I'm 34, not married, no kids - help me relax about it all!

I’m a 34 year old woman, in a great relationship with an amazing guy … but he’s a bit younger (5 years).

I’m really hoping this will lead to marriage and a family, but to be honest, I feel that biologically I’m running out of time (for the family part).

We’ve been together for just over a year, and moved in together a few months ago. If I were younger, I wouldn’t be so stressed about wanting a ring on my finger, and a baby on the way.

Any advice from you Dopers on how I can relax about this situation and just enjoy what I have?

We have talked about the future, but in very loose terms. I’m afraid of pressuring him too much, and I certainly don’t want to give him an ultimatum. It just seems like it’s something he’s not ready for yet, and I don’t want to ruin our present-day fun by trying to pin down the future.

I can’t offer any solutions, but I can commiserate.

34, not officially married but might as well be, with soon-to-be 47 SO.

We can’t decide if we want kids or not. I wish to God I had another 10 years to think about it, but we’re BOTH getting old. If we have a kid now, he’ll be in his 60s when said kid graduates from high school.

At least you know you want them. I think I want them but whenever I think of an infant of my own I freeze up and run screaming to the liquor cabinet.

Well do give him a time frame , at least for yourself. While love cannot really be hurried , you want to build your future on some sort of solid bedrock. Even if your at the outer zone of conception for a healthy child , you may want to start looking into the possibility of adoption now ,rather than later and start to remove some of the tension or stress that you wish to relax from.

Personally , I would want to start having those coversations, about specifics in the future , he should be compasionate enough to know where your coming from, and if he is not , then thats something your going to have to deal with.


Just tossing out a weird idea: if you have the money, perhaps you could have some of your eggs extracted and frozen. The big issue with having children older is that the eggs get too old. Freezing eggs now would buy you time. I have no idea how much this would cost, though…

Freezing eggs is a very good suggestion. The older the eggs get, the more likely a birth defect, esp, but not limited to, Down syndrome. The eggs have been subjected to over 20 years of pollution, radiation, chemicals, microwaves, etc. 35 is a good age to stop having children, not start having them.

The idea about freezing eggs is a very good one. Let technology work for you. It might buy you some real peace of mind now, as well as possibilities for the future.
I’m trying to think how how to say this without sounding sanctimonious or pissy. If it doesn’t come out right, many apologies…
It’s perilously easy to fart away a life, trying to wrestle into a preconceived form. ::winces at word choice:: Keeping an eye toward the future is great, but it can obscure the real riches–and options–at hand today.
Families come in a lot of different forms, but they all rely on some basics, no? People bonded together because they want it that way. Let’s face it, human bonds of all kinds are invisible constructs. All parties concerned must invest themselves into that intangible something for the foundation to hold.
My (probably worthless) two cents?
Your SO isn’t just a potential father. He’s a separate individual who’s a great fit for you now as a partner in life. Living together might cause your dreams to dovetail. But either way, he deserves to be honored as an equal factor in his own right. How can either of you possibly know what you might want in the future together, if all your joint possibilities are brushed past unnoticed with one focused on a specific vision? It’s building a house before bothering to lay the foundation.
I’m trying very hard indeed to think how to say this without sounding mean. Nobody wants to be considered a means to someone else’s ends, especially a partner in life. You’d probably hate someone “trying you on for size” just as a potential mother. Think of it as personals ad stripped down to basics: a worthy goal, but far from everything you are or have to offer. Nobody wants to be considered a disposable, time-stamped player in someone else’s dream.

Concentrate on your SO for himself, and your life together, right now. If he’s worth sharing your life, he’s worth your full attention as a partner. The journey can determine the destination, y’know?

Thanks all … it’s tough because I cannot imagine never being a mother … but at the same time, since we’re still in the beginning stages of a life together, there are things we want to do and see, and I don’t think either of us feels ready to give up our total freedom right now.

