Relationship Advice

Reflection

professional woman

I have been dating a man for seven months. We have known each other for years and were just friends who saw each other from time to time. Lately he has been distant towards me.

He divorced his wife because she was unfaithful. One of the things he always wanted was children. Though he was married for 10 years, he had none. I have two older children and can't have any more, nor am I willing to do that again in my life.

He is 39 and I am 44. I was upfront in the beginning about children and my feelings about them. He said sometimes he feels too old to have children and sometimes he feels too young. He means young in that he likes being able to do all the things he does without worrying about kids and what that entails.

He is active in sports, hunting and motorcycles. He keeps so busy that he would not have time for children. He also has many friends, and sometimes I feel like I'm on the list but at the bottom. I don't want to be at the bottom of his totem pole. I don't want to be in a one-sided relationship.

I am afraid to let go because I love him deeply. I am afraid if I let it go, he will find someone else who fits the picture.

We are perfect for each other except that I can't have children. This puts a strain on our relationship, and I am afraid, it will eventually put a strain on our friendship. I don't want to hurt anyone. What should I do?

Dora


Dora, he sometimes says, "I'm too old for kids," and he sometimes says, "I'm too young for kids," but both mean exactly the same thing. "I'm unwilling to put anyone else's needs before my own."

If you give credence to his idea of having children now or in the future, let it be the same as if he said, "I always wanted to be an astronaut". But he didn't do what it took for that to be a possibility: the study, the training, the focus, the drive, the determination.

It is likely the coming 40th birthday is making him reexamine his life. His peers and friends are telling him about their families. They are talking about children going off to college, sons getting married, and maybe even becoming a grandparent. Perhaps he thinks I'm missing out. What about my later years? What about my legacy?

Those feelings, that examination, might not only have him feeling longing but also guilt and self-recrimination. He's looking in the mirror and not liking what he sees. So he puts the blame on someone else. He puts the problem on you. You have children, you have a legacy, you have something he doesn't. You are a reminder of his selfishness.

He imagines children. These imaginary children can be whatever he wishes for—star athletes, award winners, valedictorians—and he can picture himself as their much loved and honored father. But that doesn't make them real. It's like wishing he had put more money away for retirement. The evidence suggests he isn't willing to put in the time, effort, energy, or sacrifice to become a parent.

A classic song of the Rolling Stones says you can't always get what you want, though sometimes you can get what you need. He's getting what he needs now, and in a sense he is also getting what he deserves. No kids, no wife, no grandkids, no love of his life. The explanation is obvious. He doesn't like anyone as much as he likes himself.

It's a self-serving, hurtful excuse he uses to push you away, but it is perfect. It stiff-arms you while avoiding the truth. He doesn't want a child. He wants to remain a child.

Wayne & Tamara

Email Wayne & Tamara: DirectAnswers@WayneAndTamara.com