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DP dragging his heels about our future

(628 Posts)
CarryOnDreaming Thu 03-Apr-14 12:18:32

I’ve been with DP for 3 years, living together for a little over half of that. I’m 35 and he’s 34 although we both feel younger than that at heart. We clicked from the word go – we have the same sense of humour, interests, plenty of chemistry, get on great with each others’ friends and trust each other completely. He’s held in high regard by colleagues, friends and family and is a truly lovely person. Great, I thought: FINALLY someone worth it on my wavelength!

When we first got serious and had the talk about out future, he said he envisaged us marrying in around 3 years and starting a family in around 5. I was 32 at the time and thought 37 might be pushing it to start TTC, but we’re both ambitious career-wise and told myself it might be just as well we got that side out our lives figured out first, as well as not rushing into things.

3 years on and there’s no sign of taking the relationship on to the next stage. I had a talk with him about the future in a non-pushy way and while he says he definitely still wants to marry me and have a family, it’s in abstract terms of “some day” as he doesn’t feel ready yet. He insisted that was no reflection on his feelings for me. The reasons he gave were 1) He’s overwhelmed by his demanding job and couldn’t see how planning a wedding / being a dad would fit into that right now 2) Our house isn’t big enough to accommodate a child and we can’t afford to move 3) He’d never considered settling down with anyone before me and while he thought becoming a dad was what he wanted, he now thinks he might have been in that mindset just because it’s what people do, and now he’s not 100% sure if he wants kids because life’s stressful enough and at present we have freedom to enjoy ourselves which alleviates that stress.

I’m a planner, whereas he prefers to go with the flow, but when it comes to my fertility, I don’t think he’s quite grasped, despite me explaining it to him, that it doesn’t quite work that way! He seems to see things back to front compared to me, ie: my solution to our house bursting at the seams with no room for a child would be to save up for an extension, whereas he says we can’t afford that (we could if we budgeted, but the thought of spending large sums of money on anything terrifies him) and then a year down the line he’ll still use the same excuse about the house not being big enough!

I love this man with all my heart. He’s not only my partner but my best friend. We have a really warm, affectionate loving relationship and I couldn’t imagine not sharing the rest of my life with him or wanting a family with anyone but him, but when I’m laying awake at night I worry that I’m going to look back at the age of 40 and nothing has changed and I’ll have missed the boat. I often wondered why such a charismatic, loyal, caring, funny person such as him hadn’t been snapped up before – perhaps it’s because he’s just too much of a Peter Pan? Or perhaps I just need to be patient and stop worrying so much? Opinions welcomed, thank you.

Offred Thu 03-Apr-14 12:39:48

Someone wanting a different future to you is not them dragging their heels.

He's told you he doesn't think he'll ever want children. You clearly do. He shouldn't be giving you the excuse about the house because that implies that he wants kids but there are barriers in the way. It means you'll focus on removing the barriers.

If you really want children I think you should leave him tbh. He doesn't want them and has told you so.

Val007 Thu 03-Apr-14 12:40:19

but when it comes to my fertility, I don�t think he�s quite grasped, despite me explaining it to him, that it doesn�t quite work that way!

Oh, he has! He is just not that into you and blabbing his way out for another 3 stress free years of your FREE company, until when he feels ready for a family. Then he will impregnate the first bimbo he meets, because you would have turned into a bitter old spinster because he is denied you your woman's right to have a family and children and he would have started hating you for this.

SocialNeedier Thu 03-Apr-14 12:44:01

Oh this is a tricky one. If you're 35 you really do need to start looking at things strategically.

I was in a similar position a few years ago and in the end I just laid all my cards on the table. I told DP I wanted children and if he didn't he needed to be really honest with me so I could go and hopefully find someone who did want to have children with me.

I left the ball in his court. I told him to think about it and let me know when he knew what he wanted to do. In my head I had a deadline of six months (but he didn't know this). After four months he suggested I come off the pill and we start TTC. We now have a gorgeous DD and are really happy.

The thing is, before I even got to the point of having that conversation, I had done months of wrestling with myself over what I wanted more - to be with him and potentially childless, or to have a child. Once I knew I was brave enough and certain enough to walk away if he had given me a different answer.

