Q. My boyfriend and I (we’re both about 40) have been together for close to a year. He moved in over the summer and things have been going well.
He is paying off some credit card debt and has saved to buy me a ring. We also plan to buy a house (hopefully) next spring. I want all of these things but have been getting overwhelmed at the thoughts of them happening around the same time.
We have also talked about having children (probably just one at this point) and realize that we don’t have a lot of time to waste in that area. He recently said that he isn’t sure he wants to have kids, where in the past I have heard him say that he thinks it would be a shame if we weren’t parents. I will most likely be at least 41 before we start trying to conceive. I mentioned buying a house, having a child, then getting married (in that order) but he is old-fashioned and wants to be married first.
Am I being realistic in thinking that all of this can happen within a couple years?
TOO MUCH ALL AT ONCE, MEDFORD
A. I know many people who’ve bought a house, thrown a wedding, and had a kid within a few years. It often happens that way, even for people in their 20s and 30s. The only difference is that they’ve usually had more time to get to know each other before all of the big life changes. You guys haven’t had your first anniversary yet. It is a lot at once.
But that’s not my issue with your letter. My problem with it is the kid thing. You can’t move ahead with any of this until you have a real grown-up talk about whether kids are on the table. He said he wanted them . . . but now he might not. Are you OK with that? And are you OK with how you found out? It seems to me that if he’s going to change his mind about something big, you deserve to be a part of the discussion. No more planning a wedding until you’ve made some decisions about your marriage.
You also need to go to a doctor and find out what’s possible for pregnancy. Arm yourself with knowledge about your body so that you know what you’re dealing with.
I think you’ll find that consecutive life changes aren’t so scary if you’re really on board with the plan. Get some answers about the kid thing so you can move forward with confidence.
You always cut off more than you can chew. It’s called life.
The issue isn’t too much at once. The issue is the one thing . . . having a baby. Suggesting you do baby before marriage indicates that you aren’t listening/probing his reluctance to have a baby.
I think the first question you need to answer is: “Will I still want to be with him if he doesn’t want kids?”
Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters. Meredith Goldstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.