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LeavesNoTrace's avatar

I'm a 25-year-old successful female. Is it weird that I really want to get married and have a kid in the next 5-10 years?

Asked by LeavesNoTrace (2527 points ) 1 month ago

In December I’ll be 26. I was in a relationship for more than two years with someone I thought I may eventually marry and have a family. Over time, the relationship kind of disintegrated due to compatibility and culture issues and we now live separately and see a lot less of each other.

We’re essentially broken up (It feels like it, at least.) but we see one another occasionally, go on sort-of dates, he calls me ‘sweety’, ‘baby’, etc. but that spark we had as a couple is palpably diminished. It’s confusing and I’m hoping that when I see him this week we can confirm that we’re on the same page about this feeling because I’d like to move on as a single person without guilt or feeling like I’ve caused him unnecessary grief.

Part of my rationale for wanting to go our separate ways is that I no longer see him as a potential candidate for marriage. I’m aware that I sound pretty old school here, but since my Mom died, I’m very aware of the passage of time and how life goes by so fast.

The truth is that I want to find a nice man, settle down, and have a child someday. If I were a man, I’d have the luxury of being able to put this off almost indefinitely. And yes, I know many women get married and start families in their later 30s—my grandma did—but I’m trying to be realistic. Every year after 30, my window of opportunity is going to shrink.

Is it weird that this becoming a source of anxiety for me in my mid-twenties? I’m a progressive woman, consider myself a feminist, and don’t think I ‘need’ a man – I just want the companionship and the partnership that comes from a stable marriage and to know the satisfaction of parenthood. Are my fears of missing out overblown or am I on to something my peers aren’t?

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27 Answers

Mimishu1995's avatar

No, that’s normal. That’s just a goal you set. Everyone has a goal for them. But don’t let your goal bother you so much.

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

@Mimishu1995 It’s weird for me to think of this as a ‘goal’...

hearkat's avatar

No, it’s not weird, it’s something that you want in your life and you are aware that you’ll have better chance of a successful pregnancy and healthy baby within the next decade.

My greatest concern is that you don’t want to rush into a relationship with a good “candidate for marriage” (and fatherhood) without having a truly good friendship and partnership between you. So in addition to having good genes and stable income as criteria, be sure to include trustworthy, compassionate, patient, shared interests and sense of humor, and shared values.

I know too many people who split up after 5–20 years because they are not compatible with one another beyond the baby-making and/or child-rearing aspect of the relationship. You’ve been through so much already, you don’t want to make it harder in the future by having your biological clock pressure you into hasty decisions. Seek out your best friend in male form, not a “candidate for marriage”.

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

@hearkat Haha, I agree with you actually. Maybe I worded it a little too clinically. Yes, the emotional and psychological compatibility was more what I was thinking of, not as much income and genetics. Everything needs to come together for it to happen.

It’s hard though. I live in NYC, work a lot and worst of all, everyone’s dating on the internet! Nobody flirts anymore, because they’re too busy trying to get booty calls on Tinder and OKCupid. One of the things I actually loved about my ex is that he had the confidence to approach me in person and ask me out like a gentleman. Why is it so hard to do that? I’m not going to bite a man’s head off if he asks to buy me a coffee, just keep it respectful!

Pandora's avatar

I’ve got a single 31 year old son with the same goals.LOL
Only in his case he thinks it’s never going to happen. He says he keeps only finding girls who want no attachment what-so-ever.
No, I don’t think it is weird. It will happen when it’s meant to happen.
This is what I told my son.
Dating is like resumes. The more you turn in the more likely you are going to get a few call backs for an interview. Eventually one of those call backs will sound like an opportunity of a life time. But you can’t sit back and wait for the job to come to you, and it is the same with relationships. Some jobs will be so-so, and relationships are the same.

You wouldn’t t just stay at a job you don’t like that you know isn’t going anywhere because you don’t want to hurt their feelings by going. Put in your one week notice already and move on.
It will give him the opportunity to find someone else as well.
Life does go by quickly. So don’t set yourself up by being passive. Be proactive in what you want out of life. I don’t mean pushy either. Just be open to new adventures and expand your interests.

hearkat's avatar

@LeavesNoTrace – I agree with Pandora that you have to put yourself out there. But my advice is to stop seeking dates and instead start making friends. There’s too many Meetup groups in the NYC area for me to count. Go to Meetup.com and join groups that are based on your interests and start enjoying your youth. There, you will find people with similar interests, some of whom will become friends outside of the group. Some of these friends will be male, and the female friends may have brothers, cousins, or colleagues they introduce you to. A few of those will be potential dates, and perhaps one of those will be a terrific match for you.

janbb's avatar

It’s perfectly normal and certainly a right time for those feelings to come up.

