Tracy Phillips has worn many hats: she was the marketing manager at Zouk and then a radio DJ before her current stints as the head of experiential marketing agency Ppurpose, and contributing editor at an online publication, among other things.
The one role this tastemaker has yet to play, however, is that of a wife—she’s 41 and unmarried. And she’s perfectly OK with that.
She used to think that being married is important
But this photogenic fashionista with 15,000 IG followers didn’t always feel this way—she candidly admits that getting married once mattered a lot to her.
“It felt more important in my late 20s and 30s because it was a precursor to starting a family,” says Tracy. She shares that talk about marriage had come up in three of her previous long-term relationships.
“I was 21 when we got together in the first one and we planned to get married when I turned 28. He actually suggested eloping when I was 23 but I wanted to stick to the plan. However, I decided to end things when I was 25 because I no longer saw a future with him,” she shares.
“My second one began when I was 30 and ended when I turned 35. The first few years were great, but I think as the relationship wore on and marriage loomed, our expectations of each other changed. Where things once felt light and easy, it became heavier and harder to communicate.”
She lets on that her ex brought up marriage when she decided to end things, but she decided to move on.
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When she was 38, she contemplated settling down with her then-partner even though she had a sense that the relationship lack depth because he was “so committed”. However, he lost enthusiasm for the relationship after a year and a half.
“It came as such a surprise because I had been trying to make it work for his sake. It was a really good reminder to not put other people’s feeling ahead of my own, and that even if one spends a lot of time on self-reflection, they can still get lost,” she muses.
Why she no longer feels pressured to marry
The one thing that Tracy always felt, though, is that having the right partnership is way more significant than having children. So because the prospect of starting a family is no longer a thing, she no longer feels pressured to marry for the sake of it.
“Now that I’ve accepted that having my own children isn’t going to happen in this lifetime, the idea of marriage doesn’t have the same power over me,” she explains.
But that’s not to say that she doesn’t ever see herself getting married—she just wants to make sure that it’s with absolute certainty that she’s doing the right thing if she walks down the aisle.
“I’ve never had an issue with marriage. I think it’s beautiful when people want to commit to spending the rest of their lives together. I just think that entering into a partnership like that is one of the biggest decisions we could ever make, and so requires maturity, self-awareness and wisdom,” she says.
“I’m currently in a loving relationship. I’m financially independent, own my home and have a strong circle of friends. I think it’ll probably happen at some point, though, and when it does, I think it’ll last because it wasn’t something I felt like I needed to do, but wanted to do.”
It’s all about being happy with herself
Suffice it to say, not everyone is as comfortable with being unmarried past the age of 40. Tracy credits her ability to make peace with marital status to the way in which she was brought up, and to the way in which she chooses to perceive things.
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“My upbringing forced me to learn about independence from an early age. But also, I think we really need to know how to be happy with ourselves before we can truly be happy with someone else,” she says.
“This takes practice and self-love but it’s worth it because we have so much more to give others when we feel whole and not living for the approval of others.”
She points out that the greatest bouts of her personal growth always happened after a breakup or whenever she was between relationships.
“The fact is it’s much easier to steer your own ship than to co-pilot or jump in tandem with another,” she says.
“However, being in a relationship has its rewards. You just need to know what is more important to you, and if you’re making the choices that are right for you.”