Dear Carolyn: My husband and I have been together 10 years and married for three. We have had a lot of conversations about our relationship and future family aspirations. About 18 months ago, I indicated I was ready to start a family. He was hesitant and suggested we were not in the right place (we both hated our jobs), but should work out a plan to move in that direction. So we did. At the beginning of 2016 we both got new jobs and purchased a house that would allow us to grow as a family.
In June, we decided we would “remove the barriers” to start a family after my August vacation.
Once the vacation was over, he expressed doubt that he could give me what I wanted when it came to kids, said the idea of kids scares him, and was worried we had not struggled enough as a couple. When I asked what he meant by that, he said he could not explain it. It was a heart-wrenching conversation and we left it that we would discuss again at the end of October after he could think about it more.
During this time, he expressed desire for a second puppy, which we brought home in October (a mutual decision we had talked about previously).
Now he says we need to wait to discuss kids until the new puppy is at least 6 months old.
I am getting really frustrated with his continual pushing off of this decision. It is starting to feel like the timing will never be right, that he is leading me on and isn’t taking my feelings into account, particularly given that his two-to-three month timelines add up and I am not getting any younger. I have been completely open and honest with him and given him the time he requested. I just want an answer but don’t know how to ask for one without getting overly emotional.
If you get overly emotional, so be it; it’s not ideal, but it’s better than mutely accepting his (I agree) very clear if inadvertent process of dragging out this choice to oblivion.
Just pick a good time when your attentions aren’t divided, summon all the reserves of calm you have, and say it: “I am very frustrated by this series of postponements. First it’s the job, then the vacation, now the dog. One is a fine idea, two are a concern, three are you not telling me something – or not facing up to something yourself.
“Is that fair?
“I’d like either to start trying now to start a family, or to hear you say definitively that you’ve changed your mind on kids. That way I can start to make up my mind on what I will need to do next.”
Whether to have children (and when) is a huge decision, yes, and an even larger commitment, which means some flexibility is necessary toward a partner who has some serious thinking to do. But this latest extension you’ve granted him puts you at two full years of thinking and stalling, and you’re apparently not 24; you have unquestioned standing to say, “Enough.” I hope he opts for your side of the fence.
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