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Energy, marriage, kids, introvert, etc. - Ramblings
Old 02-22-2020, 11:27 AM
  #1

I'm 36 and single. I've always wanted to be married and have a family, but haven't met the right guy. As time has gone on, I've grown in independence and have also learned to enjoy my time alone. As an introvert, I thrive on it. I fully recognize and enjoy the benefits of being single. I do still long for a relationship, at times. I also struggle with anxiety on and off, and I feel like that sucks up a lot of my emotional energy. I've never been a high-energy person to begin with.

There is a potential guy in the picture now. I still think I want to get married, but honestly I worry that I don't have it in me. I don't know how I would handle having someone around 24/7. Sometimes it feels like it takes a lot of energy to get myself through the week, much less someone else or a family. I don't know that I have the physical and emotional energy to deal with a family. But at the same time, I doubt that I have that much less energy than other people.

I also don't know if I can have kids, and age is not on my side. I also don't know if I want to start a family at age 40.

I feel like I shouldn't date this guy if I'm not 100% sure that I even want to get married. I don't know that that is fair. But I also don't want to refuse all opportunities just because I'm undecided. I tend to overthink everything (which probably zaps my energy, as well). And honestly, marriage scares me a bit. I mean, how do you really know you want to spend the rest of your life with someone?

Looking for any advice or encouragement. Just be gentle.


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Old 02-22-2020, 11:37 AM
  #2

Just a thought... Maybe this guy doesnít want marriage either. Maybe he will be content with a relationship that is mutually agreeable for both of you.
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You could be my daughter
Old 02-22-2020, 11:48 AM
  #3

Right age, right personality, right concerns and worries. If you taught middle school instead of elementary, I'd be wondering if you WERE my daughter.

Anyway, I'd tell her that she has every right to explore her feeling and her options, and so that's what I'd tell you. Dating is exploration, not a commitment to a future.

As a fellow introvert, I can say that I find joy and happiness in my marriage, along with quiet times and noisy times (with kids and grandkids) and contentment in all of that. Another daughter and 4 grandchildren just left after a week, and I loved it all, but I'm glad to be back to my quiet house.


Even introverts can appreciate companionship, so if you can find someone you can enjoy being together with, talking with, and being quiet with, that's a good thing. If kids come (and at your age, there could still be a child or two in the offing) an introvert can still enjoy the blessings of motherhood.

Don't reject a chance at love because you fear for the future. Take it one date at a time.
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Old 02-22-2020, 11:57 AM
  #4

Oh PEP, we sound so much alike! No advice .
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Dating does not always lead to marriage
Old 02-22-2020, 12:08 PM
  #5

Do you enjoy your time with him? If yes, then I say go for it. Enjoy the friendship, companionship....

Maybe he values his independence as well and you will have quality time together and then apart as individuals. Why not? The two of you will control how your relationship works.

I think it natural to get set in our ways the longer we live alone. So maybe you could consider living together for a while as a trial period to see how things go if the relationship gets serious.

The important thing is to be honest with him as the subject comes up in the future if it does come up at all. Who knows. Just be you and enjoy. If you start to feel smothered you will need to be truthful about that as well.

It is a mystery and you have to give it time to see what happens. Don't worry be happy. The good news is you know who you are, what you like and what you need and want better now than you did in your 20's. So be true to yourself while deciding about the future.


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Fellow introvert
Old 02-22-2020, 12:56 PM
  #6

Dating doesn't have to lead to marriage, marriage doesn't always lead to kids, and marriages are not all the same.

When my spouse and I got married he knew that I was an introvert and would want a lot of quiet time each day, both with and without him. He's just fine when I ask him to go the store to pick up a few things so that I can have 40 minutes to myself. Sometimes I even sleep in the other bedroom, and he knows it's because I just need some space not because I love him any less. I do make an effort to go out a few times a month, and we do things like hiking and gardening together so that he knows I'm invested in what he likes, too. (Maybe that's how you'll know - when it's worth that give and take... )

After we got married we felt a lot of social pressure from folks at church to start a family. No one was mean, or even really direct, it was just the patterns we saw and felt like we wanted to fit in. We tried for awhile, and were just starting down the road of tests, meds, etc. and I started falling apart. It was actually my mom who said to me, "I don't know how you can be a content person, do the job that you love well, and be a parent." She wasn't being unkind, she was helping me be honest with myself. It was ok to not have kids, and I'm so so happy with our life.

