I’m in my 30′s and I Don’t Want to Waste Time With the Wrong Men. How Soon Should I Find Out If He’s Serious About Marriage and Kids?

I'm in my 30's and I Don't Want to Waste Time With the Wrong Men. How Soon Should I find Out If He's Serious About Marriage and Kids?

Hi Evan,

My friends and I are all in the range of early to mid- to somewhat late 30′s and this is a very difficult time to find “the one”. When I was in my 20′s, I never worried about having to find out if my date/bf wanted kids or where he wanted to live or if we have the same ideas about money and spending. We would spend 2+ years together (not worrying about future or marriage) and then break up if we got sick of each other or fell out of love.

But now, let’s be realistic, how long do we really have to waste? I am almost 33. If I spent 2 years with someone and it didn’t work out, I would then be 35, and I want kids!

So, at this age, how soon is it okay to have a talk about what we want in life… 1st, 2nd, 3rd date? What if a guy that is amazing says he is unsure he wants kids and I know I want them? I drop him, right? If a guy in his mid 30′s thinks it is ok to date for 2 years and see if it is right, then my instinct is to let him go. By the same token, I feel that it is appropriate to KNOW by 6 months if this person is the one or not. Is this correct? Let me remind you that I’m not talking about people in their 20′s who enter into 5-year relationships. My friends and I want to be smart. I just ended a relationship with a guy after 6 months who told me he had serious doubts that I was the one.

How long until you should know (at this age) and how long until you should be planning to get engaged/married? I know people that get engaged after 6-8 months because they just know. I do NOT want to waste time. I am still considered young, but one long-term relationship that goes nowhere and I am 1-2 years older! If a guy tells me he wants to date for 2 years, then if we are right, he wants to get married, but then travel for a year before thinking about having kids, shouldn’t I run? I hope all of this makes sense. All of my close single girlfriends are in the same boat. We are all in the same age range and try to live by the “rules” of not bringing up marriage and kids and future goals or when we want those things. But shouldn’t we talk about that early on, in order to know we are on the same page? I want to date someone that is also looking for “the one” and knows that he wants it soon, just as I do.

Thanks so much, SK

Dear SK,

I couldn’t be more sympathetic to you. Now that I’m almost 37, most of my friends are in this 35-40 range, and there’s no doubt of the psychological toll that being single takes on them. The window to have kids is a narrow one, and, for that reason, it makes everything feel urgent.

The window to have kids is a narrow one, and, for that reason, it makes everything feel urgent.

I’m confident that just about anyone in your position would feel the exact same as you do. But, like an employee who has to grin and bear it when he’s got to work overtime, you have to figure out a way to smile, breathe deeply, and not get overwhelmed by your feelings. First, let’s try an exercise. Pretend you’re a guy for a second.

Now reread your letter. I’ll wait. Okay. Now that you’ve been privy to this woman’s pain, insecurity, fear and longing, would YOU want to date her? Because while you’re 100% entitled to WANT ANSWERS NOW, most guys don’t HAVE answers now – and they’re certainly not going to feel more inclined to date the woman who demands them. No more than you want to buy the car from the pushy used car salesman who has to make his monthly quota.

While you’re 100% entitled to WANT ANSWERS NOW, most guys don’t HAVE answers now… Playing it cool is still your soundest bet.

I just finished writing about this in my new eBook, “Why He Disappeared”, because it’s fundamental to understanding what makes men choose some women and not others. You’re 33. It’s a great age for dating because you’re young enough to be highly desirable to men in their late 30′s and early 40′s, you’re old enough to be over your twentysomething frivolity, and you’re serious about finding love. But you can’t be TOO serious. The more you approach each man as the potential father of your child, the more each man is going to recoil from your intensity. Playing it cool is still your soundest bet. My best friend married a 40-year-old woman, after two and a half years of dating. She didn’t pressure him once to pull the trigger. They just announced that they were pregnant last week. Another close male friend just married a 40-year-old woman, after two years of co-habitation. She DID put a little pressure on him, but it didn’t help her cause in any way.

Men don’t like to be pushed. My wife was 38 when I met her. If anything, I was the one who felt the need to rush and make decisions quickly, because I want to have kids and didn’t want to waste her time. As you may know, nobody’s cooler than my wife. So as much as you think you’re saving time by putting all your cards out on the table right away, you’re actually sabotaging yourself. There are things that my wife told me after 9 months together that I wouldn’t have accepted after 1 month, and vice versa. Once your guy’s in love, once he’s invested, you have much more power and leverage.

And by the way, your leverage is not in telling him to pop for a ring or else. Your leverage is in deciding whether you have a future, and, if not, walking away with your head held high. Walk away too soon because of YOUR timetable, and you may be shorting HIS timetable.

Learn how to embrace the concept of being cool and letting a man choose you without pressure.

Your concerns are perfectly valid, SK, but your methods for dealing with them come from a place of anxiety. We’re not that attracted to anxiety. So stop trying to figure out how to merge your bank accounts on date 2, stop hinting that you’d like a family on date 4, stop trying to KNOW things about your future when you’ve only been together for six months. YOU might think you know after six months, but if my wife – or my friends’ wives – pressured me or my friends for a decision after only six months together, none of us would be married right now.

You might not like to hear me telling you to just chill out, but it gets far better results than what you’ve outlined above.

