When my last relationship ended, and I was just a kid starting out, about to turn forty, I was as eager to begin to search for another perfect soul mate as I was to volunteer for hard labor in a North Korean prison camp. The world seemed to be broken down into two factions: those who were twitching from horrible divorces and those who were still pretending to be seventeen.
And in those years of solitude and contemplation, I tried to pursue a regimen of peace, maturity and self-esteem (by which I mean attempting to limit myself to two despondent statements per day about “not having a life”).
Eventually, though, I hit critical mass and had to admit that I really did want to be a part of another tiny unit of humans, even if it meant setting myself up for a possible emotional slaughter. I’m not sure what constituted the last straw. It may have been sheer exhaustion from trying to talk other single women I knew into clearing spaces in their busy schedules in order to attend things meant to get me out of the house. Or maybe it was the way the dogs just kept snoring through my pleas for help with bringing stuff in from the car.
Either way, my edict of “Never again” gradually morphed into “Never again unless I get married.” My thinking was that if I could take that additional step toward greater permanence, a step that had always eluded me, I would undergo an almost mystical transformation from confused member of the minority of loners and weirdos into the safer territory of the majority, with their holy matrimony, lawsuits, divorces, and mutual restraining orders.
— Merrill Markoe, Cool, Calm & Contentious, pp. 46-49