Peer Pressure?

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seavixen

Ditz Extraordinaire
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My friends are a mixed bag. Most of the people I'm acquainted with, including those much younger than myself (I'm 29) have at LEAST one child. Most of them, however, are not married. Some are divorced. Some are dating. Some are single. The main three couples that my husband and I hang out with are: married, in the process of divorce, and engaged. Each couple has one child.

We're the only couple who does not, and does not ever intend, to have kids. This is both by choice and biology - while my doctor says I could conceive with a little medical help, I don't want to go through the emotional turmoil that would likely arise from that... failures, etc.; in addition, we are not at the financial level where children would be comfortably doable. There's also the whole we-don't-want-kids thing, because both of us are rather selfish and set in our ways, and we like all the nice, clean space in our house - and the sleep, privacy, and so forth. We like cooing at other people's kids, then going home to our baby/child-free home. ;)

I guess I have an easier out when people pressure me to procreate, because I can just pull the "I can't have kids" card. It's not NECESSARILY 100% true, but who knows? Maybe it is! I'm fine with it, and people seem to accept it more readily than, "No, we don't want kids." That seems like an invitation for people to ramble on and on about the joys and wonders of parenthood, which I have no interest in.

Neither of my parents have ever bothered me about marriage or babies. Since both of them have been married multiple times and lost children, I guess that makes sense.

It can be depressing to have people (hopefully unintentionally) make you feel inadequate for not having this and that already - but there's no rush. I got married when I was just shy of 24; at the time, I felt like I was on the verge of being an old maid. Now, when I hear that someone around that age is getting married, I cringe and think that they're too young! (And a lot of them are; it's very much an individual thing.)

If you get down about it, just take a look around at some of the people who DO have those things. How many are horribly in debt because they were not financially prepared, getting divorced, already divorced, fighting over custody, pawning their kids off on anyone they can get to watch them - etc.? Is that the rule? No, but it's true in MANY instances. Everyone has their own pace, and there's no shame in taking your time and being both choosy and responsible. :)

Oh, and about the other stuff? College and all that? You'd be amazed how many people don't follow the traditional educational/professional/life patterns, and are absolutely indistinguishable from everyone else. :) There's nothing to feel bad - or even "behind" - about. We all live our lives differently and do things at varying speeds - that's what makes it interesting.
 

Amatrix

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When I was younger I always thought I would be married and have a gaggle of kids...

Now at 25 I am really blessed.

It is great because I can spoil my nieces, nephews and such... and then send them home.

My sisters look at me, see my life... They always sigh and then say something like, "Maybe if you settled down you would see how tough life is..."

Of course I am much too selfish to ever have kids. I like being me and doing things my way. I also see my sister fighting with her husband, sleepless nights with sick kids, cleaning up after little people, sacrificing things for others, ect.

I like sleeping in, I like smoking pot. I like blowing 200 bucks on makeup in one night. If I had a child/children I am more then sure my outlook would be different- I mean this with a straight face: If I ever saw anyone's child in need I would do whatever it took to take care of them... but right now I am only responsible for myself and I like it that way. When my sisters need something, or just a day to relax- they know they can count on me for just some extra cash or to take them out for coffee and getting our nails done. They have a free babysitter too. The kids and husbands and things like that... all blessings for them. I am the only person I know in real life that has no kids, never been married or divorced. They seem to get a little jealous of my life, and I get jealous of theirs. I am the oldest sister, and it always is brought up with family I don't see often or with "friends" from high school.

Had a couple close calls in the marriage department. :happy: Escaped like a boss.

There are many paths in life, and it seems like others hear my biological clock louder then I do. I am busy listening to horrible dubstep and collecting massive amounts of makeup. I always have a funny story or some sort of life experience they can relate to, and even though our lives are vastly different- we share things in common. I am the one they talk to (about husbands who cant put the seat down, watch too much football, and never wash out the sink after shaving...), I am the one they share things with (new pictures of my nieces, new things the nieces can do, expecting more nieces/nephews, fears and joys of parenthood...) and I get to live those emotions through them while they get to live mine too (the struggle of being alone, the joy of being single, and getting packages in the mail from online shopping at 3 am...).

I might die like an old cat lady, alone but surrounded by cats... except the cats are jars of makeup and glitter. What a way to go though. ;)
 

CarlaSixx

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I guess I'm kinda that way with wigs. I don't have to pay for dates that suck, so I buy things I like or take myself out on a date instead.
 

Aust99

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A few people I went to school with are married now. Luckily most of my friend's aren't...yet. Most of them are in stable relationships and talking about their futures and I guess it does bother me a bit from time to time.

Just think of all the things they can't do now they're married or have kids. It's a lot of responsibility they you'll have for the rest of your life. Travel and see/do things that you personally want to do, party and be immature while you can :)
Honestly, it's not my "peers" giving me that kind of pressure, it's actually my family. I've never been serious enough with someone to do the whole "meet the fam" stuff, but my sister is serious enough with her boyfriend that they're talking about getting engaged and such. It's unspoken, but there's definitely a "what's wrong with kris" undertone, especially since i'm the older one.
These two posts sum up my stance on this... I'm not even sure I want kids.... but the pressure is there for sure.
 

