Do I Need to Tell My Boyfriend I’m Freezing My Eggs If I’m Not Planning to Marry Him?

do-i-need-to-tell-my-boyfriend-im-freezing-my-eggs-if-im-not-planning-to-marry-him

I’m 36 and my boyfriend of 6 months is 26. We’re both intellectually inclined, somewhat quirky people and I look about 10 years younger than my age. We’re deeply in love and are quite compatible. The reason I’m writing is that I have decided to freeze my eggs and I don’t know whether or not I should tell him about it. On one hand, I think I should be forthcoming about such an important topic. On the other hand, I don’t believe that he has seriously considered the idea of marriage and fatherhood and I don’t expect he would at his age. I don’t want him to feel pressured by telling him about this decision.

Although I love him with all my heart I know that he’s unlikely to consider marriage until I’m over 40. I don’t want to lose him but at this point I’ve decided to continue to date him for the next 6 months and unless he wants to talk about getting engaged in the next 5 or 6 months I will move on. I feel very lucky to have found such a wonderful man and a wonderful love but I can’t wait around for 5 or 6 years until he’s ready to get married. For this reason I feel it is better to keep my egg freezing private but I also feel bad for not telling him. What should I do?

Megan

Imagine the gender role reversal on this one.

35-year-old man is dating a 25-year-old woman. Both are intellectual, quirky, young for their age, and quite compatible. There’s only one problem:

The man is ready to become a father soon. The woman is in a different phase of life – still figuring out her job, her friends, her boundaries, her goals. She may be an incredible wife and mother one day, but she’s not ready to settle down and start a family quite yet. Nor should she be.

What would be the responsible thing for this man to do?

That’s right: he’s got to end it, thereby freeing himself up to find the future mother of his children, and freeing her up to start dating a man who is on a similar timeframe.

And that’s EXACTLY what I did in July of 2006 when I was 35, my girlfriend was 25, and we had just celebrated 8 months together. I broke up with her on my 34th birthday because, even though I was very happy with her, it was wrong to string her along if I didn’t see a future between us.

Thanks for the reminder that such selfishness is not a gender-specific issue and that otherwise good people can make excuses for staying with partners they never intend on marrying.

To her credit, she cut me off cold-turkey after our break-up. To my credit, I’d learned what I was truly looking for in a partner (warm, happy, easygoing, silly, family-oriented, kind, selfless) and set out to find someone just like her – but older. I met my wife six months later. I might be the only man who intentionally broke up with a 25-year-old to date a 37-year-old, but, at that point, I knew what I was looking for – a woman who was more of a peer than a student.

Circling back to you, Megan, you’ve got two things you have to take care of, pronto.

    1. You must have an adult conversation with your boyfriend in which you make your dilemma crystal clear. Instead of assuming he doesn’t want to marry you and feeling like you’re pressuring him, how about you ASK him how he feels? You may be surprised what he says.
    2. On the other hand, I have a hunch that this is merely your excuse to get out of this relationship. You don’t see yourself marrying him, otherwise, your first question would have been directed towards him and not towards me. Which is fine. But don’t pretend otherwise.

If you tell him you want to get engaged in the next six months (a strategy I don’t recommend by the way, but that’s another email for another day), and he says yes, you may have a husband.

And if he says no, then you can gently and sweetly let him know it’s time for you both to move on – instead of justifying to yourself why you’re going to secretly freeze your eggs and let this man fall deeper in love with you over the next six months.

Thanks for the reminder that such selfishness is not a gender-specific issue and that otherwise good people can make excuses for staying with partners they never intend on marrying.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Tron Swanson

    Thanks for being so even-handed when it comes to gender matters, Evan. It’s a breath of fresh air.

    Also, while reading another of your pieces, I stumbled across a link to Moxie’s site. Thanks for that; it’s a very interesting place.

    1. 1.1
      KK

      Evan said, “Thanks for the reminder that such selfishness is not a gender-specific issue and that otherwise good people can make excuses for staying with partners they never intend on marrying”.

      Megan said, “I don’t want to lose him but at this point I’ve decided to continue to date him for the next 6 months and unless he wants to talk about getting engaged in the next 5 or 6 months I will move on”.

      Sounds to me like she would like to marry him, but realizes he might not be on the same page.

