I’ve been in a committed relationship for eight and a half years now. The thing I’ve noticed is that, for the majority of that relationship, I’ve been bombarded with two nagging questions: When are you getting married? and When are you having kids?
Here’s the thing: I hate being asked these questions. For those who are reading this and are guilty of asking these questions, it’s all right, you’re forgiven. Just read this and don’t ask again. Aside from family and a few close friends, I don’t feel like this information is any of anyone else’s business. The decision of when, or whether, to get married and have kids is a very personal one. I don’t owe anyone an explanation of what I’ve chosen for myself. But even though I hate being asked those questions, I’m going to answer them here, with the hope that maybe this will silence the inquires going forward.
The short answer: we have no plans to get married. “Living in sin”, if you will, works nicely for us. Paul confided in me years ago that he didn’t ever want to get married, and I chose to stay with him and I am choosing to respect how he feels. And anyway, since I was going through a divorce when I started dating him, I can hardly preach the everlasting qualities of a marriage myself. I know that a piece of paper does not define a relationship as good or bad. Admittedly, there are times that I do get sad knowing that Paul and I will never have the excitement of an engagement, or a beautiful wedding, but I also know that both parties have to really want those things in order to make them special.
As for kids, I think I’ve always known that parenting is just not for me. I don’t hate kids, but I don’t have any desire whatsoever to have them, either. Some of my friends have kids that I absolutely adore, but I am not responsible for the full-time care of those kids. I have adorable, sweet, wonderful kitties that I am a mommy to, and parenting my fur babies is more than enough for me. I get very insulted when people ask me when I am having kids and then tell me, “Oh, you’ll change your mind!” when I say that I am not. As if they know my own mind better than I do.
I don’t mind sharing this information and don’t feel that it’s too invasive or anything like that. What crosses the line into invasive is what inevitably happens when I say these things: the person who asked the questions listens to my answers and then tries to change my mind. My decisions are my own and absolutely are not up for debate. Do people honestly believe that I haven’t thought these things through? These are choices I’ve put a lot of thought into, and I’m conducting my life in the manner that I see fit.
It also drives me crazy that so many people around me assume that a woman should be married and reproducing. Now that my sister lives with her boyfriend, she’s been getting the same line of questioning that I have, and it irritates her just as much as it does me. While I understand that more women opt for this path than not, times are changing and women have more choices now. There’s something incredibly comforting about waking up next to the man you love and knowing that he’s there with you because he chooses to be, and not because he hasn’t figured out how to stash the money for a lawyer just yet. Similarly, it’s nice to decide at the last minute to head out for dinner and a movie, because you have no kids that require a baby-sitter. I resent being expected to be married off so that I can start popping out offspring. And I resent people thinking they know better than me what lifestyle is best for me.
So, for those who were wondering – now you know where I stand on marriage and kids.There is a very good possibility that I may live the rest of my life unmarried, with no children (well, not entirely – I will always have fur babies). I’m fine with that prospect. Right now my current lifestyle is working perfectly well for me.