The Art of Not Growing Up

When Everyone You Know is Getting Married

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Marriage is a big deal, it’s in almost every romantic film, and seems like something that every woman should do at some point (or at least before their ovaries ‘dry up’). Growing up, it was always something discussed, in the most part, because of my Somali background. There was an emphasis on getting married as soon as you can; the idea of waiting until your mid-twenties, let alone your thirties, seemed ridiculous. This, of course, also happened in school, because most of my friends were of South Asian background. So, culturally we were all on the same page. However, I never wished to get married. It wasn’t my dream or a goal, so when everyone would discuss finding the right man, I always felt left out.Then again, to me, the idea of committing to one person is terrifying, and I couldn’t understand how most of my friends couldn’t see that. Where they saw surmounting positives, I saw the negatives. They saw spending a life with someone, enveloped in security and love. I could only see restriction. 

As I reached my teenage years, I became much more vocal about my marriage opinions, and it rubbed many people up the wrong way. To be quite honest, I was  harsh, and often judged those with the aspirations to marry and have children straight away. Now I see that, that kind of thinking was wrong, but I still stand by my opinion that we are warped as a society, to discuss marriage as if it’s the natural next step in life, as opposed to being a choice that individuals make to commit legally, and (for some) religiously to another. Turning 18 was when it hit me; first, that I was actually growing up, and second, that people my age were officially getting married. It got stranger as my own friends entered into this long term commitment, and others were actively seeking it. It became 'normal' to want marriage, and being Somali meant that I would always get asked when my own wedding would be. My response of, ‘not anytime soon’, produced replies chorusing, 'Don't worry, it will probably happen after university'.

The idea of committing to someone wholeheartedly is scary, especially when numerous unhealthy relationships exist so frequently in day to day life. Boyfriends search their partners phones; isolate them from their male friends, and verbally scold them for being ‘selfish’, ‘slutty’, and so on. As such, I decided to actively not look for any significant other. The idea of another person wanting so much control over me and my time, or even worse, the idea that I might suddenly, ‘catch feelings’, is too much to bear. Being happily single, has become something that was seen as 'weird', and is something that still sits with me, to this day. Yes, I’m happy for all those who go out to find love, but surely they should be equally happy for those that wish to stay single. Personally, it’s hard enough being in your early twenties these days, without all of the issues that come with being in a relationship.