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I am a 28-year-old woman who is dating a 50-year-old man. He is not a rich man (I’m only including that information because that is the stereotypical May-December romance situation). It is the easiest relationship I have ever been in. We don’t have petty arguments, and whenever a real problem crops up (there have been two), we discuss it like rational people and get past it together. This is a big departure from my past relationships where the main attractions for me tended to be adventure, talent, and substance abuse instead of common values and lifestyles — in other words, I liked to date musicians. My current boyfriend is the only boyfriend I’ve ever had who actually makes me feel like he is looking for a real partner, and respects me on all levels (values, interests, opinions, intelligence, humor).
We began seeing each other six months ago, so it is still a relatively young relationship. I’m not trying to take it for any more than it is at this time, but I also don’t want to get way overly emotionally invested in something that doesn’t have long-term potential, as has been my tendency to do in the past. However, Boyfriend and I see eye-to-eye in the way we behave towards each other and in terms of what type of future we might have together. We are taking it slowly. We live 1000 miles away from each of our families (mine being my parents, his being his children, who are 5 and 8 years younger than me) so we haven’t met each other’s families yet, but he seems to have no nervousness about introducing me to his kids. We have many mutual friends, and have met each others’ friends from other parts of the country with good results. He respects me and feels lucky to be with me, and I feel the same way.
I have two main hangups about our relationship, and I am seeking your (and your commenters’) advice as to whether I should actually consider these to be problematic given the circumstances in our relatively young relationship:
1) I want to have kids, but he has already had his family (my words, not his) and has been thinking about getting a vasectomy for the last couple years. When I told him that that would probably make me fall away from him slowly due to my desire to have a kid or two, he seemed touched that I would ever consider having kids with him, and very sincerely said that he loves children.
2) He is considerably older than I. While this is not currently a major issue for us, I have concerns in my mind about marrying someone who will probably die well before me, and who would not be as mobile as a younger man with young children.
What do I need to think about while moving forward with him? — May-December
Ah, the ol’ “I want kids, but he’s not so sure” question. I get a variation of this letter every month or so and keep answering it publicly so that all the women — or men — in your situation will recognize themselves and MOA if there isn’t an absolute agreement on kids. What does that mean for you? It means your boyfriend has to be 100%, absolutely committed to the idea of having children with you. No: “Eh, maybe I might consider it.” No: “Well, let’s keep dating a little longer and see how I feel about things in six months.” No. You’re 28 years old. If you truly want children, and you want to have them with a partner, then you are too old to be emotionally investing in anyone who isn’t completely open to the idea of having kids with you.
Let’s say your boyfriend, who is “touched” that you’d consider having kids with a man as old as he, asks you to wait six more months to see how serious the relationship is then. Maybe he’ll have a better sense in a few months whether he’s committed enough to you and a future together to take on parenting a baby again. Fine. But in six months you’re going to be 29 or close to it and what happens if he’s decided then that he needs more time? Or that, as much as he loves you, he simply doesn’t have room in his life and heart for a baby? Then you have to go through the emotional hell of leaving a man you love in every way so that you can fulfill your dream of becoming a mother.
Then, let’s say it takes you six months to a year to get over him. Maybe you never really get over him, I don’t know. Maybe he remains this figure in your mind forever, a symbol of a path not taken, and every time one of your future children acts out or pushes your buttons, or the father of said children does something to piss you off, you’ll think back to this life that could have been and this partner you could have had and you’ll feel a sense of loss and sadness. Wouldn’t that kind of suck? Especially when you were given fair warning — the man said he had been considering a vasectomy for years! — very early on that he didn’t want more kids and yet you stuck around and invested more of yourself into the relationship hoping he’d change his mind.
But let’s say you give it a few more months, break up, and you actually have no trouble getting over him. Great. But you’re still 29 or close to it at that point and time is beginning to feel a little tighter. You still need to find someone to fall in love with. That could take years! And then you have to get pregnant and have it stick. If you’re lucky, it happens right away, but the older you get, the harder it is to get pregnant and successfully carry a healthy baby to term. What if you break up with your boyfriend when you’re 29, take a year to get over him, and then don’t meet anyone you really click with until you’re, like, 32 or 33? And then you want to date him for a couple years before you have kids, so then you’re close to 35. And you know what happens when you get pregnant at 35? You’re considered “high risk,” as in high risk for having a baby with birth defects, because you’re an “older mom.”
If it sounds like I’m saying all this to scare it’s because I am. We women don’t really have the luxury of being all leisurely in our pursuits for partners and fathers of our future children — not past a certain age, we don’t, anyway. As teenagers? Sure, of course. Teens shouldn’t be looking for baby daddies anyway. I’d even say early-mid-twenty-somethings can take their time. But once you’re pushing 30 and are serious about wanting a kid, it’s just stupid and irresponsible to waste time dating men who don’t want children with you. It’s hard enough finding the right partner. Why steal time from your search by spending it on guys who can’t offer what you’re looking for?
As for your boyfriend being 22 years older than you, if he’s healthy and in good shape and takes care of himself, I wouldn’t worry that much about it. Some people live quality lives until their 70s and some even through their 90s, and in the next thirty or forty years, those who are living quality lives as nonagenarians will increase substantially. Who’s to say your current boyfriend won’t be one of them? And who’s to say that a man 15 years younger than he won’t get hit by a truck next week? We never know when our time is up or what might happen to us to make the time we have left here less enjoyable, productive, and healthy. Best to choose the people whom you spend your time with based on common interests, shared values, and how they make you feel rather than how long you think they’ll be around.
dabbler April 16, 2012, 9:19 am
Personally, the age thing doesn’t bother me so much. Yeah, you’ll probably get comments and odd looks, occasionally get mistaken for his daughter, but who cares. The relationship is between you and him, and it doesn’t matter what random #37 walking down the street thinks anyway, if you’re both happy.
But the kids thing, that’s a real concern. I have a friend that is going through this right now. Similar situation, he’s a little older, has already had his kids and doesn’t want any more. She had thought earlier on in the relationship that she would be ok with never having kids of her own. She is now 29, and 5 years into the relationship has decided that that’s not a sacrifice she is willing to make in her own life. He is an amazing guy, they love each other deeply, and they are so well matched in every way but this one. But because of that one issue, they’re now staring down the barrel of a possible, and extremely painful breakup. It’s a horrible situation, and better to spare you both the pain if you know right now that your future goals don’t align.
ReginaRey April 16, 2012, 9:40 am
I want to point out, additionally, that even if he DOES want children, you still have quite a lot of thinking to do. With children, necessarily follows a need for money. At 50, does your boyfriend have dreams of retiring any time in the next two and a half decades? I know my own dad, who was only 38 and 40, respectively, when I and then my brother was born, is REALLY ready to retire now. He’s 61, and my brother is still in college. Since my mom (she’s ten years younger) and him wanted to finance both of our undergraduate educations, he’s still working even when he REALLY, REALLY doesn’t want to be. Given that your boyfriend is much older than my dad was, is he willing to continue working for at least 18 years after you have a baby? If you didn’t have a child for another five years or so, that means he’d need to be comfortable working until he was 73. Does he feel ready and energetic enough to do that?
And what if you wanted more than one child? Would he be prepared to work until THAT child was at least 18? So into his mid (or even late) 70s? Of course, none of this is to say that he’s REQUIRED to work. But I don’t know your financial situation. Would it be possible for you to be the sole breadwinner while he stayed home with the kids? Or would both of you need to work?
And while it may be taboo, is he going to have the energy to be a parent to one (or more) children until he’s in his 70s? What kind of a life did he envision for himself at that age, and does having kids with you seem a better path than the life he envisioned? And health is, of course, always a concern. As Wendy said, people can die suddenly at any age, but the risk of dying of some health-related tragedy greatly increases with age, of course. What if you have a child with him when he’s 55, and at 70 he comes down with an illness that requires you to care for him? Are you ready and willing to become the person who primarily cares for a teenager and a senior citizen at the same time? How does HE feel about the possibility of something like that?
Listen, the common denominator is that you need to really, seriously TALK to him about all of these things. Having children in your 50s simply isn’t as easy as having them in your 20s or 30s, or even early 40s. It can be done, if both of you are really, really sure about it and are aware of and ready to face any difficulties that may arise. But you won’t know unless you sit down and talk to him about all of it.
Flake April 16, 2012, 9:54 am
I like this. Very important points to consider.
Nadine April 16, 2012, 9:56 am
The point about retiring is really important, and totally hadnt occurred to me. Good thinking.
ReginaRey April 16, 2012, 10:00 am
I work in an investment firm where the issue of retirement is constantly stressed…it’s really made me more cognizant of how important it is to save for, and invest wisely for. So yeah, I guess I couldn’t help but see that as a major issue!
Brad April 16, 2012, 10:05 am
Well especially since our generation doesn’t have much hope for being able to rely upon social security for when we’re at retirement age. I don’t want to go all negative on anyone, but sometimes I think that if things don’t start chaging back to they way it was 50 years ago, retirement for the middle class might just be a dream for the generations of the 21st century.
AndreaMarie April 16, 2012, 1:16 pm
Exactly. And is he going to have enough saved to not only pay off child/children’s college as still have enough to maintain his retirement afterwards?
lets_be_honest April 16, 2012, 1:36 pm
Do any “children” pay for college themselves anymore?! Seriously.
CatsMeow April 16, 2012, 2:07 pm
It seems to be a declining trend.
lets_be_honest April 16, 2012, 2:12 pm
Its funny, below Tax Geek just commented that you must put your marriage before your children, and yet all I’m reading lately are things like this…parents struggling as they age because they are obligated to pay for their grown kid’s colleges. Its absurd to me.
A man who has provided for his children until they are 18 who cannot enjoy retirement because he’s still on the hook until they feel like finishing up college? I’m not bashing any parent who does this. If you have the means and choose to do that, thats a lucky kid and a loving parent. But, if the parent has to sacrafice their retirement because of it, then it doesn’t seem like a good idea to me.
ReginaRey April 16, 2012, 2:41 pm
I think investment gurus always say, at least the ones I work with, that you should never pay for or save toward your child’s college BEFORE your own retirement. Retirement is always supposed to be the priority. I think a lot of parents today just don’t see retirement as quite as imminent as college, so they fund what seems more relevant right now.
SweetsAndBeats April 16, 2012, 5:18 pm
That seems illogical to me, since investing in your kid’s college education instead of retirement is a 2-step investment, doubling risk… You’re banking on the fact that not only will your kid make enough money to support you in your old age, but also that they’ll be in a place in their lives, and have such a relationship with you, where they can and are willing to do so. That leaves way too large a space for things to go wrong.
CatsMeow April 16, 2012, 2:56 pm
When my parents got divorced, my dad was ordered to pay for half of college for both me and my brother. And he continued paying “child” support until we graduated. It seems to be becoming a societal expectation.
Brad April 16, 2012, 8:52 pm
I’m sorry but I feel that’s wrong. The legal age of adulthood is 18 and at that point all legal obligations should cease. Now if he wants to continue to help then good for him, but he shouldn’t be forced to.
Rachel April 16, 2012, 9:17 pm
It’s tricky though, because even though you are an adult at 18, when you fill out a FAFSA to get student loans and other financial aid, it is your parents’ income that you fill it out with. So if your parents are divorced, they should both be involved in that.
Ideally I agree with you though. I supported myself when I was in college.
Mandanoa April 17, 2012, 12:16 am
I have to agree with Rachel on this. When I applied to college I wasn’t eligible for any need based scholarships or aid from either the government or my college because of how much money my parents made. It didn’t matter that I was 18 when I started college and thus legally an adult. Luckily I received a lot of merit based scholarships and my parents helped me out but if they had chosen not to I would have walked away with a lot more debit thru no fault of my own. While I don’t think parents should be obligated to pay for their children’s college funds there are other things to consider.
theattack April 16, 2012, 2:39 pm
I “pay” for it in that I’m racking up my own student loans. But my parents pay for my living expenses so I can get out faster, which means fewer loans. Among the college students in my major, I’m one of the lucky ones getting the most help from my parents. Most everyone else works two jobs to pay the rent, has loans, and they’re doing it completely on their own. Maybe it’s just the school I go to (very popular state school), but the people who are getting a lot of parental help are in the minority.
