed to be monetarily provided for by either a husband or male relative.  It just aggravates me that even today women believe that a husband is the be all and end all of their lives.  Before I get accused of being a bitter single woman, I have a long term boyfriend that I love dearly…who feels we should get married one day.

I truthfully don’t understand the need.  Maybe it’s because I have Asperger’s Syndrome and somehow don’t grasp the norm, but the idea of getting married has always bothered me.  It’s a piece of paper that says I can now file taxes with you and the state has a record of us being a couple in case we decide to call it quits.  Then, I wonder if I just tell myself this to legitimize my insecurities.  I despise the thought of standing in front of everyone and being dragged to a party while being dressed in formal wear just to appease other people’s desire for normalcy.  Is my bitterness about this subject due to a fear of not enjoying this whole process and ruining it for my partner?  Probably.  I know when I get stressed, I am unpleasant to say the least, and this ugliness and is usually directed full-force at my unassuming boyfriend because subconsciously I know that he may get mad at me, but he’ll still love me unconditionally and won’t keep bringing up that I had a nasty moment.

I am scared that I will look ugly, that I will pick things because I am under duress and want to get out as quickly as possible but hate my choices later.  I fear losing myself in the process or becoming a monster because I am a stressed-out control-freak that cannot let go and trust others or herself to make the correct choices.  I am indecisive, to the point that I can’t even decide how I feel about my life in general.  I immerse myself in school work and getting ready for graduate school and a possible doctorate in the future.  If I stay in school, I will never have to grow up and face life, or at least that is the not-so-subconscious mentality.  I can stave off engagement and marriage if I don’t have a job and live with my parents.

I’m torn between ruining things for my significant other and possibly making myself incredibly miserable for a certain amount of time.  The thought of this makes me hyperventilate and pace inside my head (I’ve gotten really good at masking anxiety and stimming).  I don’t think marriage would change anything in our relationship, besides him wanting to get our own place, but that scares me because change is a scary uncertainty.

I hate the idea of unwanted attention. People asking me questions, looking a hundred times happier than I am about the whole thing.  I’m not a person that gets excited about anything or looks happier than content most of the time.  I fear not looking happy enough and having people assume that I am not happy in my relationship or have cold feet.  In the past, my lack of excitement has caused me to appear as an ingrate or unhappy when I really was content, so now I’m paranoid about not exuding happiness.

I try to convince myself I don’t want things, but I’m not sure if I don’t want them or I just don’t want the attention associated with them.  Do I let other people ruin things for me?  Sometimes I wish I could live by myself with just me and my dog and my writing because it would be so much simpler albeit lonelier.

I try to rationalize that everyone gets cold feet, but this isn’t cold feet.  I don’t want to abandon my relationship, I just have an incredible amount of anxiety about dealing with this sort of thing.  A part of me wonders if my flip-flopping between fantasizing about a possible wedding and damning all things white and traditional comes from some Asperger’s traits.  People often talk about aspies as only seeing things as black or white, and often I feel I see a wedding as love or hate.  I don’t know how to formulate a middle ground in this case, and to me, that is a horrible feeling like a lack of mental control.

For now, I still am not sure how I feel, but through this little self-“talking cure”, I have at least reasoned out some things about myself and what affects my thinking.  Sorry about this rant, any advice is appreciated… except the suggestion of eloping.

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