I’m 33 and in a 2-year relationship with a guy who is stable, kind, dependable and attractive. He’s much less educated than I am but that doesn’t bother me in the least as he’s a hard worker with his own personal goals in life. He and I argue frequently about social issues (he’s insensitive and I’m sensitive, he’s conservative, I’m liberal). I respect his views are different than mine and he does the same, but we never seem to be on the same page.
I think I might want children someday and, given I’ll be 34 in a few months, it seems I have a choice to either go all in and make things work with this great guy (who may not be that great for me but would be an amazing father) jump ship, knowing it might mean never having children, or meeting a man who I “click” with but who lacks my current partner’s many admirable qualities.
it’s just not a soul-satisfying love
I do love this man I’m with, by the way, it’s just not a soul-satisfying love and I’m not sure it ever could be due to the fact we don’t see the world the same way, leading to a lack of that feeling of “connection”. (We are aligned on money, family, religion and life goals – we never argue about these things). What is your advice for women my age who feel the pressure to choose between love and the chance to have children? It’s a taboo subject, I know, but I think it’s a real dilemma that women have faced throughout time and I feel the same pressure now. It would be nice if we could address it openly.
I’m not going to touch the politics of your question. I’ve done it before, but the truth is, your question isn’t really about politics. It’s about compatibility and the definition of settling.
It’s not my place to tell you if you’re settling, only to hold up a mirror so you can see yourself more clearly. So, Jan, what would you say to a friend who told you this about her boyfriend?
- He’s insensitive.
- He may not be that great for me.
- I don’t “click” with him.
- It’s not a soul-satisfying love and I’m not sure it ever could be.
- We lack a feeling of “connection.”
You don’t need to be a dating coach to point out that perhaps this isn’t the best foundation upon which to build a marriage. That doesn’t negate that he’s a decent person and has the potential to be a good husband and father. That only acknowledges that, in this scenario, the only question that matters is whether he has the potential to be a good husband and father for YOUR family.
“Connection” is hard to measure, but it’s a real thing that matters a LOT
“Connection” is hard to measure, but it’s a real thing that matters a LOT. Your connection is what will sustain you through financial hardship, bring you joy when you’re tired with a toddler, and buoy you when your sex life starts to dwindle. Connection, to me, is different than chemistry; it’s less about a dizzying passion and more having a partner who feels like home. Despite different backgrounds and interests, my wife and I have that connection, and I would hesitate to recommend that anyone marry without it.
The fact that you’re 34 and want kids may be what drove you to ask this question, but it’s a smokescreen for the fact that you’re in a two-year relationship with someone who doesn’t fully make you happy. In other words, take away the fact that you’re 34 and want kids and you would know exactly what to do in this situation.
So, unless you want to be another statistic — either part of the 35-40% of those who get divorced or part of the 2/3rds of unhappily married couples — I feel it would be a mistake to march down a path that doesn’t feel good. Life is a really long time. Better to find your true love at 38 and figure out how to create a family together than to dive into a marriage that already feels wrong. Best of luck to you. You’re brave for asking the question and braver for taking the action that brings you the most long-term joy.