What it’s really like to be 26 and single in Pakistan

Published: January 19, 2014
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People assume that if you are a female and over 20 years of age, you must be receiving a long line of rishtas. Therefore, if you are not married, it’s your fault.

Sometime back, I was reading an article written by a woman about how she finally learnt to be single and ‘happy’ at the same time.

What interested me more, though, was a comment under the article that read,

“Why do single women constantly need to declare that they are happy that way?”

To which someone else had replied,

“Because, whether directly or indirectly, everyone feels the need to remind them that they are single and assume that they are unhappy.”

I couldn’t have agreed more.

On a personal front

Most single girls my age will tell you, the words they dread the most coming out of anyone’s mouth are,

“Why aren’t you married yet?”

Or,

“When are you getting married?”

Unfortunately, if you are single at my age, there is practically no one out there, who will have mercy on you and refrain from asking these highly awkward questions. In fact, for me, these questions began pouring in when I was just 22. Even while pondering over career dilemmas, on occasions, the ‘kind’ advice I’ve been given is,

“You should just get married. Your life will be settled then.”

When people ask me – rather insensitively – why I am not married yet or when I will tie the knot, I feel like saying,

“Why don’t you just look for someone, eh? Keep yourself busy in the process.”

Apparently saying things like “I’m focusing on my career right now” are just not enough to satisfy them.

Many girls have taken a different approach.

To shoo away these Nosey Parkers I have heard many say,

“My parents are seeing rishtas (marriage proposals), so insha’Allah (if God wills) very soon.”

“When I meet the right person.”

Sometimes they work, others, they don’t.

Unfortunately, none of these ‘deflectors’ as I’d like to call them, apply to me. My only answer is that, it just never happened for me and I don’t know if it ever will.

For people, I suppose, the assumption is that if you are a female and over 20 years of age, you obviously must be receiving a long line of rishtas. Therefore, if you are not married, it’s your fault. A lot of the times I feel like an alien because most of the girls around me do not face that dilemma; they are either married or have that part of their future sorted out by their parents.

Yet, I know that I am not the only one in my position.

There are many other single ladies out there, especially those who are older than me and nearing their 30s, who are reminded about how ‘lonely’ they will feel in their old age when they won’t have husbands and children to care for. Such women often have to face a barrage of painful questions and comments such as,

“It’s about time.”

“Just choose anyone, puhleaze.”

Single and want children?!?

There was another article, about a year ago, which really moved me. It was about a woman who had always desired children but never found a life partner and having reached her 40s, she wondered if she could realistically foster her dreams. She described her situation as one of ‘disenfranchised grief’.

When explaining that she did not want to adopt or opt for artificial insemination, responses were often unsympathetic and many of her peers seemed to think it was her fault, that she did not try hard enough to get married and have a family.

While most people sympathise with couples who are unable to have children, the same could not be expected for someone who is single.

On the professional front

Apart from having people ask me why I am not married, or telling me that I’m too old and it’s about time, what probably makes me feel more insecure is the things I have heard others, both men and women, say about unmarried women.

Back in college, any unmarried teacher I had, who incidentally also had a bad temper, was branded as someone who was ‘frustrated’ and needed to find a man for her own good. In professional life, I’ve heard the same comments about women much older than me who don’t have husbands.

Is that really how shallow we are? That we assume any person who isn’t getting married, having sex and producing children, is somehow insane?

It can also, at times, be insulting when it is assumed that because I am not married with children, professional life is easy-breezy for me and all other single women.

Don’t get me wrong; I agree 100% that working mothers have a tough challenge before them. However, it should not be assumed that if a woman is not married, her professional life is automatically easier for her, or that she does not have her own set of responsibilities.

I have met unmarried women who are supporting their family and face a whole range of challenges of their own. At times, it is for this very reason that they do not end up getting married.

Besides that, work is work. It’s hard for everyone sometimes, albeit man or woman, single or married.

So, although you may not have cared for or agreed with a single word I’ve written, but in case you did, the next time you feel like prying into someone’s personal life and their enigmatic single status, how about being a little more sensitive and a little less nosy?

Sometimes, it’s really not as simple as putting on a ring.

U. Farooq

U. Farooq

A lawyer based in Karachi.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • effi

    If you as a man facing this issue that people are asking too much then you can say that my doctor (Hakim Sahab) didn’t give permission yet. No one will ask again!Recommend

  • -SHAGY-

    you are 26 and you are complaining…I am 35 and just imagine how long have I been hearing all this. In fact let me add another point to that…now people ask me if the reason I am still unmarried is cause my standard is too high?!
    I have also heard things like, she’s earning herself why would she want to get married, and all my married friends tell me oh you are luck you are single enjoy your life…..so is that what the married life is all about?!?! I am now confused if am I really better off or what?!
    but thank you for writing this and guess what as the saying goes the biggest enemy of the woman is another woman. The mothers of potential grooms even in this day and age want a “gori”, slim and smart 18 year old doctor for their sons….who also cooks and cleans for them while looking like a model all the time!Recommend

  • haider

    no disrespect but, that made no sense. an 18 year old doc? are you serious? lolRecommend

  • Elmo

    People just can’t help themselves and they think its their prime duty to pry on others life. First its marriage, then kids, then their schooling and then their marriages. It just never stops. I think its none of anyone’s business to ask others such sort of questions. Just want to spice up their lives while picking on others weak points and turn a blind eye towards their personal issues. Lame.Recommend

  • Asad Khan

    “…and age want a “gori”, slim and smart 18 year old doctor for their sons….who also cooks and cleans for them while looking like a model all the time!…”

    So whats wrong about that? I mean Pasand Apni Apni Naseeb Apna Apna, Fair.

