Monday, 26 August 2013

Searching for Mr Good Enough

Occasionally there are persuasive articles in the newspapers, women's magazine and blogs extolling the joys of settling. "Love the one you're with" just about sums it up. I think there is a lot to be said for this in the case of people who are living together and have children. No other "partner" is going to care about those children as much as the "partner" you had them with, so if you're getting along fine, get married already. Your own personal happiness does not matter as much as the children's happiness anyway. You have or had choices. The kids don't. I think "Staying together for the sake of the kids" is fantastic and noble and exactly what I would want my parents to have done, were they not staying together for the sake of each other.

I get a bit nervous, however, about the idea of getting married just to get married or just to have kids. This may have worked out more or less okay for society when society made getting divorced really, really difficult. But nowadays no-fault-divorce has made such thinking really risky. Of course the kids will be glad to be alive, most of the time, but the kids won't thank you if you rip the world out from under their feet by divorcing their dad because he is just so terrifically boring or annoying or lazy or whatever he is that you should have noticed when you were dating. That's what dating is for.

Anyway, I have broken up with men because they were boring, and it is a terribly embarrassing thing to do that. It made me feel like a frivolous, shallow, heartless heel, so why should you be exempt, eh? Why should you have the privilege of going self-sacrificingly to the altar with a boring guy if, should you have been a bit more heartless, you could have been Single for as long as me? It's not like I suffered too much in the long run because now I have B.A., and yesterday at a picnic he made our friends and me laugh so much I had long black streaks on my face from weeping mascara.

Okay, there is the childlessness thing, which is very probably age-related and sucks, but at least if we did have kids, the kids would have a dad who was funny and a mother who laughed a lot.

I got a really sweet email about that the other day, from a reader who said that having a great husband was even more important to her than having kids. She thought maybe this made her weird, but I don't think it makes her weird at all. I think it is a good idea to be pro-husband first and pro-kids second. After all, when you're married you have to put your spouse first and your kids second and then you third, and the same goes for him. Kids who find themselves put before Dad or Mum by Mum or Dad learn to despise Dad or Mum; it's not good.

The email made me wonder exactly how many Single readers would marry Mr Good Enough just to have kids instead of waiting for Mr Perfect-for-Her even if that meant never having kids. Then it occurred to me that I haven't taken a poll in the long time. Admittedly, this would make a scary poll, but surely my readers are not superstitious and do not think they will SEAL THEIR FATE if they vote one way or the other.

You get four five choices:

1. I would settle for Mr Good Enough just to have kids even if later we divorced.
2. I would rather wait for Mr Perfect-for-Me even if we never had kids.
3. I am a happy Serious Single woman and don't see myself getting married/married again.
4. I am an Eavesdropping Male.
5. I am a Married Lurker.

Oh, what a question for a Monday morning! But I'm dying to know what y'all would pick.

Update: A really great post on Orthogals today. Lots of great cheer for Singles.

54 comments:

Christina Grace @ The Evangelista said...

#2 for sure. It's funny; even in my younger days when I had a much less integrated and realistic understanding of marriage (I basically saw it as validation of my being lovable), I always saw it as sort of pointless to daydream about motherhood when I didn't even have a prospective spouse in my sights. After all, if you're doing things the old-fashioned way, you sort of need him to become a mother, and your children are supposed to be the fruit of your love. I think this was/is a grace I've been given, because the Lord knew that I couldn't handle both the intense longing for a husband AND the intense longing for babies at the same time. I'm guessing the latter will be supplied in good measure when I do meet Mr. Perfect for Me, and that if it's too late for me to have kids when that happens, that he will give me the grace to mourn that loss, and to trust that even that is part of his plan to get me and Mr. PFM to heaven.

anon today said...

Anon for today if you don't mind. I am the one who sent that email, I chose number 2 too obviously! The one and only thing that terrifies me is that if I marry late/lateish and we don't have children I will feel that I have let him down or that he will resent me for it. Please feel free to delete this if it's too close to home, I would hate to hurt your feelings. That is the thing that worries me more than not having children, that somehow that will make him unhappy/resentful/want to leave. And since he would be Mr. Perfect For Me that would be horrific for us both. Maybe next time we have a men's day you could include that in your list of questions?

Mustard Seed said...

I couldn't agree more! #2 is the way to go. Your tale of mascara lines made me smile :) Few things are more attractive than a genuine sense of humor in a guy.

For as long as I can remember, I've always said that I would only get married IF I met the right guy and that I'd never settle (primarily because my married parents are quite unhappy and barely speak to each other). There is a twinge of sadness and stubbornness in saying "if" instead of "when," but how do we know these things? I think I'm called to marriage, but it certainly hasn't happened yet (at age 31). I want the right guy to show up, but it doesn't mean he will. An ex-boyfriend called me out on that "if" language once, but I just saw it as being realistic. If you have any thoughts on this, I would love to hear them because I'd like to feel more hopeful about it, but I don't want to be more disappointed.

