Friday, November 21, 2014

Foreigner

I hate the word for foreigner in Korean. Waegukin (외국인) is a racist word that attempts to constrain a person's humanity into a single easily identifiable attribute: that he or she isn't Korean.

Some people may object to my objection to the word because, it's just a word, right? Foreigner merely means "a person from a different country" so why's that a bad thing? Well, "faggot" means a bundle of sticks and "chink" means a crack or fissure, but everybody knows why those words are offensive.

I don't have a problem with the word itself, but like most slurs, it's the context in which one uses it that makes it less appealing, and I don't like the way Koreans use the word "외국인." Despite what it means in the dictionary, in Korea "foreigner" has definite racial connotations. Foreigner is almost synonymous with white people. Typing in "외국인" in naver gives me a bunch of pictures of (mostly) white women while in google it gives me pictures of white people (along with the obligatory white person making kimchi or wearing hanbok photo) with a few black people here and there. Even though by definition it should be whose passport doesn't say Korea on it (the rest of the world), Koreans usually use the word to describe white people.

Show Koreans a group of people who are apparently Chinese, Koreans will say they're Chinese. Show them a group of apparently Japanese people, and they will say they're Japanese. Show them white people and Koreans will answer, "foreigners." In the Korean collective, a Korean American who doesn't speak a word of Korean is still Korean while a white person who holds Korean citizenship is still a foreigner. It also explains why Koreans who to overseas call the locals foreigners even though they are the foreigners in the country they are visiting.

I hang out at places largely frequented by English speakers (who generally tend to be white) and I am no longer surprised to run into passing Koreans who like to stand and gawk. It's not uncommon for me to hear comments like, "Look at all these foreigners!" or "There are so many foreigners!" whenever there are large numbers of white people around.

My bigger problem with the word isn't how it's incorrectly used, but how it has to be tacked on as a label to a person's identity. If you're visibly not Korean, the word "외국인" follows you around everywhere and it replaces every other characteristic about you. When Koreans talk about you, they'll refer to you as the "foreign friend" instead of you know, your fucking name. To them you're "the foreigner" no matter how hard you try to assimilate into Korean culture or learn the language.

I rarely had this issue in the United States. People called me by my name instead of "the Asian guy" or "Korean guy." Nobody introduced me by saying, "This is my Korean friend." How irritated would I have been if I was constantly referred to as "Korean" instead of my name? I'm glad my identity didn't revolve around my being Korean. Unfortunately, I can't say the same for many who live in Korea.

For many foreigners, their social identities are tied to that one fact of not being Korean citizens. But to be fair, this isn't something Koreans only limit to foreigners; they do it to themselves as well. It isn't surprising a culture that discourages individuality would find it difficult to acknowledge individuality in others. For many Koreans, their identities as people revolve around them being Korean, so not being Korean is just as important of an attribute of a person's identity.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Multi-cultural Dating

I am currently in what some people may term an AMWF relationship. You might read this entry expecting some insight on how we deal with the cultural challenges. Well, there are none. Sure we have differences since we are two different individuals, but culture never enters the discussion. It's because I have a simple solution for dealing the challenges of cross-cultural dating.

For all those suffering from the headaches that come from dating someone of a different culture, I proffer thinking in a completely new paradigm: there is no such thing as cultural differences when it comes to interpersonal relationships.

I know this goes against conventional thinking. I know most people will think my opinion is nonsense, because of course there are cultural differences! People from different cultures will do things differently. Yes that is true, but people from the same culture will do things differently as well.

By focusing on the "cross-cultural" aspect of a cross-cultural relationship, people lose sight of the bigger picture, the relationship itself and the individuals partaking in it. A person's race or culture doesn't dictate everything about that person but in the discourse of cross-cultural relationships, race and culture seem to overshadow everything else.

The problem with approaching a relationship from a "cultural" framework is that is operates on assumptions.

