SINGLE SHAMING- Over 30 and Unmarried

Dear Hera Pereira,
You don’t know me but I read your blog. The story about the Most Exclusive Club Poo really got to me. I am 32 years old and unmarried. All my besties (5 of them) are married. Some have kids and others are expecting. Just found out last week that they had a reunion of sorts last week and I wasn’t invited, even though we all stay in lagos and have no issues. I felt really hurt. It’s really hard being over 30 and not married. Everyone assumes you messed up your chances. I was in a relationship for 9 years and he left to marry someone younger. Since then, I haven’t gotten anyone that I want to be married to. My parents are making my life a living hell and so are my relations. I have become the brunt of jokes at family gatherings. My two younger sisters got married at 23 and 26. They are supposed to be there for me, but are even worse, calling me ‘old cargo’ and telling me to ‘go and marry’. They claim they are only joking. I am a good person and I know my husband will come, but it is so so so hard living each day. Please could you write an article to address this? Thank you

Felicia (not real name)

I became very sad reading this mail because I have friends in the same boat. Now I cannot personally relate with the feeling as I had gotten married at 25, but I do understand a bit of the pressure foisted on girls. So, I decided to do some research by asking some people on the view at the topic. I got interesting and diverse feedbacks.

It quickly became obvious that majority of my contributors believed the girl must have messed up somewhere. They believed that it is always the girl’s fault and gave a list of likely scenarios.
1. Some guy were serious about them, but because the guy wasn’t buoyant, he was kicked to the curb;
2. They were wayward when younger and now are calling foul when 30 creeps up on them
3. There is obviously something wrong with their characters because no “good’ girl would be single at 30
4. They were too caught up with their careers
5. They are plain ugly. (This was from a moron)

Some believed that some guys are just asses and time wasters and that is one of the major reasons. Some girls are so stupid in love that they allow guys string them along until they have reached an age where the guys considers them too old and leaves.

Surprisingly enough,almost no one felt that perhaps they were just not ready at that time. I personally believe that every girl has a phase when they are not ready to settle down. They want to live a little before moving from one master (father) to another master (husband). (yeah it is Africa! Men are still the freaking bosses, I don’t like it but I admit that it is a man’s world). I experienced my phase back in Law School. My sister is currently experiencing her phase. Of course, the phase should not last for too long, but for some girls, it does.

Having considered the reasons why some girls hit 30 unmarried, we are going to address the pressure. Every Nigerian girl approaching a certain age gets what I call “THE TALK”. This is where your mother calls you into her room and starts asking you about your boyfriend, his intentions and when you are going to settle down. I had THE TALK at 24, which I always felt was very unfair because………….ummm….I was 24. THE TALK can be extremely uncomfortable for most girls especially as you are probably not even dating. When you hit 30, the talk becomes more and more frequent. Soon the father, aunties and any general amebo get into THE TALK. Society takes great pride in shaming single girls that are over 30. It is very sad.

At this point, some girls become very desperate. they end up settling with any one or becoming 2nd wives. One of my contributors (he is 36) says he would never marry a girl above 30 because first of all, his mother would never approve; she must be of bad character of sorts and he always smells the desperation in the ones he meets …”Like a hungry dog in a chicken pen”. I then asked him what if he meets her in the church or mosque. He exclaimed that was even worse. Such a person is either highly pretentious just to get a husband or has really done some really bad things with her life before running to God. His advise – they marry a widower, or become a 2nd wife or just concentrate on their careers and have kids. I can’t blame him much. He is a product of society.

I can only imagine how hard it is for girls to hit 30 and be unmarried, but come on people! Is it better to be married at 22 and divorced by 30? Is it better to be married at 22 and be unable to have kids until you are 30 and above? Is it better? No it is not. Life doesn’t always run smoothly. I cannot disagree that it is sometimes the lady’s fault but sometimes it isn’t. Everyone wants to have a family at the end of the day. It is not easy being the one that is subject to all the gossips because you are not married. Men do not grow on trees. Marriage is a serious business and many women do NOT want to settle and why should they. You that is pressurizing them to marry, would you come and live in their house? No, you won’t. Now I do understand that parents want the best for their kids, but making the girl feel inferior because she isn’t married is not what she needs.