Nzie (theRosyGardener) said...

My parents are both from divorced families. There were some serious problems. I don't have all the details, of course, and I don't know if my parents do, either, but probably neither side were good matches. I'd rather be single longer or single entirely that do that to myself or my children. My parents have had their ups and downs (much of which was a result of the extreme dysfunction on one side) but they decided they didn't want to divorce and make their kids go through what they had.

BurgoFitzgerald said...

I would choose #2. It seems like a no-brainer. If I chose #1, am I not using the person plain and simple? I would be devastated to find out that a man married me simply because he wanted children. Eleven years ago I was engaged for 12 days before I called it off. I was 30 years old and I thought to myself "What are you doing? Time is running out! To quote Mrs. Edna Krababble "grab whatever you can and don't let go" Are you really going to walk away from this?" And I did because I knew that unless he beat on me or any children we had, this marriage was going to be forever...and he wasn't Mr. Perfect for Me. He was Mr. Trying to Convince Myself this Was a Good Idea.

Seraphic Spouse said...

Anon Today, that doesn't hurt my feelings. And, although it is rare, for all we know, we haven't have kids because of something to do with him. We won't go the Frankenstein route, so we will never know if it was me, or always me, or always him.

Meanwhile if he's Mr-Perfect-for-You, he wouldn't resent you just because you, for no fault of your own, simply couldn't have kids. He will hold your hand when you cry. Any man who falls in love with a woman over 35 is going to know that women over 35 don't have kids as easily.

And that is why, as much as we over-35ers hate it, a lot of men our age try their darndest to date women under 35. Of course, young women actually prefer young men, so there are no guarantees for Mr. Ten-Years-Older unless he is otherwise extremely eligible.

Jess said...

#2

Anon for this one said...

Of course, even being well in the under-35 age set is no guarantee of fertility. My husband and I have been married a year and a half; I am twenty-six; we've had five miscarriages. Although we've been through a battery of fertility testing, the doctors haven't been able to find anything they can point to as a cause. Which means we have NO idea when/if we will be able to have biological children.

This is hard. It's hard emotionally for both of us, and it's been physically hard for me as well.

We want children, and we might never have them. But we are (and have to be) enough for each other. He's Mr Perfect-for-Me, for sure. After the last baby, he held me while I cried, and I held him while he cried, and then we cried together. And then we made popcorn and tea and watched reruns of The Office in bed until we fell asleep.

I think you can weather almost anything if you've got the right person to do it with.

Magdalena said...

BurgoFitzgerald, that was quite courageous! I mean ending this engagement before it was too late, even though you felt time was running out. That encourages me to stay with option #2.
And indeed, how horrible would it be to discover your husband married you only because he wanted children.

Dear anon today, please don't feel that way! If you are Miss Right-For-Him, he will not want to leave because you can't have children. (Isn't that what engagements are about? Asking each other things like "what if we never have children? Would you want to stay with me still?")

Anonymous said...

#2 for sure. I don't like to be bored, and I would hate to be married to someone that was bored by me. Besides, if my spouse bored me I am afraid I would turn into one of those mothers that focuses so much on her children she can't see the end of her nose - then I would not only be boring, but also a tad obnoxious.

Jean

Chocolate Lover said...


2.5—Closer to #3 but open to the right man pulling me back to #2

For many years it was my greatest fear that I would pass 39 “childless and alone.” But now as I am about to add that first + sign to 39, I find that it is even better than “not-so-bad.” I am actually happy, and while I am open to finding a good guy, I know longer believe that my personal fulfillment or joy depends on it. [I could say the same about babies, because since I was a 13 year old pro-lifer it was my greatest desire to be pregnant and have a baby—something now biologically improbable.]

Some of this is grace—a grace that God has given me only in the past few years, to be truly open to the single life and not mournfully resigned “if it MUST be your will” or bitter or depressed about it.

Some if it is also more practical—waking up one day to realize that my life is pretty darn awesome. I enjoy my freedom (perhaps more than I should) and many of the best parts of my life involve things my married friends can’t do (due to constraints of children or time or having to consider scheduling with another person). And the thrill of being a part of changing lives is for me better than I imagine sex to be. That super high thrill is not a daily thing, but when it comes I realize I wouldn’t trade it—if God asked me to choose only one, I would chose working with Him hands down.