Nadine April 16, 2012, 2:48 pm
I paid for mine! Or at least the loan is in my name. Its not paid off yet.
lets_be_honest April 16, 2012, 5:13 pm
🙂 This made me laugh.
Nadine April 17, 2012, 8:39 am
Also, university in NZ doesn’t seem to be as terrifyingly expensive as US college. I have a degree for around $12,000? So maybe I shouldn’t be as proud of myself…..
ele4phant April 16, 2012, 3:00 pm
Well, many do work through college, get scholarships, and take out loans, but given the cost of tuition now its all but impossible to fully put yourself through school without incurring massive amounts of debt. For our parents, yeah, you could work full time each summer summer, have a part time job during the winter, and be able to finish without obtaining a mountain of debt. Not so much anymore.
Parents aren’t *required* to put their kids through school, or contribute anything, but if they have the foresight to start a college fund or help pay for school, it’s really helpful. Its a shame a lot of young adults start their professional lives already under tens of thousands of dollars of debt.
FireStar April 16, 2012, 5:01 pm
I paid for mine. My husband paid for his. There was never an expectation of anything else in wither home. If I have “extra” money I’ll help my kids but I better see some hustle in them first.
lets_be_honest April 16, 2012, 5:06 pm
I think sharing the cost is the most I’d be willing to do. Handouts never work out well from what I’ve seen. That’s not to say everyone who has had college paid for doesn’t work hard for their grades, etc. but it just blows me away how many people say their parents have paid entirely for their college education. I’ve seen plenty of parents pay for college only to see the kid messing around at school, getting kicked out or getting crappy grades. I think they’d be way less likely to let grades slip if they were paying for it.
ele4phant April 16, 2012, 5:19 pm
My parents paid for my undergraduate education (well, I did have some merit scholarships and I worked full time every summer). Or rather, an investment fund was established when I was born with the intent of it paying for my education 18 years later.
I agree that when kids goof off on their parents dime, its a problem. But I think that’s more symptomatic of the parents not holding their children accountable then it is the money. I knew if I goofed around, they’d pull the funding. Even if I was a grown-up and it wasn’t their roof I was living under anymore, they were still paying for a separate roof for me, so they got to set some ground rules. There were about six months I did work and take classes, and it was hard. If it was necessary I could have made it work, but I am so grateful my parents told me to stop and focus on school instead. It made my grades much better.
I am so grateful I was able to graduate with no debt when so many of my peers are buried, absolutely buried with it.
Now though, I’m in graduate school paying my own way (well, the government is and I’ll be paying them back over a loooooong time). If parents can ease the financial burden for their children, it really helps out. But the cash should come with some strings. Grades slip, the money stops flowing.
lets_be_honest April 16, 2012, 5:22 pm
Yea, you bring up a really good set of points. I guess the key is the “strings” and actually following through with threats of pulling the funding if x y or z don’t happen.
ele4phant April 16, 2012, 5:27 pm
Haha, yes. I was a pretty driven kid, but I knew my parents would have no compunction in cutting any of us off if we didn’t hold up our end of the bargain – in fact they did when my older brother started screwing off.
They paid my tuition online through an electronic student account, which *incidentally* also had access to my transcript, so there was no way bad grades could be hidden for long.
CatsMeow April 16, 2012, 8:26 pm
My parents paid for mine. I didn’t have to work and I graduated with a 3.9. I did one year for free at the community college, completed summer classes at the community college, and graduated a semester early.
SweetsAndBeats April 16, 2012, 5:19 pm
I agree with you completely about the “better see some hustle first”. That’s a beautiful phrase and I’m going to store it in my memory bank for when my kids (hopefully I’ll have some) start asking for a free ride.
reginasfangirl April 16, 2012, 11:17 pm
The fact that full time tuition at a 4 year university now costs (on average and adjusted for inflation) about 70% more per year than it did 20 years ago makes paying for it all by yourself without incurring crushing debt much more difficult.
mrmandias April 18, 2012, 6:56 pm
One of the tough choices you have to make is that having children and marrying a good man you’re compatible with is worth sacrificing your dreams of paying for your kids education.
State schools and/or GI bill aren’t the ideal prestige Harvard Yale routes, but they’re adequate.
Which is assuming that our current horrifically expensive higher education model hasn’t imploded in 18 years anyway.
Anna April 16, 2012, 3:19 pm
While I certainly appreciate the points you’ve brought up, I feel that my own childhood could help shed some light on that particular topic. My dad is 15 yrs older than my mom and I am one of 4 children. When I was born, my dad was already 45. However, he was always in terrific health and had no problem working 60+ hrs a week to support the family and helping to raise us. He was with his employer for 30 years and put away a lot of money in savings. During that time, he also paid off the house and all of the cars. So when he turned 55 and was eligible for retirement, he jumped on the opportunity. I was only 10 yrs old when my dad retired. Because of his financial preparations, he was able to continue supporting the entire family on his savings and pension. My mom hasn’t had a job outside the house since they got married in ’75. So it can work out if it’s done right. And of course, men can have children for a looooooooooong time past the age when women stop being fertile.
Leroy April 16, 2012, 7:08 pm
My father is considerably older than my mother as well, and they had me when he was about the same age as the LW’s boyfriend. The fact that he’d married later enabled him to develop his career, and acquire assets, such that concerns for healthcare, college, and retirement haven’t been a burden. This pattern isn’t uncommon among men that I know who’ve married later.
IMO the X factor w/ older men having kids, which they need to be honest with themselves about, is their health. My dad has never had significant health expenses, even well into his 80’s. But he’s not typical. Older men should really consider whether they’re going to be healthy enough to raise kids. It’s more than simply living a long while. They should be able to participate in their children’s lives. I know guys in their late 30’s and early 40’s who aren’t spry enough to deal with children. There’s no way that they’d be able to do so past 50. Though some older men obviously can.
Brad April 16, 2012, 8:55 pm
Did you hear about that 93 year old billionaire who wants more children?
Lee August 26, 2017, 1:02 am
This response is so on point! On top of that, would one expect a child in his or her early 20’s to juggle between working full time, taking care of their own personal commitments and relationships while running the whole household if the mother is heavily ill, the father being old and immobilised, taking into account the possibility of having a younger sibling who could have slow development due to genetics problem caused by the father having a child relatively late. There are so many more possible issues beyond the age gap that need to be considered carefully and thoroughly.
lets_be_honest April 16, 2012, 9:42 am
Hits close to home.
One of my closest girlfriends was out with me Friday night discussing her relationship with her boyfriend of two years. She’s totally in love with him, he’s a great guy, she’s 30, he’s 37. She’s wanted kids her whole life but he doesn’t want any more (he has a 13 y/o from a previous relationship). Its so sad for me to hear her try and convince herself she would be ok with not having kids because she so clearly wants them.
LW, you have a much better chance of falling in love again then you do with having kids with someone who doesn’t really want them. I have to assume I’d always regret not having children, but not regret leaving someone who didn’t want them.
a_different_Wendy April 16, 2012, 9:46 am
Wendy’s advice is spot on. That is one life goal/value that you absolutely have to share with someone you’re in a long term relationship with. I was in a situation like this with my fiance (except that he had not already had kids, he just didn’t want them). Fortunately, he did come around after not too long so I didn’t have to end things.
kerrycontrary April 16, 2012, 9:47 am
One thing that I’ve noticed about people having kids when they are older, even at 35, is that relationships with grandparents are starting to change. I was very close with my grandparents who are still living, but my mom had me at 35 almost 36. I’m 24 now and probably won’t have kids until I’m 30. She will be well into her 60s when I have my first child, which means she will be less mobile. Not to mention she will be elderly by the time they graduate high school. I can already tell that my parents are starting to slow down at 60! There are a lot of things to consider when having children when you are older. If the LW has kids with someone when she is in the 30s, and he is in this 50s he won’t be able to help the child move into their dorm room at college, he won’t be around to see their child have children, or maybe even walk their daughter down the aisle. I’m not advocating people having children younger, but with people having children later the american family is changing.
ReginaRey April 16, 2012, 9:59 am
I definitely agree. I think one of the biggest concerns, other than children maybe not getting to spend as much time with grandparents, is the difficult situation future generations might face during middle age. If their parents waited until their mid-30s to have children, and then are in their mid-60s or early 70s before their children have children, then their children may REALLY struggle to care for both elderly parents and young children at the same time.
My friend’s mom is actually going through this right now. She’s in her early 50s, but had a “surprise” baby at 41. Her mother is in her mid-70s, and her health is very, very poor. My friend’s mom goes to work, visits her mom in the nursing him a few times a week after work, and still has to come home and cook dinner and clean and help the 10-year-old with homework, etc. Juggling the HUGE responsibilities of being a working parent to a small child and, effectively, to an elderly adult, has taken an incredible emotional and physical toll on her. And sadly, I think this could become much more of a trend in the future.
rainbow April 16, 2012, 10:27 am
My family is like that too. My parents had me and my older sister before 30, and then my “surprise” little sister at 45. They’ve always been responsible parents so she’s got a nice life, but you can see their energy level is terribly low compared to the one my older sis and I saw growing up. It’s also much harder for them to understand her and her problems, because there are more generations in between, so it’s all really weird for them. (Like my problems were for my grandmother).
My three last grandparents got very sick and died slowly when she was 2, 7 and 12, and handling those situations while taking care of a young child was very stressful for my parents. Also, my mom used to let us play in the mud and turn the house upside down every day, but she snaps at my little sis when she tries to do the same.
I’m sure it can be done differently if you really want a child, but your SO having one more just so he doesn’t lose you when he used to believe he was done sounds a lot like having a surprise baby to me, and it’s not easy at all at his age.
kerrycontrary April 16, 2012, 11:04 am
Yeh I was the surprise little sister, and I know my parents had so much more energy with my siblings (cause my mom had them at 26 and 28). There is also a huge generation gap between me and mom. Now that my sister is in her mid-thirties and married, her and my mom are really close where as I’m the odd one out because I’m in my twenties and having fun. It makes me want to have my kids close together and younger.
Sue Jones April 16, 2012, 3:43 pm
My mom was almost 40 when she had me. I was the youngest. I was 41 when I finally felt my life was together enough, career on track and had my kid. My parents were in their 80’s by then and really could not help out with babysitting and the like… BUT they were so excited to have a grandchild that young and would fly us out, they bought all the baby stuff they needed – crib, highchair, diapers… (my brother also had a new baby at that time with his second wife) and my son’s memories of his grandparents (they are both gone now) are of being showered with attention and everything one could imagine that a baby would want to play with. It gave them pleasure to baby shop and “spoil” my son and my son loved it. They were gone by the time he was 6, but he remembers the love.
Kristina April 16, 2012, 10:20 am
This might sound horrible, but I strongly dislike my parents for having kids at their age. My dad was 40, my mom was 38. And they had been dating for over 7 years before they got married, so in my opinion, they were wasting time a bit since they both wanted kids. I never really had grandparents in my life, and I fear that if I have kids around 30 or so, that my parents won’t be healthy enough to be involved in my future children’s lives. 2 years ago, I was that person who never wanted kids or to even get married. But now, I’ve been thinking about definitely wanting kids before 30, but who knows if that will happen. By the time I have kids, I will probably have to take care of my parents, especially since I would be more willing than my brother. My dad is really active at 61 and in really good shape. But my mom is not and she never really was that active when my brother and I were younger. They’re paying for my expensive, private college and it’s not something they want to be doing at that age. They won’t ever be able to retire really, and after seeing what they have gone through from raising children at that age, it’s something I definitely don’t want to happen to me. I would rather not have children if it came down to it.