MissAshley

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I'm 27 and I feel pressure from my family because I think they have expected me to be just like everyone else in the family. But I have always had different plans for my life. I want to graduate college, enjoy my 20s with the freedom of being unmarried and childless, pursue a pageant and modeling career, establish a good career, and celebrate my 30th birthday all before walking down the aisle or having kids.

I think family is slowly catching on that I am more of a careerist, but they still think 30 is on the old side of starting the marriage and kid thing. Oh well. If my body can take it, then that is good enough for me.
 

aocutiepi

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I come from the rural south, where there is still that expectation of women that "if you don't marry your high school sweetheart, you go to college and get the Mrs. degree." I am aware that it's 2011. Just the way it is. I was the first person in my family to go to college, male or female. I never had a high school sweetheart, I didn't even go on my first date until I was a senior in college at 21.

My little sister, on the other hand, got hitched a few months before she turned 20 to a man she met in college and before their first anniversary they had a baby. I love her more than words and my nephew is the light of my life... but her life is hard. She's trying to finish school and raise a baby and manage a household. I don't envy her that.

What I envy is how people think her life is more fulfilling and complete than mine, when really... they're just different. I graduated cum laude with my BA and just got accepted to pharmacy school... but the only questions people around here ask of me are, "When are you going to get married? How about kids? How does it feel that your little sister got married before you?"

It makes me want to stab something with a sharp object. It makes me feel like getting a freaking doctorate when no one in my family ever even had an associates is a worthless life pursuit. Apparently, I should just hitch my wagon to any old guy that walks by and pump out babies, because my life is incomplete and my degree won't keep me warm at night.

I sound bitter, I know. But my uncle, who has previously called me an old maid and a lesbian, said to me this weekend, "Have you ever even HAD a boyfriend?" Nope, nothing remarkable about me until I have a piece of jewelry on my finger and a baby on my hip.

I feel the pressure from EVERYWHERE. From all of my friends from high school who are married with kids to my friends from college who are getting hitched left and right... to my family. Where it's worst of all.

And the well meaning ones kill me, "Oh, you'll find him in pharmacy school!" Because that's the whole point of getting a doctorate. :doh:

So no matter what you are feeling, try to remember that just because those people feel that way, it doesn't make it some universal truth.
Good point. I need to find these people. I suppose I have a few female friends who feel the same way.

Honestly, it's not my "peers" giving me that kind of pressure, it's actually my family. I've never been serious enough with someone to do the whole "meet the fam" stuff, but my sister is serious enough with her boyfriend that they're talking about getting engaged and such. It's unspoken, but there's definitely a "what's wrong with kris" undertone, especially since i'm the older one.
Yep, that's pretty much how mine make me feel, too. Nail on the head. I get a lot of the "There's something wrong with Laura" vibe.
 

dan

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Anyone else feel this way?

I'm only 22, but many of the people I grew up with are either engaged/married, having kids, or both! It feels like I'm the only one who's not and I'm starting to feel pressured. It's really bothering me.

Anyone else feeling this way? Anyone else feel like even though they're young, their clock is ticking? How do you handle it?

I just wish I had something that could stop me from feeling like a failure because I'm not even close to having what they have, even though I want it.
For the girls, It is probably the Biological clock that adds alot of the pressure......At 22 you have LOTS of TIME....Enjoy every bit of energy of your youth...
 

NoWayOut

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I come from the rural south, where there is still that expectation of women that "if you don't marry your high school sweetheart, you go to college and get the Mrs. degree." I am aware that it's 2011. Just the way it is. I was the first person in my family to go to college, male or female. I never had a high school sweetheart, I didn't even go on my first date until I was a senior in college at 21.

My little sister, on the other hand, got hitched a few months before she turned 20 to a man she met in college and before their first anniversary they had a baby. I love her more than words and my nephew is the light of my life... but her life is hard. She's trying to finish school and raise a baby and manage a household. I don't envy her that.

What I envy is how people think her life is more fulfilling and complete than mine, when really... they're just different. I graduated cum laude with my BA and just got accepted to pharmacy school... but the only questions people around here ask of me are, "When are you going to get married? How about kids? How does it feel that your little sister got married before you?"

It makes me want to stab something with a sharp object. It makes me feel like getting a freaking doctorate when no one in my family ever even had an associates is a worthless life pursuit. Apparently, I should just hitch my wagon to any old guy that walks by and pump out babies, because my life is incomplete and my degree won't keep me warm at night.

I sound bitter, I know. But my uncle, who has previously called me an old maid and a lesbian, said to me this weekend, "Have you ever even HAD a boyfriend?" Nope, nothing remarkable about me until I have a piece of jewelry on my finger and a baby on my hip.

I feel the pressure from EVERYWHERE. From all of my friends from high school who are married with kids to my friends from college who are getting hitched left and right... to my family. Where it's worst of all.