First is the assumption that a person's identity (habits, beliefs, values, interests) is based on whatever culture you may associate that person with. People tend to project their own expectations and definition of culture to others based on assumptions. Some may look at me, an oriental looking guy in Korea, and assume that I am as typical (whatever "typical" may mean to you) as other Korean men. Some Korean men may look at a western woman and assume she is as easy as the American TV shows have lead him to believe. These preconceived misconceptions are then used to gauge how a relationship would turn out. A good example of this are the people who tell me things wouldn't work out between a foreign girl and I because we would be "too different." How they can predict the future with so little information is beyond me.

The second assumption is that one has to make concessions and compromises for the cultural sensibilities of his/her partner. I personally don't believe in "compromise" in relationships, I prefer "exchange." Whatever you call it, some level of give and take is obviously needed in a relationship. The problem is when people try to force themselves to accept and endure a trait of their partner they obviously don't like instead of knowing where to draw the line for themselves. Fuck cultural understanding and relativism. If you don't like that your husband drinks himself to sleep everyday, make him stop or leave him instead of chalking it up as his culture. I'm not staying with a woman whose daily routine consists of stomping kittens in the head, no matter how culturally ingrained that habit may be.

The third is assuming that if a cross-cultural relationship breaks apart, the blame falls on the cultural differences. This assessment is nothing more than a lazy cop out. Couples break up all the time regardless of perceived cultural identities. Every couple has problems in their relationship, but how much of that is cultural and how much of it is because they're simply two different individuals?

My answer to the above assumptions is this:
1. Know what you want and know that you know what you want (a.k.a. self-reflection)
2. Don't assume shit about other people
3. Communicate honestly

These are obvious guidelines that apply to every relationship, not just cross-cultural ones. You don't need a library of relationship books to know this but it is astounding how many people don't practice any of them.

I am currently in a loving relationship with a white American woman. It is the best relationship I've ever been in. As different as we may seem on paper, we share one vital commonality of honesty (and perhaps language that enables us to be honest). We both make an effort to be honest with ourselves and each other. We explore every corner, nook and cranny our psyches and talk about them. We don't make assumptions; we even discuss how we personally define and use certain everyday words. We verbalize whatever expectation we may have. We communicate.

Are her and I different? Of course. We are two different individuals. In a sense, I believe every person has his/her own unique culture. We all have our own ticks and habits and life experiences. We may share certain cultural traits with other people, but the combination of experiences that make up the person we are, is unique. When I was in my early teens, a comfort food of mine was rice mixed with butter, soy sauce and cheese. I never met anybody else who enjoyed this weird culinary concoction until I became friends with this white kid from Arkansas. I never would've thought I would share this peculiar habit with a white boy from a Southern state.

In a way, we will experience cultural differences similarities with everybody, no matter which culture they come from and no matter how different or similar they may seem on the outside. It is up to each individual to know what he or she wants in a partner. I know what I look for in a woman and I know what I won't tolerate. I'm not going to make concessions for somebody because it's her culture. There's no rule saying I have to force myself to be happy with somebody I am obviously not happy with. I don't have to judge her, but I also don't have to be with her. If I were to be single again and back in the dating pool, and if my peculiarities make it harder for me to find women, so be it. I am not compromising myself. Neither should anybody else. Know what you want and don't settle for less.

Or settle. What do I care. If you want to be miserable because you just have to get married by a certain age because society tells you to, that's your prerogative.

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Matrix of Dating

When I first watched the Matrix as a kid, I was blown away by the idea that we are trapped by walls and limitations that aren't actually there. In a sense the walls that trap us are put there by ourselves, like the scene where Neo has to realize there is no spoon in order to bend it. This revelation has made me more than eager to swallow the red pill. It frustrates me when I see people who choose the blue pill despite knowing the truth about our self-imposed limitations.

This also applies to dating and romantic expectations. I have seen so many make excuses for themselves and limit themselves from getting what they want from dating. How many times have I heard guys nonsensical excuses to not approach to a girl they are obviously attracted to. How many times have I seen women do the same? I always encourage my friends (both male and female) to approach and talk to men or women they are attracted to, but many times they will make up excuses. Men will often say things like, "She's out of my league" and women often say men don't like women who take the initiative.