Click below to learn how to embrace the concept of being cool and letting a man choose you without pressure. It may not be easy, but for my wife, I’d like to think there are some great rewards…

www.evanmarckatz.com/products/why-he-disappeared.html

Your friend,

Evan

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Ronnie Ann Ryan - The Dating Coach

    Hi Evan,
    I agree that it’s better to relax than reveal any desperation. But at 41, after 7 months with my boyfriend now husband, I did put on the pressure. I wanted to know if we had a future. I didn’t ask when we would marry. I asked him for an answer to the future and was willing to walk away to find a man who knew what he wanted which hopefully was me.

    He didn’t like what I did naturally. We decided to take two weeks to think about things. After that time we talked and he decided that he wanted to live with me first. but we didn’t set a time frame. Three months later he moved in and two months later we got engaged.

    In truth, I didn’t make him do anything. At 38, he decided to move forward rather than risk losing me. It was a risk I was willing to take, and I’m very glad I did. Not all men will get “around to it.” We’ve been married happily for nine years.

    When I was dating I told every man on the first date that I was looking to get married. I put my agenda on the table in a “just mentioning it” way. Depending on a woman’s age – I still advise this strategy.

    It doesn’t mean you can make a man do anything he doesn’t want to do. But being clear about your own agenda can separate the boys from the men. Anyone who ran wasn’t the right man for me.
    .-= Ronnie Ann Ryan – The Dating Coach´s last blog ..Dating After Divorce – I Don’t Know Where to Start =-.

    1. 1.1
      Mikko Kemppe

      Good advice Ronnie Ann Ryan. I agree with you, I don’t think there should be anything wrong with putting your agenda on the table as long as, as you said, you do it from a place not trying to change a man or push a man to do something, and are willing to walk away or distance yourself from him if he does not come through.
      .-= Mikko Kemppe´s last blog ..I am smart, independent, successful, and educated, why aren’t men attracted to me? Read the answer here, and discover the solution. =-.

  2. 2
    Helen

    When I pretended to be a guy reading that letter, as Evan encouraged his writer to do, this is what I thought:

    “Why would I want to date a chick who only wants to marry me so she can have kids? What if I’m not sure I want kids? Even if I did, why would I only want to feel like a tool, or a means to an end? If she marries me just because she wants kids, how do I know I’ll get any of her attention once we’re married? And if we’re married and for some reason can’t have kids even if we try, will I have a permanently depressed wife on my hands?”

    Not. attractive. at. all. Evan, thanks for that suggestion of looking at it from the other side. What an eye-opener.

    1. 2.1
      Mikko Kemppe

      Evan makes a great point. If she is really wanting to marry a man just because she wants kids or even if she did not want a man just for that, but came across as if she did, yes definitely a big turn-off.
      .-= Mikko Kemppe´s last blog ..I am smart, independent, successful, and educated, why aren’t men attracted to me? Read the answer here, and discover the solution. =-.

  3. 3
    Honey

    While this post does make me wonder why she wants kids so badly (and why anyone does…) I also wonder why she needs marriage to have them. I mean, it’s undoubtedly a better situation to have a man involved, but it doesn’t sound like she’s interested in compromising, being in love, or any of that. She doesn’t talk about it at all. Her whole approach is very clinical and “how soon can I have my babies.”

    Desperation aside, if I were a guy I’d wonder what my place was in any of that.
    .-= Honey´s last blog ..Summer Lovin or Not =-.

    1. 3.1
      Lance

      Ouch. I read her email and felt the strong urge to run for the hills. She should just pay to get pregnant.
      .-= Lance´s last blog ..Summer Lovin or Not =-.

  4. 4
    Steve

    @SK;

    I sympathize with you. I have a similar dating issue.

    I’m at an age where I feel like there is still time to enjoy life and dating, but that the time in not unlimited. I’m also 100% sure I do not want to be a parent.

    I have to commend you. You know what you want and you have thought about the realities of biology.

    On match.com I’m regularly finding personal ads from women your age and up to 10 years older who list themselves as being “unsure” about raising children.

    Even if these women have adoption in mind, they are still “unsure” about a minimal 18 year commitment that will see them through to the edge of their senior years.

    If you are doing online dating, you can obviously avoid men like me and focus on men who list themselves as being certain that they want children.

    You can also add a few lines to your profile stating that you are not in a rush of any sort, but that you are only interested in men who are also not in a rush, but who know for sure they want to be fathers someday.

    If you meet a man the old fashioned way, you can use a similar line, with a RELAXED demeanor after you have dated him for about month.

    Good Luck!

  5. 5
    Steve

    First, let’s try an exercise. Pretend you’re a guy for a second.
    Now reread your letter.
    I’ll wait. J

    Exactly.

    About 5 lines into SK’s email, I checked to make that sure my fly was zipped and the word “vasectomy” popped into my head.

  6. 6
    Mikko Kemppe

    Evan makes a good solid point. I agree, guys don’t like to feel pushed. We want to feel like we make decisions for ourselves. And after all, I am sure that you as a woman would feel much better about yourself if your guy/boyfriend/husband decided he wanted to marry you or have kids because of he really wanted it and made the decision for himself, instead of you feeling like you had to force him to do that.

    Now having said that as I read her question, I also heard a legitimate concern of how do you really know when it really is a right time to move on from a guy if you feel like it is not going anywhere? After all, I have to also agree with SK, clearly there can be instances when you may simply not be dating the right person. So how do you move on?

    I think the broad answer to that is similar to Evan’s philosophy in that you simply want to keep your intentions on finding the right one for you, but not to become too attached to any one particular guy or outcome for it to happen.

