I am a 28 year-old woman who separated 2 years ago and due to legal complications will finally get my divorce in 3 weeks. I have been dating a gentleman for 7 months now and he recently moved in. He has on occasion brought up marriage with phrases like, "when I marry you." He wants kids of his own. He is 25.
I had a great deal of complications in labor with my child, and have since lost 3 pregnancies. The reason is unclear - either bad luck or damage to my uterus in labor. I have been told that I may continue to have trouble, and should not waste too much time if I want to have more children. I am also anxious for my 3 year-old to have a sibling while young enough for there to be no huge gap in age. My boyfriend is aware of this.
Appreciating that I am not yet a 'single' woman, yet at the same time being constrained by age and health factors, how should I approach this relationship? I have been somewhat vocal about letting him know that I love him and want to be with him forever, and have his children. For his part, he loves me (only loved his 1st girlfriend other than me) and discusses marriage in a joking context (although I get the impression he is looking at me quizzically as he does).
I don't want to spoil the joy of a proposal if I were to get one, but I also don't want to go along with his somewhat laid-back attitude to life (he was a 25 year old bachelor until he became a pseudo-Dad and DIY expert when he moved in). I have thought of giving myself a deadline (I don't want children outside of marriage) of, say 6 months, and if he is not willing to commit to marriage at this point, let him know I cannot just wait. I know it seems cold - but I also anxious to have children and talking about it and doing it are not the same thing.
Thanks for writing. You are crystal clear on what you want and need, and yet you label this decisiveness "cold". What about it seems "cold" to you? An argument could easily be made that your young man's "laid back attitude is "cold," considering the difficulties you have had with your pregnancies. Having another child is a top priority with you, you have expressed this desire to him, and you have also informed him about your history of miscarriages. My opinion is that you are being direct and honest with him. You have told him that you love him and want to marry him and have another child.
It's significant that you state, "I have thought of giving myself a deadline," because this shows that you are aware that you have a decision to make. Your responsibility to yourself, your future, and your happiness is at stake here, and your three year-old's future is, too.
Please keep in mind that it takes time to get to know someone really well. You have recently seen aspects of your boyfriend, for instance, which living together revealed and dating did not. You will discover more about him in time.
I think six months should give you just about enough time to decide if he is what you want; you will know him a lot better by then.
As you can tell, I think the ultimatum should be confined to you; you will be facing the deadline, not him. You have told him clearly how you feel and what you want from him. Now give yourself six months to make your decision.
Margaret "Peg" Burr , MA, MFT