Why Women Who Want to Have Kids Should Date Seriously In Their Early 30’s

Why Women Who Want to Have Kids Should Date Seriously In Their Early 30's

Longtime friend and EMK blog reader, Amy Klein, has carved out a place for herself on the internet as a fertility expert, due to her frustrations with conceiving and carrying her own child. She has written extensively for the New York Times Motherlode blog about her travails, and has recently contributed this extraordinarily important piece to Aeon Magazine.

The premise? “Women in their 30s and 40s exhibit a mix of wishful thinking and woeful ignorance when it comes to their fertility. Why?”

Great question. And Amy is far better equipped to answer it than I am. By way of personal anecdote, I remember being in Toronto, where I was auditioning for a TV show where I’d be coaching women, and meeting a 43-year-old woman who was a personal trainer. Very cute, very fit, very ignorant when it came to biology. She claimed to want to have her own children, but didn’t see the need to rush things because she was “in great shape”. I paused, incredulous, looking for a sign she was kidding.

She wasn’t.

“You know that just because you’re in great shape doesn’t mean your ovaries are, as well?”

She didn’t.

Which brings us to Amy’s article, in which she validates my experience with a study:

“A 2011 study in Fertility and Sterility surveyed 3,345 childless women in Canada between the ages of 20 and 50; despite the fact that the women initially assessed their own fertility knowledge as high, the researchers found only half of them answered six of the 16 questions correctly. 72.9 per cent of women thought that: ‘For women over 30, overall health and fitness level is a better indicator of fertility than age.’ (False.)”

If you want to have your own biological children, you are better off taking your love life seriously in your early thirties, instead of putting off dating until your late 30’s.

Maybe I know more because I married a 39-year-old woman who suffered from two miscarriages, two chemical pregnancies, a fibroid surgery and two consultations at fertility clinics before bearing two healthy children at age 41 and 43. But we’re the anomaly – even though we didn’t go the in-vitro-fertilization route. Cites Klein:

“For a woman over 42, there’s only a 3.9 per cent chance that a live birth will result from an IVF cycle using her own, fresh eggs, according to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). A woman over 44 has just a 1.8 per cent chance of a live birth under the same scenario, according to the US National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Women using fresh donor eggs have about a 56.6 per cent chance of success per round for all ages.”

All is not lost, of course. I’ve written previously about this heartening study, that illustrates that a woman in her late 30’s has nearly the same chance of getting pregnant as a woman ten years younger – over the course of a calendar year:

“With sex at least twice a week, the study found, 82 per cent of 35-to-39-year-old women conceived within a year, compared with 86 per cent of 27-to-34-year-olds. ‘In our data, we’re not seeing huge drops until age 40,’  said Anne Steiner, an associate professor at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine.”

But there is a serious drop off at age 40, one that should not be ignored. I’ve talked to lots of women who are convinced that egg-freezing is going to save their dreams, but they’ve largely been sold a bill of goods by the doctors. Yes, it’s better than nothing, but, according to Klein’s piece: “At 35, you have 20‑30 per cent chance of your frozen eggs creating a baby in the future, using IVF. At 42, it is 3.9 per cent.”

I’m not one of those guys who thinks that you should go to college to look for your husband. Statistics suggest that these marriages are fragile due to the inexperience and immaturity of both members. However, if you want to have your own biological children, as pointed out by Lori Gottlieb in “Marry Him” and so many others, you are better off taking your love life seriously in your early thirties, instead of putting off dating until your late 30’s. Not only have a lot of good men been snatched up by then, but a good percentage of the remaining ones who want to be fathers will be aware of these statistics and pass up women their own age.

This isn’t a scare tactic. This is biology. This is reality. Let’s all pay attention instead of trying to pretend that the inconvenient truth isn’t actually true.

Your thoughts, below, are greatly appreciated.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    allison

    As a nurse I see this frequently. Sometimes moms of advanced maternal age (35 and older) have easy pregnancies and deliveries, while other women struggle to get pregnant or stay pregnant. In general I recommend women to start having children before 35. Actually where I live (west tx) we have mostly young moms anywhere from 14 to 23….depends where you live I guess. I’m only 23 but I plan on having a baby by 30.

    1. 1.1
      Clare

      Just hope you’re not suggesting that having kids between the ages of 14 and 23 is desirable…

      1. 1.1.1
        Johnny D

        I doubt she is, but there are studies that note that having kids starting around 20 lowers caner risks.  

        And we wonder why people weren’t dying of cancer back, then…and it’s evidently not because we are living longer than ever before.   

