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Women who don't marry "early"--unhappy as biological clock ticking. Studies to support?


38carrots
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Though I'd love to see studies that don't support this, tbh.

 

Just spent an hour arguing with a male family member in his late 40s, which, frankly, was draining. His argument was that when women wait to establish their carreers, and then start looking for a partner when they are 30-35 years old, they are all unhappy, because they are under so much pressure to have a baby and all the men in their age group are attracted to 20 somethings. This was all initially spoken to our 15yo DD, as "food for thought," in reply to her saying that she'd rather marry late because she wants to have a career. :ack2:

 

But what bugged me was that I actually couldn't come up with good counter arguments. This just *feels* wrong to me. Feels horrible. Outdated. Irrelevant. Disgusting. But am I overreacting because I married young (though didn't have children until early 30s) and I wish I waited until I was in my 30s? For all I know I would've been one of those unhappy unmarried women with my biological clock ticking?

 

This family member kept saying that this is just a lie that women tell ourselves, but in reality men are not interested in women in their thirties and fourties because they are out of reproductive age, and thus those women just can't be happy because they feel rushed into finding a partner. He tried to cite studies. Mentioned Freud. At least I *could* laugh at his face for mentioning FREUD!

 

But seriously. What do you tell your daughters? I tell mine that they can be whatever they want to be--they can marry early and have a family (or not); they can marry late and have a family (or not). That you can't really plan to predict and plan for this, and that they need to live their lives to the fullest and do what they love doing, and that having a life partner can't be the primary goal, especially with certain ages in mind.

 

But with everything I say and with everything how I raise them, DD ended up quite shaken. She's never thought about marriage in great details. She's assumed that one day she will get married, and this will be closer to her 30s than to her 20s. I think that's pretty typical for a 15 year old not to be too focused on when she'd get married! According to this relative, she should be thinking about getting married in 3 years!!! This was horrifying to her.

 

Is this a prevalent opinion and I'm just being sheltered? How to counter-act? How to argue against? He laughed at me for being delusional for thinking that men are attracted to women who are approaching the end of their child-bearing age, which in his mind is 30-34, because after that there's a higher incidence of chromosomal defects / Down Syndrom.

 

As a 42 year old woman, with some education, but no career, past my prime as a child bearing vessel, I felt easily dismissed. I hated feeling this way. I was taken aback by his attitude, shocked. But I also kept wondering that maybe he is right, and this is really what men and women are about, and the society is about.

 

I'd love to hear all perspectives. Not a JAWM. Thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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<snip>

 

But seriously. What do you tell your daughters? I tell mine that they can be whatever they want to be--they can marry early and have a family (or not); they can marry late and have a family (or not). That you can't really plan to predict and plan for this, and that they need to live their lives to the fullest and do what they love doing, and that having a life partner can't be the primary goal, especially with certain ages in mind.

 

<snip>

 

No studies to cite.  But I have a daughter who was born when I was almost 43.  I had gotten married at 39; my husband is 8 years younger than me.  (Both of us  had early, unsuccessful marriages with no kids.)

 

I do not tell my daughter than she can be anything she wants to be.   I think that is bad advice.  There are plenty of people who can't be what they want to be, for various reasons.  

 

Some of the things I have told her:

 

- there are worse things than being single, one of which is being with the wrong partner.

 

- plan your life such that you can live happily and support yourself with your work.  If you find someone to share your life with, great. If not, you can still have a great life.

 

- don't look at "being single" as a temporary time that must be endured and gotten through.  Follow your interests, have a life of your own. 

 

- to paraphrase the OP:  you may marry early and have a family, you may marry late and have a family.  But you can't be sure of any of those things, so don't consider your life incomplete until those things happen. 

 

- having kids at 41.25 and 42.75 seems to be working out for me so far, but I wouldn't suggest it as a strategy.  (I certainly didn't do it on purpose.)

 

I know a lot of single women.  The ones who are unhappy are desperate to find a man.  Unfortunately, they have no interests other than finding a man, so they are not interesting to the men they meet.  The independent ones who are comfortable being single are enjoying life, doing interesting stuff, and open to marrying, but aren't sitting around waiting for it.  ETA: and they are aware of the risks of waiting too long to try to have children.  But they aren't going to have children alone, or with a person they know is wrong from the start. 

Edited by marbel
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I've come across this thinking before. He is not entirely wrong about men being attracted to youth. I think that has more to do with shallow reasons than birthing hips but I don't really know.

 

Your dd does not have to start thinking about getting married in 3 years. She does need to think about what kind of future she is envisioning for herself. She can have a career and she can have children. If she thinks she wants to birth children then the biological clock will tick. Wanting a career before children does not mean she has to wait to get married. It also doesn't necessarily mean she has to put her career on hold. Some men are more than happy to be the stay at home parent while the woman follows her dream. It is the kind of thing every couple works out for themselves.

In a nutshell, your dd does not need to be obsessing about this. No matter what out life plans are as teens we don't know what the future holds for us. So have an idea of what you want but remain flexible to different opportunities.

