Recently, Ily shared her most recent thoughts on dating. I personally have no interest in dating. My lack of interest in dating (and sex) means that I cannot rely on traditional social formulas to get a life partner. However, my definition of ‘life partner’ is loose.
I already have two life partners: my parents. Sure, it has been months since I’ve talked to them, and it’s been over a year since I have been on the same continent as them, but we see this separation as temporary – even a preparation for the long time we are plan to spend together. I always envision myself living with or near my parents once I return to the United States, and I know they have the same vision. I am currently living away from them and paying my own bills with money left over to increase my savings, so currently no economic force is compelling me to live with them. I know I am not cut out to be the traditional spousal life partner, so I appreciate already having two people who want to spend the rest of their lives with me.
American culture considers adults who live with their parents to be losers – I call bull. My parents will need me – in fact, they already need me, and I sometimes feel bad and selfish for not being with them now. I prefer the way Taiwanese culture views them (though attitudes are changing) – as good people who respect their family. Indeed, while living with one’s parents is a minus in American marriage market, in the Taiwanese marriage market it is sometimes a plus – the adults who have good close relationships with their parents are also perceived to be the kind of people who would be good spouses and parents.
I want more life partners. I do not want to rely on a single person to be my life partner, and I do not want the responsibility of being somebody else’s sole life partner. If I have my own child, I hope we would become life partners. I would also like to have a good relationship with the father of any child I might have, though life partnership would not be required (it would be nice, though). Having life partners who are not blood relatives would also be wonderful, however I think it could only happen by chance – by meeting the right person.
And you know what? I am glad that the mainstream route to life partnership – marriage – is the route I have the least interest in. Many people pursue marriage due to cultural conditioning, not because it is what they truly want. I want somebody to be life partners with me because we have found a genuine connection, and I think in the context of marriage – especially het marriage – the trappings of mainstream culture would make it harder to form and confirm that genuine connection.