Dating When There’s an Elephant in the Room: Your Biological Clock and Love


Your biological clock is a very real thing.

Of course, it’s nice to think that you’re entirely in control of your own destiny. As a strong, successful woman, you’ve certainly found ways to carve your own path in this world.

Nevertheless, you are still human. Unfortunately, humans are bound by their bodies, at least to some extent. Although medicine and culture have both made some terrific headway in terms of finding alternatives to heeding the restrictions of the biological clock, it’s still there, ticking away.

As if the internal call to have a child isn’t complicated enough by the trajectory of your own schedule and desires, there is also the whole dating-while-wanting-to-get-pregnant thing.

Acknowledging the Reality of the Biological Clock

It’s tempting to pretend that this isn’t an issue. After all, then you don’t have to deal with the reality of it, right?

Not really. The facts have proven that challenges in life and relationships are best dealt with head on.

Luckily, the cultural conversation around this subject is starting to open up just a little bit more. In a 2018 Good Morning America appearance, Michelle Obama said, “I think it's important to talk to young mothers about the fact that miscarriages happen, and the biological clock is real.”

These are real issues! We need to start talking about them.

The sooner we begin having open conversations about this tricky topic with the people in our lives, the sooner we’ll be on a path to fully owning our authentic selves during a time of transition in our lives.

That said, there’s no denying that dating is particularly complicated when your biological clock is ticking.

Is Your Biological Clock a First Date Topic?

Your biological clock and your dating life might just not be on quite the same schedule.

On the one hand, you want to find a partner who also wants to have children soon. And, of course, you want that to be someone you can speak to honestly, openly, and completely about this. On the other hand, even a terrifically supportive and amazing potential life partner might hear you say “babies” on a first date and get ready to run. It's just too much pressure.

Yes, you should definitely be honest about where you’re at in this process. And you should obviously be able to listen openly and non-judgmentally to where potential partners are at regarding wanting to have kids. That said, though, it’s not healthy for you to immediately jump right into a relationship either just because the other person seems to be on the same page with you when it comes to children.

In other words, you do want to find out early on if you’re basically in the same place. Plus, you would want to know if you're heading in the same direction.

However, there is so much more to the right love match. It’s important that you still take the time to find out if this person is more than just baby daddy (or baby mama) material.

Hormones Confuse Everything

There are many facets to falling in love, but whether we like it or not, a lot of it is neurochemical. Your brain produces a range of hormones that elicit the feeling of falling in love.

I mean, where do you think sweaty palms and the pitter-patter of a racing heart come from? That’s the surge of dopamine, oxytocin, testosterone, and estrogen all driving your body to feel a certain way.

When it comes to your biological clock, things get even more layered. In addition to the hormones, there’s the emotional aspect of the psychology of this time in your life. As you look towards creating a family, you might feel fear, excitement, a sense of loss for past relationships, and any number of other emotions.

And all of this chemistry, psychology, and emotion can cloud your judgment.

Therefore, you need to find a way to make logical, long-lasting decisions about emerging relationships even as you yearn to settle down. Mindfulness practices, journaling, and discussing the details with your most trusted loved ones are all steps that you can take towards ensuring that the decisions you make while dating aren’t entirely influenced by your biological clock.

Additional Tips for Dating When Your Biological Clock Is Ticking

Here are some further things to consider to help you make the best dating decisions at this time of your life:

  • Explore all of your fertility options so that you know exactly where you stand. For example, you might decide to freeze your eggs to relieve some of the time pressure.

  • Even though you have goals, work to cultivate openness to the journey and any outcome that may be in your future.

  • Continue living a rich, full life. Don’t hone in so entirely on dating and fertility that you forget to enjoy all of the other things that you love.

  • Likewise, when you start dating, don’t make it all about the baby-making process. Yes, that’s a critical conversation. However, the first few months of dating should be about having fun, getting to know each other, and establishing whether or not there’s a real connection.

  • Be honest, both with yourself and with people you’re dating.

Instead of downloading all of your biological clock concerns onto a first date, consider working through some of those challenges in therapy. Learn more about dating therapy here.