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A perspective from someone who possibly tried to balance marriage, kids and career:

 

Indra Nooyi, CEO Pepsico on why women can't have it all.

 

 

"My observation…is that the biological clock and the career clock are in total conflict with each other. Total, complete conflict. When you have to have kids you have to build your career. Just as you're rising to middle management your kids need you because they're teenagers, they need you for the teenage years.

And that's the time your husband becomes a teenager too, so he needs you. They need you too. What do you do? And as you grow even more, your parents need you because they're aging."

"Train people at work. Train your family to be your extended family…. If you don't develop mechanisms with your secretaries, with the extended office, with everybody around you, it cannot work. You know, stay at home mothering was a full time job. Being a CEO for a company is three full time jobs rolled into one. How can you do justice to all? You can't."

 

However, I'm telling my daughter to prioritize financial independence over waiting to meet the right guy/marriage/kids. The former is within ones control, whereas the latter...

 

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The biological clock is all too real.

 

The fact of men tending to prefer younger mates also seems to be real.

 

There are no guarantees in life though; the best I can say when it comes to career and family choices for women is that there are no simple answers or formulas for happiness. I hated wrestling with these issues during my college years, trying to plan for the many uncertainties of the future. I felt like men had a much more straightforward decision making path.

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I met my husband when I was 31 and established in my career. He was in his forties and definitely not interested in 20 somethings! Had kids at 33 and 35. No regrets, not unhappy.

 

But I actively made finding a husband a priority when I turned 30. Made some major life changes to make that happen. I didn't want to wait too long.

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I tell my girls that I'm happy that I had my kids young, because now they are grown and I'm just 41.  HOWEVER.  I've also told them that I wish that I'd not gotten married so young, and that I'd finished college first.  One of mine is 20, and has no intentions of getting married any time soon.  One is intent on becoming a teacher before she has kids.  One will probably marry young, and have kids fairly young, but will get her degree first.  

I mostly want them to be people.  Not arm candy, not baby factories, not a trophy wife.  I want them to use their gifts, and be in a mutually respectful relationship.  I don't care what age those things happen, and have not emphasized an appropriate age for them.

I probably would have told BIL to stuff it, as it is exactly zero of his business as far as your daughter is concerned.

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The male relative who spoke to your DD is a jerk. It's not an appropriate topic for a 15yr old who shouldn't be worried about dating or children yet. 

 

There's some truth that some women will feel anxious about children if they haven't had any by the time they are 35. Some women don't want kids at all. Some women have children at 22 and wish they'd waited. You can't predict what your life will be like and how you'll feel based on other people's feelings and choices. If a 30-40yr old is not interested in me because he wants to date a young 20-something then he's not the kind of man I'd want anyway. Let the young girls have those guys if they want them, but I bet many younger women are starting to see through that as they gain more power themselves. They don't need that man. 

 

I haven't really talked about this with my daughters because the oldest are only 13. I have told them that they should not let themselves be distracted by romantic relationships while they are young. I've told them they can pursue any career they want if they are willing to put in the work. I've told them that having children and getting married is a choice and whatever they choose is fine with me, but they shouldn't think they have to follow anyone else's path. I haven't talked about a biological clock yet. I think there's plenty of time for them to think about that when they are older, and TBH, I doubt they'd want their mother's input when they are old enough to think about it. I certainly don't want my mom telling me when I should have kids or how many I should have. 

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Well, my main argument agaisnt him would be that he is making blanket statements. Claiming that all men feel this way or all women feel that way is pretty ridiculous.

 

Second, he just devalued you, your dd and all women as nothing but child bearers who only have value as long as their eggs hold out. I find that pretty disgusting.

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No studies to cite, but I think there's a nugget or two of ponder-worthy points in your relative's opinions.

 

Sadie said it well above.

 

The idea that women can "have it all" is, I think, a bit misguided. There are too many uncontrollable variables at play for anyone to say, "In three years I'll do this and it will work out exactly as I imagine, and then ten years later I'll do that and it, too, will unfold according to plan, and then down the road sometime I'll consider that other thing and, if I want it then, it will happen then..." I mean, I'm all for planning and goal-setting and mitigating risk and all that. But when it comes to choosing a spouse and managing a career and getting pregnant and raising healthy, well-adjusted kids, and saving money, and avoiding all the obstacles that make any of those things difficult, well, even the best-laid plans don't always pan out.

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I can't find the exact article a friend posted on Facebook a few weeks ago, but here's one that refers to the same study that shows men only want 20-year-olds. https://www.bustle.com/articles/40157-okcupid-says-men-are-most-attracted-to-20-year-olds-and-heres-why-it-totally-doesnt-matter

 

I thought it was a little depressing. However, while at times I wish I had pursued more of a career before having kids, I am glad I started my family while in my mid-twenties. If our little caboose baby hadn't come along, we could have been empty nesters before we were 50.

