Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“Is it Stupid for Us To Stay Together?”

no babies

I’ve been dating my boyfriend for three years now (our anniversary is in a week!). It’s been wonderful, albeit not perfect (what relationship is anyway?). We’re currently in a good place in our lives, both working jobs we relatively enjoy, and we recently adopted a puppy! We are both 26 but in no rush to walk down the aisle. We love being together and plan on that lasting for many, many years, but we see no reason to rush into something we aren’t financially ready for. And what’s the big deal? We can be together anyway!

The problem is that he wants kids — very far down the road when he’s financially stable and has done everything else he wants to do (traveling, moving, etc.). I, on the other hand, do not want them. At all. I’ve never felt any maternal feelings toward babies/kids and really just don’t want them. Honestly, I would rather have a bunch of dogs (which I am CRAZY about) until the end of my days than even one kid of my own. Just not interested.

So here’s my dilemma: he has said that I *might* change my mind and I get the feeling he’s banking on this being true. While, yes, there is a chance I might change my mind down the road, there’s a bigger chance I WON’T. And if that day comes, I don’t want him to be in a position where he still wants kids and I still don’t. He keeps telling me that it’s far away and even he might change his mind, but I still have to wonder: is it smart to stay together when something so important is on the line? Even if it isn’t set in stone? I know that this won’t affect me so much as it will him, and it’s his interests I’m thinking about now. Do you have any advice on how to handle this situation? — No Babies, Thanks

If you think this “won’t affect you” as much as it will him, you’re crazy. I can think of very few things more painful than building a life with someone — investing years in a relationship, adopting pets together, creating a home with one another — only to lose it all because the person you’re with has decided he’s ready to have kids are you know you don’t ever want them. That day will be equally painful for you both. Do you think he’s going to give up his dream of having a family to be with you? Are you banking on that as much you think he’s banking on you changing your mind?

You’re both in denial. And that’s fine, I guess. Maybe you’ll get two, three, four more happy years together — because, you’re not in a rush, I get it — but you will always have that nagging deadline looming over your heads. You’ll never fully be able to relax into your relationship because you’ll both know deep down that this isn’t forever.

If you think you can handle that, carry on. But please look at the column from this morning and let that be a cautionary tale for you. The details of your individual relationships may differ, but I think the sadness and regret of breaking up could be similar. The longer you put off breaking up, the more potential there is for deeper regret. Just something to think about.
***************

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].

99 comments… add one
  • Kate B.

    Kate B. August 22, 2013, 3:12 pm

    This totally made me think of the earlier letter. My advice: MOA now. This is something you cannot compromise on. One of you will always be unhappy.

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  • avatar

    lets_be_honest August 22, 2013, 3:15 pm

    Could there ever be a letter where the LW doesn’t have to say the relationship is wonderful, yet not perfect? NO DUH.

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    • Cassie

      Cassie B August 22, 2013, 8:31 pm

      I much prefer the ones who are in complete denial.

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark August 22, 2013, 3:22 pm

    Or her clock could suddenly start ticking and she’ll wake up one day alone and desperate. This is a complicated issue. I know MANY women who “never” wanted kids till they hit their mid thirties… My sister, for one. Are you absolutely 100% SURE you never want kids…

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    • avatar

      bethany August 22, 2013, 3:30 pm

      One of my best friends “never wanted kids”, and she just gave birth to her 2nd. She literally woke up one day when she was 29 and was like “must have a baby now”.