And the well meaning ones kill me, "Oh, you'll find him in pharmacy school!" Because that's the whole point of getting a doctorate. :doh:
See, that makes no sense to me. I think your life is more fulfilling because you've achieved something with it. You did something that nobody in your family ever managed, and you have a chance to go further and really craft your life the way you want to live it.

I'm not trying to disparage motherhood, because it is a noble and challenging undertaking that takes a lot of work to do well, and I do respect those who choose that path. But, well, any woman with a functioning set of ovaries can become a wife and mother. Not just anyone, male or female, can earn a doctorate degree. To me, that's more impressive.
 

crosseyedhamster

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My sisters look at me, see my life... They always sigh and then say something like, "Maybe if you settled down you would see how tough life is..."
Ever shoot back with "maybe life is only tough because you settled down?" :D

Personally, I don't feel as much pressure to get married, and that's coming from being best man at my best friend's wedding this last July (Hint: we're a week apart, and only recently turned 22).

Far as having Kids, I've always kinda felt like the "Awesome Uncle" archetype: help kids out with important life lessons, show up and entertain the family on Christmas, do mah own thing 24/6.

Though at 22, I think taking the stance of "no, not interested in marriage or children" as a summary of where I am now is pretty reasonable.
 

thatgirl08

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I feel some pressure to get married and have kids. A little from family as I'm my parents only child, and I know my mom would really like me to give her grandchildren someday. And some from friends, especially my best friend who is in a serious relationship that will likely turn into marriage in the near future. Most of the pressure comes from within myself though.. I've only had one relationship I'd even venture to describe as serious and at this point that's fairly debatable. I get sick of people really easily so my relationships are generally short-lived and tumultuous. Worst part is I recently met someone who I really like, and who I get along with really well, but he's unwilling to commit to being official boyfriend/girlfriend. :rolleyes: maybe I just have bad luck. I worry I'll never find someone I like enough to even consider marrying, and being a single parent doesn't really appeal to me but I'm not completely ruling it out either. I just worry about being alone forever.
 

KingColt

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You´re 22. Twenty. Two. Sit back, relax, give it a couple of years to watch all the young parents and married couples turn miserable, then laugh at them.
 

thatgirl08

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You´re 22. Twenty. Two. Sit back, relax, give it a couple of years to watch all the young parents and married couples turn miserable, then laugh at them.
Not all young couples/parents become miserable. Everyone finds happiness in different ways. Nothing wrong with being single/childfree at 22, and nothing wrong with NOT being that either.
 

rellis10

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There's a bit of pressure. Even as early as 23 I keep seeing more and more friends settling down, getting married and some having kids. The biggest reminder is my twin brother, who has settled down with his long-term girlfriend... so there is a bit of a reminder in that there's such a contrast in our lives.

I try not to pay it too much attention though. The right time for me to settle down will be the time I find the right person. If and when that happens, THAT'S the time, not some arbitrary date/time in my life.
 

KHayes666

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3 years ago I watched as one friend after another got married, engaged or were in long term relationships....I was openly mocked, ridiculed and called a variety of unpleasant names by people in the community who were in relationships. I put peer pressure on myself to get married or find the right one this very second and it backfired on me time after time. I didn't "click" with certain girls and I either was too young or too old (yes, an ancient 22/23 at the time)or I was a "creep".

Then I finally met my sweetheart without changing one damn thing about me that everyone thought was creepy, cruel, weird, etc and wouldn't ya know it, the pressure was gone.

3 years later I'm engaged to a wonderful woman while some of the people that ridiculed me when I was single were dumped, divorced or broke up with whoever they conned into dating them. Maybe there is such thing as karma after all.
 

MadLordOfMilk

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It's a mixed bag for me. I have friends ready to settle down, friends planning on grad school after their undergrad... really, it comes down to the person. That being said, I think most of my friends are focused on school currently over relationships and whatnot. We'll see if that changes over the next few years. :)
 

capra

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I don't feel any pressure about it at all. I'm 24 and a fair number of my high school friends are married and/or have children. I find it sad, to be quite honest. Most of my friends from college are still single or are in relationships that may go somewhere, but they aren't superstressed about the timing.
 

J34

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I don't feel any pressure about it at all. I'm 24 and a fair number of my high school friends are married and/or have children. I find it sad, to be quite honest. Most of my friends from college are still single or are in relationships that may go somewhere, but they aren't superstressed about the timing.
Same thing here. I started seeing quite a bit of people getting married, and so young. I guess everyone has their own internal clock. I guess maybe its just me, but I'd rather get my career off the ground and my life in order before I start settling down. I've seen guys I have gone to school with 2 kids at this point and only a high school diploma under their belts. How do they expect to raise these kids? Its expensive!

Its interesting to note how fast some things in life come at you. The transition from high school, and being a kid to college and an adult. Granted some people know what they've wanted to major on for at least 10yrs (me:happy:). Though there is quite a large number of young adults, who don't know what to do with themselves and start having kids at a young age. Sorry to digress from the topic, perhaps I'll start another thread.
 

paperman921

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In response to Aocutiepie, it's ironic because you would be the model member in my family. Education was always first, and it had been assumed everyone in my family would receive their college degree. I think my parents want me to have a financially stable life, before I try to start a family.
 
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