Being Single: “A person shouldn’t be stated as ‘unsettled’ if they are single”

Suchismita Chattaraj is a 31-year-old, happily single woman. She is that 90’s kid, an “old soul looking for the emotional connection” in the world of digitization today where she believes that there is no place for platonic love or emotions. We asked her about her struggle of being single in an era and country where you are still judged as “settled” only if you are married with kids by the end of your 20’s and here is what she shared with us.

Does it annoy you when people ask you why you are single?

Honestly, it doesn’t. When you’re single as an adult, people start to talk and that’s absolutely okay. You cannot stop people from talking or asking questions and if you cannot stop something, you should learn to not get bothered about it. That’s the best way to maintain your sanity. I prefer smiling at the ones asking me such questions invading my personal space. That’s so childish of them.

Why do you think singlehood is questioned so much?

Well, ideally we progress as a society to the point that being single is perfectly acceptable and this question isn’t inherently awkward, but we’re not there yet, and we should probably focus on climate change and stuff first. And then you know as human beings it is somewhere innate for us to probe into other’s life more than minding our own business. All these stereotypes are driven by pressures to conform to long-held societal standards: get the ideal partner, shared home, kids and a person has assembled all the ingredients they need for a happy life. And single shaming comes from many sources beyond nosy relatives and friends.

Governments play a part, by offering various benefits to those who are legally married, of which single people can’t take advantage. Some people believe this sends a message about the “right way” to go about life, serving as positive reinforcement for partnered people and making it very difficult for singles not to internalise the idea that they’re getting adulthood wrong.

What are some of the weirdest, funniest questions you have been asked about being single?

Haha, people perceive such negative biases about those who are not partnered. They think we must be sad and lonely for not having a partner. We are actively looking for one, but haven’t found a match yet or there must be something wrong with us that’s causing us to wind up alone. I have also been advised to compromise and settle down as per their idea of settling down with the non deserving. But what hurts me more than anything is the society’s assumption towards my parents not getting me married for living on my earnings. Huh! At least leave them alone, they have done everything to make me who I am today – independent and a great decision maker.

Did past relationship experiences play a role in you choosing singlehood? What made you realise or decide that you no longer want a partner?

I am not against the idea of getting married, infact marriage is a heavenly bond if married to the right partner and taken care of well. But marriage shouldn’t be forced on someone or there shouldn’t be an “ideal marriageable age”. A person shouldn’t be stated as “unsettled” if they are single, I mean one should first understand the literal meaning of settling down.

My past relationships haven’t really played a role for me choosing singlehood, rather the current idea of being in a relationship which is mostly about the fly by night hook ups or getting limited to swipes have made me come to this decision. In the current age of digitization, there is no place for platonic love or emotions. People have got so many options that they don’t want to put in efforts to make a relationship work. But unfortunately, I am a 90s kid: an old soul with a vintage heart looking for the emotional connection which seems like history in the current era of speed.

Any piece of advice for women and men out there who are contemplating singlehood…

In recent years, influential figures on social media and traditional celebrities alike have spoken out proudly about their single status. Self partnering is now encouraging others to view their own lack of a romantic partner as positive, not negative. The more you embrace your status as a single person, I think the more you feel liberated to do the same. It is your life and when you start living it in terms of what others advice, you are letting them control your life and that would be the worst thing you would be doing to yourself. So celebrate your status – every journey is different and we all will end up to the point we are meant for.

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