Q: My boyfriend and I have been together for three and a half years. When we met I was very open about wanting a family and kids one day. He agreed. Recently though, he doesn’t seem that keen and says he wants to wait another four or five years at least. By then I’ll be 36 and he, 39. Although he listens and nods when I tell him my worries about being an older mum, he brushes it off saying there’s IVF these days. That’s if he answers at all—usually he just changes the topic or just clams up completely. What should I do?

A: If he’s said in the past that he wants kids, this probably still holds true. The question you need answered is whether he’s waiting for the “right time” or the “right one.” Let’s assume he’s happy with you and just wants the “right time” to come along. You still need to sit up and take action because it’s affecting you emotionally. You may get lucky at thirty-six but then again, you may not, and you have to decide whether or not you want to play roulette with your chances of conceiving naturally. Premature egg depletion affects ten percent of women, with the result that their biological clocks are ticking faster than expected for their age, so you may have even less time than you think. You can get ovarian reserve levels checked out in a fertility clinic though, to put your mind at ease.

If his reasoning falls more into the waiting for the “right one” category, you need to know this and get out. You’ll probably sense it in other areas anyway. Is this the only area of your lives in which you feel great disharmony?

Whatever the reasons, your boyfriend sounds noncommittal. I’d voice my concerns with him in an open manner and explain to him how important it is for you–i.e. a deal-breaker. Make sure he understands this. Give him a chance to explain his reluctance and this could turn out happily for you both. If his response remains evasive and non-committal though, then I’d give serious thought to ending it and seeking a guy who’s as enthusiastic about having children in the near future as you are, or going your own route.

~ Ashlinn Craven, author of Maybe Baby

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