    Don’t you think?

    regards,Recommend

  • I am 26 year old and as far as getting marry or not is totally a personal decision. So I think it is better to turn a deaf ear on such questions.Recommend

  • Asad Khan

    …because Hakim Sahab happens to be very possessive in nature.

    regards,Recommend

  • Abeer Pervaiz

    I agree with the author. After coming back from abroad the first question I was faced was with so when are you getting married? And after announcing oh im planning to do PhD the reaction was pretty negative and I was asked but why study more wen u can get married? Not to mention the “islamic prespective” bombarded on you if you aren’t getting married. Unfortunately in Pakistan people are obsessed with marriages and whether you are a girl or boy you just have to get married otherwise people think your life is a waste. In case of girls once you cross 25 you’re in the danger zone of not getting potential rishtas and if above 25 then you are not even worthy of consideration. I wish people would stop with this obsession! And leave single people alone! When the time is right the single people will get married and hopefully when they want to and not because they are forced or pressurized.Recommend

  • Miss Syed

    I am 21. Pursuing Post Graduation in Foreign Lands, I though Pakistani people who are educated and privileged will be different, But NO. 90 % of my friends are married, like, seriously. And, guess what! Whoever I meet is asking me WHY are you still single. LIKE i am JUST 21. I am a kid. give me a break. I can barely look after myself . I have seen some very religious and highly educated people say; girls should be married off by 22! People need to understand that everyone’s different with different priorities in life. Islam did not make Marriage a compulsion. THANK GOD. otherwise people would have killed all the singles out there ( as if they aren’t verbally doing it already) if someone gets married by 18, they have a problem. If someone is single, they have a problem.
    Solution: Don’t give a %^&%$% to such people. Such judgemental people are niether religiously educated nor have the decency to keep their unsolicited advises to themselves.Recommend

  • Soraya Mahmood

    FIRSTLY – you are still a young person! Emphasis on the word young!
    Although I am only 21 years old and most of my older female friends sigh and tell me I cant possibly understand what it is like to be a single,Pakistani woman of “marriageable” age- I will give you the same advice I love to dish out on them. The only solution is to stop letting society get to you. It’s hard to not be sensitive! But literally – just stop giving a damn. Some ladies really have nothing better to do than to put girls down for no reason. I embrace the fact that I am a different kind of girl,not just an insignificant part of the herd of sheep that for decades have been doing the same damn thing. I’m not opposed to marriage or to having kids at all and neither will i go out of my way to avoid it,but there are things I want to achieve in life,things I am passionate about…I want my life to mean a great deal,just like i am sure you do too. I am not comfortable with the idea of being born,growing up,getting an education,getting married,having kids and just fading away and dying. If one or two females from the entire nation take a different route in life,its something to be celebrated,not looked down upon or felt bad for! We accept these things taught to us by society as the only correct way of life because this is all we see.But I have seen a number of hasty marriages between people totally incompatible as well as people not suitable/meant to be parents raising one too many kids. Next time someone makes you feel incomplete by asking unnecessary and inappropriate questions about your private life,don’t lie to them or make an excuse. Just state the truth. You haven’t met someone you could spend the rest of your life with and this is not a sad thing. You are not depressed,desperate or lonely,you could have things to do in life that aren’t associated with bearing children! And if you are depressed,desperate and lonely, i think a little therapy (another thing irrationally frowned upon by society) will help anyone in that situation who cant do it themselves,to open their eyes and realize they are a beautiful awesome human being capable of doing wonders,whose happiness and wholesomeness in life most definitely does not rely upon having a husband or having a typical family unit! Stay happy :)Recommend

  • Marie

    I really loved your piece of writing. I think you must also write about cheap and sleezy statuses on facebook for ur partners. I was dead before u and u gave me breath ewwwww.Recommend

  • Ayesha

    You have written and spoken my mind just so apt! I’m 24 and face the EXACT same thing. To “Shagy” who has commented below, I’d say yes you’re better off not been married cz my married friends keep on crying over their married life issues yet keep on urging me to get hitched. To answer them, I simply ask them to weigh their pre marital and post marital life and what was more peaceful to them. This society probably will never change. So it’s all in vain to waste our precious energy and time on good for nothing nosey people :)Recommend

  • sumbal

    I think one should only get married when one is ready and willing to do it.just to conform to society’s standards or to make one’s parents happy is a big mistake.people will always find something to talk about,afterall u cant make everyone happy, so why not consider your own happiness. Recommend

