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Why I Stayed in a Marriage That Was Making Me Miserable

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Why I Stayed in a Marriage That Was Making Me Miserable
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In 2009, I married my boyfriend for health insurance. I was 24, and Aaron and I had been dating less than two years. Marriage had never even come up. I wasn’t even sure if I believed in it. But I’d recently gotten a reporting job that offered insurance—which, in my pre-Obamacare bartending days, sort of felt like winning the lottery. So in a gesture of love from one insured person to an uninsured one, we tied the knot at Chicago’s City Hall.

We went out of our way not to take it seriously. I wore black; he wore white. We posed for goofy photos and clinked champagne glasses at a rooftop bar. We texted all our friends that “hey, by the way, we got married, meet us at Gold Star,” the dive bar where Aaron worked. We drank Old Overholt for free all night and ate pulled-pork sandwiches crouching on the sidewalk. We fell into bed feeling happy and irreverent.

Everybody is tickled by this story, the broad strokes of which, I admit, are romantic and organic and quasi-unconventional. I told it for years, mostly because it was an opportunity to brag about how our insurance nuptials exposed the farce of traditional values. I framed my marriage of convenience as a defiant gesture, meant to make a mockery of outdated institutions—not only of sentimental matrimony, but of the cruelty of our failed health care system. It became key to shaping my identity as someone whose commitment was pure yet subject to change, unrelated to a binding contract, uncontaminated by cynical things like registries or honeymoons or financial security.

Unfortunately, marriages—even marriages like mine—have never been that simple. About two years in, I realized I wasn’t happy, that our sexual and intellectual connection was not strong enough to sustain a lifelong partnership. And yet I stayed. And stayed and stayed. Soon, I was eight years deep into a relationship that was making me miserable, but I couldn’t bring myself to end it. How did I, a self-sufficient progressive feminist, find myself loath to give up on an unhappy marriage that had started as a screw you to insurance companies?

The most iconoclastic among us think we’re impervious to marriage’s charms, so we consider it safe to buy in ironically, for the benefits and nothing else. I had assumed that since the institution meant nothing to me, I could bend it to my whims, rejecting and using aspects of it as I saw fit. But no matter how blasé I thought I felt about our transactional union, it managed to take on a life of its own. Because as I soon learned, there’s no easier way to defang a radical than the lure of a status bump.

When I was in college, my thoughts about marriage ranged somewhere between indifference and hostility. My classmates and I weren’t at all pressed to run to the altar after we graduated. We were doing things like waiting tables while nursing music careers or going to law school to avoid the recession. Then, starting in my late 20s, I began to receive wedding invites at an impressive clip from some of the same people whose jaws had dropped at my off-the-cuff wedding. Lots of those college drifters “got serious” with well-paying careers and paired up, often with each other. Virtually nobody in my inner circle opted for solo parenthood.

These friends married for love, surely. Theirs were what writer Emily Witt called “neo-marriages”: in most cases far from a “housewife-patriarch dynamic,” these couples acknowledged that some level of autonomy was to be retained. But their weddings also marked a consolidation of their money, power, and social capital.

Aaron’s social circles looked very different. He finally got his bachelor’s degree at 29, but his parents hadn’t finished college, and neither did many of his friends from his middle-class suburb or his service-industry jobs. For them, marriage was a distant goal they might consider once they started making good money or had a “real” job. A few who did get married got divorced within a few years. Some had kids and didn’t stay with their partners. Among his crowd, ours was an example of a stable and upwardly mobile partnership.

Matrimony has been tied to class for millennia. During the Victorian era, middle- and upper-class women were expected to pour every bit of their morally pristine energy into tending to their homes and families. People who were enslaved, or poor people of any race, needed not apply to wedded bliss. In fact, it was their very existence as farmers, domestic servants, wet nurses, and sweatshop workers that allowed rich white women to set aside grueling household tasks and concentrate on “uplifting” their homes. By 1850, there were twice as many servants per white household as there were just 50 years before.


Lower-class workers and formerly enslaved people could get married, technically, but their unions couldn’t hope to approach the ideals of the day. Mary White Ovington, a suffragist and early member of the NAACP, wrote in her 1911 study Half a Man that a Black woman in New York who did manage to marry also had to work outside the home, and thus “has no fear of leaving him since her marital relations are not welded by economic dependence.” And unwed women were financially on their own. As Jane Austen wrote in a letter to her niece while grudgingly defending marriage: “Single women have a dreadful propensity for being poor.”