That was a lot - sorry to overshare. I guess what I mean is, it's ok to be an introvert, have a happy life, and make choices that are good for you.
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Old 02-22-2020, 01:35 PM
  #7

Hi PEP, I have some ramblings that might help you. Iíve thought about your dilemma a lot lately.
1. I met DH at 18, we married when I was 23, and we were married for 42 (mostly happy) years. I loved him from the day I met him until the day he died.
2. We had 2 kids, gifted, healthy, and reasonably nice kids with no serious problems. I want to tell you that hands down, no second thoughts, parenting was the most challenging job of my life. I loved doing it (most of the time), but IMO parenting is endless work and stress.
3. I have lived alone for 2.5 years. This is the first time in my life I have lived alone. I question this every day, wondering if things will change, but no, I am quite certain that I LOVE living alone. In fact, sometimes I think if I had known earlier how wonderful it is to live alone, I might have had a different life. But thatís silly speculation, and my life so far is what got me to this extraordinarily happy life.

My unsolicited advice to you is to take your best shot at happiness. Only you can define what that looks like for you.

Love,
amiga
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Old 02-22-2020, 02:13 PM
  #8

I can definitely relate. I'm a few years younger than you but I have a very hard time picturing myself being married after I am so used to being able to do my own thing all of the time. I also wonder how people teach all day and then go home and take care of kids all night. In fact, that wondering is what convinced me fairly young that I don't want to have kids. I also enjoy working and would never want the stay at home mom life. I've become accustomed to having several hours of free time each evening and I don't know that I could give that up.

That said, if you like this guy, I don't think you need to stay away just because you're not 100% sure about marriage. That's a long ways off if you're talking about a relationship that hasn't even started yet, and you have no idea how it will turn out. If you're interested in him and you like his company I would take it one step at a time. You also don't want to be in a scenario where years from now you're thinking "what if."

It also seems to be more common for people to have kids later in life these days, if that's what you want. I work with several teachers who have gotten pregnant in their early 40s. There are always other options such as adoption as well. My teammate had her daughter at 40 and is very happy with her choice- she feels like she got to have the best of both worlds with having many child-free years to have fun/do what she wanted and now she gets the family life as well.
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Old 02-22-2020, 03:03 PM
  #9

Your post could have been my really good friend 10 years ago. She said the same things (minus the anxiety- but she has other things going on) about worries and wondering. She did end up having a baby at 40 (with some help) after getting married at 39. Her son is around 8 years old now. I will say that I'm not sure she is always happy about her husband choice (but who is?), but she is definitely happy with her son.
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Old 02-22-2020, 03:10 PM
  #10

Iím an introvert, too.

I was not looking for marriage when I met DH, but it just happened. He respects my introvert qualities, and we balance each other nicely.


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Old 02-22-2020, 03:51 PM
  #11

Thanks for all of your wisdom and perspectives. That's what I love about pt...you really get to hear from so many people who think similarly and/or different from you. It's good to know other women struggle with these feelings, too! You all have given me some food for thought.
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Old 02-22-2020, 04:46 PM
  #12

You've already gotten great advice and I don't have a lot to add. I would just point out that going on a date does not mean that you are saying you are available for marriage. If you have dated for a few months and you are still feeling ambivalent about it, then it might be time to talk about it.

I'm speaking as a person who married a man who was obviously bad husband material, divorced, and then dated a couple more like him before I realized that I was making poor choices because I really didn't want to be married. Once I understood that about myself, I was much more able to to have good relationships, none of which led to marriage but all of which were worthwhile.

It's a myth that relationships that don't end in marriage are "failed" relationships.
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Old 02-22-2020, 05:31 PM
  #13

Quote:
But I also don't want to refuse all opportunities just because I'm undecided. I tend to overthink everything (which probably zaps my energy, as well). And honestly, marriage scares me a bit. I mean, how do you really know you want to spend the rest of your life with someone?
I swear my best friend could have written this post a few years ago. Iíll tell you the same thing I told her. Donít refuse opportunities because you are undecided. Stop overthinking, or at least donít let overthinking stop you from doing things. As far as marriage, if it turns out to be a big mistake and you decide that you really donít want to spend the rest of your lives together....well thatís why they invented divorce. My best friend took my advice and is now in a relationship that may or may not be leading to marriage.

As far as being an introvert and married. I have been a married introvert for many years now. With work and life, we arenít together all the time. I have many alone spots in my house that I can escape to, and for the most part my family understands my need to be alone at times. I also really enjoy having the house to myself, probably more than I would if I lived alone.

Live your life and try to enjoy it.
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Old 02-22-2020, 05:34 PM
  #14

I'm not an introvert but married to one. He's a great dad to our introvert son and I've learned to give him his space.

Quote:
how do you really know you want to spend the rest of your life with someone?
It was the idea of spending my life without him that made me want to spend the rest of my life with him.
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Old 02-22-2020, 06:51 PM
  #15

Quote:
It was the idea of spending my life without him that made me want to spend the rest of my life with him.
Yes- I didn't really answer that part of the question, but I agree with this! I couldn't imagine not being with him years later, so that told me something (I previously hadn't wanted to get married and no guy I dated had changed that mindset).

