SINGAPORE: A group of middle-aged Singaporeans recently engaged in a lively debate on Reddit about being childless and unmarried in today’s society.

The discussion began after a woman in her 40s bravely admitted that she still doesn’t have a husband or child at her age. “I always thought I’d have a future with someone special by now. But things didn’t turn out as planned,” she expressed.

While she had come to terms with this reality, she said it was still hard not to feel pressured by societal expectations.

“I’m of Indian and Eurasian ancestry, and our communities here [in Singapore] are quite small. This makes the peer pressure even more intense.

It feels like everyone knows everyone else’s business, and there’s this unspoken expectation to hit certain life milestones,” she wrote. “….it’s tough being surrounded by people who think that getting married and having kids is the epitome of success.”

She also noticed that some of her friends, who are also single and unmarried like her, seemed to be living unexciting lives, making her question whether starting a family was the norm.

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Some middle-aged Singaporeans say they’re happy to be single and free

In the comments section, a diverse group of Singaporeans, from individuals in their late 30s to those in their 50s, told the woman that they’re perfectly “happy to be single and free.” 

They stated that this path was far better than going through divorce or staying in unhappy marriages with abusive or insensitive partners.

They advised her not to worry about society’s thoughts and reminded her that being single can be just as awesome as being in a committed relationship.

They also cautioned against spending too much time comparing oneself to others on social media, as it can lead to feelings of envy and disappointment.

They emphasized that social media often presents a filtered version of reality and is not an accurate reflection of life.

Moreover, some married individuals even shared their own experiences, confirming that they, too, sometimes feel trapped in mundane and repetitive routines, solely focused on taking care of their children and spouse.

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Instead of getting caught up in all the noise, they suggested that she should focus on what truly matters: herself and her freedom to pursue anything she desires. 

“You only have one life, live it in your own terms and live it to your fullest. Go pick up a hobby. Learn new things. Travel solo. Read. Do volunteer work,” said one individual.

“The pros of being single mean you don’t have to take care of other people, can control your own finances, and can do what you want e.g. go on sabbatical, take up a random hobby without anyone’s opinion,” said another.

Other Singaporeans fear growing old and lonely in the future

Still, others went against the grain and expressed their desire to conform to society and build a family. 

They stated that they fear growing old and lonely in the future. One individual even posed a question to the majority who wished to remain single:

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“What if an accident happens and you’re incapacitated in old age? How do you deal with such thoughts and fears?”

Another added, “What happens if you’re sick and there’s no one to take care of you—no family, no friends, no one to come see you… What do you all do? Rely on hospitals and old folks homes?”

A few also said that without a family, they felt like their lives were meaningless. As such, even though they’re now in their 40s, they still haven’t given up on dating.

Similarly, a man took to social media earlier this year to share that his well-paying job and flexibility to work anywhere are meaningless without a partner or family.

“I don’t feel like I’m working towards anything purposeful in life. Promotion? Salaries? So what? After a certain point everything feels so meaningless.”

Read more: Man says his well-paying job and flexibility to work anywhere are meaningless without a partner or family

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