Relationship envy

Thursday, August 19, 2010 Permalink

I mentioned in a recent post that I came across someone from my childhood as she was leaving the local hockey field with a teenage daughter. 

For some reason I find it ‘unfair’ that I am not a mother.  As if someone has conspired against me in some way.  The reality of the situation however, is that I haven’t ever had a partner and never married and as a result, I haven’t ever had the opportunity to become pregnant, let alone, have a child. 

I spent some time last year trying to get pregnant through artificial means and have budgeted for one more try.  Of course I would like to lose weight to improve my chances, although my doctor tells me that (at this point) my age is more of an issue than my weight.

I have always assumed I would have children.  I grew up thinking I would meet the man of my dreams, be whisked off my feet, have a family and live happily ever after. 

I blame my single status on my weight and weight-related issues.  When I was anorexic I was terrified of being perceived (by men) as attractive and the attention this drew. By the time I recovered emotionally, I was becoming chubby and felt unattractive and uninteresting to men.  As a result I have spent a number of years aspiring to a relationship but without any real hope of one.

Of course I know that even having a partner is no guarantee of having biological children and I feel bad for those who fight infertility problems, because, frankly…. we live in a world that is centred around ‘the family’.  At the moment here in Australia we are heading into an election and both major parties are making all sorts of promises and offers to ‘families’.  Nothing (of course) for single-income voters struggling to pay a mortgage on their own (through no choice of their own).  I find myself similarly confronted by television, films and books also promoting that the most dire consequence for the protagonist is that they will end up (and / or die) alone.  Frankly, because I catastrophise about my single status, the last thing I need is for this stigma to be perpetualised by everyone around me! 

So many people take it for granted – having a partner, a child.  I got annoyed last year when a close friend of mine (who should know better) commented on how she (married with children) envied the fact that I could spend a night watching a DVD or reading in the bathtub.  I tried not to inject venom in my voice when I reminded her of what she went through to actually MEET her husband: the internet and speed dating; and her obsessing that (as she was already in her mid 30s) that she would not meet someone while in her childbearing years.  I refrained from telling her that I would willingly give up my nights in the bath for a family. I feel the same frustration when other friends complain about their children or the commitments that come with a family. 

As I continued past the hockey fields in my hometown I was again reminded that, with children, the weekends would not be mine but would be spent ferrying them to sporting events or friends’ places.  I was reminded that, once you have children, life is all about them.  ‘They’ are your life and people willingly enter into that lifelong contract. 

As I continued on my walk, I contemplated the idea that others envy me, having weekends and evenings to myself.  My life is not sacrificed to children or family.  Rather, I spend my nights and weekends binge eating and drinking, watching DVDs and reading in the bath.  Why?  To stave off the boredom and to pass the time.  I am not living life.  I am biding time.  Waiting for it to start.  As this realisation sinks in, the more conscious I am becoming that I have to make the most of my life and not just exist from day to day: waiting to lose weight; waiting for life to improve; waiting for life to start. I need to stop feeling sorry for myself and my solitary life.  I haven’t been able to make the changes to prevent this course of action – I haven’t lost weight in order to become more attractive to men and feel better about myself.  And with time flying by, it means I need to prepare for a life alone.  I need to embrace it and make it one worth living.

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