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There is some truth to the attractions of men and dating ages unfortunately. Men traditionally date women younger than them, whether you argue it's biological or social reasons, it's still fairly true. This is all anecdotal and none of it is a blanket statement, there are always exceptions, but in my experience young people tend to date same-age peers. But when the man is in his 30s, if he wants kids I think he does still tend toward a younger woman. A man in his 40s is more likely to date a woman in her 30s (seen multiple instances of this) but is often not interested in kids. And when they pass the midlife crisis stage I think they tend to go back to same-age peers because they are past that child-bearing stage. So in my opinion, unless she is happy to date someone older, the hardest time for a woman to find a partner, especially if she wants kids, is in her 30s.

 

Now is that a good reason to marry the first guy she meets? No of course not. But I do think it's a very good argument for not intentionally delaying marriage or closing yourself off to dating while young. Having said that, at 15, she still has her entire lifespan till now over again before it begins to get difficult. She has nothing to worry about.

 

But I may be in the minority in saying that I somewhat agree with him (though not with his jerkish way of expressing it, nor with his absolutes!). I also have never told my girls they can be anything and have it all. They can't. They can make wise choices and choose what's best for them at the time, and their life is long, they can do many things over the course of 70-100 years, it's not necessarily either-or, maybe just first-after.  But they can never be ballerinas, we missed the boat on that. They can never be astronauts, none of them are particularly gifted with math or taken with the sciences. And I will not advocate to them on how they can be the CEO of a multi-national company and still a great mother, because while I think you CAN have great working mothers, I do not believe you can have that kind of exceptional career that requires those sorts of hours to reach and still be an involved and active parent, I'm sorry, I just don't. It's all about choices and sacrifices and priorities. What will be their priority in their 20s? If children are a priority later how will they balance that with their career aspirations? If they want to be a doctor, they probably shouldn't marry another doctor if they actually want children, unless one is willing to put it on hold. These things should be thought about, not just jumped into with an assumption that we can have it all. 

 

But, unless the perfect man stumbles into her life, a 15 year old really doesn't have any need to panic just yet! And I say that as someone who married 3 weeks after her 18th birthday, with no regrets. Focus on her career and aspirations, and be open to the right guy stumbling in if he happens to, and if he doesn't, she has plenty of time to worry about it later on. 

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My sister would have preferred to marry in her 20s and have kids. It didn't happen, and now she's turning 40. She focuses on her career (teaching) and has accepted that it's unlikely she'll ever marry. She's happy and doing something she finds fulfilling.

 

My niece just graduated and has the next 5-10 years planned out in great detail. It's great to have goals and a plan for attaining them. But I kept wanting to tell her that life doesn't work the way we think it should. There are always going to be things that happen that aren't part of the plan, so you have to be flexible enough to roll with it and adjust "the plan" as life events sometimes require. (Unlike your relative, I kept quiet.)

Edited by Word Nerd
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Ideally, I think there's not a one size fits all model for this and society should figure out how to be supportive of a variety of choices.

 

I'm happy with all my personal choices - married young, waited a little while on kids so I had some life experience and some married life experience before diving into parenthood, but still had them in my 20's so when I was ready it was easier to get pregnant, and they'll be adults while I'm still in my 40's. It hasn't been the best choice for my "career" (such as it is). But neither was homeschooling, obviously. But just because I'm happy with how I did it doesn't mean that's "the way" to do it. It's a way to do it.

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I don't emphasize marriage/children to my kids. I'm trying really hard not to give them any ideas that marriage/children is what will complete them or make them a fully-developed adult human being.

 

I want them to get married if and only if they meet someone who is absolutely right for them, so much that they can't imagine life without that person. It's not like employment where you take the job that's just "okay" because you really need a job! I want them to be okay with life as a single person if that's what ends up happening.

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As someone who had the opportunity to complete my education through grad school and have a good career prior to getting married and having a child, I feel fortunate. For me it was a wonderful thing and I tell my daughter that. However everyone has different goals in life. There is nothing wrong with having children early if that is her desire. Everything is a choice. I feel it is important to consider all options. I have been open with her that it would be hard to grow your career and raise a child. Being mobile is a must in many companies and having a trailing husband and children makes those choices so much more difficult. I think the world needs many kinds of women those who want to be mothers first and those who show we can be in the c suite. It is a disservice to your daughter for anyone to tell her either is not a good choice. As you said, his views felt outdated. Personally, I would say that.

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I had my first child at 30 after marrying at 29.  I wish I would waited another year or 2 into our marriage to have a baby, but DH is 8 years older so he was really ready.  But other than that (maybe), I have ZERO regrets.  I thoroughly enjoyed my twenties and had an established well paying professional career after completing my education..  DH and I had ZERO debt going into marriage other than 2 mortgages (and we bought low and sold high on my house).  I would not have been a good parent earlier in life.   I always felt I wanted marriage and children, but I wasn't desperate to get there and enjoyed my time while I was single. 

 

And I agree because that was right for me doesn't mean it's right for everyone.  That said, I would lose it if some adult male was feeding that kind of garbage to my almost 13 year old daughter.  Ick.  The right man would be attracted by education, maturity, intelligence, and stability. 