  • Soraya Mahmood

    FIRSTLY – you are still a young person! Emphasis on the word young!
    Although I am only 21 years old and most of my older female friends sigh and tell me I cant possibly understand what it is like to be a single,Pakistani woman of “marriageable” age- I will give you the same advice I love to dish out on them. The only solution is to stop letting society get to you. It’s hard to not be sensitive! But literally – just stop giving a damn. Some ladies really have nothing better to do than to put girls down for no reason. I embrace the fact that I am a different kind of girl,not just an insignificant part of the herd of sheep that for decades have been doing the same damn thing. I’m not opposed to marriage or to having kids at all and neither will i go out of my way to avoid it,but there are things I want to achieve in life,things I am passionate about…I want my life to mean a great deal,just like i am sure you do too. I am not comfortable with the idea of being born,growing up,getting an education,getting married,having kids and just fading away and dying. If one or two females from the entire nation take a different route in life,its something to be celebrated,not looked down upon or felt bad for! We accept these things taught to us by society as the only correct way of life because this is all we see.But I’ve seen a number of hasty marriages between people totally incompatible as well as people who are not suitable/meant to be parents raising one too many kids. Next time someone makes you feel incomplete by asking unnecessary and inappropriate questions about your private life,don’t lie to them or make an excuse. Just state the truth. You haven’t met someone you could spend the rest of your life with and this is not a sad thing. You are not depressed,desperate or lonely,you could have things to do in life that aren’t associated with bearing children! And if you are depressed,desperate and lonely, i think a little therapy (another thing irrationally frowned upon by society) will help anyone in that situation who cant do it themselves,to open their eyes and realize they are a beautiful awesome human being capable of doing wonders,whose happiness and wholesomeness in life most definitely does not rely upon having a husband or having a typical family unit! Stay happy :)Recommend

  • http://iShareArena.com/ M.Aswad Mehtab

    Well That’s surely gona do that job :) AnyHow by looking at our Walls , Ads in NewsPapers etc The Biggest Problems we have are “KALA JADO ” and ” MARDANA KAMZORI ” and anyone can easily relate to any one of these for an excuse , simple as that :)Recommend

  • Politically incorrectus

    This may sound politically incorrect, but the truth is women hit the wall at age 27, from there on-wards it’s harder for them to get married, the wall’, it’s been that way since the beginning of mankind, it’s called survival of the fittest, now I’m not saying you can’t be happy if you’re single, but don’t be surprised by the questions you get at that age.Recommend

  • HA

    trust me, even men aren’t spared from this… I have now devised a fool proof strategy on how to finish the conversation as soon as it begins by saying with a straight face “next week, didn’t u get the invite?”Recommend

  • https://www.facebook.com/shail.arora.589 Shail Arora

    He he… the age old question “Should I, should not I”, along with all the ‘what if’ scenarios. Oh, well!Recommend

  • MHZ

    It’s wrong, but why am I laughing so hard at this article and more importantly on this comment..? :DRecommend

  • mbs

    She is a woman you jerk !!Recommend

  • explorer

    Nooo …my sisters are married …or if i havnt observed keenly the true level of married peopl i also would have like a typical girl drowned in her dreams while waiting for a prince no offence but thats true ….yess u should feel lucky …free of responsibilities ..jist have a look around …marriage ..dat all romantic n haapy life planned …things ..its merely a nine days wonder …its not dat i havnt seen any happy couple but its because that …i just cant take the burden of a whole familu …be an angel n look after evrybody …its u who r responsible for diapers..house chores ..blah blah there is never ending list … I say i ll realyy agree to get married when i ll be bored of the liberty ..free of responsibilities..just take a look then you ll take pity on them who think marriage is responsible for evru problemRecommend

  • pakone

    And what makes you think single men don’t face the same barrage of questions?? I am a single, 40 year old, educated abroad, in Islamabad now, working man with friends everywhere. But at every gathering, someone throws out – dude, when can we come to your wedding? Why can’t you find a wife? You’re from a good family, good looking, smart educated? Whats the problem? I just tell them, the one I love hasn’t found me yet. Maybe she will, maybe she won’t. But I am not getting married to any random person just because everyone thinks I should and mess up both our lives. So its not all about girls facing this pressure, men do as well sometimes even more! Everywhere I look, people are divorced or unhappy with their boyfriend or girlfriend. And most women in their 30’s who are single are miserable whether they are financially secure or not. Thats a fact. People need a soul mate – but are too skeptical of the opposite sex. The few who make an effort of following their heart with brains, make it work. The rest are signing divorce papers within a year. Cheers to being single until finding the real thing that belongs in your life.Recommend

  • Pakistani

    Marriage is a means to the satisfaction of a natural need. I will be blunt here. Humans are supposed to have s** and keep their lineage going. It is like survival that everybody wants, but since death is the ultimate road block, children are a form of survival and a strategy to take care of oneself when old. This is how nature has made us. Every normal male and female at some time in life would like to get married (as marriage is the normal way in our societies) and if they are happy being single, then there are high chances that they are getting their needs fulfilled via other means which are bf/gf or other promiscuous behaviour.Recommend

  • abubakar

    I don’t think you’re speaking the truth when you say you’re 26 single and happy, well you can be happy to some extent but what about physical needs a man or a woman needs to satisfy that so without it you can only be so happyRecommend

  • Mohammad Khan

    A little too much on the feminine side. Having said that
    As for your conclusion it just against the very basis of our Pakistani society, we are a nossy society and thats the beauty of it(strength).

