Tag Archives: marriage

When is the Right Age to Get Married? Have Kids?

For whatever reason, my biological clock started ticking loudly. I’m now 26 and I’m not getting any younger. While part of me wonders if I’ll ever be mature enough to have children, I’d like 3 of them, and a house and stability and all of those adult things. I feel terribly young — way too young to have a husband or kids — and yet I know so many people who are my age or younger who are already packing in a full house. (This article argues that you should get married in your early 20s.)

I started Google searching things like “when is the right age to have a baby?” and “how old should i be when I get married.” More often then not, I find people recommending marriage in the 20s, and popping out kids by 35 (and later and there’s a higher chance for defects).

My boyfriend and I have been together over 3 years. We both know we’re going to get married — one day — but he’s convinced that he needs to finish grad school (well he needs to start it first) and obtain a career in order to get married. If he starts grad school next fall, I’ll be 29 before he’s finished with his MA. Then there’s the PhD he may want to obtain… I’m not getting married until I’m 35 at the rate things are going.

I’m not marriage obsessed, I just wonder now that I’m 26 why I’m not getting married. I guess the way I see it is either my boyfriend and I will get married OR we won’t and I’m wasting my time with him now when I could be out dating while I still look somewhat attractive. What if I get to 30 and he decides he isn’t ready, or worse, wants to break up?

Given my health, having children is going to be extremely difficult and expensive anyway, and I don’t want to put it off too long. At the moment I’m somewhat stable in my career — somewhat as in I’ll probably need to switch jobs this year — but I’ve learned how to save and I’m starting to feel financially mature. I honestly could give two shits about being married, it’s having children that is what’s on my mind right now. I don’t want kids now, but I do want them fairly soon, in the next 5 years. Maybe I should break up with my boyfriend and date a guy in his late 30s to make sure this will happen.

Did Feminism Destroy a Woman’s Evolutionary Means of Happiness?

The other day I randomly happened upon a blog written by a man who might be the most sexist psychologist in the modern world, which I’d write off as total BS if his blog wasn’t on Psychology Today and for the fact that the guy teaches at the London School of Economics. His whole explanation for how we act is based on his belief that men want to compete for dominance and make themselves most desirable for women because the woman picks her sexual partners and the men must just make themselves wanted. He thinks that feminism has destroyed the modern woman’s chances of happiness because it has taught us that being a mother (esp a stay-at-home mother) is something to look down upon, and in terms of evolution, that’s what a woman would be most happy doing.

Do I believe all or any of this? Not really. Obviously everyone is different, and some woman would be thrilled to chase after a corner office and live a life without children. According to this guy women are necessary in the relationship equation to force men to not have sex all the time, as gay men never stop having sex. Ignoring this guy’s obvious lack of ability to grasp reality, he makes a few good points along the way, and has lead me to some other interesting reading specifically about the woman’s role in modern society. His point on how success today is pretty much only known by the “masculine” version of success is true, even though I’m not sure competing for the corner office or making a high salary is actually masculine.

I often wonder who I’d be in society 50 years ago. I feel so lost in terms of what I want out of life these days, and deep down part of me questions if this is due to my human nature as an animal and even as a woman. But I feel dirty admitting to wanting to be feminine in the traditional sense — I couldn’t imagine accepting that my path to happiness is to be a mother, stay home, take care of the kids, cook for my husband (well, that would be a bad idea anyway since I’m a terrible cook). Then again, I feel happiest when I’m helping people, when I can be in a motherly role. My boyfriend doesn’t like it when I try to mother him (not that I try, but can’t a guy learn to iron his clothes?) so maybe having children would make me happy…

My grandmother, who is now 80, married a guy who was 20 years older than her when she was younger. She told me about the marriage a bit this weekend when I went to visit her. He was a traveling rabbi, driving around Montana, Idaho, and the Dakotas as a chaplain for the military. She liked him because men close to her age weren’t able to hold intelligent conversations (so she says, though really I think she just couldn’t find anyone willing to put up with her… she’s a bit on the nutty side of the PB&J.) After getting married, of course she didn’t work. She raised three children. That was her life.

When I talked to a career counselor for a consultation on the phone a few months ago, her voice told me she was older, perhaps in her 50s, and she went on about how I’m doing fine, that I shouldn’t worry, that only a decade or two ago I would not have any choices as a woman, and today I am doing perfectly well given how many choices I have. That gave me little comfort in my sanity.

