thebitterbabe

never married, over forty, a little bitter

Category: marriage

cupcakes

A case of having her cake and eating it too?

http://www.salon.com/2014/07/04/i_accidentally_became_a_housewife_partner/

Perhaps it’s because I’ve had big serious jobs—though I never did reach my youthful dream of being a doctor, lawyer, or doctor/lawyer—and while I loved them, I can’t muster much wistfulness for days spent supervising the work of others, wrestling a budget and schedule into submission, and attending endless meetings. Even when my work was at its most fulfilling, I can’t imagine merging it with my home life as it currently stands—two kids, a husband who travels—without making serious sacrifices in both realms. Friends of mine who work full-time with kids are my heroines, and they are also so stressed out that every time I see them I want to offer them a cupcake and a glass of wine.

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shortages

http://www.philosophersmail.com/relationships/how-we-end-up-marrying-the-wrong-people/

One is never in a good frame of mind to choose a partner rationally when remaining single is unbearable. We have to be utterly at peace with the prospect of many years of solitude in order to have any chance of forming a good relationship. Or we’ll love no longer being single rather more than we love the partner who spared us being so.

Unfortunately, after a certain age, society makes singlehood dangerously unpleasant. Communal life starts to wither, couples are too threatened by the independence of the single to invite them around very often, one starts to feel a freak when going to the cinema alone. Sex is hard to come by as well. For all the new gadgets and supposed freedoms of modernity, it can be very hard to get laid – and expecting to do so regularly with new people is bound to end in disappointment after 30.

Far better to rearrange society so that it resembles a university or a kibbutz – with communal eating, shared facilities, constant parties and free sexual mingling… That way, anyone who did decide marriage was for them would be sure they were doing it for the positives of coupledom rather than as an escape from the negatives of singlehood.

When sex was only available within marriage, people recognised that this led people to marry for the wrong reasons: to obtain something that was artificially restricted in society as a whole. People are free to make much better choices about who they marry now they’re not simply responding to a desperate desire for sex.

But we retain shortages in other areas. When company is only properly available in couples, people will pair up just to spare themselves loneliness. It’s time to liberate ‘companionship’ from the shackles of coupledom, and make it as widely and as easily available as sexual liberators wanted sex to be.

the brazen

http://acowintheocean.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/shame-on-singlehood/

You see, Im single, and thirty and sometimes I just feel really alone. This is a world built for couples, for families and I am tired of being just me.

There was a time, and not so very long ago that I would have been a little ashamed to admit that so openly and brazenly. But its true. Somehow its easy to feel ashamed of those desires as though by saying that I want to be married I am admitting to being a mindless knit wit of a girl who sees value in herself only if she is loved by someone. It’s not that I feel that I am getting so old, or that I see all my friends married and feel left out, it’s not that I feel that I must be unlovable if I don’t have some man doting on me and getting down on one knee to propose. It’s not even that I am often lonely, although I am. It’s none of those things.

possibilities

http://ruthrutherford.wordpress.com/2014/01/13/considering-the-possibility-i-may-never-get-married/

I’m talking, of course, about marriage. As a little girl, a teenager, a young adult, marriage was a given. There was never an if, but rather a when — when I get married, when I have kids.

Now older, I see a bigger picture with more possibilities. And one of those possibilities is that I will never get married. It’s hard to swallow, but if I’m being a realist, I have to consider it. My parents refuse to believe it. Apparently if I pray hard enough or expand my horizons or agree to date someone I’m not interested in, love will blossom.

autonomy

In my twenties and thirties, my mother was like one of those sitcom characters who asks her daughter in every conversation, “So, are you seeing anyone?” A widow now, she maintains that there’s no life outside of marriage and family for women (while at the same time occasionally saying she regretted having kids– put that in your pipe and smoke it, Freud).

I battled that whole idea in my youth but certainly a lot of it sunk in. I can’t blame all of that on my mother’s attitude, as it’s easy enough to get that message from the larger culture. So in my early decades I put a lot of energy into “finding someone” while simultaneously pursuing my own interests and dreams. It was a bit of a schizophrenic existence.

In my forties, I have to admit that, for all practical purposes, my mother is right. I don’t want to be a “whiner,” but I only have to read the eloquent posts on sites such as the Gateway Women forum to realize that strong, admirable women frequently “wobble” in the face of long-term singlehood and/or childlessness.

It’s the nonexistent path, and it does sometimes feel like one has to be superhuman to overcome the messaging. Given that I don’t want any old relationship but a generally good one, I may have to don a cape:

First… the weight of a whole tribal or family historical tradition has to be
lifted…then the influence of the individual parental, social and cultural
background has to be thrown off. The same must be done with the demands of
contemporary society at large, and finally the advantages derived from one’s
immediate social circle have to be partly or wholly sacrificed. Then all the easy
indulgences of being a Sulk or a Jerk… have to be given up. Following this, the
individual must attain personal and social control, so that all the classes of
behavior… become free choices subject only to his will. He is then ready for
game-free relationships… at this point he may be able to develop his capacities
for autonomy. In essence, this whole preparation consists of obtaining a friendly
divorce from one’s parents (and from other Parental influences) so that they may be
agreeably visited on occasion, but are no longer dominant.