  2. 2
    K

    As someone who froze her eggs, you’ll be giving yourself injections (one round for me was twice a day and they left small marks/bruises), frequent visits for blood tests and ultrasounds, a procedure that requires general anesthesia, possibly bloated, moody, depressed, and stressed.  I was also spending lots of money, getting medicine shipments (some which required refrigeration).  Putting aside the specific issue, I’m not sure I’d want to be in a relationship with someone who is going hide this much about their life from me.  If a boyfriend did something like this, I’d feel he was dishonest.

  3. 3
    Stacy2

    The OP will not be able to hide the process of freezing her eggs as it involves injections, trips to the clinic and some downtime after the procedure. Though I suppose she could always tell him that its something else. Men are clueless about women’s health issues, especially men that age.

    It seems like the OP is really not seeing the forest through the trees here. In the grand scheme of things when such decisions are made, the costs, the toll it takes on her health, and the necessary reflection that needs to happen when you’re 36 and in this position (i am not judging i could be there in a couple of years myself) – should be much, much more important than whether or not to tell her b/f (who doesn’t sound serious anyway).

    Other questions need to be asked. Such as: how soon do I want to be a mother? Is this something I definitely want or just an option i want to keep open? Am I likely to meet a suitable guy by then? If not, why not freeze embryos instead (better outcomes)? Or, may be ditch the freezing altogether given lower benefits at this age already and move on going it alone? Etc. Forget the 26 yo boyfriend…

    1. 3.1
      ScottH

      Guys are clueless about freezing eggs?  I know that if you freeze them, the shells will crack and make a mess in your freezer.  And all without any injections or trips to the clinic.  But he might see them the next time he opens the fridge so be careful to camouflage them.  proof that this guy isn’t clueless…

      1. 3.1.1
        Katie

        Haha!

        And allspice is the spice you use when you can’t decide because it’s just all the spices right? XD

  4. 4
    Gigi

    I fail to see the compatibility with one person almost mid-life and the other just beginning theirs.

    1. 4.1
      Katie

      I felt the same way until I met my bf. He’s seven years younger than me, and I never would have met him on POF. I’m 30 and never would have considered a guy more than a year or 2 younger than me. But emotional maturity really is a thing that different guys find at different ages. I’ve been with him for a year and I’m one happy hamster 😀

  5. 5
    S.

    You make it seem so easy.  It’s not. I’m sure her boyfriend is wonderful.  And sure, she should dump him.  But tell him why. What if he is ready to step up? You never know. But we are all assuming he’s not ready because she said he was four years away from being ready and she knows him better than we do.

    Why isn’t it easy? Because she may not find the next wonderful guy so soon. Heck, she might use those eggs soon enough if she doesn’t and be busy with a whole other adventure.  I don’t mean to be negative, I truly don’t.  But the next great guy isn’t always just around the corner.  He may be days away or months or years away.  If she wants to take some more time with her boyfriend and see how things play out, what harm is six months? I simply think she should just be honest with him about the eggs and her desire for marriage and family–soon.  It would be such a shame if he were to find out her thoughts years later and say, “I would have married you.”  Now, that’s very, very unlikely.  But I think she should still be honest even if he’s not ready.  We’d all want to know if we were the boyfriend.  And if the relationship ends with this conversation, well, that tells where they are as a couple.  Just on two different pages.  It’s not an easy situation, even though what to do is relatively clear.

  6. 6
    Mrs Happy

    You are 36, and 6 months into a relationship. This is a reasonable time to discuss with your boyfriend the fact you want to have children in the next x years.  You’re not bombarding him on the first date.

    If you want to have lighthearted fun and aren’t set on having children, keep dating him.

    If you want children, make that a priority. Only date men who want children soon too. Have that conversation before 6 months. You have little time to spare.

  7. 7
    Stacy

    If I had a penny for everyone who says ‘I look at least 10 years younger than my age…’

     

    Sheesh

    1. 7.1
      Emily, the original

      Stacy

      If I had a penny for everyone who says ‘I look at least 10 years younger than my age…’

      I always roll my eyes when I read that. EVERYONE who writes in claims that, but it’s just not physically possible. How many people do you know who can honestly shave off 10 years?

      1. 7.1.1
        Katie

        I take soooo many vitamins. I look at least 20 yrs younger you oldies 😛

    2. 7.2
      Malika

      There is a huge difference between people who look after themselves and age well, and people who, for whatever reason, don’t. Especially once you enter your mid thirties IMO. I think that quite often when people say ‘i look at least ten years younger’, what they actually mean is that they look good. I sometimes get the compliment that i look younger than my age, yet when i look in the mirror i see a big difference between how i look now and how i looked in my late twenties, the age they claim i look like.

