What Does It Mean to Feel Married?
I’ve now been married for about six weeks, and I’m beginning to have this creeping suspicion that being married doesn’t really feel all that different than not being married. Not that I got married to feel different — I got mar- ried because I was in love and wanted to spend five months talking about flowers — but I wouldn’t have minded a little bit of a payoff in the feeling different department. I’m not talking about an upsetting “who am I?” identity crisis — I hate that — but something, I don’t know, more transformative.
Part of it is that on a concrete level, very little has actually changed. My husband and I were already living together, already committed to each other and had already started a family — we opened our hearts to a puppy. I’d already had the realization that this is the person with whom I want to grow and have children, though unfortunately due to science, not in that order.
I was already confident that there’s no one else out there for me unless a young Val Kilmer becomes available. And we’d already reached the point in our relationship where we value our personal space.
I remember when we first met and began spending time together we always sat right next to each other on the couch. We either both sat on the left side or both sat on the right side or both sat in the middle. For ages now we’ve been sitting on the couch like a proper married couple, miles apart with a puppy between us, so I’m not really sure in what ways things could have changed. Unlike the days of yore where, I imagine, your life changes dramatically once you get married because that’s when you begin living together — which just seems like a terribly risky way to do things — for today’s modern couple, marriage is a fundamental change only on an abstract level.
So I walk around most days wondering what it feels like to feel married, wondering if there’s some feeling I’m supposed to be having that I’m not, and thinking maybe marriage isn’t really a feeling at all, but a fact.
But then, on a practical level, there are a few things we haven’t done that might be preventing the feeling of marriage, if indeed it is a feeling. To wit: We haven’t gone on a honeymoon. The wedding planning was so draining the idea of planning anything beyond it was too much for us. Also, I haven’t changed my name. Initially, I planned to change it. However, a number of people pointed out that I have a public persona — would I change the name of my show and my show’s theme song and my website? So then I decided I would continue to go by Alison Rosen publically but would legally change my name. And I still think I will, except the paperwork required seems daunting, which makes me sound like the laziest person in the world. But really, who volunteers for an extra trip to the DMV?
And lastly, we haven’t mingled our finances. We still have our separate accounts. When we go to the grocery store, we still put our items into one overflowing cart and then separate them into his and hers when we get to the checkout stand.
Are these the things that make you feel married? Joint bank accounts and a shared name? I think they might be. Yet, it seems as if going forward with them just because you want to feel something different is the wrong reason. Which is why I’m over here on this no man’s land waiting; hanging on to an old identity that doesn’t feel quite right anymore, but a little afraid to fully assume the new one. !
HEAR MORE FROM ALISON ROSEN on her podcast, “Alison Rosen Is Your New Best Friend” or on the immensely popular “Adam Carolla Show” podcast. Follow her on Twitter @alisonrosen or visit her website at www.alisonrosen.com.