While I think it’s great that people can have children at later and later ages these days, I also don’t think it’s fair to the children to have parents or even one parents who is much older.
Kristina April 16, 2012, 10:29 am
Blah..are much older*
Temperance April 16, 2012, 11:01 am
I don’t think grandparents are always that important. For example, I can’t stand Mr. Temperance’s father. My kids will not have any sort of relationship with him beyond seeing him once per year in a highly supervised setting. He will add nothing positive to their lives.
Brad April 16, 2012, 11:17 am
I’m not close to any of my grandparents and I don’t feel like it really matters. It’s never really bothered me any.
Amy P April 16, 2012, 12:51 pm
I had one kind of lousy grandpa (far away, fortunately), a decent grandma that I rarely saw, and two younger, energetic grandparents that I saw all the time since we lived in the same community. I’d come over to their house after school, they took us on trips, they did all the family birthday parties, we worked on their farm–it was fantastic. I also had a great-grandma that I worked for a lot during the summer (digging potatoes, feeding calves, slug removal, weeding strawberries, fixing lunch, etc.). If the geography had been reversed and we lived near the grumpy grandpa, it would have been a bummer, but if the geography and the interpersonal side work out, it’s very nice. My good grandparents are still living, and while they’ve slowed down, my relationship with them is very important to me.
I had my kids relatively early, so their grandparents are also youngish, but we live 2,000 miles away, so they see each other once or twice a year. One set of grandparents hasn’t really gotten the concept of grandparenting. They’re mildly interested, it’s just that they rarely exert themselves. I suppose that you need a fairly large collection of grandparents and great-grandparents to ensure that you have at least one who is super interested and excited about the role. Aunties and great-aunts are also important and should not be ignored–the ones whose kids still haven’t provided grandchildren are especially good prospects.
Kristina April 16, 2012, 11:20 am
I had 2 grandparents and 1 step-grandparent alive when I was born and all 3 of them are crazy. I never had much of a relationship with any of them, and I do feel like I missed out, based on experiences from many friends of mine.
katiebird April 16, 2012, 1:14 pm
I just want to say that I grew up knowing 2 grandmas, 1 step-grandma, and my pop-pop and they were a wonderful part of my life. I am so blessed to have known them and to have had them in my life. Everyones family is different, but I think you are doing a disservice to the wonderful grandparents of this world when you say that they arent that important.
lets_be_honest April 16, 2012, 1:17 pm
Agreed. The role my parents have played in my kid’s life has been so beyond beneficial to her, and the same can be said for the role my grandparents have played in my life. I feel very blessed that know that where I may lack in parenting, my own parents make up for tenfold when it comes to my kid.
Temperance April 16, 2012, 10:18 pm
Eh, I’ve seen more damage from the “grandparents are THE MOST IMPORTANT THING EVER” camp. It causes so much damage to those of us who have shitty parents and grandparents, because it almost puts the onus back on us to make those relationships work, even when there is abuse and ill treatment.
Something More April 17, 2012, 10:53 am
I grew up with both sets of grandparents, well, three sets. My mom’s parents adopted me when I was two so she could join the Navy. I spent almost every summer in AZ with them and when my dad passed away when I was 11, we moved back home and they def had a hand in raising me. I love them dearly (and still at 32 I rub it in my cousin’s faces that *I’m* the one they adopted) My grandma and Papa were married for 53 years when she passed away from cancer.
My stepdad’s parents divorced before we married into the family, but I knew and loved them both. Both remarried and I spent summers in western NY with my grandma there and time with my grandpa in FL when we lived there. I grew up with the best grandparents and altho my mom and I have had a tumultuous relationship over the years, she loves her grandkids (I have 2, my sister has 2) She is the Nani and they all love her. And I am glad she is in their lives.
tl:dr- I grew up with wonderful grandparents and my life most definitely is better for having known them.
Something More April 17, 2012, 10:58 am
Also, I’d like to add that my great-grandma (dad’s grandma) is still alive, altho in decline at 103 years old, when I was younger, there was nothing better than her peanut choc chip cookies in the summer. My Papa (mom’s dad) is still alive and kicking, my kids LOVE him. I guess – I just can’t say how much having these people in my life and in my daughters’ lives have been such a wonderful thing.
cporoski April 16, 2012, 1:16 pm
Sometimes it is a money/career thing having kids later. My husband and I waited to start trying until we both had more established careers. Chances are, your parents would have made you loan out your expensive, private college if they had kids earlier. My friends who had kids around 25 are struggling financially compared to the ones after 30 because they never really established themselves financially.
lets_be_honest April 16, 2012, 1:45 pm
I skimmed the page after what you wrote below to see what your bad experiences were with having older parents. I’d say its fair to be upset that whenever you choose to have kids, your parents may not be able to be the grandparents you hope they can be. But it sounds like your parents waited til they were stable to have children and provide for them. That’s pretty excellent in my book.
Also, and I apologize if this sounds bitchy but I don;t know how else to put it- you said “They’re paying for my expensive, private college and it’s not something they want to be doing at that age.” Why don’t you pay for it yourself then if you are so concerned about them aging rapidly because of it?
Kristina April 16, 2012, 2:13 pm
Sorry, that didn’t come out the way I meant it. My parents are very adamant about paying for my (and my older brother’s) undergrad education. They both had to pay for their own, and didn’t want me to have to do that. I took out a few small loans to help alleviate the cost, but they will end up paying those loans, since it’s something they want to do to help me out for the future. They don’t want to have to be worrying about all these costs at their age, which is what I meant to say. They weren’t expecting other costs to come up at this time in their lives, but it happens. They didn’t plan enough for college funds (or at all), but at the same time, they want to help me get started by not having to worry about school loans. Of course I’m grateful, but I do think that part of their problems has to do with having kids in their 20s while they are nearing retirement age. My dad doesn’t want to retire because he loves what he does, but he would like to work less, but can’t because of my brother and I.
lets_be_honest April 16, 2012, 2:43 pm
I’d say most parents of kids in their 20s are nearing retirement age, otherwise they are like me.
IDK, just seems (and maybe theres a better word) selfish to fault them for what you seem to be faulting them for…waiting until they’ve had a happy no-kids marriage to decide they are ready and secure enough to have kids, paying for both of their kids’ colleges, giving up early retirement for their kids.
Kristina April 16, 2012, 3:02 pm
Maybe it is selfish for me to feel that way, but I can’t help it either. My parents and I are really close and they know that I feel that way.
Flake April 16, 2012, 2:59 pm
As adamant as they are you can always say ‘No, thanks’.
Kristina April 16, 2012, 3:05 pm
Well it’s pretty common where I’m from for parents to pay for college, and I don’t see anything wrong with it, if they can afford it. It wouldn’t be a wise financial decision for me to go to my current college solely on loans, and I’m thankful my parents are generous.
Flake April 16, 2012, 3:16 pm
Except that you also resent them for it…
Sue Jones April 16, 2012, 6:13 pm
She will be grateful someday… when she is older and has no student loans and many of her friends are still buried in debt and can’t follow their dreams the way that she can because her parents are financially secure. Having resources and emotional maturity is the main reason I see for waiting.
Amybelle April 16, 2012, 4:35 pm
You’re right, it does sound horrible of you. I hate to break it to you, but 38 and 40 isn’t really that old, to have children or anything else. So you’re saying you’d rather they hadn’t had you at all? Or just criticizing their timing in having you, raising you, and paying for your expensive college? Wow I can see why you dislike them, how dare they not live their lives in a way that maximizes benefits to you!
lets_be_honest April 16, 2012, 11:13 am
Just wanted to pipe in and share my story here, which seems to be more positive than some.
My parents had 4 kids quite young, then my mom remarried and had 2 more later in life. I honestly wouldn’t change any of it. I love having a mom who is closer in age to me (21 year difference), love having siblings close in age to me, but also love having such younger siblings (they are about 18 years younger than me). They keep my mom young (she’s about 50 now) and she still has plenty of energy for them. Still does the PTA, scouts, etc. As many of you know, I have my own daughter, who will most likely remain an only child, but she gets to have an aunt and uncle (I know, sounds funny) who are only a few years older than her. Its like having siblings because we live very close to each other, and they attend the same school. I really have seen no issue whatesoever with the age gap for any of us.
Foxxdye April 16, 2012, 1:01 pm
Thanks for the positive outlook. I’m surprised at the strength and prevalence on DW of the sentiment that having kids in your late 30’s/early 40’s is a bad or even selfish move. My parents came out alright, and after all, if they hadn’t had kids precisely when they did, different people than my sister and I would have popped out. While I wouldn’t pursue fertility treatments to do it, I have no problem with the idea of being a 35 or 40-year-old new mother.
AndreaMarie April 16, 2012, 1:19 pm
Good point. I didn’t even think of that. I think its something some women overlook when choosing to wait until their late 30s to have children. Being in a situation caring for young kids and their elderly parents.
Brad April 16, 2012, 10:01 am
I think it sucks that the age/kids thing is the only spot you have a problem with but I also think it’s a MOA situation because of it. 22 years is a pretty big gap since you still want to have your own children. Perhaps it wouldn’t be if he had younger children you could raise with him, but since his kids are adults now that isn’t an option. And something like this is akin to a bandaid, it will hurt less if you just rip it off and get it over with. My heart goes out to you.
Muffy April 16, 2012, 10:20 am
The age issue is nothing to worry about – a quality partner can be any age (so long as it’s legal) as long as they are a person you get along with and agree on the major factors: finances and KIDS. See that’s your problem with this guy. He says he might not want kids. He thinks it’s sweet that you want kids with him. But he never said that he wanted kids.
You need to let him know how badly you want children. You need to let him know that he better tell you right now if he truly never wants any more children because you need to find someone else then. And being in his 50s is not too old for him to have kids – my dad was 54 when my sister was born and my parents went through in vitro and everything to have her.
iseeshiny April 16, 2012, 10:38 am
Did anyone else think Monica and Richard when they read this?
bet April 16, 2012, 10:42 am
I love a good Friends reference! Hoenstly, it sounds just like their situation!
JK April 16, 2012, 11:29 am
With Wendyps response I was thinking of when Rachel turns 30 while dating Tag, andshe does all the math as to when she wants to have kids, get married, etc. And realizes she has to dump him.
Ladybug April 16, 2012, 12:23 pm
Gotta love multiples Friends references in the same letter. And neither of those breakups were really about age–in an of itself, age isn’t a problem. The problem comes in when two people are in different places in their lives as far as their priorites and what they hope to accomplish, and age is all too often an indicator of that.
Kate B April 16, 2012, 10:46 am
I have no problem with the age thing, but the kid thing is a big deal. He thought he was done raising kids and undoubtedly made plans for the latter part of his life. My aunt and uncle took on the raising of their grandchild in the late 60s and it is hard for them. They never had to take care of a baby (they adopted my cousins when they were 6 and 8, respectively) and so had to learn everything late in life. It has been hard for them. This is not how they planned to spend their retirement years and my uncle, for one, is beginning to show signs of resentment. They love their grandson, but they wish his mother was more responsible. They both have health issues and so keeping up with a four-year-old is very difficult. These are all things to consider.
theattack April 16, 2012, 10:52 am
I think you should talk to him about this more. His comment sounds like he was starting to question himself some. Ask him to think about it for a couple of months, and then make your decision. You’re having to adjust to dating someone older, and he needs a similar opportunity to adjust his thoughts and his life-plans while dating someone younger. You’ve got something good, so don’t give it up without a thorough conversation.