    So simply keep dating a lots of men and keep your options open. Date two, three, or four men at the same time, as I know Evan often suggests as well. I think it is fine for a woman to ask her date after couple of dates whether he is interested in having children or not in the future, as long as she asks that question from a place of honestly being curious on what he thinks about the issue without demanding anything from a him or trying to push him to change in anyway.

    And if his answer is not what you would want to hear, then, yes there should be nothing wrong with you simply saying: NEXT in line please :)! This way as Evan said, you won’t get too attached to a particular guy or outcome. And furthermore, the more you date around, the more you will learn about yourself and develop your ability to just know when the right guy with the values you both share does come along.

    Good luck!
    .-= Mikko Kemppe´s last blog ..I am smart, independent, successful, and educated, why aren’t men attracted to me? Read the answer here, and discover the solution. =-.

  7. 7
    Eathan

    Relaxing is the key. The smell of desperation is a strong scent. Over the years, women with a relationship agenda are the ones that us men avoid. I hate feeling there is a time limit..pressure to make advancement. It always gives me the feeling that there is something under the surface that isn’t quite right for a LTR.

    Acting out of desperation will attract losers and bad choices.
    .-= Eathan´s last blog ..Should I Have Good Sheets or Cheap Sheets? =-.

  8. 8
    Sam

    I know I’m atypical, but I would only be scared off by SK’s strong desire for marriage and children if I had reservations about her in the first place. If a girl I’m not that into starts talking about a life commitment then I would be concerned and hit the brakes, but if I think she’s terrific I would be delighted by how much she wants marriage and children, since I want that too. (that I want children too is possibly a reason I feel this way)

    I think these dating strategy mistakes only matter if you are borderline with someone. As people have said before, if you call someone every day who isn’t into you then you are being clingy, but if you call someone every day who does like you then you are being sweet and considerate.

    Thus, if he’s thinking “She’d be a great wife and a great mother” and you talk about kids he’s going to like you even more. If he’s thinking “I don’t like X, Y, Z” and you talk about kids he is going to go the other way.

  9. 9
    andie

    Steve…the problem with Match is that there is not an “open to raising kids” option. So, another words, if someone already had kids from a previous relationship or wanted to adopt, that would be fine. It would also be fine to remain without children. So, women like me are stuck with checking “unsure.”

    1. 9.1
      Steve

      Match.com has a “yours are fine” choice for “wants kids”

  10. 10
    Pete

    Thanks Evan, for articulating so clearly what I and so many other men feel. Being pressured into a familial commitment drives men away, especially for anyone who’s divorced and, while able to conceive of being married again someday, is still feeling a bit burned by it. I believe that, unless stated outright to the contrary, we all want the same things, for the most part.

    Slow down, enjoy the relationship and the other person in it, and the chances are radically improved that you’ll end up where you want to be.

  11. 11
    Jacey

    I totally agree with Evan—but am curious: how could SK “get rid of” her anxiety regarding her fear of not finding someone before her biological clock runs out, so she’s not projecting that while she’s out on a date? The obvious answer would be for her to calm down and take deep breaths, etc…but I’m talking about when that doesn’t work?

    1. 11.1
      Isabelle Archer

      The only way you can really get rid of this kind of anxiety is to accept it, as well as the possibility that her worst fear — no biological child — may come true.

  12. 12
    Isabelle Archer

    I agree with all of this…except for that I do think you can and should “know” by 6 months whether or not there’s long-term potential.

  13. 13
    bella

    I 100% empathize with this letter, and feel the same way. And I’m really glad she wrote it.

    This letter encapsulates what so many (but not all) women fear. It comes from years of dating men who haven’t planned for their future, who haven’t taken on real responsibility, and who DON’T have conversations with friends about who can’t get pregnant at 37.

    Men aren’t marketing targets in the baby-making business, they aren’t being told their organs are drying up, they aren’t reading growing statistics about how there are more women choosing younger men with no baggage.

    If you want to know “what’s behind” this letter, it’s not that this girl is high-strung, crazy or imbalanced. It’s that she is a woman, who wants to fall in love and start a family, and she is looking for a partner who wants the same thing. But it’s become a faux pax to say that out loud.

    It’s funny. We used to live in an age where a woman who wanted a career was considered un-feminine. Now a woman in 2009 is fretting about implying she wants a family one day, as if that’s a dirty word.

    The advice that she should just “chill out” is true, but simplistic. No one, in the history of time, has ever been permanently “chilled out” for the first 6 months of dating someone.

    MY ADVICE to her, would be: These are all valid fears, age-appropriate concerns, and legitimate questions. Use your gut instinct as much as possible, don’t sabotage yourself, keeping dating someone unless you see more red flags than white ones.

    I’ve also noticed something predictable: When I’m dating someone I’m on the fence with, these fears pop up everywhere like weeds. When I’m dating someone I really like and feel giddy about, these thoughts tend to dissipate because I’m too distracted by how happy I am to be around this person, and I feel naturally relaxed.

    I think these thoughts are interconnected with other feelings of instability. She recently broke up with someone who said he wasn’t sure if she was the one. That right there is really, really hard to hear, and really hard to walk away from. You want to wait it out, but you are old enough to know you deserve better. She walked away, and I think that’s brave. Now she’s out there again, and she’s scared, and also scarred. Her feelings in this letter make total sense.

    Yes, if you read this letter as a man, it doesn’t paint a pretty picture. But she is NOT reading this letter to a man on a date. She is revealing what a 30-something woman’s fears are in a letter to a dating coach, and she’s not alone.

    I’m sure if a woman was privy to the inner most thoughts of a man, she’d run away too.

