How Many Serious Relationships Did You Have Before You Got Married?

518903791_c_570_411Did you see the recent NY Times article 13 Questions to Ask Before Getting Married? Basically, the gist of the article is that you and your partner should sit down and ask these questions before you say “I do.” The questions are interesting and different from what you might expect. The first question surprised me: Did your family throw plates, calmly discuss issues or silently shut down when disagreements arose? That doesn’t seem like a question I’d think to ask, but I guess it makes sense. Having similar communication styles seem to be one of the most important barometers of if a couple will stand the test of time.

The most interesting question to me was: Will our experiences with our exes help or hinder us? 

I was a bit confused by this question. Personally, I would assume all relationships with exes would help a couple – because you’d have all that past experience that you’ve hopefully learned and grown from. But, apparently, it’s more complicated than that. Some research points to the idea that if you’ve had more serious relationships before getting married, you have a higher risk for divorce and lower marital quality.

As stated in the article:

Bradford Wilcox, the director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, pointed to research his organization has sponsored that indicated that having had many serious relationships can pose a risk for divorce and lower marital quality. (This can be because of a person having more experience with serious breakups and potentially comparing a current partner unfavorably with past ones.)

I can kind of understand it though it strikes me as counter-intuitive. I guess the idea of divorce isn’t as scary if you’ve already had a breakup for a relationship that was years long. Last year, I ended a 6+ year relationship and it felt like a divorce, without the added stress of having to have a legal separation. Maybe the logic of the research is that people who’ve survived many breakups of serious relationships understand that we are malleable as people, and can come out the other side, so divorce becomes a less scary option.

How many serious relationships did you have before you married? Since I’m not married myself, I can’t answer this question yet. But if I look at my friends’ marriages, it seems to me they all had about 1-2 serious relationships before they got married. I wondered if that’s considered “many” by the researchers.

Baby Fever in Your Thirties

Baby Fever in Your Thirties

I’ve always been a fan of cute things.

I love little animals, especially baby animals, and can watch cute cat videos for quite awhile- sometimes over and over again. When people talk to me about their dog or cat or any cuddly pet really, I always want to see a picture. Or two. Or three.

And I think I’ve always kinda loved really cute babies too. Cute human ones, I mean. But although I’ve always found some human babies cute, I’m quite particular, and I never really liked kids, even when I was one myself.

Lately though, I’ve noticed my love of cute little things increasing even more. I’ve always loved cute animals, but now I’m absolutely obsessed with them. I squee out loud when I see an adorable puppy in a sweater, and photos of baby pigs and pandas can bring happy tears to my eyes.

Today at work I saw an adorable baby with tufts of crazy hair sticking out everywhere. He/she made me really happy. I pointed him/her out to my coworker, a male in his late thirties, and he said ‘awww, so cute’ and then asked, ‘Do you have baby fever?’

I immediately said no, and felt embarrassed and even ashamed, weirded out by that question, especially from a guy. Baby fever seems like such a cliche in your thirties. But then he informed me that he thought HE was having baby fever- not only noticing cute kids way more, but getting obsessed with his nieces and nephews like never before.

So that was shocking. Maybe baby fever isn’t just a cliche woman thing, but can happen to guys too. He’s in his late thirties, so perhaps it happens to guys a bit later? Is baby fever even a real thing? Does being in your thirties cause this for some people?

I don’t know if I have baby fever, really. At least, I won’t admit it just yet. But I love cute things, for sure.

And so I conclude with a video of a cat building an igloo in the snow. And just in time for easter: some of my favorite very cute bunnies. And all of their friends. 🙂

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The Best Part of Being in Your 30s

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I’m 34 now, and I feel that in the last four years, I’m more myself than ever before. I remember when I used to feel like I had to be someone else – especially on dates. Now, I realize what a time waster it is to be anyone other than who you are. Eventually, “you’re” going to surface.

