Marriage Fever

Q: I have been dating this guy for a year and a half and I have lived with him for almost a year. He tells me that if he didn't see a future with me then he wouldn't be living with me. He is in his 30s and I'm in my mid-20s. I'm ready to settle down and start a family. One minute he will say that us getting married is a possibility and he is ready to have kids, then the next he just isn't ready. I feel as if I am being toyed with sometimes. Most of the time we get along really well, and if we have any disagreements they are over really quickly. I am just worried that he will NEVER be ready, and that he is too comfortable with the way things are (he even makes comments that he already feels married). I love him very much, and he treats me really well. I can't picture my life without him, but how long should you stick around in a relationship before something happens?

Dr. Susan: Well, sure, he's happier than you are at the moment: he has what he wants and you don't. Sounds like you're much readier to CHANGE your relationship than he is, by adding a baby to it. And believe me, that will change your dynamic much more than you can imagine. You're only in your mid-20s, so your biological clock has a few more years before you need to begin panicking.

I wonder if he'd be more willing to commit to getting married if he didn't hear you saying that the minute you get married, a baby is next on the agenda. It makes practical sense that you're not willing to "waste" a lot of your most fertile years while he makes up his mind whether you're the permanent partner he's seeking, but I can also see that he isn't ready to have a baby after only being alone with you for a year or so.

Consider a compromise and an ultimatum, in that order. One more year of living together and then he either chooses to commit for keeps, or you leave and find someone who wants a kid as much as you do. But don't keep harping on it meanwhile. After all, is he just a conduit to having a baby or do you really love him madly for himself? If I were him, that's what I would be wondering.

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