It's like kids- I couldn't imagine not having a child by that time next year, so I knew I was ready to have a child (not that I actually got said child by that time next year...)

And dh and I are both introverts (him moreso than me, I think). We have two really introverted boys and one extroverted girl. Said girl has two friends over right now and the rest of us are hiding in our rooms (We have a small apartment). The men in the family were complaining about the way she has friends over, and she was getting a little upset and asked, "does everyone hate when I have friends over?"

I responded that I didn't like it either, but I always champion it because she has the misfortune (for her) to be born into a family of introverts and I don't want her to miss out on these types of opportunities because we are uncomfortable with it. I remember enjoying having kids over when I was a teenager and I want her to have that, too. Dh agreed with that. (yes, our comfort matters, too, but we're talking about once every month or so if that)

Plus, I pointed out that she is required to clean up the house before friends come over so it's sometimes the only way the house really gets cleaned My great system for kids doing their chores was sabotaged by dh and never really got back off the ground when the kids hit the middle-late teens. I was great when they were younger, though

But I digress....
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Old 02-22-2020, 08:14 PM
  #16

Look up LAT (living apart together).
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Old 02-23-2020, 05:46 AM
  #17

So true that dating doesn't automatically mean marriage. I often get ahead of myself!

I've always thought that being married but just being neighbors would be ideal...didn't know that was a thing!

I so appreciate hearing all of your thoughts and anecdotal stories. Each one makes me think about things in a bit of a different light.
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Marriage at a "later" age
Old 02-23-2020, 08:24 AM
  #18

Sorry I am late to respond, but anyway....I had totally given up on dating by the time I met my husband at 36. I had no interest in having kids, or getting married. Then I happened to meet him, and felt like I was 17 again! Here we are 2 kids and 20 years later, mostly happy, (of course some days we are all annoying!)
My advise is to continue to be yourself, and if the person is right, he will compliment you in a way that makes you even more yourself, if that makes any sense. I think my husband grounds me because I can be flighty, and it is nice to share the same world view with someone.
Good Luck and keeps us posted!
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Old 02-23-2020, 05:55 PM
  #19

Right now if you like him, go ahead and date him and just enjoy each other's company as well as your time alone. Trust me, you will know if and when the time comes if you want to marry him!

Nancy
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Old 02-24-2020, 07:39 PM
  #20

I got married for the first time when I was a few months shy of 35. My husband was a few months shy of 40. It's the first marriage for both of us. If you decide to marry, you will bring different things into a marriage than you would have younger. I feel like I'm a much better communicator and I don't let every little thing bother me. We are both introverts so we like our time to ourselves. When the person in your space is your spouse, though, I find that it's much more comfortable than having someone else there (say, a friend). I do think that we are very comfortable around each other, though. I have a friend who does not have phone conversations if her husband is around and I think that she is not truly comfortable being herself around him.

I hear you about anxiety (and depression). I was content living alone (though sometimes lonely) and thought I really couldn't be with another person. Now, we are at a point where kids don't really seem to be in our future. We both wanted them, but it hasn't happened. I'm having those thoughts about my amount of energy with regards to kids. At the same time, I thought having a husband would take all my energy. I guess at this point, it's either huge medical intervention or accept being childless. Sometimes I wonder if it's the universe telling me something.

As for the guy, I think it's okay to date him. I understand where you're coming from with expectations, too. I never liked it when people would say "I'm not expecting anything," before a date. I used to think, "Why even bother then?!"

Too long...as usual. You're not alone, though. I have wondered about the same things.
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Old 02-25-2020, 05:04 AM
  #21

Quote:
It was the idea of spending my life without him that made me want to spend the rest of my life with him.
This is so true for me! I was very independent and enjoyed living alone. I met DH at age 26 and wasn't even sure I wanted to date him - but I knew I loved being around him. The longer we were together (2 years), the more I realized I didn't want to lose him. We've been married almost 30 years now. We still have our own alone time when we need it, even if it means going into the bedroom to play on the computer, or him going into the garage to piddle around. Or him watching one TV show in the living room while I watch a different one in the bedroom. Almost daily we'll sit together in the living room, but he may be watching golf while I play on my laptop. We're there for each other, but we don't have to be "doing" things together constantly. That being said, we take a lot of vacations together and have such a fun time! We still love each other's company. We just find ways to get our alone time at other times.

I would hate to not have dated my DH just because I was having a hard time being serious at the time. It took 2 months just to get a kiss out of me, but he was patient. Now I can't imagine life without him.
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Old 02-25-2020, 05:14 AM
  #22

Thank you all for sharing your stories. I've enjoyed reading each and every one. It really helps to hear everyone's perspectives and situations. I feel like all the "outside world" offers is women being over the moon excited to meet the perfect one. That's not me, and quite frankly, even if I meet the right one, I don't know if I'll ever be like that. One step at a time!
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