Marriage has long been considered a significant milestone in Indian society. However, a growing trend has emerged recently, as many Indian women in their 30s and 40s choose to remain single. There could be many reasons behind women embracing singlehood. It could be attributed to societal shifts, changing values, and individual aspirations.
Changing societal dynamics
Indian society has witnessed significant transformations over the past few decades. The rise in educational opportunities for Indian women has been instrumental in reshaping their priorities. With increased access to higher education, women are now seeking professional success and intellectual fulfilment. Economic advancements, educational opportunities, and a shifting cultural landscape have empowered women to pursue their dreams and goals. This newfound independence has allowed them to make choices that were once deemed unconventional, including remaining single.
Women want more
Indian society is witnessing a gradual shift in perspectives surrounding relationships and marriage. The traditional notion of marriage as the only path to happiness and fulfilment is being challenged. Women increasingly seek emotional compatibility, mutual respect, and shared values in their potential partners. They are unwilling to settle for less and prioritise personal happiness and well-being over societal expectations. As a result, they are more inclined to wait for the right partner or remain single if the right match eludes them. "Today’s women are more selective. They know what they want in a partner and are unwilling to settle for anything less. This means they may remain single until they find the right person," says Life Coach and Corporate Trainer Jolly Priya.
For some women, the decision to remain single results from past relationships. They may have been hurt in the past and are not ready to open themselves up to the possibility of being hurt again. It is a valid reason for choosing to remain single.
“Some women remain single because they are not interested in having children. In the past, women were often expected to have children to fulfil their wife and mother roles,” Chitnis.
While the decision to remain single is personal, societal attitudes and pressures still exert influence. Indian culture places significant importance on marriage and family, often attaching a sense of prestige and social acceptance to marital status. Single women in their 30s and 40s often face social stigma, familial scrutiny, and intrusive questioning about their relationship status. Another reason women choose to remain single is that they are unwilling to settle. Some women choose to remain single because they enjoy their own company. "They are happy being alone and do not feel the need to be in a relationship. This is a good choice and is slowly finding acceptance in our society," says Priya. However, as awareness and acceptance grow, more women defy societal expectations and assert their right to choose their paths.
They are lovin’ it
Akshara Bakshi, a 39-year-old researcher at a leading foreign university, "Another reason why women choose to remain single is that they enjoy their independence. Women today are more independent than ever before. They are financially stable and can support themselves. This means that they do not need a partner to provide for them. Instead, they can enjoy their freedom and make their own decisions."
Financial independence is crucial in empowering women to make choices that align with their aspirations. With greater access to employment opportunities and earning potential, women no longer rely on marriage for financial security. They are building successful careers and enjoying economic freedom, enabling them to lead fulfilling lives without needing a spouse. This financial autonomy gives them the confidence to embrace singlehood and pursue their passions.
For 30-something media professional Ramona Chitnis, "Women are focusing on their careers. In the past, women were expected to put their careers on hold to start a family. However, today’s women are more career-driven than ever before. They are pursuing their passions and working hard to achieve their goals. For many women, this means they do not have the time or energy to devote to a relationship," she concludes.