Tick, Tick, Tick…

Biological clock ticking - woman holding clock in front of stomach. Biological clock and pregnancy concept with female hands and belly.

The perils of the biological clock are many (for men and women) and here’s how to avoid them…

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See the author’s TEDx Talk on Creating Extraordinary Intimacy in a Shut Down World

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I am very fortunate to have quite a few female friends and good acquaintances in their 30’s who are intelligent, beautiful and have the whole world open to them career wise. Yet I can’t help noticing a very powerful and mostly unseen force that seems to cause every single one of them to act as if they were possessed. And this force is so fundamental, so primal that I’ve seen it cause them to do and say things that could hardly be ascribed to an otherwise highly intelligent human being…

I Don’t Want Kids

One of these acquaintances in particular is a beautiful, charismatic professional woman in her mid-thirties who declared early on that she never wants to have children. Fine, nothing wrong with that. In fact, I find it healthy (for her and the rest of humanity) to be absolutely clear about something so important as whether to bring children into this world or not. Yet, as I observed her over the years, there has been one over-riding compulsion that seemed to drive her almost insane: the need to find “The One” before her biological clock runs out of time. Not unlike Marissa Tomei in “My Cousin Vinnie”. In one memorable scene, as she points to her watch and nervously taps her toe with a ferocious look getting her point across to Joe Pesci’s character Vinnie on how her biological clock is rapidly running out of time and he better propose, or else.

I’ve seen this almost irresistible urge cause my friend to make very poor choices both in men and the various, often comically creative, ways she used to attract her Knight in Shining Armor. Her drive was so strong that, in some cases, led to being involved with potentially very dangerous men. Yet all this time she was very clear with everyone that she wanted nothing to do with having a child.

It appears, to my eyes anyway, that locking in a suitable father for their future offspring is more important than the long-term efficacy of the relationship that will ultimately spawn them.

Most of the other women I know in this temporally-sensitive age range really do want to have a family and make no bones about it. Again, no problem. I have no doubts they will make wonderful, loving and nurturing mothers. It’s the way they go about achieving that particular goal that gives me both pause and a fair amount of ongoing amusement as I witness their machinations to snag a suitable mate. I’ve seen a number of these female friends declare that they have found “The One” after the first date or two. Only to hear what a jerk he turned out to be and then start the search all over again. A cycle that often repeats several times in the span of just a few months.

It appears, to my eyes anyway, that locking in a suitable father for their future offspring is more important than the long-term efficacy of the relationship that will ultimately spawn them. And the longer they hear that ticking, the louder and more urgent it becomes, the more likely they are to pull out all stops to silence it – ironically before it goes away forever.

The Perils of the Propagation Imperative

Clearly not all women are this way or driven half-mad looking for a suitable mate to quell that pounding ticking clock in their head. In fact some women, like Shonda Rhymes (the producer of ABC top-rated dramas), have decided to be a single mom on their own –in her case, of three beautiful girls whom she adopted. In a recent interview with NPR when she was asked about her marital status, she said: “I wanted to be a mom, my parents are happily married for over 60 years, they adore each other, for the majority of married people it doesn’t work that way.”

That said, nearly every man and woman on the planet is subject to the default human Sexual Operating System whose primary purpose is the successful propagation of the species. This is deep, ancient wiring –both in our DNA and cultural imprinting that creates urges that often result in behavior which does not ultimately serve the relationship.

The best way to avoid the perils of the ticking clock is to simply be aware of its powerful influence. And so armed, you stand a chance of having a deep, fulfilling relationship that stands the test of time, as well as “The Clock”.