Tell me how being married is different than having a long term girlfriend....
...Is marriage basically a longer version of a long term relationship?
.... do I need more? Single, long term relationships, not a real dad, kind of a dad thing has been working just fine but one day you just get old. So it's got me thinking...
I so miss Prime before Facebook... Prime was my main/only social media thing, a daily home-cooked meal with leftovers easily retrievable in the fridge to re-enjoy later while Facebook is more flash in the pan forgettable fast food whose leftovers go directly to the trash bin. Or fall under your seat maybe to be seen again one day in your "feed" but likely not. I miss the active daily inputs to ongoing discussions about my favorite car, non-NSX fun, "life," etc. Even if you can learn more about friends "externally" on Facebook via things like their profile pic and various photos, I always felt I knew people better here on Prime via their more lengthy posts vs. FB's tweet-like posts.
I just stumbled upon this ten year old thread when looking up one of the contributors for something else. I recall getting a lot out of this thread back then when I was a single mid-40's young whippersnapper who, just 9 months prior, "brought home baby"...my '93 GPW I adopted in May 2013.
Ten years ago I was still single in my mid-40's and still actively seeking one of "the ones" I knew was floating out there but not sure I was ever going to meet. In 2015 two close friends I've known since kindergarten told me about someone 4-5 years younger than me and with a 5 year old who I needed to meet. Her husband had passed away 4 years prior due to cancer. I said sure but in the back of my mind was a little disinterest with meeting someone "saddled down" with a child, and in the front of my mind was this recent overwhelming satisfaction of where my single life was at, an actual appreciation of all the free time and freedom I was still enjoying while single. This was possibly after wings with my two married friends who would always say "don't get married and ruin the good thing you have going!" Around 2015 I definitely fell into an acceptance and certain contentedness with being single and was becoming virtually depleted of feeling like I was missing out on something, and I was very ok with possibly childless for the rest of my life. I didn't push the issue to meet her, and my friend didn't follow-up after mentioning her, so things stalled the moment they began, and I didn't really care.
This thread was 3 years away from eventually meeting that wonderful girl on my own a year later in 2016. It definitely helped that we knew about each other from our mutual friends. We dated for 4 years, lived together pre-marriage for 4 years, and we've been married for 1 year (Dec 2022). (we got engaged in Dec 2019 and I moved in starting March 2020 during the social distancing that I was certain wouldn't last but a few months...then I wound up never moving out )
To anyone single who stumbles upon this thread, having spent a lot of time single and then a reasonably long amount of time in a long-term relationship pre-marriage, there's definitely a huge but subtle difference between marriage and a long-term relationship. Nothing that happens to you but something that happens within you, there's something different inside of you about the commitment you have to this person once things get "real" by virtue of that marriage license. An invisible intangible huge thing.
I read @Stevey's laments over late-in-life fatherhood... Just like there are benefits with young fatherhood, there are so many to being a father (step-father in my case) 20 years later than typical. @Ritesh mentions several...you're in such a better place in certain aspects that might not have been achievable when balancing focusing on a wife & children in your 30s. I'm a better catch now than I was in my 20's/30's and am so very thankful I didn't wind up marrying a few I felt were right for me in my late 20's/early 30's....I definitely benefitted from having my head in a good place over many of life's basics before meeting her, so that I could look at marriage as something to make a good life even better instead of to fix something I was missing out on.
This info is probably not too useful to someone in their 20's/30's reading it...you probably have to just live through it and experience it.
This thread is, however, hugely valuable to those of us who crossed the line by walking own the aisle. I'd love to hear the perspectives and inputs from contributors to this 2013 thread 10 years later...!
Edit: To the yet-to-be not-married crowd: Get married at home unless someone else is paying for it!
Edit #2: I neglected to mention my stepson. I met him when he was 6 and now he's 13. He has zero interest in my main hobbies...golf, cars, mountain biking, working on rental properties, music to name a few. But he loves 80's movies, drawing, the occasional video game (him WAY more than me), and we have a similar sense of humor. He's the 2nd best thing that's ever happened to me and feels like any son I would have "had" myself. Life is good.
Steve - with all due respect, you are approaching your age/kids age thing the wrong way. People who have kids in their 20's will spend 18-22 years chasing their kids. They will be empty nester's by 50 and soon be in Grandparents mode. They partially sacrificed their career building years to bring up kids. Hopefully you built your career already and now all you have to do is stay healthy to keep up with your kids. You get to take them to sporting events, play ball with them, ride bikes, go hiking. All those things will force you to stay young. The most important part is that YOU take care of your health.