Of Mice and Molecules...
A little business before this post: I've been slacking on blogging, but not because I'm lazy. Instead, I'm using my newfound free time to start working on a new book. As always, it's a slog, but I'll give details when I have them. Now back to business:
I think I've joked around about divorce once on the blog, but I've never really discussed the topic.
Susan and I have never gotten legally married. Technically, we're engaged, but we've been engaged for more than seven years now. The writing's on the wall - it looks like we're married, smells like we're married, but we're not married.
I tend to believe that not marrying someone is, in many ways, more romantic and intimate than getting legally married. A legal marriage provides a sort of default pressure to keep two people together. There are consequences to a divorce. Courts become involved. Control leaves your hands and goes into those of judges. Other hands (lawyers' this time) dip into your pockets. Beyond that is simple impetus - marriage is the default; action must be taken to split up.
No one ever asks "why?" though. Why should two people stay together when they don't want to anymore? In contrast, two people living in sin is sustained only by the feelings of the participants in the relationship. This flimsy devotion is all that's sustained our relationship for nearly a decade. Crazy, yes? I'd argue that the knowledge of the perpetual fragility of our situation keeps us honest, for better or worse. There's no putting off relationship issues with your partner, assuming that things'll keep until you get around to addressing them.
Parity in a relationship transcends gay or straight, age or means. Susan is independent in both means and spirit. She's a beautiful girl who doesn't need me to support her. To keep her, I need to keep my shit together. And even though Susan likes the idea of a pretty wedding ceremony, I think she gets the overarching themes and accepts the logic behind it.
And this rounds us towards my thoughts for the day - the epistemology of the prenup. Although it's something that's unnecessary in the current iteration of our relationship, the prenuptial agreement is something we've discussed and agree on as both necessary and proper.
Odd as it sounds, the concept of a prenup always makes me think of quantum physics, in that our actions today are wholly/solely motivated by consideration of the probabilities of what might happen. In addition, we are not wholly responsible for the success or duration of the relationship, so we're also acting based on the actions of factors (read: people) outside of our control.
On the one hand, there's the argument that a prenup undermines marriage through it's various existence. If you believe your marriage will fail enough to insist on a prenup then your marriage will fail. Self-fulfilling prophecy and all that.
On the other, a prenup is unarguably a rational precaution against an inherently unpredictable situation. Critics of this idea claim that they know the person they're marrying, know whether their relationship will proceed and/or that they will behave rationally in divorce. The last point is laughable; I can't help imagining how rational one half of a couple would be if they found their significant other molesting one of their children. That said, this type of nightmare scenario is certain to happen in a fraction of relationships; it is undeniable that there are child molesters, as is the fact that no one thinks they're marrying one.
This inherent uncertainty leads me to think about the Schrodinger's cat thought experiment, where an outcome is predetermined but unknown. Put in this context, your marriage will either work out or it won't - now did you want a prenup with that? I sure would, about as much as Schrodinger's cat would like a vial of antidote, just in case.
Also, to put it a different way, the prenup could be viewed as an alteration of an existing prenup, the original being the laws of the state or country that govern the distribution of marital property.
The amount of people seeking prenups is rising, but it's still a minority activity (I wasn't able to easily find detailed stats on this), but tossing aside prudence in the face of being deemed unromantic still seems to hold sway. How much longer will this persist through? Based purely on what I've seen, I'm forced to conclude that people are starting to realize that thinking with your heart is only slightly better than thinking with your genitalia.
*There is a tremendous amount of subtlety in the interpretation of the Schrodinger thought experiment. Niels Bohr regarded the act of observing the experiment as inherently altering of the conclusion (a close-if-not-exact reiteration of the Heisenberg cut (yes, that Heisenberg), while others regarded the "Many Worlds" theory where parallel alternate universes accommodated eventualities where the cat both lived and died. Anyway, let's not bogged down in the exactness of the comparison or the interpretations, at least not until you can coherently explain the introspective consequences of Zeno effect to me.
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Noah's Inner Monologue
Scribblings of a man who can barely operate an idiotproof website.