Life's too short for limiting ourselves; After two decades of going round the block, I am less convinced than ever than the elusive Mr Right actually exists.
The days when women depended on men were long gone, he said between mouthfuls of chicken and spinach. Thus, the reason marriage was invented was defunct.
As someone who has never been married and would quite like to have a shot at it, I bristled at his assertion.
Marriage, I informed him icily, was still a valid institution because it proclaimed to the world that two people had agreed to spend their lives together.
But I'm now wondering if my boyfriend (whose own marriage ended in divorce after 16 years and no kids) might have a point.
Certainly tripping up the aisle isn't nearly as popular as it once was, and the reason for this seems to be that women, rather than men, dismiss it as unnecessary.
A new survey claims modern women are shunning marriage and commitment to become a new breed of 'bachelor girls'.
Twice as many women as men think they will never get married and cite playing the field as more important than settling down.
The independent study by NOP Solutions - commissioned by DatingDirect.com, the UK's largest online dating service - shows that girls want no strings attached and are determined to make sure that 'Mr Right' isn't simply 'Mr Making Do'.
I have to admit, this strikes a chord with me. I adore my boyfriend - love him to bits, in fact - but I don't know if I can truthfully say I want to spend the rest of my life with him.
I used to imagine I would confidently say 'I do' to a man and settle down to a happy ever after.
Now, I'm not so sure. After two decades of going round the block, I am less convinced than ever than the elusive Mr Right actually exists.
Sure, there are men who can satisfy certain needs, but I've yet to meet anyone who offers everything I imagine I want.
My boyfriend proffers security, but doesn't want marriage or children. I sometimes wonder why I got myself involved with such a guy; then I realise it wasn't a coincidence.
For although I purport to aspire to wedding bells and motherhood, the way I live my life undermines such notions. I love my freedom and exult in my independence.
While I wouldn't countenance cheating on my boyfriend, being technically single allows me to indulge my passion for flirting.
If I were married, I would have to toe the line much more than I do. In fact, my whole outlook on life would change - and, if I'm honest, I wouldn't particularly enjoy the alteration in status.
I am my own woman - always have been - and being unmarried provides me with the perfect excuse to be as uncompromising as I choose.
Sure, I don't want to end up old and unloved (who does?) but neither do I want to finish my days in a dead-end relationship embarked upon for all the wrong reasons.
If I'm honest, I can't for a moment imagine myself married to some guy for a quarter of a century, let alone any longer.
I'd get bored, wouldn't I?
Such a way of thinking isn't conducive to building up and sustaining a long-term relationship, but I sometimes wonder if I was made for that.
I am in my element when I'm in the throes of a new passion; it brings out the minx in me and shows up all my gutsy independence in glorious technicolour.
Possibly I am the kind of woman who doesn't need or want a life-lasting relationship with a man.
If so, am I less of a woman as a result?
I don't think so. Life is about new challenges as much as it's about nurturing the status quo. Marriage, for all the advantages it brings, can be limiting.
So, to hell with the age-old institution. Let's make merry while we can and leave the future to take care of itself.
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|Publication:||The Birmingham Post (England)|
|Date:||Jul 21, 2000|
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