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Do Unmarried People secretly crave for a spouse?

November 3, 2006

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.)

Related Reading: Most Indians date for for a mate, Women need to be careful of regressive thinking  menIt’s a tough life for single mothers, Talking about sex is healthy.

30 Comments leave one →
  1. November 4, 2006 11:12 pm

    To remain single is not a deliberate decision. It just happens mostly by certain indecisions in life or duality in the mind. But there is a stage in the life when a single person finds some thing missing. It may not be physical, social, or biological though all these are necessary but there is a feeling of loneliness, a feeling of alienation, a feeling of indifference or feeling of not-so-cared-for. A person wants a companion very close to his heart with whom he/she may share one’s own thoughts, pains, pleasueres and inner feelings. It is not that one can open his heart to his parents, siblings or friends. Spouse has an altogather status – one may deny it apparently but the fact remains. Rub these people at the wrong side and they will come out of the shell.

  2. edwin wesley permalink
    December 15, 2006 4:35 pm

    every person is created with a vaccume and always needs a companion. if one who chooses to be single it is not because he/she likes to be single, but it is the situations they have faced in their lifes which influences the decision they make. everybody wants to be loved, cared and wants the belonging feeling to somebody. it is the fear of failure, or the experience of failure that keeps them away from getting into the relationship. if it was natural to be single then God would have created either a man or a woman and not both of them.

  3. Sandhya permalink
    July 8, 2007 4:11 am

    My vote for Oindrella Dutt 🙂

    Also, the women seem to have more “positive reasons” for staying single – that’s not say that men not represented here too have them – but that’s really what makes a breaks for happy singlehood.

    No one but the psychiatrists dicusses sexual deprivation – so that tells a story by itself!

    Finally a point about worldviews…alienation and feeling left out, maybe…but surely as Indians, there are a few insightful people, who do identitfy with more than their bodies, minds and everyday hum-drum and do not seek contentment from the transient world.

  4. Sachin Kole permalink
    December 9, 2007 3:43 pm

    there should be seprate community for singles. Indian society dosent give social value if some one remain unmarried.
    i am 30 and in dilema of tobe married or unmarried.

  5. December 9, 2007 3:47 pm

    @Sachin Kole:

    If you find the right partner you should get marrried! Never give up the search!

  6. Raj permalink
    December 18, 2007 12:50 pm

    It is good to see that people are making their own choices.Our society has always expected and forced people to conform to some societal norm or the other,irrespective of whether they like it or not.Those who do not conform are discriminated against.The discrimination against singles (both women and men,though women suffer more) must be felt to be experienced in its entirety.

  7. January 9, 2008 1:36 am

    Of course single people crave for a spouse (most of time secretly) as they don’t dare to admit they are suffering from loneliness. Displaying suffering is not anymore “acceptable” in the West, yet it’s perfectly human. Even TV presenters keep on smiling while annoucing bad news.
    Human beings (as well as animals) are not born to appreciate loneliness. And it is highly to believe that the ones who bravely claim the contrary are just disguising an enormous suffering but they don’t wan’t to show it. However who do they think they fool? They actually just fool themselves…

  8. Raj permalink
    January 10, 2008 5:11 pm


    I do not know how you can be so sure of single people craving for a spouse and that too secretly.Everyone is different and thinks and feels differently.

    Loneliness may be seen as a disease by some but not by others.

    I don’t know if someone would make such an enormous effort to hide their suffering.It would be in that person’s own interest to seek a remedy to that suffering.

  9. rohini permalink
    January 14, 2008 5:33 am

    How about the sexual needs of the single person specially the women..atleast in the west you can find sexual partners but it is difficult enough for a single woman to live in india …also many times being single is not a matter of has been the case..with me..i was born to parents who were in their late 40’s at my birth so since i was …18 or 19 i have been the bread winner and taking care of them…they are now their eighties..i am 38 years old.. .but i have still single..what are the options for people like me..can someone tell me..?? I AM NOT SINGLE BY CHOICE..BUT BY CIRCUMSTANCES…

