Are you in your forty’s child-less and husband-less? GASP! Me too! How can we be in our forties, child-less and husband-less?! What’s wrong with us? Nothing dammit. When I tell people I’m 43, they are surprised to learn of my no kid/no husband status. Can you relate? Here are some of the reactions I get: “Wait, so you’ve never been married?” “You do have kids though, right?” “How old are you again?” “Did you just not want kids/husband?”  “Oh, you just haven’t met the right guy yet.” I also get “You’re just too independent.” “I get it. You’re married to your career.” “It must be nice to have extra time to yourself.” “Dating has to be difficult; ya’ know..trying to find the right guy.” “Wow!” (concerned looks go here).

For a long time, I was taught that I should want kids and marriage, but “be married first because that’s the right thing to do!” Those messages came from family and other people around me. When I started to develop my own view of how I wanted my life to look, not how I was told it should look, I realized something. Having kids and being married did not fit. I used to think that something was wrong with me for not wanting “kids who are such a blessing” and for not wanting to be marriedso I could “build a life with someone else”.  I tried to force myself to be comfortable with that image. For fear of being viewed as selfish or plain nuts, it took time for me to be assertive about how I wanted my life to look. It took time for me to not feel shame for being clear about what I wanted to include and not include in my life.  

For those of you reading this who are not child-less and husband-less, here are some ground rules when you meet US:

  1. Don’t assume we have extra time to spare because we’re single with no kids.
  2. Don’t assume that we don’t want nor are we not in a committed relationship.
  3. Don’t assume dating is difficult for US.
  4. Don’t say to us, “Oh, I understand. You’re married to your career” because that sounds dumb. We don’t need for you to create another reason or soften our reasons for not wanting to be married.
  5. Don’t tell us we are too independent. As if a woman married with children is somehow not independent..?
  6. Don’t scrunch up your face and show concern for the choices we have made for our lives. Don’t be so shocked. We’re happy.
  7. Pick your jaw up off the floor.