    P.S i am as much as a liberal as you :)Recommend

  • Dr.Anon

    This brings back bad memories of when I was 26 & being asked if I found a match/was being too choosy..
    ‘It’s about time..’ was told to me by my mother…turned my heart cold.
    Unpleasant memories.
    My sympathies are with you author.
    If you’re a man,I personally think,it’s okay to wait till 32 (if you intend to marry)..just my opinion…Recommend

  • Ruxx

    haha 18 yo doctor :P i totally agree with youRecommend

  • https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=8559594100366660134#allposts Supriya Arcot

    Sweetheart , you seem the sensible type .Why do you take it so negatively. For all you know , they are asking out of care and concern. Genuine care is slowly becoming extinct , so when some one asks us any question on this subject , we look at them with suspicion as if their intention is to tease us or mock at us . If you really want to ‘shoo’ away nosy parkers try speaking the truth next time firmly but politely – Say – “I am not interested in marriage ” . It works . BTW Married life is bliss – take this from ME who is married for 2 decades and also has a career . Try giving marriage a chance , you might be pleasantly surprised.Recommend

  • Madeeha

    I still count 26 as much younger age, am 31 and face these questions and comments everyday. One of the weirdest perception is that i may b love struck and waiting for someone who broke my heart. I cannot but hear and ignore these comments. As for professional life,more assignments and duties fall in my lap owing to b single and assumed as being free all the time. Crazy ppl. Recommend

  • Shahji

    When I was 23 to 25 I always thought that I will never get married for I liked to be alone but as I crossed 26th and all my friends started getting married I realized that I was going against the nature. Everyone including me wants a happy, simple and easy life but you cant live normally without being “naturally right”. And opposed to the write. marriage is not just about having sex and children, but its more about having the most important relationship of one’s life. But of course if one chooses to live, we should respect that and accept it.Recommend

  • Shahji

    When I was 23 to 25 I always thought that I will never get married for I liked to be alone but as I crossed 26th and all my friends started getting married I realized that I was going against the nature. Everyone including me wants a happy, simple and easy life but you cant live normally without being “naturally right”. And opposed to the write. marriage is not just about having sex and children, but its more about having the most important relationship of one’s life. But of course if one chooses to stay single, we should respect that and accept it.Recommend

  • Don Jon

    Ladies…ladies..ladies…don’t over think it… Marriage is the ultimate beacon of life for subcontinental women… U can clamor all u want but truth is there is no reason to remain single other than not getting compatible matches or having had bad experiences with men…Recommend

  • Guest

    Well i agree, that is why we should all focus on getting our children married when they reach the 20’s. And the best marriages are the one’s where minimum cash is spent as per our religion. These are the reasons marriages these days have become difficult.Recommend

  • Suniya

    It’s a wonderfully written peice. Spot on.Recommend

  • abubakar

    Well what about a person’s physical needs then! You can hold them back for only so long. I don’t believe that you can stay happy being single for too long because of that (within islamic limits that is)Recommend

  • Parrvez

    Enjoyed reading that.
    I asked a long standing lady friend what was holding her up from getting married and she gave me a classic reply. She said …..’ I haven’t found the right woman as yet.’Recommend

  • shehryar

    hahahahahahhahaa

    spot onRecommend

  • Citizen

    Back in college, any unmarried teacher I had, who incidentally also had a bad temper, was branded as someone who was ‘frustrated’ and needed to find a man for her own good. In professional life, I’ve heard the same comments about women much older than me who don’t have husbands.
    <<<<<<<<<< it is kind of true . SorryRecommend

  • khan

    Pakistanis usually ask awkward questions and that on wrong occasions.This is our common problem which makes life worse for all of usRecommend

  • Cgill

    This is Epic!Recommend

  • Cgill

    Am a guy
    And when people ask me this question am like “Man, its my personal life, keep yourself with yours” I don’t know why people don’t understand that eveyone have it reasons which someone can’t be told or shared with like everyone one but I don’t know why our socity is so much touchy and involved in someone why someone not married yet. I heard so much of this every where that am kind of sick about marriage thing. Comone people stop asking this question there are plenty of thing pleeentyyy you can ask about. Recommend

  • Jd

    Just come to America…I am one of those ‘gori’ things, but I actually do do figure model part time. I am 26, I told everyone I am never marrying and would rather be doing physical labor for 18 hours a day all the days of the year, even holidays, than have some spawn plop out of my body and nobody has bothered me. They bothered me about education and employment, nothing else.

    People mind their own business if you stay quiet and not let them mind your business. It is as simple as that. Just because someone, like your family, is blood-related does not mean you must respect them to the point in which it limits your growth as a human being, then you are simply allowing them to overwhelm your individuality, clogging that you are in a separate body from their body. Just stare at them when they say these things, they say them to try to grt an emotional reaction from you, if they cannot induce a reaction from you from saying those things, then they will leave you alone to being your own person. Its just like the bully on the playground, they will attack the one that’ll give the best show for their efforts. What better than attack the one with less power in the place the bully holds the most power? Do not permit your mind to be open to this power and you will become an individual of whom can laugh at these proddings by society and family.