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He was way out of line discussing this in front of her.

It is his opinion. Nothing more. Yes to all the stats that have been cited by others but again these are just stats. Your daughter has  a path in mind and I would encourage her to follow it.

Should she meet someone on the way and decide she'd rather be married and have children earlier, she has the freedom to make that choice. If not, she has a hopefully fulfilling career option and can still get married and possibly have children. Early marriage does not guarantee parenthood. Neither does marriage later in life necessarily exclude this option.

Perhaps I would also discuss that neither way is necessarily better than the other and plenty of women get / finish degree work after children have grown.

It is a personal decision above all and this is why I feel this person was intrusive and inappropriate.

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Is this the same guy who's been overly...involved and gives you and DD the creeps? Why argue with someone who lacks boundaries and basic common sense?

 

 

No one can predict the future. Rushing in to having a kid early with the wrong guy isn't smart for long term happiness and security. Look at the statistics on early marriage, childbearing, and divorce rates. Women bear the economic brunt of divorce and child rearing.

 

Here's an article on fertility age myths:

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/07/how-long-can-you-wait-to-have-a-baby/309374/?single_page=true

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I think he was a jerk, and I would have pretty much insisted on changing the subject.

 

Regarding the idea of having kids early, I was always on a 'late but definitely having some' path.  I remember in my early twenties seeing some women at work who had had their babies really young, and I was kind of wistful about the idea of being finished raising my family by around age 40, when there was still a lot of time to travel and have fun with their DH's.  But later on, every single one of these ended up basically raising their grandchildren, too, so that whole 'out from under child raising' thing did not work out the way it looked like it would.  And I also way underestimating how satisfying motherhood would turn out to be for me, but OTOH, I think I would have been one of those impatient, pissy mothers who felt frustrated because they weren't working toward career goals flat out if I had had kids in my twenties.  So there you have it.  No good paths, but a bunch of good enough paths, and also, 'good enough' varies a lot from person to person.

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this guy was as  out of line with his spouting as the chickie who told my then four-year old daughter  that she could grow up and be  a pilot.  I wanted to punch her -- but was too busy trying to calm dd down from the meltdown the idiot incited as dd was wailing she wanted to  be a mommy.

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He is a misogynistic jerk, and not fit to be a husband.

 

There is no one size for everyone path, too many variables. A woman is a heck of a lot more than her ovaries.

 

Life has no guarantees. My cousin married at 23, and was never able to have children. She has had a fantastic carrer, and has been happy with that despite having desired a child at one time in her marriage. My sister is 36 and has zero desire to have children. She had zero desire at 18. Just not there.

 

Another cousin married at 22, promptly had one child, had secondary fertility problems, and then hubby ran off. She has emphasized so much to others how short sighted it is for a woman to marry young without any financial independence because she bears the brunt of the financial fall out if the marriage fails. I have had so many friends who married in college or just after who had kids before establishing careers and had disastrous divorces, instant poverty, ended up living at home with their folks.

 

To be honest, I think it is profoundly important to be able to financially care for self and children. Aging parents whose health will soon be failing do not need the stress of having to support a second generation.

 

Then again, that goes in reverse too. My parents were entirely irresponsible with money, and now in addition to having three kids in college at one time, I have my mother to support.

 

Thankfully, my music career would have supported the kids and I early on, and recently I got a position part time education position for this next year, full time after ds graduates in May 2018, excellent pay so I can take care of mom, and contribute to college. I am very fortunate.

 

But most of my friends are just entirely over a barrel and headed for serious poverty if their marriages fail, and while some do have parents who are financially stable and would take them in, the others do not

 

 

So I am a huge fan of developing a career, having savings and IRA that is not dependent on the hubby, and keeping a skill set current enough to get back into the workplace when needed.

 

No one can have it all. There are always trade offs. Men don't have it all. Dh had missed out on some really important events and moments in the kids' lives due to work. He feels it keenly.

 

The thing is though that it is culturally acceptable for a man not to be all things to everyone at all times, and to miss out on home life, children's activities, school volumteerism, baby's fist steps, nursing sick children, etc. They are not considered bad fathers for this so long as they are supporting their families.

 

Moms can't catch a break! Damned if they do, damned if they don't. No matter how much they jugtle, no matter how gracefully they manage it, they will be villified. Grrrrrr........

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Your relative is a dufus and if he has a wife I feel sorry for her. Clearly he's the kind of dense old creep who is attracted to younger girls and projects that on all men. Your daughter should plan her life. She can't really control when she'll meet The One anyway. She's 15 and this possibly the only time in her life when she can focus on just herself and developing the person she wants to be. If she does this, she'll hopefully weed out the simpletons like your relatives who think men want to marry much younger women or who believe a woman's reason to live is tied up in her usefulness to a man. I don't think most men are seeking optimal breeding stock. That's weird.

 

I know women who are single and childless who are quite happy and married women with kids who are bitter. Having children or not doesn't change your personality.