  2. 2
    Holly CJ

    A few blog posts back, there was a lively discussion I participated in where I strongly stressed that women should be looking for life partners in their late 20s instead of starting to seriously date in their early 30s. My main concern was infertility especially when starting to try in their late 30s. I was accused of being disingenuous, distorting the numbers, that late 20s women were too immature etc etc etc. I was wondering why Evan then did not realize late 30s and popping out a baby by 40 is a toss of the dice, especially when his own wife was of advanced maternal age. Unfortunately, what he just described above for his wife is not unusual. Fertility does not fall off a cliff at 40, unfortunately even in your 30s its a toss up.
    Yes, too many women are wearing blinkers when it comes to their own fertility…and that included me in my 20s. I wish I knew all these facts earlier, I would have gotten way more serious about my dating life even earlier. Now I have friends in their early 30s talking about egg freezing and I am facing infertility of my own and I am only 33. Between spending a ton of money on fertility drugs and desperately trying to find a partner in my early thirties, if you start taking your love life seriously mid to late 20s you won’t have to worry about the biological clock as much.

    1. 2.1
      Johnny D

      I was accused of being disingenuous, distorting the numbers, that late 20s women were too immature etc etc etc. 
      ===

      That’s unfortunate, but the truth hurts…others.  As I’ve seen noted elsewhere, a dumb 20-year old won’t become a rocket scientist at 35.  

      That aside, even waiting until early 30s is silly.  Toss in a few years of getting to know someone and you’re no better off.

      Most women don’t date down in terms of income.  As a woman, you’d have th rest of your life to work after the kids are able to make their own sandwiches when they get home from school.  If you want kids, college in the early 20s ain’t that important.   

      1. 2.1.1
        Clare

        Johnny D

        “a dumb 20 year old won’t become a rocket scientist at 35”

        It’s not intelligence that people are talking about. That changes very little over the course of a person’s life. It’s maturity, life experience, relationship skills… You are a very different person at age 35 than you were at age 20, or at least you should be. You’ve lived, you’ve learnt, you’ve mellowed out, you’ve smoothed off some of the rough edges. It is well documented that many people find themselves going through MAJOR personal growth around age 30.

  3. 3
    Angie

    Here is a post I have a bit of an issue with. I didn’t think I wanted kids and then in my late 20s, the guy I was with was all wrong. The next guy I dated from 29-31 freaked out and ran two weeks after HE suggested living together (and I’m glad he did father kids with me). The only reason I ever wanted kids is because I wanted to expand upon the relationship and imagined my children being 50% of those particular exes. I don’t simply want children, and it’s inconceivable now that I’m single. I think it’s a desire that stemmed from romantic love, and not simply a desire. I would love to feel that way again, but I’m not delusional to not understand my own aging (now 33) year old body, but I’d rather find the right romantic partner than just settle down to have kids. I also find these articles in poor taste. Are people really that naive to the science of fertility? No. And yet, these arricles portray women as deliberately pushing off pregnancy bc they are naive to science instead of what is true for me: parenthood is a desire only in the context of a way of creating life and joining forces to raise a child within a happy relationship.

    1. 3.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      “Are people really that naive to the science of fertility? No.”

      You may not be, but others are. Read the article.

    2. 3.2
      Masha

      I am so glad you  wrote this post!

  4. 4
    Henriette

    I will add a few points:

    – I hope that men, too, will get serious about dating & marriage in their 30s. (I realise this blog is written for women, so I’m not chastising Evan for not addressing men)

    I know several lovely ~ truly, lovely ~ men who didn’t want to settle down until they believed they could take care of a wife & kids. They were not players but rather serious, hard-working guys who buckled down and finally, in their late 40s/ early 50s had achieved a level of success where they felt okay about being able to provide financially and emotionally for a family.

    But guess what? Most healthy, well-adjusted women in their early-30s don’t want much-older husbands. Most of the significantly younger women who are willing to date these fellows are interested in “lifestyle” (read: money) and/or have daddy issues (yes, I know there are exceptions, but they are relatively rare). So, sadly, the dollars these guys spent decades accruing ends up going to alimony & child support for ex-wives and children they only get to see two weekends/ month. And/or, it goes to taxes for welfare to support those 14 year-old moms mentioned in response #1, above. I genuinely feel bad for these guys and I hope future generations of these fellows will also get the “marry in your 30s” memo.

    – I think plenty of women do try to date seriously in their early 30s but there’s just a dearth of suitable men. Most of my friends and I who are still-single in our mid-40s knew that our fertility was about to “fall off a cliff” but who did we meet? There were the “delayed adolescent” guys: still taking money from their parents, spending on cool clothes and dreaming of a perfect career (while only actually working sporadically). And there were the alphas who had their pick of women, spent all their time at the office and weren’t particularly patient, kind people. “Nice guys with balls”… and steady jobs!… are few and far between at any age, I’m afraid. So while we can tell women to find husbands when they’re in their early 30s, let’s not forget that it’s not necessarily an easy feat.

