What About Kids?

The older I get (I’m 37 y.o.) and the longer I’m single (I’ve only been in one romantic relationship in my life) the more this question pops up, “Do you want kids?” The answer used to be an undeniable, ‘YES!!!’ Of course I want kids, right? Yet again the concept of ‘story’ comes to the surface with this topic. Had you asked me 10 years ago if I would still be a single man at 37, I would have told you, “Absolutely not! Surely I’ll have met a woman by then!” Well, things obviously didn’t work out like that.

The older I’ve gotten the more I have realized that many of my ideas and expectations around romance have come from social conditioning. Particularly, in The South:

  1. The guy asks the girl out (already we’ve excluded same-sex orientation)
  2. They date for a while,exclusively
  3. You get married
  4. You have kids
  5. Everyone Lives happily ever after

Now, in reality:

  1. I’ve been asked out several times by women and hit on by men. It’s a new world.
  2. I’ve learned the hard way, not to assume that I’m the only guy a woman is dating. With women, there are always other guys lurking (Hell, I’m one of ’em. LOL!)
  3. You get married… Yeah if you are lucky enough to get through the first two. AND, I’ve met divorced people who are fine with committed relationships but won’t get legally married again because the costs and the emotional toll were just too much.
  4. First off, biological kids aren’t a possibility for many people. Two, if you marry someone that already has kids, it’s perfectly reasonable for them not to want more. Oh, by the way, there are all the kids in the world who don’t have parents who could use a good home.
  5. Again, divorce is a reality and, unfortunately, people rarely part on good terms.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not against having kids or life long commitment. However, I’ve made many assumptions about the whole process, that just aren’t true. I bet many of us do this. When people ask me if I want children of my own, I’ve become prone to say, “It Depends…”

  1. If we’re talking about biological kids, I’ve got to meet a woman and get to a committed relationship first. This woman may or may not want kids, for any number of reasons. I’m not going to pass on a good woman because she doesn’t want kids. Really, can you blame any woman for not wanting kids? I mean, this process is literally going to change your body.
  2. If we’re talking fostering/adoption, I do think I want to do this one day but I have to get myself financially solid first. I am still holding on to the story that if I keep getting better at this thing that I love (Speaking and Writing, about Personal Growth), one day I’ll be able to make good money from it. For many people who pursue their passion, the dollars never come. We’ll see.

I’ve come to accept the fact that I may never have children of my own. In recent times I’ve decided to entertain the idea that I may never experience romance again in my life. I understand that I’m still very young and I believe I have lots to offer a woman, but I think it’s healthy to acknowledge the possibility that romance never happens. It helps me let go of my expectations and assumptions (let go of my stories). It helps me appreciate the woman in front of me for who she is, instead of who I want her to be. I already know of amazing women that I passed by because they didn’t fit my narrative. If we know it’s possible to have no relationship at all, then the opportunity to have any relationship at all (assuming it’s a healthy relationship) becomes much more of a gift to be grateful for. This thought process has the potential to work whether you are in a relationship or not. If you don’t have romance, it’s not guaranteed. If you have it, any number of circumstances in life could take it from you. In many ways this is a 1st World problem. If I were starving for food and fearful for my life every day, would I care about being alone of Valentine’s Day?

What are some of the expectations that you have about romance and parenthood? What are some of the expectations you have about relationships of any kind (family, friends, coworkers…)? Of these expectations, which ones are helpful and why? Which ones are not and why?

-Travis

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