The phrase “self-possession” comes to mind. It seems a perfect way to describe what you emotionally acquire in your thirties. The Merriam-Webster definition is:

a state of mind or a manner marked by easy coolness and freedom from uncertainty, diffidence, or embarrassment. confidence stresses faith in oneself and one’s powers without any suggestion of conceit or arrogance, self-possession implies an ease or coolness under stress that reflects perfect self-control and command of one’s powers

I love that self-possession “implies an ease or coolness under stress that reflects perfect self-control and command of one’s powers.” Maybe that’s what getting older is about – learning how to harness your personal gifts. I only regret that I didn’t get here sooner. What if I had the self-possession that I have now in my 20s?

30 Women Around the Globe Reflect on Life at 30

International Women’s Day was just last week- March 8th. In honor of that day, Stylist magazine interviewed 30 women, all age 30, from all over the world. Here’s the link to that article: This is what 30 looks like: women across the world share their experiences. 

The women talked about their careers right now, whether they were single, married, or in a relationship, whether or not they had children, whether they were where they thought they’d be at 30, and more.

The biggest thing I noticed about the article was the discrepancy in the experiences and the voices. Every woman was at a different point in their life- some were 30 and worried about being single, some were 30 with 3 kids. Some were 30 and stay at home moms, some were 30 and running their own business. Some were 30 and worried about money. Some were 30 and worried about going outside at night because in their country they might be raped or killed. “Women aren’t safe. I can’t walk the streets for fear of being killed or raped; this is the product of patriarchy in my country.” – Sandra de la Cruz, Lima Peru.

Some were super happy with their lives while single, some super happy while married with kids. Some seemed unsatisfied while single, some seemed unsatisfied married with 3 kids. I feel like reading about all these different experiences for women at 30 really fights the FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) issue that I sometimes have. I want to do everything at once. I want to experience life with my own business, and also maybe have a life learning at another company. I want to experience being pregnant and having a child, but also experience being happily married into my fifties and sixties without a child interrupting, and without the life-changing responsibilities of a child.

It’s hard to want everything at once, and to want everyone else’s experiences too. This happens to me sometimes- I’m in a happy vacuum alone, enjoying my time, but then someone will tell me about something they’ve done, and I’ll want to do it too.

The article really brought home how different experiences can all be valid and happy-making, and there’s no one portrait of what a thirty-something’s life should be like. Follow your own happiness and make your own life and you won’t miss out on anything.

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On Wanting Children

Yesterday, I was walking through the mall on a ‘self-care’ mission. I was hoping to treat myself to a new outfit to wear to my birthday drinks that night.

As I was walked by the Build-a-Bear workshop, I saw a little blonde girl clutching her mother’s hand. She looked like a mini me – light blonde hair, blue eyes – and there was something in her demeanor that reminded me of myself. Now to preface, I see children out and about all the time, but this time felt different. I didn’t see her and think “Oh, so cute!” or give her a goofy wave like I sometimes do with adorable kids. This time, I felt a pang in my gut. I wanted to be clutching my daughter’s hand. I wanted that relationship.

This fear/sadness raced through my body as I walked passed the small girl and her mom. I worried that it wouldn’t happen for me, that this experience – such a huge, life changing one – would never be mine.

Maybe it’s having just turned 34, when my own mother had me. Or knowing that the clock is officially ticking…and much louder than it was at 29 or 31.

People tell me that I’m in control of this – that I can have kids on my own. Just this week someone asked me if I had a “male best friend” who I could ask to have a  child with. (I don’t.) And while I know I could go it alone, that’s not a realistic option for me. I don’t have much money, and truthfully, I still feel like a kid myself.

The hopeful side of me thinks it’s inevitable that I’ll have children. That’s how I’ve always looked at it anyway – that it’s somehow just going to happen. But as the time ticks by, I wonder – “is there more I could be doing?” “have I made the wrong choices in my life to lead me to this point?”

I do feel like I still have a solid 3-5 years to have a child, but I’m nervous. It seems like so much would have to change in my life for me to become a mother. I’d have to meet someone, have a stable career with a solid income, and my mental mindset would have to change so much.