But, how do you even know a girl's out of your league? How do you she wouldn't be attracted your personality and intellect rather than your looks if you don't talk to her? And if you're a woman who takes the lead and approaches the guy first, how do you know he won't appreciate that? And if he's the type of guy to be insecure about it, why would you even need his approval? Why are we afraid of offending sensibilities that we don't even know are there?

Excuses.

I tutor a 40 year old Korean man in English and he occasionally comments on how jealous he is of my mentality on things. Once when I told him that if I were to get married, I'd like my wife to have her own career and be financially independent as opposed to a woman who's content with being a house-wife. He was amazed and jealous that I am able to think like this because he unfortunately couldn't. It seemed silly that he wanted to want the things I want, rather than just wanting it himself. It seems like a simple flip of a mental switch is all that suffices but an invisible wall within his mind was preventing him from doing so. If he wants a woman who is independent, instead of wanting to want it, why not just want it? Why does he feel he needs to go along with what's traditionally expected instead of what he wants for himself?

Instead of looking for what they really want, people make concessions and lower their standards. They make excuses to not approach people they are attracted to, to tolerate people they shouldn't be with and to not be themselves out of fear of going against societal expectations. However, those expectations we think other people think we need to satisfy are really in our own heads. There's a plethora of advice on what one "should" do when dating but it's all bullshit. The "shoulds" or "shouldn'ts" in the dating game is all made up. What we really need to is make up our individual rules and play by them (as long as they abide by legal and ethical boundaries but that goes without saying).

People whose lives revolve around the expectations are the guys who bathe themselves in cologne, wear clothes that aren't really them, buy frivolous shit and act in a way they think (or rather society thinks) that is what women are impressed by. It's because of this that guys get insecure about being short and women about being perceived as ugly or slutty. They limit themselves and pretend to be something they're not because they think believe nobody will accept them for who they truly are. Societal pressure may provide the materials for the walls but we are the ones who build the walls, and people also don't seem to realize those walls can be torn down.

General statements like:
You need to dress like this.
You need to own X, Y, Z.
You need to make X amount of money.
You need to be this tall or this good looking.
Women like this.
Guys like that.

It's all bullshit.

There is no spoon.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

I'm going to do some victim blaming here

There's a story circulating in my facebook feed about a Canadian woman who was raped (the word used was "sexual assault" but let's not sugar coat anything, it was fucking rape) by a Korean and instead of getting the justice she deserves, now the scumbag is pressing charges against her. Let's not also forget that the police already knew the guy and that he had a history of being a rapist. Here's the link to the story which also has a link to a gofundme page if you want to donate money to be used as legal fees.

The story is infuriating and I can only imagine what it feels to be that woman. But as bad as it may sound, I'm going to put the blame on her. It's her fault that she came to this backwards shit-hole of a "developed" country with medieval era views on women's rights. Just because a country is on the list of developed countries with other, more civilized nations, it doesn't mean it will practice basic human rights. Korea is appalling for women's rights and is one of the worst counties for rape in the OECD. If the Korean government is good at anything, it is letting rapists and child molesters run rampant. Remember, this is a place where you get a slap on the wrist if you were drunk while anally destroying a nine-year old.

Raped a little girl? Oh but you were drunk? It's okay then!

In the story above, I'm more appalled (but not surprised) that the guy wasn't already in prison considering he's had six fucking previous victims. And of course the scumbag family tried to bribe her into letting it go. Another Korean mentality where you basically treat rape victims like prostitutes. Trying to make things go away with money is a national pass-time along with cheating on your spouse and killing yourself.

It's her fault she came here in the first place. Why she didn't stay in her own civilized society with basic respect for human rights and justice, I don't know. Despite what's happened, I don't also get why she expects that the judicial system will be in her favor this time. Koreans don't care about her plight, the only thing they'll listen to is shiny things like money. The guy will just offer bigger bribes to the cops and pay for a better lawyer and he will win. And he's going to ride off into the sunset to rape more women.