Nineteen fifties America was a veritable marriage propaganda machine, one that can’t be separated from peak consumerism. After two decades of Depression and war, times were better than ever; by the mid-1950s almost 60% of the population were middle-class. Meanwhile, less than 10% of Americans in 1955 thought an unmarried person could be happy.

Of course, the breadwinner-housewife nuclear family wasn’t attainable for everyone. This perception of the “universal” norm put families who couldn’t achieve it—namely, the working class and virtually every person of color, who couldn’t afford to be a one-income household—in the position of having failed. Women who toiled at backbreaking jobs often envied housewives and viewed the home, not work, as the fulfilling aspect of their lives. The reaction of Black women to white feminists demanding to enter the workforce often was, “We want to have more time to share with family,” Black feminist bell hooks wrote in 1984. “We want to leave the world of alienated work.” When you’ve spent years improving other women’s domestic lives for little pay, inhabiting your own with a stable partner feels like a sacred privilege.


White, rich people have long used marriage’s supposed virtues as a way to denigrate low-income Black families under the guise of concern. Ovington, in the same 1911 study, wrote that most Black women in New York were beset with “sexual immorality” and deprived of their “full status as a woman” because they were not properly courted by male suitors. It was evident in 1965 that attitudes like these had staying power when Daniel Patrick Moynihan, then a Labor Department official in the Lyndon B. Johnson Administration, wrote in a much-criticized report that Black children with single mothers were doomed to fail. The government has continued to tout marriage as a cure-all for poverty. The George W. Bush Administration’s Healthy Marriage Initiative, which would continue funding programs for nearly two decades after its establishment, has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into promoting marriage rather than alleviating the poverty of families that already exist.


Despite this persistent messaging, the cultural narrative of the last few years has been about marriage’s decline. Last year, the Pew Research Center analyzed census data and found that in 2019, 38% of American adults ages 25 to 54 were neither married nor living with a partner—and that “all of the growth in the unpartnered population since 1990 has come” not from divorced people, but “from a rise in the number who have never been married.”

One would think that since singlehood is becoming more common, social acceptance would follow. But one consequence of fewer marriages is that they’ve become luxury items for the privileged. Nowadays, the college educated are more likely to be married than people with only a high school degree, and their marriages last longer. Educated people also wait longer to get married and have children—which not only affects their earning power but also improves the prognosis of their marriage. Pew’s report points out that Black adults are the least likely to be partnered, and that single people’s median incomes and education levels are lower. Like that of many status symbols, marriage’s power lies precisely in its exclusion: It’s an institution that remains desirable, yet more and more out of reach, for millions of marginalized Americans.

A 2013 study out of the University of Virginia and Harvard found that the shift from authoritarian marriage to “companionate” marriage among equals came at a price, literally. The couples who can throw money at their problems—from therapy to date nights to babysitters—have a better chance of surviving. Financially stable marrieds invest in each other by pooling their resources. The researchers also found that economic instability had a direct correlation with mistrust and instability in one’s relationships. Many of the working-class interviewees were focused on their own financial survival, not providing “materially and emotionally for others.”

Besides the tax breaks and the security of health insurance, marrying Aaron wasn’t exactly an investment. Our marriage occurred during the depths of the recession, when our bank accounts hovered in the mid–three figures on any given day. Even years later, we felt like we were still too broke to have kids or save up to buy property. But the announcement of our nuptials unlocked something more inscrutable, and therefore more insidious, than financial gain: an alluring social acceptance that would prove hard to resist.


I noticed the difference almost immediately. After I posted a few pictures from City Hall on social media, people who never had much to say to me were suddenly showering me with well wishes. My coworkers from the suburbs seemed relieved to have figured me out. Aaron’s family started treating me . . . well, like family. Acquaintances gushed with advice and marriage-proposal stories. I began to understand the appeal of weddings. Everybody is so happy for you!

Before long, I’d discovered the effectiveness of saying “husband” when dealing with bureaucrats. The word proved useful for my reporting job too: when I was interviewing senior citizens or Christians, using “husband” helped us find common ground. I now had an ironclad comeback for sleazy guys who wouldn’t stop hitting on me. (It hadn’t yet dawned on me how depressing it was that identifying myself as another man’s property was more convincing to a harasser than “I’m not interested.”)

But it wasn’t just these little sparks of social capital that I could reach for dispassionately and only when necessary. To my horror, I started to truly feel self-satisfied. Even though my marriage was never meant to be a happily ever after, I felt “settled” in a way I hadn’t before. Our partnership was perceived as validated, solidified. Elders went from treating me like a child to addressing me as an actual adult. Even in the privacy of our own home, Aaron and I talked about our relationship as a forward-moving entity that would eventually lead to children and a mortgage.