Also, on the slightly negative side, I’ve seen a lot of crappy marriages among my friends—including some I used to envy. It’s sobering to change from “I wish I was her” to “THANK GOD I am not her…” in just a few years. Yikes. That is slightly cynical—I realize there are many happy marriages, but it has convinced me that I never want to settle. Only a really great guy will be worth it!

Perhaps there is a man out there who is perfect for me and we can “have it all.” But if not, I will be still be happy and fulfilled.

MichelleMarie said...

#2

My long-time stance on having children is that I will only have children with someone that I love and admire so much, I want to make more of.

philologia said...

I've ended relationships with several really superb men who weren't right for me. It boiled down to me believing that they deserved someone who thought they were a catch, who truly respected and admired them, who wanted them intensely. I also eventually was able to admit that I deserved ____, whatever was missing. I've never yet married, but from what I can see it's a hard enough proposition without choosing someone you don't adore, respect, and enjoy. I would be devastated if my partner settled for me.

philologia said...

I've ended relationships with several really superb men who weren't right for me. It boiled down to me believing that they deserved someone who thought they were a catch, who truly respected and admired them, who wanted them intensely. I also eventually was able to admit that I deserved ____, whatever was missing. I've never yet married, but from what I can see it's a hard enough proposition without choosing someone you don't adore, respect, and enjoy. I would be devastated if my partner settled for me.

Jackie said...

Oh #2 absolutely! Though it would be fascinating to hear the perspective of someone who decided on #1. It seems most utilitarian.

Seraphic, you remark it is "fantastic and noble" to stay together for the sake of the children. I wonder, have you met any children from these situations? I ask because my best friend grew up in this kind of family. Together only for the kids.

In my friend's case, she used to pray her folks would divorce. Her father drank like a fish and spent money like water. He would also hoard everything he had spent the money on, so the house overflowed.

Unfortunately, he was so secretive that her mom never knew if there would be money to pay the heating bill or if he had thrown it all away already. And that's not even getting into the silences, withdrawals, screaming fights and emotional punishments both her parents practiced.

There was no hope of her parents going into any kind of marriage counseling. (Though my friend sought a good therapist to learn how to deal with her family.)

Her mom "should have known," I suppose, but she was young and naive when she married and came from a dysfunctional family herself. :(

I remember seeing her dad in church one week and being absolutely shocked: He was the center of attention as the friendliest, most charming man there. You would never EVER guess what kind of person he was at home.


Kate P said...

I think ten years ago I might have seriously considered Option #1, as I would have just been through all my college friends' weddings and baby shower rigmarole. But I hadn't dated a lot at that point.

These days, having done some dating (and finding it more and more difficult to meet nice men), and being an aunt to four nephews and a niece--plus my younger sister is getting married--I would prefer Option #2. (That my sister met someone nice gives me hope.)

But I pray for the grace to accept Option #3 if that's what the Lord wants.

AnonyLurker said...

I'm a #5, married lurker, but not so long ago was #2, and ladies, the wait is SO worth it.
I also tried a modified version of #1 - the guy I dated and I were both serious Catholics, so would not have divorced without grave cause - a few years earlier. I was in love with the man who is now my husband, but he wasn't interested in me, and after a year or so of heartache I thought it was time to give up and move on. So when this nice Catholic fellow asked me out, I said yes. He treated me extremely well (at first); we had the same morals and beliefs; and I thought that maybe the love thing was overrated, or that I'd fall in love with him once we'd married and had a few kids, or whatever (I'd convinced myself that I was being noble or mature or some such nonsense). We even went ring- and house-shopping. Luckily, after a few months, it became clear that we had absolutely nothing to say to each other, and frankly didn't like each other very much at all, and he dumped me exactly one day before I was going to dump him. He had no real understanding or affection for me, but only for the image of me he'd formed - he thought I was pretty and had decided that I must have a certain personality, and couldn't STAND my true personality or sense of humour, seriously resented me for using big words, etc.; but I was no better, using him in the sense that he was my means to the end of husband/family/home even though I thought he was unintelligent and boring. A few years later, we're both very happily married to other people whom we respect and love and who do appreciate us for who we are, and I thank God heartily every time I see the ex-boyfriend for opening our eyes before it was too late. Our marriage would have been an absolute disaster.
The years that followed weren't easy and were filled with plenty of mistakes on my part; but eventually I stopped being an idiot, decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and instead bloom where I was planted because really my life was pretty good after all, the man I'd been in love with all along eventually experienced what he calls "a divine baseball bat upside the head" and realized I was exactly who he'd been looking for, asked me out and proposed a month later; we married three months after that, and now are expecting our first baby. Note: we did discuss children before marrying, and came to terms with the fact that as we are not young (30s and 40s, and infertility happens even to the young) we might not be able to have kids; we accepted that, agreed that we'd likely adopt but either way we still wanted to get married, and moved forward. A man who truly loves you will not resent you for not bearing children! But it is best to discuss this beforehand anyway, as with all major marriage-related questions.
I think #1 is deeply selfish and unkind if you intend or are open to discarding the spouse once children have appeared; #2 is a risk, but one that pays off abundantly if you do find the right person to marry. If aiming for #2, you do have to accept that marriage may never happen, and learn to be okay with that as a better choice than a loveless marriage. I suspect I was helped along in accepting possible permanent singleness by knowing that I'd rather die single and alone than marry a non-Catholic, having grown up in a split-faith home and hated it.