    Please do not bring the men. They are the Absolute Worst!!!! I had one try to rape me at university that was from India!!!!!!! I threw a chair and then got out a blade and slammed it into the chair and screeched and he closed the door, thank myself. But the women are so fun and nice and good-hearted from these countries. I avoid stores that hire men from these countries due to their leering. I have been stalked down aisles by them. I must tell you they bring racism onto themselves with women like me. Just take your money and see if you can move here with your skill set! Recommend

  • -SHAGY-

    Sarcasm my friend about unrealistic expectations!Recommend

  • -SHAGY-

    if a guy wants that for himself that’s fine…but its usually the mothers who are hunting for “rishta” like that…I clearly said that ..try to understand before jumping to judgment and conclusions!Recommend

  • Jasmin

    Well single women lives aren’t easy in this regards, meaning that when noisy people are really determined to be noisy, they are rude and insensitive. But this is how life is. Single people will always face these questions from people who want them to feel as if they are “weird” for remaining single. And when, they get married, there will be other insensitive questions because this is unfortunately called “humane nature”!Recommend

  • Manager Anon

    Did it out work out for you in the end? Just asking out of curiousity?Recommend

  • guest

    i soo agree with you!! i started hearing this crap since 19 years age! apart from the annoyance mentioned in the blog, the latest additions are: u must be having too high a standard lower it down (duh! like khud they lowered it down for themselves). next is: just marry anyone u will adjust and change the guy!! another: since u r not married ur life must b so easy ( again duh! not neccesarily, u hav a guy as a helping hand, i hav to do double the work) another: quit ur job so tht wen u dont hav money u will realise how imp it is to marry!!! and the worst ever is: i guess ur family doesnt want u to get married cuz u r earning! (the heck! crazy ppl, its my folks who torment me the most to marry n marry) but seriously its not tht easy for some ppl to marry in a whiz the prince comes riding n marry u off! wat the reasons r …at least r not the ones tormented by on a daily basis mentioned above.Recommend

  • -SHAGY-

    I hear ya! :-)Recommend

  • yeezus

    My uncle found the love of his life at age 66. He’s happier than he has ever been. He’s a constant reminder that if it’s supposed to happen, there’s no “right” time.Recommend

  • Fareed Ashraf

    Look for the ‘what if?’ and ‘why not?’ overlap :pRecommend

  • Shail Arora

    True that brother. Being divorced at 35, I think you’ve summed it up for me pretty nicely, and others too, I reckon. My father is still after me to remarry and I just brush it off now.Recommend

  • Shail Arora

    Ha ha ha… I admire your honesty & simplicity, my friend. In case you haven’t realized, there are “other means” to fulfill these, just in case.Recommend

  • Stup!D

    I am 31. I am professionally successful. Some might say I am highly successful given my age and where I am today in the respective industry. I was happy with my life. I was single, ambitious and driven. I was outspoken and confident. I would never shy away from sharing my point of view and would talk about any topic of
    interest endlessly without having the fear of being judged. Then my mother
    started having panic attacks with every promotion and every increment. She said
    I was getting too old and that with each salary increment, my chances of
    finding a dulha for myself were becoming slimmer. She was right in a sense. She
    knew that in our society men do not want highly successful wives unless they
    want to feed off of their success which was something that neither myself or my
    mother wanted. Anyhow, I gave in to the pressure and got married to this really
    nice guy two years back. He was well placed in an organization and belonged to
    a nice enough family. I actually thought that he would not be threatened or
    jealous of my position or my career. In fact we had some discussions prior to
    our marriage where he seemed quite reasonable and understanding.

    Anyways, as they say .. Marriage is a gamble. Turns out he was just like every other Pakistani man. He now despises everything about me. My success and my confidence became my biggest enemies. My ability to look at every situation with assertiveness and counter arguments based on facts were regarded as lack of submissiveness. I was told that I was over confident and that
    I pretend to know about everything when in actual I know nothing. I was told
    about having faults in myself that I never thought I had. I am sure I have
    faults but doesn’t everyone? And I tried hard. I tried in every possible way to
    change who I was. I withheld opinion. I stopped talking on topics of interest
    like politics etc in front of my husband and his family. I became so conscious of
    my walk, talk, the way I dressed.. It was like I had to be reborn again. I had
    to alter everything that I was and become this new person. I tried everything
    in my power to become someone who I was not so that my husband could be pleased but he just isn’t happy. Every single time I tried to fix the highlighted
    issues about myself, some new issues would be mentioned. Sometimes it would be
    why I had a fancy car other time it would be that I was careless in the manner I
    was spending my money (yes my money because my husband thinks that I do not
    need any of his considering my earnings) ..

    I now think about it. Think about what made me choose this man. Was it desperation? May be. Was it the fact that he would be different from all other men? I guess I thought that because he was from a reasonably liberal family and background, he would not make petty things like my walk, talk or the way I dress an issue. I did not think that he would expect me to change my personality completely because he said to me before marriage that he does not expect himself to change so I should not try either. I honestly thought he was not a hypocrite.

    I understand the motto that marriage requires sacrifices … but why sacrifices are only required from women. At one point, he blatantly said that he will never change and only I have to change and also bear his behavior. He went about saying that I am facing issues because I was not raised properly amongst other hurtful things.

    I have never shouted at him. Never screamed at him. I never disrespected him. One day I mentioned that to him. He said that it is probably the only reason why I am still his wife like he doing an ahsaan on my saath pushts ..

