Stop asking single people this question, says Jana Hocking


Listen, I don’t want to get anyone off-side, truly. But here’s a hot tip for all you smug married couples out there: back off.

I say this with love, light and all that jazz. But the constant “why aren’t you married yet?” questions drive us singles – and those happily unmarried couples among us – completely bonkers!

Why aren’t you divorced yet, Suzanne? Huh? Why!

We don’t ask you deeply personal questions that could be filled with traumatic answers do we, and yet you do, smug married people. And. Yet. You. Do.

So, it was with unbridled joy this week that I stumbled upon an emotionally charged rant by a divorce attorney who argued that people are mad to get married.

To set the scene for you, lawyer James Sexton, a divorce attorney for 20 years, recently spoke to the TikTok channel @welovethatquote about the matter – and I’m not being dramatic when I say his words were iconic.

Sexton said: “If you break it down, fundamentally, 56 per cent of marriages end in divorce – that’s just the couples who actually go through with the costly, tedious and emotionally devastating process of divorcing. What about all the other married people who stay together “for the kids or because they don’t want to give away half their stuff?”

Sexton then estimated this to be “20 per cent at least.” Further stating “You now have a technology that fails 76 per cent of the time. That’s insane. If I told you there’s a 76 per cent chance when you walk out the door today, you’re going to get hit in the head with a bowling ball, you would not go out, or you’d wear a helmet.”

Divorce Attorney on real reason marriages don't work

But wait … he’s not done …

Sexton said: “Marriage literally fits the legal definition of negligence because it falls short of a key standard legal professionals use for assessing risk: the Burden, Probability and Loss analysis, which is used to determine whether what you lose by not doing something is lower than the risk of harm.

“Marriage is an inherently negligent activity. It’s like owning a lion. The likelihood of someone getting hurt seriously is very, very high.”

He finally summed it all up by saying “there’s a presumption that you should get married and if you don’t get married, there’s something wrong with you.”

Well, well, well, that certainly doesn’t appear to be the case. I’ve never been fond of maths but those numbers don’t lie. I would like to throw up the idea that perhaps we unmarried folks are the smart ones. Smug? Who me?

To be fair, my heart does go out to those among us stuck in a marriage out of financial or family pressure. It must be horrible feeling imprisoned in a relationship that no longer works.

Sure, we singletons are dealing with ghostings, breadcrumbs and numerous other dating dilemmas. But are we stuck in a relationship we truly don’t want to be in? Nope.

So why do people keep doing it when the odds are seriously stacked against you? I blame fairytales and societal norms. Yes, those boring things.

However, in surprising news, it appears that 89 per cent of the world’s population live in a country with falling marriage rates. Heck, between 2019 to 2021 Japan’s annual marriage numbers plunged by almost a sixth, with just over half a million marriages. Wild.

In the US, marriage has declined by 60 per cent since the 1970s. And in Australia, one in seven Australian adults now has a de facto partner following a sharp decline in marriages among those aged under 35.

So surely the question “why aren’t you married yet?” is seriously outdated. Can we let it rest in peace alongside other outdated questions like “when are you going to have children?” and “oh, Is it that time of the month?” and “why are you single?”. Die Die Die questions. Die.

And breeeeathe.

But listen, all that said and done given the opportunity, would I own a lion? Yes. Yes I would. And if Brad Pitt offered me a big fat diamond ring and asked me to marry him? Again yes. Yes I would.

No shame.

Jana Hocking is a columnist and collector of kind-of-boyfriends | @jana_hocking

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