This is the reality of this country. As unfortunate as it is, its up to us civilized folk to be aware and wary. It is our responsibility to keep ourselves safe. I don't expect to not be robbed of my bananas if I enter a forest full of monkeys. You almost have to expect to be raped and subsequently robbed of justice if you enter a society full of rapey, bribey monkeys. Seriously, fuck the police and the judicial system.

In seriousness, I don't actually blame the victim for coming to this country, nor do I really think Korea is run by monkeys (it's insulting to actual monkeys). She likely didn't anticipate something like this happening to her. Korea does a good job of giving people the facade of a developed country but it has yet to shake off many of its antiquated views on justice, nor is it the safest place for women. You won't have gangbangers running up on with you guns in this country, but if you're a woman who gets raped, there are very few legal options available. It's extremely unfortunate, sad, and infuriating at the same time that not only did this happened, but that this sort of thing happens fairly commonly. But we can't change this overnight and my bitching about it won't help either. We can only acknowledge the reality and learn from it.

The lesson to take from this is that we have to be vigilant. Women especially (and foreign women even more especially) have to be wary and aware. We have to acknowledge that while Korea may seem like a safe place, there are heathens out there who have no qualms about taking advantage of a women by herself. It may sound like victim blaming, but our safety is ultimately our responsibility. The police and the judicial system certainly don't give a shit about you.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Dating Stuff: Pick Up Is Kind of Feminist

Whenever I talk to women about their experiences with men, I am surprised at how the majority of guys are creepy, aggressive, sometimes borderline rapey, clingy, insecure, whiny, disrespectful, and just bad when it comes to trying to win the affections of women. On some nights when I observe other men approach women, what I see often confirms what I am told. I wasn't always so confident of my abilities to attract and talk to women, so I am doubly shocked when I realize I actually have better game than most guys. I'm not so bad after all.

My "game" has come from studying pick up skills, which for me started from a foundational desire of self-improvement. My success at wooing women improved dramatically once I started to be more direct, honest, confident, and treating the woman I'm talking to as another person. The last component is particularly tricky for a lot of men because it seems most people with penises have a problem truly perceiving women as human beings rather than "objects" of desire or a trophy of sexual conquest. Social indoctrination notwithstanding, I believe there's an inevitability to objectification when a duality of sexual attraction exists. It is hard not to let the "sex part" of a person cloud your perception of him/her. I'm guilty of it as well. Even though I try hard to see every individual as an individual first, my willingness to talk to a person fluctuates depending on whether or not it's a woman, and if it's a woman, on how attractive she is. It doesn't make logical sense considering I'm not always trying to bang the person I talk to.

Still, how well I impress her hinges a lot on how I treat her as a person. Because if I realize that she is a person, I will treat her with respect and see things from her perspective. Not being able to see things from a woman's perspective is a problem I feel a lot of guys have. They do things that make no sense and wonder why women aren't throwing themselves at them.

If guys can see things from a woman's perspective, they'll probably see that creepily staring at a girl from across the room won't make her panties wet. Neither will a random guy grabbing on to her in a dark club. Neither will a guy following her around after he's been rejected. Neither will a guy hitting on her in a roundabout way by "asking directions." Getting shouted at from across the street won't either. Guys will probably also see that trying to logically convince a girl who doesn't want to have sex won't work. Same goes for pouting and whining. On the other hand, being confident and direct, and respecting the woman's boundaries (and subsequently making her comfortable) is more likely to get you laid.

One thing I realized by getting into pick up was that it can teach guys to treat a woman as a person and try to see things from her perspective, because being empathetic to another person's point of view is much more conducive to getting that person to like you than not being empathetic. A company's not going to sell as many products by shoving it down people's throats as it would by appealing to consumers' sensibilities. The same applies to a person trying to win the affection of another. As self-serving and manufactured as it seems, learning how to get what you want by treating someone with respect is a better start than force-feeding feminism to men who have already made their minds about women.