To be clear, a stable partnership isn’t bad in itself; the devotion and acceptance Aaron gave me during our marriage was profound. It’s more my own smugness that disturbs me in retrospect. For a woman, “the status marriage confers insulates her somewhat from rejection and humiliation,” my mom, early radical feminist Ellen Willis, wrote in 1969, recalling her first foray into wifehood. “At least one man has certified her Class A merchandise.” Forty years later, marriage was still offering me a ticket to acceptance. It reminded me of my intrinsic desire as a middle-school floater to be liked by the popular girls, even as I gossiped about them at sleepovers with my more offbeat friends.


Once it was obvious that Aaron’s and my relationship was breaking down, the smugness turned into fear. That fear smothered my doubts when the early limerence of our romance started to fade, when I realized that our connection wasn’t as strong as it needed to be, long after I knew that this was not a forever match. I’d gotten a taste of marital privilege, and I didn’t want to let it go.

I was ashamed of this reticence to end my marriage. What kind of confident, independent woman was petrified of being single? What person of integrity applauds the concept of “single at heart” in public, then secretly pities unattached women? What supposedly class-conscious leftist clings to a privilege semi-accidentally afforded to her, at the expense of her own happiness?

I was having these private feelings just as a cultural celebration welled up in praise of the single woman. The narrative of “smug marrieds” talking down to singles like Bridget Jones and Carrie Bradshaw had been replaced by cultural touchstones like Rebecca Traister’s All the Single Ladies, which made a convincing and exhaustive case for single women’s rising political power, and Kate Bolick’s Spinster, a paean that profiled modern-minded gentlewomen like Edna St. Vincent Millay and Charlotte Perkins Gilman. (It’s worth noting that all the “spinsters” featured in the book ultimately got married, as did Bridget and Carrie.) A woman’s earning power gets hurt the moment she gets married, studies discovered— even if she never has children. Especially if they were educated, single women were not only enviable; they were politically and often economically powerful.

Meanwhile, a fair number of my friends were single. Whether or not they wanted to wed, their lives were full, busy and pleasurable. They also had an autonomy I did not, even with a live-and-let-live partner like mine. Yet I seldom envied them, even though I publicly related to them more than to my married friends. Instead, I dreaded the uncertainty and the vulnerability of being an unpartnered woman in her 30s. I chose to ignore the joy of their spontaneous decisions and the blissful mornings they spent alone in bed, fixating instead on the moments when they’d explain what skin hunger and extreme loneliness felt like.

Finally, several years too late, I did get divorced. I decided that neither the promise of societal approval nor the culturally endorsed anxiety about loneliness and abandonment was worth suppressing my desire for a different relationship, a different life. But I also now understand why lots of people—including supposedly confident, autonomous women—choose to stay in unsatisfying unions. Even after all these years of tweaking it and dilating it to suit our modern world, marriage has remained a social and financial aspiration, a sort of bribe for getting society’s full benefits. It continues to stigmatize single people by promising entry into a certain club with seemingly endless perks, the extent of which aren’t fully obvious until you actually join.

Since the fall of Roe v. Wade, Congressional Democrats have been trying to shore up other rights that may be under threat, including the right to same-sex marriage granted by 2015’s Obergefell v. Hodges. The decision was a civil rights coup for the LGBTQ community, but also a win for the cult of matrimony. “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family,” wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Some of us—including queer people—pointed out that Kennedy’s ultrasentimental framing was a strike against alternative models of intimacy. Domestic partnerships and civil unions were “an opportunity to order our lives in ways that have given us greater freedom than can be found in the one-size-fits-all rules of marriage,” Katherine M. Franke wrote in the New York Times the day before gay marriage was passed in New York State. “Having our relationships sanctioned and regulated by the state is hardly something to celebrate.”

I’m grateful for Obergefell v. Hodges and hope the right of same-sex couples to marry is protected because discrimination is immoral. But correcting a wrong through expanding an oppressive institution still irks me. I wish instead for a world that respects all kinds of love and neutralizes the power of marriage altogether.

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How octordle hint Are Crafted and Decoded





Octordle Hints
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Welcome to the intriguing world of Octordle, where the art of puzzle-solving meets creative ingenuity. In this exploration,  octordle hint we’ll delve into the captivating realm of Octordle puzzles, gaining insights into the puzzle mechanics that make them both challenging and rewarding.