    • Lakshmi permalink
      October 19, 2009 4:55 pm

      FIND a partner…

    • dumbhar permalink
      August 24, 2010 8:25 pm

      i am single m29..let me tell freely about my feelings.In my opinion marriage is not natural..Other than human beings do we have any creature marrying!!..But sex is truth..i think the married people are very unnatural and remain in ignorance whole life in their own internal mind and are very narrow minded and superstitious..The point is looses its charm and enjoyment when we are forced to have sex with a spouse or as rohini my point is that you have to discover sex on your own way..or you can search for a partner in your own way..marriage is all about producing children and having dull faces whole life..(please dont mind..but whenever i see a married women with children i see the dullness in her life and that takes away happiness all around..they are exclusive property cant love them freely..they make people like us hopeless) ..rohini it is because of 99% impurity in indian society that we see all these people..they are too many that does not mean they are know those 1% of people are quite eager to have relationship with just move on.. take little sexual risks to find those 1%..and try to break in parts what type of sex you are interested in..and break each sexual act in your mind and try to fullfill it by sexual will discover that you are in a very better position than married you are childfree,sexually free to choose any partner,free for one night stands..i tell you that if you will take little risks and be open you will have lot of enjoyment and life will be more bliss than now..

  10. sree permalink
    February 3, 2008 2:45 pm

    @ rohini
    rohini.. yes, i can understand u.. but donno y.. god cant give everyone everything.. its fate.. just pray to god.. may be someday he will help us all 🙂

  11. May 5, 2008 12:01 pm

    Never give up… you are a prey of your own thinking, I don’t know what the present state of mind you are in. Talk to people you relate openly and give your best shot to have things worked on. I can not guarantee any magic but a hope is much better then to be victim of circumstances

  12. Shwetha permalink
    May 30, 2008 8:50 pm

    Being Single is better than being in a bad marriage. What is the point of being married just for the sake of being married ? As for sexual satisfaction, how many married people are really getting sexual satisfaction in their marriage ? When you are single, it is easy to keep your life full with many hobbies and activities and people, that sexual needs doesn’t really bother. Thought of sex appears seldom, sometimes just a curious thought. But when you live with your spouse that awakens the needs and then if the spouse is not meeting your needs, that is 100 times more frustrating than living single. This is a very common scenario in our Indian society.

    • Sameera permalink
      July 23, 2009 12:15 pm

      Yes, I agree with shwetha u r right. Take my example by force i got married as I am educated in my community did’nt get suitable match. I was forced to marry just because everyone thinks that it is important for a women to stay in a family. This is all bull-shit I am seprated with in two years as my husband expect only money from me. He doesn’t even care for his child and expect me to earn and give him. what is the use of this kind of frustrated marriages I feel even muslims should be given a chance to live their own life. Marriages are horrible in present senario do not get married if you are independent and confident in your life.

    • Vinod permalink
      August 6, 2009 7:23 pm

      Although I agree with the thrust of Shweta’s comment,, I have to disagree with the part where she says thought of sex appears seldom. That may be true for most women, but I believe it is exactly the opposite for most single men and I know it to be so for me. Sex is there in the mind quite often. It cannot just be pushed to the background. One simply has to learn to live with being dissatisfied by broadening perspective – think of all the handicapped people and the those in bad marriages – and derive solace.

      • Lakshmi permalink
        October 19, 2009 4:58 pm

        The answer lies in free sex which I think is healthy. Usually Indians react negatively to this phrase and simply presume that bad people engage in this. But responsible free sex is an adult choice and a sensible one – far more sensible than celibacy.

  13. phantom permalink
    October 19, 2009 10:33 am

    Sexual deprivation becoming a relevant factor depends much on the degree of sexual experience of the single person. After all, Bandar kahan jaane adrak ka swaad  . And it would not be out of scope to assume that a fair proportion of the voluntarily single people may not perhaps have sampled the sweet wares of the sexual candy stand.

    Yes, being single is infinitely better than being stuck in a loveless marriage, or one in which there is more pain, grief or frustration than contentment. However this discussion is not about being single vs being married per se. This is about whether single people crave a spouse.

    The scope of this discussion needs to be qualified somewhat. Every human being inadvertently craves companionship and the feeling of being wanted/loved. Some people are aware of such feelings within them whereas some are not consciously aware. Of course there are bound to be exceptions, but there is some merit in the idea that in general, people do need/want/prefer companionship at some level, to absolute solitude. But therein lies the twist – how does one define companionship, and does this definition have to absolutely involve a physical component, or exist in an exclusive capacity? Is it not possible for a person to have several fulfilling one-to-one relationships with friends/relatives, and thereby be satisfy any inherent craving for companionship?? I’d say yes and no.