    1. 13.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Well stated, Bella. I wouldn’t disagree with a word, and, in fact, validated the original poster’s feelings and concerns in my reply to her.

      As you said, staying cool is far easier said than done. My main point was that if you pressure a guy and walk away too soon, you may be leaving a good man who is merely working on a different timetable.

      That does not mean to stay with a loser who will break your heart. It mean putting yourself in his shoes for once – something that is particularly hard for most of us to do.

      Thanks for your contribution.

      1. 13.1.1
        Mikko Kemppe

        I think your main point of making sure not to pressure a man and walk away too soon is right on target.
        .-= Mikko Kemppe´s last blog ..Mikko, How Do I Make Sure I Don’t Just End Up Dumped After Sexless Dates? =-.

    2. 13.2
      Diana

      Excellent post.

    3. 13.3
      vino

      “It comes from years of dating men who haven’t planned for their future, who haven’t taken on real responsibility, and who DON’T have conversations with friends about who can’t get pregnant at 37″

      True, but whose choice was it to date those men? And the conclusory statement about not taken on real responsibility is just that – conclusory.

      Sometimes these fears and issues result from making bad decisions throughout one’s 20′s, which are the prime child bearing years, biologically speaking. I say this because the stated desire is to have children and a family.

    4. 13.4
      Desiree

      Excellent post and you hit the nail on the head.

  14. 14
    Mr_Right

    This is fairly interesting, because I’ve seen the inverse of this, where girls aren’t sure if they want kids or not.

    Back when I was doing online dating, when using eHarmony, I would set my profile to “wants kids”, and I was looking for girls who also “wanted kids” or who were “maybe” on the issue.

    But you know, after talking to many girls who were “maybe” on the issue of kids, the conversations kind of went like this: “Well, I really like kids but I definitely don’t want them right now, but maybe someday I would want them.”

    And that’s too ambigious for me. It would be like dating someone for a couple of years and then finding out they aren’t really into having kids. What I started doing is when I would see a profile with someone who was a “maybe”, then I would close them out (unless they were really really attractive and had a killer profile, then I would go a few steps in communication, THEN close them out).

    So, I think what it would be important to do is that when you’re on sites like Match or eHarmony, if having kids is something you have to have in a match (and it definitely sounds like it is), then you should close those people who are the “maybe”‘s or the “not interested”, even if they match you in all the other areas.

    I mean, we’re talking about what you have to have here, ya know. No gray area.

    Thoughts?

    1. 14.1
      Joe

      Are you dating twenty-somethings, Mr_Right?

      1. 14.1.1
        Mr_Right

        I believe back then my age range was 23-28.

  15. 15
    JB

    This is a tad off the exact topic but I think all the online sites need to do a better job with the section of:

    Wants kids ____
    Don’t want kids _____
    Have kids but don’t want to have more kids_____
    Don’t want to have any of my own kids
    but if you have them great ________

    yadda,yadda,yadda……….. It get very confusing for the 40 & up crowd.

    On Yahoo I have to check “Don’t have children” AND
    “Don’t want children”
    Then in my profile I have to say “I get along great with kids” letting the women know I like kids I just don’t have nor do I want to have any of my own.

  16. 16
    Diana

    Even though I have never been in her shoes, I greatly empathize with this young woman and her dilemma. I know that many others are in the same situation. It is difficult when you feel as if you’re running up against a deadline, and you’re quickly losing ground. But for as much as we sometimes wished they did, successful and happy relationships do not run on a pre-determined time line or course, and they certainly cannot begin and thrive in a pressure cooker.

    As difficult as this may be for her, she needs to let go of the fear and the anxiety that she might never have children or have them in a specific time frame. These thoughts and feelings are sabotaging her dreams, and they are detrimental to what she hopes to someday have.

    My take is that after enjoying a handful of hopefully, comfortable and fun dates together, have an open, non-pressuring conversation about how each of you envision your future. In the very beginning, you’re still trying to figure out if you even want to continue dating, let alone take the plunge and have their children.

    Sometimes by listening very closely to a man, you will have your answer without anything further being necessary. He may actually give you a direct answer without provocation on date no. 1, to which you would politely move on, if it’s not what you want. And it often comes down to knowing “when” is the perfect time to have the conversation with a man; definitely, when they are relaxed, and of course, what to say and “how” to say it.

    Keep in mind that men process their emotions very differently from women. If a woman tells a man how she feels, sometimes they can appear as if they’re withdrawing from her feelings, but they are actually taking the time they need to process their “own” emotional response to hers, and then return to validate and reconnect. I man who says he’s unsure about having children may actually be saying, he doesn’t want children with “you.” Or maybe he’s unsure because he doesn’t know where you stand. And if he doesn’t want children, I would hope he’d be able to express this directly.

    In the end, it all comes down to what feels right to you. My advice … keep your date planner as full as you can with quality men, ease into things a little bit slow, but not “too” slow, so as not to abuse not only your time, but theirs. Find a relaxing moment, share your views about the future, and then let the chips fall where they may. If he seems to wobble, but you have an amazing connection and time together and he feels like the one, then give the relationship the time it deserves. Don’t live your life by a stop watch. Love is too precious and rare.

  17. 17
    Jennifer

    I think a lot of women have these feelings, but as Bella stated it’s become unheard of to share them. So bravo to SK for putting it out there.