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark August 22, 2013, 3:34 pm

        When my sister announced over coffee that she and her husband were going to start trying to have a baby… I got angry… I said, “that is a terribly cold, ruthless joke. You know how much I’d KILL to an uncle…” My sister had ZERO interest in kids till — 35? Now, she is. SAHM and loving it.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle August 22, 2013, 3:34 pm

        Yeah… the first day I met one of my boyfriend’s female cousins, I was 23 & she was 29, & we started talking about marriage/kids. I told her no way, no kids for me, & she was like, “I was like you! Then I woke up on my 29th birthday & suddenly wanted babies.” She now has one! And at 26, I’m becoming more open to the idea of kids, one day. Sooo…

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      • avatar

        zombeyonce August 23, 2013, 12:10 pm

        I also thought I would never want to have kids; I certainly didn’t when I was in a long-term relationship in my late twenties (that ended after we got engaged). Turns out, I just didn’t want HIS kids. I’m 31 now and my husband and I are making plans for kids and I’m pretty freaking excited.

        It’s hard to give advice to the LW in this situation, since this really is one of those weird issues that can change overnight with no warning, or from relationship to relationship. I certainly believe that LW may never want kids, but there’s a chance she could change her mind very easily and it’s hard to tell her to give up her happy relationship because of this.

        If it were the other way around (her wanting kids, him not), I would definitely say leave now because she’d be losing out on her fertile years, but if she gets to 40 and still doesn’t want kids and he’s dying for some, it’s not too late for him to have them with someone else.

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    • avatar

      Bunnycsp August 22, 2013, 3:36 pm

      I agree. A lot changes over the years.

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    • avatar

      tbrucemom August 26, 2013, 3:17 pm

      I had a former boss who was so convinced she didn’t want kids that she had her tubes tied before she was 30. Of course she ended up getting married and decided she wanted kids and had to have then untied. She was successful and had a child but it wasn’t easy. My question to the LW is are you so sure that you don’t want kids that you’d be willing to be sterilized? Because if you honestly know you don’t want one and that nothing could change your mind you would do it.

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  • avatar

    lemongrass August 22, 2013, 3:27 pm

    Wendy’s right- you are in complete denial if you think this isn’t going to affect you. Break this off now before it gets bitter. They call them dealbreakers for a reason.

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  • avatar

    Lucy August 22, 2013, 3:28 pm

    I know no one ever wants to hear this and always thinks the person saying it is a jerk. But… you really might change your mind. I have a lot of girlfriends who couldn’t stand the thought of having kids in their mid-twenties. All but one of them eventually changed their minds and now have kids. I have no idea if there are any stats on this, but anecdotally, it seems to happen all the time.

    Also… isn’t it really your boyfriend’s place to decide whether this is a dealbreaker for him? I just seems sort of condescending for you to decide on his behalf that he could never be happy if you don’t change your mind. He’s a grown-ass man; treat him like one and let him make his own decisions about his happiness.

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    • bittergaymark

      Bittergaymark August 22, 2013, 3:30 pm

      Agreed. Hell, today’s other letter quickly springs to mind…

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    • avatar

      Kate August 22, 2013, 3:32 pm

      You might change your mind, but you might not. I’ve mentioned before here recently, I’m now 38 and still don’t want kids even though I’m now with who I believe is the right guy for me and would be a great dad. Trust your gut. I thought I might change my mind because that’s what people say often happens, but deep down I knew I just didn’t want kids.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 22, 2013, 3:35 pm

        Some people can’t trust their gut though. Not saying that might be the case here, but I’m a waffler who worries about what ifs so I never end up deciding anything because of it. If I were this LW, I’d be worried to end up like Mark says, and I’d be worried I’d have the kid and hate it, and I’d worry I’d regret not having a kid.

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      • avatar

        Kate August 22, 2013, 3:39 pm

        At the age I am now, I can say with confidence I won’t regret not having a kid, but I wouldn’t have been able to know that in my 20s, so you have a point. But again, I just always felt deep down kids weren’t for me.

        If the LW’s boyfriend knows he wants them, and she knows (right now) she doesn’t, then it’s a bad idea to stay together, it will most likely end badly.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 22, 2013, 3:44 pm

        If this LW sounded even close to as convinced as you that she doesn’t want kids, I would say this is a bigger problem, or a more imminent one? She doesn’t sound all that convinced to me. And even the ones who are super convinced change their minds sometimes. And then there’s people like me.
        Idk, it sounds like neither one of these people could say they are 100% sure, therefore, I’d suggest just talking seriously about it/dealbreakers.

