There is this expectation in our society that every woman longs to be married with children.
I’ll admit, when I was a kid, I wanted that too.
Looking back, I think I wanted those things because people told me that was what I was supposed to want.
Now those things make me anxious. I figured out a long time ago that I am terrible with children. I talk to them like tiny drunk adults, if I’m not ignoring them completely. I am completely convinced I would be the parent of the children whose friends’ parents wouldn’t let them come to our house because they don’t like my kids’ parents… because I wouldn’t be the parent who gives up purple hair and tattoos just because I became a parent.
But it’s other things too. When you get right down to it, I am probably a very selfish person. It’s one thing to have a partner who becomes one of the things you love in life. But it’s another thing entirely to allow another human to REPLACE those things and I’m not prepared for that. Be it a partner or spawn.
(Also, I frequently refer to children using terms such as spawn and that’s probably not the right answer…)
So it’s more than just children.
I read an article one of my married friends shared on Facebook about how the author had forgotten how to LOVE her husband. She was so focused on her duties as a wife – cooking, cleaning, chauffeuring the children around, laundry, PTA meetings – that she forgot how to be passionate and affectionate with her husband. In her attempts to be a quality wife, she forgot how to be a desirable, sexual woman. It all happened when he came home from work and tried to kiss her while she was cooking dinner and she shooed him away because “dinner was late” and everything else had gone wrong that day.
I don’t want that life. Falling into that trap (and I do see it as a trap) is one of my biggest fears in life. I don’t want to find myself shooing my husband away because he wants to be affectionate and I “don’t have time” because being his wife is more important than being a woman.
I mean, I get that things stagnate from time to time but first and foremost, I want a partner not a breadwinner. I want a best friend not a leader. I want a lover not someone who dominates me (unless it’s appropriate …ahem). I don’t want a man whose idea of equal give and take is that he earns the money while I spend it. It’s not the 1950s and I am not Donna Reid. I want a partner who does his own laundry and cooks three nights a week (while I cook three and the seventh is a date night or we cook together or we eat left overs…). I don’t want to put my passions on hold because he wants a family.
I’m 35 years old. If I don’t want these things now, I’m probably not going to so don’t tell me that when it happens I’ll change my mind.
It almost did happen.
I was 18 years old. WE were 18 years old. We were three months from our high school graduation and I was applying to colleges. I had told him where I was applying. I thought he was looking at trade schools in the same areas. Then he told me we were moving to South Carolina the week after his graduation (we went to different schools and his graduation was after mine). Didn’t ask. Didn’t discuss. Didn’t even offer an ultimatum. Just told me WE were moving. I said I had applied to schools here. He apologized but this was what was happening. I told him I couldn’t be in a relationship where I didn’t have any control and ended it.
I still can’t. Even more now. I’ve been single far too long to kowtow for the sake of being with someone. I’m better off on my own than with someone who is good with a wild child for a while but will eventually want me to settle down and let my hair go natural and pop out a kid. I need someone who loves me as a wild child and is a bit of one himself.
I’m broke. I don’t have the money to do all the things I want to do. But that doesn’t mean I want to give up on the things I want to do. I want to travel. I want to learn how to do other things besides hair. I want to finish my novels. I want to start a charity, or at least do big things for an existing one.
I don’t want to get married because it’s the next logical step. If we decide to get married, great, that’s our decision but I don’t need a piece of paper to tell me someone is devoted to me. I’m a Scorpio. I know loyalty when I see it.
I don’t want to have children because it’s what is expected of me.
I don’t want to get married because having children is the next logical step.
I think everyone looks at a potential relationship with a hint of “What would the future be like with this person?” No one goes into a relationship expecting it to last six months. We all expect the next relationship to be our last. That our next first kiss is our last first kiss. I look at him and see someone who could be a partner with whom to grow our dreams, not someone who is going to ultimately expect domesticity and complicity from me. He already encourages and challenges me; I don’t have any reason to expect that to change if we were to spend five or ten or thirty years together. When I say I’m pretty sure he and I could take over the world together, I mean I have never been more sure that a relationship could be perfect and amazing than I am right now.
I just wish I could get him to consider the possibility.