Wednesday, June 24, 2015

When hormones outtalk common sense

I've been thinking about Monday's "Bachelorette" TV show. Did you see it? Kaitlyn, the bachelorette, and Nick, one of her suitors, made out all over Dublin, even in a church. It was embarrassing to watch. I kept yelling at the screen, "Nick get your hands out of her dress!" but he didn't hear me. Then they went back to her hotel suite and had sex. We didn't see it, but we heard the sound effects, and it was all over the news on Tuesday. Shooting in Charleston, Kaitlyn does Nick. It could all have been staged, but clearly those two were in that zone where common sense goes out the window. I've been there. Have you?

In her voiceovers, Kaitlin kept saying that when she gets together with Nick, she forgets the cameras, the other guys and everything else. I know the feeling. Maybe you do, too. You have just discovered this person. Your hormones are going crazy. Suddenly nothing else matters. You will do or say anything to keep the relationship going. You'll move, you'll quit your job, you'll shut out the advice of everyone in your world, and you'll ignore that little voice in your head that says, "Hey, wait a minute."

Then the initial fire cools. You look around and think, wait, I don't want to change my whole life. I like my job. I like my home. He's not as cute as I thought he was. Suddenly he or she says, "About those babies . . . I'm not so sure." Now you're committed and in a jam.

That's where most of the folks here, including me, end up. I hear it over and over. Yesterday, an anonymous writer sent a four-part comment about her situation. She's 38, he's 40. She's sure he's the love of her life. She moved in with him a while ago. He was okay with baby thing before, but now he's saying he doesn't want to have a baby. She's freaking out, she's starting counseling, she's not sure if they can stay together. What do I think she should do?

I never know what to tell people in this situation. The old lady in me misses the days when people didn't jump into bed or move in together so quickly, when you had to commit to marriage before doing the horizontal polka. Or maybe people were just sneakier about it. We all do it. I slept with Fred early on and moved in with him before we got married. Luckily, I got a good man and I have no regrets, except for not having children, but it doesn't always work out that well. I could have skipped my whole first marriage if I had listened to the wiser woman in my head.

Don't ignore that little voice. It's like when I quit my excellent job and gave up my apartment in 1983 to sing with a band that had a contract to tour the U.S. All I ever wanted was to sing in a band, and here was my chance. We were going to be rich and famous. Our sponsors went bankrupt in two months. There I was with no home and no job. I moved back in with my parents and started over. Wiser members of the band had kept their jobs and had something to go back to, but me, I jumped headfirst.

It's the same with relationships. I know how it feels to be crazy in love. The rest of the world just disappears, but don't let it. Do whatever you can to get a clear head, whether it's prayer, a hiking trip, or a long talk with a friend. Listen to your loved ones, listen to that voice in your head. Don't burn any bridges until you're sure it's going to work because sometimes it's perfect, and sometimes it turns into a disaster.

Have you been in similar situations? Have you dumped everything for a man or woman and then regretted it? I would love to hear your comments.


Anonymous said...

I have to admit I have total regrets every time I have to pretend I'm happy for the next person that is pregnant. It's almost like an infectious disease... They are every where. Just this week, as one person is having a baby.... The next person announces they are pregnant. They are every where and are a constant reminder of what I don't get to have.

Sue Fagalde Lick said...

Sometimes it really does seem like that, babies everywhere. Oddly, it's an infectious disease we wish we could catch.

HL said...

Hello - Nice meeting you online.

I've found your blog during the past few day and I've been reading (and feeling) it since.

I was born and grew up in Asia but I am not so "typical" Asian. My parents did not get along well but they had stayed together through their whole life - until my dad passed away two years ago. I've been always independent (mostly), taking care of myself and always wanted to live in the U.S.. When I was 21, I moved alone to the Midwest in the U.S. and worked as much as I could to support myself to finish college. Then I started to work full-time in California. From college, a job worth a salary of $2,000 per month until a senior position that the company would pay for my relocation, I had spent 15 years. During this 15 years, I got heart-broken by men from time to time, but I met great friends who have later become like my family. I made America my home and am happy with my achievement. I am a proud American citizen.

