My fiancée and I have been together for five years, engaged for two. I've gotten to know her family (including adult children from a previous marriage) and we all get along very well.
She used to agree with me about having children (or at least one) of our own, whether through adoption or other means.
However, she's changed her mind. She says that she feels guilty about not wanting children, and that the children she has (and loves very dearly) were never in her plan.
Her reasoning is fair, logical, and self-aware: (1) I’m much younger than her. Although that’s never been an issue for us, she fears she’ll be too old to watch our child/ren grow up. (2) She has a chronic illness involving constant pain. She doesn't believe she’d have the patience and energy to raise the child/ren AND manage her health.
(3) She works long hours, and prioritizes her career. She doesn't want to change her routine for children, and doesn’t believe she'll have the time to prioritize them.
I can't let this go, as I’ve been telling her and myself. I know that I want child/ren within the next five years. I love her very much but neither of us is budging. I don't want either of us to decide something that we'd later regret and potentially resent the other partner.
Time for Us to Separate?
I’m going with Yes, though it’s a very sad decision for both of you.
Had your fiancée only rejected having children because of the age difference or her work, I’d say she wasn’t respecting your core needs enough in this decision.
But her health situation as a realistic and logical consideration is valid, since raising children requires years of both energy and patience.
Still, there are people with serious health issues who want a family enough to make all kinds of accommodations, and you are well suited as a young man to pick up any tasks she can’t handle, especially if her career provides for hiring a nanny for the hours when you’re occupied.
So, there’s competing logic on your side of this life-changing decision… IF she’ll acknowledge it and re-consider. If not, I believe you’d regret giving in on this deeply emotional desire, and a separation is at least a start to knowing if it’s better for you both to move on.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding the live-in boyfriend, who works but amasses debt he doesn’t pay off (Nov. 29):
“The girlfriend (GF) must insist on knowing her boyfriend’s (BF) debts as they could legally be considered a common-law relationship where debt becomes shared.
“Stating a desire to strengthen their relationship (and stop nagging him), she could offer to create a budget plan for him, if he’s open and honest about his income and expenses (if he isn't, she should be worried).
“She’ll then see how much he may be able to manage in debt repayment while still having some "play" money each pay period.
“Next, BF takes out a line of credit (LOC) - enough to cover all the debts and pays off all immediately. If needed, his parents may co-sign so they can get money he owes them, too.
“Then set up automatic payments from BF's chequing account on his payday to the LOC, until it’s down to $0. It’ll still be available for emergencies or unexpected large expenses.
“He may quickly learn that paying off debt in a TIMELY manner, gives both of them peace of mind.”
I'm in my 50's, considering stopping trying to get along with my parents (late 70's and ill). Both are narcissistic, compulsive liars, who play games and favourites.
I was unfairly labelled "the bad one” when very young. I've spent years trying to gain parental approval, in vain.
I feel no hope for a relationship with them, due to their dishonesty and unfairness.
I also have no relationship with my siblings, due to the wedge driven between us by my father's favouritism. I'm unsure if walking away from my family is the only option. Any thoughts?
Giving Up on Parents
Consider trying a more self-affirming option first: Focus on boosting your self-worth through individual therapy, so that your parents’ past/present manipulations have far less impact.
Whatever you decide, professional guidance is important, so that you stay positive about yourself. That way, you may see them if you feel any empathy for their aging/health, or not if they affect you.
Tip of the day:
The deep desire to have a child can be non-negotiable, and a deal-breaker for some couples.