Sunday, September 2, 2007

WHY DO WE FEEL PRESSURE TO BE MARRIED WITH CHILDREN?

I was in Chicago over the weekend and I found something quite refreshing...there were single young people everywhere. Now I'm sure there were people that weren't but it was great. All I know is that it made me feel like I wasn't alone.

I met up with a friend of mine from Texas who I hadn't seen in a few years. She's young, single, a working hard professional girl. She has been on a few dates here and there but nothing special. And you know what, she seems OK with it. I'm not sure if it's because she has a job that keeps her busy or the fact that she has a great set of friends that keep her busy. I just thought that it was awesome that she didn't seem to crack under the pressure of "I NEED A HUSBAND...I NEED BABIES!" Maybe she doesn't get that pressure since she's in such a big city.

Then I started thinking about it...'Are ladies always on a husband hunt?' 'Is it a Midwest thing?' 'why are we so uncomfortable being alone?'

I'm guilty of being uncomfortable alone. I'm trying to be comfortable by myself. I feel like it'll be a while before I date again so I need to be my own best friend for a while.

I know that get I get lonely. Even when I dated Sean. He lived 1000 miles away. He was my boyfriend but I still felt lonely at times. I wish that we lived in the same town but even if I did he was so busy with work traveling that if I did it wouldn't be much different. It might have been cheaper but maybe not.

Anyway, I also think of my best friend Desiree. She lives back home in Portland around a lot of our old friends...who are all married with multiple kids. Every time she meets up with them they always ask "So when are you getting married...when are you having kids?" Talk about pressure. Now she has a boyfriend and things are pretty serious so it looks like she'll walk down the aisle soon.

I just wonder sometimes is it bad that we're not all married by 30? Are we lepers? I know I feel like a leper sometimes now that I'm divorced. I'm not sure if that's a common feeling but I know I feel like that sometimes.

I just wonder if I'm the only one that feels the pressure...especially girls. Do we feel the pressure more and do we put it upon ourselves because we compare ourselves to our friends instead of doing things when they happen.

8 comments:

jess said...

ok ok, I feel the need to leave a comment on this one Erin. I think a person can be just as happy being single as being married, its what you make of it. Yeah. yeah, easy for me to say, I am married, and trust me, I know, its hard to be alone. I just think, its what you make of it, jobs, family, stuff like that, and like all things, its probably temporary. As far as the pressure of having kids goes, I feel this one too, but not anytime soon, so I wish people would quit asking. Overall though, just take it slow girlie, look what you just got out of? You're an awesome girl, maybequit looking for "him" and he'll find you! Miss you in the STL-jess

Pete Fanning said...

OK...I feel the need to comment as well....I'm becoming quite the regular here :)

First, it's very, very important that you NEVER get lost in the feeling of wanting to be married just for the sake of being married with children, and especially out of loneliness.

NOBODY, and I mean, NOBODY knows this more than I do. TRUST me on this.

My first marriage was born out of loneliness. I would be glad to share my story with you but I won't air it here. Because of the value set I had driven in to me, I believed that you did EVERYTHING you could to make a marriage work, even if it was a bad marriage, and for 9 years I tried.

Friendly advice, don't get married for the sake of getting married and having children. Get married if and when the time is right for YOU and the S/O and BOTH of you. And only if YOU are ready. If you feel like you need time alone, take that time. Trust me, save yourself the 9 years of heartache you might go through in the long run.

Jennifer B said...

The pressure is the result of marketing. Face it - familes spend the most money. Madison Avenue creates advertising that puts the family unit on a pedistal.

It's drilled into our head to the point where we feel pressure. In other words - I WANT TO BE LIKE THAT AND FEEL THAT HAPPY.

Thanks for all you share on the blog and on the air. I think you're one pretty cool chick.

Anonymous said...

Erin,
I completely understand how you feel. I'm divorced and moved here from California four years ago. All of my friends here in Wisconsin that are married make me feel inadequate for being 30 and single. Like something is horribly wrong with me.

I'm beginning to think this is because they are either insecure about their marriage and they view me as a threat? Or that they are so completely blissed that they wish me the same happiness and want me to experience the same thing? Anyhow, thanks for sharing your blog.


Enjoy being single!

Big B said...

Happily divorced living with my boys. I never got married because of the pressures to do so early on or just because it was the way I was brought up. I got married because I fell in love with my best friend at the time. Kids? We both loved the idea of being parents. No pressure from family or friends, just the desire to have little ones running around, keeping us busy and making us laugh. They still do that for me to this day at the ages of 16 and 19. I truly believe that I did it all for the right reasons and not just because of the outside pressures. Now it seems to me that todays generation is more into themselves and not taking the steps into marriage or parenthood. I just hope that if they do take the plunge it is for the right reasons.

Peter said...

It isn't just women. Men feel the same pressure, although they are less likely to open up about it. Probably the stereotype of being afraid of family and commitment.

I know. I married the wrong woman for the wrong reason — because I was tired of being alone, tired of spending the holidays alone, and wanting a family with children. I was in my mid- to late 30s, hadn't had a real girlfriend before and was afraid the train was going to leave the station and I'd never get another chance.

Turned out she was verbally and physically abusive and had multiple affairs before I asked her to leave almost five years ago. Been by myself since then. Haven't even been on one date. I'm not comfortable being alone either. Without any family, the upcoming holiday season is the hardest part of the year on me.

I don't have a lot of relationship experience to draw on myself.

But you aren't alone. And there's nothing wrong with feeling that way.

Anonymous said...

Erin,
I understand what you are saying and being by yourself can take some adjustment. My husband was killed in a car accident when I was 27 and I'm still single.(that was 15 yrs ago) Sure I get lonely and want companionship but I feel there are MANY people who are married - but not happily. They have what I call "settled" for their spouse. Not that they never "loved" each other, but were they truely "in love" with them? I think society puts the pressure on being married, 2.5 kids, white picket fence, etc. but MANY of those that are married arent truely happy. They don't want to go through a divorce for various reasons (kids, money, fear,etc) so they stay married. That is the stupidest thing. You only live once, why not find that special person you're "in love with" and not settle? Being single has some advantages - listen to some couples when your out & about, I wouldnt want to deal with some of the things I've seen or heard. Be happy with yourself, love yourself - there's someone out there for you. You just need some time for you right now and to figure out what you truly want in a relationship/man. You deserve what you want no matter what that is. Stay strong & be happy - you're a beautiful girl, you'll be fine.

puppies4me said...

I just turned 31 last week, and I'm feeling the pressure to have kids. I love my husband, but we're just not sure if having children is right for us...ever.

It feels like we're not fitting into the mold society has made for us if we don't have kids. I agree that marketing has something to do with it, but it's also the questions and comments we get from friends, family and even strangers!

Erin, good luck with your choices. You're not the only one who feels the pressure!