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Guy is a jerk can I deal with him for you?!!

 

What if she did marry young then gets to 30 and her husband is attracted to the 20 year olds! That's not going to work so well...

 

I don't think marrying and having kids younger is always a bad thing. It can be good for encouraging kids to get stable, sort out finances and housing instead of frittering earning years but plenty of people I know who married older have had very happy successful marriages. In part because they are far more aware of what they are looking for and less interested in men who are only after physical attraction.

 

I think our culture still has to figure out how to make it work so that women can have kids when they are most fertile, can still have reliable income and parents be able to spend however much time they need with the kids...

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What a ridiculous thing for someone to tell a 15yo.  There is no way to predict the future.  What does he expect your dd to do?  Spend the next 3 year learning how to get a man?  Because that behavior is so attractive to a mate that you want to share a family with?  And at 19 she should consider herself a failure?  I have 3 wonderful daughters (22, 19 & 14)  Unfortunately our church culture is all about the marry young business, so I have to do damage control.  I even have to do it in my own extended family.  My FIL told my oldest (then 16) that she didn't need to work so hard at getting into college because, as he said, "I didn't marry Grandma because she was smart!"  

 

I tell my girls that what they need to focus on is becoming the amazing people I know they are.  They need to learn about their talents & interest and develop them.  They need to find a skill or get an education that allows them to support themselves.  I believe that along those paths they will find a companion.  I also tell them not to get so set on a timeline (married by 22, baby #1 by 24, baby #2 by 26, etc.) because those decisions will need to be made with at least one other person.  

 

Women need to know that they can do anything, but they can't do everything at once.

 

Amber in SJ

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Your family member can be friends with my cousin and my husband's uncle by marriage who abandoned their wives and kids for other ladies when in their late 30s/early 40s.

 

Luckily both ladies were and still are in stable well paying jobs and other relatives helped out in babysitting when needed.

 

ETA:

A long time friend finally met someone and marry when he was in his early 40s. His wife is around his age. They have their firstborn in their 40s. Both are highly paid lawyers and they have relatives to be guardians if anything happen to them.

My mom have infertility due to thyroid issues, nothing to do with age.

Edited by Arcadia
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Just a personal annicdote.

 

When I was 15 I was firmly planning my career, and that continued until I was 19, when I realized I would prefer to be a Stay at Home mother. But.... I didn't find my husband until I was 32. He had children (teens by that point) from his first wife, and we now have 4 together. So I didn't plan to wait, but it worked out about that way and worked out.

 

Sometimes people plan to have a career and change their mind when they fall in love. Sometimes people plan to get married young but never find a spouse. Sometimes people plan yo have lots of kids, but find out they can't.

 

And at age 15, things can change.

 

And yes, the male relative is a jerk.

 

Sent from my SM-T530NU using Tapatalk

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Well, there's no point deciding you're going to get married at either 18 or at 38. You can't choose when you're going to meet the right partner. Maybe you never will. So better to focus on the things you can control, like studying, career, travel, hobbies and volunteer work. If you do want kids, at some point you might need to decide whether you'll have them alone. But it's not something to lose sleep over at age 15. 

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Well I always ask a man when I want an accurate view of what women think.  NOT!  :P

 

I might have said to his face, in front of my daughter, "so how long have you been a woman?"  LOL.

 

But seriously.

 

We are all so different.  There is no "best."  Women are blessed to have lots of flexibility nowadays.

 

As for men being so worried about being able to make babies - that's a new one on me.  :P  And I have 3 brothers.

 

I have a pretty high maternal drive, and my whole dating life (which started when I was 17), I was advised that my talking about a desire to have a family was scaring the men away.  So which is it?

 

I never "intended" to make family wait for career - it just happened that way.  But I think I can still speak to this question.

 

Toward late 30s, I did start feeling a little anxious that I wouldn't have kids.  I mean, I loved kids more than most people, and it would have been sad if I'd never become a mom.  I got a little desperate and dated a guy who was horrible for me because I sort of felt he was my last chance to have babies.  But that was definitely NOT meant to be.

 

So ...

 

The adoption route turned out to be the right path for me.  As soon as I became a mom by adoption, I lost all that yearning stuff.

 

And the nice thing about it is that there is no man who gets to tell me what to do - with my kids or my career or anything else.

 

BUT.  There are still plenty of men who are attracted to women my age.  Especially guys who are afraid of, or uninterested in, the family thing.  Like the very nice divorced guy I used to date back when I was younger.  He wavered back and forth but ultimately could not accept the idea of creating more offspring when his own were being raised by someone else.  He ended up marrying an older woman who was past the age of having or wanting kids.

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If I were you, I would first tell my daughter to ignore that jerk. Then, I would say exactly what you have said below ...

 

 

But seriously. What do you tell your daughters? I tell mine that they can be whatever they want to be--they can marry early and have a family (or not); they can marry late and have a family (or not). That you can't really plan to predict and plan for this, and that they need to live their lives to the fullest and do what they love doing, and that having a life partner can't be the primary goal, especially with certain ages in mind.