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      • theattack

        theattack August 22, 2013, 3:40 pm

        Now you know exactly the dialogue that runs through my head daily. I’m glad I don’t have to make a decision for awhile, but the uncertainty drives me crazy. I’m sort of jealous of you for having your decision made for you.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 22, 2013, 3:41 pm

        I so felt for you when we talked about this last time. And yes, I’m glad it was made for me too.

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      • avatar

        Kate August 22, 2013, 3:48 pm

        I think that’s actually a pretty widespread phenomenon – women hoping / wishing the decision would just be made for them, you know? Like, I can’t pull the trigger and do this, but if it happens, then I can deal with it. I think that’s what leads some people to not be as diligent as they could be with their birth control method of choice. I read an article on this a while back and it made sense to me – that mindset, I mean. Because so many people are actually ambivalent about it. And as they get older, more into late 30s / early 40s, they may get even less careful about the birth control and kind of leave it up to God or whatever. I don’t think that’s such a great idea. If you don’t strongly feel you want kids, I think you just shouldn’t do it.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 22, 2013, 3:59 pm

        Yea, I think a lot of people wish most decisions, especially about having kids, could just be made for them.
        I’m on the fence about your last statement. If you strongly feel you don’t want kids, then don’t have them. I’d agree with that, but with what you said…I’m not in total agreement. That could just be me talking from experience though. Not only do I not regret having a kid, I am so, so thankful she came along. Like, actually happy about it. And I definitely did not want kids, ever, when I had her.

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      • avatar

        Kate August 22, 2013, 4:05 pm

        Hmm, but it was an accident, right? I guess what I mean is if you’re one of those people who is struggling with it, but you feel like you probably don’t want kids, you probably shouldn’t make the conscious decision to do it.

        I could be biased though by anecdotal evidence… I knew a woman through work, who got married in her late 30s and decided to take a gamble although she never really wanted kids. It ruined her life. Not that she didn’t love her little boy, but without going into too much detail her body was destroyed and she ended up having to basically just dedicate herself to the little boy’s health problems. She told me she wished she hadn’t done it. So sad. It really made an impression on me at the time (I was in my late 20s).

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 22, 2013, 4:08 pm

        Wow, that is sad. But yea, I feel like a story like that will sway you, and then a story like mine might sway you. Or not, haha, I sway easily.
        (yes, me getting pregnant was very much an “accident”)

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      • avatar

        Kate August 22, 2013, 4:11 pm

        I’ve always felt annoyed at my parents for having me by accident, but I think I may just be nuts.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 22, 2013, 4:13 pm

        My older brother flipped when he realized he was an accident (which, really, how did he never do the math before?! haha). I think that’s normal. I’ve already talked to my daughter about it, so hopefully it won’t be an issue for her.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 22, 2013, 4:43 pm

        Can I ask why you are annoyed? In a ‘how can you be so dumb’ kinda way? Or something else?

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      • avatar

        lemongrass August 22, 2013, 4:46 pm

        My parents straight up told us that we were all accidents. And there is lots of us! But my mom is catholic and they don’t believe in birth control so it’s not like they didn’t know it would happen. Also they told us that someone left us on the doorstep, found us in the garbage can, etc. Probably where my odd sense of humour came from.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 22, 2013, 4:49 pm

        Haha, my mom told one sister she was born a chicken, and another than she was born wooden.
        She told me once I was the only one that wasn’t! I win! In your face accident siblings! (I really hope she didn’t tell that to all of us)

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      • avatar

        Kate August 22, 2013, 4:52 pm

        LBH, I’m annoyed at them for complicated reasons, I guess. They were only 22 when they got married, and they were planning to wait 10 years to have kids, but they messed up with their birth control and had two kids before they were 26. And then I’ve just always felt like I didn’t choose to be here and am not all that thrilled about having to deal with life. But I’d probably feel like that if they’d had me intentionally too. It’s my issue. It’s just something I’ve always kind of struggled with. Not to get into too much detail, but my sibling was a total shitshow who sucked up all their energy and a lot of the time I wasn’t loving life.