    – I believe that most of Evan’s clients are women in the late 30s- 50s age bracket. So, while this information is valid and should be passed along to our younger friends/ daughters, where does it leave those of us who are no longer in our child-bearing years? “A lot of good men have been snatched up” – truth! And there weren’t so many good men, to begin with!

    1. 4.1
      Skaramouche

      This is speaking only from my own experience and what I see around me but I do feel that starting to become serious in your 30s is still too late because as others have mentioned, it is a game of chance. If you start at 31, you may be lucky enough to find someone right away, date for a couple of years, best case, marry at 33 or 34. That means starting to have kids right away if you want 2 so that you can be finished child bearing by 37 or so. I suppose you could delay a bit and finish by 40 but from what I understand, even though it’s very possible to have healthy children after 35, the risk of failure/birth defects increases significantly with every year. This is the best possible case.

      In a more likely scenario, starting at 31 will mean a few years of looking and being 35 or 36 before marriage is a reality (if that is important). Most couples in my group of friends and acquaintances have found (intentionally or not) their partners in their mid to late 20s (around 26 or 27). These couples were married between 30 and 32 and time is on their side! I understand that not everyone has the financial stability or what-have-you to follow this timeline. Ultimately, it’s about when you feel you have finished “growing” and are ready to think about settling down. Doing this in your 30s is not impossible but I feel that it is more fraught with risk than starting in your late 20s.

      1. 4.1.1
        Holly CJ

        I totally agree. If you start in your early 30s you’re pretty much putting all your eggs in one basket. Its risky at that point. One of my friends got engaged in her late 20s, it did not work out. She still had her early 30s to date around and find someone. If you’re in your early 30s and you want to have kids by the time you are 35, it that guy you’re dating is a dud, that window of opportunity narrows. If you seriously look in your late 20s, there’s more time, because you never know whether the guy you’re dating is the right partner.

        1. Holly CJ

          Another comment: Guys can be duds at any age (as can be women). Be it late 20s, early 30s, 40s, a girl has to ruthlessly sort through all of them to find a suitable partner. Finding a husband at any age may not be an easy feat, but it can be done. Its wedding season currently and I’ve been invited to a ton of weddings, so obviously there are eligible men out there who will commit. Its better when a girl gives herself a head start to get there.

        2. Henriette

          “obviously, there are eligible men out there who’ll commit…” I remember thinking the same thing when I was in my late 20s and attending lots of weddings. But I guess it depends on how you define eligible. People willing to wed and have kids? That’s not so hard to find, in one’s 20s. Emotionally healthy; willing & able to financially support himself (not just now but for decades into the future); addiction-free; kind; good communication skills; desire to work on the marriage through the hard times…? Not easy, at all.

          Granted, it’s not simple to find good partners in one’s 30s, 40s or beyond, either, but by then, most people have matured a bit and learned from their experience. A LOT of growth takes place between 25 and 30.

      2. 4.1.2
        LIsannez

        I did date seriously in my late 20s and 30s, but if you read a lot of what Evan writes my downfall could have been dating men my own age, I probably should have dated a bit older. Most of the men did not want to commit and were game players.   As a woman of 38 I now run into men who are in their mid to late 40s as you suggest and they all the sudden want two or three kids and correct they cannot get women in their early 30s because to them it was just plain creepy.  But these are the same guys that turned down women their own age who would have made great partners in their early 30s because they were not ready.    At 38 many of these men will settle for women my age but they too have unrealistic expectations for child bearing, and even their own fertility.   Several of my female friends had husbands who were in their mind 40s and it was them that was the issue, not the woman.   I had come to accept around about age 35 that I may never have my own children and I was okay with that.

    2. 4.2
      LM

      This is all great advice, and I hope that there are some early 30 something women out there who will read the blog and heed this advice.
      I highly recommend “Marry Him”, as a 38 year old who missed the marriage and kids boat.
      I was seriously dating for marriage in my early 30s, but got involved with the wrong man, who said all the right things about wanting to settle down and have kids, but ultimately was the wrong match and I am glad that I did not have children with him.

      I recall my dating experiences in my early thirties in the Miami area – it was not a hot market for a pretty but flat chested, unflashy intellectual tomboy like myself. There were times when I wished I was in the south or midwest, where men seemed more normal and down to earth in their expectations. It was hard, and I had finally met someone I thought was “the one” back in 2007.