Games People Play by Eric Berne, M.D. p. 182-183, “The Attainment of Autonomy”

hedging

http://www.alternet.org/economy/marriage-becoming-luxury-rich

In short, a full explanation cannot look at the family in isolation from economic forces. Any attempt to respond to family change must include reconstruction of the script for the college educated, prompting investment in careers and marriages that can withstand the stresses of career changes, children’s illness, and geographic mobility.

[…]

At the top, increasing disparities among men and among women have made both pickier about potential mates and wary of early commitments that might limit future opportunities. Women used to “shop around” for successful men. Male executives used to marry their secretaries, who would take care of them at home the way they did in the office. Now both look for mates who reflect (and enhance) their own expectations about the ability to enjoy the good life. Two substantial incomes rather than one make the difference between the home overlooking the golf course and the modest tract house in the less tony school district, and even if money is not at issue, the stay-at-home spouse with the Ph.D. possesses much more social status than does a high school graduate playing the same domestic role.

College graduates still largely forge lasting relationships and they typically will do so with one another, but they hedge their bets by delaying marriage and childbearing until they have a better idea of where they (and the partners to whom they commit) are likely to end up—concentrating elite advantage in the process as overwhelming numbers of them raise their children in financially secure, two-parent families.

[…]

These economic changes, which have increased the dominance of high-income men at the top, marginalized a large number of men at the bottom, and reduced the number of men in the middle, have unsettled the foundations of family life. To be sure, the family does not change with the stock market ticker or the seasonal adjustments in the unemployment rate. Instead, shifts in the economy change the way men and women match up, and, over time, they alter young people’s expectations about each other and about their prospects in newly reconstituted marriage markets. These expectations go to the core of what many see as a shift in values. The ambitious college students, who are said to have mastered the “hookup,” know that attending to their studies pays off in terms of both marriage and career prospects and that too early a commitment to a partner or to childbearing may derail both. Yet, they still largely believe that when they are ready, a suitable partner—male, female, or the product of a sperm bank—will be there for them.

Women who do not graduate from college are more likely to see childbearing as the event that will most give meaning to their lives, and they are more likely to respond to experiences with unreliable and unfaithful partners by giving up on men and investing in themselves and their children. These differing expectations, treated as the subject of moral failings, women’s liberation, and cultural clashes, are a predictable consequence of the remaking of marriage markets. At the top, there are more successful men seeking to pair with a smaller pool of similarly successful women. In the middle and the bottom, there are more competent and stable women seeking to pair with a shrinking pool of reliable men. What we are watching as the shift in marriage markets rewrites family scripts and increases gender distrust is the re-creation of class—of harder edged boundaries that separate the winners and losers in the new American economy.

scripts

With these changes, the new sexual script has become:

Boy meets girl. Boy likes girl. Girl runs through her checklist: is he a one-night stand? (If so, say yes.). Is he someone she will still want to be with in a month? (If yes, then say no tonight but arrange another date.) Is he someone who can help pay the mortgage on the condo she wants to buy but can’t afford? (Flirt some more.) Is she likely to end up picking up his dirty socks and his student debt? (No way, unless he’s really cute.)

— June Carbone and Naomi Cahn, Marriage Markets: How Inequality is Remaking the American Family, p. 44

tuesday afternoon

I saw Ali Wong do this bit live once and thought it was quite funny:

http://m.comedycentral.com/videos/video.rbml?id=f5a7qr

the needy

I’m not sure following his advice will make a whit of difference for this woman, but I give him props for including this quote:

http://www.evanmarckatz.com/blog/dating-tips-advice/im-a-great-woman-why-are-there-no-great-men-out-there/

I’m reminded of a story that Rich Gosse, the founder of AmericanSingles, once shared with me. It was an amazing response to how he dealt with skeptical press inquiries about his new business model.

“What kind of loser (I’m paraphrasing here) would go to an online dating site to meet someone?” the press would ask.

To which Rich would reply: ‘Well, there are a number of people out there who are socially awkward. There are a number of people who are somewhat weak and needy. There are a number of people who are so desperate for companionship that they’d do anything to avoid being alone. I call these people ‘married people’.”

ending points

http://www.latimes.com/books/jacketcopy/la-et-jc-what-kristin-newman-was-doing-while-you-were-breeding-20140527-story.html

As you were going on these trips around the world, were you aware that you eventually wanted to write about them, or was that something you discovered afterward?

I would keep little journals throughout, but it felt so personal at the time and I didn’t really know what it was.

When I met my new husband and two children, I think a part of me knew it was over and wanted to write about it. Only at that point with it being over did I have the right perspective to understand that what I thought had just been a fun series of events, clearly had a big life lesson for me. Also, it had an ending. It had a place to go to as a story.

Plus I’m getting to the age where if I wrote it while I was in the middle of it, people would have said, “Oh dear God, you’re still doing this?” I do feel better that I was writing it from a more appropriate life point.