    I have become this new person. I had to kill my personality to make this marriage work. Despite that, I don’t think my marriage is great. I try hard every day because that is what women from the sub continent do. No matter how successful they are professionally.. No matter how many countries they have traveled to .. No matter how many men they can face in the organization and win an argument, they would always always be less then their husbands. They have to be. It’s the way it is for us.

    I have changed sure .. but I don’t think I like the person I have become. This un-witty, boring and dull individual. I am however glad that I have still been able to
    keep my job .. Otherwise probably I would have gone insane. I am still on that
    road but a few hours away from home every day makes my torment bearable for a
    while.

    It is not like I have no place to go back to should I decide to leave .. I can support my own weight. I can always go back and leave this marriage that is sucking the life out of me bit by bit. But I just cannot make my self do it for some odd reason. Marriage to me like so many others is a sacred vow .. Perhaps my feelings are now involved or perhaps may be I am just too scared. Too scared again of the pressures of the society. The same pressures that led me into this marriage in the first place..

    I understand that not all men are the same and some of the women are lucky enough to find who are right for them however I would request all working or ambitious women to just not give in to the family pressures and get married if they are not ready or without knowing the person too well.

    It is better to be single and be the master of yourself then to get married and living like a well dressed conscious slave every single day for the rest of your life.Recommend

  • Hala Syed

    its not about liberal at all. how is being nosy a strength?Recommend

  • Hala Syed

    you don’t get to decide what makes other people happy. people know or will figure out what makes them happy without your help. if someone tells you they are happy and single take their word for it, or else you are just being patronizing and condescending.Recommend

  • Hala Syed

    what works for you may not work for someone else. its great that you have such a strong marriage, but many people do not. and many people prefer being single to having a bad marriage.
    and i’m sure the author can tell the difference between people asking out of care and concern and people trying to control other peoples life. if they really cared they would ask her if she is happy and believe her instead of trying to turn her into something she is notRecommend

  • Hala Syed

    you contradicted yourself. first you made rules for everyone and dictated what was naturally right and then you said we should respect and accept if someone decides to stay single. calling something unnatural is not respectful.understanding that what is natural for you maybe unnatural for someone else is respectfulRecommend

  • Hala Syed

    why should you worry about someone else’s physical needs?Recommend

  • Hala Syed

    that’s disgusting. and no its not true. it’s just another way to belittle and control womenRecommend

  • 27 saala burhiya

    I am 27… will turn 28 this september… and the most painful thing is your sister forcing you to marry a divorced guy because ab tumhari age main divorced mard he milainge…good thing is my dad shoos awat all those weird chaachis and maamis torturing me and my mom on why i am not married…. he tells them she is our daughter… not yours.. so just mind your own businessRecommend

  • Sonia K

    Women in their 30s are miserable whether they are financially secure or not…….

    Woa…. where did that come from?
    Financially insecure women might have issues of supporting themselves…. miserable as you put it….. financially secure women and miserable…. looks like Islamabad has some problems!Recommend

  • Sonia K

    No one said marriage is Haram, or never get married….. I never understand these Islamic scholars who bring physical and psychological needs in the middle of all affairs of marriage….. if u haven’t noticed marriage not solely for physical needs…. and everyone is not equal in the physical needs department…. and one should really not be so caring and bothered about what the physical needs are of the whole Ummah….. coz that is also prying in the personal business!!!Recommend

  • Sonia K

    wow…. so you know what everyone is doing on planet earth ….. being single….. they can be only sad or cheap….. the worst analysis ever!

    This is the mentality women in Pakistan abhor…. not just hate…. ABHOR!Recommend

  • Sonia K

    Ma’am… I don’t know you but after reading your story it seems maybe you took marriage as another project/deal in life…. just like u must have taken many in your professional life…. and somehow it didn’t go as planned or as you thought it would.

    You say you thought he would be different coz he SAID so…. face value…. while I am sure his body language must have screamed out aloud…. but you were too busy to notice I assume.

    You have changed a lot it seems….. and you hate yourself…. either try loving yourself back, ignore the negatives and develop new interests in life, or move out before you have kids that make it difficult.Recommend

  • Donga Bonga

    Marriage is part of natural life cycle, you disturb or go against it is un natural and hence people do wonder, not every one is mature enough not to ask you, some are nuts some out of sympathy ask you.
    22 or 26 or 36 that’s not the question, if you are healthy, completed education and have no bar you should get married there are social and personal evils associated with living alone so there is no sane reason you should not. Preferring job / career over family is selfish.
    You have right on your life but you are not living in isolation so you shouldn’t be complaining because people around you have senses and one of that senses if “feelings” for others.
    You can tell politely not to ask you or you can ask them to help you its your choice.Recommend

  • https://www.facebook.com/shail.arora.589 Shail Arora

    If someone is already thinking about ‘why not’, I believe he/she is zeroing in on “I should” ;)… however, my ‘what if’ was leaning more towards a negative connotation associated with the concept.Recommend

  • Stup!D

    Your comment is devoid of emotions and lacks empathy.