    3. 7.3
      Adrian

      Hi Stacy, Emily, and Malika

      Stacy and Emily,

      OM-freaking-G! I agree with your statement so much.

      I always wonder do any of these women ever consider that most people (at least I know I do) lie when a person asks, “how old do you think I am?”

      I can always feel the subtle pressure to not say an age that is too old (for them).

      Malika,

      I agree that taking good care of yourself is important, but I have to add that there is a difference between a person looking good/healthy… young, compared to others in their age group and a person looking like they could compete with a kid fresh out of high school (which is how most people under 25 naturally look).

      I am not disagreeing with you in the least, I am merely stating that I feel that when people say they look 10 years younger they are not speaking as you mentioned dealing with taking care of themselves but they are saying that if put side by side with a freshman in college, most people couldn’t tell the difference between the freshman and their self… which is hard to believe.

  8. 8
    Stacy2

    It is possible to look 10 years younger. I have a girlfriend who really does, and she is also tall and drop dead gorgeous. She’s dating a guy 7 years her junior and they’ve been together for a long time. Personally, I wouldn’t go as far as saying I look 10 years younger, but what I observed is that my girlfriends who are single look better than the ones married with kids.  Married ones are all putting on weight and just don’t seem to look after themselves. I was at a bbq party hosted by a married friend where there was a mix of singles from the city and marrieds from the suburbs. They were all the same age (all friends from school or colleges) but the two crowds honestly looked like they had a 10 years gap between them!!  So may be individually a person doesn’t look like themselves 10 years ago, but against a crowd of peers who gave up on themselves they definitely look much better and younger

    1. 8.1
      Emily, the original

      Stacy2,

      “So may be individually a person doesn’t look like themselves 10 years ago, but against a crowd of peers who gave up on themselves they definitely look much better and younger”

      The other side of that coin is the man who was average-looking in his 20s but in his late 30s or early 40s still has his hair and is in shape … suddenly he’s a hunkazoid!   🙂

      1. 8.1.1
        Malika

        It works for both genders. I find men of all ages attractive, but a man who hasn’t let go of himself at a later age, that is most certainly a plus! Our current society places an extraordinary value on youth, but people who don’t put too much stock on their calendar age and still know how to work it, definitely reap the benefits.

        1. Emily, the original

          Malika,

          A man who hasn’t let go of himself at a later age, that is most certainly a plus! … people who don’t put too much stock on their calendar age and still know how to work it, definitely reap the benefits.

          Agreed, an older man who has taken care of himself and has a bit of game could have his pick. Unless he wants a 25-year-old. Then he would be competing with much younger men.

    2. 8.2
      Malika

      You do have a point. Barring stressful periods in life when you don’t have the energy or emotional bandwidth, I really don’t get why people give up on looking after their looks once they have landed the girl/guy. It’s so important for your self image to take care of yourself. You don’t need to Barbiefy yourself, but how much effort is it to keep a healthy weight for you, wear clothes you like and to be able to look in the mirror and say ‘I like who i am looking at’? Not for your partner, but for yourself?

      1. 8.2.1
        GoWiththeFlow

        Stacy & Malika,

        The reason why suburban moms may “let themselves go” is because priorities change as demands on your time, energy, and money change.  Spending time and money on periodic doctor’s appointments so you can spend big bucks on latisse and professional strength skin care products falls off the priority list when your asthmatic baby needs a new nebulizer after their 4th drs. appointment in a month, and you have to figure out how to pay for the 3 year old’s preschool.  Then after being up all night with with a sick baby, even if you have the childcare, how do you go to a spin class when you are so tired you can barely speak a coherent sentence?

        There are only so many hours in a day and so much money in the checking account.  And the kicker is, the same thing happens to suburban dads, too.  Much less personal free time and additional demands on the finances affects husbands and fathers as much as is does wives and mothers.

        In my middle aged social circles, I’ve seen much more of a divide in personal upkeep between single and looking vs. married rather than male or female.  In general never married and divorced men and women who are looking spend more time on their looks than married people or singles who have dropped out of the dating world.  And among many of my women friends, as the kids get older, need them less, then leave home, they begin to spend more time and money on themselves;  going to a gym, getting their hair done, wearing more fashionable clothes, etc.

        Interestingly, one of the biggest things I get complimented on by men is my now long hair that is down to my the bottom of my shoulder blades.  It grew out because I didn’t have the time to go to the hairdresser every 6-8 weeks for a trim.  So in this one specific situation, spending less time on personal care led to me having a more attractive appearance 😉

        1. Emily, the original

          GoWiththeFlow,

          Interestingly, one of the biggest things I get complimented on by men is my now long hair that is down to my the bottom of my shoulder blades. 