Pick up (at least the approach I took with it) may not lead to closing of the gender wage gap, but I think it would help reduce the number of creeps and rapey, self-entitled behaviors of men in the dating and nightlife scene. It would at least it would relieve the scores frustrated young men who paint an entire gender as shallow bitches because they can't get laid.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Buzz cuts, shaved heads

Just a short little post I've decided to write because I haven't been writing recently.

During my school days in Korea, I was obliged to follow certain codes of conformity such as the dress code. My peers and I all had to wear school uniforms and maintain limitations on our hair styles. This meant students weren't allowed to grow their hair past a certain length or have any styles that were "out there." As you'd assume, the standards for girls and boys were different. We also weren't permitted to dye our hair as well. As is everything in Korea, the above rules were enforced based on the individual discrepancy of teachers and whenever the administration decided it needed a crack down.

This caused some confusion over some rare students who had naturally different hair. There was one boy in my middle school who actually had an almost blond hair color, naturally. This was a Korean kid who I'm guessing has some Caucasian ancestors. I remember seeing him several times explain to a teacher about to smack him that his hair color is natural. There was also a girl who had naturally curly hair and she would also have to explain that she did not get a perm.

Most kids would grow their hair out as long as they can without violating the rules, which is the same thing guys do in the military. I guess how guys have to keep their hair short for most of their lives explains why so many Korean adults don't like to keep their hair short. I personally think most Korean guys' hairstyles are fucking stupid while I like to keep mine short. I've had a military buzz cut for pretty much my entire life and I can't go a day without somebody asking me if I'm in the military. I've always had short hair and sometimes I'll be a borderline skinhead just so I can put off getting another haircut as long as possible.

I, with some other kids, did that once in school and it ironically caused a commotion among the faculty. In Korea, really really short hair is associated with either Buddhist monks or organized crime. The teachers gave us a lot of shit for supposedly trying to be little gangsters. We of course protested that we are following the rules but we were told we should have the sense to not cut our hair that short. Considering how much shit students are given over long hair, I never would have guessed having hair too short would be a problem. Now, I know this is a common theme in Korea: follow the rules or we will give you hell but follow the rules too much and we will give you hell anyway.

This sort of confusion and ill-communicated guidelines have been a normal thing in my Korean experience. During my first and only year of Korean highschool, I was once beaten for not signing a document I was told I don't have to sign. The teacher told us that just because we're told we don't have to sign it doesn't mean we really don't. For me, these experiences represent life in Korea as a whole. Trying to deal with the confusion and frustration and figuring out how I'm supposed to conduct myself in this society has been mostly a negative endeavor. It's part of the reason why I just don't care that much to be a part of Korean society and socialize with Koreans by doing all the "Korean" things. Instead, I hang out with the degenerate foreigners and the Korean weirdos on the periphery Korean society.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Dating Stuff: More on Marriage

There's a lot of people saying a lot of different things on how to make a marriage or a long-lasting monogamous relationship work. And this is my ironic take on how to make a marriage work. Here's a secret nobody seems to tell you: a marriage will work if it isn't a marriage. That may sound paradoxical, so let me explain.

First off, what is marriage? Why did people get married in the first place? It was a method to ensure one's lineage. Unlike other species who are happy to spread their genes, we have to get attached to this thing called a name so we get married so our children and children's children will have the same last name even long after we're dead and doesn't matter anymore. But of course a long time ago, having that lineage meant you have a legitimate claim to a throne or some position of power. For most of human history, our societies have been ruled by spoiled dipshits who got the job by winning the genetic lottery, and this was all possible through marriage. Then the guys in power got to hog all the women by claiming sex before marriage is bad but went through a convenient loophole of being the fucking king. Everybody exercise sexual chastity, but I get to fuck all the concubines I want since I'm the motherfucking king! Every culture has had different ideas about marriage throughout history but to me the notion of sexual chastity and "no sex before marriage" seems to go hand in hand with men in power attempting to grab an unfair advantage in the mating game.

