Dear Darling D,
I’m a single mom of two kids – one is a young adult and one is a full-on tween (fun times). I had my first when I was really young, and I’m approaching 40 now. I’m newly dating a wonderful guy. He’s five years my junior, which doesn’t bother me. The issue is that I want to be done having kids soon. And I only want to have another baby if I find “the one.” I know my new guy wants kids, but I don’t know if he’s “the one”…and I know he doesn’t know if I’m “the one” either. What do I do here?
Tina, The Clock is Ticking
Power to you for playing and (I’m sure) slaying the single mom job! And congrats on finding a wonderful guy. You’ve stumped me a bit here, I must say! This situation is tricky and I understand why you are wondering the best way to go about this situation.
The first thought that comes to mind is that this is definitely a question no one can answer but you. And there isn’t a right or wrong way to handle it – it just has to be aligned to what you want. And that’s the biggest question I want to ask you! In order for you to figure that out, I thought of a few questions for you to ask yourself as you think through this current situation.
- Why is the age of 40 your baby-cutoff? There is no right or wrong answer to the question. But by making sure you have the cutoff-age for a very distinct purpose you still believe in is important to know. If you contemplate it and realize the reason no longer applies, or you feel differently now than when you gave yourself that cutoff, it could change your situation. If you’re still passionately committed to no kids after the age of 40, then it can make your decision of not continuing to date men who want their own kids easier. If you decide you’re more flexible with the age limit, then it can relieve some pressure of not having to know if he’s ‘the one’ or start humping for reproduction as fast.
- What if he is ‘the one,’ but you don’t know it for a bit longer? Are you willing to risk finding your person, who does want biological children, if it means you are a little beyond the age of 40? Are you willing to lose your potential partner by not giving the relationship enough time to develop because of your no-kids-passed-40 principal? Again, NO WRONG ANSWERS – but it’s important for you to know your own answers, aka your own boundaries, so they can be your guideposts as you navigate the situation.
- What if he’s not the one, and you date him a bit longer before you realize that? Let’s say you stick out this new relationship to figure out if he’s the one you want to be with. You figure out he’s not, but at that point you reach your kid-cutoff limit and that means anyone you seriously date in the future can’t want more children with you because it will no longer be an option for you. Will you feel like you’ve missed out on other potential partners, or wasted time?
The decision to have children (or more children) is one of the most personal decisions a person can make. Choosing a long-term partner is also up there on that list. You’re asking about two very weight-y things, and I understand your desire for other perspectives. Take in the perspectives you ask for, and spend time really thinking about you. Take time to think about your answers to the above questions. Be honest with yourself…and then be honest with him. Neither of which may be easy, but I know they will be worth it, whatever you decide. And as you figure it out and determine what you want to do, be present and enjoy the wonderfulness he brings you. He is a gift to you in this moment, so enjoy it!
And, please follow up with your decision. I support you either way!