As for the friends, My previous article says it all. Grow up. Treat your friends well. Set her up on dates with serious minded people if you truly care. Yes, you might know that she is to blame for not seizing the opportunities, but that was not why you become friends with her in the first place, is it? (except you don’t trust your hubby around her…food for thought)

So if you are over 30 and unmarried, take a chill pill. It’s very hard. but do not settle. It makes no sense to be married at 32 and divorced at 35. Men can sense the desperation. It is very off-putting. You might be worried about your biological clock, but Hally Berry just became pregnant again at 46, so you will be good.
And those in their 20s, don’t waste your youth. We are women. God gave us the ability to multi-task. Work on your career and work on building relationship with good guys. Don’t be blinded by love o. You can spot time wasters. shake them off and move on with your life. If the guy who is good for you isn’t where you need him to be, there is nothing wrong in helping him in whatever way you can. And those who spend their youths on a wayward path,(my experience has always been that the ‘runs’ girls marry first, so if you don’t know when to quit like the others and settle down……that you deserve whatever you get)

So drop a line, do you think that single shaming is a big problem in Nigeria in particular or is a trend around the world? how do we put an end to it?

Do you think it is majorly the girl’s fault that she is not married by 30?</noscript

15 Comments Add yours

  1. tokunbo ogunwale says:

    sad reading dis post although nate is not allowing me read d whole post…………………….its not her fault, everything happens for a reason,if she had married d guy of 9yrs probably she will b divorced by now,its not how far but how well,majority of those laughing at her might not b happy in their marriage n are jealous that she is still free,bin single is not a curse……………..she will gt her own man n a better one, patience n prayers will do it…………….+

    hope this helps

    1. herapereira says:

      definitely. Thank you

  2. Abisoye says:

    Being Single @ 30 is sure nt easy but its not d end of d world! Its depressing but One just av to learn hw to live and be happy. Wen d pressure mounts babes den settle for wat dey wnt usu av in a guy and live a miserable life. Everybody deserves to be happy. Prayer is dat God shld help out on time.

    1. herapereira says:

      Amen to that Sister

  3. Bea(not real name) says:

    I’m also 32 and currently single. I have never experienced a loving relationship wt a guy as they all started out nice initially but ended up becoming monsters. The 1st guy I ever dated was emotionally abusive I stuck it out for 3yrs but knew I hd 2 take a decision whn while he was talking abt wedding plans I was planning how to disappear wt no intention of ever being found!! I was in it for all d wrong reasons as ppl kept saying “it aint easy for doctors 2 get husbands” and “you might stay single for ever.” Blah,blah,blah. I’m a vry shy person and kinda naïve in d affairs of the heart but men have shown me!! Had anoda who claimed I was his girlfriend by our 3rd date which was mega weird and after 2wks became incommunicado for d nxt 8mths for no reason!! Then he called out of d blue wantn 2 explain. Come on! what on earth for?? Then d most recent and pathetic of dm all, was sm1 I was introduced to late 2011. It seemed alrite@1st dn he lost his job 2wks after we met. I was worried he wudnt be able 2 handle a relationship in his “jobless” state and was I proved rt. I was as supportive as I cud be; splitting fares for dates or making it my treat, buying him credit,payn for his BIS subscription, etc all done humbly and wtout being in his face,all in a bid 2 show I understood and we were in it 2gethr. D only thing I didn’t do was allow him hv free access 2 my bank accounts. I thot relationships are abt sharing both d good and bad or hv I lost it smwhr?? Anyways,after a while I became “persona non grata” and he took out all d anger and frustration on me and broke off d relationshp after barely 3mths of tension and mood swings claiming I wasn’t supportive enuf though i tried. Huh??or cud it be d car I just got then dt made him blow his top?? Anyways, I’ve moved on since then. It hasn’t been easy gettn over d hurt and rage and feelings of worthlessness or d time wasted. my dating life has been filled wt drama. Y am I being made 2 feel dirty and treated like trash? I’m nt a bad person,people who knw me feel sorry(Yuck) and encourage me 2 be d best I can be. I knw I’m nt a mistake(God doesn’t make mistakes) bt I would love 2 be in a loving relationship wt a man who genuinely cares and it can lead 2 a fruitful marriage. Did I mention dt ds last guy proposed 2 me way too soon after we met and was already planning an introduction. I wasn’t having any of dt cos I only plan 2 get married 1ce so I advised we take it slow and steady. Life is unpredictable so 2 all d small minded peeps who keep blaming d woman,it works both ways.
    Don’t be in 2 much of a hurry 2 judge,aite?Oh,and I’m far from being ugly.*smiling* my time will come!!

