A 40-year-old woman has been involved for five years with a man who doesn’t think he wants a child. They broke up a few years ago because she wanted a child, and he said he’d go along with it. But she now realizes that’s probably not going to happen. She is in the common Thinker’s space of choosing between partner or child.
She asked, “Is it really worth me trying to get the man I love to go the next step, have a child together that he really doesn’t want to have, or move on and have a child on my own?” Several women who have been in similar situations responded…
Said one woman: “I’ll share my story in hope that it might help you. I’m 41 and have been in the ‘trying’ phase for 7 months. I had a long-term relationship that stagnated for years. I was too complacent and frankly, too lazy, to move on and figured it was better than being alone at that time. (I’ve never liked dating.) Looking back, the relationship was enough of a distraction that it kept me from doing some really hard thinking and making some hard decisions in my mid-30s when it would have been much easier for me to conceive.
After 6 IUIs (nearly $10K), I’m trying to decide whether to move on to a $25K IVF. All of my test results have been great. To be really direct, age is not on our side. We have less than a 50% chance of success even with IVF.
Maybe the most revealing thing you could do is to ask yourself if you would still want to be with this man when you’re 46 if you don’t have the child you dreamed of. Would you be happier with a 5-year old son or daughter without him, or would you be happier with no biological child, but with him in your life? If you stay together and you try on your own for a year but never conceive, will you resent him for the time he spent stalling, and could you forgive him enough to live a happy life with him?
I know how hard this is and I wish the best for you. I find that having a group like this really helps. Keep us posted on your decisions.”
Said another woman: “Set the boundaries and be as clear as possible. I’m in a relationship now and that is what I had to do. I’ll start in Sept this year. I basically had to say to her ‘this is what I want and you are either on board or not.’ Although I love my partner very much, a live-in relationship is definitely something I would give up if we’re not on the same page. If i don’t see it, like a light switch, I’ll turn the relationship off. It’s just that simple for me. Good luck.”
Another woman: “I am really happy to see so many ladies chiming in on this thread. A few weeks ago, I felt like I was the only woman in the world going through this. I had a tremendously isolated feeling. I’ve been in a relationship for 3 years now and I’ve always made it clear my desire to have children. My partner says okay but not right now. The trouble is I did go to an RE and I have diminished ovarian reserve, so even at 33 I was told that I simply cannot wait. I was ready to walk away and I am getting prepared for my first IUI in 3 weeks, but after some discussions with my partner, together and with the help of a counselor at the clinic, we might try to make it work. He is okay with co-parenting with me even if the baby is not his biologically (we are still working out the specifics). The fact that he has been so far willing to come with me to these conversations and be involved in the process makes me feel like he is in this for the long run and I’ve come to respect his decision about not wanting to be a father again right now.”
Moderator Lily added, in response to a different woman’s story of a relationship partner who has offered to co-parent with her but does not want to be a father: “How much do you want someone around your child who doesn’t want to create a strong bond with you? If you have a baby, your relationship will be altered no matter what, as you will have another primary responsibility and concern. While children don’t take the place of companionship, they certainly fill the time that companionship will fill.”
What do you think? Have you faced the “partner or child” question? How did you decide?