Brief Overview of Octordle:

Imagine a world where puzzles  octordle hint are not just a pastime but a journey of discovery. Octordle, a unique puzzle experience, offers exactly that. It’s a delightful blend of creativity and logic, inviting players to unravel its mysteries through a series of interconnected clues and symbols.

Puzzle Mechanics:

At the heart of Octordle octordle hint lies a carefully crafted puzzle structure that combines complexity with accessibility. The mechanics involve deciphering patterns, understanding symbolic languages, and navigating a puzzle landscape designed to test your wit. Each puzzle is a canvas waiting to be painted with your problem-solving skills.

As we embark on this journey, we’ll lift the curtain on the intricacies of Octordle puzzles, providing you with a behind-the-scenes look at how these mind-bending challenges are conceived and how you can navigate through them with confidence. Let’s uncover the secrets together!

Chapter 1: The Art of Crafting Octordle Hints

Understanding the Puzzle Structure

To master the creation of Octordle hints, it’s crucial to grasp the intricate puzzle structure that forms the foundation of each challenge. Octordle puzzles are like finely woven tapestries, with interconnected threads waiting to be unraveled. In this section, we’ll break down the components that make up the puzzle, providing you with a solid understanding of the framework you’ll be working within.

Behind-the-Scenes Look at Puzzle Design..

Ever wondered how those challenging puzzles octordle hint  come to life? Let’s pull back the curtain and take a sneak peek behind the scenes of Octordle puzzle design. Explore the thought processes, creativity, and meticulous planning that go into crafting each puzzle. From the initial concept to the final layout, we’ll uncover the secrets that make Octordle puzzles both fascinating and perplexing.

Strategies for Crafting Effective Hints…

Crafting hints is an art form, and in this section, we’ll equip you with the strategies needed to create hints that guide without giving too much away. Discover how to strike the perfect balance between challenge and assistance, ensuring that your hints enhance the puzzle-solving experience. Whether you’re a seasoned puzzle designer or a curious novice, these strategies will empower you to create hints that captivate and inspire.

As we journey through the artistry of crafting Octordle hints, you’ll gain valuable insights into the puzzle-making process and the techniques used to levate the puzzle-solving adventure. Get ready to unlock the secrets of crafting hints that leave players both challenged and satisfied.

Chapter 2: Decoding the Language of Octordle Hints

Types of Hints and Their Significance…

Embark on a journey to understand the diverse world of Octordle hints and their unique roles in guiding players through the puzzle-solving adventure. We’ll explore various types of hints, from subtle nudges to more explicit clues, and uncover the significance each one brings to the table. Whether you’re a puzzle enthusiast or a newcomer, this section will illuminate the different facets of hinting, providing you with a toolkit to decipher even the most cryptic clues.

Common Patterns and Clues in Octordle Hints..

Just as a language has its grammar and syntax, Octordle hints have their own set of patterns and clues waiting to be deciphered. We’ll unravel the mysteries behind these common elements, equipping you with the skills to recognize and interpret them. Understanding these patterns is the key to unlocking the language of Octordle hints, making the puzzle-solving journey more intuitive and rewarding.

Case Studies: Successful Decoding Examples..

What better way to grasp the art of decoding than by diving into real-life examples? In this section, we’ll delve into case studies featuring successful decoding scenarios. Witness the application of hint interpretation strategies in action as we analyze specific puzzles.

As we navigate through the language of Octordle hints, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for the nuances that make each hint a crucial piece of the puzzle-solving experience. Get ready to decode the secrets and elevate your proficiency in deciphering Octordle’s enigmatic language.

Chapter 3: The Role of Hint Difficulty

Balancing Challenge and Accessibility..

In the intricate world of Octordle, finding the right balance between challenge and accessibility is an art form. In this section, we’ll explore the delicate dance between creating puzzles that engage players’ intellects and ensuring they remain accessible to a wide audience. Discover the secrets to crafting hints that strike the perfect equilibrium, providing both seasoned puzzle veterans and newcomers with an enriching experience.

Tips for Gradual Difficulty Progression..

Puzzles are a journey, and the path should be as enjoyable as the destination. Learn valuable tips for orchestrating a gradual progression of difficulty within Octordle hints.. These tips are your compass for ensuring that each hint contributes to the overall flow of the puzzle-solving adventure.

Tailoring Hints to Different Skill Levels..

Just as every player has a unique approach to puzzles, the hints should cater to diverse skill levels. Uncover strategies for tailoring hints to different audiences, ensuring that novices feel supported while experienced players are appropriately challenged.

