Friday 16 November 2018

Dear Mary: I'm not sure about having children

Photo posed
Photo posed

My friend and I have been dating now for eight years. She is in her mid-thirties and has asked me if I want to have children with her. I find myself on the fence and unsure about the whole situation.

We get along and have a good time. That is how it has been - best friends with benefits. We used to party all the time with nothing but fun and good times.

That had to end for me. I sought medical help and I quit sniffing heroin, cocaine, and Oxycontin.

The habit started nearly 20 years ago after a bad traffic accident. I'm on medication to keep me sober and stable. My friend supported me during my recovery. We never did heroin again.

Now she wants to quit her high paying job and have a family. She still uses some cocaine but assures me she will quit before she decides to have kids. She is as sweet as can be but very unreliable.

The fear of leaving her breaks my heart. I have a great job and a house but I'm just getting by now. If I added a wife and kid to that I couldn't afford it.

I've been unsure about having kids my whole life - mostly because my father was depressed and my mom constantly bad-mouthed him. Add on being sexually abused by friends and my childhood was confusing.

I'm stuck with the decision, obsessing is a better word.

Do I continue to be friends with her or have kids or let her date others? I have a tendency to be jealous now more than ever, so if she decided to date others I can't know anything about it.

 

Mary replies: Well done on staying sober after your drug addiction, although I'm sure it must be difficult for you when your girlfriend uses cocaine. Are you absolutely sure she would stop taking it if she were trying for a baby?

You are faced with a number of issues but the main one is whether or not to have children. If she didn't want them then it seems you would be quite happy to continue as you are.

But naturally enough her biological clock is ticking so she needs to have some answers from you.

You are thinking so much about this right now because there is the very real fear that she may leave and find somebody else if you don't want to have children. But ask yourself is that sufficient reason for you to agree to try for a baby?

Would you genuinely welcome a child and all the responsibility that it brings both emotionally and financially?

Your girlfriend may have her own ideas about finances. She may intend going back to work as soon as her maternity leave finishes and therefore would be contributing to the family finances. What then remains is if you are emotionally ready to become a father.

I hope that as you recover from your addiction you have some psychological help. If not then it is time to explore your abuse and other issues to help you to move on from them.

You say if she were to date others you can't know anything about it. I take it that you mean she would date others, looking around for somebody new, while still dating you. What would be the point in that? You would have to have a clean break or none at all.

In my experience the wish for a baby gets stronger and stronger in women as time goes by, so your girlfriend may feel that not having one is not an option for her.

So please be very honest with her, tell her how and why you are struggling but that you don't want to lose her. Then decide together what is best for all.

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