I might want kids … later

Dear Meredith,

I've been with my boyfriend for more than four years. Our relationship is strong – we've lived in different cities, traveled, and currently live together. Overall he is a great partner. We have quite the age difference of 13 years – he's 42 (I'm younger). We've discussed getting married and spending our lives together, yet the one hangup we have is deciding whether or not we want to have kids. He is 100 percent sure he doesn't want kids and I'm about 80 percent sure that I don't want children.

We've discussed this extensively and I'm just not sure I can commit without the option of changing my mind. What if I wake up at 35 and desperately want a child? Do I leave a sure thing - my boyfriend - for something I'm not sure I want?

– child or not


I wish there was a simple answer to this question – one that involves my being able to know what you'll want in the future. Sadly, there isn't. All I know is that this issue is plaguing you, despite the 80-20 math. That says plenty.

Something to consider: Is it possible that your question is about more than children? It sounds like it might be. At 29, you're not sure what you want next, but your boyfriend already has answers. Perhaps you want a partner who's more up in the air about everything. It might be nice to be with someone who's like, "Let's figure it out together."

Most of the time I tell people that if they really love their lives, they shouldn't worry too much about things they might want in the future. But in your case, this is really bothering you, and you say you're not sure you can commit. That means this can't be ignored.

– Meredith

Readers? Time to go? Or focus on the 80 percent?