I started my day in a very negative place, waking up with an intense migraine and nausea. A friend of mine called a few minutes after I woke up, after getting off of the night shift at a local hospital. We caught up for awhile. It was a very real conversation, especially for 8 AM. He mentioned being happy that he’s no longer married to his ex-wife, who will be remarrying soon. I mentioned feeling content with being single, which was only half-true.
When I made a mad dash to the bathroom after a wave of nausea, still on the phone with my friend, he jokingly asked if I was pregnant. I was able to play the comment off well enough. The call abruptly ended when I did vomit, all stomach acid.
After cleaning up, I attempted to go back to sleep, hoping that the much needed rest would resolve my headache and nausea, but I stayed awake for another hour, staring at my ceiling, thinking about ex-boyfriends as my brother’s cat slept at my feet. I wasn’t happy about being single, but I wasn’t happy. I thought by this age, I would at least be married with a child. That hasn’t happened.
I’ve only had two exes that I’ve seriously thought about having children with. We talked about marriage as well, I considered the prospect of having children to be more meaningful. These were two people that I loved enough to consider procreating with, which I consider to be a commitment deeper than marriage. That’s a lifelong bond; marriages may dissolve, but children are forever.
These two relationships ended with just as much passion as when they started, and with their end came any notion of ever having a child. At 30, I recognize I still have time (according to science, having a child after 40 is now considered high risk, so I’ve got a decade to figure my shit out), but as I get older the amount of suitable prospects has dwindled. Most men my age are in relationships, and if they aren’t, I question their ability to successfully be in one.
I was speaking with another friend weeks ago about not wanting to have children. He told me that I shouldn’t rule it out, that someday I might want them. He’s not wrong; I can change my mind as often as I want, but on the subject of children, I’m steadfast in my decision not to have them. He attempted to give me some anecdote about a friend of his who couldn’t have children and years later she finally had one, but the message was lost on me. He meant well, but I became irritated with the topic. People, men especially, try to convince me that not wanting a child is abnormal. “You’ll change your mind,” they say. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. If I don’t, that should be respected.
Those two significant breakups I experienced not only forced me to question my desire to have children, but they have also caused me to explore relationships as a whole and what monogamy exactly means to me. I applaud people for staying married these days, I do. It’s not easy to wake up every day, look at your partner, and say “this is who I married and I will continue to love this parson, and only this person.” Every day is different and with each day comes a new and challenging set of struggled. Some days, friends of mine want to gouge their partner’s eyes out. It’s just the ebb and flow of all relationships. Even my father says, “if I had known [your grandmother] would be like this, I wouldn’t have married your mother. But I stayed because of you and your siblings.”
Being a realist (and closet idealist, but don’t tell anyone), I know that humans have very basic needs: food, shelter, fucking, sleep. I also know that if needs aren’t satisfied, humans will find a way to satisfy them. I recognize this because my eyes have wandered far too many times to count in previous relationships, especially when something was amiss. People tell me over and over that if you love someone, you’ll stay faithful to them no matter what. But what if The Beatles were wrong? What if love isn’t all you need?
Every day, I see men remove their wedding bands in the presence of a seemingly unattached female. Even today, a man slipped me his number while his wife (second wife) was picking out glasses. Marriage means very little to me these days, and when I was younger, I viewed marriage as some major achievement, the ultimate experience to strive for. Once I stopped viewing it as such, I felt better.
I don’t know why I’m writing all of this now. A much younger friend of mine accused me of being capable of growing up. I took offense to the comment, but as I look around at friends and family members who are married and miserable, I think to myself that I’m exactly where I need to be. Why ruin a good thing?
I’ll leave you with a song I woke up to, playing in my brain. Have a good day folks.