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Time is running out for me to have another child

Dear Dr Nekia,

I'm in love. Two months ago I started dating my good friend, whom I have known for a year. Things are great, and it is a good relationship. He treats me like a queen, and is younger than I am but that doesn't bother me. I do, however, feel that we are at different places in life, and this is where the problem lies. He has no children but would like to have at least one. I am 38 and I already have two children. I wouldn't mind having another one with him but because of my age, I feel like I may miss my window of opportunity if we don't try now and he says he is not ready.

Normally, waiting would not be a problem but we both know how fertility is in women as they age and it took a long time to conceive my second child. I don't want to have children after 40, which leaves me two years. I truly love him and do see a future with him, and would love one more child. I really don't want to push him away so please help. How do I approach this?

Sincerely,

Window Closing

Dear Window Closing,

Your concern touches on two very real, and very difficult to navigate, issues facing relationships today. The first is when two people come together but are not at the same stage in life and the second is the biological clock of women. Let's address each one individually.

Many of us imagine meeting that special someone who wants what we want at the very moment that we want it. We picture that things will run smoothly and that we will just click as we move forward together happily in our relationship.

The truth is that we often times date the wrong people. When we finally find the right person there may be some adjustments we need to make in our life. The age difference between you and your partner does not mean that things cannot work. When he says that he is not ready he may be saying one of two things: that he is not ready to make that commitment with you or that he is not ready to take on the responsibility of being a father.

No matter the case, pay attention to the message and realise that having a baby is not a very wise endeavour. It's something best done when both partners are ready. Talk with him to try to see what his genuine feelings are. Is he nervous? Is he not financially ready? Does he like his freedom? Does he feel it is too soon in the relationship? Only he can provide you with these answers.

The biological clock can cause a lot of stress for women in their mid-30s to early 40s. Many men have difficulty understanding that a woman begins to mentally and physically change in her 30s.

Similar to puberty, hormones often begin to fluctuate; many have a sense of urgency if they have not yet had children or fulfilled their family-orientated goals. It is quite easy for men to feel pressured because most do not relate to this urgency. Many men don't feel the need to settle down until they realise they are getting old, and do not want to die alone.

They wait until they are tired of running around with their boys. They wait until they are tired of the clubs and bars. They wait until they are tired of going from one woman to the next. It is a sad reality that in our culture, a lot of men think that the time for love is right when they are well past their prime. I do not mean that all men are like this. This information is just a bit of background into their general psyche.

Women exit the childbearing phase of life so that they can enter into the next level of their existence.

I would encourage you and all women not to let your biological clock dampen or dictate your choice in relationships. Decide what is more important to you: love with the man you are with, or having another child. If you choose to stay with him, you may very well be giving up the possibility of ever being able to conceive again. If you let him go to find someone who is as ready as you are, you may very well be walking away from love.

A lot of relationships do not survive one of these issues, much less both. If love is truly there, you can come to a common ground and understanding. Do not be afraid of pushing him away. Instead, share with him your innermost thoughts, fears and desires. If this causes him to retreat then he is not the man for you. If this sparks an opening for you to both communicate your wants and needs so that you can work on compromise, then be willing to meet him halfway. In the latter scenario, maybe waiting six months to a year would not be so bad.

It would take you about that time to find someone else who is more compatible anyway. But first start with making your decision on how important having another child is to you. Find out how important it is to him as well, because the last thing you want to do is lose your window of opportunity, only for him to later be unhappy because you cannot bear children for him. From there, communicate openly and gently and decide if either of you will bend or stand firm in your present personal wants.

Dear Dr Nekia,

I am dating someone who I feel does not give me enough attention. He is a hard worker so he often works late, but during his free time he goes out drinking and partying. I feel like I am just an afterthought. I have told him how I feel and that I do not understand why he does not want to spend more of his free time with me instead of wasting it out there with random people. He tells me that I should not be worried. That he is committed to me and that he comes home to me so what's the big deal, I am stressing for nothing. I can't help but feel like I want and deserve more.

Whenever I talk to him about this somehow I'm the one who ends up feeling insecure and guilty for wanting too much, and so of course nothing changes even though I go on feeling neglected. I really do not want to lose him, but I am not really happy either. How can I get him to realise that my feelings are hurt and that I love him?

Sincerely,

Who He Comes Home to

Dear Who He Comes Home To,

I do not care if you are a man or a woman, you should never be guilted into wanting more from a relationship that is not fulfilling. More times than not, your desire for more is your intuition telling you that something within the relationship is not right for you. I understand that a hardworking man likes time to himself or with his friends to blow off some steam, but what stands out to me is your obvious unhappiness and his unwillingness to validate your concerns. If a man truly cares about you, he will understand that you, him, and your relationship have needs that he will have to make an effort towards. With that being said, I will address the concept of as long as I come home to you.

Whenever someone responds to your concerns with a statement that undermines your feelings, realise that you are not being heard, not being taken seriously, or even worse, being manipulated. Someone saying that you should be happy as long as they come home to you is both a dismissal and a justification for their behaviour. I would ask him: Am I supposed to be grateful that you come home? Have I received some prize of a man because you come home to me? Is you coming home the maximum that I deserve from you as my man? Although it would seem that a woman who does not worry as long as her man is coming home is a strong and secure woman, the opposite is true. It is the insecure women who are content with this notion.

The man who says this is playing on the common desire for women to not want to be alone as well as the general insecurities of women. He knows that many women will accept half of a man rather than no man at all, and that a great number of women have a default mental-emotional setting: all men cheat. A lonely woman, or one who thinks that every man cheats, is either prepared to deal with the cheating or is prepared to accept far less than what she wants or deserves from a man, “as long as he comes home”. Therefore, a man who gives that line is taking advantage of the fact that insecure women tend to have low expectations of men. He is encouraging you to expect little and be happy with it. This is not a man that cares about you, or has the intention of treating you like you are worth anything to him.

He is quite comfortable in what he is willing to do and not do as far as your relationship is concerned, and you need to find the strength to do the same. You should know that you are being manipulated by this line and this is why at the end of your conversations you end up feeling guilty when it is he who should have the conscience.

He simply is disregarding your feelings in favour of doing what pleases him, and he is essentially telling you that you should accept it because he has no intention of changing right now. I do not get the feeling that you are ready to accept his behaviour, so you need to find the strength to create your own happiness. You may need to walk away from him and show yourself the love that he is not showing you. Once you have gained strength and love for yourself, you can move on to attract someone who will value you like you need. I know that it is hard to leave behind people who we feel strongly attached to, but believe it or not, it is far more difficult to endure a relationship where you know you are being treated like you are invisible or not worth much at all.

Want relationship advice? E-mail nakedtruth@royalgazette.com

Ticktock, ticktock: a reader says she has a two-year window in which to have another baby. But is her new boyfriend ready to become a father?

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Published October 24, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated October 24, 2016 at 9:54 am)

Time is running out for me to have another child

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