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Title: Life experiences of the aging Never Married
Authors: Menezes, Shirley
Keywords: Centre for Human Ecology
Mamatha Shetty
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: TISS
Abstract: Marriage is a crucial juncture in an individual’s life which brings with it a transition requiring the adoption of new roles, responsibilities and relationships. Marriage is known to have its benefits and securities. In comparison, being never married till later life seems to be a divergence in the larger marriage-oriented culture. The present study aimed to encapsulate the lived experiences of an Indian sample of this scarcely acknowledged population. In-depth interviews were carried out with the never married individuals who were 65 years or older residing in Mumbai, Pune and Vasai to understand their life experiences, marriage attitudes, singlehood reasons and coping strategies towards aging. A thematic analysis was conduct ed and the findings indicated that the life experiences of these individuals were varied with some commonalities. The individual’s upbringing in their growing up years and critical early life incidents were found to have a strong bearing on their later life. Most of individuals reported having cohesive family relationships, long-term friendships, sustained individual interests, community involvement and a fulfilling work life. Marriage attitudes and singlehood reasons were found to be individual-specific and emerged from a fusion of family, social and work-related experiences. The experiences of aging suggested that most of the never married individuals accepted the eventuality of aging. Furthermore, they employed healthy coping strategies that brought about comfortable aging and facilitated life satisfaction during their aging years.
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