      In truth, timing is important, as is location and circumstance. I remember distinctly when things were starting to become rough in my relationship with the guy I thought was marriage material, it was 2008. The bottom was about to fall out of the market and many of my acquaintances would lose their jobs. Cracks were forming in my relationship with “marriage material man” who was “perfect on paper.” There was a guy I had been friendly with who had shown interest in me. I remember the stress I was under as I worked diligently to cling to my job, as my house were suddenly worth less than 1/2 of what I owed and foreclosure seemed likely. I has clinged to “marriage material man” even though I was starting to wonder about his marriage timeline. The 2008-2010 recession – which was particularly trying for my industry – made me hold more tightly to that relationship.

      Point of my ramble – be kind to yourself, for many circumstances have been influential on your love life. It’s not as though you can conjure up Mr. Right because you’re on a deadline. Love and dating is not a logical process, especially with all the influential outside factors – economic, locational and personal.

      I am not giving up, and I am diligently trying to implement the principles Evan espoused in “Marry Him” – not eliminating men without giving them a few dates for chemistry to develop, casting a wider net, and reconsidering my “deal breakers.” That said, it’s difficult at this age. Many men in their late 30s – early 40s are recently divorced, and not looking to settle down. Not-yet-married men in that age group are often looking for younger women, and will find them, as my ex did with me. But I continue on, and my reading EMK is evidence of that. 🙂

    3. 4.3
      Joe

      I think plenty of women do try to date seriously in their early 30s but there’s just a dearth of suitable men.

      [snip]

      blah blah blah

      No, you’re just too picky.

      1. 4.3.1
        Henriette

        Hahahahahaahaaaaaaaah @Joe. So, you’re telling me that there are a wealth of nice-guys-with-balls in their early 30s, all looking to settle down with smart, kind women their own age who don’t look like supermodels? I wonder where they were all hiding when I was hunting…?

        1. ted

          There definitely are. The open question it’s if they’re near you.

          This is a good article and I wish more women would realize that they can’t be infinitely picky if they want kids.

          Around here the women are players that don’t want to settle down despite many options. I have an increasingly hard time feeling sorry for the ones that procrastinated and either have to settle for somebody bad or don’t get to have kid at all.

      2. 4.3.2
        Tom10

        @ Henriette #4
        “I think plenty of women do try to date seriously in their early 30s but there’s just a dearth of suitable men”

        @ Joe #4.3
        “blah blah blah…No, you’re just too picky”

        I actually think you’re both right. I think there are more women in their early 30s who want to get married to “suitable men”, than there are men in their early 30s who want to get married to “suitable women”.

        So, by default, the fact that there is a dearth of suitable men, means that women will be forced to lower their pickiness. Or not.

        I say that as a guy in my early 30s still waiting for my supermodel. Sigh. Will I ever get one/grow up?

        1. Henriette

          Ahhh, @Tom10… always the voice of reason 🙂

          I do have a number of friends who decided to be “less picky” in their late 20s/ early 30s. These include… M wed the life of the party who she hoped would calm down; C had her spendthrift fiance set up a budget and 5-year career plan; H figured their sex life would improve with time. Well, the first is in mid-divorce from/ figuring out shared custody with an angry alcoholic; the second husband has only held a job for 3 out of the 16 years they’ve been married; and the last couple were intimate twice in 2014 and not yet in 2015. Now I know that Evan asks us to be less picky ONLY ON THE THINGS THAT DON’T REALLY MATTER ~ like a guy’s height or if he’s quiet and confident vs Alpha ~ and I totally agree with this advice; clearly these friends compromised on the wrong traits. But they did so because they wanted biological children and certainly didn’t see a lot of “nice guys with balls and jobs” to pick from.

    4. 4.4
      Johnny D

      Most of the significantly younger women who are willing to date these fellows are interested in “lifestyle” (read: money) and/or have daddy issues (yes, I know there are exceptions, but they are relatively rare).
      ===

      Do you have proof of this?  It seems that only in the west that women have hangups over this.  Why?   

    5. 4.5
      Vika

      AMEN to what Henrietta said!!! Most of us try from early on to find a suitable partner but this is extremely hard to find. Think of the ratio of men to women in a place like NYC as well as OTHER factors!!! Does Evan think it’s THAT easy???  Raising children is very hard alone but should THAT be an alternative?

  5. 5
    SAL9000

    Meh, waiting till you’re ready >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> sticking to a forced timeline esp. considering there’s always adoption.

    1. 5.1
      Carrie

      Not everybody wants to adopt. Some people want part of them to still be here once they are gone. Also, adoption is easier said than done. You can pass everything that goes into adoption with flying colors and still don’t get the kid.

    2. 5.2
      Johnny D

      Are you paying for these adoptions?  You know that they are not cheap, right?