If it’s any consolation – and I’m sure it’s not – I’m having no luck with trying to date on the other end of the age spectrum. I’ve made plenty of friends in the last three years but no one that I clicked with romantically.

janbb's avatar

Oh – and by the way, marriage and family are definitely worth it. I’m content as a single person now but I am sooo glad that I raised a family with someone.

funkdaddy's avatar

It’s tough to control when you’ll meet someone, tough to control if even the perfect partner will be looking for the same things you are, tough to control when you will get pregnant, and tough to know where unrelated portions of your life will take you.

So it’s good to know what you want, but beyond that it seems the best thing is to live a life you are proud of and be open to changes in direction rather than worry about or even set goals you have so little control over. There are so many things you can plan and control, worry about those and just be ready for when the others come along and sweep you away.

marinelife's avatar

What you don’t want to do is operate from this place of anxiety. Instead, think of how you are satisfied with your current life, how it is rich and full. Then you will be able to meet a mate. You may want to talk to a therapist about your increasing anxiety.

jca's avatar

Feelings are not weird and feelings may not be based on logic. Your feelings are what they are.

@marinelife makes a good point to try not to be anxious about it.

Also, if it’s any consolation, you will read lots about how your fertility rate drops after age 30. I talked to my doctor about that when I was in my late 30’s and not even trying to get pregnant, but at the point in life where I knew that it just might not happen. The doctor told me that the reason we hear a lot of stories about this topic is that because the problems are what make the story. He said people who don’t have problems just get pregnant and there’s no story. I got pregnant when I was 40 and had my daughter at age 41. She is now 7. I had a great pregnancy, natural conception and natural child birth. She’s a great kid. I’m 48. I understand that may be considered a little old to have a 7 year old by some people, but just to reassure you that age 25 is not an age to panic.

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

@jca Thanks so much for putting it in perspective. My grandmother married later in life had 2 pregnancies including a set of healthy twins in her early 40s but then went into early menopause. She’s still alive and kicking at 95 though so I hope that I have both her fertility and longevity!

I guess my ‘anxiety’ is that meeting the right person, building a stable relationship, marriage, and then getting to the point of having a kid seems like a tall order for the next 10 years!

fightfightfight's avatar

Nope, I think it’s pretty normal. You might even have like 20 kids

Coloma's avatar

No. Regardless of success and equality many women still want a family too. Not all, my daughter is turning 27 this year and is in no hurry to get married and is ambivalent about having children. She is in a new relationship this last 6 months after splitting with her boyfriend of 4 years last fall.
I would simply say that there are no guarantees in relationship, I was married for 6 years to my daughters father before we had her and we divorced when she was 15, after 21.5 years of marriage.

The most important thing is to really try and find a good blend of temperament and values.
These are, IMO, the most important factors in sustaining a LT relationship.
Date a lot and don’t waste your time on men that do not have the same goals as you do, better odds if one is, for lack of a better term, “equally yoked.” haha

Luiveton's avatar

I just want to point out that being a feminist is not about ‘needing’ a man. It’s about gender equality, so I should hope all people.. people, not just females, here are feminists (pro-feminism.)

And no, it’s not weird, planning one’s life is a normal thing to do. However, you should be concerned about finding the perfect person; a person who can make you perfectly happy. It’s not a matter of when, it’s a matter of who. So start searching for the man of your dreams, not when you’re going to find him.

livelaughlove21's avatar

I’m not sure why it would be weird for a 25-year-old to want to settle down, get married, and have kids. Isn’t that typically when it’s done?

jca's avatar

@livelaughlove: it depends on where in the country you live.

JLeslie's avatar

Not wierd at all. I don’t even understand why that would be a question. You have about ten really great years left of your fertility, assuming nothing odd happens, so if you want to get married and make your own babies get focused.

Do not marry someone just to get this goal done. It doesn’t sound like you would, since you stated you are basically broken up with your ex, because he is not the one you want to marry or have kids with.

Do not date anyone for more than a few weeks who is not going to work out as someone you would want as a husband or father to your children.

Make a list of top ten things you want in your spouse. The first five are, responsible, integrity, supportive, loving, and a good listener, you can name the next five. Anything from plays golf, like to dance, likes to travel, same religion, whatever is important to you. In addition, maybe you want to know he doesn’t believe in spanking kids? Or, that he wants to pay for college for his children.

Stop seeing your ex, and really put yourself out there, but be on the hunt to meet men, not to marry one. I do have friends who decided they wanted to get married and married someone too soon. When you meet the right guy the relationship will progress like the most natural thing in the world and he will be your whole list and have traits you didn’t even know to ask for.

