© Lindsay Soll 2003

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Pool of eligible's shrinks with age

As people age and want to marry, the double standard favors men. Aging women are often seen as "over the hill" whereas aging men are often described as mature and distinguished.

“If you delay marriage until 35, now you are competing with women who are much younger in the pool of eligible's men are looking at,” says Dr. Felix M. Berardo, a professor of sociology at the University of Florida.

There is also a greater tendency, as one ages, to become choosier. Some women (and/or men) might discover they have fewer choices of marital partners because the most desirable people are already married.

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Risks of infertility and other pregnancy problems

Female age is very important in consideration of probability for conception.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, “Delayed age at marriage directly affects completed fertility by reducing the number of years available for childbearing.”

By age 35, roughly one in four women is infertile, states the 2003 sociology textbook Marriages and Families written by Constance L. Shehan.

According to the Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago, “There is a slow decline in pregnancy rates in the early 30's. This decline is more substantial in the late 30's and early 40's. Few women over 45 are still fertile.”

Most couples are devastated by infertility. For many women, becoming infertile is comparable to a large crisis, and she may have feelings of being a failure when she cannot conceive.

To some women who delay marriage, infertility is not a concern because they plan to remain childless.

According to the 1995 U.S. Census, the number of voluntarily childless couples has increased markedly in recent years. In the mid-1990s, some 13 percent of married women between the ages of 35 and 44 had no children. And among childless married women in their early 30s, a little over 40 percent said that they planned not to have children in the future.

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Miss out on the benefits of being married

When one chooses to delay marriage, they are also choosing to delay the many rewards marriage offers.

According to the 2002 textbook, Marriages and Families by Nijole V. Benokraitis,some of these rewards are:

  • Companionship
  • Faithful sexual partner
  • Dependability, love
  • Sharing mutual interests
  • Pooling economic resources
  • Social approval for "settling down"
  • Becoming a part of something larger than self

Many people marry to satisfy emotional needs, also. Singles in their 30s sometimes feel they are missing something in their lives and expect marriage and children to fill the hole.

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Forego the increased health advantages of being married

Married people are generally happier and healthier than those who are single, divorced or widowed.

According to Berardo, married people have lower rates of heart disease, cancer, stroke, pneumonia, tuberculosis and syphilis. They less frequently attempt suicide and have fewer automobile accidents than singles.

Married partners report less depression, anxiety and other forms of psychological angst.

According to Marriages and Families by Benokraitis, it may be that enjoying emotional, social and physical support from one's spouse improves one's general health and longevity.

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