Chinese daily Xinhua has reported that more and more Finns prefer to live alone and singles account for 41% of Finland. Active! decided to find out whether Indian men are pushing the matrimony envelope into their late 30s
Remember the time when men and women used to get married in their early 20s and have kids before they were 30. Those days seem to be fading swiftly, not just in India but all over the world.
Indians are giving company to Finns who apparently love being single. Research shows that young adults in Finland are choosing to settle down later and the average age at which people marry has increased by two years.
In India, too, more and more men are opting to get married late into the 30s. How did we get here? Is it that the idea of marriage has changed as we chase career success?
According to researchers at Rutgers University, New Jersey, men are waiting longer because they can get what they want mainly sex without tying the knot. David Popenoe, a behavioral scientist at Rutgers, and Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, a marriage expert, say that men just aren't in any hurry.
"The good news is that men who marry later may be more financially stable and emotionally mature," says Popenoe. The bad news is that they may be so set in their ways that they are lousy at making compromises that help a marriage get over the rough spots.
Sociologist Sarala Bijapurkar feels that as a society we have become more individualistic and would like to enjoy life before settling down into matrimony. With higher salaries people can enjoy life a lot more than the previous generation and they like to savour the fun for a while longer. While the reasons for marrying later may be numerous, what are the disadvantages?
Ad professional Sandip Rakhit (40) feels that being carefree for too long may lead one to excess. "At times, I need some discipline and self-discipline is a hard thing to summon at one's beck and call. There is the loneliness factor at times as well."
"Another problem with late marriage for men is that they may get an older girl and an older woman may have complications in having children. The older the parents are, they more prominent is the generation gap as well," says psychiatrist Dr Anjali Chhabria.
Research by sociologist Paul Amato of Pennsylvania State University for a 2007 book he co-wrote, however, suggests the opposite. The data he collected found that older marriages (30s vs 20s) were more cohesive as they did things more often together as a couple. And couples who married at older ages were less likely to report thinking about divorce. We spoke to experts and city singletons to figure out why getting hitched is on the backburner for them.
Easy sex, work pressure is the culprit
Dr Anjali Chhabria, psychiatrist
People go through multiple relationships and break-ups these days and it may lead to confusion making one wonder who is the right life partner. Therefore, one ends up pushing the decision to a later stage. Work pressure may make a man realise that he needs to spend time away from family and he pushes the decision till he is settled. Commitment phobia is also a reason because people's faith in marriage is being shaken due to so many broken families and divorces. The easy availability of sex without the commitment of marriage has also helped push the decision further. If one is getting the pros of a marriage without the actual marriage, it's the easiest option men will want to take.
Haven't met the right girl
Ashmit patel (32), actor
Relationship status: Single
Actor Ashmit Patel says that he would like to get married but only when he meets the right person. "I'm not commitment phobic, I've had some great relationships, which haven't worked out. I don't feel that I will lose my independence post-marriage because according to me; marriage is about being interdependent. I just haven't met the person I want to spend the rest of my life with." Patel feels that he personally doesn't find any disadvantage in being single. "I like my space and alone-time but I am not lonely. But for a lot of people loneliness can become an issue."
Bollywood's Hottest Bachelors
Not ready to give up my Independence
Aamir Ali (30), Actor
Relationship status: Single, but in a serious relationship
TV star Aamir Ali, who was recently spotted in the film I Hate Luv Stories, and has been in a relationship for the last few years, says that marriage is not on the cards in the near future. "A lot of people think I am married because I am in a committed relationship but I want to get married only when I am absolutely ready to take on the responsibility. For me, it is not about managing work pressure or even finances. All that is in place, it's just that I'm not prepared to give up my independence just yet."
In India, most of our celebrities tend to get married in their late 20s or early 30s. However, actor Salman Khan at 45 is an exception to the rule. Even after a string of high profile relationships, he is yet to find the right girl. Two years back, he laid the onus of his marriage on God. "Whenever He will give consent, I'll get married. Things are not in my hand. Without His will, nothing happens."
Actor John Abraham (37) said in an earlier interview that both he and Bipasha believe in the institution of marriage but they are too busy to tie the knot for the next couple of years.
Hollywood Dilemma: To marry or not to marry
Al Pacino (70), Considered as one of the greatest living actors, Pacino is a confirmed bachelor. He has three children through various relationships but the thespian has never believed in tying the knot even though he's had some serious dalliances with acting coach Jan Tarrant and his Godfather co-star Diane Keaton.
Leonardo DiCaprio (36)
He is also unmarried though he's been linked with several models including the lovely Gisele Bundchen. He had initially been quoted as saying that he did not believe in the institution but has mellowed down of late and told a celebrity magazine that he wants to get married and have children.
Gerard Butler (40),
This Scottish actor longs to get married and have children and has been linked to his Bounty Hunter co-star Jennifer Aniston as well. But he fears it is too late to settle down. In an interview to a British mag, Butler said that he would love to have a wife and kids, but one can't create them out of thin air. "I guess I've got to settle down soon, but I'm nervous to say it out loud because it might not happen."
Why we choose to be single...
I have become set in my ways
Sandip Rakhit (40), advertising professional
Relationship status: Single.
Sandip says that he always knew he did not want to get married early. "That wasn't for me. I like to call it a bit of internal selfishness. I wanted to travel the world and achieve a bit professionally before I tied the knot. I met some wonderful people along the way but it was about adjusting my ambitions and I wasn't prepared to do it then. In the earlier years, it was commitment phobia coupled with work commitments; later on you don't want to compromise on your freedom and become settled in your ways, which I think I have to a degree," he says.
Complete freedom is highly addictive
Duane Woodman (31), Entrepreneur
Relationship status: Single
Duane says that he would like to enjoy this window of freedom for a while longer. "For a long time, one is answerable to one's parents and after one gets married it's the wife. It is only for a few years in a man's life that he has complete freedom. I am in that phase and would like to be here a while more. I am old-fashioned and believe marriage is for keeps. I don't want to give my wife any reason to complain once I'm married," he says with a laugh.
Women want to marry an achiever
Dr Rajan Bhonsle, Marriage Counsellor
Men are putting off marriage because their partners/ wives/ girlfriends have very high expectations and do not want to marry a non-achiever. Women want to marry men who are secure financially and comfortable in their careers and not strugglers. For a man to be comfortable in his career, he has to reach at least his early 30s and this delays the process. Instances show that when one is older, the decision is more one's own than determined by family and customs. Also, with age one is more mature, in control of oneself and better equipped to handle a relationship like marriage.