          Long hair signals: I’m open for business.  🙂

        2. Stacy2

          Oh believe me i totally get why this is happening. Even with no health issues, 2 kids and a 2 hours commute will drain your energy. I just don’t think that these people (women, especially) are happy – i think working women are dealt the short end of the stick in this whole “american dream” scenario, which is why i personally refuse to participate in it – but that is a separate matter altogether.

        3. GoWiththeFlow

          Stacy2,

          That’s why it’s good to have choices!  Yes the social changes of the last 50-60 years have created new challenges for and friction between men and women.  But I wouldn’t want to go back to the everyone-must-marry-by-22-and-have-a-baby-9-months-later norm for all the tea in China.  Your life path isn’t pre-determined for you.  You can make it what you want it to be.

          Emily,

          “Long hair signals:  I’m open for business.”

          LOL!  I like it!

  9. 9
    Adrian

    Hi GoWithTheFLow (^_^)

    Funny, I was just reading about a few man complaining about the same thing; women with children being out of shape, less attractive, etc.

    As you know, since I started grad-school I’m on the campus a lot so I get to see many of the “prized” 20 year old’s that many of the older men drool over.

    The thing is I utilize the gym on campus so I see many women who are well into their late 30’s through 50’s that if I did not witness them dropping off their children to swim class you would think they never had any.

    I have seen women who are in their 40’s and 50’s that put many of the 20 year old to shame when it comes to physical beauty. Whereas the 20 year old has the natural soft skin and slim body, the older women know how to dress, apply makeup, do their hair, goes to the gym, etc.

    I think it just depends on what type of people you are constantly exposed to. Even the older women who are clearly over-weight dress in clothing that minimizes their extra weight while maximizing their attractive features, plus they know how to apply makeup and do their hair.

    I think too many people forget that your face is literally only one piece of all it takes to be considered attractive/beautiful, etc.

  10. 10
    Amy

    I think calling the OP selfish is harsh and inaccurate. “Reversing the roles” between genders is ridiculous! A 36 year old man, or for that matter a 56 year old man, still has many opportunities to have children. Women’s options are limited, not just biologically but because older men generally prefer younger women. And I say generally to ward off anyone arguing that it’s not always the case.

    Evan, much of what you say makes sense. I’ve been a follower of yours for years. Then you’ll say something so … utterly off … that I wonder if I should be following.

    1. 10.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      I’m “on” when you agree with me and “off” when you disagree with me. Your starting assumption is that you’re right and that those who disagree are wrong. Alas, that’s not true

      1. 10.1.1
        Helena

        Amy is suggesting that she feels uncomfortable with your response, that “something” is off, that being, the very difficult fact that women have a much more limited time to have children is not recognised in your response. It is completely natural, fair and accurate of her to raise this point and she does so in a respectful way, explaining her feelings and offering complements rather than insults. Your response, rather than address her point, is simply to put her down in a personal manner. Not her point of view, her. I find that incredibly concerning. She was not arguing with you or personally criticising you, just expressing her concerns. There is no need to put someone down in the way you have and perhaps it would be sensible to step back and consider the consequences of doing so. Your words are concerningly close to online bullying. Please be less confrontational and less personally critical, it is not attractive or thoughtful behaviour.

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          Thank you for your constructive criticism, Helena. It was thought-provoking and insightful. Have yourself a great day.

  11. 11
    Lisa

    It is odd to me that if your relationship is so great, you have not had the important discussions with him.  You say he is not going to want to get married until you are 40 (so five years) but did he tell you that?    What about kids, do you know if he wants to have kids?  Don’t you think that is something that should have been discussed by now?    He may step up and tell you something totally different than you expect him to?  I think the reality is that the writer does not see herself with this man in the long term and this is just a way for her to have an out, and that’s okay just be honest with him.  A ten year age gap can see quite large and I think she is actually insecure about it.  There was no need for  her to say she looks ten years  younger, I am not sure really how that is relevant to the letter except that she feels insecure about dating a younger man.    And as others have said it would be very difficult to hide the egg freezing from him unless you only see each other once a week.  One of the bigger problems is that if you use birth control you will need to stop. I do not know if you are exclusive and do not use condoms but if that is the case and all of the sudden you ask him to start using condoms, that will be a huge red flag.

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