Number of unmarried people grows in Victoria
March 31, 2012 at 11 p.m.
Updated March 31, 2012 at 11:01 p.m.
"Dear future wife: I plan on spoiling you with love and affection so much that Valentine's will seem like just another day. There's no way I would wait once a year to show you that you're my queen."
A self-described hopeless romantic, Jonathan Carmona, 26, has been writing love letters to his future wife for the past couple of years on his blog, "Random Musings of an Overactive Mind."
Carmona, a single Victorian, is hoping to meet the right woman so he can put his written promises into action.
"I'm not saying she is not here in Victoria because she may be. I just haven't met her yet," said Carmona, a youth pastor and media director at Jerusalem Family Praise Center. "If it happens, great; but I'm not going to force it."
Fortunately, there really are plenty of fish in the Crossroads sea.
According to 2010 Victoria County Census data, almost half of the 34,815 women and the 32,465 men are not married.
A number of theories explain the data.
While men have always had a history of being standoffish with relationships, researchers say the "hooking up" phenomenon, as evidenced in such movies like "No Strings Attached" and "Friends with Benefits," have impacted men's desires to settle down.
"Men are taking the easy way out. They think, why get married when they can find women who are willing to participate in these types of relationships just as much as men are," said University of Houston-Victoria sociology professor Thomas Cox.
Education also has played a role in the number of singles.
In a reversal of long-standing marital patterns, college-educated young adults are more likely than young adults lacking a bachelor's degree to have married by the age of 30.
Young adults who do not have a college degree are delaying marriage to such an extent that the median age at first marriage in 2008 was, for the first time ever, the same for the college-educated and those who were not college-educated: 28.
Among the possible explanations for this shift are the declining economic fortunes of young men without a college degree and their increasing tendency to cohabit with a partner rather than marry, according to the study, "The Reversal of the College Marriage Gap."
The removals of glass ceilings and gender roles in the work place have also impacted the rising number of singles, particularly among women.
"Women are not just secretaries. Men are secretaries, too. Women are not just data collectors. Men are now data collectors, too. Women are not just health care providers. Men are, too," said Cox. "That independence breeds notions toward singleness."
A Victoria native, Carmona's last relationship ended about four and a half years ago.
Not much of a serial dater, Carmona said he only went on about four dates while in college at Southwestern Assembly of God University, often referred to as Southwestern Bridal University, he chided.
Carmona said that between fulfilling his duties as youth pastor at his church, which does not have a large single young adult population, and his duties as the assistant youth director for the Central District of the United Pentecostal Local Churches International Inc., his schedule does not leave much time for dating.
"I'm probably one of the few single youth pastors. That makes it hard as well," Carmona said about the women he meets while on the job. "Ninety percent of the youth pastors are already married."
Victoria resident Willet Dean, who is also single, said there is lack of available, quality men in the Crossroads.
"To me, they are childish," said Dean, 40, who occasionally goes out on blind dates in larger cities such as Houston and San Antonio. "And, everybody (in the Crossroads) has been with everybody else here."
Dean, a security guard at Victoria East High School, said she prefers to spend her energy concentrating on getting all three of her daughters off to college.
"I have, truthfully, given up. By the time I get all my girls off to college, I can relax. I'll be good."
To cut down on wasting time dating women who he has nothing in common with, Carmona said he prefers to date women who are already his friends.
"A lot of people don't want to date friends because they are afraid it will mess up the friendship. I'm the complete opposite," he said. "If I'm going to date someone, there has to be a friendship first."
He hopes to one day meet a women who is physically attractive; a Christian; non-smoker and non-drinker; a homebody who also enjoys road trips; intellectual, preferably with a college degree.
There is also one very important criterion that must be met.
"If she's a Yankees fan, it's not going to work out," Carmona chuckled.
Even though he demands a lot, his popular blog shows he is also willing to give a lot.
He created the blog after a 2007 breakup. His college dorm pastor advised him to create list of the things he wanted in a wife and spend more time becoming the one for someone else, instead of looking for the one.
He titled it after the Song of Solomon 6:3, "I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine."
His recent officiation of his grandparents' 51st anniversary wedding vows renewal ceremony provides some comfort that good things come to those who wait.
"There is no perfect person, but there is a person who is perfect for me," said Carmona, who hopes to be married by the age of 30. "If it happens, great; if not, I'll continue to wait patiently."