Women who wake up each morning to an empty space are not necessarily miserable, lonely, or on the shelf. Many of them choose not to have a man steal their covers or dictate what they wear to bed. With due sympathies to every male eye that scans these lines, there are Indian women out there who actually like life unfettered by a spouse. Yesterday’s marriages were driven by economic necessity. Today’s single women come in all ages, and include divorcees, single parents, out-of-relationship types and the unmarried-but-in-a-relationship kind. In a country where women are traditionally expected to quit their jobs on marrying, more and more are choosing to focus on careers.
The “Happily Unmarried” or “Unmarried by Choice” concept is gaining popularity to some extent these days. Todays busy and attractive lifestyle does not give them the option to compromise if they do not find the right Man. Today’s women are quite independent and they do not need a man to support them in the same as men are not dependent on their wife to take care of their house when they are away for work. This independence is a major reason that people are unmarried and still happy.
When Kanya pulled out of an eight-month-old marriage that wrecked her mentally, she opted for a long hiatus from a relationship. "In the marriage, I had become a person even I didn’t recognise," she confesses. "Defensive, nervous, unsure … that wasn’t me at all, but the trauma of what I went through unhinged me." She embarked on a process of rediscovery, got a job, enrolled for a professional course, and enjoyed living on the campus of the institute she joined. "Slowly the real me started to re-emerge. The fun, laughter, letting-my-hair-down, all resurfaced and I began to enjoy my single status." She is still happily single and no power on earth can move her to trade that life for a man.
For many people, being single is no longer an issue. Those who are single by choice tend to go out and seek more active lifestyles. And those who are single by circumstance tend to seek activities that compensate for their feelings of loneliness. What, then, are their reasons to stay single?
Will the knot choke?
Many singles fear the same of a monogamous relationship and wonder if they have it in them to go the long haul. Affraid of losing their freedom.
Purse strings over pyjama strings
Singledom is a wise and viable decision, a choice for today’s woman who does not need a man to pay the bills. With equal opportunities in the career arena, more women are whipping out their wallets at restaurants, shopping malls and discotheques instead of looking over their shoulder as women did, a generation ago.
Girls just wanna have fun
Women are well aware that there is life in singledom. A life built around friends, social activities and a lifestyle that would be threatened if they were to marry. Many realize that they do not have to be paired off to be happy. And that being happily single is better than being unhappily married. Being happy is a choice. So is being single.
More than ever before, women are walking out of marriages that do not work. And that springs from acknowledging a need to be treated fairly, to be a complete person, to honour her own needs and desires. Since divorce is no longer the terrible word it used to be in pre-liberalized times, more women find themselves on the other side of the grass – either as singles or single parents.
Mr. Right is not on the next horoscope
It takes a lot more than a bunch of stars on a natal chart and a timely nod from the family astrologer to get a couple together these days. And that is because women are no longer dependent on anyone. They do not want to settle for anyone living next door. Their expectation for Mr. Right has different standards and their expectation has risen in the recent times. They are not going to compromise on their Mr. Right.
● You are not strapped for cash.
● Your pay cheque is yours and you can do as you wish – splurge or save for a rainy day.
● No boyfriend blues. If you want to go out with your girlfriend, you are free to do so.
● All-day PJ party. You are free to lounge around in your comfortable pjs.
● You do not have to rush to put on your pretty face when you hear your boyfriend’s bike roaring down the street.
● Zero-risk flirting. You do not have to feel guilty about flirting with other guys.
● Dessert at breakfast. You can eat a double sundae for breakfast or a bowl of cereal for dinner.
● You get to be a real individual, make all your decisions and live life on your terms.
● Turn the clock upside down. You can stay up watching TV all night, sleep in until noon and wander in cyberspace until it is time to hit the party circuit.
● Sex is optional. You do not have to fake two things: headaches and orgasms.
● It may be too late if you change your mind about leading a single life ten years from now. Healthy, handsome men have a way of drying up the older a gal gets.
● Even if you are watching a talk show, it is nice to have someone to squabble with. Sunday evenings can sometimes get lonely.
● Festival times can be particularly difficult. Singles report that a bout of depression is to be expected in the season when families come together and celebrate, a time their singlehood is underscored.
● You have to make your own breakfast and fix the broken bulb. Let us admit that a man has his uses – when he is up on a ladder or elbow-deep in corn flour.
● Family functions can be more painful than a visit to the dentist. Scores of great aunts and grand uncles suddenly swoop down on you and demand a list of what you are looking for in that elusive groom and promise to hunt him down for you. Enough for you to avoid the next family wedding like the plague.