I’ve been feeling this vague anxiety ever since I made the decision to come home.
But I didn’t reconcile the fear I’ve had about getting married and the fights I’ve been having with TM until just tonight.
Previously, I’d thought that I was worried about getting married because we were “too young.” At 23 years of age, that didn’t seem to make sense to me, but it was the only explanation I’d had for why I was feeling so anxious.
Meanwhile, TM and I are constantly fighting over whether or not I should work, when to get a job, how much money I should try to bring home with me, how much of an “allowance” I’m going to get, what we should be spending vs. saving, and on and on and on.
Tonight the light bulb finally went off in my head.
I wasn’t scared of getting married too young.
I was scared of being financially dependent on my spouse.
Now, this made more sense to me. It reconciled all the fears and anxieties I’d been feeling with the expressions of that fear and anxiety (read: fights with TM). And the way I’d realized it was by, ironically
(yes, I’m aware it might not actually be ironic, just deal with it), searching for “too young to get married.”
And tonight it just so happened that, while reading those posts, I noticed the same kinds of phrases repeating, popping out at me over and over like some visual refrain.
Here are some of the things I noticed:
- as long as you are both financially independent I dont see a problem
- Do you live on your own? Do you have a full time job? do you pay all of your own bills?
- financially independent
- I’ve lived on my own with absolutely no help financially or otherwise since I was 17 years old. Since then I’ve worked full time/more than full time. I have paid for my own apartment/bills/insurance.
- I believe it is about how independent and ready you are
- Since you say you are financially independent that already tells me you are doing pretty well for that age.
- away from home and financially independant
- As long as the 2 of you can support yourselves and pay for the wedding that’s all that matters.
Now, I’m in a bit of a dilemma. As long as I remain here in Japan, then I do fulfill most of these criteria. I do currently live on my own. I do not have a full-time job, but I do get a scholarship and easily found part-time jobs to supplement that income. Before this gig, I did have a full-time job. I’ve paid all of my own bills – including national health insurance – for the last year. While I’ve never turned down financial help and have had a slip-up or two since graduating, I’ve supported myself since coming to Japan. My mother will not be able to claim me as a dependent on her taxes for the 2016 tax year.
However, all of this goes down the drain when I move home.
I will not have an immediate job. I will not be working full-time. TM will be covering the rent, food, car expenses, and seemingly everything else I need. I am bringing enough money home to cover my loans for a few months, and have been dipping into work-from-home gigs to start being able to cover them again when that money runs out (though I could really step up my game as far as that goes).
In other words, I will be completely dependent on TM for all expenses.
Now, the situation is not too bleak. I do have experience in a career field and could get a job (hopefully relatively easily!) when I come home. The problem is that I hate working, and am not sure how happy I would be doing it. Perhaps I’ve just not found the right environment yet, but I doubt finding happiness in anything but a stay-at-home scenario.
So I can either be financially independent and miserable, or financially dependent and… still miserable??
I don’t know what’s going to happen when I get home. Society currently believes that it’s a bad idea for a woman to be anything-dependent upon a man, financially or otherwise. I’ll be delving more into my thoughts on that in a later post.
But for now, I’ll wrap this one up with a comment from that thread that made me feel a bit better about my situation:
I think readiness for marriage is extremely personal and unique to each individual and each relationship.
TM and I have talked and discussed our situation, have set up timelines for when we will accomplish certain things, and have made ourselves aware of some of the challenges we’re going to face with moving in together. We’ve discussed my lack of money and whether or not I’m going to be working a job. I compromised and did something that made me uncomfortable to have a better financial picture for my family (something I was more than willing to do if I had kids, but hesitated to do for my soon-to-be husband – unacceptable).
And he still wants to be with me. And I still want to make a go of this with him.
So, personally, we are ready. We’ve still got a long way to go, but I don’t need to meet anyone’s criteria other than our own.