CAROLYN HAX

Tell Me About It
(Nick Galifianakis for The Washington Post)
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By Carolyn Hax
Thursday, April 17, 2008

Adapted from a recent online discussion:

Dear Carolyn:

I am a 40-year-old male and currently dating casually. I am highly motivated to get married and start a family. How do I ask potential mates if they are able to have children, without being offensive? I have recently dated women both in their late 30s and cervical cancer survivors. They both seemed reserved or non-responsive to my subtle hints at the BIG QUESTION.

And WHEN do I ask? After one month of dating or sooner? I am no spring chicken myself!

Wellfleet, Mass.

So, you're looking for a vessel? I would state that upfront.

Dear Carolyn:

He may be looking for a "vessel," but plenty of women are looking for sperm. And I say this as a mid-30s woman. I am getting a lot less picky and I, too, would rather have that conversation upfront, maybe not the first date but in one month.

I think it should be clear if people want kids in general -- maybe not with each other, just that it's a wish the other person shares. Let's just get real here. Time counts at some point, and having children is a deal-breaker for most people.


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