As we navigate through the intricacies of hint difficulty, you’ll gain insights into the art of creating puzzles that captivate and challenge, regardless of the player’s expertise. Prepare to embark on a journey where each hint is carefully calibrated to enhance the puzzle-solving adventure for every participant

Chapter 4: User Feedback and Iterative Improvement

Incorporating Player Input in Hint Design..

In the dynamic world of Octordle, player feedback is the compass that guides the evolution of puzzles and hints. Explore the importance of incorporating player input directly into the hint design process. After all, who better to shape the hints than the ones tackling the challenges head-on?

Strategies for Continuous Improvement..

The journey of crafting Octordle hints is a continuous process of refinement. Discover effective strategies for ongoing improvement, ensuring that each puzzle release is a step forward in quality and engagement. From regular assessments to targeted enhancements, we’ll guide you through a proactive approach to refining your hint-crafting skills. By implementing these strategies, you’ll not only elevate your puzzle designs but also foster a sense of community engagement and collaboration.

Examples of How User Feedback Shapes Hint Creation..

User feedback isn’t just a formality—it’s the driving force behind the evolution of Octordle puzzles. Explore real-world examples illustrating how player input has shaped and refined hints.  Witness the power of community collaboration and how it contributes to creating a puzzle-solving experience that continually exceeds expectations.


Congratulations on embarking on this journey of puzzle-solving and exploration! In this concluding chapter, we’ll help you fine-tune your puzzle-solving experience by focusing on the crucial aspect of choosing the right hint that aligns with your unique style. Let’s delve into the key points:

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Con Magazine: All You Need to KnowIntroduction





Con Magazine
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Con Magazine is an information-rich environment, yet it stands out as a source of wisdom and insight. Con Magazine has always provided in-depth analysis and professional viewpoints on a wide range of subjects. This piece delves deeply into the world of Con Magazine, examining its significance, influence, and history. Come along on this educational adventure with us as we reveal Con Magazine’s mysteries.

The Significance of Con Magazine

Con Magazine

Con Magazine

Con Magazine, sometimes known as the “Connoisseur’s Bible,” has always had a particular place in readers’ hearts. Let’s examine why this magazine transcends beyond its print form.

Con Magazine gives readers an in-depth analysis of various subjects so they can remain knowledgeable and informed.
It continues to be a reliable source of information because of its knowledgeable contributors and original content.
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History Unveiled

Con Magazine’s past must be understood in order to appreciate its significance now fully. Let’s examine its temporal progression in more detail.

Richard Montague, a visionary editor, started Con Magazine in 1967.
It started out as a specialty journal for art enthusiasts and progressively broadened its audience.
It has developed into a thorough knowledge base over time, including everything from technology to art.
The journal has remained current and educational by always evolving with the times.

The Contemporary Relevance

Con Magazine has maintained its importance and relevance even in the era of digital media. This is the reason it’s still a useful tool:

Con Magazine finds the most insightful and pertinent things to share in an overly information-rich society.

Its knowledgeable writings and insights bring readers a distinctive viewpoint on current affairs.
The journal can now reach a worldwide audience thanks to its increased digital presence.
It stands out from the vast majority of internet material thanks to its dedication to authenticity and quality.

Navigating Con Magazine

Con Magazine

Con Magazine

You must properly navigate Con Magazine if you want to get the most out of your experience with it. Here is a starting point guide to assist you:

Investigating Diverse Topics: Con Magazine publishes articles on a wide variety of topics. You can discover insightful information on its pages about art, technology, and travel, among other topics of interest.

Expert Participants: The journal features articles from top authorities in a range of disciplines. Explore their articles to gain a comprehensive picture of their areas of specialization.

Regular Features: Keep a watch out for pieces that go deeply into particular subjects and regular features. These might give you continuing insights into the topics that interest you.

Digital Access: Con Magazine provides digital subscriptions so you can always access its content from any location. Look through their website and application for a flawless reading encounter.

FAQs about Con Magazine

Q1: How can I subscribe to Con Magazine?
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Q5: How frequently is Con Magazine published?
A5: Con Magazine is typically published on a monthly basis. You can expect fresh content and insights every month.

Q6: Where can I find archives of previous issues?
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Con Magazine is not just a publication; it’s a gateway to a world of knowledge and expertise. Its rich history, contemporary relevance, and diverse content make it a valuable resource for anyone seeking to expand their horizons. Embrace the opportunity to be a part of the Con Magazine community and explore the vast landscape of information it offers.

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