Comment: I am 30 years old, never married, with no children. For the past 5 months, I’ve been dating a recently divorced man, in his early forties, also with no children. We do not live together, and I stay at his place about 4 nights a week. Now, my boyfriend tells me he wants to have a baby with me, because his time to have a child is running out. The clincher is he “can’t promise me we’ll ever get married.” He says that having a child is so important to him that, if I don’t have a baby with him soon, he’ll leave me and find a woman who will, or find a single mom with young kids that he can help raise. I want children, within a marriage, not out of wedlock. He basically wants to have kids immediately, while he can, and figure out the rest later – like wether we’ll get married or even stay together. I’m much younger and still riding on the dream that when I have children, it’ll be with a loving husband who’ll be my partner for life. Since he is divorced, he no longer follows the same school of thought. I am falling in love with him, but our relationship is fairly new and so I’m not convinced having a kid is the right decision for us right now. At the same time, I’m afraid of never meeting the “right man” to have the traditional marriage and family with that I dream of. Is the world changing so much that raising a family “the traditional way” is becoming obsolete?
Let’s address the first issue you raised. Your guy has a ticking biological time clock. You’re well within your rights to tell him to beat it if he isn’t willing to at least meet you half-way. Frankly, I think it would be wise to let him go anyway. Anybody who issues an ultimatum to try and coerce a person into doing something they don’t want to do shows signs of controlling and manipulative behavior. He’s trying to scare you into doing what he wants because, most likely, he knows you fear the idea that another option might not come along. That, I think, is what really creates confusion and chaos in the early dating stages. We fear that, because it took so long to find this one person who showed interest, we need to make it work or else we’ll end up forever alone. Nothing, and I mean nothing, will set you down the wrong path than being afraid to be alone. Alone or in a relationship, you’ll be okay. You have to believe that. If you don’t, you’ll end up in a very unhealthy relationship. There are far worse things than being single or being alone. Believing that it’s a fate worse than death will fuel that anxiety and paranoia that causes people to make bad choices.
As for your second question, I think there are still plenty of people who want a traditional marriage and family. Especially people in your age bracket. If you were closer to my age, I’d say that holding out for marriage might not be the wisest decision. But since you’re not, I say that you should leave this guy and find someone who wants what you want. I still think many people feel as though raising a child is a responsibility to be shared by two parents and requires the benefits and security that comes with marriage. It can be done out of wedlock, of course. It’s not impossible or uncommon. I just think, if most people had to choose, they’d choose doing it with a partner and the appropriate level of protection.
I think a major hurdle that women my age encounter while dating is that they’re still hoping for marriage, but the majority of their romantic possibilities have already done it and don’t wish to do it again or have intentionally stayed away from marriage. Something else I noticed on Match when I was using it was that a lot of the men in my age range were quite upfront about looking for a “life partner” or “long term commitment and family.” Skip. It’s not that I’m opposed or not interested in both. I just don’t want to meet or date anybody who is that upfront out of the gate that they’re looking for marriage or something long-term. Yes, I know, statements like this in profiles are often included with the intention of wooing a woman. That feels, desperate, too. It’s akin to telling me how hot I am in those initial emails. It reeks of trying too hard. In my opinion, that’s a great way to scare off potential matches. I feel as though conversations about what someone is looking for should take place once compatibility has been determined, and that takes time. I can see why some people feel like discussions like that should happen on the first or second date. They don’t want to waste their time or that of someone else. I just think that 3-5 dates isn’t that long to wait until you bring up the topic of relationship goals, be that wanting to get married or not believing in marriage or wanting kids or not wanting kids.