First Comes Love. Then What?


My boyfriend and I have been together for eight years. We’re talking about marriage and children, but I have mixed feelings about both. My mother was divorced three times, and my father divorced twice. And I’ve seen too many of my female friends give up their careers when children come along. My boyfriend is pushing for us to take this next step. But I think we have a good thing going and it’s going to be ruined. -Unsure

First, you must decide together whether these issues can be decided piecemeal, or whether they’re lumped together in a “Married With Children” bucket (just without Al Bundy).

You need to keep talking — and let him know the reaction he’s evoking with his pressure. Speaking with your friends and family about their lives and choices can also help bring insight. Ultimately, it may come down to who feels more strongly, and who might be better able to live with the other person’s preferences. (Although no one should have kids who isn’t at least mostly on board or who doesn’t possess a strong tolerance for having one’s sweaters used as tissues.)

Find the Cure For Your Hubby

I’m going through a lot of health problems, and my husband has been nowhere near as supportive as I expected. There’s the possibility of a serious diagnosis, but his attitude is, “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it” and that I “shouldn’t worry about what I can’t control.” This attitude infuriates me. He’s just going on with life as usual. I feel alone but can’t seem to express to him what I need. -Left Alone

I can imagine that you feel very let down. But the impact of your health issues — and the fear of what they might bring — has no doubt affected your husband as well. Part of what comes across as apathy might actually be his attempt at avoiding anxiety and distress.

Granted, it’s not the most functional of responses — although it beats running around and screaming. But to get what you need, you have to acknowledge that he’s going through a tough time as well. Write him a note that discusses how alone you feel, without dwelling on what he has or hasn’t done. Simply say you need more support but that you want to hear his feelings, too, and to feel like a team as you go through this.

 

Dr. Andrea Bonior writes Express' advice column, Baggage Check.
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Christopher Porter | October 17, 2011