The Age Panic


There is an unspoken rule in Western society that life begins to degrade rapidly after age 30. Why? Because all of the worse parts of life happen after then. Sagging skin, balding crowns, infertility, middle management. Mediocrity.

In the dating and love realm, the message is clear: You had better figure out life and marry someone by the time you reach 30, or else no one will want you. This rule is applied much more stringently to women than to men (much of this has to do with biology, of course). After all, no one wants to be associated with a cat-loving lonely middle-aged spinster. Older brides (like Meghan Markle) are judged harshly by public, but are judged nonetheless slightly better than single and childless people over 30. In many ways, it is much more socially acceptable to marry and divorce several times than it is to be single after a certain age.

There is a rush to hit the marriage milestone, and almost everyone feels some sort of pressure to be married before it is “too late.” But, given that only a small percentage of society thinks for themselves anyway, how many people have stopped to think about why the pressure to marry by age 30 still exists in society? And how many people are rushing into unhappy romantic relationships out of fear of disappointing their families and friends?

For instance, I watched an episode of Wendy Williams this week (I know, it’s gossipy. For the record, I don’t watch her regularly anymore.). In the episode, she asks the audience why a successful young man would want to marry a woman who is 30 and a “spinster.” I found her saying to be very interesting because Wendy Williams is known for having a husband who leads a double life with a mistress who lives down the street from Wendy Williams. I wonder, how much Wendy’s fears about being a spinster and growing old alone influence her decision to stay with a husband who repeatedly disrespects her in public.

The answer seems so obvious to me. Wendy, like many people, will stay in a bad situation to avoid being judged by others. This is understandable—sometimes it can be hard to hold your head up high in light of harsh criticism. So, how many people around the world are staying in unhappy marriages for fear of being judged?

A study found that 60% of people report being in happy marriages, with 40% saying that they are in unhappy marriages. The 4 types of people who tend to be happiest in marriage are: those who spend more time at religious centers, people with extreme political views, those who describe themselves as upper class—and men.

I am a single person who is 30 years old, and I get asked every now and then why I am single since I’d make a great partner. I could go into a tirade about my healing journey and new beliefs about honesty and openness, but I don’t. I feel the pressure to marry now too, but that pressure is not strong enough for me to jump into a relationship with the wrong person.

What are your thoughts on the pressure to marry and build a family before age 30? Is there still a place in society for this kind of pressure? Share your experiences below.

Author: Lilac Blue

Lilac Blue is writes about femininity, love and family in a world that has been drastically altered by industrialization, secularism, misandry and misogyny.

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