 

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Random comments --

 

I tell my boys that you never know where life will take you, so while it's good to have a plan it's also necessary to stay open minded and flexible.

 

Of all the young people I know the females (ages 21, 22 and 25) are the only ones really interested in dating. And it is just dating they're interested in. They're all busy with college and careers and those are their priorities. The males range in age from 18 to 31 and only the 31 yo is, I think, open to the idea of possibly finding someone to marry now. The others, the 18-27 year olds, prioritize their education and careers. I think maybe the point I'm getting at is that assuming females want to follow the traditional path of marriage and then children--well, it also takes a male who's interested in the same thing. And in my own admittedly small circle I just don't see the 20-something males as being interested much in marriage yet and certainly not in starting families.

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Barf.

 

The biology is statistically true - easier and healthier to have children younger.  But that's such a small sliver of the big picture, unless one's only goal is marriage and children.

 

As far as men's attractions, I'd say it makes a lot more sense to wait for an "older" man who is attracted to an "older" woman than snap up a "younger" man who will be looking for a new 20-something a couple of decades and a few children down the road!  :huh:  :glare:  :ack2:  Your family member is a pig.

 

For whatever it's worth (and that's pretty much nothing,) I had no thoughts about marriage or children at 15, beyond the "Yeah, that'll probably happen some day."  At 17 and 18, I absolutely believed I was going to marry my high school sweetheart as soon as we could afford to be on our own.  And then I got scared and decided I needed to live an independent life before making that kind of commitment.

 

I did wind up married at 23 (to someone else), and had 3 kids in my 20s. 4th three days after my 30th birthday, and 5th at 33.  It's not something I advocate for or against, but what I planned (or didn't) at 15 and 18 was completely irrelevant.  I didn't know my husband *existed* at 15.  Or 18.  When I met him, I definitely didn't know I'd be marrying him 8 months later.  And I NEVER expected 5 kids.

 

Life unfolds mostly on its own.

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Very little that I have planned has come to pass. Flexibility has been the most important attribute.

 

For what it's worth, I started living with husband at 25; it took 8 years unprotected to conceive our first child. We had married half way through that period.

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Is this a prevalent opinion and I'm just being sheltered? How to counter-act? How to argue against? He laughed at me for being delusional for thinking that men are attracted to women who are approaching the end of their child-bearing age, which in his mind is 30-34, because after that there's a higher incidence of chromosomal defects / Down Syndrom.

 

As a 42 year old woman, with some education, but no career, past my prime as a child bearing vessel, I felt easily dismissed. I hated feeling this way. I was taken aback by his attitude, shocked. But I also kept wondering that maybe he is right, and this is really what men and women are about, and the society is about.

 

I'd love to hear all perspectives. Not a JAWM. Thank you.

He is right that there are men who want to marry women who can reproduce and do so without the risk of genetic issues. He didn't mention that the age of the father matters, and he isn't including that some couples will abort if testing shows high probability of major chromosomal damage. There isn't much you need to say, if your dd's bio and health classes cover the science.

 

As far as attraction, men are attracted to women at any age. Finding a man who wants a partnership type of marriage is harder in some locations than others. People are willing to wait for the right match, rather than bring up children in misery.

 

Young ladies wanting family and career have possibilities, but need to be located where a nanny or quality daycare is available.

 

This man is inappropriate to bring up the conversation and turning a major life decision into a meat market approach. Be interesting to hear the spouse's point of view.

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Is this a prevalent opinion and I'm just being sheltered? How to counter-act? How to argue against? He laughed at me for being delusional for thinking that men are attracted to women who are approaching the end of their child-bearing age, which in his mind is 30-34, because after that there's a higher incidence of chromosomal defects / Down Syndrom.

 

As a 42 year old woman, with some education, but no career, past my prime as a child bearing vessel, I felt easily dismissed. I hated feeling this way. I was taken aback by his attitude, shocked. But I also kept wondering that maybe he is right, and this is really what men and women are about, and the society is about.

 

I'd love to hear all perspectives. Not a JAWM. Thank you.

 

I can't remember where I read this, but there was a study in the news recently about older fathers and the incidence of birth defects. The conclusion of the study was that the age of the father is a more important factor than the age of the mother, because sperm quality deteriorates greatly as men near forty - and defective sperm, rather than defective eggs, is actually the cause of many birth defects.

 

The authors of the study concluded that if a woman in her forties has a baby with a male in his twenties, her odds of having a healthy baby are the same as a younger woman. But if a woman in her forties has a baby with a male in his forties, the odds of having a baby with a birth defect goes way up.

 

The funny thing was that there were so many irate comments from men in the comments section. They just absolutely did not want to hear that their sperm has an expiration date. I guess it is a blow to their egos to find out that they have a biological clock, too.  :001_rolleyes:  

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I think people should marry when they find their other half. If that is at 18 yrs old or 50 yrs old, it should happen then. Setting an age for marriage only sets people up for disappointment and/or bad marriages. I know a lot of people are not marrying right out of college anymore. I think the guy's assessment of women setting an age and men only wanting younger women is incorrect. 

