Q: I've been in a serious and committed relationship with a wonderful man for seven months. We're in love and I can't imagine a better relationship. I've had serious relationships before, and it finally seems like I have truly found the man I want to marry. I think he feels the same way too. I'm so happy right now with our relationship and our life together.
There's just one problem: I want children and he's very uncertain when it comes to the topic. While he says he's not necessarily against the idea of having children, he is constantly going back and forth about wanting them. He's 36 and many of his friends have children, and I guess I thought by now he would have a better idea of what he wants when it comes to having kids. The few times we've talked about it (I'm always the one to bring it up), he seems to hedge and I don't get the sense that he's very enthusiastic about the prospect of having children. This concerns me, as I'm in my early 30s and have a very strong urge to settle down and start having kids in the next few years. I'm afraid that he might never make up his mind about wanting kids. Part of me believes that he might agree to have them in order to stay together, but I don't know if that's fair or ideal.
I don't know how to handle this situation. On one hand, I can't imagine my life without him, and part of me thinks I should just risk it, stay with him, and hope he eventually comes around. On the other hand, I'm slightly terrified of getting deeper and deeper into a relationship with someone who might have different views when it comes to something that's a deal-breaker for me, especially at a time when I really want to settle down. For this reason, I sometimes think that I should end it with him and find someone who is sure about wanting kids.
Is it too soon to be thinking this seriously about the kid issue, especially with everything else being nearly perfect right now? I don't want to lose him, but I also don't want to potentially waste time and risk greater heartbreak for both of us down the line. I know this is an issue that ruins even the best relationships, and my biological clock is ticking very loudly, so I want to make sure I'm protecting myself and making the right decisions. Please help me!
– Torn, Boston
A: If you want to be with a guy who's thrilled about the idea of having kids, you're with the wrong person. If you need to have kids within the next year, you should walk away. That's the simple answer.
But if you're open to giving this just a little more time and being with someone who's unsure about what comes next (and I get the sense that you are), please be patient for another month or two. This is a new conversation. Frankly, you're still trying to figure out whether you love each other enough to commit for life. I'm not sure that anyone has all of the answers at seven months.
I know that this is vague advice, but you need to do some more talking. At 36, he's seen the reality of kids. He's watched his friends become parents. He's observed the best and the worst of it. He's giving all of this some serious thought, which is a good thing.
Just make sure that you're asking the right questions. If you stay together, where would you both want to live? What has he learned from his friends? What appeals to him about parenting? What doesn't? And after seven months, how does he feel about the idea of committing to you?
You don't have enough answers to make a confident decision about anything right now. If you walk away today, you'll always wonder about the lost potential. Let the discussion continue.
Readers? If she knows she wants kids, should she bail? Will he come around? At 36, should he know what he wants? Should they be talking about this at seven months? Help.
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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.