Do you have a set idea of what age you felt you should have been married by? Having children by? At least, “settled down” by?
A lot of women come to me as they’re nearing a certain age deadline. As the thoughts of “I’m nearly X years of age and my love life is not where I thought it would be” kick in strongly.
It’s really easy for these thoughts to creep in. Alongside panic, anxiety and a feeling of failure.
Maybe you start dating everyone in sight. Maybe you retreat completely in despair. Maybe you don’t know what approach to take (as you seem to have taken them all?).
Well, fear not.
Here’s what to do instead.
Take the pressure off
I know this is easier said than done, but you must take the pressure off yourself. This pressure will lead to you:
Overthinking the early stages of any dating/relationship experience
Considering men that are not right for you
Projecting this pressure onto the men you are dating and inadvertently pushing them away
Once the pressure is off, and you start to trust that you do have time, you will:
Relax, be yourself and feel more confident dating
Use a calm mind to assess whether someone is right for you
Allow things to develop in their own time without pressure
Keys to helping you take the pressure off:
Accept you are where you are now. No amount of thinking/worrying/planning is going to change that fact. Accept your starting point.
Trust that when you meet the right person, things can happen very quickly. I can tell you upteen examples of couples who were married and pregnant within 18 -24 months of meeting. If children are important, you don’t need the ring first!
Keep your options open and trust there are plenty of amazing guys out there once you know what to look for.
The balancing act
That’s all very well Kat, you may say, but the fact is that I do want children and I do have a biological clock.
This is true and I’m not denying it.
There is a balancing act - in your early 20s you may have dated someone for 5 years without even considering what kind of a father they might be.
Now things are slightly different.
You don’t want to waste time.
Which is why it is important to figure out relatively early on whether the guy you are dating is looking for the same things as you (broadly, not specifically). Note: this is not necessarily on the first date.
Take a bit of time to get to know him, to work out whether you enjoy being with him, feel comfortable with him and your values seem aligned. Then start to drop in some vague concepts about the future, without linking these specifically to him. Like:
“I know that having a family is important to me, so I’m looking forward to my next relationship taking me into that next chapter”
You’ve sown the seeds, and will get a reaction, without having to go for the “When do you want to have kids? Because I want them in the next two years and if you’re not down with that, I don’t see the point in this continuing”.
This opens a general conversation on the topic, without pressure for him to commit to you specifically in that moment. It’s a great way of checking that you’re both thinking along the same lines, whilst allowing the relationship to grow organically.
And, If a guy tells you he isn’t ready or interested in the same things, believe him. I know some many women who have wasted valuable time on guys that were never going to give them what they wanted. However amazing the guy is, trust that there will be another guy who is equally amazing and wants the same things as you.
So, my advice to you is:
Take the pressure and trust that you have plenty of options and enough time
Make peace with where you are now - you're one step away from everything you want!
Take time to make sure you’re investing in the right guys and not wasting your time
Consider how you are bringing up conversations about the future
Remember to enjoy dating!