I'm 33 years old. This means that most women I know are either married, getting pregnant, have children already, or moving in one or more of those directions. I still have single friends, to be sure, but I definitely feel like I’m in the minority in terms of my empty house and uterus.
After years of waiting for what I assumed to be a late-blooming biological clock to start ticking, I've come to realize that my disinterest in babies either coming out of my vagina or living inside my house is permanent.
Almost everyone I’ve talked to about this tells me my feelings will change when I fall in love -- dates and friends alike. But they’ve told me this for over a decade now, and in that time I’ve fallen in and out of love and little has changed.
There are, simply, other things I want in life –- things I want more -– like going out whenever I feel like it and sleeping in and making dinner at 10 PM and having a quiet house to write in. The idea of babies seems disruptive to all those things, never mind the toll reproduction takes on women’s bodies. None of it seems appealing to me. Sure, I’m happy to take care of my dog, but she’s way cuter, softer and quieter than any baby I’ve met and she loves sleeping in.
While my choice not to marry is political, as I still do, in many ways, want a life partner of sorts (just no rings or husband and wife crap, please). My choice not to have kids is straight-up selfish. It just doesn’t seem fun.
There is an assumption that women in their 30s are on a marriage/baby path. Romantic comedies have taught us that single women over a certain age are desperate, sad, neurotic ninnies with a one-track-sperm-stealing-put-a-ring-on-it-mind. It's not necessarily a fair assumption, but it's there. And I feel as though this puts me in an awkward position when dating.
I’ve learned that I don’t do casual relationships very well and have little to no interest in one-night stands. This isn’t because I’m anti-slut, but because I’m pro-me-having-orgasms and I've figured out (THROUGH TRIAL AND SLUTTY ERROR BELIEVE YOU ME) that I don’t have orgasms with people I don’t know. On top of that, I have this inconvenient brain-disease that makes me confuse orgasms with love, leading me to fall for people I should probably just be sleeping with.
So I date because I want a long-term relationship. I want to find love and a partner to share my life with. Because of my age, I fear that men assume I am looking for a husband/father.
This means that I end up talking about babies and marriage very early on, not, as the stereotype goes, because I'm searching desperately for someone to fertilize my eggs before they shrivel up and die, but because I don't want to get into a relationship under false pretenses. I don’t see the point in falling in love with someone who has a completely different idea of where they would like a relationship to eventually go, somewhere down the road.
People have told me it's weird or too “intense" to talk about things like marriage and babies on the first or second date, but for me it just feels fair. I don't want to have to break up with someone I love in a few years because they assumed I would want kids eventually.
I’m always astounded by couples who haven’t talked about their future goals and what they want out of a relationship. I have no illusions about relationships lasting forever. The fact is that most don’t. But, of course, most of us don’t plan on breaking up either. We stay positive for as long as we can and hope for the best.
I don’t think it’s fair either to you or your partner to assume someone will “change their mind” about something as significant and life-changing as children or marriage. Why not just be straight-up from the get-go? I figure we should all try to avoid hurt and disappointment as best we can, while knowing that, in life, of course, hurt and disappointment is often unavoidable.
Is it too much to expect that the people we date also know what they’re looking for and will be honest about that? Is it crazy that I want to know now what an ideal future holds for my potential partner? Or should I leave a little leeway for people to figure things out?
First dates are supposed to be fun and light, but I know who I am and figure my dates should, too.