I met this man, my current husband from Europe through work about 3.5 years ago. We found us amazingly fit each other even though we were in our mid/late 30s. We had a long distance relationship but we always found a way to spend time together. We were pretty open to each other. He has two sons, 8 and 10 from his previous marriage and he has half-custody (3~4 days at his home). He loves his sons and he mentioned that he would not want to have more children. His two boys really like me and we get along well although we could only communicate with each other in 30% of others’ languages and in 70% of our own. They speak German/local dialect at home, and I speak English.

Two years after we were together, he purposed. I was happy but also sad. Because his kids are still young, I would have to quit all I have in the US and move to Europe. It took me a while to “think through” and I guess I was never this illogical (romantic?) in my whole life. I told myself that I can always start up a life in Europe , but I may never find real love again.

So I resigned from my good job, donated my furniture and shipped 10 boxes to Europe. We got married about 16 months ago and we have been living together in Europe for a year. Because I was almost non-literate to German, I spent the first 5 months learning the new language and did housework. Then I found an “OK” job in an American company and have been working since. We live in a country-side village with 2,000 residents. My husband is really busy with work and kids, but we still have a good time when we are together. I just really miss my friends and life in the U.S., and it’s actually sweet, bitter and lonely to see the three guys at home being so close - Recently my husband repeated that he doesn’t want more children.

I know it’s too early to say if I regretted my decision to move to Europe. I will still do my best to re-build up my life here. However, I agree with what you said, “keep a clear head” before making a life-change decision. And now my goal is to do whatever I can to not regret my decision for “love”.

Thank you for sharing your life experience and letting me share mine with you.

Sue Fagalde Lick said...

Hi HL,
Thank you for sharing your story. It's like the song from "A Chorus Line," "What I Did for Love." I hope you can love your guys and treasure the life you are building together with minimal regrets.

Anonymous said...


Thank you for your post. Your situation is bizarrely similar to mine, except I went the other way - I moved from Europe to America to be with someone. I wonder everyday about the decision I made. My partner does not want more children. His are 'grown up' so don't live with us but I find it hard. Like you, when I decided to move here, I reasoned that I might never find anyone else; that I wasn't going to have children anyway in the situation I was in. On reflection, I would say that I had been listening to the opinions of others more than my gut. I really am trying to be positive, to see the 'good' in everything. I find the fact that my partner doesn't understand what it's like for me as a childless woman very, very difficult. I realise I am grieving and, although I have tried to talk to my partner about it, I am at the point of accepting that it is better not to bring it up.

Anyway, I just wanted to say 'thank you' for writing your story. I hope things are getting better for you.


Bill said...

Hi Sue, very touching blog here. Makes me ponder the impact of the paths we take in life.

I'm a little concerned about my sister, so I thought I'd write down a comment here. I'm in my early 40s with three kids, and despite all the trouble it's caused me I'd never trade them for anything. But my sister, who is only a little over a year younger than me, is still childless, and it seems that in the last year or so this has begun to weigh on her.

Chances are she'll never have her own child. I've rationalized that as a "good thing" before because she's always been a bit of a bohemian, but I've seen that it's hurting her and now I feel kind of bad about it. My kids love and respect her, and she's a good, kind woman. She may not have had things "together" all the time, but when I look at my life objectively there have been a lot of times when I didn't either, and at this point she's probably got it together better than I do.

So what I want to know is how to be a good brother about it if she never has a child of her own. I am very close to her and want her to live a long, happy life. It would hurt me if she were consumed by regret. At this point, the best I can think of is to foster a relationship between my kids and her, making sure that they are respectful and warm toward her. My daughter in particular really looks up to her, so it isn't that hard. But the thing is that I don't want to "try." It should be a natural thing instead of pity, which would be ridiculous anyway if you knew my sister, who is an attractive, intelligent woman.

What can a brother do?

PS my wife's sister is also childless and pushing 40, and there's no indication that will change, either. This is a really common phenomenon in my generation, among friends and family alike. I worry sometimes about what it will mean some time down the road.

Sue Fagalde Lick said...

Dear Bill, thanks for your comment. It's good that you care so much about your sister and your sister-in-law. You don't say whether they're married or in long-term relationships, which of course is a very important factor. Have you expressed your concerns to your sister? How did she react? The bottom line is that it's her decision and not yours. Keep encouraging the relationship between her and your kids. That's a wonderful thing. But as for your sister and sister-in-law, they're big girls. They'll figure it out.