DEAR AMY: I am a 38-year-old woman, living with my partner of three years. When we first got together, I told him that I really wanted to have a child, and he said he was on board. For about eight months we were trying to conceive, but then he lost his job, and he didn’t feel comfortable trying until he was back on his feet.
He is now working, and we have worked through some challenges. This past week, he told me that he does not want to have kids. He says that he doesn’t want to spend his money and time on this. He knows it’s important to me, and he felt guilty about not saying something sooner.
I am devastated. Should I give up my dream to be with someone who is admittedly selfish?
On the other hand, I am 38, and even if I did break up with him, I might not find somebody new in time to have children.
I don’t think he is ever going to marry me. I want that true commitment and vow. He says it’s just a piece of paper. I feel I’m losing out on all of those big moments but can’t bear the thought of losing him, and he says he wants to stay together.
Amy, am I stupid to stay with this man? What is more important — the little things or the big things? — Wondering
DEAR WONDERING: Let me crack the code of what’s important. The big things are more important than the little things. The trick is deciding what is “big.” For you, these things are: children and marriage.
Your guy seems more in tune with your big things than you are. He knows how important having a child is to you. He knows how important money is to him.
He believes these two things are mutually exclusive. (They are not.)
If you choose to be with him, your life will be all about his priorities. This will not work out for you. Furthermore, your attitude that you might stick with him because there might not be somebody out there who could father your child isn’t fair to him.
You can be a mom without being in this (or any) relationship. If this is your lifelong dream, then you should pursue it. After that, all the big and little things will fall into place.
DEAR AMY: I’ve been dating someone for nine months. In the beginning, our relationship was great and we spent a lot of our time together.
As our relationship has progressed, we’re spending more time with our friends, but all of a sudden, my boyfriend now sees his one friend four or five times a week and me even less than that.
Sometimes my boyfriend will invite me to hang out with him and his friend, but he acts as if I’m not there, and now I feel like a third-wheel in their relationship.
Things that we used to do together he now does with his other friend. He doesn’t understand why it’s hurting me.
What should I do? — Lonely
DEAR LONELY: Your guy is making his preferences quite obvious. Pay attention. For whatever reason, this other friendship has become his primary relationship. There is no need for you to educate him about your feelings. You need only to understand that he is communicating to you through his actions. He’s just not that into you.
DEAR AMY: I am incensed by your response to “Tired Mom,” whose daughter and son occasionally showered together. You wrote that the father’s instincts should be respected and that “after all, he is the only person in the room who used to be a little boy.”
Did I miss something? Doesn’t the mother have “instincts” and deserve respect? And isn’t the mother the only person in the room who used to be a little girl?
Why defer to the man? — Incensed
DEAR INCENSED: This co-bathing did not bother the mother to the extent that she felt strongly about it. It did bother the father. There are times in a family when it is important to defer to the person most bothered by something — to respect that person’s instincts and insight. This was one of those times.