This is an extension of a post I wrote on my Tumblr yesterday in which I questioned whether or not it was too idealistic of me to desire a man who has never been married and does not have any children, particularly in the context of my being 33 years old and preferring men at least five years my senior.
For those of who do not know, I have never been married and I do not have any children…which is one of the reasons why I’d like a man who resides proudly in this same category.
One of the reasons why this topic is on my list if 25 Things that Annoy Me as a Woman of Color is because its quite common for me to have to explain WHY I have never been married or more often why I don’t have any children. Is there any other reason other than I’m just not and don’t?
I mess the game up for a lot of them when they ask why I don’t have kids and I tell them it’s because I’ve never been married. The single mother epidemic is so standard at this point to where if you haven’t been bitten by the bug, then something must be wrong with you.
Now don’t get me wrong, this is not a diss to single mothers. MY mother was a single mother; a lot of my girlfriends and almost all of my cousins are single mothers. But this is something I’ve prayed to God I will never be, and He’s honored that prayer thus far.
What I find humorous are the men who view my status as a prize (which it is) and hope to embark on a journey when they have been married once, even twice and have a child, maybe two. It’s humorous to me now anyway as I’ve put my foot down on my desires within the last year.
Every since I was at the age where I started thinking realistically about the thought of marriage, I’ve said that I want to marry a man who has never been married and has never had children as I wanted to be the first and only wife, the first and only bearer of his seed. I remained true to this over the course of my serious relationships…until the last one where I kind of let my guard down.
I’d just moved back to the states after having lived abroad for seven years and one of my hopes was that the move home would draw me closer to my mate. So when after a year of being home I met and fell in love with a man 19 years my senior, I ignored the fact that he was twice married with three adult children because I thought this was God telling me that His desires for me were different from and fundamentally better than my own.
I was right AND wrong. God had definitely brought this man into my life to fulfill a divine purpose in my life but it wasn’t for me to be his wife. So now, it’s back to the original plan, even if it means turning away some pretty decent guys.
Because here is the dilemma. I know that there are a lot of 30-something women who have not been married and do not have children, but men in this same category are a rare breed, no? Especially African-American men. All of the guys who have tried to “holla at me” since I’ve been home have at least one child. I know of two unmarried/childless guys who I attempted relationships with but one turned out to be a bit of a narcissist and the other had spiritual views and beliefs that conflicted quite uncomfortably with my own.
It was my experience with these two men that led me to question whether or not I was silly to only desire a certain kind of man. That made me wonder if maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to be a stepmother, the second wife. I began looking at my own age and wondering if I was running out of time, and therefore should accept whoever falls into my lap and makes me happy. All these factors played into my diving into the relationship with the twice divorced father of three mentioned above. It wasn’t long before I got an idea of what life with him would have been like…the disgruntled ex-wife, the Girl Scout camping trips with his teenaged daughter, his unwillingness to have more children. No no. Back to the drawing board.
So here I am, single and overall comfortable with it being that my job is so time consuming that I wouldn’t be as present in a relationship that I would like to be anyway. Yet, I do desire to be a wife and mother some day and with my prerequisites, I wonder if I should resign to accepting a life of singledom forever.
Because as I said, I am 33. I wouldn’t date a guy my age…it’s cliche, I know but I’ve tried it and it just doesn’t work. The ideal candidate would be at least 40. However, when I mentioned this idea to my mother and friends recently, their reactions unsettled me a bit.
Kristen: I don’t want to be with a man who has been married before or has any children.
Mother: Well, ain’t that about nothing!
She then went on to say that if I DO meet a guy over 35 who has never been married and has no children, then he is more likely to be selfish because he’s never had to share anything with anyone.
I am not sure if I agree with that logic being that I just got out of a relationship with someone who shared 14 years of his life with a woman and 34 years of his life raising children and he is pretty damn selfish himself.
However, a friend of mine on Facebook echoed this sentiment when she said that she couldn’t trust a man over 40 who has never married or had any children; she mentioned commitment issues and not having anything in common with him. I can understand her point being that she is a parent but hey, if I don’t get married in the next seven years, does this mean I have commitment issues as well?
Another friend mentioned that in a man’s 20’s and 30’s, it is RESPONSIBLE of him to have never been married or fathered any children but in his 40’s…not so much.
Again I am having a hard time understanding this logic and I think it’s primarily because I am in the same boat as the men they are generalizing. This same friend asked if a man is childless and unmarried in his 40’s, then what the hell has he been doing for the past 20 years.
To this I replied: Probably the same thing I have been doing; loving and losing; hoping, expecting, being disappointed; waiting for the right one to show his light (in his case, HER light) and most importantly, being careful during sexual exchanges so as not to be a baby mama/daddy before being a wife/husband.
It bothers me that these men get the side-eye and are put into these generalized boxes when no one person’s story is the same as the next. Yes, there are men AND women out there with commitment issues. There are some who simply don’t WANT to get married or have children. But to assume that all those who fall into the single category over a certain age are in some way flawed is just unfair…and a bit close-minded as well.
And naturally I take this personally because I am in this category and know that there is nothing wrong with me. I can give you a play by play of why my past relationships didn’t work out and can say with great confidence that only one breakup was completely my fault. Ironically, this was with a guy who I was certain I would marry; we were certain we would marry each other in fact; but that was then…back to the now.
I am going to wrap this up by relating this all to context of relevance to my neglected 25 things list.
Number 1: I am a woman of color and have noticed that it is sadly shocking to some to meet women of color over the age of 22…yes, I said 22…who does not have kids. Close your damn mouth, brah. I am not a freaking alien.
Number 2: As I have never dated a white man, I am approaching this topic as an observation of my Brothas. When I lived overseas, I was in an environment where marriage was final, til death do us part “min galb” so it was common to meet 30-something men and women who didn’t have children out if wedlock because it was “haram” and men who weren’t going to marry unless you were perfect because divorce is also “haram”.
Back to land of single mommies and baby daddies, though, my range of prospects is slim to none. Again, the last four guys who have tried to date me are fathers. No disrespect to you guys…being a parent is a great gift but I am in the market for a man I will not have to share my time with…at least until we make that commitment and start a family of our own.
But for those of you out there, the very few of you out there, who like me, are waiting for that single unattached soul with whom to embark on the journey of spouse and parent with…I got your backs, homies. You all are viewed as selfish, irresponsible, commitment-phobes and although that may be the case for some, I know it is not the case for all. I personally think of you as a prime catch…perfect for me…and I look forward to meeting you one day.
So sound off, ladies and gents. Is there such thing as an unmarried, heterosexual African-American man over the age of 35 with no children who is NOT a selfish, irresponsible, committment-phobe...or are those who generalize...gulp...right?
And where are my single, unmarried, child-free sisters over the age of 30? Is there something wrong with us that has us in this category? A friend listed the only acceptable explanation for this phenomenon is if you are a woman who is a CEO of a company and therefore unable to pull yourself from a busy work schedule to make time for a man and children. But that ain't right...is it?
And finally, on a more personal note, is it too idealistic of me to desire a man in the same never married/childless category as myself? Is it selfish? Unrealistic?
This has been heavy on my heart for the past few days and I would love some additional feedback. So holla back, won'tcha?