Societal pressure of marriage has drained my mental health. How do I escape it?

"Living under the constant pressure of seeing new rishta profiles... has drained me," asks a girl in her 20s

Haya Malik

I am a girl in my early 20s and currently working at a well-reputed organisation after my graduation. However, like any other woman, I have been constantly under pressure to get married as soon as possible now that I have reached "that age".

Every other day, my mother shows me a new rishta profile or invites a family to come over to our house with the prospect of marriage. This has severely affected my mental health, as I am not ready to get married. Other than that, people around me, including relatives and neighbours, constantly ask my mother when I am getting married, which further stresses me out.

It not only affects me mentally but has impacted my ability to focus on other important things, too, like my job. Having to live under the constant pressure of seeing new rishta profiles and meeting new families has drained me.

Please tell me how to deal with the societal marriage pressure as a Pakistani woman in her 20s?

Societal pressure of marriage has drained my mental health. How do I escape it?

Dear reader, 

As a Pakistani woman dealing with societal marriage pressure can be really challenging and overwhelming. It can impact your mental health, which I see is already happening with you.

To begin, it is crucial to differentiate between the things in your control vs those you can't. Let's review the things that are in your control to help you navigate this matter.

Open communication: Initiate a candid conversation with your mother, telling her how you really feel and the profound impact the constant pressure is having on you. Clearly convey how you currently feel unprepared for marriage and how you don’t feel ready to get married at the moment and the constant pressure is taking a toll on your health.

Establish boundaries: Reflect and establish clear boundaries based on your own comfort levels on what you’re okay with and not okay with in terms of discussions and arrangements.

Seek support from family and friends: Reach out and seek support from people who understand and empathise with you. This will aid you in managing feelings of being overwhelmed, provide mental strength and manage societal expectations.

Focus on your goals: Despite focusing on maintaining your job, direct your attention to what matters to you at this moment. Focus on your career, focus on pursuing hobbies that bring you joy and work on your personal development. This may allow you to gain a sense of empowerment on the timeline of your own life.

Articulate your needs: Work on understanding what your needs are. What do you want? What are you looking for? Communicate your needs to your mother during this time. Also, request her support and tell her to advocate for you when faced with questions from relatives and neighbours.

Practice stress management: Explore various stress management techniques that align with you and your well-being, be it through exercise, meditation, journaling, spending time with friends or any other way that works.

Allow emotions to surface: Acknowledge the multitude of emotions surfacing during this period. Permit yourself to fully experience and address the emotions guiding you towards what needs attention.

Practice assertiveness: Practice assertiveness in handling pressure and effectively communicating your needs.

Practice self-compassion: Grant yourself the time you need to make decisions while being compassionate with yourself throughout the process.

Seek counselling: Consider working with a professional to explore and manage the complex emotions and challenges arising from the current situation. This will aid you in understanding your needs better and provide you with tools for coping.

Rishta culture can get intense, having negative impacts on your mental health and overall well-being. Prioritise yourself and your well-being and take the necessary steps to take care of yourself during this demanding time.

Good luck!


Societal pressure of marriage has drained my mental health. How do I escape it?

Haya Malik is a psychotherapist, Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) practitioner, corporate well-being strategist and trainer with expertise in creating organisational cultures focused on well-being and raising awareness around mental health.

Send her your questions to [email protected]

Note: The advice and opinions above are those of the author and specific to the query. We strongly recommend our readers to consult relevant experts or professionals for personalised advice and solutions. The author and do not assume any responsibility for the consequences of actions taken based on the information provided herein. All published pieces are subject to editing to enhance grammar and clarity.