    NO matter what the nature of the relationship one has with their closest friends or family members, it can still never take the place of the kind of relationship one has with a life partner. With the latter, there is an element of exclusiveness, a feeling of “apnapan”, a sentiment of intimacy that can perhaps never be substituted in a relationship with a non-partner type friend or relative. Humans tend to subconsciously and instinctively draw an emotional line between different types of relationships and the boundaries that become associated with each type of relationship. This is common across cultures, demographics, age, religion etc. Marriage is irrelevant, what is of concern is the unique relationship that a person can have with a partner, and this includes sexual intimacy as well as emotional intimacy. There is a degree of expressive freedom that one tends to experience with a partner, which they can never perhaps experience with a non-partner confidant/friend.

    A person doesn’t need to marry to be in a relationship, they can have a partner (a more mature term for boyfriend/girlfriend) with whom they share that emotional and physical relationship.

    Whether a single person feels the craving for that unique bond, depends much on their individual emotional architecture, their relationships with friends/family, their circumstances and experiences in life, their overall sense of contentment with life/work/accomplishments etc. Someone with healthy relationships with friends & family, who has very close confidant type friends, enjoys some feeling of professional/financial accomplishment, probably would not crave the bond with a partner, as much as someone who does not have all those avenues in their life to provide emotional contentment.

    • October 19, 2009 10:35 pm

      phantom, thanks. I guess you are the same phantom who used to frequent my blog some time ago. I think you are, because of the balanced nature of your comment.

  14. mercy permalink
    January 15, 2010 12:32 am

    Hey! I am 28 years old i dont wanna get married want to be a career oriented women and i want a child of my own…in other words a single mother. I would like to know if there are any laws prohibiting this choice of mine and the norms of the indian law…can anyone explain.

    • vasudev permalink
      January 16, 2010 9:04 am

      i think there was this famous miss universe (an indian female who was also an actress…forget her name) who did just that by adopting! so is there any problem? i don’t think so.

  15. March 25, 2010 11:50 am

    i m among the one who is afraid of responsibility and dont want to loose my freedom,, i do hv time to marry but i m not sure if i want to get entangled into it,, but m afraid if i might hv to regret at some point of time…

  16. October 27, 2010 11:22 pm

    What do you people have suggestions for me:

    I am a 25 year old male. I was having a steady and a very loving girl friend, with whom I was to marry, but unfortunately, she passed away all of a sudden, leaving me all alone.

    Now the thing is, even if I marry to someone, I will keep comparing her always with my girl friend, and thus our bond can never me that much strong as it should be between couples. So, I have decided not to marry. Just one thing sometimes forces me to change my decision, and that is obviously sexual desires.

    But at the cost of it, I can’t think of getting into a relationship, that is marraige, which according to me is just a compromise.

    And the people who think that remaining single is unnatural, I have just one question for them. How many of you can digest the fact that your spouse has been in a past relationship(may be physical) which at some point of time you may come to know. To make it worse, you can’t be sure that the person to who you are going to marry, will be commited to the relationship and will not be having extra maritial affairs, unless you know the person very well before marraige and this is only possible in the case or love marriages.

    It just depends upon the way you take your life, if you ready to face this things(might be a possibility only) but now a days its very common. Marriages should not be there for the sake of sex ot just for the sake of getting married.

  17. skylark permalink
    May 22, 2011 11:21 am

    HAVE I BE TRAPPED OR CONNED – My female (Indian) – (I’m European only been in India ten months my contract is only for 20 months) who I’ve known for 4 months or so. And had sex 4 times. We meet up only once or twice a month. She is a heavy drinker and she smokes. The last time we had sex 6 weeks 5 days ago. Last week when she came back from a trip she told me she is pregnant – we did use contraception – however she got pregnant the morning after me meeting her brother and sister (who thought I was jolly fine). She then had to go away for a wedding and business. (She has her own appartment and her own business). However she was unsure that she wanted to keep the baby – now she has stated that as she is single in her society and doesn’t want people to gossip (we both live in Pune). We are not in love or want to get married. I would be happy to bring the baby up on my own. But do not want to get married – I’m not sure we even have enough in common to make a relationship work. (we don’t even have the like the same movies or have much in common). Of course the alternative is she moves away from Pune, she has an abortion. or we get together for the wrong reasons? cheers for reading and any advice Skylark.

  18. skylark permalink
    May 22, 2011 11:31 am

    Hi Rohit – you can never guarantee – people not leaving you.
    I was in a long term relationship (12years) brought up her children from her first marriage. (children where 5 and 6 years old). I even changed my name to here ex-husband surname/family name. To make us more of a family (the children even choose to call me dad). In the end when the children got to 16 she dumped me for an older alcholic man. so there are no life guarenttees.