FireStar April 16, 2012, 10:59 am
I think the piece about wanting to be with someone who 100% shares your goal of a family is key. He may be flattered or even willing to have kids with you – but that is not the same as someone who is matching you in enthusiasm to start a (new) family, is it? I know people who wanted kids and their husbands were willing – not enthusiastic but willing – and when the kids came the husbands shirked a lot of the work that goes with them saying that since the wife wanted the kids so the wife can get up at night, and change the majority of the diapers etc. It is causing HUGE resentment. One guy made the wife and baby sleep in the basement so the crying at night wouldn’t disturb him (he’s a gem). The husbands love their kids and everything but almost like in a 60’s generation kind of way… I think their justification is that since they didn’t come to the decision equally, they certainly aren’t sharing the work equally either. I would imagine that the best case scenario is that you both very much want kids and both of you will step up to make the sacrifices necessary to raise them. I think a successful relationship has shared values and a shared vision for the future. Your vision has children; his vision for the future included a vasectomy. Even if he agreed to have kids with you in order to keep you – would that be enough?
landygirl April 16, 2012, 11:01 am
LW, how well do you actually know this guy? Of course it’s been an easy relationship, you live 1000 miles apart. You are removed from the amount of work it takes to make a day to day live in relationship sucessful. How much time have you spent in each others presence? You’re idealizing this guy and that’s easy to do when you don’t pick up his dirty underwear off the floor everyday.
It also creeps me out that he’s dating someone who isn’t much older than his own children.
kerrycontrary April 16, 2012, 11:05 am
I think he lives 1000 miles away from his kids, she said “we live 1000 miles away from each of our families”, not 1000 miles away from each other.
landygirl April 16, 2012, 11:15 am
I need coffee since I obviously can’t read.
Brad April 16, 2012, 11:18 am
Well if the coffee doesn’t work I hear hooked on phonics works wonders 😉
landygirl April 16, 2012, 11:28 am
I think coffee should do the trick though I could used Hooked on Mathmatics.
theattack April 16, 2012, 11:06 am
I think they live in the same place. Their families live in different places.
But it’s very much not true that living far apart is easier. It takes at least just as much work to make the relationship work long-distance. There’s a reason people are hesitant to do that.
landygirl April 16, 2012, 11:17 am
Having been in several LDRs, I think living with someone is far more difficult. If you live far away from someone you don’t have to put up with their day to day habits.
theattack April 16, 2012, 11:27 am
It’s just a different type of difficult. I don’t think one is easier than the other. They’re both hard.
lets_be_honest April 16, 2012, 11:31 am
Maybe, but it has to be quite difficult going from LDR to not, which I assume would have to happen when you decide to marry, let alone have kids. That’s a major adjustment and I can’t imagine easy. I would think it’d be like a whole different relationship in so many ways.
theattack April 16, 2012, 12:14 pm
Exactly, which is one reason LDRs are difficult. It’s a lot of faith, and it’s difficult to prepare for those things more so than in an in-person relationship.
Temperance April 16, 2012, 11:02 am
LW, I think you should move on. Not trying to be a total ass, but do you want to be stuck caretaking an elderly partner while trying to parent a young child?
AndreaMarie April 16, 2012, 11:58 am
100% agreed. Healthcare and lifespan is always improving and he good very well live a healthy life into his 80s. But lets be real, we can’t predict aging and god forbid he gets a serious/life threatening illness in his 60s (which unfortunatley many people do), she will be the caregiver to her husband as well as raising children under 10!
Lisa April 3, 2023, 11:44 am
Totally agree. Even if (and it’s a big if) he agrees to have kids, this is a real concern. Heck I was 43 and my ex was 50 and he felt old to me. I cannot imagine 29 year old me.
leilani April 16, 2012, 11:23 am
Yeah, I would be worried because this is still a pretty new relationship, and he seems pretty undecided on the kids thing. To get to the point that you are serious enough to actually have children together, AND he has made up his mind that he really wants to have kids with you, AND you have decided to start trying to get pregnant, AND you have successfully gotten pregnant and carried a baby for 9 months, he will no longer be your 50-year old boyfriend. He might be your 52-year old boyfriend, or 53 or 55-year old boyfriend. And a 6-year old with a 60-year old dad is not an ideal situation. Neither is a “not rich” guy in his mid-70s trying to pay for college with his retirement fund. And that’s only if he decides that he actually wants kids. The only way I could see this working is if he can tell you NOW that he does definitely want to try to have kids with you, and you can develop a timeline for when that would happen and how it would work. Unfortunately, you guys do have time constraints, and you don’t really have time to waste in the decision-making stage.
lets_be_honest April 16, 2012, 11:28 am
All of this, AND THEY’VE ONLY BEEN TOGETHER 6 MONTHS. Come on LW. This just seems unwise. If you were writing in saying you are married to this man, or even about to be married and have been together a long time and both wanted kids, that’s one thing. This just seems like its not a great idea.
AndreaMarie April 16, 2012, 11:56 am
I wrote my comment before reading yours. You are spot on. They are in different stages in life. He’s heading towards retirement. Im sure he doesn’t want to be working into his 70s, so does he have enough saved up to supposed children through college? And then enough left over to continue to not work?
AnotherWendy April 16, 2012, 7:35 pm
I’m 49 and have a 15 year old and I am not at all thinking my retirement years are right around the corner at all.
fast eddie April 16, 2012, 12:01 pm
I profoundly disagree that a 50+ year old dad is anything negative. The life experience acquired will result in him being better parent. Wealth is no guarantee of life skill or happiness and the lack of it doesn’t inhibit the ability have a successful and loving family.
leilani April 16, 2012, 12:58 pm
You’re right, and I don’t mean to imply that an old dad is a bad dad, or that a young dad is necessarily always better than an elderly one. But it honestly just seems like this guy is over having kids, and he’s only 50. How will he feel in ten years, when he’s 60, with a 5-year old? The point I’m trying to make is that he’s only getting older. So its already iffy now, I don’t think that bodes well for the future.
Sue Jones April 16, 2012, 6:18 pm
No no and no. Let him make that decision! An older person has the maturity to understand how really fast the kids do grow up. 20 years really isn’t that much time. To me, at 50, 20 years seems like yesterday, or only 5 years ago.
CatsMeow April 16, 2012, 11:37 am
This sounds like a heartbreaking situation. It makes me sad to see otherwise healthy, happy couples break up over a difference in wanting children. I’ve seen it happen.
But to put a positive spin on this, LW, if/when you do move on, you at least have a better idea of what you want out of a relationship and what a healthy relationship looks like. Right? You said this is a big departure from your last relationships, so consider it progress. Now that you know what a healthy relationship feels like, it might be easier to find it again moving forward.
sobriquet April 16, 2012, 11:46 am
Ladies, when a man tells you who he is and what he wants right off the bat, listen to him! The more time you invest in a guy who will not give you what you want, the harder it will be to move on. Ugh. I know it’s easier said than done, that we all have this rom-com fantasy of men changing their ways because they’re in love with us, but that’s not reality.
This is just like my 29 friend. She’s extremely picky about men when it comes to small things and yet stays with one who is clearly not going to meet her needs for way too long. “But we have such great conversations! But he’s so hot!” She won’t date a guy who has bad fashion sense, yet stays with the guy who doesn’t want to have kids, or doesn’t want anything serious. It baffles me. Sometimes I think she has this idea that it is just simply going to work out for her, but time’s a tickin’.
If the LW is truly serious about wanting children, then why is she dating a 50 year old to begin with?
Brad April 16, 2012, 1:18 pm
Because, like, changing a wardrobe is so hard amirite?
AndreaMarie April 16, 2012, 11:53 am
LW first let me say that there is nothing wrong with dating someone older, even significantly older. I’m 28 and my last 2 relationships have been with men 10 years older than me. Also, one of my very dear friends is 52 years old and we get along and relate on every level, I never see him as “an old man”. However I think the issue of age does come into play when you want to begin a family and starting a life. If he was 10 years older for example, you would still be in the same stage in life. However, you at 28 and he at 50 are in very different stages. He’s gone through raising children for 20 years, through schools and sports and dance classes and college etc etc. He’s on the down swing of that, the next stage in his fatherhood is is childrens’ weddings. The fact that he’s considered a vasectomy means he’s not interested at this point in his life in changing diapers.
Also, even if he decides he wants children with you, how active of a father do you think he could be? I know lifespan and healthcare is improving each day but he could be 70 by the time the kid hits college. And then there’s that…finances and retirement. Most people are ready to retire in their mid to late 60s. Is he in a position to support a child/children through college even after retirement? And again, though healthcare is great and he’s probably healthy and in good condition now, we can’t predict the aging process. What if, god forbid, he has a serious illness once he is in his 60s, are you prepared to be the caregiver to your husband in you mid-30s? Also while raising children?
I think there are 2 big things you need to address. 1). You say you are long distance, how well do you really know him after 6 months? Have you truly spent enough time with him to know “hes the one” and are ready to take on a serious relationship with him? 2). The most important, you have to have the children talk with him. Like Wendy said, why wait around if you know that no-children is a deal breaker. Ask him upfront and honest. Let him know that children are a must for you and you need to know where he stands.
landygirl April 16, 2012, 12:00 pm
I made the mistake of reading that they were long distance as well but the aren’t. They are long distance from their families, not each other.
LANY April 16, 2012, 12:00 pm
LW, I’ll only say this: based on the thoughtfulness, eloquence and maturity of your letter, you’re going to be fine and happy regardless of which path you choose.
Kristen April 16, 2012, 12:07 pm
I’m biased because I’m on the other end of a situation like this, but have you thought about – really thought about – how this affects the children he already has? I’d be truly surprised if they were as interested in meeting you as he is to introduce you, just for the fact that you could be their sibling (even if you’re really a great girl!).
My fiance’s dad, who is 50, has had 4 girlfriends in the last two years, and they’ve all been younger than 30. In fact, his last one was 25 — the same exact age as his son (my fiance). And let me tell you from this side: It’s not a great situation. He may seem young now, and your difference may not seem that big, but it will snowball as the years pass. And even if he’s flattered by the idea of having kids with you, it’s probably because it makes him feel young and desired. Not because he’s actually interested in raising kids all over again — financially, physically, emotionally. And if he did have kids with you, they’re likely going to be the same age as his future grandkids. Maybe I’m just not open-minded enough, but I don’t think that’s fair to the kids he already has. My fiance’s dad has made comments about having kids with his young girlfriends and starting a new family, and it’s hurtful. It really is.
All I’m saying is that you should look at this from all angles before making a decision. I’m sure there are tons of guys your age who are looking for “real partners” and “respect you on all levels.” I think in the long run, you’ll be happier with someone who is starting their lives for the first time with you — not someone who’s already been there, done that, and is just having kids again to make you happy.
Lady over fifty June 20, 2013, 7:06 pm
Well, I happened upon this string of comments because I have a fifty year old SO who still thinks he wants kids, never had any before. Ugh. Tis came up on my search though its not on point, all the comments here have been informative. So, kids is Not happening with me, so my guy, he’d need to find a young woman, someone under thirty, as I have advised him. Alas, he doesn’t think he can relate. Women in their twenties are young enough to be his daughter. And the time to find someone, settle on her being the woman, conceiving, could easily push him into the 55 age range for a newborn child. Crazy, if you ask me — as someone outlined for you. You could end up with a six year old son with a sixty year old father. So my guy’s stuck in no decision land. And yes, of course, this is why he’s fifty unmarried and childless in the first place. I’m slowly moving on. But enough about me….
I think this is good advice in this response.
He already has been there done that. And your age difference will become more pronounced as the years pass. I for one, would NEVER, be with a man in his seventies at my current age. If you stay with this guy, that’s what you’re signing up for. Have you taken a look at and had conversations with men in their seventies lately!? Have you spent any time with his friends who are also in their fifties, maybe some in the sixties? They’ll just keep on getting older too.
I never felt compelled to have kids. You feel compelled. I think you should be with someone who is “all in” to do that with you. If its not this fifty year old guy, then move on, find a stable young guy. Stop dating musicians! young stable guys are out there. I worked with tons of them over the years.
BreezyAM June 20, 2013, 9:42 pm
He should adopt an older child. Lots of older children out there needing homes, some very messed up yes, but some just needing a home!
