Welcome back friends! This week, I want to focus mainly on the different types of pressure people feel to change their relationship status.
First, there’s familial pressure. This can exist in a range of ways, from arranged marriage, to constant questioning, to an increasing desire for grandchildren.
In regards to arranged marriage, I cannot really relate as it is not a custom within my family, but on a more general scale, I am definitely not a stranger to the practice of familial pressure. Not a holiday gathering goes by on my mother’s, or father’s side of the family without my lack of relationship becoming a point of discussion. I used to simply laugh it off, say I was too busy with school, work or sports to focus on anything else. Lately though, as I’ve found my “single voice” I’ve made a point of stating that I am fine on my own. I refuse the notion that I have to be in a relationship at all times, simply to please my family, and the fact that it took me so long to come to this is almost embarrassing.
Embarrassing, but not uncommon. Many people, commonly women, are essentially living life in an endless game of musical chairs; always being told they need to hurry up because there are not enough stable places for all of us to land, and as time goes on, these places dwindle even further. This pressure also leads many people to settle, as discussed by Sunny D in this post on her blog Spoken Words & Thoughts.
This pressure goes beyond family as well, other guilty parties including friends and the media, but even more abstract things such as corporations promoting buying in bulk to save money or group/family discounts typically for 4 people puts pressure on those who are single to join an alternate way of life. This pressure then, exists in almost all aspects of the average woman’s world, making it all but inescapable.
I think the pressure from friends is easily understood by most, even the unintentional pressure they place by making their own romantic progress. Getting married, having children, discussing which suburb is closest to the best schools and for the best price all remind the single woman that she is just that, single, and in combination with the media, reminds her that she is abnormal. This is not to say that couples should be condemned for making single people feel bad about themselves, as I am living proof that you can be single and surrounded by couples and still be happy, but just to comment on the pressures felt by many single women to follow a certain path.
I find that there are not enough media outlets telling women it is okay to be single and reflecting a positive image of single life, so women continue to feel as though they are doing something wrong, and therefore, not fitting in. Aside from certain seasons of shows such as Sex in the City, Girls or a handful of others, the single friend tends to be the sad, lonely girl who constantly wants to be set up on dates, while also consistently humoring the audience with all of her horrible dating mishaps. Destined to be unsuccessful and a victim of ridicule, the single woman is rarely presented as single by choice, but instead, single by the choice of others. Robbed of agency, this version of the single woman is still under the same pressure to have a successful romantic life, which is what makes her overall character so tragic.
This blog though, hopes to reach out to the online community of single women and remind you all that, as I said in my first post, being single really isn’t the end of the world.