In some cases, marriage was a way to get stuff. Men would marry off (sell) their daughters for a dowry (the selling price). Women were basically property you can buy and sell. Calling it marriage sounds friendlier than saying you're selling your daughter. The individuals getting married also had no say in the matter as well. Marriage also is a way to secure property. So basically, the rosy perceptions of everlasting love that commonly accompanies modern notions of marriage are bullshit. Marriage is a functional tool to consolidate power or to get stuff. Love, and the belief that you won't be complete without another person are shitty modern justifications for keeping this antiquated practice around.

In our modern world, it's a legal contract that binds two people together so they can have babies and raise them together. It's also usually associated with sexual monopoly for the vast majority of people. It's a way to secure finances and have legitimate children who won't be socially ostracized. It's a way for people to not get lonely when they're 70 and their friends start to die off. It's a system we don't need but we keep it around because people can't shake off such a deeply ingrained cultural tradition. We lie to ourselves and say marriage is about love. There are people who are much more honest and outright say marriage is not about love. But they still don't question the concept of marriage because they still think the function of marriage is important.

Even from a functional standpoint, I don't see the value in marriage. From the get go, I don't believe human beings are supposed to have life-long monogamous relationships. I think it simply goes against human nature. I think the fact there were/are functioning poly-amorous societies is evidence of this. Monogamy isn't necessarily natural but most people in modern societies are hostile to the alternatives because it is what they've been indoctrinated with.

Most animal species don't have life partners and human beings are no different in our nature. Forget communication, consideration, compromise, interests, or whatever for a second. At the core of it all, the problems that surface in most marriages manifest because we aren't supposed to be in such arrangements in the first place. You eventually get bored of that person and whatever passionate sparks that flew in the beginning, fade away. After years of being together, maybe the fights people have aren't symptoms of incompatibility, but rather, of being human? How many couples are still genuinely happy together after years of marriage?

Then why do we need marriage? We don't. I mean, I guess you need the concept of marriage if you're a king who wants a monopoly in the dating pool. Or you need marriage if you're a lawyer who specializes in divorce suits. But we don't need marriage for society as a whole to function. Living in a society where people don't married seems weird to us because we have never lived in a society like that, but there are/were societies that don't adhere to our modern concept of marriage. By modern concept I mean, marriage = life-long sexually and emotionally monogamous relationship. Some societies don't have marriage. Some had marriage but did it in a completely different way. My point is that society will still function. We think society needs marriage because we believe children should grow up with a dad and mom but that's because it's what we are used to. But it was also considered normal for married Spartan women to have sex with strong young men and bear future warriors if their husband was weak and old. They dominated Greek land warfare for 500 years. Mongolian boys were raised by their mothers and they conquered most of Eurasia. You may argue that a society's military prowess isn't indicative of a healthy society and I would agree with you, and then I'd also point out that Korea desperately latches onto the traditional family model and has the highest suicide rate in the developed world.

If everybody stopped getting married, life will go on. Society will function. Things will change of course and some people who risk to lose money or power from the change will resist. I'm sure all those Korean wedding halls will lobby to the government to launch a pro-marriage ad campaign.

On a personal level, I don't think most people have that much to gain either. Forget the historical contexts or social structures for now. Even for personal benefit, I don't think  getting married has that much offer. Whenever I tell people I'm not going to get married, I always get questions and comments like, "Don't you want to have kids?" or "What if you get lonely when you're old?" Staving off loneliness and raising children and easing financial burdens are practical reasons for getting married, and they tend to make more sense than marrying out of love. But you also have to admit stringing another person along for the rest of your life because you can't deal with loneliness or want to have a bit more money is pretty superficial. As for kids, I don't want kids but even if I did, why do I need to become married to become a better parent? I question traditional family formats because different people at different times did different things and nobody can agree on what's good parenting and what's not. I was raised in a traditional home with a mom and dad, and it was pretty fucking miserable (Korean parenting is another topic for the future).