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      • avatar

        lemongrass August 22, 2013, 4:53 pm

        Haha. My dad used to take me out for ice cream secretly and tell me not to tell my siblings. I used to think I was soooo special until I realized he probably did that for all of us.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 22, 2013, 4:58 pm

        Sorry to hear that Kate.

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      • theattack

        theattack August 22, 2013, 3:49 pm

        Just so everyone knows, today I do want to have kids. Monday and Tuesday I hated kids, but last week I thought I was going to have to be restrained from kidnapping a cute toddler. (obviously kidding, nobody freak out!)

        But I agree with you. Neither of them sound 100% convinced, so a serious conversation about it should happen before they end an otherwise wonderful relationship.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 22, 2013, 4:03 pm

        I’m surprised you haven’t thought of adoption, only because of your job. I feel like if I had a job like that, I would want to adopt all the kids.

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      • theattack

        theattack August 22, 2013, 4:12 pm

        I think you have to really want kids to adopt though. If I ever do want them, I’m not sure I’ll want them enough to go through all that work for one. Maybe so though.

        In all honesty, my line of work makes me not want to adopt kids really. I know it’s really important, but I don’t think I’m the kind of person who could handle the major, major problems that some of these kids have. I’m not that patient right now. We’ll see though.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 22, 2013, 4:15 pm

        I just meant generally, ignoring that you are on the fence already, I feel like someone who has a job like you would feel the pull to adopt after seeing what you’ve seen. Or someone who works at an orphanage or something.
        Interesting that its actually the opposite.

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      • theattack

        theattack August 22, 2013, 4:25 pm

        It is that way for a lot of people though. I’m definitely an exception. So many social workers I know are all about it, and I know a few people who have quit their careers to stay home with adopted kids. But then I see a kid come in here with behavioral problems so terrible that I want to run out of the office building and quit on the spot. It’s not their fault, but I am not personally equipped to deal with that shit. I’ll advocate for adoption, but only to people who understand the issues that can come with it. Lots of people want to save the world and adopt, but they picture a sweet little well-behaved victim who just needs a hug, and it’s not always that simple. It really takes a full time caregiver for some of these kids.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 22, 2013, 4:27 pm

        I know a woman who admitted that she regrets adopting. So sad. I think you’re absolutely right and very few people who adopt actually know what they might be getting themselves into.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 22, 2013, 3:48 pm

        This is the best I can offer you 😉

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle August 22, 2013, 3:52 pm

        I just asked it if I should have kids, & it said “My sources say no.” haha

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 22, 2013, 3:57 pm

        It told me I was going to win the lottery once. I didn’t.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle August 22, 2013, 4:12 pm

        “Will I be rich?” / “Outlook not so good”

        🙁

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle August 22, 2013, 4:13 pm

        Oh fuck!!

        “Will I be poor?”/ “Yes.”

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 22, 2013, 4:16 pm

        You’re fucked.

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      • avatar

        bethany August 22, 2013, 4:16 pm

        You still could, though!

        And if you do, give me some money please, so I can afford a baby.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 22, 2013, 4:19 pm

        I’m not that dumb bethany. I was very, very specific: Am I going to win the Mega Millions drawing tonight? was my question.
        I will gladly share if I ever do though!

        Trade ya a baby for your scooter!

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      • avatar

        bethany August 22, 2013, 4:20 pm

        Yeah right. Scoot+ Bethany= True Love

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      • avatar

        lemongrass August 22, 2013, 4:49 pm

        Oooh oooh, me too!

