Irish women are marrying down - is this what it takes to get hitched?


Female left on the shelf
Despite the nightmare that is it to find a man in New York, I have always been safe in the knowledge that I would hopefully find a man at home in Ireland, if all my New York efforts ended in failure.

The longer I am here, the more unlikely it seems that I will find myself a husband in the city that never sleeps, so you can understand my horror when I read Martina Devlin’s column in the Irish Independent yesterday, outlining that Irish women are “crossing class boundaries” to find love.

“High-achieving Irish women, who are more likely than their male counterparts to enter third-level education, discovered a shortage of men swimming in educational and employment ponds equivalent to theirs. Instead of paddling about on their own feeling blighted, these women looked for partners outside their pool: men who didn't match them academically, or whose jobs weren't regarded as being on a par,” Devlin states.

A good Irish term for it is marrying down.
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Reading Devlin’s column, I began thinking about my female friends back in Ireland and realized that her theory is certainly applicable to a few of them.

So should I stay single forever….or settle?

If I moved home in the morning, I doubt there is a man in my home town who would have me at this stage, and on the same level, I don’t think I would like to be had.

In recent years, my father has stopped dropping hints for me to move home and marry a farmer.

Analyzing the 2006 census, Dr Pete Lunn of the ESRI and Prof Tony Fahey of UCD concluded that Irish women are twice as likely to have gained a higher education than men. As a result, they are more focused on their careers than finding men.

I am constantly reminded on my trips back to Ireland that I am ‘still on the shelf’.

But it’s a pretty comfortable shelf and I enjoy the view, not to mention the company of all the other ladies sitting up here with me.

If Irish women are marrying ‘down’, then there is little incentive for me to go home and start looking for the man of my dreams.

It looks like it’s me and shelf for the long haul.


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