I met someone recently who annoyingly I really like. I say annoyingly because we were having a great time hanging out and having the best sex ever (I mean, he’s raised the bar so high, I don’t know how anyone else would begin to compete). I feel so comfortable around him, and did from the very start. The night we met I was instantly trusting of him, letting him hogtie me in my home, this complete stranger, a truly bizarre feeling. After fucking like animals, we chatted and laughed, it was totally relaxed. I could have spent hours with him.
We saw each other a few more times until his job took him a little further a field so it wasn’t as easy to see each other so often. He came to visit me for a weekend and whilst out picking some food up to make fajitas, I had a sudden craving for pickles. He joked that maybe I was pregnant. I said, “it’d be your fault”, he replied “don’t be daft I’ve had the snip” (he added he thought he’d already told me, but definitely hadn’t, his memory is fucking shit). I was pretty floored, mainly as it just shocked me. God knows why. He’s 37, has two of his own kids who are 10 and 13 and had made a few remarks about how vile kids are so I’d pretty much come to the assumption that he didn’t want anymore, but this was very definite.
Frustratingly, after he went home, I kept thinking about this. We’d only known each other for a month, but were talking most days and I could see myself starting to really like him. I started to wonder if there was any point in venturing down a road with someone if you’re not on the same path and will ultimately want different things. I decided to mention it, and he agreed it would be an issue. We agreed to see each other again, as the whole time we’d been seeing each other we weren’t committed/exclusive, it was only ever casual. I had still been on a few dates, which he knew about (though I think more so to stop myself from falling too hard for him).
I spent another weekend with him after several weeks apart. I knew I was fucked when I saw him. He teases me that I’ve fallen for him, but he’s not far wrong. We talked a little about “the thing”. He said he wanted to be sensible. He didn’t want to be the one to take that choice away from me and be selfish. The basis of our “relationship” is a lot of banter, and when he was leaving he was ribbing me about liking me a microscopic amount and not being arsed about seeing me again. Even though I knew he was joking, given our earlier conversation I panicked I might not see him again and started to cry (fucking emotional wreck I am).
I’ve been thinking so much about this over the past few weeks and I’m just so fucking confused. You might think it’s ridiculous to even have had such a conversation with someone I’ve only known for such a short period, but if you want to start dating someone, as you get older, I think it’s level headed to find out early on if you’re on the same page. Admittedly this wouldn’t have come up for me had he not mentioned his vasectomy as I certainly wouldn’t have asked him about children at this stage, but it got flung into my head and then I couldn’t avoid it.
So why am I confused? Mainly because it’s made me question if I even want children of my own. Not for him. I just met him. I’m not making a life decision based on a man (I admittedly really like and gives me mind blowing sex) I’ve known for less time than the salmon I’ve had in my freezer, but because I’ve never stopped to think about it before. I’ve always just assumed I would have them one day.
I’ve never desperately yearned to have children. I’m now questioning if my assumption is based on what society (and my mother) expects of you, particularly as a woman.
I was with my ex for 10 years. We were married, financial stable and in a good position to have children, but we never started trying. We talked about it, but the conversation was always “one day”, with no other reason than that we just didn’t want them yet. No sooner than we got engaged, people started asking me when we where going to have children, my ex didn’t get questioned as often as I did. It continued throughout our marriage, asking if and when. I always found it extremely rude as it’s a very personal subject and I know several people going through fertility problems who would find such questions upsetting. I will never forget one colleague in particular asking if we had kids yet, when I said no, she asked if we were planning them soon, again “no”. She replied in utter horror “why not??” I didn’t know where to put myself. We just didn’t want to. Why did I need to explain this to a colleague I barely ever saw, let alone spoke to? Simply because society expects that one falls in love, gets married, has babies and lives happily ever after? I call bullshit.
Don’t get me wrong; I like kids. I adore my best friends son, I literally love him to pieces and enjoy spending time with him and even though he’s only 8 months old I keep telling her that she needs to start saying my name more so he can learn to say it when he starts talking. I love that I’m part of his life and will be around seeing him grow up. I will absolutely insist that he calls me Aunty and I will want to be invited to his wedding (yea, I’m needy).
I know women who categorically state they never want children. One who was firmly in this camp throughout her teens and early twenties is however broody as fuck. I think I’m just indifferent and have just always assumed it will happen to me at some point.
I was talking to the best friend (L) and the two main reasons I came up with for wanting to procreate are: not wanting to be lonely when I’m older, and because I think of how I would raise a child in terms of the values I would teach them.
Procreating to have an insurance policy to avoid being lonely/alone when you’re older is a shit policy, which will very likely not pay out. For one, sadly many people outlive their children, children can fuck off and live their lives miles away from you, or could simple not like you (I for one have a bit of strained relationship with my Mum). My family is absolutely tiny, and as the youngest, once I hit my later years, unless I reproduce (or die young), I’ll be the last one standing…. But if any of the above happened, then I’m back at square one. Fortunately I love cats. I’ve also informed L that she will have to house me if all else fails.
Teaching children your values. I like the idea of being able to pass on the values you’ve learnt and share these with your offspring. Though when I sit and think about it, whilst in some respects I’m very similar to my Dad (almost carbon copy), I wildly differ in his views on tattoos for example and freedom of expression, and if I had my Mum’s values I’d be a practicing Catholic member of the WI that voted UKIP (possibly why we don’t see eye to eye). So, whilst my intentions for this would be great, it’s another fucked system as people have their own minds.
But how do you know that you’re willing to shut the door on something forever? Until I hit menopause I’d still be physically able to have my own children, unless I had any reproductive issues I wasn’t aware of, and I’m not sure I’d willingly have a hysterectomy tomorrow.
(Having said that, for as long as I can remember I’ve thought about adopting. The world is overpopulated and I find the number of children who end up in foster care and end up placed for adoption really saddening. It’s also the case that a lot are older as they’ve often been in care for some years, though I believe many families would look to adopt younger children. So there’s a part of me that thinks if I ended up wanting a family when I’m approaching 40 (whatever my situation) that’s an option I would happily explore, if I missed my biological window.)
Yet, I’m not at all broody. I’m not sure I ever will be. The thought of doing school runs leaves me cold. Having to think of someone else all the time, I like being selfish and being able to put myself first. One of my friend’s in her late 40s has no children (by choice) and has one the most aspirational lifestyles I know. Her and her husband can spend their disposable income entirely as they wish, book a holiday on a whim or simply spend an entire day lazing about doing sweet FA.
So my irritating dilemma is what to do. With the man I’ve only known for 2 months, who I’m seeing casually but would ideally like to go out with. He seems reluctant to start dating (perhaps not just because of this, I could bore him senseless), but because of the issues it could raise in the future. I feel like we could date for a few months and decide we’re not for each other anyway… If we did, I’m 28 (rapidly approaching 29), kids are absolutely not on my horizon anytime soon (if at all), so would it not be better to spend time with someone who makes you really happy for a period of time and then if ultimately I did get clucky revisit the issue and go from there? I appreciate that could be really painful, but relationships don’t always last forever. This irksome fucking quandary is putting a lot of pressure on something that may never come to be an issue.