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 22, 2013, 4:51 pm

        You’ve already refused to trade your baby for anything I can offer. Bethany will be getting more $ than you.
        (drooling at the latest pics, btw, especially where he’s driving)

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      • avatar

        lemongrass August 22, 2013, 4:56 pm

        That’s it. I’m not having anymore kids until I get at least as much $ as Bethany, if not more.

        I took a video of him driving that’s hilarious but I won’t post it because my husband is talking in his E impression voice and its high pitched and silly.

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      • avatar

        bethany August 22, 2013, 4:58 pm

        LBH is my favorite!

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle August 22, 2013, 3:53 pm

        Oh noo, this is too fun.

        “Does everyone hate me?”/ “Maybe”

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      • avatar

        honeybeenicki August 22, 2013, 4:36 pm

        I have a “Magical Orb” (generic magic 8 ball) on my desk and it’s the hit of the office. When the officers come past, they often stop to ask it questions.

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      • Northern Mermaid

        Northern Mermaid August 22, 2013, 7:23 pm

        I am apparently going to have kids with current boyfriend:

        Will I have kids? Yes
        With current boyfriend? Yes
        On purpose? No

        Time to go buy a jumbo box of condoms!

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    • avatar

      kerrycontrary August 22, 2013, 3:55 pm

      I just don’t like telling people that “they might change their mind” because it’s basically like saying “Screw what you know about yourself, even if you’ve thought about this decision long and hard. I know better than you and I’m going to tell you that you might change your mind because 5 of my girlfriends did.” A lot of people don’t come to the decision that they don’t want kids lightly. So yeh the LW might change her mind, but I wouldn’t bet her relationship on it.

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      • avatar

        bethany August 22, 2013, 4:01 pm

        I could see how saying ‘You’ll change your mind’, or even “You’ll probably change your mind” would be mean or rude, but saying they might… That means there’s a small chance it might happen. And truthfully, there is.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 22, 2013, 4:02 pm

        I hear that, but I also think you could say no one can predict the future. I might’ve said I hate pumpkin pie and will never like it, but lo and behold, I love it now.
        Now, if someone (like Kate) said I never want kids and am sure of that, I wouldn’t say you might change your mind, because that’s rude. But someone like this LW, who is clearly on the fence, sure, I’d say that to them.

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      • avatar

        lemongrass August 22, 2013, 4:52 pm

        I love pumpkin pie. And pretty much all desserts. I’m making these today:

        Most likely, anyways. I just have to get off my ass and do it.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 22, 2013, 4:57 pm

        Do you ever stop impressing me? Yum!

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      • avatar

        kerrycontrary August 22, 2013, 5:09 pm

        Have you ever tried mini pumpkin croissants? Google them. They are so easy (a little messy but easy) and taste so good! They got totally snatched up in 30 mins last time I brought them to a tailgate.

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      • avatar

        lemongrass August 22, 2013, 5:24 pm

        Those look so good! I feel so torn this time of year. I want it to be fall but at the same time I don’t want to give up summer yet. I love the changing of the seasons 🙂

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      • rainbow

        rainbow August 23, 2013, 10:33 am

        Besides, it’s much more likely that people will say that to women than to men regarding kids. That’s the part I like the least.
        Every time a woman writes in saying “I want kids but he doesn’t” we all answer “not going to change his mind fooling yourself kthnxbai”. Woman writes in saying her bf wants kids but she doesn’t? “Oh, you’ll probably change your mind”.

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  • mylaray

    mylaray August 22, 2013, 3:31 pm

    It’s one thing if both of you are unsure you want kids and have a plan set in forth when/if one of you change your mind. But it doesn’t sound like you will change your mind, nor will your boyfriend. He wants and hopes for you to change your mind so that you can still be together. But if you have kids when you truly don’t want them, neither of you will be happy. Since I don’t think it’s fair for you to give in and decide to have kids with him if you truly don’t want them, I think he needs to decide just how important kids are to him, and if he is willing to lose you over that. And kids may certainly be the deal breaker for him. And maybe you can set a certain time (6 months or a year) for both of you to decide, but it’s not a good idea to just keep going on, pretending like this isn’t a problem at all.

