I just watched an episode of The Closer that really hit home for me. The lead character, a 40 yr old woman is worried she's pregnant. Yes worried. Terrified even. So scared she takes a few days to actually do a test. She is relieved when the test is negative, but her boyfriend is disappointed. The way he looked when he saw the test box in her purse (he wasn't snooping, he was making sure he glasses went into her bag instead of on the floor). He had that look - stupid happy, like he'd just won the life lottery. Money can't make you look that happy. Only love can do that. Well, aside from faking it for film; I'm speaking of when that look happens on it's own in real life. It's been my experience only moments of true joy based on love give that wondrous, happy look.
It's the same look I saw on my good friend Will's face while he was standing across from him wife during their marriage ceremony. It's the same look I saw on my own husband's face in the pictures for our wedding (I was way too nervous to notice at the time).
It's a good look. And man does it feel good when you're the reason!
Anyway, my point, is what happens when you're the reason someone is robbed of that look and all the expectant joy that causes it.
My mother-in-law was shocked at my lack of romance, and possibly tact, when I told her that I told Chris, my husband, on our first date, that if he wanted children, if that was something he was looking for, then I wasn't his woman. I told him, firmly, and knowing me, passionately that I was never going to have children. I like other peoples children just fine, and I'm happy they enjoy them, but I so do not want that life for myself. Which, in a way, is a blessing in disguise because right now there is no way in hell I could take care of a child! I can't take care of myself without help. No, kids would be the miserable death of me. Though, honestly, even if I was perfectly healthy I would still be miserable if I had kids. They are just.... Not something I want in my life.
Now, if I'd done things my mother-in-laws way, and hadn't mentioned my feelings, I could potentially be the person robbing someone of that joy I was talking about earlier. I would have been lucky with Chris, but he's not the only man I've ever dated, and I've always been upfront because, having children is not something you can compromise on. Whether or not you have 1 or more can be a compromise, but if one partner wants kids and the other doesn't, well that's just a deal breaker. I have always felt it is better to state up front what you are looking for in a relationship and what the deal breakers are for you. I don't think it's unromantic, I think it's practical. How romantic is miscommunication and hurt feelings?
Letting things happen naturally, and seeing where the go, is just fine - that's what Chris and I did. But you have to be upfront with people. When I was dating, I wanted to avoid the scenario where we'd date for, who knows how long, and once we have tender feelings for each other, and want to be serious, or even think of marriage, only then we find out that one of us wants ten kids, the other zero, or one of us is a devout Christian and requires not only a Christian wedding, but baptism and child-rearing as Christians, oh, and for the mother to convert and attend Church ever Sunday. Deal breakers. That's what I'm talking about. Upfront no one gets their feelings hurt, you've 'wasted' maybe 1-3 dates instead of months or even years, and everyone can then go off and seek someone that wants the same things they do.
I feel passionately about this. I may not be great at communicating, and my husband will surely attest to that (he has the patience of a saint!), but I do understand the value, and importance of talking to the people in your life. I know it's hard; it's always hard for me, but in the end, it helps. People can't help you if you don't tell them you need help. People can't be or give you what you want if you don't ask. I say people because I mean not just your partner but all the people in your life that care about you. Perhaps it's just me, though likely not, but I find it hard to ask for help in part because I never feel.... sure that whomever I'm asking is willing to help. Fear of rejection is a powerful thing. It's taken me over 30 years, but I'm beginning to understand that I'm better loved than I've ever imagined, and asking for things, especially from my partner, is a good way to get what I want/need.
Man, am I a lucky woman! Every time I think about the fact I'm married to my Chris, I realise just how damn lucky I am. I'm so well loved. He's so so good to me! We're so very compatible. He makes me happy just by being here. Insert goofy smile here.