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Egg freezing has made this argument a LOT less powerful in recent years. I wish it had been around 20 years ago when I decided to drop off the pre-med track because DH and I were getting serious and we were hoping to have 4 kids (and spread out a bit rather than a baby every 12-18 months or whatever). I had read a scary statistic that a woman's fertility starts to decline at 27 so the idea of spending until around age 30 in medical school and then residency was unappealing.

 

Young women today have the option of banking their 20something eggs so that they can pursue graduate education and careers without having to worry about it costing them their chance at motherhood.

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I grew up in the generation where we were told, especially as girls, that we could be whatever we wanted to be and it was smart to wait and get married later, that your twenties were for fun and establishing a career.

 

it is backfiring majorly. Biology doesn't change just because we choose to do the career thing first. The fact is, having babies after 40 is more rare to be able to do. No women in my family or Dh's have ever been able to get pregnant at that age. So for women who feel pretty sure they want kids waiting is a bad plan. It can work out, but it's stressful. My sister is 31, put off marriage to focus on fun and adventure (no judgment there, she has had adventures!) but knew she wanted kids eventually. Now she's stressed...majorly stressed about the ticking clock of fertility. She's now newly in a relationship with a seemingly good guy and I hope it works out great for them. BUT, he says his 5 year plan is to live in a van and travel together because he "missed his twenties" by joining the military and getting married/divorced. He says after 4-5 years he wants them to settle down and have two kids. Except, she'll be 35-36! Our mom, aunt, and grandma all had hysterectomies from medical need. Only one woman in the entire family has had a kid after 35 and she was 39. Logistically, that is an awfully short timeline in which she'll need to get pregnant and have two healthy babies. She loves him and doesn't want to rush for sure. But she feels the time crunch.

 

I think it's too broad a statement to say all women who marry late in life are unhappy. Some may not want marriage/kids but then they meet a really great guy who they realize they'd enjoy being married to. I certainly wouldn't say those women are unhappy. However, intentionally waiting until late 30's to get married does seem to cause some serious stress and angst for women who do for sure want to get married. A lot of the good guys are already married by then, and it's harder to meet people who would be partner-material as you leave the college scene. And I would hate for my daughters to feel rushed into marriage because they know they're running out of fertility, or worse settling for just any guy.

 

I look at it the other way around. I can only have babies until about 40 at the latest. I can work healthfully until 65 at least. So...I'd rather do the baby thing first, then get a master's degree and go back into my career once the kids are older. You can also do both at the same time, though that comes with real sacrifices we need to be honest about. And not everyone can handle that level of busy-ness, depending on health and personality.

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I tell my girls that what they need to focus on is becoming the amazing people I know they are.  They need to learn about their talents & interest and develop them.  They need to find a skill or get an education that allows them to support themselves.  I believe that along those paths they will find a companion.  I also tell them not to get so set on a timeline (married by 22, baby #1 by 24, baby #2 by 26, etc.) because those decisions will need to be made with at least one other person. 

 

this.

I never told my girls they're as good as any boy.  (to me, that's an argument from a place of weakness.  and if you have to say it . . . . ). . . . they grew up knowing they were smart, hardworking, and capable as themselves because we treated them that way.  they just "are".   I too encouraged good educations (in something they like)  by which they could support themselves/family. (because even if they married young to a great guy with a good income, and started having children young - things happen).   they both have good educations and good jobs - that are careers.  

 

1dd is in a very male dominated field, and just replaced an incompetent  guy in her job.  (he was so out of his depth.)  among others, c-levels have already been telling  her how much moral has improved since she got there.   

as we've been hearing reports from her (she has really needed to vent these last two weeks as she was triaging all the issues she has to fix. and share the fun things she's getting to do) - she made the comment about how independent she is, she has the great job, has a house, etc. . .why does she need to get married?  (you wanted a companion who was your equal with whom you can share your life).   and yes, she still really wants to get married and have kids.  she's in a much better place now for that anyway.

 

the quip "life is what happens when you're making other plans"  has gone through my head on this thread.

eta: -  and that you marry when you meet the right person.  you can't control that.

Edited by gardenmom5
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 . My sister is 31, put off marriage to focus on fun and adventure (no judgment there, she has had adventures!) but knew she wanted kids eventually. Now she's stressed...majorly stressed about the ticking clock of fertility. She's now newly in a relationship with a seemingly good guy and I hope it works out great for them. BUT, he says his 5 year plan is to live in a van and travel together because he "missed his twenties" by joining the military and getting married/divorced. He says after 4-5 years he wants them to settle down and have two kids.  

 

. Some may not want marriage/kids but then they meet a really great guy who they realize they'd enjoy being married to. 

 

:huh: :huh: :svengo: oh wait - he's already been married/divorced?  hope things work for your sister - but imho he needs to grow up.