Seraphic said...

Oh, Anon for this One, I am so sorry for your losses. That's just terrible. Thank heavens you are married to the Perfect Man for You. That's all I can say, really. Otherwise, the situation is just really sad, and I'm sorry. I've never had to live through the disappointment of a miscarriage, but I can imagine it.

As for parents sticking together for the sake of the kids, I really do think most kids would prefer their spark-is-gone-but-we-can-be-decent-to-each other parents to stay together than to break up. When there is abuse, very often kids do wish their parents WOULD break up. And, indeed, if people are being atrocious to each other, and if the only way they will separate is to live apart, then maybe they should. But the default position should otherwise be "Marriage is for life" not "marriage is just until I'm bored or the kids are sick of us bickering."

I live in the UK, where family breakdown is so bad, the most famous recent child rape-murder was interesting to the media not because the mom's boyfriend raped and killed the girl but because GRANDMA'S boyfriend raped and killed the girl. And therefore my tolerance for adults prioritizing their romances and sex lives over their children is basically zero.

Seraphic said...

I hope someone who chooses #1 will feel brave enough to explain--so you all give them a chance to breathe. I can imagine situations in which someone would marry just to have children. For example, Prince William would probably be sweating buckets right now if he hadn't met his wife ages ago, and yet HIS divorce would be a national calamity.

Mustard Seed said...

I went to a retreat last year where there were women of all ages, and it was heartbreaking to hear the stories of a couple of the women who had been through tough marriages. One of them told our small group how she knew on her wedding day that things weren't right, but didn't have the courage to break it off. I still remember her saying, "Well, I figured I had made my bed, so now I better lie in it." She was in her early 70s and had been married for 40+ years before her husband passed away, but it didn't sound like it went very well. It was really sad and eye-opening to hear that.

There is so much fun to be had, and good work to be done, as a single lady that when I focus on those things instead, it automatically relocates my dreams of marriage into their proper place - still important, but not the only thing that matters. I'd much rather wait a few years (hopefully) than spend decades married to the wrong guy.

Anna said...

Here's a good article discussing "staying together for the kids".

hmea said...

I'm a no. 2, even though at 35 the chances of a Mr Perfect-for-me actually existing seem slimmer and slimmer.

TRS said...

#2. No question.
I'm 43 and still searching for my first husband!
My ideal situation would be to find a man who loves me and wants to help me into heaven, as I do him... Who would be willing to see what God gives us. Lets agree we would like to have children, knowing the opportunity may be long gone to make homemade babies. But we would both be open to a Abraham and Sarah type miracle, yes?
We would both be open to adoption or foster care, while remaining open also to the fact that we may not be called to either or any of those.
I just want the possibility. The possibility of whatever being open to life gets us.

I recently dated a Christian (not catholic) man whose ex wife forced him to get a vasectomy after they had three boys. So on top of our differences in faith, my heart broke at the idea of knowing that after so many years of celibacy, that, with him, I would never experience the full joy of the marital embrace, of the wild abandon of knowing " our love could produce life!"
That would mean an entire life of being closed off to life even though I was open to life for the entirety of mine!

I feel I should add that was never in love with this man. I only knew that he was very kind, and faithful, and so sweet to me..., and that I ought to date him for those qualities and see if anything developed. On my side it didn't, but that may have to do with the fact he didn't have an annulment , and I could never really feel he was "available"

Maggie said...

Absolutely option 2. The idea of never having children makes me weep inside (and at 28, worry for my aging ovaries), but as a wise, kindly priest once told me, there are many ways to be fruitful in marriage, like volunteering, teaching, foster care, adoption, advocacy, etc etc. Even if I were too old to have children (or if I/my husband were infertile) I would feel great comfort in knowing I waited for the *right* man, rather than a conveniently-available one. But even marrying at 22 doesn't guarantee you a large family, as several of my married-right-after-college-but-can't-have-a-baby friends are finding out.

Anon-for-today, I think your worry about "what if he leaves me if I can't have children" is a legitimate one, but hopefully a discussion to have during serious dating, or, at the very latest, engagement. We've all read/heard stories of men who are very... um, perhaps "utilitarian" is the word... about wanting a woman who can bear children, but a guy who really loves you for *you,* not your uterus, will not mind.