You need to get to that point before you start issuing ultimatums or anything.

quietlysuggests Thu 03-Apr-14 12:44:51

This tends not to be the MN consensus, but to me this is normal.
EVERY couple I know in their 30s who married had this situation - women just get there a few years before their men do.
The woman wants to have a proposal out of the blue,
but actually it follows an intense year when she has to repeat and repeat that he needs to get a move on!
It is not about giving ultimatums, it is about you saying "I love you enough to say this is it, your are the husband for me, I want to get things properly organised"
If he can say the same thing, then you need to take charge, eg arrange that the two of you start to save for an extension, do any final career things (exams, promotions etc) this year so you will have a couple of easier years ahead of you, rein in your spending, calm down your social life.
If he cannot say the same thing - you are the one - then you must break up with him.
But I totally think this is normal, it sounds like you have a great relationship, and again, EVERY married couple I know went through this long courtship, great quality of life, great holidays etc etc and then when it was time to settle, the man has trouble letting go of that lifestyle, whereas the woman has her biological clock helping her to see her way forward.
Good luck.
(And 2 final tips - don't be engaged for 2 years as younger couples do, just get engaged and marry a few months later. Don't saddle your self with tens of thousands of pounds worth of debt in order to get married.
And secondly- when you start to try to conceive - don't wait a year before going to your doctor - that is an old rule that no longer applies)

CarryOnDreaming Thu 03-Apr-14 12:47:01

If he categorically said he didn't want children that would be one thing.

What he's said is he's not ready yet and he's not sure when he will be, which is why I'm in a quandary.

I did laugh out loud at the suggestion he would impregnate the first bimbo he met - that's the antithesis of who he is.

expatinscotland Thu 03-Apr-14 12:48:29

He doesn't want what you want, that's the bottom line. There is nothing wrong with what either of you wants, but it doesn't match up. You have some decisions to make, because he's told you where he stands.

Val007 Thu 03-Apr-14 12:49:25

OP, you are clutching at straws.
History has seen the scenario I painted happen too many times.
It is your fertility - your call. Good luck!

Alibabaandthe40nappies Thu 03-Apr-14 12:50:02

At 35 you do not have the time to wait if you want to be a mother. It is that simple.

I wouldn't be so sure that he hasn't grasped it, men are not as stupid as women like to imagine in these situations.

I think you need to decide what you want more, him or children. If you want him more then stay as you are, if you want children more then you need to give him an ultimatum - soon - so that you can leave him and find someone to have children with if he says that he doesn't want children.

expatinscotland Thu 03-Apr-14 12:50:13

It's the same thing, OP. 'Not ready' means no. You either risk never having children by staying with him or you cut your losses.

tribpot Thu 03-Apr-14 12:52:19

At 35, I wouldn't be trying to be patient and waiting to see what happened. Sorry, OP, but you need to play the odds.

You need to be honest with yourself and with him. If you want children, you need to crack on with it. If it's not for him, that's entirely his choice and his right. But he needs to declare his hand one way or the other. People have children every day when their houses aren't big enough, or they have demanding jobs to balance. And other people every day decide that being a parent is not for them. All valid choices, but choices with consequences nonetheless.

Val007 Thu 03-Apr-14 12:52:22

By the way - I happened to be the first 'bimbo' (sort of as I am older than him) my now husband saw and tried to impregnate straight away, because he was ready. After a 5 year relationship with his ex, where she was gasping to marry him and he was avoiding it as the plague. Not sure why men do this, but they do. Trust me!

expatinscotland Thu 03-Apr-14 12:54:21

I loved my ex boyfriend tremendously. I was 30 and he was 29. He wasn't ready.

Well, I made some changes that meant when he was ready to marry, he was 35, I was already pregnant with my 3rd child by then.

He married a woman nearly 8 years younger and didn't become a father until he was 40.

Glad I didn't hang around!

Alibabaandthe40nappies Thu 03-Apr-14 12:55:02

CarryOn - don't delude yourself about his grasp of the situation.

I have seen it happen so many times that a man dangles his partner in the way you are currently being dangled 'I think I want children but I'm not sure when, we need to do xyz (house/career/travel) first'. Then when TTC gets tough and your relationship is under strain, he'll decide it is too much like hard work and disappear into the sunset with someone ten years younger than you.

quietly none of the genuinely happy marriages I know went through that. The ones that did have mostly hit the rocks already (we are mid to late 30s). This is a delusion created by women's magazines largely, that we can engineer men into doing something other than what they want to. It is not helpful or kind to promote it on a thread like this.