Lady over fifty June 21, 2013, 10:24 am
Some men, including this one, doesn’t want to raise someone else’s children. So, no woman with child. No adoption, needs to be biologically his, and no money. Older child isn’t it. Traditional child bearing kind of thing without biological link to him. And not ivf, no money, and surely not with me, there is an age cutoff. I also won’t do non biological to me, so no donor egg. His only choice is young fertile girl. He will likely still be dreaming of being a father ten or more years from now, living in the same pathetic town,,catering to his family of origin and everyone else who wants to take advantage of his good nature. Sad story, but it’s his life, he has to live it as he sees fit.
SweetsAndBeats April 16, 2012, 12:11 pm
I just want to add, LW, that just because this is the first “healthy” relationship you’ve been in, that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find another man to have a healthy relationship with. It’s frequently a mistake girls make, to marry the very first guy they find who has his head on straight and is respectful. There’s a guy out there who can make you happy and not bring up all these concerns you’re having now.
Fabelle April 16, 2012, 12:51 pm
This is a good point– he may be a great guy, and a big leap from the “musicians” she dated in the past (no judgment, LW, lots of people go through that phase…), but that doesn’t mean he’s the only guy she’ll be able to have a mature relationship with.
mrmandias April 18, 2012, 7:07 pm
Always looking for the next big thing is also a mistake, especially when you want kids and you’re pushing 30.
To be honest, I’ve seen lots more girls make that mistake then the one you talk about.
lets_be_honest April 16, 2012, 12:19 pm
More on the whole age issue.
A lot of you seem to think he’s moments from death or being crippled, Can’t be a good parent because he could die at 70 when his kids are only 20. I can’t tell you how many parents of my friends have passed when they were teens, or how many still have incredibly active parents at 65. 50 really isn’t that old people! I don’t consider anyone I know in their 50s to be or seem old.
landygirl April 16, 2012, 12:35 pm
50 isn’t that old but it isn’t that young either. I’ll be 50 in two years and having a kid would exhaust me. At 50 you’re trying to wind the stress down, not wind it up.
ktfran April 16, 2012, 12:44 pm
I love that you said this LBH. Between today’s article and a comment my sister made last night, I’ve been feeling super depressed about age and dating.
My aunt is a widow. Last night, she said if she dated or ever remarried, she would want it to be someone without kids. My sis then stated something to the effect of “do you really want to be with someone who, at 60, has never had kids”? I said there is nothing wrong with not having kids. Then she said, “well he should at least have been married before, otherwise there is something wrong with him.”
Really? Are you effing kidding me? Is that what you really think? Because it’s not a secret that I may never want kids or want to get married. I reserve the right to change my mind and it’s all dependent on if I meet someone I want to spend my life with. But I was just put off by those comments. Sorry, I had to vent and I hope there are some more open minded people.
Temperance April 16, 2012, 4:32 pm
I grew up in a lower-income community where many people did physical labor jobs and were worn out by 60. That’s my frame of reference.
PLUS, my parents are in their early 50’s! I can’t imagine having a parent around grandparent age. My sister is pregnant now, and our parents will be younger grandparents. It works.
theattack April 16, 2012, 5:03 pm
Ahh, this explains why I always think of 60 as old when other people are shocked. My grandparents were either already dead or falling apart by that age, due to all the physical labor.
fast eddie April 16, 2012, 11:22 am
WAY too many naysayers on this. Hell’s bells, he’s only 50 and very lucky to have you in his life. Any problems with the age difference in ANYBODIES mind but yours and his are theirs and theirs alone. As the birthdays roll by that difference will mean less and less. I got married at 53 and if my wife had been young enough I’d have loved to have some. You already realize the issues and the problems can be minimized with advance planning. Someone wiser then myself said “Only two things separate us from happiness, fear of the future and regrets for the past.” Go for the gold dear, your heads on straight, and your hearts in the right place.
lets_be_honest April 16, 2012, 11:25 am
I’m with you 100% expect for the fact that she wants kids and he does not.
Guy Friday April 16, 2012, 11:51 am
Well, let’s be fair here. It’s hard to tell from the letter whether he’s honestly committed to not having kids or if he had just never considered having more kids until she brought it up. Yes, he was considering a vasectomy, but we just had this huge argument in a letter a few days ago about men being responsible in their sexual activity, so I don’t think that can be held against him in this situation; if I was 50 and hadn’t had anyone in my life I really wanted to have kids with and still wanted to be sexually active, I’d probably consider a vasectomy too.
I don’t think the LW should sit around and wait, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say that she should give him a little bit of time — whether it’s 6 months or 2 months or even a few weeks — to process this and have him honestly decide if he wants to have kids and give her a straight answer. If it’s “no”, then, yeah, you may have to move on, LW, if you really do want kids. If it’s “yes”, then I think the other issue you raised isn’t, in my opinion, necessarily a deal-breaker.
theattack April 16, 2012, 12:14 pm
Perfectly said. You said what I was trying to say above.
lets_be_honest April 16, 2012, 12:15 pm
I kind of felt like the LW was pulling at straws to see any inkling of his interest in having more kids (she said she wanted them and he seemed “touched”). Well, that’s lovely that he was flattered that she would consider having kids with him, but it sounded to me like he was nothing more than flattered.
However, I’m in agreement that saying you considered a vasectomy doesn’t necessarily equate being 100% sure you don’t want kids (for all the reasons you gave above).
Bottom line-they should talk and talk soon before it gets harder to walk away.
fast eddie April 16, 2012, 11:47 am
Your right that issue needs to be resolved but she’s young enough to start over IF they can’t. For all they know she might not be able to be a mommy with him or anyone else which would put her in a good position to have his brood to love. I see in this as win-win-win for all parties.
Temperance April 16, 2012, 10:20 pm
Not to sound completely crass, but his children are very likely close in age to her. I can’t imagine seeing one of my peers in a parental role.
bittergaymark April 16, 2012, 12:23 pm
If you want kids, then walk away. Gracefully. As friends. But now, think seriously… Do you really want to deal with both a 70 year old and a high school graduate at the same time? Besides, I find it pathetic and selfish that so many old dudes seemingly go out of their way to breed “second” families… The first ones always (rightfully) feel that they have totally gotten the shaft and in this day of age–with the world population bursting at the seems–having multiple generations of offspring with multiple partners strikes me as just plain selfish — so much so that it’s simply all very gross to me…
lets_be_honest April 16, 2012, 12:32 pm
Maybe the first set of kids just sucked so much that the poor guys needed to pop a few more out to ensure they’d be taken care of when they became octogenarians. 🙂
Seriously though, I never felt like I got the “shaft” when my mom remarried and had more. Maybe its different with dads?
bittergaymark April 16, 2012, 12:38 pm
You may just be very lucky, lets_be_honest. Many of my friends are justifiably bitter over these events. And yeah, I think it’s much more true of fathers… Personally, I have no dog in this fight as my parents are going on 42 years of happy marriage.
PS — I genuinely believe that if you fuck up with one round of kids, you’ll fuck up with each additional round.
lets_be_honest April 16, 2012, 12:52 pm
I think it is probably more true with fathers, only in that they typically are the ones who leave the family home and then start a “new” family home. But yes, I’m lucky in that I’ve never felt anything less than a whole family even though I have some siblings who are technically “half” siblings.
theattack April 16, 2012, 1:45 pm
Why justifiably? I think it’s pretty selfish for a grown child to be upset about their parents making that decision, barring other circumstances.
I also don’t think we should assume he fucked up with the first round of kids.
FireStar April 16, 2012, 1:49 pm
I was just about to ask ‘why justifiably’ too. No one should live their life at the behest of someone else. Parents shouldn’t make decisions for their adult children and adult children certainly shouldn’t be making decisions for their parents either.
lets_be_honest April 16, 2012, 1:51 pm
Hmmm. I’m one of those people who thinks that children should always be first, maybe to a fault. I think it was on here recently a discussion about whether you put your spouse or your children first. I would say children.
Given that, I actually agree (maybe because I’ve gotten more mature) that its selfish of a grown child not to be happy that their parent is happy (aside from dad totally ignoring his older children). I’m very happy my mom had more kids, not only for me, but for her. She loves being a mother. It suits her in every way. Do I get less attention from her because of them? Yes. Do I need as much attention as they do? Of course not.
Tax Geek April 16, 2012, 2:02 pm
Have to agree to disagree here. If you put your children before your spouse, my guess is you will soon be divorced. And your children, who you were putting first, will be a product of that divorce.
lets_be_honest April 16, 2012, 2:09 pm
Its more than possible I have a different view on this issue because of the following reasons:
1. I’ve seen parents who put themselves first, which resulted in a divorce where the kids knew they were never put first and felt not even considered when the divorce came.
2. I had my kid before I had the relationship I’m in now (which is likely going to end up as a married relationship). I could never not think of her first. FWIW, before you or anyone jumps on me for this, my SO is well aware of her being first and I can safely say he is ok with it and often puts her before “us”
Tax Geek April 16, 2012, 2:30 pm
I did not mean that the kids get no consideration. I meant that the most important person should be your spouse, not the kids.
Second marriages and/or step-kids and/or marriage to someone who is not the parent of your child are a totally different situation IMHO. I can see where that would muddy the waters.
Rachel April 16, 2012, 3:51 pm
LBH, I think another point is that your daughter is pretty young right? These “kids” in this situation are in their 20’s and living on their own across the country from their father. I definitely think he should put his own relationship needs ahead of their need to not see him start another family.
lets_be_honest April 16, 2012, 3:55 pm
I should always remember to add that these side-discussions make me give opinions that don’t always have to do with the specific letter, but just to whatever was mentioned that i am responding to.
I agree with what you’re saying.
Rachel April 16, 2012, 3:57 pm
And I definitely agree that it’s great that you put your daughter first 🙂
I saw that you addressed this somewhat further down too, it’s sometimes hard to keep track of long threads of replies.
lets_be_honest April 16, 2012, 4:04 pm
Tax Geek mentioned this though, and I think he’s right…my having a kid before a husband changes things. I’m sure many couples who were married first and then had kids together would say they put their spouse first, then the kids, which probably benefits everyone.
theattack April 16, 2012, 2:27 pm
I just don’t think that choosing to have more kids later in life harms your first children. It’s not an issue of putting the kids first.
BGM, I wonder if you think it’s selfish for a parent of young children to remarry and then have kids with the new spouse while the others are still young, resulting in a blended family?
lets_be_honest April 16, 2012, 3:30 pm
I can understand where the adult children may find some resentment if the parent does a “better” job with the second children…more time, attention,e tc.
bittergaymark April 16, 2012, 6:07 pm
I do. I do think its fucked up of a young parent to remarry and have more kids. Why? Because 9 times out of 10 it seems the step parent favors their REAL children more — often resenting the existence of the other kids and constantly shipping them off for weekends with mommy or daddy… Yeah, it breeds resentment and hostility… None of the dozen or so blended families in my life have kids that were exactly happy about it. Far from it.
But that’s the new society here. Everybody constantly puts themselves, and their wants first. It’s all about you. You! YOU!!!
Leave it to the bitter gay guy who will never even have kids to actually be one of the few people to realize what a gift kids are, and to see that obvious — that putting your needs ahead of yours kids usually fucks them up. Big time.
And seriously. How many fucking kids do you all need? The world is so fucking over popular! Trust me, none of your genes are all THAT great.
bittergaymark April 16, 2012, 6:08 pm
popular = populated. Sorry, I can’t type lately.
FireStar April 16, 2012, 3:25 pm
But does putting your children first mean you can’t do something because they would be upset by it? Particularly adult children? I’ve heard people UPSET because half siblings now have access to estate benefits when the parent dies. Should the parent consider the selfish motivations of their adult children to appease them? Or is it just their welfare to consider (I have sufficient means and time to spend with all kids) and not their wants?
lets_be_honest April 16, 2012, 3:34 pm
I think you are mixing together two completely separate points I tried to make – 1. putting kids before others; 2. a “second” family.
Yes, I’ve heard of stories like you have shared and they are awful. Greed-motivated.
