ask me again

“I was in a long-term relationship and it felt like — whether it’s societal pressure or its familial pressure — it just becomes the next step in your life; that’s what you do,” he said. “If you’re dating somebody long-term for three years, the question arises: when are you going to get married? What’s the next step? It gets in your head a little bit.” ~ The Huffington Post

Lord, please deliver me from societal pressure. Amen. Can’t a girl just be happily unmarried? Apparently, the answer is no.

In the past year I have been under moderate to a lot of pressure, from my colleagues mostly, to get married. It’s generally ridiculous but it has been stuff I can ignore/handle….until now

In the past 2 or 3 months, meetings on policies and strategies started with Chu, when are you getting married? Work lunches invariably gravitated to, Chu, have you given your boyfriend a timeline for when you want to get married? This always led to an unending talk about my marriage prospects. One of the secretaries decided to say in front of everyone I work with, “I hope you realise that you are the only person in this department who is not married” and then she walked out. Maybe I should have replied with I am also the youngest HOD in the firm with more qualifications than my entire department combined and I am still under 30. But I didn’t… Instead, like the penguins of Madagascar, I just smiled and waved it away.

smile and wave

That has pretty much been my life for the last few months.

These first 16 days of Jan have been all of that pressure on steroids. Since coming back from the holidays, 90% of people greeted me with “Happy New Year Chu, are you engaged yet?” I kid you not, people are actually pointedly looking at my ring finger. Colleagues are actually calling me at my desk to ask if I am engaged? The best part is that answering “no, I’m not engaged” is not enough. They must stay and share their disappointment with me and ask me whether I think a proposal is nigh. Some even go as far as to push me to guess a date or a time I think he might propose. I have perfected a standard suitably vague answer and I always laugh and move on to something else. But now I got to thinking, why the pressure? Is it to help me? Do they perceive me as needing help? Is it from that place where people are trying to save you from yourself? is it because being single is somehow making me inadequate as an employee?

Considering that I was awarded a Top Achiever Award by my firm at the end of last year, I am inclined to think my marital status has nothing to do with my ability to deliver excellent work. So what is the problem?

Could it be then, that society considers all else inadequate as long as I am unmarried?

As a woman in her very late twenties, I accept marriage pressure as a cultural norm. I personally look forward to being married one day and to all the things that come with it. However, I don’t see anything wrong with being single and/or unmarried in the meantime and being quite content with it. That contentedness is probably why I am happier than I have ever been in a relationship before. I have matured into myself. I am in no rush to anywhere and I know that all things that need to happen will definitely will happen in good time. I simply don’t understand why people act like I haven’t reached my full potential yet because I am unmarried. It almost feels like people are anxious for me.

It is as ludicrous as it is illogical.

This is even more so when one takes into account the fact that dating should be a happy medium. Before I started dating, I couldn’t talk to a guy anywhere or anytime without sparking rumours that I am secretly seeing him or receiving unsolicited advice about why he wasn’t good for me or how he was good for me. I once commented to a friend that a friend of a mutual friend that I had just met had such a lovely, warm personality. The reply was, “He has a girlfriend. She arrives tomorrow.” Now I could say the same thing and the answer will be, “Yes he does.” I guess my threat level has been lowered by my relationship status #chuckles.

I suppose I needed to get this off my chest before the next person randomly asks which country I (the woman who is not engaged) am getting married in.