BranchingOut Thu 03-Apr-14 12:59:07

A few years ago i might have told you not to worry, but I am 38 and suffering unexplained secondary infertility. We conceived our lovely DS the first time of trying; five years on and things are not so simple.

I think that you have to set a deadline, even if it is only in your own mind.

deste Thu 03-Apr-14 12:59:25

I don't think he feels for you what you feel for him. If you told him he had to decide, what would his answer be. You have to be prepared for his honest answer. Btw my son is 36 and has no children yet.

Jan45 Thu 03-Apr-14 13:03:40

You need to seriously decide if you are prepared to wait for him, once you hit late 30s your fertility diminishes dramatically which could mean a while before actually falling pregnant.

His excuses are just that, he clearly does not want what you want, which is a real shame.

CarryOnDreaming Thu 03-Apr-14 13:05:26

Social "Before I even got to the point of having that conversation, I had done months of wrestling with myself over what I wanted more - to be with him and potentially childless, or to have a child…you need to get to that point before you start issuing ultimatums or anything."

Good advice. I really don't think I would be strong enough to walk away from such a brilliant relationship at my age on the off-chance I might meet someone else I click with in enough time time to start a family with them. However, if I choose a childless future with DP, I'd want that to be because it was truly better for our relationship, not because of logistical problem like a bloody extension.

Quietly "EVERY couple I know in their 30s who married had this situation - women just get there a few years before their men do."

I agree, all my friends are at various stages of this with their DPs / DHs (it doesn't mean their partners are not into them as one poster suggested) The difference is that most of my friends are 32/33 so have a bit more time to play with than I do.

Rest assured I've no desire to spend tens of thousands on a wedding and definitely envisage having a fairly short engagement. He's said 100% he intends to propose to me, he just won't be led on when…can't help thinking it would be wise to agree on the kids issue first though.

Mothergothel99 Thu 03-Apr-14 13:05:37

I think you need to give him an ultimatum, you can't just wait it out.
( your not 25) you haven't the luxuary of time.
There is nothing wrong with wanting children and marriage and if he doesn't you have to part company.

It is that simple. I agree about getting married within a few months, quick and cheap.

Mothergothel99 Thu 03-Apr-14 13:07:57

He just won't be led on...

See I think marriage is a partnership, something to agree on, it's old fashioned to think he has to decide.

expatinscotland Thu 03-Apr-14 13:11:45

Why give him all the control at your expense? You want kids, that is not going to change, nor is the fact that your fertility is more at risk than his.

Why does he have to propose?

I have a daughter and will be warning her as she grows not to waste time.

I did. Wish I hadn't. I'd have loved to have had a couple more than the three we had, but time ran out.

stonehairbrush Thu 03-Apr-14 13:12:49

No, not every couple is like this. And it's less about age and more about compatibility.

MorrisZapp Thu 03-Apr-14 13:13:54

I think others are being harsh here. I think it's normal to have a very vague view of future parenthood, I know I did. I was 38 when I finally made a décision and went for it.

You need to thrash it out with him, obviously, and spell out your needs and expectations. If he really doesnt want kids then you have a tough decision to make.

I have to say I find the idea that you should walk away and have kids with someone else to be quite laughable. Of course, there are countless loving, decent, single men looking to have kids quickly, just awaiting the call from women in their late thirties. Not!

UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea Thu 03-Apr-14 13:15:20

I don't recognise myself or anyone I know in your scenario quietlysuggests so I will offer an alternative perspective.

OP, you sound lovely and you are completely right to be focused on this. It's easy for me to type this because I don't know the practical implications but my view is that you

- Set a firm deadline by which time you want to start TTC.
- Look at the barriers to managing children (the real ones, not the imagined ones) and the practical steps of overcome these (i.e., increase savings for a bigger house etc).
- Make a decision to end the relationship if he hasn't come round by the deadline.
- Stick to that decision, or reconcile yourself to a potential future without children.

I had a 3 year relationship with a lovely man who was never going to change his life to accommodate marriage, children etc. I walked away, he is still exactly the same 13 years later and I would have never had children or a marriage if I had stayed.

CarryOnDreaming Thu 03-Apr-14 13:16:08

I have to say I find the idea that you should walk away and have kids with someone else to be quite laughable. Of course, there are countless loving, decent, single men looking to have kids quickly, just awaiting the call from women in their late thirties. Not!

Took the words right out of my mouth! It was hard enough finding a decent man when I was in my twenties and much more attractive than I am now.

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