Hang on, let me clarify that. One of my ex-fiancés just got married. Unfortunately, there are now quite a few fellas that I can shove into that "ex-fiancé" category.
And just my luck, I happened to run into a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend who knows somebody that couldn't wait to tell me the news. When she broached the subject, it was one of those half-hearted, "Well I hope this doesn't upset you, BUT....." type of conversations.
And to be quite honest, I actually wasn't bothered. Like, at all. Maybe all those broken engagements have toughened up my cardiac muscle. I really didn't feel anything, except maybe a little bit of pity.
In a way, I just feel sorry for him. My heart has not been gushing and longing for his return. Sure, I had a good cry when it ended, but then it was time to reapply my mascara and move on. I wasn't up every night waiting by the phone and hoping that he'd ride back into my life upon a white horse like a knight in shining armor. I'm just not that kind of damsel in distress.
But I am the kind of girl who is honest. And I really wish people would believe me when I tell them things about myself. And if they don't like what they hear and that very honesty keeps me in the "Still Single" directory, that's ok. It really is.
As far as our engagement, it ended...well, abruptly. Things seemed to be going along fine until the one day when he experienced an "I'm-turning-30-midlife-crisis" and was blubbering in my living room saying that he couldn't go through with this because he wanted to be a dad. In fact, he was talking in all kinds of circles. In one breath, he said we should just "take a break". (Sidenote: I don't do breaks. You either want to be with me or you don't. And if you don't, there's the door.) In the next breath, he said he wished we were already married and living in a house together. What??? Then two seconds later, he said that he thought we should just start over (except for the small little detail that I was already wearing his ring.) Hmmm....
So as all this was sprung upon me, I was left with the one rather important question that would have saved us both from all this nonsense: Why didn't you believe me?
From the beginning of all of my relationships, I have been honest, open, and upfront with everyone. My family knows. My friends know. Heck, even strangers that listen to my radio show know. It's no secret that I don't want children. It's not because I hate kids. It's not like I probably wouldn't make a good mother, either. I think I have some fine qualities that would make for a very good one. I just honestly don't want kids. It won't matter how many people tell me, "Oh dear, you'll change your mind someday." And there's never a shortage of people always telling me that. But the fact is, I won't.
And that's ok. Not every woman needs to fit into these molds of ideal perfection. The molds that say here's what your life should be like: You should get married by a certain age. You should have 2.4 children. You should have a white picket fence and a dog. If you don't do this, you will never be happily-ever-after! You know the mold I'm talking about. It's not a new thing. That mold has been around for generations.
For starters, I'm a cat person. (No kids AND no dog?!?! What's this world coming to, right?)
I am a cat person because for one thing, they are easy to care for. They're relatively low maintenance and I love them. Cats enjoy the time you spend with them, but they also like their alone time. Which is a lot like me, really. And when it comes to my time, I don't want to make time for children. And maybe that's selfish, but it's honest. I work a lot and I work all kinds of crazy hours. I like to be able to sleep through the night and I enjoy sleeping in on my days off. I like to be able to spend money frivolously on the things that I want to spend money on. With kids, you can't do all of that. I also like being able to decide at the spur of the moment that I'm going to stay out all night and do what I want to do and not worry about a babysitter....or homework...or who gave my little angel head lice.
Besides, I have a hard enough time taking care of plants, let alone trying to care for another tiny human that depends on me for everything. I can't deal with a paper cut. There's no way I'd make it through labor. And it's just not something that I want. And believe me (please) when I say that I've thought it through. And again....it's ok. The problem is, people rarely will accept these things. They always seem to be forcing their own views of how I should live my life onto me instead of really listening and believing what I'm telling them. Because the bottom line is, they aren't living my life. I am. And I don't have this undying feeling of maternal emptiness that only a baby can fulfill. I'm not made that way. And some women are. And that's ok, too. That's just not me.
So back to the living room blubbering...
He proceeds to tell me that he just cannot bear the thought of a happy life together without children.
But there's more to this story. There always is. If he truly felt that way, that he truly couldn't stand the agony of growing old with me without having a family, that would have been one thing. Also, that's probably something that a person might want to decide before asking me (the person who doesn't want kids) to marry him. But the real reason behind his sudden desperate need to procreate and pass down his last name was because his friend was having a baby. His childhood best friend. And in whatever weird competition thing that they had going on, he was losing. He was falling behind and he needed to catch up.
Looking back, I really should have sent his friend a 'thank you & congratulations on your baby' card. Because had this friend not currently been expecting a baby, we probably would have continued down that path towards a marriage. And heaven forbid, one day we may have even tied the knot. I guess things work out the way they should in the end because it's much easier to call off an engagement (and I'm getting quite good at that, it seems) than it is to go through a divorce because your spouse starts having baby fever. However, it all could have been avoided if at the beginning, he would have just listened to me and believed what I was honestly telling him: I don't want kids.
In one of his many after-the-split emails that I never answered, he wrote to me: If you ever decide you may want to have kids, please let me know because I will leap back in a heartbeat!
Even after all of that, he still wasn't listening!
And LEAP?!?! Who says that? Who uses the word leap? And more so, who looks at a relationship like you would view a swimming pool? Oh, now the water is a little warmer, you say? Well, let me just LEAP right back in like it's no big deal.
My ex was always so worried about what everyone else thought he should be doing and what everyone else thought he should become. I don't think he ever once just asked himself- What do I truly want? And maybe he's perfectly happy now. Good for him if he is. He sure leaped into this new relationship quickly enough. But if not, I doubt that he would ever do anything about it and risk the stigma of divorce. Especially if she's willing to pop out a few babies and keep up with his inner circle. I guess to some, the important thing is- how your life appears to other people. I just wasn't raised that way.
For me, I'm not so much worried about what other people think. I know what I think. And I know what I want for me. My hope is that someday, people will actually listen when I tell them - honestly - what that is.
So here I am. Doing exactly what I want to be doing. I'm sitting on my deck while I type this, watching the sun set on this quiet, peaceful evening. I'm accompanied by a glass of wine. My neighbor was just out watering her flowers, saw me on the chaise lounge, and asked how I was doing. And I honestly told her, "Really, really good." And that wasn't just the wine talking.
I am. I'm doing just fine. Still single....and honest.