Earlier this year my best friend from school told me she was pregnant. It's brilliant news and I am so happy for her and her husband. Okay - I am happy for them, now. I had a totally selfish reaction when heard. Job wise for them things aren't very secure and I just focused in on the practical elements. Money, flat rental, child care etc. etc. Not that I said any of this out loud. I kept all my negative thoughts to myself and congratulated them. This friend is very very important to me. I know we will always be friends and if I ever get married she will be my bridesmaid and I want to be involved in the birth of their child and her life (it's a girl). So outwardly I was ecstatic for them.
They will make it work. Of course they will. People do it all the time. I know they will and after a few days I realised I am truly happy for them. So what was really bothering me? Why did I react in such a self involved way, which in itself was highly unattractive. I had to think about it long and hard and it wasn't very easy for me to realise what was going on...
The situation is I'm used to being first. I am the one that friends come to for advice and that does things first. I was the first to leave school, the first to get a degree, the first to have a real career, the first to buy a flat, the first to buy a car. You get the gist.I like being the leader of the pack. My friend getting pregnant was like a massive spotlight on the fact that not only am I not the first to do this... but I'm going to be one of the last - if at all. Whether I'm relaxed about it or not time is passing by. Like so many
When I got back home from holiday at the weekend, two more bit of news reached me that compounded my earlier feelings. Of the four of us that hung around together at school, and are still very good friends, one of them got engaged. The other two are already married. That leaves.... me.
The second piece of news is something that I'm still trying to get my head around and it concerns The Highlander. For newer readers I should explain The Highlander is my ex. We were together for eight years. We split up three and a half years ago. It ended for a variety of reasons but they mostly revolved around the fact he made very little money and was unwilling to take the responsibility of life seriously enough for him to play his role in our relationship i.e. get a job and stop being a child. It was a really difficult decision to make but if you've been together that long and he's not willing to even talk about marriage or a family then you're not left with much choice. It was a tough time but I don't for a moment regret the decision. That said, it doesn't make it any easier to hear that he's going to be a dad.
He and his girlfriend are going to have a baby, as planned, in September. Hmmmm. How do I feel about this... I'm not sure. His girlfriend is maybe around 35 and so if I'm worried about problems and leaving it too late then of course she is feeling it. So on that level, I'm happy for her- and for him. I just can't quite believe that someone who wouldn't even talk about it is now actually going to have a baby. And again - long before me.
I heard the news about The Highlander yesterday lunchtime in a phone call. TB was with me at the time and afterwards I was quiet as I took the news in. He asked me what was going on and I gave him the facts; The Highlander is going to be a dad. Of course, there was more going on in my head at than just that and TB asked me about it. I explained that The Highlander and I had talked about having kids but he just wasn't interested in making any sort of plan or discussing it. We sat quietly for a moment and then TB came out with it.... "This is when our age gap worries me."
Thud. My heart fell into my stomach. No no no no. This is not happening. We are not about to have a conversation where he suddenly announces that he doesn't want kids for a long long time. Immediately I thought back to a conversation we had after we had spent two weeks together. Admittedly I was smashed and it was unfair of me to bring it up so soon and in such a way, but I told him that marriage and family were important to me and that if they weren't to him them we needn't bother carrying on. I asked him to explain more about what he meant and he told me that he thinks I've got a plan which involves me having a baby in the next couple years and he just couldn't see himself wanting that at that time.
I told him that yes, I do want to have children at some point. But there is no plan. You can't make a plan for this sort of thing. I don't have it in my head that by 33 I will want to have a baby or by any other age. He's right this is where the age difference is apparent. I explained to him that my worst nightmare would be if waited to try to get pregnant and then couldn't. I started to get a bit teary at this point. I don't think it's the same for men - the thought of never being a parent. Certainly it's not the same for a 23 year old and a 31 year old. He just didn't quite get it.
I was having trouble actually spitting out what I was thinking and I'm glad to say he pushed me to talk about it. I said that this is exactly what I didn't want to happen- to fall in love with someone only to realise we're not on the same wavelength. If we're not, then what is the point, I asked him. I'm incapable of treading softly softly when it comes to this sort of stuff. If he doesn't want what I want then why bother continue? The fact of the matter is I don't have any time to waste. I do not want to faff about in another relationship for x amount of time only to discover that it's not right for me. I didn't say that last bit out loud. I do have some 'scare him shitless' senors. They were already going into overdrive.
All the while I am feeling sick. Forget the whole family thing. I love him. The though of not being with him makes me go cold all over. During the whole conversation we're cuddling and he's telling me he loves me. He tells me that he thinks we are on the same wavelength. I think we are too but the reality of it is that if things work out and we decide we want to be together long term then I have to be realistic. We are not going to do what my recently pregnant friend did and go from live in lover to husband and baby on the way in under a year. Not that I'd want that but the upshot is that we're talking years away from now. I'm okay with that but the part of me that wants to be the first cannot stand being left behind.
TB also brought up the fact he'd like to live abroad for a while. Ermm.... hello! I told him I'd like to do that too - ages ago! With his job there is a strong chance this could happen. I'd love to do that. So we ended up chatting about that for a while too.
This was a conversation that had to happen and while it was uncomfortable at times I'm glad we had it. And to be honest is was thanks to him that we did. I know I've been getting carried away in my own head at times about things and I need to just calm it a bit. The feelings are still there about being left behind but that's got nothing to do with the relationship between TB and I. Plenty of my friends are single and aren't panicking about things and I know I just need to relax a bit. And I am, in the main. The news about The Highlander threw me and I think I'll always find that a bit weird no matter if I have a football team of my own or end up as a crazy cat lady.
If you've made it to the end of this... well done! x