  6. 6
    MilkyMae

    Getting in shape or being in shape is a great lifestyle to live. However, I know quite a few people who seem to delude themselves when it comes to physical fitness. They seem to think it buys them more time or more choices in life. It helps to be in-shape but endorphins and flat abs seem to give people a feeling of invincibility.
    Also, she is a trainer so she probably has audience of female clients who are in awe of her. Some of her clients may even be out of shape young mothers who got pregnant without even trying. I can see how the urge gets confused with reality.

    1. 6.1
      Sass

      True. There is a legitimate link between obesity and infertility at any age, but it’s not like running marathons into your 40s will somehow prolong your most fertile years. Which is really the issue here.

      1. 6.1.1
        Johnny D

        Right.  I have a friend who tried to have her first child at 28.  She is a runner and very fit.  She miscarried.  She has one kid at 30 and has a masters degree to pay for, too.  She also is run ragged with a full day of work and the kid.  Studies have shown that younger women have more energy to deal with childrearing.  

  7. 7
    Karin

    The health risks of having an abnormal baby greatly increase each year after 35 when a woman’s eggs become less viable. Do young people today think of that? I know a woman in her mid-forties who gave birth to a Down syndrome baby.

  8. 8
    Naomi

    I’m not sure how helpful this type of information actually is. Meeting the right perskn

  9. 9
    Sunflower

    I think what people would like to happen in their lives on the schedule that society dictates should and what actually unfolds can be two entirely different scenarios. I had my child at 19 and dated up a storm hoping to have more children in my 20’s and meet a nice guy. Did it happen? No, and it wasn’t for lack of trying. It just didn’t happen.

    1. 9.1
      Skaramouche

      I’m sorry for your experience :(. Young as you were, it should have been entirely possible for you to find someone new and settle down again. I will, however, argue that you are an edge case. A child complicates matters. Your competition was all the other young women who didn’t have children and whose time was entirely their own. Sadly, no matter how amazing you are, when a 20 something is faced with the choice of someone with a young child vs. no child, there’s a good chance he will pick the woman without the child. I’m not sure how early you revealed this fact to men but I imagine that it was difficult to even get out of the gate and you may have missed chances with nice guys who went chose the no children route.

      I hope now that your child is older, your luck has turned!

    2. 9.2
      Johnny D

      Well, unless you have a mental case for a babydaddy, no guy wants that specter looming over their shoulders unless they have no options.  I bet you weren’t trying to date bottom feeders…

  10. 10
    Kelly

    While I agree with all the statistics and this is a very rational argument, the writer also assumes that women “choose” not to have serious relationships at the right time. I know many women who did have serious relationships at the “right time,” and for one reason or another, divorce, break-ups, etc. happened. So they were left to date, and then had a struggle because of that ticking time clock.
    But I do know that we can’t control our own timelines for love. I could have had a baby or “chosen” to be serious with any man who came along “at the right time” – but this is foolish thinking.
    I say this as a stepmother (happily married) who has seen the damage divorce and break-ups do to children. Just because you want kids and your biology dictates you should do so by a certain age, doesn’t mean that the kids won’t suffer if you have chosen your partner based on a timeline. It doesn’t work in the long run if the connection isn’t real, or if anything is forced by a timeline. It would be great if everything fell into place at exactly the right time in the right way, but as we know, life is messy. Relationships and motherhood are messy. Decide to be partners when you both want to move forward together, at your own pace.

  11. 11
    Sass

    I hope someday that egg freezing becomes a more affordable option and one that young women are presented with more often. But I do get tired of the issue being presented as one of young women just being too selfish to settle down. Some women were lucky enough to meet the right guy while they were young. Some of us were not so lucky. I’m 39. There are some days where I wish, and I mean really wish I were a mother. But if I had the choice between having a child with the wrong person and all of the issues that come with that, and never being a mother, I’ll take the latter.

    1. 11.1
      Johnny D

      But I do get tired of the issue being presented as one of young women just being too selfish to settle down

      This is usually the case, though.  Most women get hit on by tons of guys while working their job answering phones all day.  

      Egg freezing may get cheaper, but that doesn’t mean the eggs get any younger.   

  12. 12
    LC

    Duh. Women need to have children early. Well, I’ve looked for love since I was 17 years old, and I have never met one guy who truly loved me and meant what he said to me. Now at age 39, I realize it is almost over for me. I’m so sick of hearing how women need to be serious. Men know they have forever to screw every woman they can manage to, and so they just keep it moving. It’s not our faults that men are not men anymore. My grandmother and mother never had to deal with the hook up culture we live in. Men respected them and asked them for marriage. Is a lot of this women’s faults for making sex cheap? Yes. But even those of us who haven’t slept around suffer for it. Are the divorced laws very punitive against men? Yes, and that makes it even harder to find a willing partner in this life.

    1. 12.1
      Johnny D

       Men know they have forever to screw every woman they can manage to, and so they just keep it moving.
      ===

      LOL.  Most “average” guys just hope not to have to date a fat woman or a single mother with multiple babydaddies.   

