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The Marriage Dilemma

'Why is it so difficult to find the right person, who is trustworthy and can connect on an equal level?' asked a young friend of mine during a conversation we were having on a weekend. She's a strong, independent woman in her thirties and is looking for a prospective groom. And yes she's right, it's harder for self-reliant single women to find the right partner as some men are intimidated by such women.

As the question still lingers between us, she goes on to ask, 'If one is happy being single and living on her own terms, is there a need to hurry to get married unless you find that one person with whom you can connect to and who will not try to control your decisions and your life?'

This second question is more complicated than it seems...

In a country like India, is it possible for a woman, who is already too late to marry (either due to personal choices or due to circumstances), to stay single as well as happy? As appalling as it may seem, there's still a social stigma attached to single women, whether they are self-reliant or not. Often unmarried single women are looked down upon as having a character flaw, unhappy, moody, angry, and/or odd. They are often faced with questions like: 'When will you marry? Why don't you marry? Who will look after you when you are old if you don't marry and have children? You'll never be happy in life if you are alone... and many more.'

Unfortunately, to avoid this social stigma, many women feel pressured or are pressurized to get married so that they can become part of the married club which seems to serve as a certain status symbol in society.

Many a time one has to pay a much bigger price in trying to shoo away such social ostracization, uncouth behaviour or loneliness by getting married.

[Take the most recent case of Suchithra who was forced to marry before the age of 20, as her horoscope said that she had to wait for seven more years to get married if she doesn't marry before she's 20! So her parents had to marry her off, lest they are ostracized by society. Did her horoscope not mention that if she gets married before 20, she won't even live till the age of 20? Had they waited for seven more years (according to the horoscope), she'd probably be alive, more mature to make her life choices and be happier!]

As I ponder over the second question asked by my friend, I wonder whether she will be able to overcome the pressure and let go of the attraction of belonging to the club or having the social validation, until she finds her Mr Right?

Of course, most of us look for a companion with whom we can share love, trust, passions, weaknesses; with whom we can share our life through all of life's ups and downs. But this should not be at the cost of our personal freedom, our values, our happiness, or our professional choices. Making a hurried decision about a partner, so that we can belong to a club isn't healthy for anyone concerned.

At the same time, it is alright if someone doesn't want to be married and is happy and content being single. Being single doesn't mean being lonely; it's a relationship preference or maybe an orientation like the asexuals or aromantics.

Until then, I ask my friend to: enjoy her singledom, understand the reasons behind her wanting or not wanting to get married, learn to love herself so that she can make the right choice, and avoid doing what doesn't feel right. I also ask her to take things slow, keep an open mind, converse/meet with people and when the time's right she'll surely find Mr Right. We both agree that one should look for a partner whom she can converse with and who'll support her in her decisions, help her grow, and always steer her in the right direction. It shouldn't matter if he has a lower income or status than her, provided both are comfortable in their choices.


Did you face a similar dilemma in your own life? Were you able to make the right choices?

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