A post about a person who doubts “marriage means much” and is struggling to celebrate their colleagues’ upcoming nuptials has divided users on Mumsnet, the U.K.-based online forum.
In the post shared on Mumsnet’s Am I Being Unreasonable (AIBU) forum under the username Waferbiscuit, the employee said several people in their office are due to be married and “the grumpy old cynic in me is finding it hard to get excited. I’m not sure marriage means much these days, what with the almost 50 percent divorce rate.”
In the U.S., both marriage and divorce rates have declined in roughly the past decade, according to the 2019 American Community Survey data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
In 2019, marriage rates reached a record all-time low and in the same year, the country saw its lowest divorce rate in 50 years.
In a November 2020 article for the Institute for Family Studies, Wendy Wang, the institute’s director of research, said: “When COVID-19 hit America in March, early signs suggested that the pandemic may have expedited divorces because of lockdown-related stress.”
More than half of married Americans (58 percent) said that the pandemic “made them appreciate their spouse more,” and half of them agreed that “their commitment to marriage has deepened,” according to the aforementioned 2019 survey, said Wang.
“It is likely that divorce may increase a bit after COVID-19 because of the pent-up demands, but the overall decline in divorce appears to be a consistent trend,” she said.
Noting that marriage is a commitment that’s “fairly easy to escape from,” the user in the latest Mumsnet post questioned “what exactly are we celebrating—the hope that it will work out or a legal contract committing them to one another?”
The office worker said for many people, marriage is “primarily the joining together of two people’s assets and/or protecting one another” and “if couples do want to make an emotional commitment to each other, that’s between them and seems like something you’d agree to privately.”
She explained: “I’m happy to celebrate major achievements in life that involve a lot of effort…but celebrating a commitment that can easily be unraveled or a legal contract that ensures the sharing of assets…that doesn’t seem much to celebrate…AIBU?”
The latest post caused a storm of debate among Mumsnet users, gaining over 260 replies with some accusing the original poster of being “joyless” and “miserable,” while others were more sympathetic towards the employee’s view.
User Fairislefandango said: “I’m no romantic, but I think yabu [you are being unreasonable]…the fact that assets are combined does not remotely mean people don’t love each other or aren’t taking an important step in their lives by making a commitment to their partner and settling down, often to raise a family.”
MolliciousIntent said: “You sound utterly joyless OP [original poster],” while Thatswhyimacat simply wrote: “How miserable.”
User neverbeenskiing commented: “I don’t think the fact that some marriages don’t last forever is a valid reason not to be happy for friends and colleagues who have found someone they hope to spend the rest of their life with. You sound very bitter to be honest.”
Some were more understanding of the original poster’s stance, such as user Thepeopleversuswork who said: “I would never admit this publicly OP but I totally agree. I am not against marriage and I think two people who love one another making a lifelong commitment is a noble act…but I loathe weddings and all who sail in them. The hysteria, the expense, the way they funnel people into being obsessed with nonsense like table setting etc…”
User girlfrien agreed, noting they “hate all the expecting people to travel miles, pay to stay in hotels and subscribe to a present list. Not to [mention] having to pay to now go on a hen do abroad…”
User rainbowmilk said: “I too have some sympathy with the OP. I work in an office where the only things anyone seems to value or celebrate are weddings and fecundity. When it’s your family or close friends then I get it but expecting everyone to get genuinely excited at Suzy from accounts’ fourth baby is just too much.”
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