The ‘I don’t believe you’ phenomenon – talking about lifestyle choices with other women

Have you got a lifestyle choice that is different to the norm? I have. I don’t want to get married. Ever. It’s not just a passing phase, and there are multiple reasons for it. But that is my choice, and I constantly have to defend it.

Lately this has started really frustrating me. When I used to say it before me and T had Spike, I was told ‘You’ll feel differently once a baby comes along’. Then when Spike came along and we gave her my surname I was lectured at by the registrar. I was reminded not once, not twice, but FOUR times that I ‘would have to return to chance Spike’s birth certificate when we got married’ – not if, when. She just wouldn’t take it that I wouldn’t have to change her name or the status of her parents relationship on the birth certificate.

I have had people who knew my feelings pre-Spike ask ‘So when will you get married then?’ after we had her, as if my feelings changed instantly when she popped out.  I have had family members tell me that they don’t believe I don’t want to get married. And its almost always other women who say this to me. Never men.

It has been even worse before when I have mentioned my sister’s choice NOT to have children. “She’s older than you right?” Yes. “Oh, well she just needs to meet the right person” or “I don’t believe that.. I never believe women who say they don’t want kids” No. You can’t say that. You wouldn’t say it if I was talking about my brother, who is also older than me. Both being in their mid-30s they are both at similar points in their life, but you wouldn’t bat an eyelid if it was my brother. My sister is the best aunty in the world to Spike. She loves Spike like she’s her own. But that doesn’t change her mind, she doesn’t want children of her own and THAT IS FINE.

As I say, it’s mainly women who say these things. Its women who are shocked by the non-traditional choices of other women. However part of it, I think is because they are women that they believe they can say these things. As a woman talking to a woman you are allowed to say these things. But it’s still patriarchal nonsense and I have news for you. You can’t say these things. The idea that someone is wrong, or doesn’t know how they feel about a sometimes life changing event that only really effects them, is ludicrous. And all you are doing by telling them you don’t believe their views on a subject like this is buying into the idea that women are only here to produce children and become properties of men.

I know that I don’t want to get married. The cost involved. The idea of spending so much on a piece of paper. The outdated views that marriage means that a women is gifted to a man, or even worse the vow to obey a man. It all seems silly to me. If you want to get married, go ahead. I will celebrate with you and be happy for you. But it is not for me at all… And I don’t need other women telling me that that’s because I’m not old enough to make that decision or that I’ll feel different when Spike is older.