“Dear sister, I am almost 40. When I was in my 20s I didn’t feel ready to get married yet, there was so much I wanted to do. But now I am wishing I had because I am finding it really hard to meet someone as I am so set in my ways and life. I feel like I should marry whoever asks me for the sake of getting married and maybe – if I’m lucky – having kids“
S, New York
It’s so easy for people to blame you and say it is your fault for being “so picky”. Or to shake their communal head and tut “well that’s what you get for leaving it so late”.
So what happens? Filled with this sense of shame, guilt and panic you do whatever you believe it takes to “put it right” and that means trying to deploy a system that only really works for a 21 year old: you know, the one where you meet the guy, say yes after one meeting then there’s a wedding and you are married, all in one fluid easy movement.
But it’s not as simple as that is it?
There is so much more evaluate before saying yes and guess what sister? You have the right to make a choice based on your life as woman over 30.
Here are 3 questions you need to ask yourself so that you are clear where you can compromise and meet someone halfway and where you will stand firm.
1. How much of your career you are willing to sacrifice for marriage?
You’ve spent years building a successful career, making lifelong connections at work and progressing up the ladder through your sheer determination, hard work and skill. But when it comes to finding a spouse sadly this very same achievement can be your biggest blocker.
Be super honest with yourself where you stand here. Do you feel happy and ready to take a break or slow the pace in your job to focus on marriage? Or do you feel that your job has become too significant a part of your life to simply give up? Are you OK to take a step down or start a new job elsewhere?
2. How far are you willing to move?
Your home and geographical location hold much more significance to you now that it would have done in your 20s. It’s the place where you have created and maintained personal connections with people and if you are a homeowner or renting , it’s the place where you’ve made a home for yourself.
What are your plans for your property if you have to leave it? Are you OK to have someone move in with you? What’s the furthest you are prepared to move without losing all the connections and relationships you currently have?
3. Who else will be affected by your marriage?
If you have children already then this is possibly the most crucial question as it not just your life that will change but theirs too. Are you OK to shift them to a new school and have them make new friends? Or does their need for stability mean you desire to stay in the area?
Maybe you have parents who require your care. In which case are you OK to leave them? Is there someone else in the house who would take care of them? Or would you rather have your husband move in with you so you can still take care of your parents?
You should not feel guilted, shamed or bullied into making any decision that will create serious upheaval to your well-being. You are at a stage of your life that is enriched with experience, success and stability. Own it, be proud of it and make an informed decision based on it. Decide where and where you can compromise and let your goal be to meet someone understanding enough to support your decision to marry him.