But that’s how life is, I suppose. You’re changing in small ways every day but you don’t realize it, until years later, you look back and see how different you’ve become. Those small changes add up in a huge way.

Leaving the mall yesterday, I walked out into the atypical LA rain storm and tried to let the feelings wash away. I soothed myself with the gentle reminder that the universe has a way of aligning things for us.

Happy 34th Birthday, Jane!!! (And All About the Magical Number 34)

It’s after midnight, which means it’s officially the New York birthday of one of my absolute favorite people in the world: my strong, beautiful, talented, and amazing co-blogger and best friend- Jane Miller!

Jane is one of the most kind, fun, creative, and exciting people I know, and I’m proud to call her my friend for more than 16 years now! The thirties have only continued to bring us both new adventures and growth, and each year we explore something unique and different- I’m excited for the new joys and wild discoveries that this year will bring.

In tribute to Jane’s 34th birthday, I’m gonna list some of the coolest, wackiest and most interesting meanings, uses and symbolism for the number 34:

  • The Magic Constant of a 4×4 magic square is always 34
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  • 34 is the 9th Fibonacci number
  • The Internet rule #34 is: “If it exists, there is porn of it.” Hmmm, interesting…
  • Dave Matthews has a pretty relaxing song called #34.
  • 34th street in Manhattan is “Herald Square”- a very famous and busy area of New York.
  • 34 is the atomic number of selenium.
  • There are 34 islands in the Mediterranean (hint, hint, might be birthday trip time).
  • 34 in numerology represents strength gained through experience, as well as growth obtained from observation of both people and things.
  • Also according to numerology, 34 symbolizes inner wisdom and intuition. The essence of 34 in this realm is:
    • Introspection
    • Analysis
    • Creative self-expression
    • Optimism
    • Spirituality
    • Pragmatism
  • The biggest numerological symbolism of 34 is knowledge of self and accumulation of wisdom.
  • 3.4 is internet slang for “all the time” or “constantly”..this is derived from the term 24/7 turned into its decimal equivalent, 3.4. Jane is constantly awesome.
  • 34 is a heptagonal number– a mathematical term meaning that it’s a figurate number that represents a heptagon- a figure that has 7 sides. And 7 is the best single digit.
  • Most importantly, 34 means HAPPY BIRTHDAY JANE!!! I love you so much!!!
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Happy Birthday, Jane!!!! Woohoo, New Year!

Where Do People Meet Their Significant Others?

I’m currently reading comedian Aziz Ansari’s “Modern Romance” – a book about how modern relationships form and grow with all the new online dating technology at our disposal. It’s pretty fascinating to see how things have changed.

One of my favorite sections of the book so far explores how people meet their husbands/wives. According to the research cited in the book –

In 1940, the two biggest ways heterosexual Americans met their spouses/significant others was through family (24%) and friends (21%).

Now however, things have changed because we’ve got the internet. Between 2005 and 2012, one third of couples who got married met online. Wowza.

The most interesting surprise for me was that in 1995, the portion of people who met through friends – 40% –  fell drastically in 2010 to 28%.

Personally, I’d much prefer to meet someone through friends than online. And I don’t think I’m alone in that feeling. So why is there this big drop? We all still go out with our friends, right? We’re all looking to set our friends up, right?

Maybe it’s that we’re so absorbed in our phones when we go out that we’re not paying much attention to the people at the bar, or at the music or sporting event we’re at. Our little online bubbles provide us with much needed stimulation, but they’re taking away the opportunity to really engage with ‘friends of friends.’ What a shame.

Maybe we’ve become too cynical – and we think we have a better chance online than meeting a new friend at a bar. Or maybe our friends just assume we have our little online dating bubble and they don’t want to interfere.

Whatever the case may be, I say meeting through friends of friends can be one of the best ways to meet a future partner. So if you’re hosting a night out, why not play matchmaker and send some good karma out into the world?

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