As told to Sujata Rajpal
I don’t regret a bit that I am 44 and single. It’s not that I was always against marriage. I have three siblings, one sister and two brothers, all younger than me. They are happily married and have children. For me, when it was the appropriate age to get married, I was too busy chasing my dreams to even think about ‘settling down’ in the Indian sense. My career has always been my first priority. By the time I realised my dreams and achieved professional success, I had crossed the standard marriageable age.
I could still get married if I wanted to but I believe everything has an age, a time and if you don’t do it by a certain age then it is better to forget about it.
A successful marriage requires a lot of adjustments and compromises. After living alone for so many years, I’m not ready to accommodate for anyone. I’m not willing to forego my freedom and privacy for someone. Having reached a professional high and now in my mid-40s, it’s ridiculous to be answerable to someone for my actions, thoughts and behaviour. Most importantly, I don’t feel deprived because I am single. I love my freedom. Initially my parents and siblings used to pester me to get married but when they realised that I was happy being my own, they respected my choice.
Related reading: Sex and the single woman
Yes, marriage is the social norm but it’s up to us to follow or defy the unwritten rules of society. I owe such thinking to my parents. They imbued the values of equality and freedom in us. There was never any gender discrimination, never any specific roles for females at home. Marriage was not a must. We siblings were given the freedom to decide the kind of life that we wanted to live. I’m happy with my choice and wouldn’t want to trade that with anyone.
Why does a woman need a husband? For security – financial, personal and emotional. I have all these and much more, even without a husband. And what is the guarantee that marriage will bring you happiness? A woman could be lonely even with a husband and children around. I have a high paying job, social status, financial security, emotional security, personal freedom and everything else. Why do I need a husband? It’s not that I am anti-male. Not at all. I’m also not advocating that a woman should not get married. It’s wonderful to get married if you can have an understanding life partner. Marriage is a personal choice and it is my choice to remain single.
Come to think of it don’t women become single again in case of divorce or death of a spouse? Don’t they live a life all by themselves? Then why so much of hullabaloo over women who want to remain single by choice?
Everything in life comes with its pluses and minuses. Loneliness is one fallout of being single.
Coming home to an empty house after a hard day can be painful, but such moments are few and far between. I make sure to have plenty on my plate all the time.
I travel, read, listen to music, watch TV, dabble in some social work, meet friends. There is enough to fill my day productively. I never think too much about life. Let life go on without worrying too much about it.
Related reading: How single men and women approach sex differently
Initially my friends felt odd that I was the only single one in the group. Sometimes they were not sure if they should invite me for the get-togethers where there would be only couples and families. But when I didn’t feel odd in such parties, gradually they too became more comfortable with the presence of a single woman amongst the married ones.
Living alone is not easy, but it is also not difficult. I never expose my weaknesses to the outside world. Sometimes I might be scared inside without a man by my side, but I don’t let others know my inner fears. I put up a brave front always. Let the world believe that you are brave, and with time, you will be brave. Be strong, count your strengths and not your weaknesses.
A single woman needs to be careful about the image she projects to the world, as she might come across as emotionally vulnerable and easily available. I live a very simple and disciplined life. I have drawn a boundary around myself and I don’t let anyone cross that.