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

I’m 36, 37 in September. My fiance is 40, 41 in November. We have discussed having children and both really want them but have already decided that we need to be on our own for a while before we go down that road. We know we have to keep one eye on the biological clock but we also feel its important not to rush into anything without a firm footing behind us.

I know how you feel and I suppose I’m in a better situation because we are getting married but then again, I’m a bit older than you and these eggs ain’t getting any fresher!!! However, its important to be aware that the relationship must be strong before going down the road of kids etc (as well as the financial situation).

I’d say be comfortable with what you have right now and what and see for now.

Thirty-four, unmarried and no offspring? Whew!

Do you have a sense of open anticipation about your future or are you dreading it?

I’m fifteen, unmarried and a virgin. I think that, if you’re facing your future with tingling anticipation, even if that anticipation is uncertain, you are better off than I. Teenage angst and drama aside, too much expectation is worrying and burdomsome. Both you and I need to shed our aura of ‘the world on our shoulders’ and escape.

Let’s run…


And far.

We know these things happen, but to deliberately corral someone into fatherhood would be criminal. Don’t do it. Go to a sperm bank. Pick up a stranger in a bar – anything but fucking over your partner. It’s wrong on so many levels…

After ‘sleeping on’ this thread … I realized that what I’m really looking for is advice on how to be happy with & enjoy the present, instead of concentrating on and worrying about the future.

CrazyCatLady, I knew after our first date that he was the ‘one’, so this isn’t a matter of taking a year to look around, weigh my options, and then decide that he’ll “do”.

Not at all - I’m very lucky to be in a healthy, happy relationship for the first time in my life!

I have this internal struggle between (1) ruining what we have by pushing for more before he’s ready, and (2) fearing that by the time he decides that I may not be the one, I’ll be almost too old to have a child, PLUS I’ll be starting from scratch relationship-wise.

I realize there are no guarantees in life - it’s just hard sometimes knowing that he is the one for me, and also knowing that he’s not sure if I’m the one for him.

Thanks all for your thoughts & advice. If anyone knows a way to get it through this thick skull of mine to ENJOY THE MOMENT and LIVE FOR THE PRESENT, that would be great! :slight_smile:


PS I love him and respect him AND MYSELF far too much to ever purposely get pregnant without his knowledge/consent.

In that case, I guess you have to ask yourself if you’d rather be pregnant right now and without him, or be in your current situation. Would you rather let the relationship go where it will and in three years be alone, childless, and that much closer to menopause (what you’re afraid will happen, and pretty much a worst-case scenario), or have a toddler and have missed those three years with him (best case scenario if you push it and he leaves)?

Are you willing to consider alternative methods of becoming a parent, like egg donors, fostering, or adoption? If so, there’s no rush at all. Those things don’t have a countdown, and you can take all the time to enjoy your relationship that you want or need. If you want your biological child or no child at all, you might talk to your SO about the possibility of having IVF done and freezing all the embryos. That would give you a backup in case you decide that you want to have kids and find that you can’t, or that you don’t want to take the risks.

Keep in mind that life pretty much never turns out like anyone planned. I was supposed to be a practicing vet by now, you know, and my friend Jenn was supposed to be to be an up-and-coming journalist by now. Other friends were supposed to be married and having kids by now. Still others were supposed to still be footloose and fancy-free. For all of us, life happened while we were making other plans, and we wound up on a road we’d never really envisioned.

I, for one, had never even considered this particular road. The plan was that I’d be in vet school while he was in med school, I’d practice whereever he was doing his residency, then we’d go back to Kentucky and buy a small farm somewhere where I could have a horse or two to go along with the 4 dogs and 5 cats. And maybe, eventually, when the time seemed right, we’d get married. If there were problems, I might still be in school during his residency. That was the plan. The plan never included me not getting into vet school at all. The plan never included him not wanting an entire zoo in the house. The plan never included getting married during the pure hell of his intern year. And the plan certainly never included living near Duke fans during basketball season. My entire life right now, none of it was in the plan. I was supposed to be on the interstate, and somehow I ended up on two-lane blacktop out in the middle of nowhere.