    I think it’s perfectly reasonable to know if you see something long-term with someone after 6 months. Some people don’t. The key is to concentrate on people that feel the way you do about it, instead of lamenting about not getting more men/every man onto your page. If a guy seems anti marriage and kids, don’t try to convert him, don’t try to hang in and see if he’l change his mind- just leave him alone. It’s been my experience that guys will often be the first to talk about how they want to get married and have kids sometime soon. For every guy that is interested in having fun dating a lot of women, there is another guy interested in having fun dating one woman and getting married. Remember that.

    I think early thirties is a great time to date- chances are decent that men in this age group who want to get married are in a position to consider it and be open to it in a way that they may not have been in their 20′s. You’ve had some relationships and know yourself better (hopefully) and have a good idea of what you can and can’t deal with– that alone will save time and agony. For every negative thing that can be said about dating in your early 30′s, a positive thing can be said too. The guys who are looking for the right woman to marry are out there too, and just as real as the guys who aren’t. You only need one!

  18. 18
    Roger

    “I’m never getting married and I never want to have children” I said when I met the woman who eventually became the mother of my children and to whom I was married for over two decades.

    We fell in love and lived together for a number of years, she told me “My life plans include marriage and children. I love you and want to have you in my life, but if those two things are out of the question, please let me know. I will miss you very much if I have to find someone else.”

    She gave me plenty of time and was thrilled when I gave her a formal proposal–bent knee, diamond and all.

    The point? I would not have qualified if asked about kids at 6 months, 1,2,3 years. Forcing the issue too soon would have pushed me away.

  19. 19
    -NN-

    Couple of things I have to comment:

    A. First what Sam said 2009-07-09 09:48:32

    “I think these dating strategy mistakes only matter if you are borderline with someone. ”

    I am always borderline with every man – if he doesn’t see the point of putting himself to the case to get what he wants, he went over the border -> he is not interesting, since why should I bother either?

    B. Secondly what Evan said in his advice:

    “You’re 33. It’s a great age for dating because you’re young enough to be highly desirable to men in their late 30′s and early 40′s,”

    Why?.. I have to emphasise, WHY would I want a man who is older – If I was 33, I want a man who is same age – not someone who is worn out. Most men just don’t know how to keep good care of themselves, and are overweight etc. A turn-off

    Quite frankly – I am older than 33, but I know what kind of men are at their 40′s..
    and I am NOT interested in THEM physically.

    If I can’t see myself kissing a guy, he is out. Sex is just that important, and that I don’t settle.
    If I’m not attracted, if I can’t see myself having sex with man I am rather without – than having a sexual relationship with someone who makes me want to throw up.

    But then again – I don’t see the point of having children – therefore I don’t see the point of selling myself to have a non-satisfactory relationship either with someone who is just borderline to attractive in the first place.

    Men don’t do that either, they just jump over those too.

    I know what Evan has said, that we have to settle – Funny thing is.. he didn’t – but women should?
    I am quite willing to be single, and even die single at the age of 80+, than spend my intimate moments with someone I feel indifferent to.. or worse (I have tried) someone who makes me feel naseous in the sack.

    My grand aunt.. who is now 85, and has been for ever an old maid (even if younger man in 60′ tried to catch her attentions) and never married.. I asked her “do you regret that you didn’t start with that man”.. she said that “nope, I like how my life has turned out”

    Most people might settle, but I think that I come to my family.. Rather without, than settle with someone who is B-grade to me.

    1. 19.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      NN,

      I’ve never said “settle”. I’ve said “compromise”. There’s a massive difference. My wife and I made MAJOR compromises to be with each other. I compromised on age, ambition, geography. She compromised on religion, plus everything it takes to marry a neurotic, workaholic, know-it-all dating coach. We share values, laughter, trust, fun, the desire to build a better life. We’re not clones, which is what we so often seek in partners.

      If you’d like to be single until you’re 85, because you won’t compromise, go ahead. You can have rich and fulfilling existence. But when my wife and I saw “Up” last night, and tearfully reaffirmed our love for each other, I could imagine no other way.

    2. 19.2
      Karl R

      -NN- said:
      “WHY would I want a man who is older [...] I want a man who is same age – not someone who is worn out [...] I know what kind of men are at their 40′s”

      You mean like Hugh Jackman (40), Will Smith (40), Jeffrey Donovan (41), and Brad Pitt (45)?

      I date individuals, not general categories of people. The 48 year old I dated a few months ago was in much better shape than either of the 28 year olds I dated in 2008. And the two ladies who seemed the most worn-out were two of the closest to my age (36 & 37).

      There is some correlation between youth and looks/fitness. On the other hand, there’s some correlation between age and maturity/financial stability. SK is looking for someone who will be a good husband and father, not just someone who will be great in bed.

      This is where you (-NN-) can compromise (with someone older than you are) without settling (for someone who is lazy and flabby). SK might make different compromises, since she wants different things in her partner.

  20. 20
    starthrower68

    Guess I need to see this movie, Up. You know, Evan I must admit, sometimes I’m not sure what I want out of a relationship. I’ve had kids and don’t plan to have anymore (love kids, its my age), I’m earning my education which has always been a dream and goal, and I do have a full and fulfilling life so I’m not dependent on a relationship. If I’m completely honest, sometimes I wish I could just have a long-term exclusive guy that would also be a sexual partner that could go back to his space and I could go back to mine. But as a person of faith, I believe what the Bible says, and I can’t pick and choose which parts I want to follow, so I don’t do that. Obviously, I’m not in a hurry to rush down the aisle with anyone, and I’m cool with taking things slow. But by the same token, since I am not dependent on a relationship, I don’t want to waste my time, just because there are a lot of other things I can be doing and people I can spend time with that do value me in return. And I think, because of that, it’s going to take one helluva guy that is serious about what he wants and getting it, if that makes sense?

