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Do Unmarried People secretly crave for a spouse?

A few urban singles give their point of view:

A beautiful confident single
She is nearing forty but Oindrella Dutt does not regret remaining unmarried. ‘I never wanted to get married,’ she says categorically. ‘I don’t see many happy marriages around me. I see people trying to make the best of it. And as I am financially independent, that takes away one reason for wanting to get married.’
Oindrella lives with her parents and is happy with the arrangement. Ofcourse she realises that this may not be a permanent state of affairs. ‘There is no guarantee that anyone will not live alone even if one is married. One can lose one’s spouse or get divorced. And tell me, do you think that one can depend on one’s children today?’ she asks.
Oindrella also debunks the myth that every woman needs to bear her own child. ‘I don’t think everyone has these needs,’ she says.

Proud of her independence
In her mid-forties, Rita Bose finds a certain pleasure in being single. ‘I take my own decisions and would not like to sacrifice this. In fact, I’ve started to enjoy my singleness and for many years I have not thought of getting married.’ She also does not believe that singles need suffer from loneliness. ‘I’m not lonely at all,’ she says. Rita lives with a sister, an aunt and her adopted son Rahul who is just five years old. These people satisfy her emotional needs. Being born and brought up in the same city also means that she has plenty of friends and relatives.
However being single does come with it’s own set of problems. Sexual harassment is one of them. ‘I’ve had people ringing up at odd hours and even following me home. On some occasions I’ve had to threaten them with the police,’ she says.

Not sure about marraige
Interior decorator, Raja Biswas, who is over forty, feels that he is ‘much better off being unmarried’ as he loves his freedom and privacy. He believes that a relationship can peter out after the first flush of passion. ‘One can meet someone else,’ he says. ‘I’ve seen it happen all the time and I myself will never go through with a sham of a marriage.’ His work, music, photography and friends keep him content. Raja admits that his years spent studying in a boarding school could have made him ‘detached from family life.’

Not found the right person
Thirty-eight year old Rishi Kumar however admits that it gets a little lonely and that ‘life is the same.’ At the same time he says, ‘But I don’t want to make a mistake. I’ve seen many unhappy marriages.’ In fact, the reason he is not married is because he has not found ‘the right person,’ not because he is against marrying. However now he is used to being single. ‘Singleness becomes a way of life,’ he says.
Like most singles, he has plenty of hobbies. He not only works for the family business, he plays club-level golf, is a talented pianist, a collector of vintage cars, and also flies planes! And ofcourse, he has no dearth of friends, both married and single!

Experts’ opinion:
‘The thought of getting into a permanent relationship is often anxiety-provoking for a person who has been single for a long time,’ says psychiatrist Dr. Jyotirmoy Sammajdar. ‘They get accustomed to independence. It is those who lose a spouse due to divorce or death who suffer more,’ he adds.
Life for singles can be tough however. Single women have to cope with sexual harassment. And singles of both sexes have to cope with sexual deprivation. Dr. Varsha Bhansali, psychiatrist, feels that sexual deprivation is not such a big problem. ‘We are all human beings and people find a way,’ she says. On the other hand, Dr. Sammajdar feels that ‘middle-class morality’ can prevent a single person from having a sexual partner.
Some singles may have carved out well-ordered lives for themselves. With no demanding family responsibilities or possessive spouses, they enjoy a degree of freedom which married people can never enjoy. But non-involvement can also exact a price in feelings of alienation from the mainstream ‘married’ world and not everyone can cope with this, say the experts.

(This article was published in The Telegraph, Calcutta some years ago. Please note that the people mentioned in the article will now be older.)


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