As a young girl, I developed a dim view of marriage.
Most of my friends' mothers tiptoed around their fathers. When I was nine years old, my friend Karen's aunt actually sat us down and gave us tips on how to get a man and keep him happy (it didn't escape my notice that she made dinner, mopped floor, and changed diapers while her prince slept on couch. I never even made eye contact with man; he remained comatose for length of our acquaintance).
As I got older, magazines offered advice on how to get a man to commit and how to decipher his feelings (expecting guy to express them would be out of question).
I got message: To be a success in life, I needed a man. That they were a lot of work was price I had to pay for being a woman.
Like most little girls, I was sold from birth on wedding fairy tale: giant ring, dress, honeymoon in sun. But, while wedding looked like fun, life beyond it looked like job from hell.
So it's no surprise that when I got into my 20s I attracted wrong men. They all feared commitment or had some sort of emotional entanglement that prevented them from starting a real relationship with me.
After many years and much soul searching, I discovered that men weren't problem. I was problem. I attracted men who could not commit because I didn't want to commit. Deep down I believed marriage would bore me at best, kill me at worst.
But, still, a small part of me did want to get married and wanted to believe that lifelong happy relationships were indeed possible. I determined what I wanted in a relationship, what would make me feel secure, at peace, and bring me joy. I wrote down a list of qualities my perfect husband would offer.