45 Year Old Female, Single, Never Married: Is Something Wrong?
Posted by Dr. Vollmer on September 21, 2010
Marjorie, forty-five, pretty, financially successful, smart, from a stable family, never married, often encounters “you are so lovely, why are you not married?” Together, we dissect this comment as both an insult and a compliment. “Why do I have to be married?” Marjorie wonders aloud. “Why does that prove to people that I am normal?” Again, Marjorie ponders the assumptions that her friends and family make when they offer up their thoughts about her life. “Is marriage somehow the crown jewel?” She asks. I began to think about gender, knowing that many people in Marjorie’s world would probably say the same thing to a man, so this issue of marriage as the stamp of “normal” does not seem to be gender specific. At the same time, a single woman experiences a certain prejudice; a feeling that she is defective because she does not have a husband. Marjorie explains to me that if a woman is married, friends and family do not need to “worry”. The quality of the marriage seems to be less important then the fact of the marriage. Similarly, a single woman might have a great support system, but this issue does not fall in the radar of being “OK”. I tend to think that Marjorie’s well meaning friends and family want her to be happy; in their worlds, happiness comes with a family. A family begins with a marriage. I can see that, but I can also see that there are other ways to find happiness in the world. Marjorie is not so sure.