  13. 13
    lenac

    I really don’t understand this concept of “taking your love life seriously”. We as women are biologically wired to look for a long-term partner, 99% of women would love to be in a long-term relationship since they first start noticing boys at puberty, but for some reason those male writers portray all women based on the 1% that don’t. I took my love life seriously since my first boyfriend at the age of 19. I am 30 now and some relationships I had were with wrong people, some dates were flakes, some good people I just grew apart with, most broke up with me does it mean I “didn’t take my love life seriously”? Not a bloody chance, I genuinely thought I was dating The One back then, with every relationship I had. It does sometimes have years of experience and a few mistakes to start distinguishing genuinely good men from smooth-talkers but please don’t vilify women. We are not “playing around in our early 20s because we have the power of youth and beauty”, that’s a ridiculously narrow-minded male perspective.

  14. 14
    Lisbeth

    I think this piece of advice is very bad and misleading for women. We should take our romantic/ sexual lives damn seriously starting with our EARLY 20s. I am a 39 yo woman who bought into the feminist propaganda that I had enough time for a family, that I can have it all, that quality, family-oriented men will find me equally attractive in my late 30s, based on my accomplishments and intelligence, as they found me when I was young and very pretty…

    Now, most truly desirable, attractive, intelligent men my age are interested in beautiful women in their late 20s. Honestly, I don’t blame them. If I had been a man, I would have done the same thing. We all want the most desirable partners we can find.

    I am not bitter towards men. Not at all. But I’ve started to hate with all my heart the big lie that says that men and women are the same, that our fertility is the same, that we are attracted to the same things. The biggest, most absurd lie in human history that says that gender is only a social construct. I started to hate feminism with a passion that the worst mysoginists couldn’t truly comprehend…

    I just wish I was told the whole truth about men, women, the human nature and attraction when I was 19 yo. Now it’s too late…

    1. 14.1
      Pat

      I think we all wish we had taken our romantic lives more seriously when we are younger, but hindsight is always 20/20. You need to be kind to yourself and remember that <25yo, you (most of us) were still figuring ourselves out. Still growing, learning, making mistakes. At 39, it's not too late. You can still meet a good man with a good heart. You can still start a family (conventionally or not). Don't give up!

    2. 14.2
      Sheila

      “Now, most truly desirable, attractive, intelligent men my age are interested in beautiful women in their late 20s. Honestly, I don’t blame them. If I had been a man, I would have done the same thing. We all want the most desirable partners we can find.”

      NO! This is what’s known as a ‘limiting belief’
      A) they are not all interested in beautiful women in their 20s
      B) ?most desirable? Eh? How far does that take you.? To get a good solid partnership that lasts you need more qualities than desirability. Looks and hotness are only part of the picture,
      I can’t believe the shallowness that’s exhibited by some of the respondents here ! Grow up children ..

      1. 14.2.1
        Johnny D

        Yeah, part of desirability is what you bring to the table in a relationship yourself.

        Take a minute and take a look at the selfie posing future cat women on POF.  Really.  Find me one that makes ONE SINGLE MENTION of what she brings to a relationship, rather than a list of demands on any guy who has a drunken moment and dates one of them.  

        Now you know why they are having to use the internet to find a man.  ANY man. 

    3. 14.3
      Johnny D

      What you found out the hard way was that desirable men have their own careers and don’t need a woman for that–otherwise, they wouldn’t be desired.  

      Like any relationship, we want what we can’t bring ourselves.  Like a family and a loving wife.  

      It’s too bad that you bit on that hook, because it’s truly common sense.   

  15. 16
    amydk

    as the writer of the original article (and a big fan of EMK) I advocate learning about your own fertility (the dating and marriage conclusions are Evans) and just finding out the state of your own fertility between 30-35 so you know what your options are….are you sub-fertile? Shoud you freeze your eggs (it’s getting less and less expensive). Should you have a baby on your own?
    As someone who didn’t meet her husband till she was 39 — and didn’t get married till 41 — I can’t say that people *should* find someoone earlier (I wish I had!), but at least be on top of your own body and know your options, no matter when you meet Mr Right.

  16. 17
    Stacy

    Although I am divorced (surely that is never ideal), I am SO glad I got kids out the way and don’t have this pressure.*sighs* I am 37 now and couldn’t imagine how difficult it is for a woman who knows she has but a small window but desires a family.

    Interestingly enough, I don’t share the view that good men (the pickings) are quite slim. I seem to meet a good bit of these gents (and I am a minority) so I am not sure what gives? I will say that finding a good man isn’t hard, for me, it’s finding one who is good AND who I would like to eventually take my clothes off for is the harder feat. But, that’s a bit off topic.

