There may be many times in our lives when we feel like we are falling behind. We constantly compare our own life achievements against those of our friends and those of a similar age group, and if you don’t feel like you are keeping the same pace, it can be demoralizing.
This has only been made worse by the likes of Facebook and Twitter. We receive constant updates on the lives of our peers and it is easy to feel, at times, like you are falling behind.
Perhaps, your friends are all going to university, but you have chosen not to. Maybe they all seem to have successful careers whilst you are still on the hunt for your perfect job.
There may then come a time when you feel like they have all settled down and got married, and you are nowhere close. You may fear being judged or are constantly conscious of the ticking hands of time.
9 reasons why you shouldn’t worry when you are the last of your friends to marry
The truth is, when it comes to marriage, there really is no shame in waiting or even deciding that you don’t want to marry at all! In fact, it may even be advantageous to you to hold on to your single status just that little bit longer. After all, the average age for marriage is rising every year.
In 2013, it was marked at an average of 36.5 years for men and 34 years for women. So clearly, plenty of people are in no rush to settle down! Here are nine reasons why you should hold back and not worry that you are the last of your friends to marry.
#1 There will be more opportunities to meet new people
Weddings are actually the perfect place to meet new people. It is essentially one large social event where you know you will have at least one common interest with all the other people there: the married couple. You will probably be surprised by how many single people there are in attendance.
Furthermore, if your friends are no longer available, there is less competition! You’ll have first pick of all the potential love interests that you meet. Not to mention the fact that your friends will be more willing to pair you up with other singletons now that they are off the market themselves. And now that you are more mature, you will be ready to experience relationships in a much more confident and exciting way. [Read: 25 very obvious signs you’re high on wedding fever!]
#2 You can learn from others
You should see your later arrival to the world of marriage as several dodged bullets. By the time you are married, you will have witnessed all the trials and tribulations of your married friends. Every mistake they make, from the wedding planning process to the everyday stresses of married life, is a lesson learnt for you.
Plus, if you do run into problems on your path towards possible marriage, you’ll have friends who have already been there who can advise you on most situations.
By the time you become someone’s fiancé or fiancée, you’ll already have a list of things to avoid and issues to look out for. You’ll be a marriage connoisseur before you even reach the altar. Not to mention the fact that you’ll quite possibly have several “experienced” wedding planners to give you a helping hand to plan your big day when it comes around.
#3 You won’t have to share the limelight
Don’t you find that weddings all seem to happen at once? You log on to Facebook and have at least two or three sets of wedding photos to look through at any given time. The thought of sharing the limelight with an old school friend you haven’t seen or spoken to in years *who happens to have 100 or more mutual friends with you on Facebook* is hard enough to accept, let alone sharing the limelight with one of your closer friends.
At least with your friends’ weddings out of the way, you won’t run the risk of stealing each other’s thunder. [Read: 15 essential relationship tips and advice for single women]
#4 Longer to focus on yourself
Being single and independent allows you to focus on your own goals and ambitions, more so than if you were married. You are more free to take risks without compromise or having to consult a significant other.
Achieving career success will give you a more stable foundation if you decide to marry in the future. Entering a marriage with a stable career will help relieve some of the stresses of income and daily living costs. What’s more, after reaching your initial goals, further career success will be much easier, which will allow you to focus more on your marriage and starting a family, if you decide to.
#5 Enjoy yourself before you get married
Love is an exciting adventure with several twists and turns, and highs and lows. It’s a ride to be relished and enjoyed! Be sure to explore and experience love at every stage before you move on to the next level. There is really no need to rush!
Enjoy relationships without the responsibilities, commitments and pressures of marriage. Only move on when you know the time is right to continue to the next part of your journey. Don’t get married for the sake of getting married, you might be throwing away the chance for some thrilling experiences! [Read: 16 signs you’re still not ready for a serious relationship]
#6 Life doesn’t have deadlines
Once you leave school at the age of sixteen, your achievements and life experiences are no longer measured by your age. You may think that life is a checklist of experiences that you are expected to achieve by certain ages, but it just isn’t the case. The lives of two different people of the same age can differ enormously from the age of sixteen. There are no deadlines for your life experiences.
Long gone are the days where you are expected to have married and started a family before you are 25. In fact, this hasn’t been the case since 1970, where 60% of men were married at the age of 25 along 80% of women of the same age! [Read: What is the right age to get married?]
Just because all your friends are getting married doesn’t mean you are in a minority. There are plenty of other people in your situation.
#7 Be prepared for the financial commitment
Getting married is expensive. Even budget weddings are likely to put a significant dent in your bank balance. Not all couples are prepared for just how much money they have to put into their big day. Isn’t it better to be prepared than to be in debt before you even enter married life?
Waiting to get married can allow you time to reach financial stability, to put money in savings and prepare for the future. If or when you get married, you will be able to afford the wedding of your dreams without paying off credit cards for months afterwards.
#8 You can make a more informed decision
When you get married, you intend to be married for the rest of your life. It is not a decision to be taken lightly. No one wants to become another divorce statistic. By waiting until later in life to marry, you are able to make a more informed decision.
Through your friends’ experiences, and over time, you will have a clearer view of married life. You will also have a better and more mature ability to analyze your own life situation. Is it truly what you want? Are you with the right person? Is it truly what you partner wants? With more time and life experience, you will be more able to answer these questions with certainty.
#9 You don’t HAVE to get married at all!
You shouldn’t feel pressured into marriage just because your friends are all doing it. Fewer people are marrying each year. Based on recent statistics, approximately 52% of today’s 20 year olds are predicted to marry in their lifetime. Forty years ago, this percentage would have been nearly 100%.
The idea of marriage is becoming outdated. It is no longer an expectation, and the benefits of marriage are diminishing as we are all becoming more and more capable of supporting ourselves independently. In the not too distant future, those who decide to marry might actually be a minority. So, by choosing not to marry, you are following the trend towards choosing a more modern and up-to-date outlook on relationships.
Next time you are feeling the pressure, or when you’re watching yet another of your friends walk down the aisle, remember, you are empowering yourself by waiting and getting married later in life. You are quite possibly paving your way to a better future by doing so.
[Read: 15 reasons why being single right now can be a lot of fun too!]
The clock may be ticking but time isn’t running out for you. Take your time and do what is right for you, and most importantly, stop worrying if you’re the last of your friends to marry!
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