Now that I’ve been dating a guy for more than 3 years (almost 4!) and we talk about marriage here and there, the idea of becoming a mother is going from something I thought would never happen to a possibility. Even though I know it will cost me a billion dollars to have a child or children (thanks PCOS) I have a partner now who I can see spending the rest of my life with. I know he’d be a good father. I’m not sure if I’d be a good mother… my aunt laughs whenever I talk about having kids, she thinks I’d be an awful mother (but I think despite her ability to make a great salary and force her children to eat healthy, she’s not a perfect mother either)… I just wonder if I’ll ever have kids, if being a mom is really what my genes are longing for these days… given that women are really supposed to procreate the second they hit puberty and only modern society has messed that up by creating “adolescence” (one thing I do agree with creepy sexist psychologist man about.) And now, at 26 without kids or a husband, I feel empty. Every possible path… grad school, a great career, etc, seem to be lacking something. I know I need to figure out the career thing before having children (as once I have kids I need a stable job, I’m not going to be marrying a rich guy and I’m fine with that.) But what if I wait too long and I can’t have kids? My boyfriend casually mentions that he sees us getting married in 2015. I’ll be 31. That’s not too old to get married, but it scares me that my gynecologist, when I was 15, told me if I want to have kids I should try to have them by the time I turn 30. Back then she said “don’t worry, you have time” but at 26 I don’t feel like I have any time at all. I know I can’t rely on kids to make me happy — they might do just the opposite — but at the very least they’ll help me be less selfish. So much of what makes me miserable these days is how life seems to all be about me, and there’s nothing in the world that can satisfy me, just things to do or buy to temporarily fill the void. I don’t know what would make me happy… what’s a well paying job without children in your life?

Say Yes to the Dress — Why I’m Going to Try to Say No…

My reality TV obsession as of late is TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress.” Now that I’m 26, I’m like (almost) every other girl in the world who (isn’t married yet) is thinking about being a bride and all that goes with it. Hey, I’ve been with my bf 3.5 years, so it’s not like marriage is so far off I shouldn’t be thinking about such things. (Right… right?)

Watching the show has me fiscally horrified, especially the episodes featuring women who have no budget and can buy a dress that costs $6k or more. As a kid, I would have been certain that my wedding dress would be on par with the dresses shown on SYTTD, and that I’d have money flowing from every possible bank account to fund my dream wedding. Nowadays, I’m a lot smarter than that. And thinking about the cost of my one-day wedding makes me almost violently ill.

When I was 12, my family threw a huge Bat Mitzvah party for me. It was ridiculous. I don’t know how much it cost but I think it was around $13k. For a Bat Mitzvah. It was the fault of my parents as much as it was mine. My party was probably on the higher end of what my peers spent in my temple, but certainly not the highest. I wanted to have the reception at one venue that my parents deemed too expensive. Where’d all the money go? The venue and food, the DJ / band (yes I had a DJ AND Band at my Bat Mitzvah), the professional photographer, professional videographer, the outfit (though my dress wasn’t really that expensive compared to anything else), the party favors (I needed three colors on the custom t-shirts so that cost extra), the party planner, and who knows what else. With such a big family on both sides, a lot of people were invited, and many came. I didn’t know half the people at my party, but it was a party, and I enjoyed it (as much as an atheist girl can when she is celebrating the end of years of religious study.) 

Looking forward to my wedding day (even though I’m not even engaged yet), I know that I want to be frugal when it comes to the big day. But I’m also the type of girl that believes in going all out or not going at all. And I’m tempted not to go. At least when I was a kid at my Bat Mitzvah I was so ignorant. While that was awful for my parent’s finances, at least I could ENJOY the celebration, for what that’s worth. Knowing how much my wedding costs will make it tough for me to enjoy any of it. I’d elope except my mom would shoot me, so it looks like I’ll be forced to have a wedding.

According to I Will Teach You to Be Rich and the Wall Street Journal, the average wedding cost is $28,000. That’s the AVERAGE, people. I’m not surprised knowing how much parties cost, but I can’t imagine how so many people spend this much, especially when the majority of them are in debt.

When I watch Say Yes to the Dress, I’m amazed by how the lower-end buyers are looking for dresses that cost around $3,000. First of all, if I ever spend $3,000 on a dress it will NOT be white because God knows a white dress won’t be able to be worn twice (and a bridal gown can’t be worn twice anyway, unless you manage to have the Project Runway contestants makeover your dress into a modern frock.)

How can anyone spend $3,000 or more on a dress to be worn one day? I dream of finding a used designer gown that’s still in perfect condition so at least I’ll get a decent price on a nice gown, but really, I know designer gowns still cost more than what I’d like to spend on a dress. The most I’ve ever spent on a garment is $460, which was my $600 leather jacket on sale. And I wear that basically every day.

I’ve been eying the designer Maggie Sottero who has some lovely dresses that I could see wearing on my wedding day. I’m short and pear-apple shaped, so finding a dress that is flattering will be beyond difficult (I can’t pull off strapless unless I go on a serious diet)… I wish I could pull off a dress like this but with my waist that would just not look good. From what I can tell, this designer’s gowns run more like $1k – $2k, which is still more than I’d like to spend. Honestly, do I even need a wedding gown? Can’t I just get a nice prom dress and call it a day?

