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Where is the grass greener: singledom or marriagdom?

As a singleton in search of a partner you may well believe that the grass is greener on the other side. In many cases it is - marriage and relationships can be wonderful things that contribute so much to our lives. However, simply having a relationship won't guarantee anything. Going into such a partnership with sincere intentions is key to helping us at those times when hard work and trust are required. Unfortunately, with continuous pressure from society & family members, coupled with the fear of being left on the shelf and a ticking biological clock (which applies to both men & women!), a growing number of people’s judgements are questionably clouded as they rush around the mandap...

Niki and Neal are in their early twenties, they met in their second year at university and married in 2007. The moment they graduated, Niki’s parents started to put the pressure on. They were not allowed to continue ‘dating’ unless they got engaged and wedded in 6 months. This was a daunting prospect for Neal. Although he loved Niki and enjoyed her company, he felt that they had not really got to know one another in the ‘real world’. But before he knew it, he was saying “I do”, despite the horrible feeling in the pit of his stomach. Since that day, the couple have spent practically every other week arguing and discovering that they really did not know each other well enough and are still struggling to adjust to each other’s living habits. As they start to approach their second wedding anniversary, instead of thinking of what memorable gift he should be buying his wife, he is planning on how to break the news that he wants out...

Anju is in her late twenties and Anand is in his thirties. They got married earlier this year. For the last few years, Anju’s mother had been giving her a hard time about being single. All of her sisters and cousins were married and if she did not hurry up, she would be left on the shelf. Eighteen months ago, she met Anand through an online Asian dating website. Despite an erratic relationship full of more arguments and drama than Eastenders, he proposed and she accepted. Finally, she would not be labelled a spinster, her mother would get off her case and she believed that the relationship would get better, once they were married. Three months on, whilst she has managed to get her mother off her back, she now has Anand’s mother interfering, the relationship is still like a looping roller coaster, so is the silver lining that she’s no longer on the shelf?

Sunil and Simran, now in their early forties, married 15 years ago. After dating for 6 months, Simran announced that her visa was about to expire. The only way she could stay in the country was if they married. At the time, most of Sunil’s friends were in long-term relationships, or on the way to getting married. He did not want to be the odd one out and his parents had also started putting the pressure on. Six months into the marriage, Simran could sense that perhaps Sunil was now regretting his decision. So she took matters into her own hands and fell pregnant in an attempt to save her marriage. Eighteen months later, she fell pregnant again, without consulting Sunil. Today, whilst they are still married in name and Simran managed to avoid a divorce, what she did not manage to do is save her marriage. For the sake of their children, they live under the same roof, but lead separate lives full of resentment for one another. They barely talk but have perfected the art of playing happy couple in the presence of family & friends.

These are just some of many stories of people who have got married for arguably what appears to be the wrong reasons. As a single person you may sometimes wonder when is it going to be your turn. But rushing into marriage due to external pressures, fear, or to conform to society’s rules is not the answer.

Rita and Raj have been happily married for 10 years. Prior to meeting Raj, Rita was in a 5 year relationship with Vijay. When it came down to it, Rita decided not to marry Vijay because deep down inside she knew that she would be settling for second best. It was a very difficult choice for her to make as he was from the same community & caste, both sets of parents were good friends and she was not getting any younger. According to Rita “Everyone expected us to get married. I was under enormous pressure, it was really hard and whilst I was tempted to do it, to keep everyone else happy, I’m relieved that I found the strength to not succumb to it all. Otherwise I would not have the wonderful husband and two lovely children that I have today”.

Whilst there are no guarantees that any marriage is going to last a lifetime, does it not make sense to at least choose a partner for the ‘right reasons’ and start your married life with the best possible chance to succeed?

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