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Biologocal Clock Stopped?

Tina wrote:

I've been in a relationship for 3 years with a loving, caring and pretty much perfect man. We've talked about our future together in terms of marriage, a house, dogs, travel, etc. And babies. He doesn't go on and on about them (he is a man, after all) but when asked if he wants children 'one day' he says yes. In fact, when I asked him recently what one of his life goals is, he replied: To be a good father.

Most, or many, women in my situation (I'm 31 years old, as is my partner) would be thrilled to hear their boyfriend or husband talk in those terms. Most women seek out partners who want children and who seem like they would make good fathers. My partner has both of those attributes. So what's the problem, you ask?

I hate babies. Like really dislike them. When I'm walking down the street with a friend and we see a baby, she inevitably coos and smiles yet if you pan over to me my top lip is curling in disgust. They repulse me. I don't do well with body fluids and drool and vomit and crap. I don't do well with creatures being dependent on me (I once had a dog for 18 hours and brought it back in a panic because I couldn't deal with the commitment). I hate loud noises and screaming babies make me want to rip out my own eardrums. I like peace and quiet and order and sleeping until noon.

I love my partner and want to make him happy in every way possible, as he does for me. But I don't know if I will ever want to have children. I've heard that everything changes when you have your own baby and that you fall instantly in love with it. But what if that doesn't happen? What if I am repulsed by my own child and can't deal with it or bond with it until it's at a reasonable age and can talk and walk and do the laundry?

My partner has said that he would be able to deal with it if I didn't ever want to have kids, but in the next breath he says that I will want them one day, so I don't think he really believes or understands me when I say I don't want them - ever. I think this could be a major issue in a few years when his biological clock starts ticking, (if men even have biological clocks).

Should I be selfless and leave the relationship so he can go find a happy homemaker who'll give him 2.5 kids? Or should I wait it out and hope that I do change my tune in a few years? Or should I just bite the bullet, have a kid and hope and pray that I'll love it?

Dear Tina

I do believe you when you say that you don't want kids; your certainty is not in doubt. At the same time, the biologiccal clock is a powerful thing, and evn you accept that you might - might - change your mind.

Men do have biological clocks; but they're purely emotional, not hormone-based. Which means that he too might change - but even less likely than you; indeed, his beliefs may be fueled by your unchanging.

So you could be in for a bleak future. Who knows?

All you can do, as an intelligent person, is make your best guess, and act accordingly. And be honest about it.

Your intentions are clear; you believe that he will be accepting you under self-delusional false pretences, and you don't want that.

You have to be true to yourself; you cannot enter a long-term realationship with an axe swinging above your head, wondering when he'll notice it.

I'd suggest that if you really care for him, that you try again to settle the matter; making your future intentions clear - maybe even couples counselling. But I'd hesitate to knowingly walk into a situation that is, at best, a very big gamble.

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