I guess if I am even understanding your question correctly, I would of course consider the welfare of my children over their wants, but I;m pretty sure every parent would, so maybe I’m misunderstanding your question.
lets_be_honest April 16, 2012, 3:35 pm
I wasn’t advocating not having children in a second marriage if that’s what you were thinking. I’m actually quite confused as to what you thought I was saying.
FireStar April 16, 2012, 3:40 pm
Sorry I wasn’t clear. My question is if you always put the kids first and your kids don’t want half-siblings – then what do you do? From what you wrote above, you seemed to benefit from your mom’s remarriage so I was confused about the children always being first. In your case it may not have been an issue – but what if you were opposed to your mom remarrying? Or what if your daughter were opposed to you marrying your beau?
FireStar April 16, 2012, 3:41 pm
lets_be_honest April 16, 2012, 3:50 pm
I actually was quite opposed to my mom’s remarriage, to the point that I begged her not to on the day of the wedding. I was 13 or 14 and frankly, selfish. I wanted things to remain the way they were, I didn’t want to see her dependant on a man again, I didn’t want to share her. There were many reasons, all of which in retrospect, were selfish. Of course now, I realize that it was unfair of me to not want her to have a life of her own. And I’m certainly extremely happy to have 2 new siblings.
Regardless of hindsight, I swore to myself that if I were ever in her position and had my own child in my position back then, I would always put my kid first and myself and anyone else after. Right or wrong, its always been engrained in me.
My daughter is very clear in liking being the only child and not wanting that to change. She does not want siblings. Both my SO and I are in agreement that we will not be having any children in the future, so it makes the point moot, but I honestly would have a major internal struggle if I wanted more, and she (after mature discussions about it) still did not want me to. I have to be honest and say I probably wouldn’t have any more children. The number one most important thing in the world to me is her. If she did not like my SO, I would not have ever given him a chance.
With all that said, I think I’ve also learned enough to tell the difference between childish selfishness (like me intially not wanting my mom to marry again) and serious issues that could occur if I felt my child believed I ignored her and put someone before her.
Curious to hear everyone’s thoughts on this rant. Thanks for listening.
lets_be_honest April 16, 2012, 3:51 pm
P.S. I also had a dad who continually put himself first while I was a child, which did not help my feelings towards this issue.
theattack April 16, 2012, 4:30 pm
LBH, Because I remember how self-centered I was as a child, I can’t imagine taking seriously a child’s pleas to have no siblings or no step-father. I remember hating my aunt and uncle for having a child when I was a preteen because I knew I would be forced to babysit and they wouldn’t pay me. Now as an adult, I’ve loved the experience of helping to raise my little cousin, but that’s not something I ever would have predicted at a young age. Children really don’t know what’s best for them. They’re resistant to change, and they want the world to revolve around them. If I had a boyfriend and a child that didn’t care for him, I would assume she was just jealous of the attention diverted from her, the drama-queen she’s likely to be. If she said she didn’t like him, I would ask why to try to determine if he did something that made her uncomfortable, or if she’s just concerned about the changes in her life.
FireStar April 16, 2012, 4:49 pm
So interesting. My mom put her children above all else and my brother turned into an entitled jackass. Maybe he was destined to be one but I’m not sure catering to him helped. I didn’t turn out like my brother and actually wished my mom had done more for herself during her life, irrespective of us kids. I don’t have kids yet but I’m not sure I would defer to their wishes. It is different I think when you date someone who already has a child (you joining a family) and if you bring children into your relationship. Everyone in your family seems to be on the same page but I think I tend to agree with Tax Geek – a solid foundation of a relationship is one of the best gifts to give a child in the long run. Then again, I’m Caribbean and culturally we don’t let children run anything!
lets_be_honest April 16, 2012, 4:52 pm
Well, yes, obviously I would ask WHY before just handing a child the reigns to our lives. Seems like maybe you skipped the last part of my post about needing to tell the difference between childish selfishness and actual, real issues. I obviously do not think an underage child knows what’s best for them, however, if my kid didn’t like my boyfriend, I would just assume she’s a drama-queen.
FireStar April 16, 2012, 4:53 pm
As a bonus now though one of my greatest pleasures is spoiling my mom as a thank you for all the sacrifices she made for us. If only I knew how to get my brother to stop being a jackass.
lets_be_honest April 16, 2012, 4:57 pm
I was afraid everyone would misread what I was trying to say and just assume I let a child run the show and give into her every wish and desire. Of course, that is not the case by any means. She is very far from spoiled or entitled. By giving her opinion value, I have given her confidence, not snotty entitlement. She knows that I am the boss and what I say goes, but I am more than happy to listen to any real concern she has (not things like a demand to eat McD’s for breakfast) and take that into serious consideration before changing our lives. She actually a very well-rounded kid and not spoiled or entitled at all.
theattack April 16, 2012, 5:22 pm
I did not skip the last paragraph. You just asked for people to respond to your post, so I did.
I’m curious about what sort of “serious issues” could come from not listening to your child. I do like your approach of listening in order to increase your child’s self-esteem. This sounds like a great idea. But children are hardly ever right about what’s best for them, and it would be harder to say no to them after they explained themselves and have some hope for influencing the situation. I’m really not sure what effect it would have on them to have their opinions turned away after Mom asked for their input.
lets_be_honest April 16, 2012, 5:28 pm
Hearing opinion would be followed by an actual discussion.
Its a little scary to me that you would be so dismissive of your child’s concerns or opinions, to the point you would assume your kid is “just jealous” of your boyfriend and a “drama queen.” What if he/she disliked him because he was inappropriate with her? Or on a lighter note, what if you could hear the issue and resolve it entirely, make him/her feel better about it or have a better understanding of why you are making whatever decision it is.
Addie Pray April 16, 2012, 5:41 pm
Hey you guyyyyyyys, did you hear I quit my job smashing cans? It was soda pressing.
I feel so invisible today.
FireStar April 16, 2012, 6:08 pm
LBH – I hope you don’t think I wasn’t calling your daughter entitled – I just think it is fascinating getting different perspectives. Culturally it is a very different parenting style to consider your child’s wants in the way you do. Clearly it is a success for you – I’ve said it to you before but I think your daughter is lucky in the example you have set for her.
bittergaymark April 16, 2012, 6:11 pm
Actually, you SHOULD fucking probably listen to kids if they tell you they don’t want half siblings… Why? Isn’t it obvious? Because they can and often will turn into the older brother and sister from fucking hell. Trust me, I’ve seen it.
Moreover, if you fail at marriage once with kids, odds are you’ll simply do it again. So why bother making even more of a mess?
End of rant.
theattack April 16, 2012, 6:11 pm
LBH, that’s exactly what I was saying to do. 1) Determine if the concern is real (ie: he’s making them uncomfortable or being inappropriate), and 2) Talk it out, with me still being the parent. ie: explaining that a new dad/brother/sister doesn’t mean I love her less.
“just jealous” of a new boyfriend is a legitimate concern. Children don’t like when someone steps in and takes away constant attention. This would be especially true in a single parent household.
And “drama queen” was obviously a joke.
You’re being very defensive about all of this when I’m just trying to have a discussion with you and have asked you very calm questions about why you do what you do.
theattack April 16, 2012, 6:14 pm
@BGM, That’s when you use… *gasp!*… Parenting skills!
bittergaymark April 16, 2012, 6:19 pm
Eh, it’s been my experience lately that few parents actually have any parenting skills. It’s obnoxious that people who already have kids feel the need to pop out another one with their next partner is a misguided attempt at making that relationship more “real” or something.
theattack April 16, 2012, 6:25 pm
You’re certainly right about a lot of people. Not very many people do have parenting skills. But in theory at least, it shouldn’t be an issue.
Addie Pray April 16, 2012, 5:43 pm
Addie, I think that’s the funniest joke. You are so funny.
Addie Pray April 16, 2012, 5:44 pm
Oh thanks, Addie, that’s so sweet.
Addie Pray April 16, 2012, 5:44 pm
FireStar April 16, 2012, 6:09 pm
Lili April 16, 2012, 6:28 pm
Addie I just have to say your jokes are missed here! You’re hilarious 😉
Temperance April 16, 2012, 2:57 pm
Lots of men seem to abandon their first families and then later throw themselves in parenting the kids in Round 2.
Leroy April 16, 2012, 12:26 pm
I think that it’s fair to assume that he doesn’t want more kids, based on the fact that he’s been considering a vasectomy. That’s not to say that the LW couldn’t talk him into it, but that she shouldn’t delude herself regarding his current thinking on this matter. A vasectomy isn’t something that most men entertain lightly.
One of the reasons that may / december marriages tend to involve an affluent man is that they’re better able to support and nurture children later in life. Their money affords them that luxury. It’s not crass to consider the impact of aging on the financial viability of supporting a family w/ children.
lets_be_honest April 16, 2012, 1:19 pm
Its kinda funny to me that so many are saying having kids later in life is so bad when we are constantly saying how bad it is to have them early in life, pre-career establishment, maturity, etc.
kerrycontrary April 16, 2012, 1:28 pm
I don’t think they are saying it’s bad, I just think that there are things to consider that a lot of people don’t think about. I mean chances are I won’t even start having kids until my 30s, but I know that my kids won’t know their grandparents for most of their lives and I won’t have as much energy as a 25 year old mom. On the other hand, I’ll have more money and be more settled in my career/personal life. There’s pros and cons to both options.
lets_be_honest April 16, 2012, 1:33 pm
Very good and likely very real pros and cons you’ve shared.
However, its surprising that it seems so many think that being in your late 30s, 40s or 50s is really old and almost automatically means you have no energy and a minimal life ahead of you in terms of time.
Maybe my parents (who are in their early 50s) are not the norm, but they very much seem to be, and they are extremely active. Still work very hard, my dad bikes for miles every weekend, my mom chases after kids all weekend. Same goes for my stepparents of the same age. I see no signs of them slowing down at all for (hopefully) at least a few decades.
FireStar April 16, 2012, 1:47 pm
I tend to agree with you. My issue isn’t so much the age but the desire to have kids (and everything that comes with) and having the means to afford them. If you can provide for your kids until they are functioning adults and you want to have kids then power to you. The LW’s boyfriend doesn’t seem to want anymore though – or the conversation of being “touched” would have been a conversation about how he wants more kids.
lets_be_honest April 16, 2012, 1:53 pm
Yes, great points.
Sue Jones April 16, 2012, 4:03 pm
I am the poster child for older parenting…. I had a homebirth at age 41 with my only bio-child. It went great! No complications. I am a more patient parent and we have more resources than most younger parents are/do. Definitely have less energy than I used to, though we do go skiing and mountain climbing up 13 and 14K peaks with our boy (though no camping trips – I do not like sleeping on the cold hard ground – used to LOVE camping) It depends on the individuals.
Sue Jones April 16, 2012, 4:04 pm
Definitely more patience and resources than *I* had when I was younger and going to school…
lets_be_honest April 16, 2012, 4:06 pm
Oh to have patience! And time!
Kristina April 16, 2012, 1:36 pm
For me, it’s always been an issue. I was told at a young age I have serious fertility issues, so I feel like my best chance to have a kid is in my 20s anyways. And I know for me personally, I don’t want to have kids at the age my parents do because of what I felt like when I was younger and what I describe as missing out. There are pros and cons to both options, and I think for the most part, it’s up to the individual. Though, I do think there is a point where it’s simply not fair to have children. I don’t know where to define that however. My dad has a friend who had his first kid at 59, with a wife in her early 30s. In that situation, I feel it’s unfair for the child who won’t have his dad in his adult life for very long.
lets_be_honest April 16, 2012, 1:40 pm
“there is a point where it’s simply not fair to have children. I don’t know where to define that however”
Yes, I agree and think its safe to assume almost everyone would.
And sure, if you have fertility issues, it will likely be easier for you to have kids younger, but I don’t think that jsut because you may have experienced some bad sides to having kids older, it certainly doesn’t mean those bad sides are guaranteed at all.
theattack April 16, 2012, 1:47 pm
We just can’t win for losing, can we?