    In any event, I agree with the sentiment of Evan’s post. If you wait too long, time has a way of creeping up and surpassing what is physically possible so start early (I would think at least mid to late 20s).

    1. 17.1
      Henriette

      There are no easy answers. Sure, someone marrying in her early 20s is more likely to get pregnant easily than someone in her late 30s. However, she’s also more likely to drag those children through a divorce, too, and children of divorce are more likely to divorce themselves and that “25 percent of the adults whose parents had divorced experienced serious social, emotional or psychological troubles compared with 10 percent of those whose parents remained together” (Scientific American).

      You can focus on marrying early to someone who mightn’t be the right partner for you and put yourself at high risk of divorce or you can wait until you’re more mature and meet someone who could be a great life partner and risk missing your fertility window and finding that the right guy never appears. These are all considerations that deserve thought.

      1. 17.1.1
        Stacy

        Henriette,

        According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics:
        “About 85 percent of the NLSY79 cohort married by age 46, and among those who married, a sizeable fraction, almost 30 percent, married more than once. The bulk of marriages occurred by age 28, with relatively few marriages taking place at age 35 or older. Approximately 42 percent of marriages that took place between ages 15 and 46 ended in divorce by age 46. ”

        The article goes on and on. But, I believe a higher divorce rate is tied closer to education more than age. I would also surmise that the idea that someone who comes from divorce is more psychologically ‘at risk’/less emotionally healthy is a bunch of hogwash. If that were the case, most of us would be quite messed up. It’s how the parents deal with things in spite of divorce that determines success in my opinion. My parents were married and I prayed for them to get a divorce because they did not get along but I digress. Of course, two parents who love each other and stay married is ideal, but it’s also more rare that this happens in a lifetime.

        But back to the original post, there is a cost to waiting too long for a woman. If you marry in your late 20s, that is enough time to find the right partner and hopefully not end up divorced. However, divorce is not a death sentence and certainly aren’t for my children (whose father is quite involved and we currently have no conflict).

        1. Henriette

          @Stacy, you quoted stats that show at what age most marriages occur. How does this impact this conversation, other than to demonstrate that most people marry young? You assert that divorce rates are linked to education level but nothing in your stats supports that. Based on what Evan has told us in past posts, BOTH age & education impact likelihood of divorce.

          I am glad that your children made it through your divorce unscathed. If your experience leads you to assume that Scientific American’s assertions are “a bunch of hogwash” then so be it. To me, the discovery that children of divorce are two and a half times more likely to have problems as adults than children of in-tact marriages gives pause for thought. There are other studies, of course… Eg. “In a review article in 2003, psychologists Joan B. Kelly of Corte Madera, Calif., and Robert E. Emery of the University of Virginia concluded that the relationships of adults whose parents’ marriages failed do tend to be somewhat more problematic than those of children from stable homes. For instance, people whose parents split when they were young experience more difficulty forming and sustaining intimate relationships as young adults, greater dissatisfaction with their marriages, a higher divorce rate…” etc.

          Finally, I already acknowledged that there is a potential “cost to waiting too long for a woman”… (as there is for a man, for that matter) so I’m not sure why you restated a point I already made. Evan has tried valiantly throughout his site to strike the balance between arguing that women shouldn’t marry too young and that love can happen at any age with the truth that a woman’s fertility declines greatly after the age of 35 as do the number of single men looking for women in their own age group. I think both sides of this argument deserve to be aired and that, as Amydk16 states, women should know their options and carefully consider them from all angles.

  17. 18
    Stacy

    One more thing…if men think you are hot/cute/attractive, they could care less if what the heck you have going on on top of your head.

    1. 18.1
      Johnny D

      Truth!

      Unlike women, us men aren’t told all throughout our formative years that we “can do everything that women can do”.  Why?  Because we can’t.   We know our lot in life is to work and support our wives while they raise families.  

      Because we haven’t been brainwashed, we still have that innate urge to procreate with women who desire to raise families.   

  18. 19
    Stacy

    Oops, my last post was posted in the wrong forum.lol

  19. 20
    Stacy

    Henriette,

    You conclude that a stable home is defined as a two person household and that is not true. There are also MANY two party UNSTABLE homes where it would be better if those parents were not together for the benefit of the children. I already said, a two parent family is ideal but alas, many of those relationships are far from ideal. What is most important is how the parents raise these children whether they are together or not.

    Also, how do you explain in certain countries where people marry quite young tradionally (I come from a foregn country where we have a 50% indian rate and they marry much younger than the average American) and stay together more often than not – for a lifetime? So, while age has something to do with divorce in this country, I don’t think the issue is age as much as lack of education and other cultural issues because your early 20s are not ‘that’ young in terms of marriage when compared to most of the world and even previously in this same country.

