My main idea here is to delve behind the facade of other peoples' relationships. I was virtually the only person left behind in 1988 when nearly all my friends got married in one bunch. A few have followed, some being much younger than me, but my main question is 'Love or convenience???' This warrants the full three question marks as no one will admit to marrying out of desperation except one old girlfriend of mine who told a friend of hers and it got back to me. But my guess is that maybe about half the marriages I know of were for love, but others have to be a practical decision. A clue was years ago when I saw a friend at the infamous Brent Cross shopping centre, who said 'It's time I got married now, I'm going to ask my girlfriend'. This was over ten years ago, and guess what- he's still single! But it showed me the attitude existed where people see others pairing off and feel they have to join in now or they'll be left behind and out of it. Surely we meet people we love at random, so how comes about 80% of my friends all married in 1988 and besides the one, still are, and to the same people.
I said already the last thing friends ever discover is someone's marriage isn't doing well. The social iniquity people believe admitting they aren't happy together is so great they carry on like Charles and Diana until suddenly one day you find they've split up. Others just struggle along for ever but frequently sweeten the pill with affairs, which again not a soul ever hears about. I am honest, and can safely say I may have met two women by the age of 35 I wanted to marry, and in the 20 year gap between them genuinely wondered if I'd ever meet one since Vivienne. But rather than plan to settle for someone who was convenient and available because I also felt it was time I was married, I waited till I was 35 and met the next one who showed me it was possible. Since then I was told how to tell who was right more easily and now I know the qualities, I can see them quickly and would never doubt my judgement in following up when I do find them. But am I single because I actually waited till I was 35 before I honestly found anyone I felt like marrying? Does it mean so many people who married at 28 did so as that was the time and they squeezed whichever 'better than average' relationship they had into the marriage mould regardless of their true feelings, hoped for the best, and put on a brave front ever since?
I was present a few times where these decisions were made, and I can say one was definitely genuine as I was the one who got them together, and many years later I was thanked for doing so! The second was at a friend's party. I'll admit I don't approach women at parties, it's a blockage I have but the way round it is to ask someone to go with me and they then leave after we've all got talking (thank you Simon!). So I was sitting with friends opposite a woman about whom I said 'She looks nice, what the hell shall I do' and before I could plan, the friend whose flat we were in went and talked to her. They're still married now. I'm not sure if he knew her already, which would have given him a head start. Finally I had a female friend I met when I was going out with someone already, and that was it for me, my hands were tied as I date one at a time only. I saw her as a friend wishing I could have met her first, and when I'd finished with number one woman, number two, Vicky, had just met someone else, so I didn't get a chance to find out either way. Being a friend I always saw her more than any of her boyfriends, but after he left the scene she said she wasn't interested in me. Then we were in a pub with a group of us, and she said there was this young boy who wouldn't leave her alone. We were just leaving when this kid with woolly black hair came in and started talking to her. Half an hour later we were still waiting. She said 'That was him, he's really boring, he's just a market trader' etc etc., and they got married that year, and are still. Go figure...
I'll open the question to all as always, how many people are really married out of convenience than love? I need to know!