How much did you spend (or expect to spend) on your wedding dress (or wife’s wedding dress)? Was it in your budget, or did you spend more (or less) than you wanted to? Did you get your dress on sale, or full price? Were you happy with your purchase?

Everyone is Getting Married!

Is it just me, or is everyone getting married? I guess now is the age for white poofy dresses and walking down the aisle and saying I do. In a few weeks I’m flying out to my friend’s wedding back east. On Facebook I see messages of old classmates saying that they’re off to their honeymoons.

Me? Well, I’ve been dating the same guy for 3.5 years. But we’re not engaged. We’ve joked about getting married, I like to send him pictures of engagement rings I like, often with $1M+ diamonds in them, just for kicks. But we’re not seriously considering it any time soon.

I don’t feel ready to be a wife. But I wonder at what point in life I will feel ready, if ever. I also would love to be able to afford a nice wedding, and I have to figure out a way to be rich before that.

When did you get married or do you plan to get married? How did you know it was the right time for you? How old were you?

The Accidental Breadwinner: Some Women Have Their $hit Together

Thanks to The World of Wealth for pointing me to this fascinating NY Times article called The Accidental Breadwinner.”

Writer Karen Karbo details her three marriages, her long-ago dream to be taken care of by her breadwinner husband, and the reality of her making most of the dough in each of her marriages. She writes how a friend, whose husband made enough money to give her time off for a few years to “figure out her life” ended up with a cheating husband, stuck in a marriage in fear of now having enough money to live the life she’s become accustomed to.

Karbo poses the question, “Is it better for the longevity of a marriage if one party (usually the woman) feels financially trapped?”

Well, yes. Marriage, just like any other business relationship, tends to survive longer the more complicated it is to get out of. But that isn’t the kind of marriage I want to be in. Does it really take three marriages to get it right? Karbo sounds like she’s found happiness now, with split incomes and an unromantic agreement on who pays for what (including who pays for who’s kids.)

As I’ve written before, I’m worried about my current relationship because I’m the half of the duo motivated by money. That means my dreams of being the woman who works part time and takes care of the kids while my hubby brings home the bacon are all but dashed. Those dreams aren’t real anyway, but they certainly are, in the back of my mind, what I expected. That’s what happened to my mom. She went to school for fashion design and worked in the industry for 10 years, only to quit when I was born and become a housewife. And she’s always been afraid to leave my father because, like Karbo’s friend, she doesn’t want to also leave the life she’s grown accustomed to. The money she’s used to spending. Even if she did get a job, she’d likely be earning minimum wage. At 50 something years old, how many raises can one expect before retirement age approaches?

I refuse to get stuck in a marriage that’s destined for a situation like that. I’d rather be the breadwinner, accidental or predetermined. Still, my dream is a marriage where both parties bring in a sizable amount of income. My aunt and uncle are prime examples of that type of couple. The husband owns a one-man marketing firm, stays home, takes care of the kids, and still takes in six figures. The wife works as a marketing exec for a magazine, and also takes in six figures. Together, they own a nice house in a really nice neighborhood. That’s the kind of life I dream of. I can only hope that Mr. Sweetheart will realize that asking for raises is an expected and acceptable part of being in the workforce.

Regarding My Relationship

A few of you responded to my last post that I sound like I’m unhappy with my current relationship. After all, I’m jealous of my friend who has an engineer for a fiancee, who is paying for her house.

Yes, I am jealous. But I also have come to a point in my life where I know money isn’t everything. It isn’t even necessary for happiness.

I dated an attorney for 2 years. He was in law school when we first started going out. He claimed he wasn’t in it for the money, but he had a certain standard of living that it was clear he didn’t want to give up. He wanted to build on that. He now owns a nice 1.5 bedroom condo in a decent area of San Francisco. I broke up with him because he was too ambitious. He cared much more about his career than his relationship. There was a coldness about him too. Robotic, almost. He was in it, even more so, for the challenge of his job, the intellectual splendor of it.

A lot of people are like this. And I respect them. And some days I want to be dating them. But really, I know that’s not the life I can lead.

My current guy… despite lacking ambition… or being afraid of having ambition… is the sweetest man I have ever known. He’s truly a “good” guy. I love that we could spend an entire evening cuddling and watching old episodes of some series we’re trying to catch up on. Of course, the relationship isn’t perfect. I’d love if he would so much as ask for a raise at work, but he won’t. He lives at home, his mom has saved up enough to send him to grad school if he ever wants to go, so he doesn’t need to earn much. I’m his biggest cost… he buys me food every once in a while. Without me, he practically wouldn’t even have to work. He didn’t… for a year after he graduated college, he didn’t work. It took me nagging and him being annoyed at me nagging and me stopping nagging for him to get an internship and then finally a job.

