Welcome to the age of Sologamy. Or, ‘self-marriage’: the practice of fully committing to yourself, forsaking all others. We meet a sologamist who recently donned a white dress - complete with a matching veil - and walked herself down the aisle.
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Or at least - it was.
Welcome to the age of Sologamy. Or, ‘self-marriage’. Also known as the practice of fully committing to yourself, forsaking all others (although not necessarily committing to celibacy).
Looking for proof? Just ask supermodel Adriana Lima, who famously announced self-marriage to her followers on Instagram (following her break up with New York Mets pitcher Matt Harvey).
Or actress Emma Watson, who sent the single-side on Twitter into a frenzy after telling British Vogue, "I never believed the whole ‘I’m happy single’ spiel. It took me a long time but I’m very happy [being single]. I call it being self-partnered."
Photo credit: Courtney Dawson
And the data doesn’t lie. According to the Families In A Changing World report released by the United Nations, the worldwide percentage of women who have never married has increased steadily over the last two decades.
The biggest jump? Here in Australia and New Zealand, increasing to 9.7 per cent, from 4.4 per cent in 1990.
The Pew Research Centre has estimated that by the time today’s teens reach 50, over 25 per cent of them will have never been married - social, political, or economic pressure be damned.
Supporters argue that removing yourself from the dating pool actually serves to affirm your own value and leads to a happier life overall, while critics rebuff the trend (with even Congress leader Milind Deora calling it ‘a level of woke-ness bordering on insanity’ after the concept reached mainstream media attention in India).
To find out if making the ultimate commitment to yourself was worth it, I connected with sologamist in the wild, Courtney Dawson, who recently donned a white dress - complete with a matching veil - and walked herself down the aisle. And went viral on TikTok in the process.
Honestly, I thought I would be keeping it low key but as the date got closer it kind of escalated.
I pretty much organised the whole thing in 2 weeks with the help of my best friends. My only priority at the start was finding the perfect dress, which took several orders and returns and an alteration the day before the wedding to get right, and I was so happy with it.
I know it sounds pretty questionable on the surface. I reached a point where I was thinking ‘WHY AM I NOT MARRIED?’ and then having to work through the realisation of
‘Wait, do I really want to be married to another person or do I just want the experience of a wedding?’
‘Do I just want to chance to have the dress and the moment and share that love with my friends?’
I think if people were more self-reflective they would realise that maybe they just want to experience the above—which isn’t a bad thing at all. And then I ordered a wedding dress to wear for my birthday—as a joke—and it just felt right.
I think I have stayed in relationships way past their use-by dates because I thought marriage and a house and everything that goes along with all that is the goal. So leaving one relationship and starting over with someone new felt like a step backwards and time wasted.
But the reality is that arbitrary time limits on life choices are irrelevant these days. More and more pressure to conform to the ‘classic’ life plan isn’t essential.
Photo credit: Courtney Dawson
The planet is dying, society is teetering on the brink in some countries, and we are living through a global pandemic, so if there was ever a time to just do what’s right for you - it’s now.
My psychologist and I talked about my ‘self-marriage’ and my feelings about relationships and she absolutely found it a fun idea and was supportive.
Not that I needed the validation of a healthcare professional to do this but having it felt affirming.
I also really wanted to make a commitment to myself which was probably a by-product of giving a lot of myself away in the past, and I enjoyed the cathartic feeling I got from the event.
It was also a fun way to thank all my friends for always being by my side and having to watch me cry over men in the past and then go back to them. So, really, the party was for all of us.
I feel like my adult friendships are so great, and the love I have for my friends and the love they have for me is what makes me feel successful and fulfilled as a grown woman—way more than having a ‘partner’—which is something I am not really interested in at the moment.
It is weirdly a little different. Like that little voice of pressure to ‘settle down’ or even go out and date and try and meet someone is just not there right now.
I have made this commitment to myself to focus on me and my life as it is, and where I want it to go and it truly feels good.
Photo credit: Courtney Dawson
I don’t feel the same weird level of loneliness and longing for another person that I have felt in the past, and maybe it's a placebo effect or the honeymoon period but whatever it is, I like it.
I am feeling unbothered by being single in a way I never imagined I would.
It could be growing up, but I do feel part of this shift has been brought on by feeling my choices be respected and encouraged by the people I love in my life.
It’s going to be harder to buy a house on my own and probably just economically in this climate if I am being totally blunt and honest.
And sure, the intimate activity of being in a relationship is harder to get on a casual basis, but it’s not impossible. And from what I have heard, marriage itself with another person can affect that too so, it’s fine. If I get ‘hungry’ I can always order in, if you catch my drift.
I feel having a partner and marriage is dropping as the overarching goal for people, and I think that’s so hot and it’s totally fine.
In my age group (mid-thirties) so many people are getting divorced or ending long relationships and I think the reality is that maybe pinning all your hopes and dreams and goals on another person who ALSO has their own hopes, dreams and goals, might not always align to your own and compromise doesn’t look the same for everyone.
My psychologist asked me recently if I could think of ONE couple I knew who I would even trade places with, I couldn’t think of anyone who had a relationship that I completely envied or saw as ‘goals’.
Everyone is flawed and having a relationship or marriage with another person does not define your success as a human. It is not really a milestone or an accomplishment in the scale of life, but the outfits and parties are fun.