  21. 21
    Ava

    The desire to have children is an intense, primal desire. I recognize that as a woman, even though I don’t want kids myself. It’s one of those things that if you want to do and don’t, you may always regret. Sometimes a woman can go for years not wanting kids and wake up one day at 40, desperately wanting them. Timing, as they say, is everything. If you can wait, give a relationship some time to develop further, but if you can’t, then find a guy who also really wants a family. Most of my friends who wanted kids found those men, and I think the LW can, too. And believe me, it’s easier to have kids earlier with a stable partner, then later when you might have to deal with IVF, or adoption, or being a single mom.

  22. 22
    Karl R

    I think you can get this information out of a man if you address the issue in a non-threatening manner.

    One woman brought up the topic after we’d been dating for a couple months. She mentioned that she wanted to have kids one day. I mentioned that I didn’t want to have kids. The conversation moved on to other topics from there, but I filed it away in the back of my mind as a potential future dealbreaker.

    A couple months later, she decided to break up with me because of our differences on that issue. She felt that dating me was becoming her excuse for not going out and finding someone who would be a husband and father. Obviously, she felt a lot greater urgency in that search than I did. I’d like to get married before I die, but I have no immediate plans to do either.

    Nieces and nephews make a great way to edge your way into the topic.

  23. 23
    Curly Girl

    If it’s a big, deal-breaking issue for you then by all means, it needs to be something you seek to find out about someone you’re seeing, and earlier, rather than later (which pretty much goes for all deal-breaking issues, actually). That said, you don’t have to go about it like a battle-axe. You can mention something about kids in a casual way and see what the reaction is (like, “I just love spending time with my baby niece!”–as Karl suggests).

    Here’s a battele-axe example. Years ago I was on a second date with a guy who said to me point blank, apropos of nothing: “I think you should know, I do not support abortion and I believe in the corporal punishment of children.” I guess he was assuming that I was looking for a marriage/procreation partner (I wasn’t) and was either trying to scare me off (it didn’t, but it should have) or let me know that he was looking and what his standards were.

    We only went out one or two times after that, and I still can’t figure out why he dumped that on me right off the bat. Maybe because he’d gotten grief about his beliefs from other women and he wanted to head things off at the pass? Not sure.

    Anyway, it worked. He knew what he wanted and stated it up front. He didn’t get married right away after that, but eventually he did, and I’m sure that he found someone who believed what he believed. (Shudder)

  24. 24
    LK

    Thanks for posting this topic. I have similar concerns, and I know it affects how I approach dating.

  25. 25
    vino

    I admit I did not read every comment.

    The OP’s letter reminds me of oh so many 30 something women I’ve met, and shy away from.

    I tend to view this in conjunction with the Lori Gorrleib article (see EMK’s thread – http://www.evanmarckatz.com/blog/why-women-should-settle/)

    I distill the article’s import to me down to the following quote – “So if you rarely see your husband but he’s a decent guy who takes out the trash and sets up the baby gear, and he provides a second income that allows you to spend time with your child instead of working 60 hours a week to support a family on your own how much does it matter whether the guy you marry is The One?”

    Spirited discussion on the thread occurred on whether this is good for the guy. I don’t think it is, btw.

    Specifically, if a woman thinks you are a ‘lesser’ mate simply to satisfy her biological urge for children, and the concurrent monetary support in fulfilling that urge, I argue the likelihood of a successful partnership is not promising, not to mention the increased likelihood of later infidelity. See EMK’s comment above re: settling vs. compromising for clarification.

    This is the dilemma 30-something women face. I’ve been on dates, and they are less dates than interrogations because, you know, time’s-a-wastin’. BTW, that’s the rule, not the exception for 30-somethings.

    And here I thought dating was supposed to be fun…

    1. 25.1
      Helen

      Hmmm… that’s a very good point, vino. And that gets to the point I was trying to make in my earlier comment (the 2nd one on this posting).

      It makes me wonder: how much of this desperation on the part of women to have children is truly biological vs. societal? I think society does put a LOT of pressure on women to have children, and oftentimes that clouds women’s judgment, and indeed does not give them the freedom to ask whether they really want kids in the first place.

      But don’t blame just the women, vino. I think this is something American society in general – including both men and women – inflicts upon women: this silly notion that a woman is not complete without a child. You don’t see that kind of pressure in other parts of the world, such as Europe.

      To prevent the kind of desperation that makes you so annoyed (and rightfully so) on your dates, we may need to completely overhaul society’s way of thinking about kids.

      1. 25.1.1
        vino

        I haven’t any clue on the biological vs. societal pressures. I’m not one to cut tons of slack on the societal pressures that people aren’t complete w/o kids & therefore need to procreate. Hell, they’re only TV ads & annoying comments from mothers/aunts/friends etc., who can be told to take a hike.

        I have to say I’d have more sympathy to the biological impetus.

        The problem for women in their 30′s is that they’ve already had their best child bearing years in their 20′s. That isn’t to say it doesn’t happen in the 30′s at all, it’s just that biologically speaking, 20′s are better for that than 30′s. I think being told you can have it all by way of career, family, etc., hasn’t been terribly effective, as we are seeing.

        As a guy in his 30′s I’ve dated women ages 23-44 in the last 12 months. And while I don’t want kids, you can bet your bippy that if I did, I’d be focusing on the 20-somethings. This is the other issue I think the OP has…that guys in her preferred age range (I’m guessing 30-40), not only want, but can get, women in their 20′s (assuming they aren’t slobs).

