As far back as I can remember, I've always known that I want children. I’ve been single for a while and now I feel ready for a long term relationship. Shall I make my potential dates aware of my stands regarding children right at the beginning or shall I wait until it all develops into something more serious?
Monica, 34
Answered by:
Relationship Educator

Modern society puts women in a Catch 22 position. We are frowned upon when we have babies too young or if we wait too long to have kids because we cannot find the right partner. Monica, if you constantly keep on thinking “I want children”, you need to do some soul searching and determine what you really want regardless of the man and potential husband situation. Do you want your own biological children regardless of if you have a partner or not? It can be very rough to raise a child on your own. But if you really want your own bio kids, then freezing your eggs is the way to go. Strictly for medical reasons, I think you should consider getting your eggs frozen now. That way it takes the time pressure off you because you can have your own biological children later. Otherwise, you may have a harder time getting pregnant after 35. It is expensive (at least here in the U.S), but no more expensive than the first year raising a child. I really believe the biological attachment is overrated. You should decide if you would be happy being a stepmom to your mate’s child. Could you be a fantastic Aunt, Godmother or Foster or Adoptive Mom? If we decide that biology is not that important, there are always lots of opportunities to have children in our lives. Once you clarify what you want regardless of a man in your life or not, then you separate dating and having fun from the pressure of starting a family.

The most important thing in your dating life should be enjoying someone’s company and letting the relationship progress at a normal pace. I would not immediately share that you are ready for children now because that puts the guy in an uncomfortable position and he will want to steer clear of you. He might feel that you are going to “trap” him into becoming a Dad. Just think how you would react to someone proposing on the first date–not great, right? But just because you don’t initially share your plans for a family with the guy you are dating, watch for red flags like if he says he never wants to get married or have children. You would need to move on to someone who has the same goals that you do. Another red flag would be that he is not taking care of the kids he already has. I think most of us have the wisdom to not get involved with a guy who has 6 children by 5 different Mamas, but even if he just has one child from a previous relationship, does he pay child support? Does he include that child in his life? Does he let issues with his Ex serve as an excuse not to be an involved father? If he isn’t a good Dad now, he will not make a good father for your child. Also, if you get clues he would make a bad father, like drinking too much or having a hot temper, dump him and move on. I would also look for guys who have already finished their schooling and have a stable career and finances.

After you have been dating for a while with someone you can envision being your partner and father to your children, bring up the subject casually like “Have you ever thought about having kids?” and take it from there. Just make sure you have your own desires clarified in your mind first. Believe it or not, marital satisfaction steeply declines after a couple has children. All those sleepless nights and extra chores, lack of time and energy for sex, the partner feeling in second or third place to a child are all issues that affect happily married people. So really examine if you want children and you are strong enough to have them regardless of a partner or not.

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