Are you in your forty’s child-less and husband-less? GASP! Me too! How can we be in our forties, child-less and husband-less?! What’s wrong with us? Nothing dammit. When I tell people I’m 43, they are surprised to learn of my no kid/no husband status. Can you relate? Here are some of the reactions I get: “Wait, so you’ve never been married?” “You do have kids though, right?” “How old are you again?” “Did you just not want kids/husband?” “Oh, you just haven’t met the right guy yet.” I also get “You’re just too independent.” “I get it. You’re married to your career.” “It must be nice to have extra time to yourself.” “Dating has to be difficult; ya’ know..trying to find the right guy.” “Wow!” (concerned looks go here).
For a long time, I was taught that I should want kids and marriage, but “be married first because that’s the right thing to do!” Those messages came from family and other people around me. When I started to develop my own view of how I wanted my life to look, not how I was told it should look, I realized something. Having kids and being married did not fit. I used to think that something was wrong with me for not wanting “kids who are such a blessing” and for not wanting to be marriedso I could “build a life with someone else”. I tried to force myself to be comfortable with that image. For fear of being viewed as selfish or plain nuts, it took time for me to be assertive about how I wanted my life to look. It took time for me to not feel shame for being clear about what I wanted to include and not include in my life.
For those of you reading this who are not child-less and husband-less, here are some ground rules when you meet US:
- Don’t assume we have extra time to spare because we’re single with no kids.
- Don’t assume that we don’t want nor are we not in a committed relationship.
- Don’t assume dating is difficult for US.
- Don’t say to us, “Oh, I understand. You’re married to your career” because that sounds dumb. We don’t need for you to create another reason or soften our reasons for not wanting to be married.
- Don’t tell us we are too independent. As if a woman married with children is somehow not independent..?
- Don’t scrunch up your face and show concern for the choices we have made for our lives. Don’t be so shocked. We’re happy.
- Pick your jaw up off the floor.