It’s weird - you think you have your whole life ahead of you, like you did when you were 20, and then you wake up one morning and you’ve just turned 34, and you wonder when the hell you turned into a grown-up!!!

TVeblen - thanks for putting into words what the ‘rational’ part of my brain has been trying to tell me. It’s not that I see him as only a potential husband and father of my children … it’s more that I KNOW he is the one I want to spend the rest of my life with. He is the only man I’ve been with that makes me want to be a better person, the only one who I’ve ever loved enough to look twice at the way I handle things in this relationship.

He does want children, SOMEDAY. To me, someday isn’t a good enough answer. I’m the most worried of course about (a) the possibility of conceiving at all (I’ve never even had a pregnancy SCARE, so there’s the fear in the back of my mind that maybe I can’t get pregnant at all), and (b) birth defects.

I love him and we’re so happy together … I just don’t want to resent him someday because he’s put off commitment (i.e. marriage) and it’s too late (biologically) for me to have our dreams of a family fulfilled.

I’m a single, 34 year old man. I’m not sure whether I want kids–that’s something to be decided with a future spouse–but I do want to get married.

Having endured the collapse of several long-term relationships that almost but didn’t quite work out, I am now in a position where it is exceedingly unlikely I will meet any single women remotely close to my age. I’m facing permanent bachelorhood, and that sucks ass. I can’t help but agonize over my failed relationships, trying to second-guess myself into wondering whether something I could have done differently might have saved one of them: maybe then I wouldn’t so be alone and depressed. These days, I face this horrible combination of feeling terribly lonely and terribly anti-social, simultaneously.

To the OP, be grateful you have someone who loves you. Do not take it for granted. Doing without is a real possibility, and it is not fun.

Stainz, I got no advice, just good wishes.

(C’mon, you didn’t really just wake up and you were 34, did you? I’m only 24, and high school already seems like forever and a day ago, and grade school seems absolutely prehistoric.)

34 here, married 8 years and my SO and I go back and forth on a daily basis about the baby thing. I try to imagine myself sitting here reading this thread with an infant in the house and some days it’s very appealing, while others I just don’t see it.

I figure each life has a path to take and if mine does not involve bringing a child into this world, well, then I will have to accept that and try to do something good and worthwhile with my life.

I wouldn’t mind adopting someday but my SO is against it so I imagine I will be a good Big Sister Volunteer sometime in the future :slight_smile:

You’re right to be concerned. You’re fertility is going to being dropping like a stone in your mid thirties, not leveling off into a gentle glide path. While some women can have kids into their early 40’s, they are the exceptions, not the rule.

You need to tell him you’ve got to stop farting around and start rattling the bedposts sans protection. He’ll be 30 years old by the time the kid comes. That’s plenty old enough to have kids and 29 is more than old enough to know if you want them.

Either he wants to be your husband and father of your kids or not. Some men in comfortable situations will delay this decison as long as possible. You’ve got to level with him in a clear and unequivocal manner that being with you means a ring shortly and baby (ies) soon thereafter. Men do not respond to subtleties all that well. Be clear and direct.

Oh, this is me, just perfectly. I am a 32-yo single woman, having been engaged twice, and had a third disastrous live-in relationship. Being of independent mind, I can’t help but think I am responsible for these train wrecks. And I am. Fully 50% responsible. It is, forgive me, Knorf, hugely arrogant to take responsibility for someone else’s ability to decide and act and screw up for themselves. Before you write my words off, though, understand this: I am still making peace with this truth myself.

Part of the struggle for me is this: I am accustomed to making my decisions for myself. Every challenge I have ever set myself, requiring independent effort, I have met. Therefore, the challenges requiring another participant (ie relationships) ought to be just as straightforward. Except they never are, and I may not just run the show, and take all the credit and blame. So, instead of reliquishing control and sharing in the mystery, I have been critiquing my judgement. End result, very lonely, very anti-social me.

