It’s The 21st Century So STOP Defining Women’s ‘Success’ By Their Marital Status!

People have relationships without marriages. People cheat. People break up all the time. Just because two people followed some rituals does not make them more adept at tolerating each other for life.

Why is that our society defines a woman’s success by her marital status? Is it an achievement to get married or remain married? Is it anybody’s business? Are people’s lives so hollow that they need someone’s broken marriage to feel good about themselves?

A couple of months ago, I came across an article titled, “Shweta Tiwari married for the third time.” When I read through it, the article went on to clarify that the picture making news was one her one of her shows, in which she is all set to marry her co-star. She is not getting married in real life.

Fair enough. But why did the publication use such a clickbait title that was so misleading? I guess the thought of a woman marrying thrice made an exciting news for them and their potential readers who might click through.

I was also suggested few more link of news related to Shweta Tiwari. I came across an interview of Shweta, in which she is explaining to the interviewer why her two marriages broke. She said she was very young and naïve the first time she got married. She must have heard what it sounded like. She immediately added, “But I made the same mistake again, even when I got older.”

She also went on to explain that a lot of people stay in marriages and cheat. “At least I am being clean about it and discontinuing it”

There is more to women than the number of men they have been with

Shweta Tiwari. Net worth in Indian Rupees – 81 crores. Monthly income – 60 lakh plus. Yearly income – 10 crores.

I don’t need to describe how beautiful she looks, we have all seen her. I don’t need to talk about her talents, she is popular and successful enough. This woman has achieved more than the people who write about her and talk about her will ever achieve in their lifetime.

Yet, they think they have the audacity to shame her about her marriages?

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She is exceptional. She is a star. And yet, they reduced her to what – the number of her failed relationships? If they can do that to a celebrity, what about average woman? Women who actually have to worry about finances and litigation costs, taking care of ageing parents in addition to mental, emotional, physical trauma!

What is the big deal about a marriage! It is just a relationship

I remember when Shweta Tiwari married Abhinav Kohli. She was divorced. She had a child. He had not been previously married. People immediately admired him, as if he was doing her a favour.

This happens to a lot of women who marry for the second time, especially if it the first marriage for the man. Such unkind notions of society only make women in second marriages more stuck and miserable.

People have relationships without marriages. People cheat. People break up all the time. The chances of any marriage breaking up is the same, whether is first or second or fifth. Just because two people followed some rituals does not make them more adept at tolerating each other for life.

A woman can get married and then decide to get out if it doesn’t work. Yes, more than once!

I have never understood why in India being never married after a certain age is considered so much better than being divorced!

In western cultures, people find it odd if someone who is old enough has not had a serious relationship! People prefer someone who is experienced. Remember how Mike from Friends who was divorced judged Phoebe for never having been in a serious relationship! Ross in an attempt to help her went on to lie about her ‘super serious’ relationship with Vikram!

But our ‘culture’ is different. We want people only to be in holy matrimony. If they are living together without marriage, then also we have a problem. If God forbid that marriage breaks up, we are extremely harsh especially on the women.

The one who has never been married

A woman I know is in her late 40s. She is very successful in her corporate career. She has her own house! She has a lot of interests which she pursues. She is living with her parents and taking very good care of them. She travels frequently, because unlike married people, she only has her holiday calendar to align for planning vacations. She is very fit and looks good. Every time I look at her, I feel inspired.

But lately she has been feeling the need to be with someone. She has been active on dating apps. Finding a partner is always a challenge. So, she has been struggling too. She was sharing her dating stories, which were quite funny and frustrating at the same time. A common friend found the prospect rather amusing and made a wise remark,

“This is why I got married at 25! Because otherwise all men are taken!”

Some other women who had been married for more than a decade agreed. This same group constantly complains about their husbands, in-laws and how they feel ‘stuck’.

The single friend knew their stories. Their pain. Their frustrations. Their secrets. She could have said a lot of things,

“At least I do not have to justify my bank statement entries to anyone!!”

“At least I don’t have to seek someone’s permission to meet my parents!”

“At least I don’t spend half of my life screaming and yelling, wishing someone to die!”

She could have said things that pinched them. But she did not. She remained quiet and polite.

Just like a woman who is married should have the right to end things if it is not working out, a woman who has been single has the right to want to marry at any age!

We are humans! We were meant to evolve and adapt!

Single women are a threat?

I remember a conversation with a bunch of women – well educated, from reasonably progressive families. Most of them were married. One married woman who takes pride in all patriarchal customs commented that “feminists” have ruined the social fabric. They either break out of marriages without putting in enough effort or decide not to marry at all. But later on they become lonely and start “going after” married men. She said her husband’s female single colleagues hit on him all the time.

I found this conversation rather amusing. I wondered if this lady was really so naïve. I hope she is aware that men and women have relationships, with or without marriage, short term or long term, casual or serious. And a lot of these times, one or both of them are married.

I am not here to give a moral judgment but BOTH people involved are consenting adults.

I wanted to tell this honourable lady that even if a never been married or divorced woman has a relationship with a married man, it is the MAN who is cheating and not the woman! Before the married women refer to single women as desperate for sex and love, they must not forget that a lot of marriages are loveless and sexless and the chances of any person being desperate has nothing to do with them not having a spouse.

So my dear lady, if your husband has an affair with a woman who is divorced please seek answers from him. Why is he doing this to you? That is a better question to ask. Rather than ask why the woman left her ex-husband, or why did she not get married in the first place!

Also, let me break your heart with another revelation. A lot of men (not all men!!) despite being married love the idea of being with any new woman and they don’t care if she is married / divorced / never been married. I have to give this to men, they are quite equal and generous in their advances and don’t discriminate among any women! So your sweet hubby is the philandering type, he is as likely to hit on your divorced friends, as your married friends!

A woman remains who she is, with or without marriage

Let us think of all the women we admire. Lata Mangeshkar, Kiran Bedi, Kapana Chawla, P T Usha. Even if I start counting the glamourous ones, we admire women for what they have achieved and who they are! Not because they were married or had children!

I would like to end with a quote I heard in the first episode of the Amazon Prime show, Modern Love Mumbai.

People say that the khushboo (fragrance) of Raat ki Raani is so strong that it attracts snakes. And therefore in order to reduce her impact, people plant a ‘Raat ka Raja’ next to her.

But the truth is, the fragrance of Raat ki raani remains, whether or not there is a Raat ka Raja next to her!

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About the Author


I like to write about the problems that have plagued the Indian society. I feel that the concept of gender equality is still alien , and that has been the focus of my articles and posts. read more...

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