The Indian society is still a little rigid when it comes to finding a companion for marriage by the right age. While our previous generations saw people getting married anywhere between the ages of 18 to 25, the present generation has moved a little ahead and has started to consider looking for a companion as early as 28/29 and well into the mid-30s. Yet marrying after the age of 35/38 is seen to be taboo. And if it is not the case for men, it is certainly the case for women.
Though marriage at a later age say 40 or 50 may be considered a very common occurrence among the celebrities, a common person still shies away from settling down with a partner so late in life. This taboo is either associated with decreased possibility of having a family after a certain age, or it could be because people feel that one must find a partner only at the prime of their life.
Even if men find partners at a later age, be it the case of a second marriage owing to a divorce or a death or be it the case that the man was busy settling his career, he is still not looked down upon as much as women are if they marry later in life.
But there may be many reasons why someone chooses to marry at a later age. These can be categorized as:
It often happens that people find a partner at a young age. But due to many unforeseen reasons, the marriage may not last very long. Sometimes partners drift apart with age; sometimes people live in abusive marriages, other times people fall out of love, or find the true love of their life after they are already married. In such cases people contemplate a divorce. But this should not be seen as the end of one’s love life. One may move ahead in life and in their life may once again come across someone who they deem fit to be their partner. In this situation the person may be well into his 40s or 50s. But, due to fear of acceptance from society, they may not take the decision of settling down with the companion of their choice. This needs to change. A divorce is not the end of life. If one relationship did not achieve its fulfillment, it does not mean that one makes peace with living alone for the rest of their life. While some people are too scared from the experiences of their first marriage, to consider getting married again; there are others who are ready to fall in love again. These individuals need to be accepted in their choice of companionship, for they too have the right to happiness.
A person may be happily married to someone, but life is extremely uncertain. With the rise in the number of diseases and also in the number of accidents that happen daily, one may be happily married one day, and end up being a widower the very next day. Of course, it is hard to forget someone you have shared a life with, but as one advances in years, one slowly gets over the feeling of loss and what remains is a faint memory of your beloved. As one ages, one finds themselves dependent on their kids for every need. This often leads to conflict in families as the now single parents find it difficult to find ways of keeping themselves busy or happy after the loss of their spouse. In this situation one of the solutions to own and run your life on your terms is to find someone who loves and values you and lead a separate life with them. Even if one finds themself in need of companionship again, the taboo associated with a widower getting re- married is still persistent in our society and more so for women. We need to look at it from this perspective, it's not any one’s fault that they lost their partner amidst a happy life. And by keeping them from finding a companion again, we are keeping them from living a content life. Not to say that people who choose to remain single can not lead happy and fulfilled lives, but if someone feels the need to find a partner again they shouldn’t stop themselves solely because of “what will people say”!
Alone but not Lonely
Then there are certain individuals who make the conscious choice of staying single/ alone till the time they are not mentally or financially prepared to get married. Sometimes over a period of time when they are well accomplished in life and way past the prime of their youth, they may feel the need to find a partner. But, now because they are of a certain age, their options and prospects decrease. Not only that, people look at such people with suspicion as if they have something to hide, or they have some flaws that they were unable to find a partner for so long. It's high time that we as a society stopped putting restrictions on people to settle down by a certain age. One must try to understand that people cannot be rushed into life altering decisions and each individual matures at a certain pace. Setting a timeline for marriage when one is not prepared for it is a recipe for disaster. Rather, there needs to be an acceptance for people to make their own decisions as per their preparedness. These people may be alone but they are certainly not lonely. They may pick the right time in their lives to find a partner. This is particularly an important issue for women. Many women wish to reach higher in their careers before they get married. Often it takes a long time to finish one’s academics and then enter into a full fledged career. These women are looked down upon as if they are a burden to society. Rather they should be accepted for their choices, if they wish to find a partner at a later time in life.
In Love..once again
Sometimes in life we do not get the good fortune of marrying someone we love. As time passes we learn to love the person we marry. But in some instances, much later in life, fortune presents us with a new opportunity to get back with our old flame. It could be a rekindling of hearts, at an old age when both have lost their spouses, or one is a divorcee. One may thus cross paths with their lost beloved and get a chance again to finish what was left incomplete. Many times, if such an opportunity presents itself, people are too scared to take the leap and follow their hearts, for the fear of acceptance in society. By this time they may be well into their 60s, or 70s and others may think why would one care to find companionship at such an age, when one has already led the larger part of their lives. But, this does not mean that we back out from a chance of living the life that could have been with the person we loved, in whatever part of life that is left in front of us.
There is another category of people who find a partner late in life. This is not a decision that has been taken by them consciously but this is something thrown at them by life. Be it the responsibilities of family, betrayal in love, heart break, lack of opportunities to meet people that one may find compatible. Nevertheless, when the right time comes, and these people find someone that they think they want to settle down with, no social mores must dictate that it's too late to get married. One can enjoy a happy companionship, even if they have spent a large part of their lives living for others.
The Second Innings of life may present to us in any form, at any stage in life. If only we know how to seize the day, and not care for what the society thinks...It's never too late to find a companion.