The reasons why singles don’t marry
By Kim Jong-chan
Why don’t they marry? Is it because of money? Losing a sense of self-respect may be the bigger reasons for it. The people who don’t are called the “generation of three abandonments” dating, marriage and childbirth. “Unable to marry” has now been added to them.
Many people attribute the phenomenon to economic difficulties such as the large amount of money needed for weddings, and the unstable job security. But are these the only reasons?
A group of six single women in their 30s and 40s got together at an art center in Jongam-dong, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul, on April 26.
They said they are afraid of marriage; have little expectations for marriage in a male-dominated society; and could not marry because of the lack of a sense of self-respect in social circumstances in which competition is fierce.
The meeting was organized by community artist Jeong Won-yeon, 39, to find out the reasons why many people remain single.
A 33-year-old woman, who works as a drama director, participated in the meeting. The woman, only identified by her surname Kim, said that when she attended a women’s university, she was upset as some of her friends used expensive cosmetics and carried luxury bags.
“I became passive about marriage after I thought that in Korea, if women are short of money, they could not build up their own femininity,” she said, asking to remain anonymous.
A graduate student, 30, said, “Presently, I like my boyfriend, but I cannot think of marriage with him because of economic difficulties facing my family.”
“In Korea, people think that it would be better for a man and a woman to marry when both families enjoy similar living standards. I would like to marry a man chosen by my family,” she said.
Male-dominated culture is still an obstacle to marriage. A 30-year-old company employee, who has dated a man for the past seven years, said, “We have not thought of getting married early. But it is a burden for me that the mother of my boyfriend is asking us to map out marriage plans.”
A psychological consultant said that “during her lifetime, the salaried woman saw that her mother took care of her and five other children.
“The woman, as the eldest daughter, should also look after five sisters and brothers. All of these experiences have had influence on the woman who remains unmarried.”
In recent years, the number of single people has increased. According to Statistics Korea, 49.8 percent of men aged between 30 and 34 and 26.9 percent of those between 35 and 39 were single as of 2010. About 28.5 percent of women between 30 and 34 and 12.4 percent of those between 35 and 39 remained single.
Jeong, the organizer of the meeting, said most of the single people think that they are disqualified to be loved by someone and establish stable relations with someone. The meeting takes place every Thursday until June 21.