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dating coach for smart, strong, successful women Evan Marc Katz
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.