Social Question

Aster's avatar

What are your thoughts on this kind of a life for a woman?

Asked by Aster (19984points) January 9th, 2011

How do you feel about this style of life? A close friend of mine never married. She wanted to ; she wanted a husband and kids. But she met a man who didn’t want a family so she never had one. She got her Masters’ Degree and worked in a library all her life and has a very comfortable retirement. They spend all holidays alone. She has some hobbies she loves and a cat. Does this lifestyle appeal to you?
She would have made a terrific mother but obviously has avoided all the potential pitfalls and joys of having children. Her sole family member is an older sister who had triple bypass ten years ago.

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44 Answers

Not_the_CIA's avatar

She did what she wanted. It is not my job to judge. She knows more about her situation than I can.

Cruiser's avatar

My life appeals to me….life IMO is not a contest and to each their own!

Aster's avatar

I am not judging; I’m wondering what people’s thoughts are on her lifestyle. Judging would tend to imply castigating or criticizing. She is doing nothing immoral or illegal. I’m asking if the Jellies would enjoy her lifestyle or not.

shego's avatar

Personally, it wouldn’t appeal to me. She made her decisions, for herself and the one she loves. So I can’t really say more.

Scooby's avatar

“Each to their own” I say…. I never wanted kids either, far too much of a distraction from doing what I want to be doing, work, hobbies, socialising etc, etc, I just could never have fitted them in… :-/
I have two cats & I’m a part time student of sorts too, heading towards who knows where!? ;-)
& very happy with my lot too I might add…

jca's avatar

it seems like a boring life but if that’s the way she wanted to live it, more power to her. as long as she is content with it that’s what counts. if she has a “very comfortable retirement” than they obviously can afford to do more which is what counts. they’re not hurting for money so they have options. she chooses the option to have a simple life. i think that part is wonderful.

Aster's avatar

@jca She felt she HAD to choose being childless in order to keep her boyfriend. It is not what she wanted at all. She resigned herself to it and I wondered if others would find the lifestyle appealing.

Seelix's avatar

It sounds like she’s got a pretty happy little life. It’s too bad that she shelved her dreams of having a family just because her man didn’t want to – that’s not something I would do, but it seems to have worked out for her in the long run.

coffeenut's avatar

this somehow sounds like a baited question to me

I had a girlfriend like that once…Wanted to get married, have kids, (within a certain time frame) and I didn’t….So after awile of her dropping hints about this…I had a discussion with her…..so we broke up(on mutual terms) I’m still in contact with her…she is happy with her new husband and a kid on the way…and I am happy for her.

There are millions of woman in the world…and millions of men in the world

If your friend is disappointed with how her life turned out that’s TFB she chose her path.

jca's avatar

she is still with the guy?

chyna's avatar

So they never married?
I find it appealing. Getting to do anything you want with your S/O without worrying about someone else sounds fantastic. sigh

jca's avatar

i agree with @coffeenut: she made the choice. she had other choices, nobody made her stay with the guy. she chose the guy over having a family. we all make choices in life. obviously having the guy meant more to her than having a family. ok, so even if she regrets it to to this day, she made the choice herself, no gun to her head.

jca's avatar

many people have no children and they have a great life.

Aster's avatar

…and never a wedding.

nikipedia's avatar

Obviously she didn’t want kids that badly or else she would have ditched her manfriend. I’m not sure why you would even ask this question except that it sounds like you want validation of your own opinion that her life must be pretty miserable. It sounds fine to me, and it obviously is acceptable to her since that’s the life she chose.

coffeenut's avatar

@Aster So why do you disapprove of your friends choices?

nikipedia's avatar

Also I love that you specify that this is for a woman. Like it’s sad if a woman is childless and unmarried, but if it’s a guy it’s different somehow.

Aster's avatar

I cannot believe this. I do not disapprove of her choices. I am just asking your opinions of the single life after fifty.* Nothing more. Sheesh.

Aster's avatar

@nikipedia the question definitely has nothing to do with men who remain childless. It is about women being that way, yes. I can ask about men in another question. And where did I say “it’s sad?” Do I think it’s sad??

Seelix's avatar

I would imagine that it might be very different for a woman who wants to have children to end up childless than for a man who feels the same way. Something to do with fulfilling one’s role as a woman, maybe.
Not all women feel that way (myself included), but some do. I also think it might be a more common viewpoint for women of the 50-plus generation, such as @Aster (I hope I’m not assuming wrongly that you’re over 50 – if I’m mistaken, then I apologize) than it is for younger women like @nikipedia and myself.