I could keep pushing and straining to get back to the interstate, I suppose. It would mean missing out on the good stuff that’s on this particular road, though. There’s a lot of scenery here that I’d never even imagined existed, and a lot of interesting people and places and things to see that I’d miss from the interstate. Given the choice between spending the whole trip with my face buried in the map and leaning back to enjoy the scenery, I’ll take the scenery, thanks.

In short, your future’s an adventure novel, and you have two ways to find out how it all comes out. You can read the Cliff’s notes and miss the depth, texture, and richness of it, or you can savor each page as it unfolds. It’s your choice.

GilaB’s right - at this point you can have sperm and embryos frozen but not eggs.

Anyway, my wife was your age and your boyfriend was my age when we met. We dated/lived together for 5 years before SHE popped the question.

In those 5 years we had a great time getting to know each other, took lots of great vacations, did lots of fun things, a couple of stupid things, and made a lot of memories. She supported me in my musical pursuits and when I quit the job I hated, and I supported her when she went back to school.

My sister told her she did the right thing in asking me because if she waited for me to do it, she’d still be waiting. I took great umbrage. :wink:

It’s not like I’m averse to commitment. It’s just that the way things were was fine with me but she wanted to go to the next level. That was fine with me, too. I’m easy.

Shortly after getting married we tossed aside the BC but getting pregnant was very hard. There was a whole host of issues requiring surgery and medication that were unique to her. Getting her pregnant was also very expensive because ultimately we had to do in vitro. I’m not saying that’s what’s in the cards for you if you wait too long, but that is what happened to us.

And now we have two crazy little girls and it’s the best.

I’m in a position that I sure wasn’t in a year after we met in which I can provide for my whole family while she stays home with the girls. It’s the way the two of us want it. This was the upside to waiting - and talking to each other about what we want.

If you really want kids in this life you’re going to have them come hell or high water. Apparently you’ve found a guy you want to share this with. If he doesn’t seem ready there could be any number of reasons why. I can only speak for myself but a year into our relationship on no level - financial, emotional, professional - did I feel I was ready to have children. I knew I wanted to have children eventually but I certainly wasn’t ready for it then.

Well, I do understand this, and I hoped I wasn’t doing that. However, you’re correct in suggesting that, in most scenarios of the “could I have done anything?” type, there is something of an attempt to shoulder responsibility for my partner’s screw-ups, in addition to my own.

Still, when alone and facing a long, long future also alone, it’s damn hard not to think: could I have saved that relationship? Right now I miss TWO of my most recent ex-gfs, one of whom dumped for another guy already 3 years ago. I miss the most recent a lot more, but still. Pathetic, huh?

Since I’m totally hijacking this thread, I should mention that I think most of the other posters here are saying good things. For me, I think it is important to take seriously the idea of valuing what one has, rather than pine for what one does not have. Sometimes (most of the time?) there are trade-offs.

Yup, you definitely understand. What you suggest is right to do has become more and more difficult for me with successive relationship failure. (There have been three for me that lasted over a year, and the longest was five years, namely, the dumper of me mentioned above).

Of course, in my occupation I meet lots of single women, but they are all students at 12+ years younger than me…

…not that I wouldn’t consider dating some, under completely different circumstances.

CCL, wonderful post. I think I will print it out to keep by my bed, if you don’t mind.

Just stating a fact. If you think it has never happened, then it is 364 days until your first birthday.

Anyways, the birth control pill(nor other devices) is not 100% effective. The only sure way for a man to be sure(to have plenty of say) not to impregnate a female is to keep his pants on.

All very frightening, Susanann. Are you serious? Just trying to be inflammatory for the shock value?

In response to the first of the questions you pose I can think of many, many answers. Two that spring to mind rapidly are:

  1. a conscience-induced inability to live with oneself; and
  2. it is about the ultimate act of selfishness to bring a child into a relationship without one’s partner’s consent, particularly as such monumental dishonesty may lead to the breakdown of an otherwise healthy relationship with adverse consequences for the child (and the parents).