    1. herapereira says:

      My dear Bea, i feel your pain. A lot of girls go through a lot of relationship drama before eventually settling down. I know you will be fine. But you know that it is never the guy’s fault 100 percent. You may be contributing to it. So sit down, and analyse your faults as well. Improving and loving yourself is the first stage to meet the right guy. Please keep me updated. hugs*

  4. semi says:

    Seems d’only reason women cum 2 the world is to get married…….

    1. herapereira says:

      Its what society expects of them. The social stigma attached with not being married is something that many women are dealing with. ko easy.

      1. ezekiel adigwe says:

        society called africa, nigerian menace!!! pshewww so sickening!!

  5. Nnamdi Nnake says:

    You know, it’s never easy explaining why people should cheer up in the face of life’s challenges, but in the end, it is the only real option that can bring any satisfaction. think about it, is not getting married before 30 any worse than not landing a good job 3,4,5-10 years after graduation? Especially when your mates are building houses and driving flashy cars and sending their kids to posh schools while you scrounge? How about getting a job and working hard, yet never getting promoted, and soon your mates become your boss’ boss?

    Life is filled with ups and downs and we have a duty to make the best of any circumstance good or bad. A friend lost his wife and only child in the Dana crash, but he is still alive. He is striving to see life positively and move on. Not an easy task, but worthwhile.

    We must move on…

    1. herapereira says:

      I could not have said it better myself

  6. ezekiel adigwe says:

    hello nee idrisu!! first let me doff my heart for making me proud with your prowess with the pen… i am so glad to have ever been associated with you!!… let me sound a lilttle vulgar or rather blunt, hopefully it would express my anger at her detractors..
    why is the lady stressing!!, she need to stress not, the main problem here is simply because as nigerians that we are we are just morally blinded in our thoughts and actions! must she be married? my answer is no! must she let family and societal pressure get to her my answer is certainly no!! this marriage thing to me has simply been a show of status and is another cankerworm that i rank side by side with corruption because i feel its a discriminatory gender issue which people should learn to begin to frown at… so if woman no marry she don become caste!! absolute nonsense… pshewww. my words of consolation to the lady in question is live a good life and if family and friends turn their back on you, you should turn your back on them as well… i bet you would make new friends and other people would embrace you as family, family must not be your mama or papa but people who show love to you… dats why i love the white man’s way!! lastly if you dream to be married it would happen so stress less and enjoy life!! the average nigerian is ignorant..
    enjoy
    adigwe ezekiel esq!!!

    1. herapereira says:

      Thank you Zik. I am sure that she is reading this and feeling much better about herself. Its nice when guys feel this way

  7. Maima says:

    Hmmm. Just stumbled on ur blog tday. Doing a Gud job I must confess. Will say as every other person is saying…..babe stress less enjoy ur moment while it lasts but when the right guy comes around waste no tym. Did I forget to say don’t settle????. I do understand d need to settle and build a family and hav a companion and answer d title mrs. I am a widow and very young at least below 30 with a child. U can just d stress dat comes with dat. Bt u can’t have it all. Make d most of ur time and enjoy…. Pray for mr right. And when he comes u will realize he was worth waiting for.

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