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    bethany August 22, 2013, 3:35 pm

    Reading her letter, I feel like if the boyfriend really wants to have kids, he’ll be the one to break it off eventually. Until then, why not just have fun? If the LW truly doesn’t want kids, it’s not like she’s up against a deadline like “I must find a guy before I’m 35” or whatever.

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    • avatar

      HmC August 22, 2013, 3:49 pm

      Yeah that’s a good point. Except, maybe it’s a little cruel to keep him off the market for that time? I know he’s an adult and can make his own decisions plus guys can have kids later, but still staying with him when he’s communicated that he thinks she might change her mind is sort of affirming that she agreed that she might, like giving him hope when she knows there is none?

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    • avatar

      kerrycontrary August 22, 2013, 3:53 pm

      I get your point, but I also think that Wendy made a good point. The LW isn’t just having fun, she’s building a life with this man. So it’s probably going to more painful to part from the life they built together at 35 then it would be at 26. Plus she may not be up against a deadline, but it’s more difficult to find a man when you’re in your late 30s just due to a pure numbers game. A lot of them have been previously married, or already have kids. So I think it’s just sort of delaying the inevitable?

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark August 22, 2013, 4:04 pm

        But IS it inevitable?

        Look, I will tell you right now I ended two relationships in my twenties rather capriciously as I was just sure I’d find somebody else as I was just SOOOOOOOO fabulous.

        Newsflash. I wasn’t.

        Obviously this is a very different situation… But, to end a great relationship over something that might happen? That seems REALLY silly to me…

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 22, 2013, 4:06 pm

        I have to agree. This might’ve been a Friday’s Link, but it applies: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2263518/I-left-love-life-I-thought-I-better-Now-Im-childless-42.html#ixzz2TIt3iTyv
        SCARYYYYYY

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      • avatar

        kerrycontrary August 22, 2013, 4:18 pm

        Yeh but she left him for other reasons than children. Like she’s upset because she’s 42 and childless and left the possible love of her life because she basically didn’t think he was good enough for her (I think I had pretty strong opinions on this when it was a Friday link). And then she assumed he would always be there for her and was shocked when he wanted to move on and separate her from him life. This LW is basically saying “our relationship is great, everything is on track, but he definitely wants kids and I don’t”. Plus, in terms of that woman I think that she’s 42, so she didn’t have children (even though she could’ve had one on her own), but she’s still got possibly 40 years left. There’s plenty of time to meet someone and fall in love and spend almost half of your life with them.

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        lets_be_honest August 22, 2013, 4:20 pm

        Oh yea, different facts, just another story of someone making a decision that they ended up really, really regretting. That scares the crap out of me.

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      • avatar

        kerrycontrary August 22, 2013, 4:37 pm

        My thoughts are you can always make a decision you regret, but you weigh the options and you make the best choice possible with the information possible and the rest is up in the air. But I also think that woman has a bad attitude and could’ve made any decision in her life and really regretted it. Like she’s one of those people who would be unhappy no matter what. I doubt she would’ve been happy if she had stayed with her husband and had kids.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 22, 2013, 4:38 pm

        Yea, she sucked, I agree about her.

        How can you know what the best possible choice is though? What if the options weigh the same?

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      • avatar

        kerrycontrary August 22, 2013, 5:08 pm

        you throw caution to the wind and if you made the wrong decision and you have regrets, well then oh well. You pick yourself up and move on. If you can’t move on then you go to therapy.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 22, 2013, 5:11 pm

        How about I just ask you to pick for me! I’ll begin with 3 easy questions:
        1. What should I eat for dinner?
        2. Should I buy that house?
        3. Do I propose this weekend?