AndreaMarie April 16, 2012, 1:26 pm
Also, the age gap is only going to get more dramatic in the future. 50 and 28 is good now. But what about 38 and 60? Or 48 and 70? I;m not saying either of those ages would make him decrepid but 38, even 48 is still young an vibrant. He might not have the desire, or energy to do the same things you want to do with your life (travel etc). Also, sex…I know there’s viagra but still…just exploring all the angles.
JK April 16, 2012, 1:36 pm
I agree with you. Health is something else to consider. I had a patient who had a much younger wife (around a 30 year difference), everything was fine until the guy had a stroke, wound up in a wheelchair, almost completely dependent. So the wife was early 30s, with a young kid, and a 60 something husband in a wheelchair, nappies etc.
Around a year after that she took off (taking what little money he had in the process).
Of course anyone can have health issues/accident or whatever, but of course it´s more likely for certain conditions, the older you are.
Flake April 16, 2012, 2:52 pm
I actually think it’s the other way around. The older you get, the less noticeable age gap becomes. For example, a 20-year difference between a 20-year old and a 40-year old is very noticeable. A 30-year old and 50-year old, in my opinion, not so much. And a 50-year old and a 70-year old can easily be on the same page.
Sue Jones April 16, 2012, 2:29 pm
Just an aside… a younger man with young children is CERTAINLY not mobile. Someone with grown children is. I will respond in more detail when I have a moment.
Anna April 16, 2012, 3:26 pm
I think you should bring up your concerns about having children to your boyfriend. If he can get on board with it, then why not see where this goes? Age is just a number. If he says that he is dead-set on not having any more kids, you need to MOA and find someone who does want to have kids. I am kinda in the same boat as you, 28 and wanting kids but finding myself at a dead-end romantically as far as someone with similar life goals. As Wendy said, the clock is ticking loudly at this age and I hear it more every single day. It’s strange but every time I am expecting my period, there is now an increasingly large part of me that hopes maybe my birth control didn’t work and I’m just meant to have a baby…it was about 5% when I was 25…now up to about 15%. I still mostly want to wait until I’m married and truly ready, but most of my friends were kinda unceremoniously thrown into motherhood and seem very happy with their kids.
As far as dating a 50-year old…all I have to say is David Duchovny is 50 and have you seen his body? YUM. You aren’t dating David Duchovny are you?
genevathene April 16, 2012, 2:31 pm
Just a side comment re: fertility — while it’s common to believe that only women need to worry about timing if they want to give birth to a healthy child, new research is showing that men have a biological clock as well.
“Older fathers made headlines several years ago when researchers at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine reported that a man over 40 is almost six times as likely as a man under 30 to father an autistic child. Since then, research has shown that a man’s chances of fathering offspring with schizophrenia double when he hits 40 and triple at age 50. The incidence of bipolarity, epilepsy, prostate cancer and breast cancer also increases in children born to men approaching 40.
Both dwarfism and Marfan syndrome (a disorder of the connective tissue) have been linked to older fathers, and according to research published in 1996 in the journal Nature Genetics, Apert syndrome (a disorder characterized by malformations of the skull, face, hands and feet) is a mutation caused exclusively by advanced paternal age.”
So yeah…let’s not put all the pressure on the LW!
Leroy April 16, 2012, 8:33 pm
But doesn’t all that put even more pressure on the LW ?? Now she’s got to find a guy who’s not going to give her baby dwarfism, marfan, and apert syndrome?
Sue Jones April 16, 2012, 3:48 pm
I was not clear whether your man was interested in having more children. I would say that if he is, and his health is good, and he has good clean living habits, and has plenty of energy go for it! Can he be a good provider? There are so many ways for a relationship to work or not work. If the love is there and the commitment and he is open to being a dad again it can all work out. If he smokes, is not very healthy or energetic or if he is debt ridden, then you are taking a risk. Now people can get sick and die at any age but we are playing the odds here. 50 is not what it used to be, at least out here where I live. I am 50. It is all about how one takes care of oneself and their lifestyle.
Sue Jones April 16, 2012, 3:56 pm
When I was a kid, 50 was OLD and looked like crap. Some people back east where I grew up are the same age as I am and seem older, they smoke, drink, eat crap, etc. They LOOK like grandparents and old people. I live in “Wellville, CO” and people here age quite well. 60 year olds running triathlons and climbing high mountains and the like… I also know washed up people in their 30’s so I will say it again… what is his lifestyle like? How did his parents age? And how are his finances? He may not be rich… but is he $$ secure?
Natasia Rose April 16, 2012, 3:16 pm
My wife is older than me and people think she’s my mom. It bothers me more than her, but like other people have said that shouldn’t be an issue. What other people think don’t matter. Plus, anyone could die tomorrow, so don’t worry about him dying first, enjoy what you have girl!
Wendy freaked me the eff out with her baby thing. That’s some serious baby math.
Addie Pray April 16, 2012, 5:22 pm
LW, my friend’s mother was 25 when she married my friend’s father, who was in his early 50s at the time – more than twice her age. He was/is loaded and fit, and they’ve spent the last 30+ years splitting time between their lavish Chicago apartment, lavish beach house in St. Bart’s, and lavish apartment in Paris. Sorry, “lavish” was the only word I could think of to describe the homes. They seem really happy together. But now she’s in her late 50s and he’s, what in his mid 80s? And their life has slowed down a lot, even though she’s still fit and active, because, as you can imagine, her husband is less active these days. He has a personal driver so she doesn’t have to drive him around. But, still. I kind of feel sorry for her. It’s got to be tough to see your husband get old and immobile when you still want to run around the world. … So does age matter? Eh, I guess not – they *still* seem happy. All the money probably doesn’t hurt things.
Lili April 16, 2012, 6:31 pm
I’d be buying some male attention with all my lavish money 😉
bittergaymark April 16, 2012, 9:01 pm
Damn. That’s callous. Maybe she should film it all while she’s at it so she can then screen it for her husband and he’ll hopefully drop dead of a heart attack….
Brad April 16, 2012, 9:12 pm
that’d probably be a bad idea. If he’s really rich you’d think he’d be clever enough to have a prenup
Christy April 16, 2012, 5:55 pm
I think we should stop trying to scare women into traditional gendet roles (having children young). Yes there are biological realities, but people can have healthy children later in life, especially if you consider adoption. But women are also scared off adoption because of rhetoric. So babies before 40 it is!
The LW’s problem is not that her eggs will dry up or her partner will be too old. The problem is he doesn’t want more kids, and that’ s been discussed a lot on DW.
Sue Jones April 16, 2012, 6:46 pm
And now women CAN have babies older with donor eggs. My SIL has 2 babies through donor eggs after she was unable to get pregnant in her 30’s. She and my BIL are also older, highly educated, took time to finish extensive schooling and now have resources. There are many ways to do this raising a family thing. I have patients who gave birth in their late 40’s and 50’s with donor eggs because it took them a while to find a partner or finish their professional training. So many more possibilities nowadays! (and it works out great for my son who is only 2 years younger than his cousin- we were all on that delayed track together… and he LOVES his cousins!)
fast eddie April 16, 2012, 6:20 pm
I must point out that he’s CONSIDERED having a vasectomy. Obviously he also considered how that would affect his chances of a relationship. This is clearly a thoughtful man and worth her time for however long they stay together. His children are old enough to be on their own. Perhaps the empty nest syndrome will sway him to accept the idea of having more.
Temperance April 16, 2012, 10:28 pm
It’s significantly harder for older couples to adopt. It would be nearly impossible for LW and her boyfriend to get approved for a baby due to his age.
Sue Jones April 17, 2012, 7:09 pm
Perhaps for some international adoptions, though I know at least one couple who adopted fairly locally and they both were in their mid-50’s and… it has been an issue due to both of their health issues… but if she and her guy are both healthy, and she is 28, it is still an option. Though with a local adoption you are more likely to get someone who was the child of drug addicts etc.
mrmandias April 18, 2012, 7:11 pm
Biology doesn’t change its mind if you accuse it of being anti-feminist.
Addie Pray April 16, 2012, 6:20 pm
Wait, what does “May to December romance” mean?
Addie Pray April 16, 2012, 6:22 pm
…. And now I know thanks to this little thing called “Google.” But where did it come from?
Addie Pray April 16, 2012, 6:23 pm
… And now I know, again thanks to Google. I should do my research before I post.
demoiselle April 16, 2012, 6:24 pm
Wow, this is really harsh. There are serious concerns for the letter writer, particularly the fact that this is a really new relationship and the gentleman is not yet certain about having a second family. Those answers have to wait.
1. Older fathers are NOT terrible. My father was 60 when I was born. He passed away at 86, so I was in my mid-twenties. It was sad to lose him so soon, but on the other hand, he was healthy and vital and worked full time (joyfully) until his cancer diagnosis. He had a lifetime of experience to draw upon in parenting (including his experiences with my six older half siblings) and was an amazing resource to me. I know first-hand info about what it was like growing up in the Depression, being a resident in a psychiatric ward before psychotropic drugs were created, etc. And his parents were no indication of his lifespan: both his parents passed away relatively young. My siblings, who are thirty years older than me, barely remember their grandparents on Dad’s side.
2. My mother had me at 37. Her sister had her son at 44. Neither had any complications with their pregnancies nor were there any health problems for me or my cousin. Not all women are so lucky, but the scare rhetoric seems a bit extreme.
I know I benefitted tremendously from my parents being older. My parents did, too. Particularly my mother: because my father was so professionally established, she was able to be a Stay At Home Mom as I was growing up. Because she’d established a career and been in it for fifteen years before I was born, she was able to find work again pretty quickly when I finished high school, and continued working until last December. She’s now moving up north, and will be looking to go back to work here!
Sue Jones April 16, 2012, 6:34 pm
Another story: When I met my husband he was recently separated from his then wife.(no not divorced yet – that concerned my parents) We walked by a wedding display in a window and he just about freaked out! (doesn’t bode well, right?) he had a 3 year old and was not interested in more kids, etc. etc. etc. 2 years later we got married, and then 8 years later we finally had a child of our own. What happened is over time we both softened our positions,realized who we were as a couple, became more maleable, etc. etc. Now I did not have a kid right away. He had to get over the PTSD of his first marriage… But just saying that sometimes situations do evolve. Though if I were to do it again I would probably be more clear up front and look for a partner who wanted exactly what I wanted from the get-go. It is more….*efficient* that way…
Calle April 16, 2012, 7:28 pm
Jeez, having older parents isn’t some big burden for a lot of us. My parents adopted me when they were 45 and 50 respectively…My mom was 45 (she’s 70 right now) and goes on four hour hikes, rides horses, and generally has more energy than me! Look, the thing that concerns me more is the children issue and the money. He’s 50 now, and if he’s not well off he’s going to have to keep working past retirement age if he wants to have another child and live comfortably.
AnotherWendy April 16, 2012, 7:40 pm
I know of a lot of husbands who had kids in their late 20’s or early 30’s and they don’t help their wife out with the kids near enough, the wife is the one making more money and carrying the benefits. A younger dad does not mean a better dad.
bittergaymark April 16, 2012, 8:13 pm
Yeah. One thing is abundantly clear. Most women can’t pick a husband for shit,.
landygirl April 17, 2012, 1:22 pm
That or men don’t know how to be husbands for shit.
Nadine April 17, 2012, 8:03 pm
Um, yeah. This makes much more sense, unless of course your goal is to always always blame women.
bittergaymark April 16, 2012, 7:18 pm
Oh, look. Right on the front page of another website. Yet another happily blended family!
