What is the determining factor to a successful marriage?

Someone dies.

“Who stays married and who doesn’t is a question not always about commitment or deep abiding love — it’s about endurance.” The Fine Line Between Marriage and Divorce

Since I’ve made my skeptical opinion of marriage known, I’ve thought that I should probably detail what a great relationship means for me.  But the honest truth is that I don’t know.

There has to be a comfortable, rewarding sweet spot on the relationship spectrum between marriage on one end and booty-call on the other… not that there’s anything wrong with either one. I’m not a marriage fan, nor am I wired to just be a booty-call.

The other weekend I was with my ex-wife and her boyfriend as we watched my daughter’s football games.  Looking at them interact, I believe they have a relatively easy relationship road laid out in front of them. They’re shooting for marriage.  The goal and most of the details of their relationship are figured out for them. As much as that repulses me, the ease with which they can hop onto the Mormon train tracks and just operate on autopilot is sometimes a nice thought… if it did indeed lead to happiness. I don’t believe it is a given by any stretch of the imagination.

Contrast that with me.  When I meet a guy with whom I have a mutual attraction, there’s no automatic understanding whatsoever of what it will become if it works out. Is this a guy who would want to get married?  I don’t. Is he looking for a booty call?  I’m not. What does something in between even look like? Most people I know who live in this no-man’s land actually live together as if they were married just without the legal document.

How committed are they? How exclusive are they? How confident are they in the relationship? How do they manage the details of money, vacations, chores, alone time vs couple time?

Because I have kids, four of them, I can’t fathom moving in with someone and having that go smoothly. I’d NEVER move in with a guy who had four kids and I’d question the sanity of someone who would agree to it. Of course the kids are not with me the entire time, but two weekends a month, holidays and all summer are a lot of kid to have around. I relish these times myself, but when they are not your own children the game is different.

Yet, full integration is just expected and the norm if marriage is your paradigm as it is for my ex-wife. Her 2nd marriage failed because of the lack of integration with his kids. The 3rd will be interesting to watch. Ahem…

Who do you know that manages a completely unconventional relationship?

What does a successful unconventional relationship look like?

Unconventional Relationships that Work

Gay Marriage, an example