Are your friends or family questioning you about when you’re getting married?
Or making comments that your clock is ticking, saying you better find a man and settle down?
Many of us have the tendency to build up ideas and expectations about what we “should” be doing with our lives, particularly when it comes to marriage and having a family. Women, especially when they hit 30, are constantly reminded that their biological clock is ticking, and that they “should” be focusing on finding a partner and settling down, rather than dedicating most of their time to their careers, travel, friends, or simply embracing life without any other commitments!
But what if you’re not ready to settle down, or you haven’t found the right partner?
Being single in today’s world is portrayed negatively, not only on television through the array of “reality” dating shows, but also in research as well. When compared to those in a relationship, people with a “single” status are often judged as being more miserable, lonely, less warm and less caring. This common attitude towards single people results from an ideology of marriage and family that is so ingrained in most cultures, we don’t even realise how much it affects the decisions we make.
In western society, many of us live with the expectation that at a certain age we are meant to have reached certain milestones, such as moving out of home as soon as we reach adulthood. There’s an assumption we will study, travel, have all our social fun throughout our 20s, find the perfect partner and the perfect job and settle down to find marriage by our 30s, and have a family by the time we reach 40.
However, if you are someone who has not ticked all these boxes so far, how can you be confident in your decisions when the people around all seem to be going down this path?
Here is what we suggest…
- Identify what is most important to you. These are your values.
- Set goals for yourself or ‘tick boxes’ based on the values you’ve identified
- Try not to judge yourself. We often say unhelpful things like “what’s wrong with me?” if we aren’t in a long-term relationship, married, or have kids by a certain age
- Realise that not “everyone” is going down the same path. If you have a closer look around, there are people who have done things differently to what others expect of them. Everyone is their own unique self with their own path in life.
Make a conscious effort to really try these tips yourself. If you feel you have tried all these tips and are still feeling alone, upset, or confused, it would be helpful for you to talk with someone who can guide you, particularly when it involves making important life decisions and following through. Feel free to make contact with us today.
Written By Amelie Nguyen – Psychologist – www.creatingchange.net.au