|This is a good starter ring, eh?|
The Harvard Business Review published an interesting article in its most recent issue on the effects of acetaminophen and the part of our brains that processes social rejection and physical pain. As it turns out, social rejection is physically painful according to a study performed at the University of Kentucky. Heartache does exist and it’s not just in your head.
Conversely, what does social acceptance bring us? Does the same relief we feel having been accepted into an exclusive club translate to how we feel when we are in a secure and loving relationship? I’m no Harvard graduate or University of Kentucky professor, but I’m betting affirmatively.
Last week, three couples I know got engaged and I received my first “Save the Date!” in the mail; it’s officially wedding season. Even Google reminded me. Today, when I typed, “When” in the search bar it finished my query with, “is the best time to get married?” Through no fault of my own, all I can think about are engagement rings and weddings. My level of anxiety has increased tenfold. I have added Tylenol to my grocery list.
What woman doesn’t want to be surprised with a gorgeous, sparkling for-all-the-world-to-see declaration of love? I know I do (eventually) and as a single girl I shamelessly check out others’ bling-bling. Which has made me wonder, as women, are we more focused on the engagement than engaging?
After you say, “Yes!” comes the “I do.” It’s easy to be surprised at a proposal and emotional in a white dress, but when it comes to the next 50 years of your life, how do you manage your marriage? It feels like we have reached a place in society we have already been: where a table for one is still looked down upon and we assuage the (social) stigma of being alone by getting married.
I am admittedly guilty of listening to the voice in the back of my head that emphatically urges me to become part of a set. “Find him! Find him! Find him now!” it forcefully coos. “The voice” is getting louder with every relationship status update on Facebook. I have no doubt that a Tiffany-blue or Cartier-red box is popped open to reveal its shiny contents many young females feel inside a sense of relief: “I’m part of the club.”