I’m 30, female, happily married to my high-school sweetheart. I love everything in my personal and career life.
But there’s increasing family pressure to have a child, almost like being attacked.
My mother-in-law (MIL) gossips about it behind my back.
Despite 15 years together, we’ve never seriously discussed having kids, though I know he wants one.
My parents were always busy with their personal lives, and their constant affairs.
I raised and looked after my younger brother, giving up a lot (personal life/outings/friends).
I put myself through university, and I had to work three part-time jobs to afford school and extras for my brother and me.
So I don't have a good relationship with my mother. I fear that if I have my own children, I’ll have to become dependent on her help.
I don't have the trust. She wasn't a good mother.
I fear our marriage might end because I don't want children.
I like children; I just don't want to give up things anymore.
One of your worries about having a child, is a deflection from the main decision: You may need help, but not from a “bad” untrustworthy mother or badmouthing mother-in-law.
With a good career, you can afford a good nanny. Then you’d only need occasional backup babysitting in a crunch, and may find others (especially your husband) to help.
The main decision whether to have a child is something you two must discuss, rather than keep avoiding. He knows your feelings and is likely afraid to raise the topic. But he may also be building resentment.
It’s time to address it, without throwing in sidebars like your fear of dependency.
Look for solutions together, which are fair to both of you. Discuss: Is he needing to raise a child of his own or would he be happy as a Big Brother helping a child who needs a male role model and mentor?
Also, does your career allow – as many do – for some time off for giving birth and adjusting to motherhood?
And, if you set up a good support system with equal participation from your spouse, could that combat worries about “giving up” what you have now?
Lastly, even before having the chat, ask yourself this: Are you willing to risk your marriage, or get counselling? Or, will you refuse all potential solutions?
I'd been divorced for seven years until being attracted to my boyfriend.
We have a solid relationship. However, I’m very insecure. I constantly compare myself to his former (much younger) girlfriends, and often doubt that I’m good enough for him.
I know that having to often reassure me that he’s happy, gets on his nerves. I feel I've already tarnished a strong relationship with my self-doubt.
What can I do to end my negative thoughts and insecurities quickly? How can I assure him that I’ll stop doubting how he feels about me?
My Own Enemy
There’s no “quick” fix for deep-rooted insecurity, but seeing a therapist, soon, is a start. Tell your guy that your lack of self-confidence is NOT related to him.
That’ll immediately lift some pressure off him.
A poor self-image regarding age and being “not good enough,” comes from past experiences. That’s why you need to probe the basis of your insecurity – e.g. from childhood, and earlier relationships.
Stay with a process of therapy, to learn ways to overcome these feelings. Also, share some of what you learn with your boyfriend. It’ll strengthen his understanding of you, and create a deeper intimacy.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman whose co-workers and managers were purposefully triggering her anxiety attacks (April 16):
Reader – “I don't know if her situation allows it (a small town vs. big city, non-transferable job skills, etc.) but in addition to the very good advice you gave her, I also suggest that she GET A LAWYER!
“What she's going through may be considered constructive dismissal and grounds for a civil suit in her jurisdiction. Especially if her health was at risk. Your description of this company as "toxic" is exactly the right word.
“Some lawyers who specialize in these cases will listen to potential clients for 30–to-60 minutes free, to assess if there’s a case.
“Some may even take the case on contingency. Obviously, any action will likely not make things better within the company.
“That said, what those people are doing is despicable and they should be held to account.”
Tip of the day:
If two people disagree about having a child, one will eventually leave.