I can't speak for myself in twenty years. Who knows who I'll be by then (or since I do edit obits, if I'll even be around then). But I do know that the me right now and the me in high school and early college just isn't the marrying type. I'm not sure why I had so much invested in listening to other people and letting them tell me what was right for my life, but I knew as far back as high school that the things I wanted out of life were incompatible with being married and having children. The only reason I eventually did both is because at the time, I thought I was supposed to.
Unfortunately, rather than joy and fulfillment, for the most part, marriage and children brought me pain and suffocation. I know that sounds ungrateful and dramatic, but it's true. It's not that I don't enjoy companionship, sex, friendship, etc. I do. But at least in my marriage, the trade-off wasn't worth it. I felt like there were all kinds of expectations and duties that I bristled at fulfilling. I felt taken advantage of, unappreciated. I tried so hard to communicate these feelings to my husband. But in all honesty, and he's realized this now, he didn't listen.
To be fair, Alistiar and I had some good times. He could make me laugh, he was always there for me when I was hurting from some outside source. He was so attentive when my mom died, he was okay with my decision to leave the church and while it scared him a bit, he was accepting of me when I finally decided I was an atheist. And I'm grateful to him for all of that. And I hope that someday, Alistiar and I are able to be very good friends. I still like him. I still care for him. But I can't be married. I can't be tied down anymore than I already am with my boys. I need to stretch my wings. I need to be answerable and accountable only to me. Even though Alistiar and I had a decent relationship, there was always a power struggle going on under the surface. Our voices were not equally weighted at all. I was sinking, and in spite of my efforts to help him understand my struggles, he continued to not listen.
Marriage isn't the happy ending for me anymore. It's not that I don't want to be loved or to love someone else. It's that I value my freedom and my independence and my power over my own life. It's not even that I refuse to compromise. It's that I resented having my compromises taken for granted. If I ever love again, I hope to never take for granted the gift that is love. And I absolutely will not stay if I feel like my love is being taken for granted. And I think this represents the paradox that may be my life: I love me best now and someday, that may mean giving me to someone else to show gratitude for them having given themselves to me.