My girlfriend wants a baby but at 47 I feel I’m too old to be a father
I’m worried my boyfriend won’t ever come out
My partner and I have been together for more than a year and a half and we have really gelled. Sometimes it feels as if we have been together for about 10 years which I find good.
Lately she has been asking about starting a family. I should have mentioned that I am 47 and she is 38 so obviously her biological clock is ticking.
I don’t want kids at my age and I have told her this. I really love her to bits but this has changed it all. I don’t want to be selfish but at my age it’s not right — in my mind anyway.
How can I get around this?
ATHERE really isn’t any getting around this and decisions have to be made. I fully appreciate that at 47 you feel you are too old to start a family, although some people would disagree with you. You and your girlfriend have encountered a really difficult problem and you are equally entitled to your point of view.
I’m not surprised that the question has only recently arisen — no girl is going to say to a prospective life partner that she wants to have a baby straight away. She has to wait until the relationship has developed, until they get to know each other really well and until she feels sure that he would make a good father for any children they might have. All of this takes time, and rightly so, with the result that you are now faced with the dilemma of what to do.
It is not fair to keep her hanging on — time is not on her side and if she really wants to have children then she will need to be on the lookout for a new boyfriend who also wants to start a family.
That process in itself will take time, so the sooner you make a final decision, the better. You will have to ask yourself what life would be like without her and how much you love her, and if you are really prepared to let her go.
Women in a similar position have told me that the wish to have a baby can become all-consuming when they get to their late thirties, and it is probably difficult for somebody not going through it to understand.
Men do not face these problems because a man can father children at any age — famously Charlie Chaplin became a father to his youngest son when he was 73. My late father-in-law was 47 when my husband was born and they had a great relationship.
The options are — break up with her and allow her time to find somebody else, continue together but agree not to have a baby, or stay together and try for a baby.
If you do go ahead and try for a baby, you may not be successful in becoming pregnant, and this is something that you will also have to think about. In all of these situations one or other of you is compromising, which is what usually happens in loving relationships.
Whatever you both decide is going to be difficult in some way, so good luck with all of this.
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questions privately I am a gay man in my early twenties, and have been in a relationship with a closet gay man for the past eight months. I have been in other relationships in the past, but none like this. I am truly in love, yet my partner being in the closet does impact on our relationship a lot. I’m often referred to as a ‘friend’, I’m pushed to the sidelines when family comes to visit, and all this makes me think, am I just a secret?
My partner was open with me about his situation before we embarked on our relationship and I said I didn’t mind as I didn’t think he would be closeted much longer.
However, months have gone by and I’m still just a friend to his family. He’s met my family and they know about him and how he is not yet out. But a lot of this has impacted on my mental health — I’ve been recently diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder. I find myself second guessing our relationship, asking myself if he’s ashamed of me, of being gay, and asking myself if he’ll ever come out.
One thing that always sticks out in my mind is that if anything were to happen to him, I’d never know. None of his family would know to contact me. I’d be left in the cold. I’ll always miss big family events; he’ll have his life with me, and his other one with them.
I’ve thought recently about giving him an ultimatum, but I’m afraid that it would backfire and leave us both walking away.
Is this the best decision? Or can I really have a full and open life with him?
AI wonder what is going on for your boyfriend that he has not come out to his family. It is very sad, in an era where we lead the world in legalising civil partnerships and then same sex marriage and when we have an openly gay taoiseach, that your friend remains so firmly in the closet.
It may be that somebody in his family very much disapproves of the gay community on either religious or other grounds and so he feels unable to come out. But at the same time, I feel certain that at least one person in his family knows or guesses at the truth. He may not be aware of it but it would be very strange if somebody hasn’t speculated about his sexual orientation.
You have been presented as a ‘friend’ and surely this will contribute to their wondering as to what you really are to him.
It would be quite in order for you at this stage — eight months is a sizeable amount of time — to ask what he intends to do about all of this and to let him know how it is affecting you. Explain that you were fine with it at the beginning because you thought he would be coming out very soon. I have seen people wait until both parents have passed on before they came out, and you don’t want to have to be waiting indefinitely as this would not be good for your mental health.
You should also explain that as things stand you have no rights whatsoever and if he were, say, to have an accident or sudden illness, you would be left out in the cold and that is unacceptable. There is no need to give an ultimatum but you do need to know what his longterm plans are with regard to your relationship.
Perhaps you could talk about him coming out to just one family member to whom he is particularly close and whom he feels he can trust. In that way you would then have at least one person whom you could depend on to let you know if anything were to happen to him.
For sure he is not ashamed of you — all this is to do with himself and his relationship with his family. But it could be an awfully long time before he feels that he can be open with them about your place in his life.