    Marriage is not a business deal. It never is. If it was, I would have made this deal a lot earlier instead of waiting till I was almost 30. A very basic rule of a business deal is that when you are not getting anything out of it, you cut your losses. Had I taken my marriage as a business deal i would not have stuck around for 24 months and still trying to make it work :)

    Marriage is a commitment and yes you make plans accordingly. Who doesn’t? After all its a start of a new life. You dream about having a partner, having someone to talk to, having someone to share things with and most of all you think about having little ones. Now I don’t think these are unreasonable plans from any point of view?

    Yes, I did think he was different. It was an honest lapse of judgement on my part. I didn’t know him well and I should have waited some more before tieing the knot. However it could have happened to any one. Your comment about assessment of body language is also out of context. In such situations before getting hitched both the girl and the guy put forward their best front. You only get to know what is coming your way once you are really in it.

    Marriage is about compromises .. however compromise from only one party within the marriage is not fair.

    Ignoring the negatives is easier said then done. however I would be interested to understand what you meant exactly by that so that if it makes sense, i could actually apply it to help myself in this situation. I would also be interested to know your views about finding new interests? would those by any chance include cooking, cleaning or baking .. tried, tested and failed. Nothing seems to impress my man.

    As mentioned in my earlier comment, I do not like what I have become but it does not mean that I hate myself. Not all the changes that You bring about in yourself during the course of marriage are bad changes. However partners love, acknowledgement and encouragement is necessary to keep the relationship strong. When everything you do to please your partner is judged negatively, your efforts are disregarded that is when you begin to resent yourself and your relationship.

    Anyways, most of your assumptions as mentioned above are quite far off however I do agree that bringing kids into a bad relationship is never a good idea. Lastly I think it is easy for you to walk away from marriage, but for some women like me, it not that simple.

    The whole point of sharing my story was that women should be careful when deciding to get married and try to get to know the guy well before getting married.

    Thank you for taking time out to comment.Recommend

  • Shahji

    I did not dictate, Its a concrete solid fact. And I did not make this rule in my basement lab. There’re proves for this and you know it. And at the end of my comment, I have made it very clear that despite of what is naturally right or wrong I respect the individual choices. There is no contradiction but an unconditional acceptance of one’s preferences regardless of facts.Recommend

  • Saad Iqbal

    bravo :)

    even the men above 25 go through the same ordeal ! -_- one of the reasons why I have reduced my frequent visits to the relatives. Either the aunts and aged female cousins fill ur mother’s ear with silly advises, such as “beta bigar jay ga, kerday iski”, or they tell all and sundry that “lerka kamata khub hai, gari hai, posh area mein ghar hai – apni beti ki shadi karaday is k sath”. they make the single persons feel embarassed as if they had transgressed somethng. such people have made shadis less sacred and more of a materialistic thing ! The religion allows all the men and women to decide abt their future – either they want to get married or stay single – but society snatches that very basic right thru emotional blackmailing and then it becomes a fodder for their mirchy gossips.

    same ladies want a doctor bahu with model looks for their sons and rich guys with deep pockets for their daughters !

    seriously, I think every honest person, irrespective of gender, faces the same issue; for girls, it gets worse !Recommend

  • Raza

    Agreed; people are generally too nosy. The funny part is that most of them are losers in their own lives. Generally, people need to mind their own business and the ‘victims’ need to bluntly tell them to do that.Recommend

  • WQ

    No one, except you, is responsible for your happiness. Get out of this sham of a marriage, this insult to the sacred institution of marriage. Why should you put up with it? Why should you have to bear this mental torture every single day? This against the scorn of society, I think you can bear the later better! You have bowed once to society, and seen what happened. Now, you have nothing to lose, do you? And the world is changing. Young people like me and you are now more willing to take things in their hands, and decide their own fate. Get out of this marriage, and then re-build yourself from scratch. Invest your life with someone else, someone worth it, someone who can appreciate you for who you are. Stand up and push back against these Skeletons of Society!Recommend

  • abubakar

    Thank america for that , that people don’t bother you with such questions and mind their own business . But the problem is with pakistani people and thats the subject. And one more thing you’re gonna have a real tough time living life of celibacy…Recommend

  • abubakar

    I could care less about your or writer’s physical needs I was making a general point that anyone would have to deal with if they ignore those needsRecommend

  • abubakar

    I dont get to decide but NATURE does get to decide most of the times. Recommend

  • Shahji

    I cant believe it..you’re still so young and your sister is saying such thing..!!!!. Her argument is not valid anyway but phr b koe 35 40 k bad yeh bat kary to tuk banti ha..Recommend

  • Faisal Ibrahim

    Now this is what we call an EPIC ! :DRecommend

  • Kim Calvert

    The issues you bring up are global, but certainly more extreme in some places than others. Still, single people are the fastest growing demographic in the world and as our numbers increase, it’s going to be harder and harder to keep those old ideas of what “being single” means in place. I’ve been the editor of a Singular magazine and its social network SingularCity since 2007. One might think the U.S. would be progressive on this issue, but the old stereotypes still linger.Recommend

  • No Name

    Narazgi n ghussa at comments apni jaga… but i seriously know a guy.. he is from lahore… You can find him on fb.. Altaf Hussain is his name… he has just turned 30.. and will be a perfect match for u.. coz he is hearing same sort of questions these days :D …Recommend