It’s not pleasant to say that a 34 year old woman doesn’t have the option of relaxing and being happy in a relationship that’s in stasis, but this is the reality that women face. We do have time limits on our lives that men simply don’t face and truly don’t, in many cases, understand or sympathize with. If you want to be a mother at some point, you are looking at a timer that’s about to run down. He’s not. He has all the time in the world to decide he’s ready to have babies. But if he wants to have them with you, he’s going to be SOL and so are you, if you wait around without laying your feelings on the line.

No one wants to be anybody’s “means to an end” that’s true. But that’s not what he’d be with you, that’s not how you view him, yes, you have a goal that you want to reach with him, but it’s not the only reason why you want to move forward in life with him. If he’s not willing/able to understand that or make a decision that moves you forward now, then you have to make a decision that moves you closer to what you need and want, obviously at that point it’d become clear that you’re not on the same path, you aren’t moving toward a common place, and there isn’t a lot of future in any relationship that isn’t moving toward commonality.

I respectfully disagree 100% with Astro. Pushing/rushing into marriage just to make a baby is dumb bordering on criminal.

I got married at 29. My wife was then 32. We’d been going together for 5 years before that, off and on with the offs mostly due to job transfers.

THE most important thing you can do as a married couple is just be married without kids for at least 2 years. Only then will you have some clue as to whether you really are going to make it together for the long haul.

I don’t mean this is a time of suspicious double-checking & second-guessing the marriage decision. I do mean that being married to the right person is a wonderful experience to be savored, and marrying the wrong person can often take 2 years to become apparent. Only then will you have done enough adapting (or not) to togetherness to see how you really function as a team.

Likewise, it takes a couple of years for enough “stuff” to happen. The second time he comes home late & wasted from a quick “beer with the boys” after work, the second time you crunch the car, somebody loses their job, etc. Only after living through a lot more of life than the quasi-fairy tale that’s dating & mating will you both have a comfortable confidence that this is really a good idea for the long haul.

On another note, you need to ask yourself a hard question: score the following scenarios on a scale from “not good, but I could get over it” to “totally unacceptable; I’d do anything to avoid that”:

5 years from now would I rather:
A) be divorced with a child.
B) be married to my current BF, but never any kids.
B) never have been married and be childless.

If any of those scenarios are much less desirable to you than the other, well you’ve learned which mistake not to make.

Astro’s way risks A, while my way risks B. And if you get pushy about kids, you may well get C. A tough problem to be sure.
My personal experience may not make you feel any better, but I’ll share it for what it’s worth …

was that we both assumed we’d have kids before we met, and even after we got amrried we assumed we’d have kids after we’d been together a few (2-4) years. About the time we were mentally ready I got laid off from a good job, her career was booming and we put it off for a year. Then I started a successful business, working my butt off, her career hit a roadblock, and we put it off another year. Then she got sick & couldn’t have kids (she’s fine now except for the no-kids part).

It’s now been 10 years since she got sick, and we truly don’t regret not having them. Some day it’ll maybe be a little lonely, but here we are in our late 40s and we’re happy with how it turned out. It wasn’t necessarily our first choice, but it is a perfectly great way to live. We’re very happy together & I frankly cringe when I see my friends with kids having so little time for each other. They’re under strain and marriages are breaking up and …

Meanwhile, we’re still totally content together after 16 years, plus the 5 going together.

“Act in haste, repent in leisure” are words to live by, and rushing into a pregnancy is, IMHO, just asking for trouble.

Good Luck whatever you do. But think long and hard about the downsides & what can go wrong. Settling for your second choice is often better than trying for the best outcome, failing, and ending up with a disaster. Only you can decide which outcome is that disaster, but I advise you to spend the time to know which one it is.

I’ll be 38 this year, and while my path has been a bit different I’m pretty much in the same place as you. It’s really only been the last year that I’ve come to terms with the idea that I may be single for life, and I’m frankly on the verge of being too old for the Jodie Foster route (not that my current job/financial situation makes it feasible, anyway). It’s taking a great deal of effort, but I’m trying very hard not to dwell on the past any more, and simply looking forward to what good things life may yet have in store for me. I figure that if I can have a good attitude about life, I’ll be a happier person in general and maybe - just maybe - if I do end up meeting someone, I’ll be emotionally ready for them, instead of having to hoist myself up from rock bottom first.