Coloma's avatar

It seems she has fully accepted her past and is moving on in the present moment. Sounds healthy to me.

Too many people waste time ruminating about their pasts. The past is GONE. Live in the now.

I was married for 22 years, raised a daughter and have been divorced for 8 years.
I have friends that push me to date and seek another relationship.

I LIKE being single, I LIKE doing my own thing, not having to take another into consideration. Been there, done that.

Relationship is just not a priority for me anymore, never say never, but, so far, I have not tired of my freedom these last number of years.

I agree with @Seelix, many women of our generation feel incomplete without marriage/relationship and motherhood.

BarnacleBill's avatar

You don’t need marriage or children to have a fulfilling life. Many people get married and have children, and go through living hell because of the choice.

Coloma's avatar

@BarnacleBill

Right you are!
One of the great myths exposed. lol

Aster's avatar

@Coloma I think it’s great that you’re content with your single life ! You make it sound so ideal.

Coloma's avatar

@Aster

Well, I am sure you know the drill, women often give SO much of themselves in relationship, raising kids, it’s my time now!
If I want cheesecake and wine for dinner, so be it! If I want to stay in my PJ’s all day on a stormy day I do! If I don’t want to cook or clean my house, I don’t!

I like being the center of my own universe these days! ;-)

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Sounds good to me. I have no interest in getting married or having children. I’d rather do what I want and be able to travel. And I’m definitely not going to get married just to have a wedding – not sure what that has to do with anything. Not everyone wants to celebrate holidays by having huge get-togethers with family; some would rather let the day pass by just like any other. If she’s happy with her life, then who gives a crap?

Aster's avatar

@Coloma Even though most of those decisions I am free to make now while married (low maintenance s/o) your situation does sound terrific. I also suspect that many men you’d meet would be intimidated by your attitudes and self-suffciency. But that goes with my opinion of what males are seeking, even if only subconsciously, which is too off the subject to go into now. But please take it as a compliment. (-;

crisw's avatar

Well, I am nearing fifty, married, and childless- in our case because we couldn’t have kids and adoption didn’t work out for us.

I am quite happy- especially when I see some of my same-age friends with children and what they have to go through. I look forward to retiring and enjoying my many hobbies.

Aster's avatar

@papayalily “And I’m definitely not going to get married just to have a wedding…” I wouldn’t either but it is something in which I love to participate! I’d like to be a bride once a year but find it impossible to fit into my schedule. As far as her being “happy with her life” I think the word happy would be stretching it. Resigned and adjusted would be better definitions. She’s fine. why did I have to ask this question?

Coloma's avatar

@Aster

I do! I have had men tell me that I am ‘intimidating.’ lol
Not in an unkind, bitchy way, I just exude a no-nonsense, no bullshit confidence.

I do think that most men in my age bracket still want the fantasy woman that ‘serves’ and adores them, even though they claim that they want an ‘independent’ woman, the translation really reads like this: ” Be ‘independent’, meaning, financially and emotionally, but don’t outshine my ego.’ lol No thanks, I’m good.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Aster So then what’s your question? She most likely isn’t unhappy because she didn’t have children but because she didn’t do with her life what she wanted.

Aster's avatar

@Coloma absolutely brilliant. And 100% what I believe and have experienced.

Aster's avatar

@papayalily what is my question. I give up; I do not know. Luckily we can ignore fluther’s questions and move on.

bunnygrl's avatar

@Aster Does your friend even know that you’re discussing her personal life on an open board honey? It doesn’t seem right if you haven’t asked her first, can you imagine if she stumbled across it? (I know you haven’t named her but I’m assuming that your avatar is your own pic and well it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to recognise you and herself from the description?) I’d be really hurt. Maybe it might be worth asking one of the mods if you can delete this question? Apologies, I’m not criticising, I’m not. I just think you might be better asking her whatever it is you want to know? It is after all, her business. If she doesn’t want to discuss her life choices, then at least she would be able to tell you that. I have some experience of friends literally debating some choices I’ve made over the years (both to my face and, as I learned later, also behind my back) and I was really hurt by it. I felt like they had crossed a line since my choices are mine, and mine alone, and no one else’s beewax. As I said, forgive me, I’m not criticising, I’m not honestly, but if your friend found this, well I know how I felt and that wasn’t on the net for the world to read. <hugs>