        Also, I’ve had more than a few guy friends tell me that why would they want someone whose spent the last 10-15 years solely focused on themselves, whether it is career, a glaring lack of career (ie. – party girl), dating around, etc. A buddy even used the old “town doorknob” crack. They don’t see how being so self-focused prepares someone for motherhood and a family. Now that she is in her 30′s and wants to settle down, they don’t see why they should pay for it (it being her greater desire for child and marriage), as her best years are behind her. They have a point.

        Analogy – a new, fresh Porsche 911 is about $90k, give or take. However, the ’99 Porsche 911 with 89k miles on the odometer isn’t worth that same $90k, but that’s exactly what the ’99 Porsche wants you to think. It sounds very cold, I know, but sometimes reality ain’t terribly pretty with a nice veneer over it…

        1. Diana

          It’s hypocritical for your guy friends to wonder why they’d want someone who has spent the past 10-15 years seemingly focused only on themselves when that is very likely exactly what they have done. And the thought that a woman in her 30s has her best years behind her biologically speaking, or in any other way is naive. The 30s are often considered the best years of a human’s life.

          Comparing the value of a human being to a Porsche is not only cold, but it’s not reality either. As a man in his 30s, is this how you feel about yourself and your friends? Not likely. I’d say you present yourself as if you’re worth a new, fresh Porsche.

        2. vino

          It’s not hypocritical at all. Look at the proffered situation. Woman in her 30′s who wants to get married and have kids. This usually (though not always) entails mom staying home with the child for the first several years of the child’s life, being the primary caregiver. Generally, hubby has to go and work, not taking the primary caregiver role. Sot it is perfectly valid for them to examine how self-centered the women they meet are as criteria for motherhood.

          “And the thought that a woman in her 30s has her best years behind her biologically speaking, or in any other way is naive. The 30s are often considered the best years of a human’s life.”
          - I didn’t say that or that conclusion at all. I did say that the 20′s are best for child bearing. You took it a direction I did not.

          As far as the Porsche analogy is concerned, please tone down the personal hostility to me, as I haven’t said anything towards you personally. You may not like the analogy’s accuracy, but when as a guy, you are looking at someone as marriage & mom material, you are also giving 1/2 your assets & income by law, not to mention supporting the child. It is cold, but because of these concerns, marriage has historically been a business decision, and should be viewed as such. In that light, you don’t want to overpay for the ’99 Porsche. By the way, women have many of their own criteria for a suitable mate, which I’m not deriding here.

        3. Diana

          I appreciate your further clarifying your earlier comments. There was something about your message that felt disrespectful of women. I do apologize for writing too personally.

        4. vino

          I hear ya Diane. However, I don’t get the ‘disrespectful of women’ thing. Individuals of both genders and all races earn respect as individuals. It is not freely given by virtue of being a member of a certain gender or race.

        5. LK

          That’s pretty harsh. I am 32 and would love to be married by now and on track to create a family. However, I have not met the right person yet. The lead contender so far wound up not working out for a variety of situational and personal reasons.

          I have been focused on a career and done a bit of traveling in the meantime, but what was I supposed to do? Sit around twiddling my thumbs, making zero use of my education, and expecting that Prince Charming will show up and fund my 401(k)? If anything, the reason for my career focus has been to set myself up financially to help support a family as well as a contingency plan to support myself if I don’t find a partner.

          I don’t understand the attitude that a man has to “pay for” a woman’s desire to settle down. If that’s your attitude towards marriage — that its drawbacks outweigh its advantages — then you’re probably not ready to get married anyway. So, what’s the issue? I will not date a man who acts as though women are trying to “trap” him into a commitment. One whiff of that and I’m out the door. BTDT. There are enough men in their mid/late 30s who DO want to have a family, and I stick to those.

          A reasonable percentage of my online dating traffic comes from men who are in their late 40s and finally looking to settle down and have a family. I will not consider dating someone who (a) is closer to my parents’ age than my own and (b) will be approximately 50 when our first child would be born. I wonder if any of those men had negative attitudes towards settling down in their mid/late 30s. If so, they may be regretting it now. Sometimes the tide winds up shifting.

          Finally, I hope the next woman you date doesn’t compare you to a 10-year-old piece of machinery.

        6. vino

          LK,

          It is harsh. So it the reality. That’s not to say it’s bad. It just is…

          Sometimes on this blog almost everyone wants or needs to view relationships & dating through rose-colored glasses, and detest differing views.

          Please don’t shoot me, the messenger, for news you may not like, as I haven’t attacked you personally.

          “I don’t understand the attitude that a man has to pay for a woman’s desire to settle down. If that’s your attitude towards marriage that its drawbacks outweigh its advantages then you’re probably not ready to get married anyway.”

          - As I mentioned above, a man does have to pay for it by way of 1/2 of income and assets, supporting the child. In the event of divorce, he’ll lose 1/2 of those assets and income , and have to pay alimony & child support. So objective speaking, he does pay for it. This is fact. Simply stating the fact doesn’t translate into an insult I’m not ready for marriage. But if that makes you feel better….

          Everything you’ve said doesn’t disprove anything I said. The thought occurs though, If you are setting yourself up financially in case you don’t find a partner, why not have the child now? You need not be married for that nowadays. Heck, you don’t even need a guy. I’m not trying to be glib. I am trying to point out that you seem to have placed more emphasis on your contingency plan than finding a partner to start that family. Perhaps because your contingency plan takes more time, effort & energy…

        7. LK

          “If you are setting yourself up financially in case you don’t find a partner, why not have the child now?” Because I think it’s important for a child to have a father.

