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The Fairytale Lie

5 Reasons Why Women Relate Their Success to Marriage

By Tee DotPublished 7 years ago 6 min read

Have you ever looked at your newsfeed and felt the bitterness and envy of seeing yet another engagement photo or extravagant wedding? Did you feel frustration that you hadn’t found a love like that? Or anger that your own partner hadn’t popped the question? I felt these emotions many times before and brushed it off as if it was normal, but it’s not. I stayed in a loveless relationship for 6 years because I felt the pressure to get married especially since we had a child together. I worried if I left what others would think, and I worried most about who would want me after a failed relationship. I thought that my fairytale ending would be impossible if I left. These are all premeditated thoughts I had, but never really questioned why those fears were so strongly present. I mean men don’t have that same pressure on them if a relationship fails right? If you admit to having felt any of the thoughts above, take a minute and question where are these thoughts coming from? And more importantly what is your definite purpose in life? Is it solely to find a partner? Or have you just been so distracted by society's pressure, you never got a chance to answer what else you want out of life?

Women may want other things but if they don’t have that, they are presumed not happy in life, failures, or that something must be wrong with them. It was put in our heads that success meant being married to a great husband, have kids and owning a home; a career is just an added bonus. Sure, all of that is great but if asked what you want in life and that be your first answer, you may be missing out on other things. Here are 5 things I believe contributed to the status quo.

1. Women’s first role in life was solely to have children and take care of their husband.

Do I have to?

We are creatures of habit and histories; events make us who we are today. I believe this is where a lot of the expectation in marriage and kids resides. Sure that was our definite purpose in life years ago, but that shouldn’t still be it now with the only change being working as well. That is, unless we are “lucky” enough to land a rich husband instead—I really hear that way too often. Women are still expected to not only hold that title of being a trophy wife and mother, but also contribute money to the household. Just because we can do it all, doesn’t mean we should or be expected to. It makes me sick when I see women shaming other women for not being able to cook a meal for their man or shamed for working after having a child. It shouldn’t be expected that a woman isn’t a woman if they can’t cook. Cooking and being a parent is an adult job, not a woman job. If we take the pressure off ourselves and unite as women to hold ourselves to higher standards of equality, we can start to realize other things life has to offer.

2. In 1960 and earlier, women were expected to marry in their early twenties and start a family right after.

At Age 28:

Another thing I hear quite frequently is, “No man will want you when you’re 40.” Men, on the other hand, get to slide on the age factor, because “Men don’t grow up until they are 30.” This instills in us the fear we have to achieve marriage by a certain time and our value as a woman is worth less after that timer has ended, because of course something must be wrong with us. Feeling like we are at a race against time to find that one to spend the rest of our lives with, we can lose precious time finding out who we are and what we truly want in our lives. Being in a relationship is work and as soon as you are in one, you can’t think about just yourself anymore. So while we have to start the search early, men get a later limit on life to settle down. Is that fair?

3. Before the 1969 Divorce Reform Act, women were severely shamed for a failed marriage.


I never knew this until I met a man who ran parenting classes discussed it. He told the class how he and his siblings had to move towns after his parents' divorce because his mother was ridiculed for the failed marriage and how common it was to blame the woman. Unfortunately these pressures and social shame women still face today. In a 2014 study, women were found to be twice as likely as men to feel shame after divorce. While men get away with the simple excuse of "my ex wife was a b****." Women will even accept this answer from the man while judging other women for being weak or selfish to break the family apart. Once again, as women, we need to empower each other for making changes to better our lives! We need to stop tearing each other down for not living up to the ideology of forever ago.

4. There is still a pay difference in men and women’s salaries.

A study in 2015 showed women are paid 80% of what men make for the same job, and less for women of color. Read Nice Girls don’t get the Corner Office by Dr. Lois Frankel. Is this because working is considered a woman’s second job after having kids? That we are not worth as much as a man because we are riskier for higher level positions or considered unreliable if we already have kids. That may sound extreme but why the pay difference for the same job? #justathought

5. Every Disney princess had a prince.

Until recent years, every Disney princess had a prince and most often times they were saved by the prince, besides Mulan, go Mulan! I loved Disney movies growing up and I didn’t even notice this idea until I had said aloud, "I wonder if I am going to have my fairytale ending.” This is just another point that at a young age media and culture structure our expectations for cultural norms. Another subtle example showing the lack of importance women play in our culture comes from a study a mother and daughter did showing the lack of strong female characters in children's books, and the results are very sad. Check it out here.

The point of this blog is not to shame women if that is what they want in life, but to open up a perspective that we are not any less a woman if we don’t receive marriage in life by a certain time or at all. I was never aware of my own reasonings of resentment towards other marriages until I realized that I don’t want a relationship right now, I want to find out who I am. We are worth more than the man we marry.

We need to stick together to break the stereotypes that women are conniving, manipulative bitc**s that are out to get each other. After breaking this premeditated idea you can then feel happiness instead of envy to whom ever is engaged or married. You will know it doesn’t take away from your own happiness seeing as you have other priorities in life than finding love. So when someone asks you what you want out of life you can say more than: be happy, get married, have kids, and get a good job. In whatever order that may be, all of these things are broad goals that are not definite to a purpose and without any definite purpose we are destined to stick to our role in the cultural norm. We will obtain a mediocre life and if not, feel like a failure. So women start thinking about the fairy tale expectation, share this to spread the knowledge and start believing—I’m worth more than just a marriage.


About the Creator

Tee Dot

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