Five More Types of Marriages, From An Unmarried Woman


In her new book Marriage Confidential, author Pamela Haag profiles what she calls the five new types of marriage. All five of them are horrifically depressing. Now that the Gays can get married in a lot of places, it’s like Straights are going to spend the next several years telling them why marriage is just the worst and they’ve been had and that instead of marriage rights, they should never have abandoned the fight for the right to party.

At any rate, Haag’s five types of marriage, summarized, along with her prognosis for the future of the union:

The Semihappy Marriage– You’re bored with each other but don’t leave because it’s comfortable. You’re going to get a divorce.

The Parenting Marriage– You have kids, so you stay together for them, even though you’d like to get divorced.

Workhorse Wives– You should not have married that sculptor because sculpting doesn’t pay the bills and now the woman is going to have to do all of the work. You’re going to go insane, and then get a divorce.

Ed McMahon Syndrome– You agree with your spouse because you’re fucking sick of arguing. You seem to agree with Johnny Carson a lot. You want a divorce.

The Semimarried– You don’t really love each other, but you don’t dislike each other enough to break up. So you don’t. You’re not ballsy enough to divorce, but you want to.

Wow. This “marriage” stuff that everyone’s so excited and centerpieced and RSVP’ed about sounds like a real bummer. According to this book, maybe weddings are more like happiness funerals.

This doesn’t quite sound right to me. I’m not married, and I’ve never been married, and usually, to be candid, whenever I start getting serious with someone I start having nightmares wherein I am wearing a giant engagement ring that keeps getting tighter and tighter on my finger until my hand turns black and falls off. But it seems disingenuous to insist that every marriage is roiling with unexpressed sadness. My parents have been married for about three billion years, and they still hold hands and make up inside jokes with each other. I have friends that have newer marriages and they seem perfectly happy.

But being unmarried and in no position to dispense wisdom hasn’t stopped priests from dispensing marriage advice for, like, a thousand years, so I figured I’d give it a go. Here’s what I’ve seen, as an outsider, in marriages of people I’ve known.

The Depraved Marriage– You wear sweaters with collared shirts underneath them on outings to the park and you host barbecues and always send Thank You notes, but have this secret crazy sex life that you think no one knows about, except everyone can tell which couples are having regular insane sex. You can sense it. Other couples who know you go home after parties and try to surmise what crazy shit you’re doing. You’re not going to get a divorce because you’re both too weird to statistically have any chance of running into anyone else as kinky as you are.

The Stormy Marriage– You fight a lot in public and use each other’s name as an insult. “Okay, Charlie. Whatever you say. Is that what you told that WHORE in Reno.” You storm out of parties and consider having affairs like people on TV, but you don’t get divorced because at the end of the day you love each other. You just love drama more.

The Be Fruitful And Multiply Marriage– You get married at 23 and immediately get to having babies and babies and babies and babies and babies. Everyone wonders how you do it. You tell people that it’s God’s will for you to have that many babies, and that’s why you have so many, but the real reason you have so many babies is this: Fucking. Lots of fucking. Tell that to people at parties and they’ll stop asking you why you have so many babies.

The Smug Marriage– When you were single, you were really smug about being single and took every opportunity to tell everyone who would listen how awesome it is to be single and how marriage is unnatural. Now that you’re married, you won’t shut up about how amazing it is to be married, like you’ve somehow accomplished something by signing a legal document. You know what? A lot of people have gotten married before. Yours is not the first marriage ever. God, shut up.

The Insurance Marriage– You work for a corporation, he doesn’t. He needs a root canal. Do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in insurance fraud? I do.

How Married are You?

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