We asked 200 people (100 single and 100 married, between the ages of 19 and 50) the same question: “When you were a kid, what was your ideal age for marriage?”
The average answer: age 27.
Seventy-six percent of single women and 40 percent of single men surveyed say they have already reached their ideal age without getting married. Their new ideal age: 33.
But some refuse to even think of an ideal age. “I don’t have one anymore. I’ve stopped caring,” said Stella, 33.
Nix, 33, agrees. “I’m way past dreaming of the ideal marrying age. It’s now a matter of wondering if I’ll ever meet someone or not.”
Forty-four percent of the single females and 34 percent of the single males surveyed say they are feeling the pressure to be married.
Sixty-four percent of these men and women say the pressure comes from their families, especially their parents.
Ace, 33, said, “My late grandfather’s comment sums it all: “Lintik naman si Ace, naunahan pa!”
Twenty-seven percent of women and 24 percent of men say they are pressuring themselves; 22 percent of women and 24 percent of men say the pressure comes from friends.
Bianca R., 25, said, “Friends, family, workmates, high school friends keep posting engagement photos on Facebook. I’m sure they mean well, but seriously it’s not the be-all and end-all. It’s annoying! I have so many things going on in my life, and that’s all people yap about, as if I’m an incomplete person without someone to hold my hand.”
Twenty-three percent of women say their biological clocks are causing the pressure, a factor that has not affected the male respondents.
Despite feeling the pressure, 64 percent of single women and 88 percent of single men say they are not actively looking for love.
Of those who are actively looking for love, 50 percent of males and females say they go online and use dating apps in their search. The app Tinder was mentioned several times. Fifty percent of men and 14 percent of women say they ask friends to set them up.
“I told my friends that this is the year of the jowa. So far I went on one blind date and have another one lined up!” said Cardriver, 36.
Twenty-one percent of women and 25 percent of men claim they go out more, while 25 percent of men and 7 percent of women say they attend church activities in hopes of finding love.
Some are trying a combination of these things. Lilly, 34, said, “I volunteer in hopes of finding like-minded folks, I go to bars and social events. I’ve tried online dating and speed dating occasionally.”
Fourteen percent of single respondents believe they will meet their spouses through mutual friends. Sergio, 30, said, “I think it will probably go through a few degrees of separation from my friends and peers. I think it’s hard to just randomly meet new people in Manila [unlike when] I was abroad. Manila is a fairly small city and everyone seems to know everyone, so the dating pool naturally shrinks as you get older.”
Eight percent believe they have already met the person they will marry. “I found a suitable and beautiful lady but I’m still closing the deal. In short, I’m in dangerous waters,” said Keyser, 30.
Six percent of single women and 2 percent of single men believe they will find love while traveling; 18 percent of men and 2 percent of women believe it will happen through work; while 4 percent of men and women believe they will meet their significant others in school.
Others think they will find love elsewhere. “I will meet this person in a bookstore. I have always believed this!” said Mervin W., 24.
KK, 35, said, “I think I will meet him during a “cute meet” that has been brainwashed into me by the movies.”
Said Bianca, 29: “I keep joking to friends that I will meet the man of my dreams in Central Park one day. I’ll be reading a book, and he’ll accidentally bonk my head with a frisbee. I’d like it to be organic. Half my life is spent online nowadays, and I’d rather not meet my future husband there.”
Some refuse to even imagine it. “I’ve stopped concocting scenarios in my mind to stop me from getting frustrated,” said Ynna, 25.
When asked what has kept them from finding love, single respondents mentioned different roadblocks: 16 percent of women and 18 percent of men say their works and careers have kept them from finding love; 12 percent of men and 6 percent of women blame their previous relationships.
Twelve percent of men blame their own efforts or the lack of it. Francis, 24, said, “I used to be the ‘play safe’ guy, waiting for girls to like me before I started anything. Bad game plan, it never got me anywhere, haha!”
Ten percent of women and 6 percent of men say their families and family issues hinder them from starting relationships; 8 percent of women and 2 percent of men say they rarely go out; 6 percent of women and 4 percent of men say they are too busy; 8 percent of women and 4 percent of men blame it on their fear of getting hurt; 8 percent of women say that they are too intimidating to be approached by men; 4 percent of women say they have commitment phobia, and 4 percent of men blame their lack of financial stability.