  • Suvi

    But the assumption that an unmarried woman does not have a man in her life is rather archaic, isn’t it?Recommend

  • Suvi

    On what basis can you say one way is right and the other wrong….isn’t that a bit too judgmental. Nature did not ordain marriage infact perhaps nature would not have even implied restriction to one partner etc etc. secondly I would even question your assumption that a single person’s life is simple,easy, etc…. Every person has their own different set of problems as per their circumstances. Infact many people say women want to rush into marriage because they want an easy life.Recommend

  • Hass

    Instead of ruining your entire life sit down and talk to the man. Go seek professional help. Counseling or therapy with your husband.
    My girlfriend of 2 years was in the exact same relationship. But most of it was of her own making. Instead of ending the relationship as I recommended she kept trying by trying to change herself. It doesn’t work, changing who you are at a superficial level might be possible but not without losing a sense of self-worth which in the end wouldn’t bring you anything but pain and disappointment. I know I can’t even imagine being a woman and having to make a decision like this, but acting and talking now is better than living with regrets for the rest of your life.

    I’m sure there will be plenty of men out there who would be better suited for you. Trust me they are out there. As a 26 old guy I don’t have any reservations about marrying someone older or someone who went through a difficult previous relationship. There are plenty of guys out there who look for people who have had similar experiences.

    Hope everything works out for you.

    Recommend

  • Dante

    It happens to men also. Sometimes to the same degree. So the world doesn’t just revolve around you.Recommend

  • Nobody

    What a damn shame that people tell you you’ll only get a divorced man at your age which is NOT old by any sane person’s standards. I hope you don’t give in to that and settle for just anyone.
    Cheers.Recommend

  • Nobody

    This wall you speak of is a load of crap and seems to exist only in Eastern nations in 2014. You know how western women knocked that ridiculous wall down? The same way they broke the glass ceiling, by not caring what people said and doing what they wanted and were qualified for. I don’t care for people who are age obsessed. I’d rather go for a guy who doesn’t care about the “wall” and luckily, I’ve had no trouble finding them.
    Cheers.Recommend

  • Nobody

    Man or woman, I think everyone should wait until they are independent and mature before marrying. Late 20’s is ideal for me but that may not be the case for everyone. It isn’t an exact science and not everyone is ready at the exact same time.Recommend

  • thinktank

    i am a free spirit no one can lock me up in marriageRecommend

  • thinktank

    keep doing net practice and you will be ready for the t20,s and the longer testsRecommend

  • thinktank

    girls want men who are rich and young girls need to have realistic expectationsRecommend

  • boco

    You are right about men facing similar pressure, chances are people are already whispering that you ‘bat for the other team’. If you are a girl you are either undesirable or snobbish and if you are a guy you most likely aren’t attracted to women.Recommend

  • Stup!D

    Thank you for your comment. I really appreciate your kind words. Means a lot.Recommend

  • Hina Khan

    wow I never realized this feels ‘that’ bad I was married at 19 and im 26 now and I just recently asked my friend the same question when are u getting married and she didn’t even reply back but now that ive felt ur emotions I guess I will never ask this thing from anyone ever again you are very right no one has the right to ask such questions because this is just not in your own handsRecommend

  • rm

    Dear writer, I have met many happy unmarried women, but the ones like you who are ready to bombard innocent people with your bitter writings/ verbal outbursts definitely need a man in your lives. Go look for one right away!!!!Recommend

  • Hala Syed

    just because somebody relates a personal narrative doesn’t mean they think the world revolves around them. if what happened to the author is relatable to you thats a good thing not bad. it means she has touched upon a universal issue that many people face. yes it happens to men also but in general women are subjected to it more. saying that does not take anything away from you or negate your experiences so stop trying to negate hersRecommend

  • Stup!D

    I have tried talking to him a couple of times. Sometimes its like I am banging my head against a wall .. I am currently in counseling which he refuses to attend but still it is helping me to face the reality .. Anyways thank You for your kind words. Appreciated.Recommend

  • -SHAGY-

    you guys are hilarious!Recommend

  • Pakistani

    No dont twist my words like an Indian Drama Queen. Men and Women are meant for each other and Love and Companionship is a natural thing. I never said that women being single can only be sad or cheap, that is your own interpretation of what I said. I just stated the reality which seemed very harsh to you. Sorry to say but truth is harsh sometimes. FACE ITRecommend

  • Shail Arora

    He he… why do I get a feeling that we divorced guys are being considered as the leftovers. We have genuine feelings too :)Recommend

  • Shail Arora

    However, isn’t the guy involved in preparing and signing off the checklist? I think this is an unfair blame on mothers.

    p.s.: Did I hear someone calling “mamma’s boy” ;)Recommend

  • Pakistani

    Tell this to me when you are old and alone and helpless. I have a feeling that you will have a very miserable old age.Recommend

  • Shail Arora

    Ok, here is some food for thought. You can be married and still feel unhappy, although the physical needs (biological) are being met. I’m not stating this in isolation and is based on personal experience. You are just considering one aspect of it, which, btw wouldn’t keep you happy over a long period of time with the same person. At some stage, one needs to have an emotional connect (psychological) too for a sustainable relationship. If you force a relationship, at one point in time, the psychology would just revolt against the biology. Think about it.Recommend