Well, I guess I’ll stray from the flock and be the one to suggest that if marriage and family is your goal, moving in with him without that level of commitment was a big mistake. You’re sacrificing your desires to appease this man you don’t even feel comfortable telling your desires to for fear of him running away. I’d say something like, “well, that may work for you, but it sure wouldn’t for me,” except that it doesn’t seem to be working for you, either.

Like you, I am 5 years older than my husband. We didn’t get married until I was 41, so I speak as someone who’s been where you are with age, singlehood through my 30s and a younger boyfriend. Add to that the fact that he comes from a country where it is common to live together for many years, even having children, before formalizing the relationship with a marriage ceremony. However, they don’t do it that way for the same reason many Americans do (which often seems to reflect your situation more than any kind of longterm commitment), they actually do see it as just as strong a commitment of permanency as marriage, they just save the ceremony for later. So, because that’s the way it’s done where he grew up, that’s what he suggested to me.

While I respect that there are differing views on the importance of “a piece of paper to recognize your commitment,” it was something I was not willing to compromise on. I was not going to put myself in a position where he could just up and walk away a year or 2 years or 5 years down the line – a fear you, yourself have acknowledged you have. So I said no. If he wanted to build a home and a life together with me, he was going to have to marry me. And if he wasn’t willing to offer me that kind of commitment, as much as I loved him, he wasn’t going to be the man for me.

You’re so terrified of losing this guy that you’ve completely given up your dreams to accomodate him, claiming to be doing so so you don’t spoil the “fun,” but you don’t seem to be having any fun worrying about the state of your future. I’m sorry to say that I think you’ve been foolish in setting up house with a man who isn’t willing to take on any of the real responsibilities that go along with building something lasting.

Living together is right for some people (I’m sure there are many on this board for whom it’s worked great), but it’s not for everyone. From what you’ve posted, it doesn’t sound like it’s right for you, but you’re so afraid of “losing the game” that you’ve allowed yourself to settle for something less than what you really want. And for that reason, there’s really no good advice anyone could give you to get you to “get it through [your] thick skull (which I don’t think is thick, btw)… to enjoy the moment and live for the present.” It’s not what you want.

Even my husband is sitting here shaking his head. He suggests that you really need to open the lines of communication with your boyfriend pretty damn quickly, and if you can’t do that, then you’ve probably made a mistake in moving in with him.

Who knows, he could pop the question this weekend. Unfortunately, you haven’t given him much incentive to. I do wish you the best of luck and hope it works out the way you want it to.

Which puts you way ahead of some 34-year-olds I could name. :frowning:

Shayna - thanks for your honesty, but let me clarify. I love him, and I’m extremely happy with him.

Yes, I knew when I moved in with him that I was taking a risk. But I also knew if I “took a stand” at that point, re: marriage, that our relationship would be seriously harmed. I loved him enough to gamble.

He knows how I feel, and he’s been very honest about how HE feels, and where he is. I’m not going to issue an ultimatum or threaten him with “if you don’t marry me, I’ll leave”.

I haven’t given up any dreams, and as for your comment about giving him no incentive to propose to me - that’s bullshit. By living together we’re learning more about each other, and we’re building our life together. If it doesn’t work out, then so be it, but a marriage certificate isn’t a guarantee of happiness either.

I didn’t ask to be judged in this thread, I asked for advice and support on how to relax in what is still ‘early days’ of this relationship, and enjoy the present happiness, instead of stressing about the future.


I really dont see what incentive he has to marry her. What would he get out of marriage, that he does not already have? Why buy the cow when the milk is free?

First of all, I’m sorry I gave you the impression that I was judging you – that was not my intent. As I tried to be very clear about, living together is not a bad thing for all people, but it can be a bad thing for some people, under some circumstances. This isn’t about morality, it’s about reality.

The reality is that you are too afraid of scaring him away to insist that you not compromise on your needs. You even go so far as to think that not compromising on an issue this important to you would be seen as a “threat” or an “ultimatum,” even acknowledging that if you had dared to stand firm, your relationship would have been “seriously harmed.”