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      • theattack

        theattack August 22, 2013, 5:16 pm

        Wait, wait, what! Back up, LBH. Do you propose this weekend? Please do go on.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 22, 2013, 5:19 pm

        Haha, I was wondering if anyone would notice that…

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      • avatar

        lemongrass August 22, 2013, 5:27 pm

        1. Burgers and quinoa salad (that’s what I’m having, anyways)
        2. Not if it’s ridiculously huge like that one Peter wanted.
        3. Yes! Especially if you pay for my ticket to come. I’m invited, of course.

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      • theattack

        theattack August 22, 2013, 5:28 pm

        That so did not explain anything, you tricky little thing. Are you actually going to do that?

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      • katie

        katie August 22, 2013, 5:36 pm

        Omg so propose this weekend. That would be the fucking cutest thing ever.

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      • avatar

        rachel August 22, 2013, 6:03 pm

        1. I was gonna say grilled burgers and corn, so clearly burgers are the way to go.

        2. No.

        3. Yes, absolutely, do it!!

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      • Lyra

        Lyra August 22, 2013, 4:44 pm

        This just proves that every decision in every relationship is a gamble. She left him for reasons that I think were legitimate, but she never really moved on from him. He was always on her mind and she always compared other guys to him. That’s not right and it’s not fair. Every relationship is different and you really can’t live in the past like she did. She was expecting him to be there if and when she wanted to go back to him, but he wasn’t. He moved on, she didn’t. They were also really really young when they started dating, and when they got engaged. Everyone remembers their first love and their first serious relationship. It appears she never really moved on from hers.

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    lets_be_honest August 22, 2013, 3:38 pm

    “he has said that I *might* change my mind and I get the feeling he’s banking on this being true”

    I think the best thing you can do right now is not “get a feeling” about what he’s thinking, but actually sit down and have a serious discussion about this. Ask if he’s banking on minds’ changing. Ask flat out if you swore you would never have a child, would he be ok.

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    • theattack

      theattack August 22, 2013, 3:43 pm

      Yes! And right now do we even know that this is a deal breaker for him? Lots of people would prefer kids but wouldn’t regret not having them.

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        ktfran August 22, 2013, 4:21 pm

        I’m in this boat. If I meet the right person and it happens, I know I would make a great mom. And I adore kids. But I’ve resigned myself to the fact that it might not happen because I’m 33 and have zero man potential at the moment and I’m not getting younger. Plus, I won’t rush into something bad just to have a kid. So, I guess what I’m saying is I wholeheartedly agree with your statement.

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    sarolabelle August 22, 2013, 3:40 pm

    I SWEAR I read this letter before on this website

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    Bunnycsp August 22, 2013, 3:44 pm

    LW, I don’t think you need to rush any situations. My twenties were amazing – I traveled the world, explored passions, established my career, bought a house. Now in my 30s, we have become more established and there seems to be a place for a baby. People used to tell me that “you are never ready.” But there is a spot now because we feel grounded.

    I went back and forth about having kids because that younger time was so great, but it doesn’t last. you and your friends will start to settle down. All of the sudden, kids are everywhere. My social life changed so much in my 30s not because of me but all my friends had kids and changed. So it isn’t so scary or life changing because our lives have already changed.

    You might be like Kate and you might not. For me, I would have tons of conversations and travel and live the life you always dreamed of. Once you have started accomplishing life’s goals, see if your dreams change. For example, if your dream is to go to Paris, after you have done it, see what your next dream is.

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  • MackenzieLee

    MackenzieLee August 22, 2013, 4:48 pm

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    • MackenzieLee

      MackenzieLee August 22, 2013, 4:53 pm

      They are really hipster, but the message is really heartfelt. You can see how much it’s killing them in the song. Don’t let this be you.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark August 22, 2013, 6:48 pm

        I’d dump her for that tragically unattractive eye make-up alone… 😉

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      • MackenzieLee

        MackenzieLee August 22, 2013, 8:58 pm

        Not the weird tails jacket thing?