STEPBROTHER CHARGED WITH SEXUAL ABUSE OF WISCONSIN TEEN
Oh, goodie. And the whole family was hopelessly fucked up…
“Prosecutors on Thursday charged the stepbrother of a severely malnourished Wisconsin teen with repeatedly sexually assaulting her beginning around her 10th birthday, in the same year she claims her father and stepmother began confining her to the basement…”
Wanna read more? Here’s one juicy tidbit — the abuse AND confinement in the basement lasted more than five years…
fast eddie April 16, 2012, 7:52 pm
Gee whiz Mark, what brought that on?
bittergaymark April 16, 2012, 8:05 pm
That posted in the wrong place. It was suppose to tie in with our spirited debate above about the merits of deliberately creating blended families… But I must have hit a wrong key…
jubietta April 16, 2012, 8:21 pm
It looks like the age and baby factors have been well handled above. Here are some additional thoughts…
You’ll be hooking your cart to a star with lots of baggage. So far that baggage is 1000 miles away, but it may not stay there. Yes his children are adult, but that doesn’t stop them from being HIS children. We’ve seen letters before from “about to be step-parents” who have difficulty dealing with demands placed on a primary relationship by existing family. As someone who’s just a few years older than his babies, you will have to forge relationships with them that don’t fit traditional roles. Think to yourself, Holidays Happen, yes they do. Can it be done? Of course. But it takes honesty, authenticity and a HUGE willingness to communicate. And it doesn’t sound like you have the relationship experience that builds that kind of skill quite yet. (OMG, what if one of THEM is a musician?) My thoughts, give Sweetie’s kids the benefit of the doubt when you deal with them – always. And NEVER badmouth their mom, if she’s still alive. AND, get yourself some help/support (separate from Sweetie) to deal with “the stuff that comes up.”
Your letter doesn’t describe WHY Sweetie’s first marriage ended… If he’s divorced, be aware that he’s coming to y’alls committment with a firm understanding of where his “line in the sand” is and you likely aren’t. He knows how far he’ll go to keep things working in your relationship – that’s a limitation (good or bad, I ain’t saying because it’s not for me to say). If you don’t have a similar limitation – that’s an imbalance. Please be careful when power struggles ensue…and they will, all relationships hit bumps like that, even the really weird ones.
There are more experiences in life than having babies that he might have already had and be unwilling to revisit. Kids is of course a huge one. But what about those wild hairs that we sometime’s grow and cause us to take risks and make quesitonable decisions? If you’re walking the road with someone who’s already fallen-into and marked all the potholes…you probably will get steered-clear of those holes “for your own good” without anyone involved making a conscious decision about it. But WAIT! Sometimes it’s good to fall into a pothole – sure there’s scrapes and bumps, but what if there’s a lost ring in the bottom of the hole that you find and return to it’s owner who becomes your new BFF? You can’t know in advance, but if you never try you’ll never know. Don’t let his life experience rob you of yours – in every facet of life.
Sue Jones April 16, 2012, 8:23 pm
She used to date MUSICIANS for crissake! Maybe she has had enough of the drama. Just sayin’…
jubietta April 17, 2012, 3:55 pm
Yes, I’ll agree with the drama point there. It’s just, well, limited-field drama. I’m advocating for unintended consequences which are AMAZING for deepening character and discovering who the hell we are and what makes us happy. From her comments I can guess that dating musicians has shown her what she doesn’t want…but making life choices purely from avoidance can make for an empty soul.
MiMi April 16, 2012, 8:31 pm
I don’t think there is a biological clock madly clanging for you just yet… and six months in seems a bit early to start finalizing your life plan, but if you are a couple with good potential, then open a loving and ongoing discussion about your future together. Don’t ask us, ask him if he would be willing to have and care for another child because it is essential to your happiness. Talk objectively about what life would look like, how you would manage financially, what would happen if one of you turned out to be infertile, what would happen if either one of you got seriously ill, if one of you became demented by age or accident, if sex was no longer possible, etc. There are a lot more questions to be answered here than the one you asked…
Kim April 18, 2012, 6:41 pm
Sorry, but we need to take the lace panties off this pork chop. Here’s one to take to the bank: any woman with a boyfriend/lover/prospective husband over the age of 45 who thinks he won’t mind having kids is deluding herself. Either:
– he doesn’t have any kids, in which case he decided long ago not to have any, or
– he has kids already and he’ll be asking himself, “Good grief… do I have to go through all THAT again?”
Either way, I suspect that the woman is going to get disappointed, whether right away or in the future.
[Disclaimer: I know that this is not true for all men. David also killed Goliath; but that’s NOT the way to bet.]
Here’s a simple way for a woman to find out what he REALLY thinks. Ask him one simple question: “Have you ever considered getting a vasectomy?” If the answer is “yes” then he’s not interested in having a family. He may agree to have a kid with you, but chances are he’s going to resent it — especially if his agreement follows nagging or emotional blackmail from you.
All the other stuff is either wishful thinking or denial.
This is especially true if the current sex life is amazing. Men in their 50s know one thing, either from their own experience or from their buddies’ experience: when The Kiddie arrives, sex disappears. So when they agree to the woman having a baby, they also know that their amazing sex life is gonna end. What man would willingly accept that?
Ladies, take this as a Golden Rule: if you want kids, find a man in his late 20s or early 30s. After that, you’re going to start having complications, and they won’t be in your favor.
Vinny B. April 18, 2012, 8:02 pm
He sounds like to me a Republican who preaches chastity, religion, and righteousness in public but is really a lying scumbag loser. I’ll bet he has already had a vasectomy and hasn’t told you. Republican men always use and abuse young women, why do you think you are any different? If he watches Fox News, dump him and move on. It shows he is comfortable with the spreads of lies and deceptions.
Shiro April 18, 2012, 8:35 pm
So far the disussion seems to be centered entirely around her desire to have children ,and if he can’t be bent to that outlook, for her to send him packing looking for another, maybe younger, perspective baby daddy.
Seriously, perhaps she should re-consider the prospect of 2 or 3 decades of an amazing, loving relationship with this man without children. Is she looking for a relationship, or just a child bearing arrangement? Is having a child more important than having a loving relationship? If the desire for children has to trump the desire for a loving, stable relationship, she should do him a favor and stop wasting his time. He has a lot less of it than she does.
Jim April 19, 2012, 11:14 am
I am a bit bothered by the age bias being flung about here.
My mother was 34 I was born and 37 when my brother was born. (Dad was three years older.) That was in 1943 and 1946. My parents and my brother & went on many family outings, hiking miles through woods to go fishing or just to enjoy the outdoors, and going hiking and camping in the Catskills. There was never a problem of them being too old.
I got married after college, had a son when I was 25. That marriage ended. In my thirties I met and married a woman who was 12 years younger. We had a daughter when I was 39 and a son when I was 42. I never had any problem keeping up with my kids. My eldest child got me into running when I was 39 and I ran a number of 5k races with him until he went off to college. My daughter and I have run 5k road races together since she was in elementary school and have raced together up to 10 mile distances. Now, my youngest sometimes runs with us but he is busy trying to talk me into joining the muay thai kick-boxing gym where he works out. (I am tempted but I work full-time and simply do not have the time because I do not want to cut back on other activities.) In a few days my daughter and I are going to run in a 10k race together. That day is also my 69th birthday.
(By the way, my wife is one of ten children, born over a 20 year period — from when her mother was in her early twenties until she was in her early forties.)
I was thinking of retiring next year when I hit 70 but my wife (who has two master’s degrees) would like to go back to school for two years so she could switch to a different career, so I think I will stay in full-time employment until I am at least 70 1/2 (at which point there start to be tax implications from mandatory IRA withdrawals) when she will only have a semester and a half until she is finished.
As for grandparenting, a few weeks ago I jogged along the East River Bikeway in Manhattan on an outing with my 8 year old grandson on his bicycle. We covered four miles together.
So lets not have this talk as if anyone past 35 must be totally over the hill.
Fred April 19, 2012, 11:11 pm
Seriously can someone tell me what MOA stands for? I’ve seen it multiple times but never an explanation and I can’t puzzle it out from the context. Move On A???
two_pence_worth September 16, 2013, 8:37 am
I have just read this entire thread. It is quite old now but I would love to know what the outcome was now we are 18 months on since beginning of the thread. I am in a really similar position, except my guy DOES want more children but it’s the age part of it that I dont feel comfortable with.
J June 23, 2014, 11:23 pm
I’m 42 and there is a man who I am very, very fond of who is 61. He has never fathered any children but claims to have wanted to have been a father. I have 3 children….and do not want any more and will not (medically unable to) have any more. What about us? People post these questions about age differences online to get the “okay” from society. Nobody wants to be viewed as immoral or “bad” or not using good judgment, etc. Everyone looks for the “okay nod” from society because they don’t want to be viewed as an outcast. People want to have acceptance of things that seem out of the ordinary. I ask myself this same question with this man that I admire. What is stopping me? I know what it is …. it is acceptance from society (number one)…. Number two….I worry about health. It is true that anyone can get hit by a bus or in any kind of accident or have a health issue, it is the unpredictability of life after all. However, the odds are that my 61 y/o interest may live until he is 90. He may get Alzheimer’s 15 years before I do. He may have a stroke 15 years before I do. If it was just ME involved….it may not be such a big deal. But I need to think about my children as well. They will get attached to him, is it fair to them? However, I could get hit by a bus tomorrow…and survive but with amputated legs and need care for the rest of my life….putting him in the caregiver position. WHO IS TO JUDGE??? GOD? Society? Our Family? It is an individual’s decision.
two_pence_worth July 29, 2014, 11:32 am
J, I totally see where you’re coming from. It’s nearly a year now since I posted my reply on here and I’m still with my partner, no closer to the will we/won’t we have children. It is true that we want the nod from society, especially when there are kids involved as they too may have to take an ‘outcast’ label if they have an older parent with the problems this may bring.
Diane March 27, 2017, 10:29 pm
Just curious, are you still with him?
Anonymous February 13, 2018, 6:46 pm
Say,”THNX.Jesus!”;what can I do,@64y.o.Virgin,coming 7.1’18?
Jessica April 2, 2023, 8:42 am
So I’m gonna respond a little different here, but if I read your letter right he didn’t say no to having children with you, and that’s a good thing. Just because he has been thinking about having a vasectomy for a few years, doesn’t mean he can’t or won’t change his mind about it. Especially if y’all really just click together like it sounds like. He may be 50 and you 28 but in the grand scheme of things that doesn’t matter. What matters is if you have found someone you love, like really love and that person loves you back. Love is so much more than just passion too, it’s having someone you really want to have a life and grow old with, and that takes care of you and looks out for you in every way, and you feel the same. Age is nothing but a number and if he is healthy and takes care of himself he could out live you. We never know who is gonna go first and like I said if he takes care of himself he could live to be 100 or more lol. My ex father in law is 70 and that man takes care of himself, eats right, and takes turns with me taking care of my daughters small child and newborn baby and he loves every minute of it, and romps and plays with my daughters 5 year old and wears her out from what I hear. Children are good for alot of older children, and having them around keeps them young. To me it sounds like he was flattered that you might want to have a child or 2 with him, and it sounds like he may be all for it. Being with someone who is stable and has his life together, and has life experience is a great thing, because it sounds like y’all have stability and you need that when you have children. I say talk to him and really tell him how you feel about him, and how much you wanna be a mother, and you might be pleasantly surprised by his reaction. Get over the age hang up and just focus on your relationship and how you make each other feel, because at the end of the day that’s all that matters. You love each other and take care of each other, and enjoy your life together because let me tell ya, life is short and you never know what kind of curve balls are gonna be thrown at you. My husband passed away at 37 and I was 31, so you just don’t know what will happen in life. Talk to him and I mean a really open, heartfelt talk about your futures and if you both can see a future together, and everything else will fall in place. Also 28 is a good age to try and start having a child, but sometimes for some people it can take a while, but you’re at the perfect age to start trying. If you love each other it will fall in place, but be very vocal about your desire to be a mommy. With the world the way it is right now everyone needs to focus on the people they love, and enjoy every second of it. Just be happy and don’t let what could be the love of your life go because of the age difference. Sorry for rambling but I hope that makes sense. Life is short so just enjoy every moment you’ve got. I wish you the best of luck, and hope it all works out for you.