To be honest, this is part of what concerns me. There is nothing threatening about simply telling the man you love that you are thoroughly enjoying your relationship but are willing to wait until he’s ready for the same level of commitment that you are, before taking things any further. And if your relationship was so fragile that telling him that would irreparably harm it, I humbly suggest that it’s one that someone with your goals and desires ought to think very carefully about pursuing anyway.

I have no doubt that you do love him very much, or you wouldn’t want to make him your life partner and have children with him. But I question your contention that you’re truly happy with him, as this entire thread is filled with posts by you directly contradicting that assertion. “Any advice from you Dopers on how I can relax about this situation and just enjoy what I have?” clearly says that you are stressed out about this situation to such a degree that you aren’t enjoying what you have. “I’m afraid of pressuring him,” indicates that you probably don’t enjoy the level of communication that you profess you do.

None of those comments reflects how a woman who’s happy with her current situation should be feeling. You can try to convince yourself that you’re “building a life together,” if it makes you feel better, but you’ve said right here that you’re really not – he’s just testing the water to see if he decides you’re the one for him.

And please understand that I’m not saying all this to be judgemental or mean. I’m saying this because what I’m reading of your own words concerns me about the state of your emotional well-being with regard to this relationship. I don’t think you’re being realistic about the situation you’ve allowed yourself to get into. You aren’t happy with it, but are too afraid of losing him not to do it anyway.

I hope I’m wrong. I hope he realizes tomorrow or next month or sometime really soon that his life would be empty and useless without you by his side sharing his life forever. I genuinely mean that. I really and truly do wish you the very best of luck. It sounds like you would make an incredible wife who would love and cherish him. I hope he ends up proving to be worthy of the sacrifices you’ve made for him to try to figure that out.

Shayna - thanks for replying & clarifying. You’ve given me a lot to think about and process. My inability to “enjoy the present” or “seize the day” is an aspect of every part of my life - it’s like I’m an observer more than an active participant - and I spend much more time and energy worrying about the future than is healthy.

SusanAnn - I’m assuming that what he would get out of the marriage would be what ANYONE gets out of marriage - commitment to being with someone 'til death do you part - a family - a companion who loves you above all others. Why else would you get married if not for those reasons? If you mean because I’m sleeping with him, well, I would guess most adults in committed relationships are sexually involved! :slight_smile: I hope I’m never as cynical about relationships & life as you come across.

I am NOT asking how to get this man to marry me. That’s his decision and his alone. If marriage was the be-all, end-all for me, I wouldn’t be in this situation right now.

Someday I hope to marry this man whom I love so much. Someday I hope to be a mom, if that’s in the cards. It comes down to this - it’s hard for me to not be in control of a situation. And in an equal, fair, loving, respectful relationship, NO-ONE should be in control. My brain knows this, but for a control freak like me, it’s still tough sometimes.


Frankly, I am not sure why people today who live together get married at all, since they are already doing getting all the milk for free anyways.

In my generation, it was EXTREMELY rare(in fact I didnt know anyone who did such a thing) to find anyone living together who was not married. People got married so they could live together, have sex, and to have kids. In the old days, getting married was a really big deal, and marraige really really changed your life, because you were able to live together, sleep together, have your own home together, take vacations together, etc. BIG change if you got married in my day. Both women and men really wanted to get married back then.

If todays young people, and in particular the male, are already living together and having sex, then what real life changing difference does it make in getting a piece of paper from the government? I dont really see how things will change much by getting that piece of paper if you are already living together and already share a home together.

I am not cynical, I just dont understand why 2 people today who are already living together and who are already living in a sexual relationship find that they need to get a piece of paper from the government?

So, wanting to share the rest of your lives together wasn’t one of the prime motivating factors?

Why buy the cow when the milk’s free?

So you can have steaks later! Duh!

There are lots of reasons for people who have been shacking up to get married; that little piece of paper changes nothing and it changes everything. I’m not going to hijack this thread any further to discuss it, however. If Susanann’s just being an ass to annoy the OP, she shouldn’t be encouraged, and if she’s honestly curious, she should start her own thread on the subject.

Frankly, I don’t know if I’d want to be around someone who considered herself a cow…or livestock of any kind.