  19. Guitar permalink
    October 6, 2011 9:02 am

    The problem today in our society is materialism. Love for money, wealth, pride, honor. I dont understand what pride a human can have, when the reality of a human is that its no more than a toy.
    We want to be independent, self sufficient when the fact is that we are not even independent in one single second of our lives. Starting from prime minister to a clerk the cycle if life is the same.
    I do not consider an independent person a brave person. I rather consider someone brave who committs ti as many relations he can in his/her life. Live for others and see how u grow strong everyday. Let other people use u, let them play their games. Sit back, smile and see them getting happy for their small games and tricks. While you progress morally day by day.
    I have seen this, done this. I assure being a care taker for everybody around u, being committed and make a bad bad relation work, get used by others have opened such doors for me. I dont feel love with material things anymore.
    What career, what independence…..wen I dont know if I would be alive next second. But wen i die I would be satisfied that i brought smiles on many faces(eventhough they thought they tricked me). I wud know that I leave behind not my pride but a proginy who has values. Dont try to be living Gods. Only God is independent, we are made in pairs and give up on fear or pride that stops u to get committed. Understand that marriage means responsibility. So not a big deal be responsible. If ur spouse asks for a sacrifice, why not? infact we all are humans and we all have bad and good qualities. If u wanna take pride, take pride in sacrificing for others rather asserting urself everywhere.
    One more thing, someone tried to say he fears marriage becoz what if his prospective partner had some relation outside marriage. Now sit down and think about urself. were u not emotionally engaged to many before ur marriage? Marriage means accepting a partner with all and everything and try to work out from there. Dont accept sacrifices from ur partner and be ready to sacrifice wenever its needed. dont blame ur fate and be practical and be brave to make it work rather than taking a hiding behind lame reasons.
    Remember we are all humans. Act like humans and perceive others as humans.

  20. October 7, 2011 1:30 pm

    The biggest problem with being single is the loneliness. Even if you have unlimited friends in the world, this sense of loneliness and the desire to get close to a woman (emotionally, spiritually and physically) exists – it is part of our instinct. However, I have seen the way my parents and a lot of other married couples live, this turned me of the idea of marriage. It is too suffocating and restrictive. I am an artistic person, I cannot give up or change my passions, hobbies and the way I live life to fit into the societal expectations and responsibilities of marriage. Long term relationships work for me better, without the pains of being married to a person who you might not like years down the line.

  21. February 17, 2012 12:25 am

    Just because everyone is getting married, doesn’t mean that it is the norm or it is the best thing to do. There are positives and negatives to both. Everyone knows about the positives and negatives of married life. But since this post is about unmarried people, let me add.

    In my opinion, there are two things in life – One’s duties/ responsibilities and ones happiness. When women were not allowed to work and were physically dependent on men/ family, it becomes the duty of every man to marry and support a woman. But thats not the case any longer. Women can support themselves very much and our systems enable them to do so today.

    Second, children still need to be supported. I think that its the duty of every person / every couple to bring up children or at least adopt kids and bring them up, because children cannot take care of themselves. There is a good chance that during old age, children can be a source of support.

    When it comes to enjoyment, people mostly speak of sexual needs. Beyond an age, it is not a big deal. If someone have been devoid of it till a certain age, they can easily live without it afterwards. Its important to understand that sex is like an addiction and more we have it, even more we end up wanting it. Just like alcohol and smoking. Besides, the concept of having forced sex in the name of marriage only encourages excesses. I don’t think that one-night stands/ having sex with random people is any kind of solution. It will most probably lead to blackmailing/ cheating in some form.

    But again, its going to be difficult to raise kids/ work-cook-take care of house etc, being a single parent. And its going to be more difficult in the old age. Divorced/ people who lose their spouse due to death are living that way, so why can’t others? Of course, the society will keep speculating hundreds of reasons and keep blaming a person for not ‘getting married’ Read: not ‘giving them a marriage commission for fixing a match’!!

    As I said, there are negatives and positives to anything and it is similarly so with being unmarried. But its definitely not impossible or unfeasible.

    Destination Infinity

  22. Aarti permalink
    July 18, 2015 3:38 pm

    every person is created with a vaccume and always needs a companion. if one who chooses to be single it is not because he/she likes to be single, but it is the situations they have faced in their lifes which influences the decision they make. everybody wants to be loved, cared and wants the belonging feeling to somebody. it is the fear of failure, or the experience of failure that keeps them away from getting into the relationship. if it was natural to be single then God would have created either a man or a woman and not both of them.

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