What does it take for a woman to stay single and stick to it? Does social pressure get the better of her every time? Let’s find out.
It can be quite challenging to stick to the ‘single woman’ status in the patriarchal world that we live in. Oh yes, I mean to be a female who doesn’t need a male for her survival? OMG!
Even though the 21st century has seen a rise in this number as more women gain financial independence, sooner or later, we do give in to the pressure to “settle down.’’
I personally never imagined myself single after a certain point in my life, because I had been made to believe that companionship is crucial to my survival as a happy human.
But is that really true for all of us? Can some of us not find happiness all by ourselves? Without getting into a “formal” relationship with a man/woman?
We sat down with 48-year-old Manjari Varshney, executive coordinator – Operations & Supply Chain, from Navi Mumbai, and a proud single woman, to find out what it takes to practice sologamy in a country like India.
When did you realize that you never want to marry? How did you arrive at the decision?
Honestly, I am not sure. As far as I can remember, I have always been an independent girl and sort of disconnected from the regular routine stuff. Having started work very early in life, the financial security made this part of me even stronger.
It is a fact that humans cannot remain monogamous by nature. I feel marriage is defying the basic law of nature. I could be considered outrageous in saying that!
However, coming back to the question, my father did arrange for me to meet a guy initially. And not surprisingly, he was his misogynistic best right from the word go!
He wanted to know how much I earned and told me I will have to hand over my salary to him post marriage. This was appalling to me. The straight-forward person that I am, I showed him the door. I met a few more guys after that, which further convinced me that I did not want this life.
The biggest factor that made my arrive at my decision was that I didn’t want children. Of course, it doesn’t mean I don’t like them. I do, as long as they are not mine.
This thought was a “sin” back then and I was questioned by everyone around me. People were not happy to see that I had the courage to speak my mind.
While there was parental and extended family pressure initially, I have always stuck to my stance. I have friends who got married to partners of their choice and had children. But few years down the line, the extra-marital relationships sprung up. Manjari
It made me wonder if the institution is considered sacrosanct, what is it that people seek outside of wedlock.
Male friends had the typical answer, “the wife is unable to satisfy… she’s not the same, etc.” I realized that so many couples live a fake life because of social pressure. Having said that, I also know of the rare ones who are made for each other.
Were your parents supportive? Did they try to convince you otherwise?
To begin with, they were not and they did worry about how I would lead my life alone. But it did not take much of an effort to convince them. Thereafter, they never questioned my decision.
How easy/difficult has it been for you to justify your status as a single unmarried woman in a society that believes marriage is a necessity more than a means to form meaningful relationships?
I am quite clear in my approach to society. I am not answerable to anybody, except my parents. So, if they don’t have a problem, what others think doesn’t bother me. I am good at ignoring unwanted nuisance.
Today, my family is super proud of the fact that I am around to look after my aging parents, at a time when they need it the most.
Do you feel your decision has changed your relationship with men/women around you?
Not really. In fact, a lot of my friends and colleagues compliment me on how I carry myself and tell me “they wish to be like me.”
Manjari says she is proud to be single, instead of being in a fake relationship for the sake of society. Image copyright: Aweekinlife
These days, people who want to remain single are said to be practicing something called “married to self”. Do you think it’s the right phrase to describe your status?
Yes, but I would prefer “committed to ME.”
Do you feel you’ve missed out on something because you went against the established notions of happiness?
None at all. I have had relationships that I am proud of. The best part is that I have a close circle of friends who are always there for each other.
Single or not, we all feel lonely at some point in our lives. How do you handle loneliness?
It is a passing phase. Honestly, I don’t have the time either. But yes, there are a few glum days. I don’t stress over it much.
We know you don’t want to marry but do you believe in the institution? Would you recommend it to friends?
For someone like myself, marriage is an outdated institution. As far as the recommendation is concerned, it is purely a personal choice. Each person is different.
Do you think the idea of marriage is finally evolving in the 21st century?
I am not really sure about this. But I am acquainted with people who are in open marriages, which supports the fact that humans cannot be monogamous.
There is way too much intolerance amongst couples and they split for absolute petty reasons. In that case, why commit to something that one is incapable of handling?
Manjari has dedicated this interview to her father, her superhero, who made it possible for her to be who she is.
He passed away last week at 80 after fighting his best. She adds, “I am honored to be his daughter and that I had the privilege to be of help to him when he needed me the most.”
DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed in this post are the personal views of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of Aweekinlife.com. Any omissions or errors are the author’s and A Week In Life does not assume any liability or responsibility for them.