Ask Amy: Couple stuck in limbo over decision to have children
Dear Amy: I’ve only been married for a year, but my relationship has been far from a honeymoon experience.
Before marriage, my husband and I talked about children and I thought we were on the same page.
We discussed how we would raise our children and even considered a prenuptial agreement around our future children.
He mentioned that one of the reasons he was willing to marry me is because he could see me having his kid(s). This is a man who broke off two prior long-term relationships because he was too young and couldn’t imagine having children with those partners. I took his word seriously. Fast-forward, he is now 39 and had been single for a couple of years before meeting me.
Our marriage has been tumultuous since day one, due to cultural difference (he’s British, I’m American), miscommunication, and our continuous triggering of one another.
We’re now on our second therapist and things have gotten slightly better, but he is still up in the air about children.
None of our therapists can even get a straight answer from him, but he mentions the unstable relationship as a factor in his decision-making. He says he will address it fully when the time comes.
Honestly, I intended to have children in my early 30s, but now as I approach 30 and enter a rental lease agreement for one year with him, I’m worried.
I’m wondering — how long should I wait — or should I start mentally checking out within this next year. Help me, please! — Stuck in Limbo
Dear Stuck: Your husband said he was “willing” to marry you because he could imagine you having his children. Quick, call Hollywood! This is a romance for the ages.
I’m being snarky here. No marriage is perfect. But my point is that — at the beginning — it should at least feel perfect.
Here you are, only one year in, and you’re on your second therapist. I am a big believer in couples counseling, but again, the goal of counseling is to find resolution, not another counselor.
I will grant him this: he says he does not want to have children because your relationship is so unstable. You may see that as selfish — I see that as self-preservation. He is actually being more thoughtful and careful than you are. He knows that a potential child deserves better than to have a parent who is so reluctant to be one.
So — let me put it this way: If you hesitate signing a one-year lease with your husband, please — do not sign up for a lifetime of parenthood with him.
Dear Amy: I have been in a relationship with someone for over a year. I very much love him. We are still getting to know one another’s families.
Recently, his father had a stroke. Right after he had returned home from the hospital, we visited.
While we were there, his father made various comments about how some of his nurses were very attractive. He said that while they were taking care of him he really wanted them to “get naked” and shower with him.
He has been married almost 20 years!
My boyfriend and I were the only ones in the room when he said this, and my boyfriend insisted it wasn’t like him at all.
I have worked in health care and although I have seen/heard just about everything, his comment absolutely crossed a line.
We were invited over recently for a picnic. I couldn’t bring myself to go, because the thought of spending time with that man made me sick!
Am I overreacting when I say I don’t want to be around that man?
Should I believe his behavior was due to a recent health emergency and/or the resulting medication? — Confused
Dear Confused: During my own episodes with taking care of various family members, I have heard sweet little old ladies make statements in the ICU that would curl your hair.
A stroke affects the brain. Medication also affects thinking and behavior.
If your boyfriend says that this sort of comment is totally out of character for his father, then I think you should give him the benefit of the doubt, until further experience either refutes or confirms your first impression.