I Plan to Stay Single but Pressure from My Family to Get Married Is Exhausting

The Japan News

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a single woman in my mid-30s and live with my parents, who are in their 60s, and my grandmother, who is in her 90s.

Recently, I’ve been emotionally exhausted due to the constant pressure from my mother and grandmother to find a boyfriend and get married as my cousins and the children of my parents’ friends are engaged or married. It has become increasingly difficult for me to cope.

One of the main reasons I hesitate to pursue a romantic relationship is a lack of confidence in my appearance. Throughout my school years, I had many unpleasant experiences because of my physical appearance, which has left me with an enduring discomfort around the opposite sex. Even after entering the workforce, I’ve had to bear comparisons to my female peers who are better looking.

My brother, who is 11 years younger than me, is highly accomplished as he has become a pharmacist. I hope my parents and grandmother will be satisfied with that and give up on me getting married. While I understand the reason they are pushing me to find someone is because they are concerned about my future, I must admit that their expectations have become a heavy burden.

I plan to remain single. How can I get my parents and grandmother to quit pressuring me?

D, Tokyo

Dear Ms. D:

It seems that you are experiencing stress due to the pressure from your parents and grandmother to get married. Unfortunately, it may be difficult to change their attitudes. Therefore, I recommend ignoring their proddings about marriage.

However, it’s important to consider why your parents and grandmother are so insistent. While you plan to live your life as a single person, have you made the necessary preparations for this path? Do you have the mindset and confidence to live independently?

In the current social structure of Japan, women must establish an economic foundation to support themselves, feel good about their own way of living and maintain a network of friends. I believe that your parents are concerned about your well-being because female poverty has become a social issue.

You have made the decision to remain single because you believe you have no other options. You are not choosing to stay single because you don’t want to get married, but because you think you can’t get married. This might be what is causing anxiety for your parents.

To avoid constant pressure from them, it is important to show that you are capable of being independent. As for your appearance, try to find at least one good aspect and enhance it. It could be something as simple as having beautiful hair or nice nails.

Junko Umihara, psychiatrist