Give a hoot if you’ve ever heard (or used) some version of the following:
“I can’t settle down right now. My career isn’t where I want it to be.”
“I can’t get married yet. I’m not making enough money.”
“My life is all about my “art” right now. And a relationship will get in the way of that.”
Some people (ahem men) hold wholeheartedly to the delusion that a relationship will take from them…keep them from success…get in the way of their dreams…and that until they’ve reached their pinnacle, they have no room for commitment.
I’ve known my fair share of men (friends and lovers alike) who cherish this particular version of the commitment excuse. I’ve never understood it, as I’ve always believed that a relationship (correction: a healthy, mutually beneficial relationship) can help further your dreams. I believe in the adage behind every great man is a great woman, and vice versa, and looks like I’m right.
Married men and women get paid more, hold higher positions, have better mental health, are happier, and live longer. Those are FACTS.
In other words, married folk are a shitload more successful than their single counterparts. (And I can say this without backlash because I am chronically single.)
So the excuse holds no real truth, and at its foundation is flawed. BUT…we can’t really be too hard on the men (and the few women) who swear they can’t achieve success while tethered to another human being. After all, they have two of religious history’s biggest role models to validate their flimsy truth.
Let’s take a look at the Buddha. The Buddha was thrown into an arranged marriage at age 16 (okay, so he was set up to fail, I’ll give ya that). He lasted until he was 29. Here’s the math for you number-phobes: that’s 13 years of marriage—5 years more than the average length of a marriage that ends in divorce….so by modern standards Buddha did pretty good.
Buddha and babe had a baby. Upon seeing his infant child, the Buddha declared, “An impediment has been born; a fetter has been born.”
Dictionary Definition: fetter; a chain or manacle used to restrain a prisoner, typically placed around the ankles.
Oh. My. Gosh. I think we can safely say, the Buddha was tired of being ball and chained. The Buddha hightailed it out of there, declaring that he could not be enlightened while encumbered with mother and child and that he’d come back to visit once he’d achieved Buddha status. In other words, once Buddha became a rock star, then maybe he could honor his commitment as husband and father.
Let’s take a look at my favorite prophet: Jesus. Jesus fares better. He understood his limits from the get-go and left no mother or child abandoned (that we know of). Instead, he achieved Christ Consciousness while remaining forever single (that’s assuming we take our folklore from orthodox Christian sources rather than gnostic gospel, which has him cohabitating with one of his Marys). Christianity (Catholic and Protestant) depicts Jesus as the Son of God untainted by worldly desires. Unfortunately, such a depiction has not only spawned a breed of religious child molesters, but also a species of man who truly believes he won’t attain success—or whatever version of godliness he clings to—while attached to a woman.
I’m not saying we go the way of Mohamed and collect thirteen prepubescent wives. But let’s give the man some credit. With all those women (or might we be bold and say because of those women…or at least one) he managed to create quite the following—around 1.6 billion and counting. That’s rock star status, people. And he did it while in a relationship(s)!
I’m not suggesting a relationship is for everyone. But I am saying this particular commitment excuse is BOGUS! There’s a reason behind it, and if you’d just dig deeper, you’ll figure out the true source of your commitment anxiety. So I challenge you…don’t hide behind an excuse, but dig up your true nature, examine it, and then own your choices.
Take a deep breath because I’m about to quote scripture. In Mathew 19:11, Jesus explains that not everybody can accept marriage. Maybe they’re a eunuch and were born that way, or maybe the path home truly is a celibate one for them. C-E-L-I-B-A-T-E. But, Jesus says, “The one who can accept this (as in marriage), should accept it.”
The Buddha couldn’t accept marriage…can you?