And if those fantasies had been anything to go by, I would also be rich by now. But where was I at 23 when Mr Right was supposed to be walking me down the aisle? Well, I was finishing my degree and struggling to find a job in a collapsing economy; the last thing on my mind in those days was marriage as survival took top priority.
And now that I think about it, that fantasy marriage might not have lasted because what I know now, I certainly did not know back then. While the idea of having a husband sounded perfect then, I am now sure the reality is a very different thing.
I’m 28 this year and have recently started seeing someone. But before him, I nursed a major heartbreak and was so unhappy with men that I had decided that marriage was not for me. That is still how I feel about things right now but I am not worried by this. I feel marriage will come eventually and when it does, it will definitely be better than the broken fantasies I have seen around me.
Everyone’s talking about it!
Believe it or not, I keep hearing loud whispers about me and what people will do when I ‘finally’ get married, how much will be charged for lobola and all kinds of things associated with my marriage. My mother has joined the chorus and is also putting pressure on me to meet that one guy that I am going to get married to. The heat is certainly on!
As I see it, everyone wants to link me up with that one person that they think is good for me. My married friends are constantly talking about how great life is, about their children being a joy and that if I was also married I could maybe experience this happiness with them. What they do not know is I am scared to death of kids, especially babies, and I just like to cuddle them for a few hours then hand them back to their mommies and go home to my bed, and my freedom.
But the problem is that many women who are above a certain age, (I think 25 is the golden standard), feel that they are losing out because their friends, younger sisters and all the other girls they know or went to high school with are married. They feel like they are lagging hopelessly behind. What many do not seem to understand is the fact that sometimes when we rush things, we end up settling for second best, or even something that was never intended for us.
There are obvious dangers associated with marrying late for women. I mean, seeing as there are more women than men, chances are by the time I turn 30, most of the eligible bachelors will be long taken and married. In fact, when I had this discussion on one of the social networks I subscribe to, someone even pointed out that women around their late 20s and early 30s are bound to be married to divorcees and to become second wives.
Yes, yes, the choices might have slimmed down, but that is no reason to panic and rush for the first thing that glitters, as if it’s gold. We should in fact never be blinded by desperation so as to rush and settle for someone who is not half of who we pictured we would end up with.
But is she a virgin?
The question of virginity also comes into play a lot. Many males party to my discussion said that no matter what society has been led to believe, any man who is involved with a woman who is no longer a virgin usually has no respect for her, thus reducing the chances of women in their late 20s and beyond of marrying happily.
I suppose this notion comes from our more traditional times when a girl had to be sexually pure when she married. But such thinking brings out just how treacherous men in our society are, and how they subscribe to double standards. Seriously, lets think about how many of these men are in fact sexually active themselves and how many young or old women’s cherries they have popped. Yet still, they shout to the world that the women should be pure. So who then should marry those whom they have deflowered and left?
Anyway, I am sure there are more important aspects and qualities that men look for, and in as much as the issue of virginity is still high on the agenda, it does not necessarily hold true that women who are in the age group in question cannot get married because they are, or have been, sexually active.
HIV is a big concern among both married & unmarried couples.
But now, because of HIV and a range of sexually transmitted infections, other people have raised concerns about women aged 30, or close enough, being at a higher risk of being manipulated into having unsafe sex and becoming infected by their partners. And an HIV positive status is known to significantly reduce ‘market value’ in the marriage sweepstakes.
You’d think though that the older and wiser a woman is, the more likely she is to ask her man to use protection, right? But the logic behind this thinking is that older women are so desperate for commitment, that they will at times throw caution to the wind in pursuit of it. One guy even said to my face that as long as a man knows that a woman is looking to settle down, he will tell her all the things that she wants to hear so he can get into her pants; and sometimes things move so fast that protection is only an afterthought.
The other logic behind unsafe sex among these older women is that some are small houses and their partners demand ‘skin on skin’ action in exchange for that beautiful duplex apartment and gleaming BMW parked out front. Among single men looking to get serious, the concern about the HIV status of older women is apparently a major concern.
Now I am not joking around about this, but sometimes a whole lot of irresponsible behaviour leads to a lot of chaos and unnecessary drama. If two people decide to engage in a highly intimate relationship, I prescribe they take the necessary precautions to prevent any mishaps.
But what people also seem to turn a blind eye to is the fact that being infected with HIV can happen to just about anyone, and not only to those women above 25, sexually active and unmarried. In fact, the rate of HIV infections among women under 25 is on the rise in our region of the world.
Should we still hold out hope?
So is there hope for women getting to 30 and unmarried? I believe there is a lot. We are more experienced in the ways of life; and we definitely know more about ‘genuine’ men and wolves in sheepskin! And we will sure have achieved a lot of our own personal goals such that we will be readier to settle down when the time comes. Yes, human nature can be very deceitful and can lead to many unplanned consequences. And yes, desperation can lead older women into poor decision-making. But as long as you, as a woman, are cool about everything, there should never be a case where you feel left out or left behind.
Also it’s a fact that despite the shortage of men, some women are sworn spinsters; some want to be nuns and some just don’t seem themselves married. And some are just not attracted to men. Each to her own.
At this stage in most women’s lives, there develops a certain level of emotional maturity that can help her deal with whatever comes her way. I mean what woman does not know the meaning of the word compromise by age 30? If she can handle this, then comfort with singleness or marriage comes much easier.
I am five years past my fantasy and proud to be who I am, just the way I am. And I assure you that in God’s time, I will find the right man, and get married. So for now I will pursue my dreams and make a name for myself that even my children and my husband will be proud of; and I will be sure to remember this article in those years to come.