-fabi- said...

#2
Do you want to be asked to be somebody's wife because the dude doesn't think he'll be able to do better, but he secretly wishes you were funnier, and more intune with each other?

Heck no. The man I marry has to think I'm delightful and visa versa.

Magdalena said...

Well, to say something about the option 1 side, I have a friend (not catholic) who struggled a lot with how to find the right man before the end of the child-bearing years. She desperately wanted a family. Now she is pregnant. She says it is so difficult to tell whether it is the right guy or not, and everyone will change during the years, so you never know how your partnership will develop in the future. The idea to stay single just because Mr Right might turn up some time in the next 20 years sounds extremely frustrating and so pathetic to her. So now there is someone with whom there is a chance that it might work out, so let's start a family and then see what happens.
They are not married though, and I am not sure if marrying this man would be the right thing. But then, starting a family without being married is not the right thing either. For me the priorities are: Children: only when married. Marrying: only the guy I am convinced is the one I want to spend the rest of my life with.

Seraphic said...

I have taken the unusual step of erasing comments.

Other than the fact that it is, in general, harder to get pregnant after 35 than before, I am banning all married lady discussions of reproductive bereavements. This is the wrong blog for that. I once had a look at an infertility issues message board, and I couldn't take more than five minutes. It is too close to the bone--the first time I have said that in almost seven years of blogging.

Monitor on. New comments won't appear until tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

I have to be honest and say that if #1 were phrased differently, I would be tempted. And I have been, in the past, to be honest. I wouldn't consider marrying anyone but a practising Catholic and so hopefully divorce would never be an option for us but would I be prepared to settle for someone I was not WILDLY in love with? It's tempting. Because I long for children, yes, but also because I long for marriage.

I once asked an Irish priest whether it is better to marry someone with whom you share a great romantic bond, but who is perhaps not as firmly set on trying to live for heaven, or whether to marry someone who's totally on the same page as you, and wants to be a saint, but with whom your love connection is not as strong. His answer? (In thick Irish):

"The latter. Because whoever you marry is going to be a suffering for you, so you might as well suffer together with your eyes fixed on heaven."

My views might have been affected, though, by trying to follow his advice. I went through a really hard break-up this year with a not-Mr-Right and while I was very much in love with him I KNEW that he wasn't perfect (in general or for me) but was very pragmatic and figured, "Oh well, no one's perfect and all relationships need compromise." But after being so badly burned by this experience it makes me more of a #2. Even though, like I said, #1 is tempting.

Julia said...

I voted #2 as well. I do, however, have a friend I suspect would vote #1. She has a boyfriend, but she said to me a few years ago (while already dating this boyfriend) that if she's single when she reaches thirty she'll just marry a male friend she gets along with well because she wants children so much. When she said this we were probably about 20, and I think I thought something like, 'Huh. Okay. I guess that could work.' Now I feel much more strongly against that.

I have a family friend who married a man seven years younger than she. As far as I can work out, she married him because she was 32 years old and an only child and her mother was panicking because she wasn't married. The marriage is not a happy. My friend seems to blame the age gap. 'Never marry a man who is younger than you are,' she tells me. 'Marry someone older who will take care of you,' she adds. Honestly, I think their difficulties can be chalked up to their characters and the apparent pressure she felt to get married rather than the age gap. I knew another couple (the wife is now dead) who were sixteen years apart, she being older. They never had babies, but they were a happy, devoted and faithful Catholic couple.

Someone who strongly encourages me never to 'settle' is my father. He is very wary of that strategy, and I think that if I were ever tempted to settle, he'd tell me off. I think my friend (the possible #1 voter) thinks my dad's views on marriage are way too romantic actually. Maybe that's a bit odd because she's a 23-year-old woman and he's a 60-year-old man who's been married for 25 years - you might think they'd have opposite attitudes, but no. Also, my mother is 51, but I've never once heard my father say that he married her because she was still in her twenties and therefore likely to conceive easily.

Seraphic said...

By the way, that was not directed at 26 year old "Anon for this one", for whom I feel a very real grief. Five miscarriages in a year and a half, and at age 26, is really, just, really, horrible.

I will be praying for her.

Anonymous said...

Dearest Auntie,

I chose #1. mainly because I love to have children on my own. My mom and dad also separated and whenever I ask my mom if she regrets being with my dad and having me, she simple replies with a smile and says "I might be unlucky to have met your dad, but I am very lucky to have a wonderful daughter, and with that, I don't regret anything". This inspired me and kind of what keeps me going. I never pictured myself being with a man but I can picture myself raising a wonderful child. I love being with kids and hopefully someday, I will have my own.

