Happy Passover. Forgot to mention it yesterday.
Q: Hi Meredith,
I'm a 46-year-old man. I split up with my wife three-and-a-half years ago. My wife did not want to have children, which I am glad about for the most part, as it would have made divorce much more difficult. About six months after my marital split, I started going out with a woman who was also going through a divorce. Hers was very difficult and stressful, mine was not. She had two kids who are now 10 and 14. We went out for about two-and-a-half years. I grew to really like her kids and dreamed of becoming a family with the three of them.
As the woman was nearing an actual divorce at the end of two-and-a-half years, she pulled away and seemed to get scared of the reality that she and I could actually be together. I was hurt and now miss her and her kids terribly. That was about four months ago.
I really like the idea of children now that I've had the experience of being around them. I've started to date again and think about this a lot. It seems like this is the last best chance in my life to have a family. The problem is that it is difficult to date women young enough to still have children. The perfect age would seem like 33 to 37, where we could have a couple of years to get tight and form a solid relationship, then have kids in a slightly unhurried way. Most of the women who respond to me or have interest in me on the online dating sites are in their 40s and it is not as realistic for them to have children. And if so, they are going to be in a big hurry.
There aren't a lot of other places that I meet women. Should I hold out for the dream of a slightly younger woman and a family or give it up and come to the realization that I have to settle for a relationship without the possibility of a family? I know there is always adoption or foster parenting, but it is not the same. I personally don't feel too old to have children. I know it seems to bother women if a guy doesn't want to date women their own age but I find myself much less interested about women my own age and in their 40s because they either already have kids and are all damaged or they have given up the idea of kids or are in a big hurry and it seems stressful. Your thoughts?
– Wanting Kids, Metrowest
A: My thoughts, WK? My thoughts are that it's not fair that 46-year-old women can't look for a 35-year-old guys to impregnate, and that by the end of the day, I'm probably going to have an inbox full of notes from women you want your e-mail address. So it goes.
Despite my first paragraph of "it’s not fair" whining, I don't think that you're a bad person for wanting to date younger women who can still have children. You would have had kids years ago had your wife been into the idea. You were open to raising your ex's children but it didn't work out. I'd be red-flagging you if you were opposed to dating women your own age for more superficial reasons, but no flags are necessary here. At 46, you're in the mindset of a 38-year-old woman who just decided she wants kids with a partner she really loves.
(Although, please don't describe these forty-something women as "all damaged." They might say the same of a guy who's 46 and just coming to terms with what he wants when he grows up. Just sayin'.)
My advice is to put this out there online and to be clear about it. It's not creepy to say, "I'm looking for a partner who will love me and make a baby with me." (Maybe don't say "make a baby." That does sound creepy.) Yes, you're going to get contacted by forty-something women who are in a rush, but guess what – you're in a rush, too. My guess is that you'll also hear from a pack of 37-year-olds who are writing me letters about the fact that no one their age wants to start a family from scratch. You should also attempt some real-world meet-ups. Social clubs. Athletic groups. Sometimes people shy away from 46 on paper. In person, age tends to matter less.
I know it's not your first choice, but you should also open your mind to some of the women your age who want to adopt. You wanted to raise your ex's kids as if they were your own. You of all people should know that while raising a child you didn't conceive "isn’t the same," it's still family – and pretty amazing.
Readers? Is it fair that he wants a younger woman for procreation purposes? Should he be more open to adoption? Should a 32-year-old woman be open to dating a 46-year-old? What's going on here? Discuss.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.