Set a high bar, but be open also.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@jca I don’t know where in the country people would think it’s weird for someone to get married and have a kid in their mid-20s.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

It’s part of your own life plan. You want to be in a committed relationship and have children by a certain age. No, that’s not weird. Would you think it was weird if someone said, I’d like to have reached this level of management by this age. Or I’d like to own my own house by….. Having children is a huge responsibility and preferably should require prior planning and thought (doesn’t always happen of course), so there’s nothing weird about you working out what will work for you.

seekingwolf's avatar

@livelaughlove21

I don’t see why it’s so weird either. I’m 24 and do not want to have children at all and I’m in the minority! Most 25 year olds I know, men and women, want marriage and children within the next 10 years.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@seekingwolf I’m 24, been married 2 years, and planning to have a baby next year. I guess I’m a weirdo, but I didn’t get the memo.

JLeslie's avatar

In NYC, and I would guess some other large cities there is no pressure for people to get married and make babies. One of my former bosses said moving to NYC was such a relief, because having lived in Ohio she got caught up in the whole domestic role (she did have a career there) and she was married then and everyone around her was married with children by their mid twenties.

I went to school in Michigan and a few of my friends got married right after college. I remember one guy I went to school with who was from the DC area like me said something along the lines of, “because they’re from Michigan.” Mind you, they were college grads before they got married, but married by age 23. They went from parents house, to college, to married house.

I got married at 25, I think that is pretty average in suburbia outside of large metropolitan cities. Maybe a little young in big cities. Probably education level and income have something to do with it. People who go to college probably usually marry later.

fluthernutter's avatar

I can see why it might seem too early to be getting married at 25. If you’re serious about a career, you’re probably still pursuing your masters or doctorate at that age.

The idea of juggling a family at the same time as pursuing a degree or career may seem daunting. But people do it all the time—even the feminists. :P

I’m sure part of the reason why you are successful is that you know what you want. That’s not a bad thing. But like funkdaddy said, you just have to distinguish between what you want and what you can control.

JLeslie's avatar

About career and babies, your fertility will start seriously declining at age 35 if you are average. The decline is fairly steep, so fertility is still pretty good up until that age. If you go into menopause early it will be earlier. If you get sick or injured and it affects fertility you are SOL. If you want to date for at least a year before getting engaged, and be married for at least a year before trying for a baby, you are already close to 30. If you want to have more than one baby, your second and third baby is past 30. The actresses having babies at 45, the majority use egg donors. Halle Barre just had her own baby (a surprise for her) and I just saw her on TV the other day saying the doctors told her at her age it is called a geriatric pregnancy. I think that term used to be used for any pregnancy over 35, but I don’t know if the definition has change. After age 35 the risks go up considerably.

I am not recommending having a baby just because your clock is ticking, but I would recommend not being so career focused that you miss your chance if you do want a baby.

Many people do not understand how fertility wanes as they get older, and how genetic defects go up, because we see so many people have babies after age 35. We now can discover many genetic problems in utero and the majority of people abort those fetuses, so we don’t see the real statistical results in front of our eyes of late maternal age pregnancies. It’s not that it is a huge number, but the chances of a genetic problem with the fetus if the mom is 40 vs. age 30 is more than quadruple.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

As a 23 year old guy, I don’t think that is strange at all. In fact it is admirable, in a world where far too many women seem to be going for casual relationships until they hit 30, and only then try to find stability. While the average ages for marriage and motherhood continually increase, the biological realities haven’t changed. A child has far lower risk factors for a range of disabilities and defects with a mother under 30 years of age. A mother has far more energy to keep up with growing children when she is younger, and her body is more able to recover from the changes the body goes through during pregnancy.

Being 23, I’m not necessarily looking to settle just yet (though who can tell the future). But as you pointed out, it is different for us as guys. I work in paediatric health, and I see far too many old mothers with sick babies. I hope, when the time is right, the mother of my future children is under 30 when they are born.

But as others have said, marry the man, not the idea.

jca's avatar

@livelaughlove21: You misunderstood me. I am not saying that in some parts of the country it’s weird for people in their mid-20’s to get married and have a baby. I am saying what @JLeslie said very well – in some parts of the country, like New York City and where I am from, which is right outside NYC, there’s not such pressure on young people to get married and have children at a young age. It’s not that it’s weird, it’s that it’s not expected. Yet we go up to Maine to visit relatives and the mother is making comments to her 20 year old daughter about wanting the daughter to get married and settle down. Where I am from, that’s not the typical expectation. The typical expectation is that the kids will finish college and work on their career. My sister is 28 and lives in the City and although a few of her friends have gotten married, many more have not.

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