For what it’s worth, I’d have liked children but life didn’t turn out that way. As many of our fellow jellies have said above though, the lack of children does not define who I am. In the scheme of things I have a life I’m enjoying. I have a husband I adore (and God knows why but he seems to feel the same about me) my fur/feather babies who fill me with joy every single day, and a job I enjoy doing. So the idea that anyone could feel they have the right to feel sorry for me, or pity me because I don’t have children, well it’s hurtful and downright insulting. I’ve faced pain (both physical and mental) and losses that made me want to die, but I’m still here, and most days I’m smiling too.
hugs honey xx

Aster's avatar

I don’t feel sorry for her. She has SO much freedom. And well earned savings. I would never consider asking her if she’s happy or content. I know her so well; it would hurt her feelings but no, I never thought that asking about her on here would be a no-no. So many jellies ask about their friends and family on a daily basis and even in regards to alcoholism, drug addiction and cruelty. I thought it would be that kind of forum but with what you just said I was mistaken. I should keep my questions more about less personal matters. I always thought this was an “anything goes” place
to chat but I was wrong.
I wanted to change my avatar but couldn’t figure it out. I’ll try again.

Coloma's avatar

Personally I like the mantra of ’ What other people think of me is none of my business!’
That goes both ways, obviously. ;-)

Aster's avatar

Thank you, @Coloma .

bunnygrl's avatar

@Aster I’m so sorry honey, I really am. I really didn’t mean to offend you. I was speaking from (very unpleasant) personal experience, at no point did I mean to say you were anything like my friends, just that your friend might be hurt if she found it and recognised herself, do you know what I mean? I assumed she might be web aware if she was a librarian. I don’t know how long ago she retired but libraries have had them for lots of purposes for years now. You just said yourself in your reply that you’d never ask her to her face because it would hurt her feelings, don’t you think she’d be hurt if she knew you were doing it without her knowledge to strangers online?

In my own case, my friends, well they weren’t curious whether I was happy or not, they were, well, they had set out to hurt me honey, and they did very well at it. At the time I was very ill and they made things so much worse for me. I suppose I’m just oversensitive (bad experiences do that I suppose, and I’ve had lots of them these past years) but I do know how it feels to have your personal business discussed when you’d rather it wasn’t, and how deeply painful that can be. I didn’t mean to offend you honey I really didn’t. I have been kicked enough in my life that I would never set out to hurt or even upset anyone else. Anyone who knows me would tell you that. Re personal things being discussed here, if you read through my posts you’ll find that I share a great deal with my fellow jellies too, but its my experiences I talk about, I would never discuss a friend’s personal private business. Yes, other jellies have asked about problems faced by friends/relatives but they’re asking for help to solve a problem, as far as I could see from your replies your friend doesn’t have a problem to solve, and you have said she wouldn’t like her business discussed. What does that tell you honey? That is all I was trying to point out to you. Nothing else. No offence was intended. Sometimes an outsider’s eyes can see things that one who is close to something can not.

@Coloma Are you saying I should mind my own business sweetheart? because, and someone, anyone, correct me here if I’m wrong? but the idea behind fluther is that we are all experts on something. Life makes us that way. So if a question is posted here, it is, I’m assuming, a responsibility of membership, that if we think we can help, if we think we are able to contribute anything useful, we do. That is all I did. I thought maybe my fellow jelly Aster maybe hadn’t thought about how her friend would feel. Your response was unpleasant and this whole thread has left me feeling upset and not a little drained. I don’t even know how long it has taken me to type this, but, you know what? I’ll leave you with this, I was taught as a child, if you can’t say something to someone’s face, you shouldn’t say it at all. I have stood in the same shoes that Aster’s friend will be standing in if she ever finds this (and I hope that she never does) because the damage it causes is devastating. i ha ve to go now apologi es jellie s hugsxx

Coloma's avatar

@bunnygrl

I am saying exactly what I said, that what others think of us is none of our business.
I was not directing my reply at you, just generalizing that this is a truth I adhere to.

I think it’s a little dramatic to take this question and turn it into a betrayal of friendship.

I’d say @Aster asked out of a sense of curiosity not judgement.