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    Sue Jones August 22, 2013, 5:58 pm

    I didn’t have my son until I was 41. I was ambivalent until then. It could have gone either way. Seeing how worn out, out of shape, poor and sleep deprived my friends with babies did not make me want one. My husband came with a very high energy young son and I just could not imagine having a baby on top of that. And I wasn’t ready for the financial strain of a kid. But then I changed my mind. And my husband changed his mind. And I had my son when I was 41 and my husband 45. I waited until we were ready and do not regret at all waiting. I am in full on parenting mode now with a 10 year old and that was what was right for us.

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    • avatar

      Sue Jones August 22, 2013, 6:01 pm

      There are advantages to waiting. Older parents usually have more resources and are usually more patient and mature. The downside is that we do not have the energy of a 20-30 year old so the sleepless nights really take their toll. And then there are sometimes fertility issues.

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  • landygirl

    landygirl August 22, 2013, 6:37 pm

    I never had any strong urges to become a parent in my 20s or 30s but I never ruled it out. Now that I’m past my ability to get pregnant, I don’t regret not having children.

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    SasLinna August 23, 2013, 5:02 am

    I kind of think that it is a problem if you consider it to be one, which you already do. So I would take this issue seriously and really reflect on it rather than pushing it to the side just because it’s uncomfortable to think about. Like Wendy, I was surprised to read that you think this won’t affect you as much as it will affect him. That’s really not true and seems like a naive view to have. I also agree that, even though you can always end a relationship later when it becomes more obvious that there is a real conflict, it’s not like the emotion and attachment to your bf is something that you can just easily shake off after a few more years together. I ended a longterm relationship after 5 years and while it taught me that you can always get out & get over it at some point, it’s not like it leaves no scars. It is an incredibly difficult decision to make if you really love someone. After making this experience, I think that’s it’s a very wise strategy to avoid a deep attachment to someone who you think will turn out to be wrong for you. (It’s a big enough risk if you think the person is almost certainly right for you!)

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    • avatar

      SasLinna August 23, 2013, 5:03 am

      So much unhappiness in relationships could be avoided by reading the signs early.

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    Sophronisba August 23, 2013, 9:46 am

    Is it a given, LW, that you must bear babies in order for your partner’s wish for kids to be fulfilled in the future? You don’t need all the answers today, but realistic possibilities for compromise on both sides would be worth some honest discussion now, if this relationship has good long term potential in all other areas. Could adopting an older child down the road possibly work (just skip over those messy years)? Or being short-term foster parents? Running a “summer camp” program for kids? If you don’t absolutely despise children in all their shapes and forms, there might be a number of creative ways that both your need to be unencumbered and his wish to parent could be met.

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    shanshantastic August 23, 2013, 10:14 am

    I jumped down to comment because story time!

    My brother is 25. His entire life he just always assumed he would have kids (in that “when we’re older, our kids blah blah blah…”) and we always assumed he would. He’s just great with them, and he’s already an amazing uncle to the little man. Then he met my sister in law, who is 35. SIL went through her 20s thinking “Eh, I don’t really want kids now, maybe in a few years.” Same story in her late 20s…when she hit 30 she decided that “meh” was a definite “no”. And he’s okay with that. Their relationship works because the question of children was never a dealbreaker for my brother. But it could have turned out so differently if it was.

    …like a friend of mine. When she got married, her husband said he “probably” wanted kids “in a few years”. She desperately wants children. A few years came and went, and he dropped the bomb that “probably” had pretty much always meant “no” but he wanted to marry her so he told her what she wanted to hear. They’re divorced now, and now she’s dealing with betrayal as well as not having the family she wants.

    LW, time brings about many changes. But are you willing to risk the devastation if his desire or your lack of desire to have children are not among those changes? If you can see an expiration date, however far down the road, I would do as SasLinna suggested and seriously reflect on things. Talk to your boyfriend so you’re both clear about where you stand. Be honest with each other, and yourself, and be prepared to walk away.

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