    And, for every person who came from a divorced family, I can show you another who came from a two parent home with issues. And let’s remember that these are assumptive correlations. We still don’t know for certain.

    1. 20.1
      Henriette

      @Stacy. *sigh* This will be my last comment in this conversation. All these straw men arguments grow tiresome.

      I did not “conclude that a stable home is defined as a two person household.” I’m not sure where you thought you read that.

      So… I don’t follow your line of reasoning… because in some other countries people marry younger and have lower divorce rates… and because in the US people used to marry younger… current Americans should marry in their 20s? You do understand, don’t you?, that other places/ the US in the past have/had all sorts of factors at play including (but not limited to) cultural stigmas against divorce; laws making divorce more difficult; familial support of married couples; etc. Stats show that Americans who marry younger are more likely to divorce; it really doesn’t matter if this also applied to olden days US or is currently the case in foreign lands.

      Finally, I at no point suggested that children from in-tact, 2-parent families were necessarily issue-free. However, studies show that children of divorce are more likely to suffer than children from in-tact families. And stats show that marriages involving younger people are more likely to end in divorce. When thinking about whether or not one should “marry young,” these are two of the many facts to keep in mind.

  20. 21
    Stacy

    A HEALTHY two parent home is ideal. Alas, we can’t measure health simply by a home having a mom and dad living together. That is a fallacy.

  21. 22
    Jay King

    I think the reasons behind this are many, varied and very objective.
    Here are some based on my own opinion. Some want to have a child early because chances of getting pregnant on your late 30’s or early 40’s are getting slimmer and slimmer. Getting pregnant on your later years also professes a threat to your life when delivering a child. Some also want to engaged in parenthood earlier because when you have a child on your 40’s, you would still have at least 18 years before you can finally start living your life. Life begins at 40 certainly would no longer apply to you.

  22. 23
    Ildergreier

    Men is just as much to blame here since they think they have all the time in the world to get maried and have a family. 

    1. 23.1
      Johnny D

      SWING…and a miss.  

      The problem that you oddly leave undiscussed here in the USA, for certain, is that women don’t usually “date down” in regards to income and accomplishment.  Why is this an issue?  Because women are now the majority of college students/graduates and the majority of the workforce, thereby taking jobs that men once had to support their families with in times that never called for a two-income household to pay the bills.  

      That leaves a lot of men out of the labor force and in a pickle. 

  23. 24
    Angela Kaperonis Rossi

    I believe in waiting for the right guy, I never want to settle down til I’m happy with the guy. I’m a 46 year old woman I won’t let my high standards down!why should I settle for any guy. I want a successful, good looking, fit body guy, as I deserve that! Aim high I say!!!

  24. 25
    Sara

    Well, I married a man when I was 37 because I felt the pressure and wanted kids. It was not a good marriage for many a reason and now we are divorced.   However, we did have two beautiful children that I would not trade for the world.  He and I just didn’t mesh and even though we are divorced, it all worked out.  I am now taking my time in finding someone who is more suitable to me and don’t have the weight or pressure of finding just “someone” to have kids with.  He is a good dad and we are both happier and live 5 minutes from each other.

  25. 26
    Elsa

    Mid 30s???? about 10 years to late to the game of you wait that long

    1. 26.1
      Emily

      He is talking about urban, educated and career driven women. He is not referring to the women who try to find their husbands in college ( even though there is nothing wrong with that). May be you are not the right audience

  26. 27
    Emily

    The comments to this post are very discouraging. I am 31, I am single and I have been taking my dating life seriously for the last couple of years. What else can I do except for keep going?! You can’t plan your life just by saying “ok, I will meet my future husband at 27, date for 2 years, get engaged at 29, marry at 30 and have a kid at 31-32”. Life is not that predictable and some women make mean comments about other womenfor not having found the one!!!  If you have not met with the right person, than YOU HAVE NOT MET THE RIGHT PERSON. Also, the lack of hope of some of the commentors at the age of 38 to find someone and eventually have a kid do not reflect reality. You are 38, not 48!

    1. 27.1
      ted

      There it’s no right person. There are things related to safety that are essential as well as having common interests.

      Everything else is completely a matter of doing the work. Love is the byproduct of the work you put inn on the relationship.

  27. 28
    Meg

    I will be 40 in less than 2 weeks & plan to try to conceive whenever I finally meet someone who I am actually attracted to & think would make a good father.
    I’d rather be with the right person than get pregnant with the wrong one just to have children.
    It’s not something you can force a timeline on?
    I know the statistics, but have always lived my life defying them so why stop now???

  28. 29
    Masha

    Oh wow Evan look at how interesting these comments have gotten! Thanks for the inspiring discussion!

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