 

gloria steinem was quite well known for saying women didn't need to get married. in her 60s she met a guy she liked being with enough to marry him.

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I think people should marry when they find their other half. If that is at 18 yrs old or 50 yrs old, it should happen then. Setting an age for marriage only sets people up for disappointment and/or bad marriages. I know a lot of people are not marrying right out of college anymore. I think the guy's assessment of women setting an age and men only wanting younger women is incorrect. 

 

I agree with all of the above. Also, not everyone who marries late does so because of a career. Although I did have a career, what kept me from marrying was not having met the right person. I met dh late in life, and though we started trying to conceive right away, it took until I was 41 to actually get pregnant. By then we had given up and it was a complete surprise. 

 

If I had not been able to have a child, I would have always wished I could have, but it wouldn't have made me unhappy in general. 

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You can't really control when you meet your husband. Some people just aren't going to meet their partner until they're older. Not much you can do about that. So, step #1 is advising our children on how to pick their spouse wisely.

 

For dh and I, just based on what we've observed in the many people we've counseled, married, lived life with and heard regrets over, etc...(dh is a pastor) our advice is not to delay marriage and children if you are certain that you are going to marry and have children with this person. A lot of people delay over cultural expectations, personal fears about "not having it all together", or just waiting until xyz is accomplished. Those are the people that we've seen have the most regrets when faced with infertility, multiple miscarriages, and still births. This is not just like 1 or 2 couples we've known. This is something we're pretty much continually counseling couples through where we live. We live in a high COL place where it's very common to delay even thinking about marriage and children until you're in your 30s.

 

So for our kids we say go to school and start your career, but if you find your spouse, don't put off moving forward in that relationship. It can totally be done. We've seen many couples married before they finished college and they were absolutely able to do both at the same time. It's a false dichotomy that starting a family and school/career launching are mutually exclusive. They are not.

Edited by Sassenach
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I tell my daughters that every decision has consequences. If a man doesn't come their way early, it is meant to be, and there can be contentment in any life situation. Everyones life is different and you can't plan everything out. I do encourage them that if the right one does come along early, there is no reason to delay marriage. If marriage is something they want they should not close themselves off to it. By early I mean early 20's (not 18 like jerky uncle. He handled that conversation very poorly). Here is an article that talks about the benefits of early marriage. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3437253/

 

I personally wanted to marry/have children young for many reasons ( I was 20, dh was 22. I had first baby at 22). I knew once my kids were grown I would still be young and have plenty of years to do whatever else I wanted. I did not want to limit the amount of children I could have (My body did that for me. See you can't plan everything. However, I was still able to have more children than if I had waited till I was a lot older). My choices were more flexible. I was able to wait 7 years before deciding to have our last baby. I wanted our parents to be able to be active grandparents. I want to be a young grandma, or at least get to know my grandchildren. I have friends that have already lost their moms, and their moms barely or never got to know their grandchildren. I wanted to have enough energy to to keep up with little ones. I wanted my husband and I to have many years to do what we want to do together after the kids were grown. I realized that the choice to have children early was not just about me. I live by the philosophy that it is the relationships we have in life that will count on our death bed, not the career we had. I think this is true for both men and women. So I encourage my children to alway put people first, career second.

 

However, I think it is dangerous to say that you won't be happy in life if you have children late. Happiness is a choice, an outlook on life, a gratitude for every blessing that comes your way. It is not based on when you have children  :glare:. 

Edited by coralloyd
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My entire life is an example of how you just can't plan these things. I wasn't planning on marrying young, but I met the right guy. I wasn't planning on having kids before I finished college, but it was the right time. I wasn't planning on 8 years of secondary infertility, but it happened. I wasn't planning on having babies in my forties, but I did. I wasn't planning on completely giving up my career for family, but it was a good choice for me. I love to plan, but life happens and rarely follows the plan.

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This is gonna sound ridiculous since it comes from my 10yo (who travels to her own drummer).  Miss 10yo is a planner extraordiaire.  For years, every time children were brought up (as in, "I hope you have a kid just like you" etc.), she would say, "I am NOT having kids.  They're too much work."  Recently she changed that to:  "OK.  I might have ONE kid ... IFF YOU promise to pay for his college ... and help with his math homework."

 

There is a point here.  I think we can help ease our daughters' stress if we can offer to help with their kids, or some other aspect of their lives, so that they don't have to sacrifice to the point of regretting choices that shouldn't be regretted.  In my case, I live in a place and a situation where I could help them with lodging and (hopefully) babysitting if they are trying to balance multiple things.  Of course my own health and stamina are not guaranteed, but right now, I think I would like to do that.  I have friends whose moms support them in many ways (with time and presence), and it makes such a difference.

 

I have friends from more traditional cultures where it is the norm for the parents to pursue their interests while leaving the kids with the grandparents during the day - or sometimes for months, even years at a time.  This is so foreign from the way I grew up, it took me some time to get comfortable with the idea.  But as an older person who has had many adventures of my own, I think I'd be happy to do that so my kids can enjoy their life while they can still move around.  :)

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