P.S. I am not closing my doors in meeting Mr-Perfect-for-Me but in my opinion, I'd rather choose #1 over #2

--miss dynasty

Antigone in NYC said...

#2. For better or worse.

Though I've considered #1 a few times, after I hit my late 30s. (Those considerations always ended in bitter tears, not peace, which lead me to believe God was weighing in. I couldn't go beyond the fourth date or so... My flesh creeps when someone to whom I'm not attracted tries to hold my hand or kiss me.). #1 would never have tempted me at all in 20s or early 30s.


Seraphic said...

And I just got out of bed to add that what 26 Year Old Married Anon for Now said actually added to the conversation whereas a subsequent conversation about how-we-talk-about-miscarriages did not.

The only reason why I mention infertility at all to Single women--and this blog is for Single women--is to admit it is a cold, hard fact of life, particularly for women in or past mid-life. It's not something I want to write about.

Seraphic said...

Thank you, Miss Dynasty. I was looking for a #1 explanation!

Also Anonymous Today said...

I am a child of situation #1. It is far from ideal. Even though my parents are both devout Catholics, I have learned that just because a man is Catholic, and is what outsiders would describe as a "good man,"it does NOT mean that he is a good husband. He is not a bad father, but not a great father either. I am often quietly envious of other women who adore their fathers - I wish I had the same feelings for mine.

I know for a fact that my mom settled - she has told me time and time again that her daughters are what makes her happy. And although it makes me feel good that I make her happy, I wish that my dad was the one who made her happy. Because when we graduate and move on, she is stuck with him. I hate knowing that she is in an unhappy marriage, and the fact that she is unhappy is what makes me resent my father, because her unhappiness is linked to his laziness and the fact that he doesn't seem to bother to show he cares for her.

If he does care for her, he doesn't do anything to prove it. From what I can see, in his mind a wife is what one acquires in order to have children, have a cook, and a housekeeper. Once a wife is acquired, one should only work to keep a roof over her head(a poor one at that), and enough money to feed her - nothing more. Gifts are unnecessary, talking and making her laugh is unnecessary, and she better not annoy him or say something stupid. Abuse doesn't have to be physical to exist.

I could go on and on, but I will stop. Needless to say, it is #2 or die for me. I am afraid that I won't know what #2 is, since I don't know what it looks like. I am scared because I am not sure if a temper is readily apparent in a dating relationship. I even get nervous about a guy who raises his voice for the proper reason(telling an intruder to leave) because I hate hearing any man raise his voice.

Meanwhile, I am so glad that so many of us have chosen #2!! Hopefully this will encourage the male lurkers to get out there and ask out the women they are interested in dating.

Anonymous said...

You are most welcome Auntie!

oh! and i forgot this bit: My mom had me when she was 33 yrs old. She also had a hard time with her pregnancy and even had the idea of either losing her life or mine. But with strong prayers and faith God made it possible for both of us to survive.

--miss dynasty

Anonymous said...

(Anonymous due to nature of comment)
I chose #3, but commenting on the "staying together for the kids" and the linked story in the comments. Certainly in cases of abuse or constant fighting, splitting up is better than staying together. But when it's the case of one parent deciding after almost 20 years of apparently happy marriage that their vows really meant "till mid life crisis do us part and I decide I've been gay/lesbian all along and I want to go find my new REAL soul mate..."

15+ years later I still wonder if this parent couldn't have at least waited until my sister and I (teenagers at the time) were grown up so we could have avoided the years of living out of a suitcase due to the week on/week off shared custody arrangement (which is "fair" only to the parents and not at all to the kids being shuffled back and forth).

Urszula said...

#2. I wouldn't be able to marry someone 'for children'. At some point a couple of years ago, when I hit the Polish "college graduation/99% of my friends are getting married or already having their second baby" stage I actually almost gave in and said I would marry a very insistent (but also kind, patient, and loving) boyfriend I was dating at the time. I held it back and a week later fell head-over-heels with another guy. It ultimately didn't work out with head-over-heels man but that rush of feeling showed me I was capable of feeling much more and would've been shortchanging boyfriend (and any potential family) by saying yes.

If it turned out that with Mr. Perfect-for-me we couldn't have kids, I would move closer to my niece and nephew (hopefully in the plural by that point) and be the kind of amazing aunt/godmother that I have been blessed to have.

I think society is promoting #1 as as an opposition to hook-up culture, as something more serious and worthwhile, but really, it's just a continuation of the hook-up culture mentality of using someone.


Anonymous again said...