“I would love to date and go out more, but most of my finances are currently tied up in long-term investments that will mature only next year. I feel this is important as I do want to show my potential mates that I am capable of supporting myself and them if we do get together,” said SFMark, 32.
Four percent of men say they are too choosy; 4 percent of men and women say their expectations are too high. “I have a next-boyfriend checklist. I’ve been single for five years now. I miss the feeling of being in love. I might have to throw away that dating checklist,” said Therese, 23.
Four percent of women and 2 percent of men say physical appearance matters.
DB, 29, noted: “A lot of girls say that they like a guy with a sense of humor and looks aren’t important, but that’s BS. Looks are a key factor.”
For some, dating just isn’t their priority right now. Ralph, 22, explained: “I’m more focused on building a career. It would be unfair for one party to emotionally invest in a relationship that’s not my top priority. She’ll just get hurt.”
Rico, 30, said, “I’m just focused on buying a castle and, after that, we can bring in the queen. I met the person already, I just need the right timing.”
Others say it’s their environments that are not conducive to finding love. Krissy, 27, pointed out: “I’m in an industry where there are predominantly more women and gay guys than straight men.”
Some say they have gotten used to being single. Dick, 43, declared: “Bachelorhood is habit-forming.”
Fourteen percent of single men and women surveyed have never had a girlfriend or boyfriend.
Twenty-four percent of married women surveyed married their first boyfriends, while only 2 percent of the married men surveyed married their first girlfriends.
“I’ve kissed a few frogs but only one really turned out to be my perfect prince,” said Smile, 40, who’s been married for almost nine years.
Seventeen percent had one other relationship; 53 percent had three to five other relationships before marrying their spouses; 9 percent had six or more relationships before marriage. “The number of previous relationships is insignificant, it’s the lessons learned from them that’s most important. Live and learn and then continue to grow in love and marriage with another,” said Jose, 45, who’s been married for three years.
Nine percent of married respondents said they married their spouses less than a year after their relationship started. Others waited longer. 49 percent were together from one to five years before getting married, while 34 percent were a couple for six to 10 years before tying the knot.
Dez, 33, who married her boyfriend after nine years of being in a relationship, said, “We didn’t rush it. We wanted to enjoy our careers, get to our individual goals, be ready and happy with our own lives before building our life together.”
Eight percent of married women surveyed believe they got married too early. Thirteen percent of men and women surveyed say they got married too late.
Eighty-three percent of married men and women say they got married at the right time. “I think I got married at the perfect age. Before that I was more focused on myself—my goals, my work, my passions. As I got older, I mellowed out and I was more ready to make the inevitable personal sacrifices necessary to make a marriage work. Selfishness and marriage are extremely incompatible,” said Lex, 39, who got married at 37.
Eighty-six percent of married men and women say they were not actively looking for love when they met their spouses. “I only wanted dimsum! I met my husband in a crowded Chinese restaurant in New York where we had no choice but to share a table with a bunch of strangers,” said Jamie, 28, now married for three years.
Thirty percent of married female respondents and 26 percent of married male respondents met their spouses at work; 28 percent of women and 26 percent of men met theirs in school. “I met my wife in law school. It was the first day of classes. I was looking at the door when this girl wearing a big purple LA Lakers shirt walked right in. And I was a diehard Celtic fan,” said Rommel, 33, who has been married for four years.
Twenty percent of women and 24 percent of men met their husbands or wives through mutual friends; 6 percent of women and 2 percent of men married their neighbors; 6 percent of men and women met their spouses in bars or clubs; 6 percent of men and 4 percent of women met their spouses at a party or event; 8 percent of men and 2 percent of women met their spouses during a church activity, and 2 percent of men met their wives online.
Others had rom-com-worthy stories. “I met my husband in the mountains of Oman in a hike called ‘Stairway to Heaven,’” said Taylor, 35, who got married more than five years ago.
Others believe it was their destiny to meet their spouses. “He told me he met me at a review center and wanted to talk to me but was too shy. After a year, we both had our internship at the same hospital and he realized it was fate,” said Donna, a 33-year-old who has been married for six years.
Asked to rank the factors that influence people’s decisions to get married, the results of the single women and married men and women were the same: love was the top influencer; followed by desire to start a family; financial stability; parents’ approval; and social pressure.
