If You Thought You’d Be Married By Now, Read This

With Disney princesses, Barbie brides, and conventional gender roles shaping their upbringings, little girls have traditionally been groomed to desire marriage. It’s normal, under these conditions, to grow up expecting that you too will tie the knot by the time you reach a certain age. And sadly, it’s also normal to feel totally inadequate if you don’t hit your own deadline. That’s ridiculous! If you thought you’d be married by now and you’re freaking out because you’re not, read on.

  1. The world has changed. You might have thought you’d be married by now, but the world is a much different place than it was when you were a kid. In 2021, a lot of people aren’t leading the lives they’d planned. The Covid-19 pandemic has thrown many people’s plans completely out the window and the world is a very different place. So try not to beat yourself up because you haven’t tied the knot.  A lot of things, including dating and finding the one, are a lot harder now than they’ve ever been. Social restrictions might mean that it’s hard for you to actually have the wedding of your dreams right now, while widespread lockdowns and quarantining laws have made it harder to actually go out and meet new people. It’s not your fault and a lot of people are in the same boat!
  2. You’re better off alone than with the wrong person. The most important thing to remember while lamenting your single status is that it’s better to be alone than with the wrong person. No matter how much you don’t enjoy being single, it’s still better than being trapped in the wrong marriage. It might feel sad to be in your position, but it could definitely, definitely be worse.
  3. There are other ways to find success and happiness. If you believe that success correlates with your marital status, then you need to open your mind. Marriage is a legal and cultural union, not a benchmark for success. So even though you’re not married yet, you’re worth no less as a person. Society still makes you feel like you have to tie the knot in order to have your life together because old viewpoints take a long time to die out. Once upon a time, especially if you were a woman, marriage was pretty much your only hope for leading a comfortable life. These days, it’s one of many possible paths and doesn’t have to affect your happiness or finances.
  4. It’s never too late to tie the knot. Just because you thought you’d be married by now and you’re not doesn’t mean it’ll never happen. It’s okay if marriage is one of the goals of your life. If you do dream about tying the knot, know that it’s never too late for marriage. So you shouldn’t waste time kicking yourself because you’re not hitched—you’ve still got your whole life ahead of you. Forget your childhood dream of marriage at 21 and realize that Amal Clooney married George at the age of 36. It’s fine.
  5. You have more freedom as an unmarried person. Rather than dwelling on the fact that you’re not married when you’d like to be, focus on what a blessing it is to be single. Despite what society says, you have more freedom as a single person. You have more time to focus solely on yourself, pursuing your goals, and meeting your own needs.
  6. Marriage can cost a lot. It can make you feel a lot better to look at the downsides of marriage and a wedding. The whole process can cost a lot. From the wedding day itself to the many things that tend to follow, including children, marriage can often mean having to adjust to a new lifestyle. You can still desire marriage. But in the meantime, until the day comes for you, focus on positives like the ability to spend your hard-earned money on a trip overseas rather than on wedding bouquets.
  7. You don’t need an excuse to throw a huge party. If it’s the wedding day that you secretly dream about, rather than the marriage itself, there’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that you probably shouldn’t get married at all if you think you’re only signing up for one glamorous day. The good news, though, is that you don’t need a diamond ring to have a magical day. You could throw a party where everyone looks at you all day for a bunch of reasons not limited to marriage! We should start celebrating other life choices and milestones, particularly as women, the way we celebrate tying the knot.
  8. Marriage doesn’t guarantee happiness.  So what if you thought you’d be married by now? The grass isn’t always greener. Marriage can be wonderful but it’s also not a key to happiness. Any divorced person will tell you that. And when you think about it that way, it doesn’t make much sense to lust over something that may or may not make you happy. Instead, try to focus on taking life one day at a time. Be open to different things bringing you joy. Make happiness your goal, and if marriage ends up fitting into that, great. But it doesn’t have to. Happiness is not exclusive to relationships!
Vanessa Locampo is an Aussie writer who’s equally obsessed with YA fiction and pasta. Her time is divided between writing all the things, reading all the things, listening to Queen, and bopping her cat on the nose. She has a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing and has written for sites including Hotsprings.co and Discovering Montana, and currently works as an editor at Glam. You can keep up with her on Instagram @vanessaellewrites.