I just commented previously about the effect of my parents' divorce and how I now wish the parent having the mid-life crisis could have held off on pursuing it until my sister and I no longer had to live the "no fixed address" shared custody lifestyle as a result, but I wanted to add:

Anybody considering option #1, just don't. Just stop right there. Having children isn't just about what YOU want - your kids will have to live with your choices. Those kids you want deserve a father that you think is awesome, with whom you can model healthy family love. Not just some guy that isn't that great but you said yes to because your biological clock is ticking and you need to get some sperm in you soon or you'll miss your chance.

Sorry that was a little ranty, but as a child of divorced parents, the very notion of Option #1 strikes me as offensively selfish.

Anonymous said...

I'm #5, but I was recently... well, I would have said I was a variation on #1: I thought if I ever married it would be to someone I got along reasonable well with, who I was somewhat attracted to, who also thought marriage was forever, who didn't bore me... but who I wasn't wild about. I didn't really believe in the possibility of romance, of really being crazy about someone and having them just adore me (at least romance for me) so I really thought it would be more of a nice friendship if I did marry.

But I acted like a #2. I couldn't go out with men more than a few times if I wasn't really into them, certainly not long enough for them to become my boyfriend let alone fiancé. And I agree with the AnonyLurker that it is SO worth it. Romance is real. Friendship is a part of that, yes, but it is different than good friendship, and it is definitely worth it.

And when there is suffering within marriage, the burdened is lessened by someone who adores, loves, and supports you. I haven't been married long enough to talk about serious conflict, only normal life suffering, but I am glad I have had that comfort.

My husband's parents stayed together for the sake of the children- or the Church, I don't know. Though they were not abusive, they were not low-conflict. They fought a lot, loudly, generally about money. Now, in late middle age, it is clear that, much as they grate on each other, they also really love each other. He is glad they stayed together, glad to see that love can prevail even when they don't get along well.

-Anamaria

Catholic Pen said...

#5- Married lurker here--although have been reading since I was #2. It was definitely worth the wait. I guess I never gave thought to number 1. It didn't seem to fit in with what I saw marriage as being. Coming from a divorced family, I didn't want to jump in with someone who was "good enough" but a divorce would be more likely. That idea coming from a child of divorce parents does make me cringe. Kids do best with both parents together and upping the changes that a divorce would happen is just another reason to wait. Although I always wanted to wait for someone who fit with so that just adds to the reasons that I waited for someone that is Perfect for Me.

KimP said...

I'm a #5 married lurker, but I was single when I started reading Auntie Seraphic about two or three blogs ago. I was always a # 2 - and I REALLY,REALLY didn't want to be a # 3. I felt especially called to be married. I felt it was my vocation, so my frustration of not having found "the One" in my forties was pretty high. If this was my vocation, (and I was pretty sure that it was) why hadn't God sent me the man??? I was beyond frustrated; I finally had to admit I was kinda mad at God. Once I admitted it, though, it was sort of a break through, and I got on with life.

I was never a # 1, but not from any great moral consideration; I simply never had the vocation to motherhood. I know that sounds strange - how can someone have the vocation for marriage but not motherhood? I don't know, but I never longed for children. I longed for a husband, but I never melted at the sight of a baby. That desire was never put in my heart. Which, I suppose, was why God didn't send me the Perfect-Man-For-Me until I was 45 and we didn't marry until I was 47.

I always pray for those who desire children but cannot have them. It is heartbreaking to want something so badly in your life but not to be able to experience it.

Theresa said...

#2!!!

Seraphic said...

Although this is a blog for Singles, I think it is cool that so many of my I-was-Single-when-I-started-reading-now-I'm-a-Married-Lurker readers are still around.

Maybe I should have a League of Formerly Seraphic Single Married Lurkers? Let's see, there's KimP, Catholic Pen, Sheila, Aussie Girl in New Zealand...

thisjourneyofmylife said...

I picked #2, but at times I have considered another option: adopting children as a single mother. I simply adore kids and there are so many children who would love to have even a single parent. Combined with my extreme pickiness in a partner, it seemed like a nice solution. However, seeing my mother raise my little brother on her own, I realise it's very, very, very hard. Also, it would be quite selfish of me. If I think about what I would want for my hypothetical children, 'a good father' would be on top of my list. So #2 it is. Definitely not #1, though a lot of people have pushed me to just settle. I'd rather be alone than in a loveless marriage.

Pearlmusic said...

I'm #2, but there is a Polish website for Catholic singles, led by a nice married couple, who also wrote a book about dating and engagements. The woman admits quite openly that while her husband fell in love rather quickly, she didn't fully reciprocate (for whatever reasons)until they got married. Of, course, she had cherished and valued him enough to say "yes" but without being head-over-heels, which only happend after they married. They seem to be happy together now. But that's quite unusual, right?

Sheila said...

I'm a #5 .... but when I was single I was a #1.

