Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Time keeps on ticking,…..into the future.

Dear Chuck,

All this talk of babies and engagement rings has got me thinking about my personal situation. I’ve just nudged closer to 40 than 30 and while I have a great career, lifestyle and friends, I’m pretty confident that I’d ultimately like to marry and have a family. I have a wonderful partner and we’ve never really talked about these thoughts I’m now having, but I get the distinct impression that he may not share these desires.

Any ideas on how I should tackle this situation?


Dear Randee,

Chuck seriously considered emailing you Mrs Long’s mobile telephone number so you could call her and ask her how her life is going right now with a newborn child and about 6 weeks out from a highly successful career. That conversation would likely be enough to quell any desires you may have to settle down and have kids. Probably the only saving grace for Mrs Long is the fact that she’s married to Chuck (ok, at the moment that’s not really a saving grace).

In all seriousness though, we’re in a society where ladies are having children later and later and working on their careers as an absolute priority. The upside to this is that you tend to see less kids drinking Coke out of a baby bottle (as a result of older and wiser mothers) and more women in higher-ranking positions in the workforce. The down side is that from time to time you’ll find a lady with a flicker of fear in her eye that perhaps her ship has sailed when it comes to forming her own nuclear family.

Don’t get Chuck wrong, blokes have these fears too although the advantage men have is that they can still fire a fertile bullet well into their 70’s (assuming they can get the barrel of the gun to work). Chuck regularly has anxiety dreams where he is left alone and without a child. In those few seconds after Chuck awakes and attempts to get his bearings, there is a definite worry that life would be terrible being solo. These concerns are quickly allayed by thoughts of all the suits and shirts that Chuck could blow his money on without the burden of supporting a family.

That last sentence was a joke by the way.

Marriage, family and children aren’t for everyone and there isn’t anything wrong with that, but when the urge strikes it can be particularly powerful and if you’re on the downward slope to 40, there is a definite acknowledgement that your chances may be thinning out and that you need to get your act on.

Obviously the biggest problem is that you’ve never really broached the subject with your partner. Chuck would strongly suggest that you get on that post haste. The approach that Chuck would least recommend is having a romantic dinner, getting boozy and then starting to talk about marriage and families. Your man will ignore the marriage part; focus on the kids and immediately see this as his angle to have sex with you.

You need to have this conversation in a serious and sobering setting so that A) you have his full attention, B) he knows you’re serious; C) he doesn’t get the impression that he has a chance for sex. You mentioned that you don’t think he shares your desires, but if you don’t have a frank conversation about it then you’ll never know. He may be in fact desperate to marry and impregnate you but thinks you’re a content cougar who isn’t interested.

If your partner is only a young tacker, you may have a problem in that he isn’t as ready as you are to travel down this route. You can’t blame the bloke in this instance and you don’t want to coerce him into anything he isn’t mentally ready for. This is a tough one because while you wait for him to mature like a good wine, your window of opportunity may be closing.

So the serious conversation is the way to get the ball rolling. Lay your cards on the table. Chuck wouldn’t suggest ultimatums – marry me now and knock me up will rattle even the most mature bloke. But you definitely need to state your case and reiterate that these are things you want to do with him. It’s important that you don’t expect a response then and there though. This is pretty serious stuff and if you’ve never discussed it before it may be a bit of a knock to his jaw. Let him absorb your information and give him some time to think about it (if you don’t see him for the next 6 weeks, Chucks prepared to suggest that he didn’t take it the way you might have hoped).

Most normal guys will process this information and let you know where they stand. Obviously your hope is that he agrees and you’re off and running. But what happens if he says that that’s not where he wants to go?

You’re fucked!

Well your plans to have a family and kids with this dude are fucked, Chuck’s afraid to say. This is the tough part. At that point you need to determine if you are prepared to stick with this guy as a couple with no children or cut the cord and go hunting for another option. The problem with staying with him as a childless couple is that you may harbour some resentment towards him, which may chip away at the relationship. Another MAJOR problem is that some childless couples end up a bit weird – doing things like dressing their pets. Are you prepared to risk that?

The other fear people have in this situation is finding another person. You’re heading towards forty and you have these desires, can you find the right person and in time? In reality, yes you probably can but it’s a daunting thought cutting someone loose and looking for fresh meat.

Look, in all likelihood you’ll have the conversation with your man and he’ll be keen to oblige (unless he has been previously married 3 times and has 4 kids scattered around the traps – although if this is the case then you probably should have seen it coming). If all else fails, stop taking the pill and trick him into it!

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