Although they also rank love as their top influencer, single men put financial stability higher than desire to start a family.
When the married respondents were asked when or how they knew they wanted to marry their significant others, their responses were varied: 12 percent of men and 8 percent of women said they just knew; 8 percent of men said they decided when they saw that their respective girlfriends made them a better person; 10 percent of women and 2 percent of men said they knew when they couldn’t imagine being with anybody else.
“We were opposites in so many ways, but we have the same core beliefs and faith. I can’t see myself being old, deaf and grumpy with anybody else,” said Maggi, 37, married for almost eight years.
Six percent of both women and men said they prayed to God and turned to faith before making the decision. “I realized I wanted to marry him when I saw how he honors God and how strong his faith in Him is. I felt secure knowing that no matter what happens to us, we’ll get through because I know God will always remain at the center of our relationship,” said Teacher Cesca, 33, married for six years.
Four percent said distance helped make things clear. “When I went to the States, my first month away from her since we went steady, I often accidentally called women I met by my girlfriend’s name,” said Tuny, 40, now married for 10 years.
For eight percent of women and 6 percent of men, it took a breakup and reconciliation before they realized they wanted to marry their significant others. “We met again after 10 months of separation. Ten months of not having her made me feel like a fool. So when things were okay between us, I made sure I held on to her,” said Edison, 32, married for six years.
It was a similar story for 31-year-old Kathybakes. “We were in a relationship for four years. We broke up and didn’t meet again until five years later. We got married two years after being reunited.” She and her husband have been married for two years.
Ten percent of women say they got married after getting pregnant unexpectedly. “I got pregnant after six months and told him about it. I thought he was going to faint, but he just stood there for a few minutes and asked me to give him time to think it through. I respected that about him. He was man enough to show me how scared he was. He came back the next day and asked me to marry him. He said, ‘You are the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with anyway. We are just doing it a little bit sooner than I planned.’ I knew then that I had found my partner in life,” said Ria, 37, married for 15 years.
Four percent of the male respondents married their girlfriends after they got pregnant. “We planned on getting married at 28 but four years into our relationship, I just knew that I wanted to spend my life with her. Of course, it was reinforced by her pregnancy, which, if I may say, was the best thing that ever happened to us,” said Errol, 32 and now married for nine years.
Four percent of women and 2 percent of men said they knew they wanted to marry their spouses the first time they met.
Others had more creative answers. Comet, 37, who has been married for four months, said he knew “when I heard her snore in bed.”
CG, 31 and married for almost eight years, said, “We went on a 30-day tour in Taiwan with friends. She took Medicol and got really drowsy. I let her sleep on my shoulder and she drooled on me.”
All of the married men surveyed say they do not regret getting married. “It was absolutely the best decision of my life,” said Lex, 39.
Jon, 32, married for 10 months, agreed. “The past 10 years were the opposite of my lifestyle now. Now I get to focus on family, my health and our new puppy Truffles. These are things you take for granted when you are younger. I am enjoying the fruits of my labor and I personally enjoy being at home.”
Four percent of women say they regret getting married. But 96 percent say they have no regrets. Thirty-year-old Chely, who has been married for four years, said, “Best decision ever. Marriage, as are relationships, is by no means easy. Ito na yung pinakasulit sa pagod at sakit sa ulo in life. It has given me a family that serves as my sanctuary and anchors my being.”
Meanwhile, some single people have been questioning if this kind of happily ever after is really meant for them. Pie, 30, said, “Honestly, I am half giving up on getting married. The fact that I am a single mom, breadwinner of the family plus overweight and not quite the ‘MILF’ someone wants to marry might be a problem.”
But not all of them are too concerned. Bianca, 29, said, “Being a single girl lends to hours of self-doubt, but at the same time, it feels pretty great. The possibilities are endless.”
Teacher Silke, 33, agreed. “Being single has its perks. If, in case, I am not really meant for the married life, I will live out the rest of my days happily single. And to quote my friend Claire Bear’s mom, ‘If you can’t find the right man, stay single forever.’”With reports from Jill Lejano, Jason Doplito, Annelle Tayao-Juego, Mildred Fermin, Tatin Yang, Denison Dalupang, David Sta. Maria, Jesse Boga and Ruth Navarra