Here's the thing: my parents were wildly in love when they got married. Off and on, they are still wildly in love. But during the "off" stages, I used to pray my parents would get divorced. I felt like we kids were being sacrificed for my parents to have an exciting romance, but I didn't like growing up in the middle of all the drama.

So my general opinion was always, "Well, I have a vocation to marriage, so I'll find a guy who's a compatible personality, good with kids, kind, patient, etc. ... and if there's no spark, so be it. I'd respect him and there'd be some affection there, but hopefully none of that awful drama of actual romance.

But in retrospect I'm glad I abandoned that notion. A guy deserves to be really loved and not just tolerated. And with all the many struggles of marriage, real love is more than a luxury -- it's going to help you stick together when the going gets tough, which it will.

I guess that's why you have to think with your heart AND your head when you choose a spouse. Pick someone you are attracted to who ALSO has real qualities to respect. And when you get upset, be an adult and keep that drama out of your kids' lives.

Seraphic said...

@PearlMusic. Oh dear. Oh dear. Oh dear. Well, I suppose my response is that she was very fortunate that her experience of being married to this man led to passion and not to contempt, disappointment and resentment. Apparently it can work like that in India, too, and in countries where if your marriage doesn't work, that's just too bad, because your families aren't letting you go anywhere.

I don't know what to say because I don't want to deny this woman's experience, but I'm afraid of what happens if all my readers just close their eyes and get married in the hopes it will magically happen for them that way.

The one thing I can think of is all kinds of women are tempted to reject good guys at "Would you like to go for a coffee?" because they think "Ah, not into him" and then two or three dates later, they ARE into him. So I always counsel "It's just coffee" and "an NCB deserves three dates" but I would draw the line at marrying anyone a girl still wasn't excited about. Even in Poland.

PearlMusic said...

Yes. I mean, her experience is an exception to the rule and not to be promoted as a model. I guess that by telling her story she also tried to pass on the message of giving a chance to a good man you were not smitten by the very first moment you saw him.
However, it also depends on how this “good man” will behave. I failed to have a second date with someone I believed would be a NCB (or at least I knew he was a devout Catholic), because during the first one he showed too blatantly that he was smitten right away and didn’t want to let me go, although I was signaling I must go. I ended up taking the wrong bus to get rid of him and catching a flu. Ooops. We never met again.

The other guy (not Catholic) wrote me an e-mail (he lived in the other city) at 4’o clock in the morning, in which he confessed he had feelings for me and asked if there was a place for him in my heart and if I could come and see him in his town. I didn’t like him at all, although we talked a little more than twice. We exchanged some more awkward e-mails but it only discouraged me to have a date with him and we blew it. A few weeks later he wrote to me in order to tell me he’s engaged. Well, what a strange type he was.

So if I could recommend anything to our dear Eavesdroppers – I beg you please don’t come up with your feelings too soon, at least not on the first date, let alone BEFORE it!!!

Pearlmusic said...

NB: I mean, don't come up with your feeling unless you are as lucky as Seraphic and B.A, of course, and you hit it off almost immediately. Usually, the chances are that the girl is not into you YET, which doesn't mean she won't be into you if she gets to know you better. She will feel awkward knowing your feelings too soon. Let this be coffee, for a stars (or film or whatever). Just coffee.

Sheila said...

Oh, and about a nickname for married lurkers, you could call us Seraphic Alumni! Proof that being seraphically single doesn't seem to hurt your odds of someday being seraphically espoused.

Modesty said...

I would say it would depend on my mood. There are some days or perhaps even imagined pressure where #1 seems the more appealing choice. Currently I live alone at least 1,000 miles away from the nearest family and pretty much support myself. But it can be soul crushingly lonely...even though as a hermit-like introvert I thrive on long periods of alone time. But because I love myself and trust God knows what He's doing (although I have to remind my impatient self that often) I'm a #2.



Catholic Pen said...

Seraphic... I would be happy to be part of the League. It is nice to every once and awhile be able to share my story. I was much encouraged by the blog as a single--especially being older. Although I didn't know if I actually believed what you would say about most people getting married sometime in their lifetime (paraphrasing). Surely not I would think, but as I watch friends around me those love stories of people that were seraphically single seem to pop up all the time.

Evelyn said...

I was #1. I had been raised being told that no man wanted to marry a woman as smart as I was, so when a very devout Christian friend asked me to marry him, I said yes, figuring another chance might never come along. I ignored some red flags, but I was very young and didn't know then what I know now--not only that I am/was quite marriageable, but also that it is okay to break off an engagement when red flags appear. I have several wonderful children, but the Very Devout Man also turned out to be a Very Abusive Monster, and even though I finally found the courage to divorce him, he continues to make my life difficult.