So yea, that bugs me a bit. But it’s not like I’m Ms. Ambitious either. I’ve gotten “let go” more times than I can count because depression or anxiety got in the way. I happen to be doing… well, pretty good right now, but that can change at any moment. My lawyer boyfriend really looked down on me when I was going through a dark time in my life, when I wasn’t sure what I was doing with my life. My current bf, I know he doesn’t care whether I’m out there bringing in the bucks or just making ends meet. He loves me regardless. And I really do love him whether or not he makes $100k a year… or $25k.

I also am rational and know that one day, if I want to own a house or have a family, money matters. It feels like romance and a relationship should be different than the business partnership that is marriage. Yea, you’re super lucky if you get both, but I don’t like to mix my love life with business. It always ends badly.

Define Gold Digger.

Long before I was born, the term “gold digger” had not been coined. Instead, it was acceptable to pursue a significant other of reputable financial status. At that time, women of worth did not have to work, so gold digging was probably the hardest job they’d have their whole life, especially if the woman came from a lower class family. Always marry up.

(This post is largely about heterosexual relationships, though it can be applied to homosexual relationships as well… except since gays & bi’s in same-sex relationships can’t get married, the money issues become even more complex.)

In today’s world, gold digging has such a negative connotation. There are definitely different levels of gold digging…

1. Date only for the money. Go on some reality show about dating a millionaire. Expect your boyfriend to buy you everything. Luxurious trips. Spa treatments. Jewelery. Clothes. A car. A mansion. You name it, he’s paying.

2. Date because you like the guy, and because he happens to be successful. Well, you say you are attracted to him because he is successful, not because he has money, but… you know that’s not entirely the truth. Life is expensive, and although you may work and bring in significant dough yourself, you know that in the long run you will have a dual income household and that second income will either help you buy a house… or a teeny tiny condo… or keep renting your whole life, depending on how big that income is. You want stability, and a future. You’ll date a guy who makes a good salary over one who doesn’t any day.

3. You date whoever. You don’t care what they make. Still, you like it when they pay for your date every once in a while. You enjoy nice gifts. You’re happy with whatever gifts you get, yet still like to be spoiled a bit every once in a while. Like on your birthday. But you don’t care about the cost of living in the future and you figure if all else fails, you’ll take care of that on your own.


I’d say I’m more or less #3. Or a cross between 2 and 3.

Let me back up a bit. A few years ago, I started to date a law student. I dated him because he had a good personality and I liked the guy. We became good friends fast and eventually we decided to give it a go. During the relationship, he was a student and then a law clerk, so he wasn’t what you would call “rich.” But I found out that he covered his law school tuition thanks to mom and dad before even enrolling. So he had some spare cash to spend. After he started his life in the professional world of law, I was a poor intern making about minimum wage. But he wouldn’t so much as buy me a movie ticket. Eventually, I got tired of his stinginess (because I am a gold digger?) and decided to move on. There were other reasons I made that decision, but I felt like if he had the money, he should want to help his girlfriend out.

Now I’m dating a guy who will probably always be in the middle class, like me. There’s nothing wrong with being in the middle class. I love this guy more than anything, and I can see spending my life with him. He’s just getting started out on his career… and while he dreams of making gobs of money and considered going to law school for that reason, he is probably going to end up in a less profitable career. If he ever decides to go to grad school, his mother is footing the bill. If he doesn’t, that money exists for such things as… oh… a down payment on a house.

So… in the back of my mind, I still feel comfortable dating this guy because I know there’s money there. I’m not dating him because of his money, but it’s kind of a safety net… in case my own career doesn’t work out the way I plan.

Meanwhile, my earlier boyfriend, the lawyer (who is still my good friend) now takes in over $200k a year at 29. He owns a condo. He still lives frugally (he loves buying things on sale at the supermarket) and he’ll surely save up lots of money to buy a huge house one day.

Sometimes I think of what my life would be if I ended up with him. I know in my heart that would be the wrong choice, yet to give up a life of financial security (although I’d definitely have to earn enough to cover what I wanted in life, but at least things like house and food would likely be covered) is tough to give up for the sake of love.

We’re all taught that love is what we should be looking for. But when it comes down to it, life is about the survival of the fittest, and the survival of the richest. Healthcare… yea, get married to someone who has good healthcare if you want to freelance on your own. That will make your life affordable.

Money has to play a role in relationships. Otherwise it becomes a giant problem later. So many relationships dissolve because of money issues. It doesn’t even matter how much you have, what matters is how you decide to spend it.

What do you think about gold digging? Is it bad? Do you do it? How does money define your relationships?