A friend of mine gave me some good advice: You should be getting married because you want to spend the rest of your life with someone. If children are meant to be, it will then happen in the best possible setting for them.

That is kind of obvious, since you have been fertile for 20 years, and you are just now starting to think about it as you enter old age.

Why not just have the baby, and if he stays, he stays, if not, then you wont be the first mother without a husband.

Do you know how many married couples/parents get divorced?

Just how many people stay married these days anyways? Even if he agrees to have a baby, or agrees to marry you, what exactly are the mathematical chances of your/any marriage lasting till you die?

FYI, a male has almost/virtually no say so in whether or not you get pregnant.

Well, isn’t that post a ray of sunshine. :rolleyes: I can’t imagine worse advice.

LSLGuy’s story shows just how fluid your future can be.

Myself, my wife and I have three kids, 14, 7 and 5, and while I love them dearly, I have days when I wished we hadn’t had them. Especially on those days when my wife and I talk about how we look forward to retirement when we can travel.

It’s as if our lives took a turn down this side road that will take us, oh, about 20 years before we get back.

Then, my daughter will run up to me just to give me a hug and a kiss, or I see my son with me in my workshop earnestly banging together scraps of wood, and I see a hint of my past and his future. Or my wife will be late bringing the kids home from the circus, and I’m imaging all kinds of horrible fates for them and know that without them, my life will be very very lonely (and if you think I’m paranoid, I’m not. During a similar situation years ago, they got into a traffic accident – nobody hurt, thank God).

But I guess the point I’m trying to make is a) I can’t give you any advice. I don’t know you or your situation, and I wouldn’t want to risk giving you a bum steer, and b) unless you are utterly certain in your mind whether or not you want kids, I truly believe that no matter what decision you make, you will reach a point where you’ll regret it, and you’ll also come to think that it was the right choice after all.

I’m sorry to give some bad news, but egg-freezing probably isn’t an option. Unlike sperm or fertilized eggs (AKA embryos), unfertilized eggs can’t really be stored, although I think scientists have just managed it recently with mice. By the time the technology is adapted from mice to people, it’ll probably be a moot point for you.

Bear in mind, though, that it’s not like you only have a couple of childbearing years left. The likelihood of infertility rises the older you get, but the majority of women are able to conceive through their mid-fourties, so you’ve got a good few years left.

Are you antsy about getting married because he’s The One and you can’t imagine your life without him, or is it just that you’re feeling rushed and think he’s close enough for government work?

If it’s the former, you’re going to have to give him some time. Not an unlimited amount, but certainly more than the year he’s had so far. And yes, that means you might not be able to have a healthy pregnancy. Of course, you might not have been able to have a healthy pregnancy at the age of 19, for all you know. You might have to look at egg donors or adoption, or maybe not have kids at all. In that case, you just have to be confident that life is currently good, and in the fullness of time, it will probably be even better.

I get the feeling, though, that it’s more likely the latter. That you’ve taken a year to decide that he’ll do, and now you’re in a fever of impatience to get on with it already. If that’s the case, you might as well call the sperm bank and make plans to be a single mom, because you should NOT marry this guy. Getting married just so you can have kids tends to lead to an utterly miserable relationship for both of you, especially when one partner is feeling rushed into it. That’s not fair to either of you, or to any kids you might have.

Susanann, I’m going to assume your parting comment was referring to her being artificially inseminated at a sperm bank. Because if you’re suggesting that she ditch her birth control without telling her boyfriend, that’s despicably low, deceitful, and utterly contemptible. A man might not have any say in whether or not you get pregnant, but he damn well ought to have plenty of say in whether or not he’s the one to get you pregnant.