          “I am trying to point out that you seem to have placed more emphasis on your contingency plan than finding a partner to start that family. Perhaps because your contingency plan takes more time, effort & energy” What can I do aside from continue to try meeting people and/or work on relationships when I am in them? Does having some financial stability and a sense of financial responsibility to myself make me a off-putting partner to a man? I honestly don’t understand this line of thinking.

          “As I mentioned above, a man does have to pay for it by way of 1/2 of income and assets, supporting the child.” As I would expect to contribute as well. Do most men just have no desire to have a child? How is it a one-way relationship?

        8. girl-with-glasses

          Vino, I tend to like your posts.

          Alot of women seem not be able to accept that the world doesn’t revolve around them and their aging biological apparatuses (especially the male sex drive and psyche). Oh well.

          Porsche analogy, a-ok with me. Men tend to be passionate about their cars, but I think especially porsche owners!! If a man know as much about me as he does about the car and how to handle and care for it, pampered even, I’d be one happy girl.

        9. vino

          Oh GWG, you do tease…

          I bet you like waxing too.

          Cars, that is….

        10. girl-with-glasses

          *cough* cough*. sorry. I probably did get an extra injection of testosterone in the womb or something, my mind tend to be more masculine, i.e. more systematic, more visual, and more principal oriented, and I think going around telling people they’re just wrong is funny.
          Anyways, yes I tend to be Porshe crazy, perfect fusion of art and tech and speed!!!

  26. 26
    bella

    This is in response to Karl R.’s post about a woman he was dating, who brought up the issue of kids after a couple of months. Once they realized they were on different pages, they broke up a few months later. (so he wrote).

    As a woman, this is what I thought when I read that: “Months!?”

    I could never see myself waiting that long to receive and react to such imperative information. Are the men here implying that in order to be a “cool” and “level-headed” dater, that’s what women should do?

    I’d name it, “He’s Just Not That Into Kids” and call it a day.

  27. 27
    JB

    @Bella…..as well know from Behrendt’s book, just because a guy doesn’t want to have kids with ONE woman doesn’t mean he wouldn’t be dying to have them with a different woman.

    So it should be properly titled:
    “He’s Just Not That Into YOU Having His Kids”
    or
    “He’s Just Not Into Having Kids With Y O U”

    But because men have no urgency he’ll have a great time “practicing” with whoever he wants ….LOL :-)

  28. 28
    Karl R

    JB said:
    “He’s Just Not Into Having Kids With YOU”

    If I was going to have kids with anyone, that lady would have been my first choice. Some of us aren’t interested in having kids PERIOD.

    Bella said
    “As a woman, this is what I thought when I read that: ‘Months!?’
    I could never see myself waiting that long to receive and react to such imperative information.”

    I can’t imagine knowing all the imperative information about a woman within the first couple months. During those 4 1/2 months we were constantly discovering important things about each other.

    More importantly, we were enjoyed each other’s company for its own sake. Despite the depression I went through after the breakup, I see that relationship as a positive experience in my life (and I believe my ex-girlfriend feels the same way).

    I get the impression that you would see a similar relationship as a waste of four months.

    JB said:
    “because men have no urgency he’ll have a great time ‘practicing’ with whoever he wants”

    I get the feeling that you’re trying to imply something derisive about me, but I’m completely missing the point you’re trying to make.

    You’re essentially correct. If I have sex with a woman, it’s because she means a lot to me, I really want to have sex with her, and she really wants to have sex with me. My only goal is for both of us to have a great time.

    Are you suggesting that it’s wrong for men (and women?) to have sex without having some agenda motivating them?

  29. 29
    JB

    @Karl R. I was just talking about men in general meaning that just because any man doesn’t want a certain woman to have his children doesn’t mean he doesn’t or won’t enjoy dating her or having and enjoying sex with her ie: “practicing” it wasn’t directed at any person or post on here. It’s just the way we men are. Like a lot of men, we can THINK we don’t want to have children then we meet a woman who we fall head over heels for and she DOES want them. We just might change our minds or al least re think the situation. And we can do that at any age.

  30. 30
    Jura

    This is so sad to read. I am currently in Sweden – ultimate post-marriage society, but even here dating sites have found a clear way to people’s profiles: “work: important/not important/don’t know”, “marriage: important/not important/don’t know”. Usually I would not even reply to guys who state that they consider marriage in general not important. When I (often) see the combination of work=important, marriage=not important, and “wants kids in the future”, I can’t stop thinking “moron”.

    The reason why it is sad to read is that I hoped that with time (mid-thirties and on) men also want a more settled life, warmth and understanding. That hope in some way helped me cope with an a long term relationship ending last year. It’s a surprise to find that in fact what is wanted is yet more *years* of “sterile” sex. Because it is all about fertility management, right? These unlimited in time fun dating practices are enabled by modern contraceptive technologies. Reading the OP’s letter makes you think of a vasectomy? Welcome to experiencing a micro moment of women’s life! We are expected to be sterile 24/7 with our boyfriends. OK, I’m old-fashioned, I’ll let other, more eager, women do it.

    I consider myself lucky, because I want a family, not babies per se. No man to love, no desire for babies. For a 30+ year old, it should not be difficult to see if a man is a mate material soon after meeting him. If it is, you need to pimp up your radar, woman!

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