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I’m 44 years old, have never been married and don’t have kids. Frequently on a first date or even at a mixer, I get the question from men about if I want kids or not. I think this is a loaded question.

Honestly, I’m not opposed to having children! I’m unsure, given my age, that this will happen naturally, but am open to adoption or if he has kids. How do I answer this question? It seems really early to be even talking about the subject. Right now I’m looking at finding the right connection that will lead to marriage and once that connection is made…we would make these kinds of decisions together. So it’s hard to say a set answer to a guy who asks this so early on. Help! Melissa

Dear Melissa,

You’ve already answered your own question. But that would be a very short blog post, so keep reading.

You can’t control what men want to know, and you can’t blame them for wanting to know it.

While it may be tacky for a man to lead with such heavy artillery upfront, you can’t control what they want to know, and you can’t blame them for wanting to know it. All you can do is figure out how to best handle the potential awkwardness. From my perspective, you can do it in one of two ways:

First, you can flip the entire thing around on him, with a smile:

‘That’s an interesting question, Brad. Before I get into my view on children, I’d love to hear your view. Do you have kids? Want kids? Open to adoption? I’m really quite curious.”

From here, you will actually learn what he wants.

If he says he wants his own biological children, you’re probably not a great match because he’d have to rush to commit to you, marry you, impregnate you within 2 years, and most men who want families don’t see that as an ideal course of action.

If he says he has a son but is open to having more kids, then you can be properly aligned.

You’re not pressuring him… You’re just trying to make a connection, which makes you as desirable as can be.

If he says he’s already had kids and doesn’t want anymore, you’ll have to ask yourself how important children are to your happiness. But like any negotiation, it’s always smart to have the other person make the first offer. Find out where he stands and you can offer your opinion without fear of recrimination. And even if you put that suggestion aside, even if you never turn the tables to ask a man his take on children, you’re still in the clear. You know why?

You’re not forcing your vision on him. You’re not pressuring him. You’re not demanding about how your future family is supposed to look. You’re just trying to make a connection, which makes you as desirable as can be.

The truth is: the answer you gave in your email is the best one you could possibly give. With the right guy, you’re open to any possibility, which leaves every man feeling good about dating you.