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We have come so far… and then not really. I never, ever, ever thought I would be a single woman closing in on the mid-thirty mark. I was married and the plan was for that to be forever. In this age, forever is a smidge shorter than it used to be for many of us. I got married way too young! You always hear people say that, and well I know what it means. And, what it doesn’t mean. It does NOT mean, oh I changed my mind or that I didn’t take the commitment seriously. Rather I didn’t know the warning signs to look out for, have high enough standards, or know how to protect myself… I wasn’t old enough, didn’t have enough life experience to know how. I certainly didn’t have guidance and support to help me in that area either.

So, here I am. On my next birthday I turn 35. That dreaded number. The one that we read about in my genetics course. Biological age, reproductive age, OLD eggs, genetic mutations, fetuses aborting themselves because they were not developing normally, increase of chromosomal disorders, etc. I never thought I would be someone who thinks about the cliché of my clock ticking. Well, tick, tick tick! It’s something you do not and can not understand until it happens to you. It brings on thoughts and emotions that I had only assigned other women capable of thinking and feeling. Oh, I’m not gonna be one of those! Well shit, never say never applies once again. I won’t go into my evolution of thought on the subject of having children and how it has changed and swayed over the years. This is more about the differences between men and women… the differences in expectations and judgments, and the straight up differences that feed double standards in today’s society and relationships.

I have been with my current boyfriend, which by the by sounds like a ridiculous label at this age, for 2+ years. He is 40. We originally met 10 years ago, so we had a good base of understanding of one another when we started dating. Well, according to everyone who talks to me, we have been together too long to just be dating, at this age. I hear this, ALL OF THE TIME. I get the questions. Do you think he’s getting you a ring? Are y’all living together yet? Has he talked about marriage? Does he want children? The questions really started full speed ahead when we hit our one year mark. So you can deduce that I have heard this broken record of questioning for more than a year now. And what’s it like for him? Is he tired of the constant questions? NOOOOO… because HE is never the receiver, the target, the victim of inquisition! Why? Why does he not get the same questions about our relationship? I mean, he’s older than I am. Plus, he is the one who has never been married. Most of the people who ask me these questions are HIS people. I met them through him and now they want to keep tabs on us without asking him.

If people generally think that men are the ones in charge of progression of a relationship, by traditional standards, then why do the women get all the questions, pressure, da da da, da da? More often than not, the man does the proposing. But, no pressure. Don’t talk about it with your friends, that way they can just ask me for an update on a monthly (and sometimes) weekly basis.

This does come back around to what I rambled about up top. We get the questions and the pressure because we are the ones with the limitations. The expire dates. Oh, how lovely that sounds. People assume we’re ticking and anxious and find the need to remind us of our age. Like we f*cking forgot! Do you often randomly forget your age? Apart from an actual memory impairment, as in permanent brain damage, I’m certain you are well aware of the exact amount of time you have spent on earth.

The absolute best is when someone has assumed I am younger than I am, and after bringing up such subjects of my relationship progression, reassure me with, “Don’t worry, you still have plenty of time sweetie… how old are you anyway?” After I respond, I get just an “OH!”

Well, I feel better.

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