I have a very good job right now and I’m having a great time with my friends. I’m also quite happy to be single. However, my family and friends keep pressuring me and telling me that I should get married before it is “too late.” My mom keeps telling me she wants grandchildren and when am I going to give her some. My sisters keeps telling me that I need a wife and that I’m 30 years old and it’s “time.” This is causing me a great deal of stress. Honesty, I am not opposed to getting married, but I haven’t found anyone even close to being the right one yet, and maybe I won’t. I think marriage is a very important decision, and even if I did fall in love with the right girl, right now, I’m not ready to commit to a lifetime relationship. So I want to know what you think. When is the right time for a man to marry? How can I get my family to see that if I choose to be single, it’s not a tragedy?
Tony’s Take: I agree with you on an emotional and romantic level that you must find someone you truly love in order to be happy for the remainder of your life. The biggest question about whether there is a “time limit” is a simple one: do you want children of your own, or children at all? If you want children of your own, then you must be very aware of the age of your potential mate and that having a first child with a woman who is over 35 starts to become difficult. So this means that your chances of finding a compatible mate extend from ages 20-40 if you want children (most women do not date guys who are more than five years older than they are).
Even if you adopt, you want the child to be finished with college by the time you retire, which means you have until age 45 under those circumstances. If you don’t plan to have children, any woman at any time who also doesn’t want to have children is a potential match for you. And there is no “age limit” involved.
Marriage is a long time. And getting married to the wrong someone ends up like being a prison sentence. I agree with you that you need to find someone who will make you happy for the rest of your life, but as you see from the numbers, there are limits, even though they are longer than our parents would lead us to believe. That said, if you want to wait for a woman who is truly your soul mate, someone who will really make you happy, but you also want to have a family, the clock is ticking, you have to start putting yourself out there seriously, Be social, and go look for her starting now.
Alison’s Take: At the risk of being “wordy” on this one, I have a lot to say on the subject. Anyone at any age and any place can find true and lasting love–and marriage, if that is their goal. But you do have to know what you really want, what you have to offer, and where to find it. Tony points out that if you want children, there is a time factor, but that is only if you desire a traditional home. Plenty of single men and women adopt children if they want to be parents, as well as later-in-life couples. As I see it, the time to marry is the right time based on desire, circumstance, and personal factors that transcend a timeframe.
I think it’s terribly selfish of otherwise caring parents, friends, and colleagues to pressure single people into getting married instead of allowing them to make their own choices in their own timeframe. I’ve heard so many stories just like yours where the pressure from others makes an otherwise happy and successful single person pair up when s/he isn’t ready, usually with disastrous consequences.
For a good marriage, it’s essential that you know what you want, and rely on your heart and head to tell you what’s right (for you), and not simply please someone else because it is hard to resist their demands. you do that at the cost of your own common sense. Getting married without finding the right person and wanting it will not only ruin your own life, but the lives of others. Would you really want to marry a woman that is just “Ms. you’ll do” and bring children into this world with her just to present your parents with grandchildren or to make your friends happy?
I agree with Tony that if you want children in a traditional relationship, or if you feel that your soulmate is out there waiting for you, that you are at the stage in life where you can enjoy being single, you should also start actively looking for that special someone in a serious way. But while I personally feel that most people’s lives are enhanced with a spouse, I don’t think everyone is meant to be married or have children. if you decided that you are truly “bachelor” material, be firm in your resolve and happy with your choice, and hopefully, in time, the people who really do care about you will be happy for you in whatever lifestyle you choose — as long as you are happy with it, too.