Recently updated on: September 28, 2023
I avoid talking about relationships as much as possible because I have nothing much to say, given that I've been single for a long time.
So instead of posting relationship tips or advice, I think I'll just give a few of my thoughts about singleness and opinions on related matters.
For most Filipinos entering their 30's, it is impossible not to hear the question, "Kailan ka na maga-asawa?" and its other variations from our lovable titos and titas.
Though I already have a spiel and a joke prepared for anyone who asks, I just want to finally say, "you can just read it on my blog."
Table of Contents
1. My life is currently in equilibrium.
Equilibrium is a state of balance, and right now, I am at *that* place where my work and personal life are mostly in harmony.
I have the things that I need, I am doing a job that serves my calling and purpose, and I can do most of the things that I want.
I love teaching, and I also love reading and writing. I have time to exercise and maintain a fitness level, lead a small group, trade stocks, study for a master's degree, socialize with my family and friends, and even go on occasional travels.
Though there are certainly times when some activities will overstep another, I still believe I'm close to the level of balance I hoped to have when I returned to my home province.
You may say that I can do all these things because of the privilege of having lesser responsibilities and having more time than others simply because I am single.
However, that statement discredits the actions and sacrifices I made along the way, which resulted in more time.
Having this perspective about balance, from what I realized, is relatively uncommon. So, it would take someone truly special for me to give this up.
2. Love and marriage should not be forced.
I guess you can say that I am old-fashioned, but I still believe in organically building a relationship.
It is a common comment from elders that we should get married to have a life companion or to have our children graduate before we reach retirement.
However, I find these arguments insensitive and produce too much pressure on others.
First, if you want to get married so that you can have a life companion, isn't this statement an attack on those whose spouses died early or whose partner left them for another?
So whenever I am presented with this statement, I just answer it through a joke that if I am getting married just for companionship, I might just as well get a dog.
Second, for those who advise getting married earlier so their children will graduate before they hit retirement, isn't it unfair for the couples who are having difficulties conceiving a child or were never blessed with one?
So whenever I hear these arguments, I just try to understand that they may have inherited these ideas from the prior generation or rationalized their own reasons for getting married.
3. I don't feel pressured to enter 30's as a single.
I know that I am speaking from a privileged masculine point of view, but it is still a point to ponder for both men and women.
We are in a culture where entering your 30s as a single is frowned upon, like there is something wrong.
We all know people who were just pressured to get into a relationship and get married because of their age, which sometimes causes more trouble along the way.
Maybe another reason I don't feel any pressure is that most of my closest friends are not yet married or also still single.
So just like one of my beloved quotes says, "I don't feel any pressure right now."
4. Getting into a relationship and getting married has its pros and cons.
I find it amusing when old (and even young) married people dismiss single people as having "lesser responsibilities" or pointing that we can do a lot of stuff because we are singles.
No matter how true, it is improper to compare our situations mainly through our marital status.
I guess they forgot or hadn't considered that starting a family is a significant life decision that should have never been taken lightly.
By entering into such a relationship, they are accepting its inherent advantages and disadvantages.
You'll have more responsibilities, lesser personal time, and lesser moments with your other family and friends. Your priorities shift from an individual point-of-view to a family-centric point-of-view.
However, you'll also have the pros of starting a family earlier, having a "graduate" before reaching retirement, and spending your life, hopefully, with someone you love.
5. Establish your values first before getting deep into a relationship.
When people decide to get married, they are deciding more than a common surname and physical connection.
People who get married are choosing to share their whole lives with another person. This includes their family and friends, hopes and aspirations, dreams and frustrations, values and inclinations, and so much more.
So it is essential to determine which values you hold dear before getting married.
Which values or preferences would you be willing to compromise and which are not.
Which goals or dreams are you willing to put on hold or drop altogether to support your significant other's plans?
As we grow older, we are exposed to different mindsets, values, and ideas. We then slowly discard some and choose which ones to adapt into our lives.
That is one reason why we sometimes hear even long-time couples break up because of faith or religion, which country or province they want to live in, their political stand, their choice or ability to have children, or who should give up their career to take care of their family.
It would be difficult if you'll decide to spend your whole life with someone who doesn't share the same core values as yours because the time will come when these values will play a crucial role, such as when bringing up a child.
When that day comes, how will you reconcile your differences?
Personally, where I stand now, I already determined which values are non-negotiable and which are open for discussion.
6. Looking from a financial perspective.
As a single, it is common to hear comments about our financial status.
For instance, they will say that we should loan for a car, buy new clothes, or travel more because we have "more money" to spend, "more time" for other activities, and "fewer responsibilities" to think about.
However, these are terrible financial pieces of advice. The early 20s are the starting point of a better financial future and preparation for years to come.
I even once heard that the reason why my take-home pay doesn't have loan deductions or that I can save is that I am single.
This statement is quite unfair because it takes away the sacrifices and financial discipline I had to endure for the past 6 years. Instead, they watered it down and simply attributed it to my "singleness."
I think they are just trying to justify or compensate for their lack of financial preparedness, which is very common in our culture.
In connection, single couples need to talk about their financial status, including assets, liabilities, family responsibilities, and money habits, because many marital issues stem from it.
7. Looking from a time-based perspective.
A colleague once asked me about the pros and cons of being single. I gave several pros like the ones I already listed above. But then I stopped to think about the cons.
Then I gave the only con I can think of which applies to me - the disadvantage of getting married older and starting a family later.
Will I regret getting married later? I don't think so.
I am content and happy to be in the position I am now, but if God plans and permits that I get married, I will.
I think I can summarize my answer to the question, "Kailan ka na maga-asawa?" through this well-written Facebook post by one of my closest friends almost 8 years ago.
"Hindi ako pihikan. Lalong hindi torpe.
I just don't see the big familiar imaginary traffic light-like sign with the words, "Go. Pursue this girl, you moron." glowing in neon green on top of anyone's head the same way I saw it on top of my past..."Dok Joel (2013)
If ever I finally found "the one," I am willing to take the leap of faith and dive headfirst into a long and winding journey with someone that's been planned by God from the start.
To summarize, being in a relationship, getting married, or staying single, just like most things in life, has its pros and cons. We just need to determine which of these we are willing to take.
Read the follow-up post here: Revisiting Love, Relationships, and Singleness