Most people feel a need to get married and don't question it because it's what's been drilled in people's heads since childhood. Everybody gets married and has gotten married for a really long time so if you don't get married, you're seen as a weirdo. People want to get married but never question why. Since saying that marrying for money or companionship in itself sounds superficial, they lie to themselves and say it's for love.

If you want to get married because you're afraid of being alone, you have to admit to yourself that's what it is instead of coloring it with these noble notions of true love. If you're going to look for a life-long mate, doing it out of love seems much more conducive to a happy relationship (although it will generally still lead to unhappiness) than doing it for any other reason. A lot of people, especially Koreans, seem to obsess over the idea of marriage in itself so love, compatibility and chemistry take a back seat. Thus unhappy, miserable marriages.

If love, however, was the real reason for getting married, why get married in the first place? Why does anyone need to report it to the government? Why does anyone need a wedding to show and validate their love to a bunch of other people? Why not just love?

Make personal vows to eachother because eachother is the only thing that matters in this frame of logic. But that vow, a life-long promise and the expectation that something like that will last, is what I see as the fundamental flaw of marriage. Marriage is a misguided belief that a person's life and essential can be controlled. People change, they adopt different beliefs and habits, their likes change, they meet new people, and they fall in and out of love. How can anyone promise that their feelings for somebody won't change at all in the next several decades that they will be alive? There is no way you can guarantee that and it is unrealistic to expect it. But people do, and they're unhappy because their expectations aren't met. Life is not certain and you will never be happy thinking that it will be.

The only certainty is uncertainty and this skepticism about certainty is the reason I don't believe marriage. Marriage by nature assumes certainty which is completely unrealistic and ends up being detrimental to the relationship. Marriage and this assumption of certainty is born out of a want of security, safety and certainty. It's the reason marriage is always associated with people pulling out a mortgage on a house and a car, and they go to the same job and go home to the same house for the next few decades. They have kids and their life revolves around them. They do the same things as every other married couple and they do them over and over again. They stagnate and don't develop or grow as people. They become boring and codependent. This hurts the marriage.

This was my point: a conventional marriage is bad for the health of a life-long relationship.

The conventional notion of marriage stems from the conventional notion of love, which assumes a person is only complete with a soul-mate. You'll only be truly happy if you find somebody they say. It's an unhealthy and somewhat sinister notion, although it's understandable why people think this way. I know it's cliche, but you should always love yourself first and foremost. But most people think their happiness and worth depends on someone else. It doesn't. That's why people become possessive about their partners. It's not true love if it's born out of insecurity and obsession. Finding somebody you love (which isn't true love if you don't love yourself) won't make you happy in a deeper sense just as how winning the lottery won't either. Most people don't get that and it is this expectation that makes people put pressure on their partner and become distressed about how their partner is or what he/she does. Demanding someone else to be a certain way strains the relationship.

I have ironically said before that I will settle with a girl who won't settle. This means I will fall for somebody who won't want to stagnate and stay the same. This means she will want to freely explore life with or without me. This means she is her own person and won't depend on me for happiness. My friends have said that my stance on marriage will one day waver when I meet someone who knocks my socks off. I may meet someone who astounds me, but I still don't know why I have to get married to her. If I love a somebody, why do I have to bind her in a legal contract or even a verbal agreement? Why can't I just love her and let that love be instead of making it into an expectation?

My theory on having a successful marriage is this: don't worry about having one. Learn to love yourself first and foremost, then you'll be able to better give love to others. Live your life for yourself. If you do, you'll inevitably end up attracting someone who's also awesome and loving (and if you don't you won't care because you're busy being awesome), and if she/he is awesome enough, you'll end up enjoying eachother's company for awhile. That person's path in life will cross yours. Don't get married or make any vows or promises or expect things to stay the same. Always be open to change and acknowledge your respective paths can diverge. If you truly love someone, you can let that person go. In the meantime, enjoy your partner's company now. Cherish the moment and love him or her now. If moment by moment, you want to be with that person, then be with that person in that moment. After enough of such moments, you may find yourself being parted by death. Then that's pretty much a marriage.