I Give Up on Getting Married


Thumbs downI don’t know what it was exactly that made me go off like I did yesterday morning, but I do know how it started. I was flipping through the channels and came across A Baby Story on TLC. A Filipino couple was expecting their third child, and the two they already had were adorable little girls with loads of personality and spunk. As they filmed the family adjusting to their fresh-out-the-womb arrival, the camera panned to her sitting in her baby seat — and something just snapped inside me.

I’ll admit that I knew better than to watch it. I banned myself from it probably four years ago, when I was putting myself through the most vicious, self-deprecating TV lineup of Whose Wedding Is It Anyway? and A Baby Story. I would be kinda sad for about an hour after they went off, so I put myself on punishment from it for an undetermined amount of time. But I thought I was over it, so I watched. Unfortunately, I called my boyfriend immediately afterward.

Things did not go well.

I’ve been wanting another baby for at least the last 9 or 10 years. My daughter will be 13 next month, and I’ve always hoped for a chance to raise a family with a good man by my side before I became a second-time-around mom. There ain’t nothin’ glorious or cute about this single mother thing — I don’t care what kind of cape-wearing heroines we’re ballyhooed and cheerleaded for being — and I’m not standing in anybody’s line to do it again. But I’m also not getting any younger and after chatting with The Mister yesterday, seems like no ring or coinciding proposal are anywhere on the horizon, which means prospects of having another little one are slim.

So instead of keeping the fires of hope burning with ‘maybes’ and ‘possiblys,’ I’m forcing myself to come to grips with the reality that I’m not going to get married and with that, not going to have any more children. It’s a hard pill to swallow because, in between all of my grand career scheming and strategizing on how I was going to help the world and take it over at the same time, I’ve always envisioned myself becoming a married woman, somewhere in between the PhD and the best-selling book.

I’ve fallen in love four times, and three of those times, I expected to eventually walk down the aisle with the man I was smitten with. (The fourth one was a fluke I’ve got to chalk up to just really digging the wrong dude at a really vulnerable time in my life.) It was a blessing that I didn’t haul tail to the courthouse with the father of my child — I’ll go on ahead and insert a resounding “Thank you, God!” for foiling that plan to go to the courthouse like we intended — but this last one, as far as I’m concerned, is The One. If there’s even such a thing as The One.

At the same time, at this stage of life, when you’ve crossed the threshold out of your find-yourself 20s into your more stable and secure 30s, I don’t see any reason why it should take three or four years for a man to propose. If you have a fantastic woman who possesses all of the qualities that you say you’ve been praying and looking for, I can’t imagine what in the world would keep someone from sealing the deal as swiftly as possible to experience the joy of having her around every day. Maybe that’s just me and my idealistic thinking again.

But hey, there are a lot of single women out there, fabulous ladies who are crazy intelligent, accomplished, ambitious, fun, and stimulating with good heads on their shoulders and credentials to be somebody’s catch. But they’re still single. So what makes me so special that I should be the one to get hitched? Survey says not much. It’s exhausting to meet a man, fall in love, and want to take the next natural step to spend the rest of my life with him only to somehow discover that he plans to marry me someday. You know, when he gets around to it. And I certainly don’t want to feel like I hogtied the guy and forced him to the altar.

It’s really therapeutic to write this because, even though I have to stop and wipe my eyes or blow my nose every five or six sentences, it’s also liberating to mentally free myself of something that’s been such a hefty source of disappointment. I’m not in the business of being anybody’s marathon girlfriend, so I’m officially taking myself off the market. For sanity’s sake.

Single ladies: do you still believe you’re eventually going to get married?

Image via superba_/Flickr

commitment, dating, dating mom, marriage, love, proposals


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EveEvans EveEvans

I swear... as cliche as a Tyler Perry movie.

LiberalK LiberalK

I don't think you should give up! People find love at any age. Women are having children when they're older so you shouldn't give yourself an age limit on when you can have kids! I do think that if the man you're with now isn't looking to get married then you should find someone else. I would feel like I was wasting my time if I was in your situation. JMO.

nonmember avatar Jay

Allll the single ladies...

Anna Martin

I completely understand where you're coming from, Janelle.  I've been with my boyfriend for 8 years, since I was 19.  He says he has no interest in getting married but wants kids.  I'm not going to choose to have a child before getting married, for my own sake and the sake of my future children.  He's moving out of state in the next couple months, and I have told him that I'm not moving unless there's a ring on my finger.  I still haven't come up with a solid plan for what I'm going to do if he doesn't propose...I'm envisioning sitting on my couch hugging a jug of wine and crying.  And not dating again for a very very long time, if ever.  Like you, I have baby fever.  I really want a baby.   I feel like if this relationship falls through, it's very unlikely I will ever have kids because I won't be able to trust a man with my heart ever again.  So, just know that you're not alone. And that you are absolutely right, if a man loves a woman and wants to keep her around, he needs to man up and make it an official family.


nonmember avatar KellyB

This is going to sound cliche too, but it's 100% true.  My best friend had given up on getting married.  She was a single mom with two kids, and was dating jerk after jerk.  Then, once she finally gave up on dating altogether, she met the man of her dreams.  I just got back from their wedding.  She is 36 and they are planning on having two more kids.  He really is perfect for her, and my guess is her marriage will last far longer than most of our other friends who got married early.  There IS someone for everyone :)

tweet... tweetyphilpott

I'm in a similar boat as you. Sailing the same waves. I may be engaged now but right now I have a 10 year old and I'm getting married in 2 years. She will be 12 and I will be in my mid 30's. I don't want to have a baby when my daughter starts college.they whole point is to have another baby cause I love kids and to give her a so sibling. Instead I would raising another only child. I won't have the freedom to enjoy my 40's and 50's. I didn't get to have the 20's to enjoy. So its pretty much no or never and its so had to even think I won't get to have another child. It breaks my heart. I can't stand to see other new moms or pregnant women cause the ugly green monster comes out.

LikeA... LikeAVirgin

I have been engaged for 2 years and I love it. I even think about not getting married sometimes lol. All my friends that have gotten married were mean, exhausted and selfish the entire time they were planning the wedding. However, I do think getting married is a wonderful goal to have.

nonmember avatar A

Don't waste your time on a guy who isn't commited enough to marry you

eyoun... eyoungmom88

I was with my ex for 7.5 years, had two babies, and he kept saying "next year, next year it will happen" Finally I told him it was time to $hit or get off the pot, and he left. I have since met 2 men, eager to rush me to the alter, although I want to be sure I pick the right one, so I am in no rush to marry someone I barely know... But my thinking is, if he's not willing to do it after so long, and so much begging, knowing how important it is to his partner... well there are plenty of other fish in the sea.

PonyC... PonyChaser

You have to do what's right for you. And sometimes it means making difficult decisions. But you know that. The fact that you have come to this epiphany doesn't necessarily mean that you will never marry. Don't steel your heart against it. But you have to be able to say to your guy, "you're taking advantage of me, and I won't have it. I'm strong enough to stand on my own."  There's a difference between rushing a guy to the altar, and asking him to admit whether or not he ever intends to go there in the first place. If you want marriage, and he does not, perhaps your relationship isn't meant to be. Only you can decide that.

But know that Kelly's friend isn't the only one out there with that story. I have a lifelong friend who "gave up on love" when she was in her late 30's. She quit dating, threw herself into her (very expensive and time consuming) hobby and work, and enjoyed her singlehood. And one day, she turned around and he was there. Two years ago, she married "the man of her dreams". I think maybe it's a matter of giving yourself a break and taking the pressure off.

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