My point is, it’s all drama…over stuff that’s nobody else’s business. lol

I hope you havn’t really gotten upset about this, no disrespect intended, but…. you spun quite a tale as to my intentions.

BarnacleBill's avatar

Reading this article in the NYT this morning made me think of this question.

Aster's avatar

Great article, BB. I’m so happy for the writer’s decision.
Well, @Coloma , looks like I sowed the seeds of discord. I asked the question only wondering how people would feel going without marriage and children . Just curiosity with lots of free time.
Oh, dear.

bunnygrl's avatar

@BarnacleBill GA and what a beautiful article. I must be in a very emotional place because it made me cry. It’s just beautiful. I wish that I could feel that secure in my own skin but I don’t. Maybe some day, i hope. I had a breakdown and have been trying desperately to re-connect to who I was before. I used to think I’d never take anti-depressants, only weak people take them, I thought, and then life happens and your opinions change. Like I said, maybe someday I’ll be lucky enough to feel as secure in myself as the writer of that article, she sounds like an amazing lady, she’s an inspiration.

The article made me think of when I was younger actually, when I went to university and neighbours occassionally asked me why I was doing that, why wasn’t I “having a family as I was meant to” (we’d been married a couple of years at the time). There was this widely held belief it seemed to me that if you didn’t have children you weren’t a real woman. A degree wasn’t an accomplishment, a family was. Is it an age related issue I wonder? I’ve gone into my late 40’s now kinda and where I work we are a great group, we’re all different ages etc and my younger colleagues don’t seem to have that same pressure to conform that certainly I felt in my 20’s. In my case it wasn’t a concious choice not to have a family, we just weren’t lucky enough, but thank god hubby and I have a relationship that is all the stronger, he’s my best friend, he genuinely is. Any strength I have I get from him and I’m more grateful than I can say for whatever lucky star I was born under that gave him to me. Tsk that sounds awful mushy but its true all the same :-)

@Coloma, yes I was quite upset (but thats more to do with things that have happened to me as I tried to explain). No I didn’t make a drama honey. Your reply came off as quite sharp, possibly you didn’t intend it that way but it did (a problem with the internet unfortunately, it lacks what actual speech has, the tone of voice, expressions etc). When I wrote my reply to @Aster I was pointing out what was screamingly obvious to me (as a person who had been in that situation). Where I grew up, talking about a person’s private life behind their back is very much a betrayal of trust. Before you start on me again, please read Aster’s reply, (who from her other posts I do think is a lovely person actually) she said she didn’t ask her friend because she thought it would hurt her feelings. How would her feelings be if she knew strangers were discussing her life without her knowledge? Wouldn’t it have been better to ask the question using a hypothetical friend in a hypothetical situation? or better yet to just straight out ask the question exactly as she has in her reply immediately above this post? what would life be like being single/childless later in life? It was a great question actually, because lots of women in my age group don’t have children, some of us like me are married, some have chosen not to marry , but have long term partners, some choose not to have children, for some it wasn’t a choice. I’d love to discuss that because I can relate to it. Also, how much is the age thing relevant? Do our younger married jellies feel at all pushed towards parenthood? it really is interesting. Something to ask in the breakroom at work (I have a couple of days off but I’ll try to remember when I’m back in). Part of the reason I love my job is the great group of people and how there is always something to chat about during breaks (yesterday the topic was fur baby updates lol, a few of us have gotten puppies/kitties over the past few months). Anyway, need to get some sleep honeys, it’s after 11pm and I have to get up early. Once again I apologise if offence was taken, I intended none, I promise. I suppose I empathised too much with Aster’s friend, because, and this is the last time I want to’say this, I have been there, and I do think that @Aster is too nice a person to have done that on purpose, she certainly doesn’t seem judgemental to me at all.
sweet dreams everyone,
hugs xx
EDIT: @BarnacleBill I’m sorry, did I thank you for sending the link to the article? just in case, thank you <hugs>

faye's avatar

I have a friend in a similar state except it was her man that wanted children. They don’t seem any happier than anyone I know- more money for sure. It wouldn’t suit me and I probably would have broken up with the guy. I don’t want a man now but I’m sure glad to have my kids.

trailsillustrated's avatar

her life sounds pretty great to me. while I just had to have kids (could hear them knocking wanting to come forth! ) and I broke up with men who didn’t want any, doesn’t sound like she’s looking back, I think her life sounds great.

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