Many people assume that those who stay single do so because they fail to find love, someone with whom they would want to spend the rest of their lives. But is there nothing more to staying single than not finding love? Should we essentially see single people, especially spinsters well past the ‘acceptable’ marital age in our society, as failures in the venture of romance? This attitude also exposes our limited understanding of singlehood and even relationships. For a lot of us, happiness and fulfillment in life essentially come from marriage. So we have this need to see those who are single as unhappy and sorry figures, who are leading unfulfilled lives.
- Many people assume that those who are single remain so because they failed to find love.
- Why are love, fulfillment and relationships synonymous with marriage in our society?
- Why must we compulsorily see single women and men as failures in the venture of romance?
- There is a lot more to both modern life and relationships than the rigid constraints of marriage.
As more and more Indian families are opening up to the idea of love marriages, these days you are mostly given an ultimatum to find someone to love and eventually settle down, or else parents will do that job for you.
Every Indian over the age of twenty-five (even earlier for some unfortunate souls) knows the peer pressure of ‘settling down’. No sooner than we complete our education and get a job, the parental and familial pressure to get married begins to mount. The institute of matrimony is one of the pillars of our society, and thus a natural part of our adult lives. You are born, you go to school and then college, you find a job, you get married and then you proceed to make babies which will keep this wheel spinning. As more and more Indian families are opening to the idea of love marriages, these days you are mostly given an ultimatum to find someone to love and eventually settle down, or else parents will do that job for you.
So while the approach may have changed, the wheel must spin. You must find a companion either way and keep rolling. This is perhaps the reason why we associate singlehood with lack of a prospering love life. If a person, especially a woman is single despite being in the right age bracket, she clearly hasn’t found the one. Why else would she be waiting to get married and start with the matrimonial life? Even in 2019, a lot of people remain oblivious to the fact that marriage or love or companionship may not be everyone’s priority. Not everyone may be revving to make babies or suffering from tragic loneliness because they haven’t found the love of their lives.
The priorities of modern Indians are too baffling to their orthodox peers who have been conditioned to see love, marriage and happily ever after as synonyms to each other.
Men and women these days have different priorities over being married. They want to pursue higher studies, follow their passion, have their own space, or travel the world on their own. Perhaps they enjoy their own company too much to have someone else meddling in between. Perhaps they don’t approve of the norms that a marital life or relationship brings. Also, not getting married doesn’t mean that they have to abstain from love or relationships. It’s just that their relationships may not demand constant companionship or production and sustenance of tiny humans. The priorities of modern Indians are too baffling to their orthodox peers who have been conditioned to see love, marriage and happily ever after as synonyms to each other. That’s why they see marital or relationship status as black and white. If you are married you found your soulmate, if you are not, you haven’t found love yet.
But today, we can’t expect everyone to live life on the generic social norms. Modern relationships are gradually turning away from the rigid constraints of marriage, and evolving into customised experiences. Experiences where every person, every couple gets to call the shots. You can stay single, be in love, enjoy companionship or not and yet find happiness and no, there is no age bar either.
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are author’s own.