Tired of societal pressure and feeling bad about themselves for being single, many women are choosing to marry themselves.
According to NPR, for the first time ever, single adult women outnumber married adult women in the United States. But despite being in the majority, the stigma attached to being a single woman remains.
“It’s left over from centuries of one kind of marriage pattern and one path for women,” Rebecca Traister, author of All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation, tells Cosmopolitan.
Like most women, Traister says she remembers reading books as a kid in which the ultimate goal for the heroine is to get married.
"We're set up as a culture to treat marriage as the most exciting thing you'll ever do in your life," she says. "But if you marry yourself, you can say: My life is just as meaningful as the life of the person who happens to be getting married."
And that's just what women around the world are doing. Marrying themselves. It's called "sologamy", and while it's not legally recognized, it's part of a self-love movement that started around the year 2000.
Last spring, on the rooftop of her Brooklyn apartment, Erika Anderson married herself. Wearing a vintage-inspired white dress and with her closest friends in attendance she told herself, “I choose you today", Cosmopolitan reports.
She planned it like you would plan any wedding, sending invitations, searching for a dress, writing vows and organizing catering. She decorated with red rose centerpieces, with "you and me" written on them.
“For so many years, people had been telling me I was a great catch,” Anderson tells Cosmopolitan. "I caught myself."
Sasha Cagen, a life coach, consultant and advocate for the self-wedding movement tells Vice she views the self-wedding as a "much-needed coming-of-age ritual that functions like a bat mitzvah or a quinceañera".
While self-marriages aren't legal, meaning you won't get any tax breaks by saying 'I Do' to you, Cagen says self-marriage is a marker or a societal shift.
"A marriage was to celebrate becoming an adult, but now we live in a different world where people are staying single," she says. "A self-marriage is a coming-of-age ritual and it's really beautiful: To really commit to yourself is to say what your priorities are on a deep level."
Because self-marriage doesn't mean you have to stop dating, or even that you can't already be married to someone else. It's about making yourself a priority.
Grace Gelder, who married herself in 2014, tells The Guardian, "Just because I married myself, it doesn’t mean that I’m not open to the idea of sharing a wedding with someone else one day."
Cagen tells Vice self-marriage can actually be helpful for other relationships because you're "creating a standard of what a relationship is, and you start training yourself to go for nicer people."
She says that just like any marriage, a self-marriage takes work.
"Obviously it's a journey that you go on with yourself, but you have these vows and promises to yourself that are very grounding," she tells Vice. "I think the biggest difference for me is the ring or engagement necklace that I put on, and every time I doubt myself it really calms or centers me when things come up or I need more confidence in myself. It's everything from a romantic persuasion to a business situation. I really think that marrying yourself is the best thing you can do for yourself, really."
Cagen says she's aware that most people think self-marriage is crazy, but to her "it makes total sense" and she thinks in 50 years people are going to catch up and it will be totally normal.
Time will tell.