I Know I’m Too Old To Say This, But I’m Scared To Settle Down

March 24, 2016  |  

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“Ms. Williams, do you want to have kids or get married?” Surprisingly, this is probably the most common question my classroom of inquisitive high school journalism students ask me.

“Or do you want to just be old and have cats?” they ask, half-joking, half-serious. As intrusive as the question is, I understand why they are inquisitive about it. Here I am, in my 30s, unmarried, no kids, and appearing unbothered by those facts, at least to them.

It’s ironic that as I now sit to write this story about my fear of commitment, I’m currently in the first committed relationship I’ve been in since 2004. Yes, I know that’s a long time. And while I should be happy about this new development in my otherwise dry love life, my fear still exists. I have major issues with putting all of my eggs in one basket when it comes to relationships with the opposite sex. Not to mention, I’m so used to being single that it’s hard for me to add another person to my life’s equation.

As a woman over 30, I’ve seen growth in many areas of my life when it comes to my career, finances, and even spiritual wellbeing. However, not much has changed in my dating life since the first time I penned an article for MadameNoire in 2009. I was single then and up until a week ago, I was still single. I still have major trust issues that don’t usually allow me to get or remain close to a man for a long period of time. My extensive list of pet peeves and requirements sometimes make me question my own sanity. And then there is the indecisive part of me that doesn’t want to be with a man only to hit him with a “Psyche! I am just playing. I don’t want a relationship after all” a week later.

Does this behavior sound crazy as hell? Absolutely. But up until now, I’ve been reluctant to change it. I’ve been the woman that one of my students says “Focuses too much on my career because it’s in my control.” Though that girl is just a teenager, she was absolutely right when she said it. For so long, I’d been focusing on things that I could maintain. People, specifically men, are not within my grasp of control, and for the last few years, I wasn’t here for trying to bend to anyone else’s expectations or will. Who has time to go through the issues that come with relationships when there are so many other things to do? That was my rationale.

But now, as I finally allow myself to be vulnerable in a relationship, I can only hope that my fears of settling down and actually sticking with it don’t put a damper on a good thing. Often times, I’ve questioned if I really wanted to be married or if I just wanted to be married because I thought it was the thing women over the age of 30 should want. Well, I now know I want to be in a relationship. I want to get married one day. I wanted to have children. In fact, I think I’ve always wanted these things, but my actions never really lined up with my desires.

So now what? As I attempt to give this new relationship a try, I have to be open to sharing myself and my experiences with someone else, being open-minded. I can’t be selfish and have to refrain from letting fear get in my way. I’m sure it will be one of the most difficult things I have chosen to do, but I know if I don’t get it together now, I will never have the family I’ve always wanted.

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