Career vs Personal Life: Women, Fertility, and The Dilemma of Risking one for the Other

I see it all of the time.  Intelligent, beautiful, wonderful women who are somehow single and struggling to find love.  They’ve had relationships, but oftentimes they were short, unhealthy, or when they were too young to think about marriage.  

These women are always being told what a “catch” they are; “I can’t believe you’re single”.  And, not that they are conceited, but they honestly can’t believe it either.  From the outside, everyone thinks they must have the “perfect” life: a great career, money, looks, intelligence, and guys must be constantly asking them out.  The perception is that they have their pick of any man they want.

Little does anyone know that these women tend to be the ones who usually spend the weekends alone, wishing they had someone to spend their time with, aching to find their “someone” and wondering when or if it is ever going to happen. To them, their life is anything but “perfect”.  

They may have succeeded in their career and in achieving a lifestyle that affords them all the “things” anyone could want. But what they really want is something no amount of money, praying or wishing can give them:  a healthy, loving relationship and a family.  

This is the hard part for most successful women:  they knew they could, for the most part, have control over getting what they wanted in most areas of their life: their education, career, finances, etc…  If they studied hard, they would get good grades and get a degree that would allow them to have a career.  If they worked hard and focused on their career, they would be successful in that. If they were wise with their money, they would be financially stable.  And, so these women have put in the time and effort, and it has paid off.

What is hard to understand is how, despite wanting and putting in just as much time and effort into finding love and building a family has not resulted in anything but, to them, failure.  How can this be the ONE area of their life where they are so unsuccessful?  

It is the unfortunate truth that no matter how much time and effort someone puts into finding a relationship, nobody can control whether they are actually going to meet and fall in love with someone.  It doesn’t even matter if someone wants that more than anything.

But what I have found is that what most of these highly successful women have in common, other than what I have described above, is that they knew on some level that all they really could have some control over was their career. So, they put much more focus and energy on that early on in their lives. And now that they are in a stable place where they have more time and ability to focus on having a relationship, there is the reality of time pressing on them.  

They were wise to establish themselves and focus on creating a successful, stable life where they are in a great place to have a healthy, balanced relationship. The best time to enter into a relationship is when you are in a stable place in most areas of your life and you are not looking for a partner to “fill” any voids or “save” you in any way.  No, these women know they are fully self-sufficient and while they WANT a man, they don’t NEED one.  There is a difference.

However, as I said, time is now a problem because a woman’s fertility decreases with age.  And that alone sometimes results in them making poor relationship choices.  

I see the emotional strain that the fertility time clock puts on women. Typically, women are feeling pressure to “hurry up and get married and pregnant now” or miss their chance of ever having a baby.  I see them so scared at the thought of not being able to get pregnant; of missing the boat, that they end up settling with men whom they would otherwise probably never be with.  

Or, if they are not doing this, they have decided they do really want to only be with someone they want to be with. They don’t want to settle.  But this choice is often accompanied by them trying to come to come to terms with the possibility that they may never be pregnant and helping them work through any resulting negative thoughts they may be beating themselves up over (i.e.what if I hadn’t focused on my career so much?; why didn’t I marry that wonderful man years ago when I had the chance?”).

I wanted to discuss this because I know there are many of you out there who are amazing, wonderful women who do find yourselves lonely and wanting to meet your partner.  I know you are asking yourself if it will ever happen for you. I know it is scary to think that it might not.

But I also wanted to discuss this because I know there are so many things you feel are out of your control: if you ever do meet anyone; your fertility, etc..  However, there still are some things that are in your control. And while your life may not follow the path you wanted it to lead, there are some alternative options to consider:

A) Looking into becoming a single mother by getting a sperm donor, or 

B) Consider freezing your eggs; get more information to see if this might help take the pressure off of you and allow you to take some time to meet someone and then get pregnant when the time is right.  

As with anything in life, nobody knows how anything will turn out.  “What if’s” and regrets don’t do anyone any good.  If you are a successful woman who finds herself in this situation, you really do not know if focusing on your career and being successful had anything to do with currently being single. That is a faulty assumption. For all you know, you still could be single. You have no idea why you have not met your someone yet.  So, be kind to yourself..and..until you do meet someone…focus on what is in your control and not on what is not.