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Commitment-phobic men are often the reason that women 'delay' starting a family

(354 Posts)
Petal02 Mon 17-Mar-14 15:04:05

A lovely friend of mine is in bits because her latest relationship has broken down. She is 41, would love to settle down and start a family, but has been unfortunate to have a string of boyfriends who didn't know what they wanted, or wanted to keep their options open, or didn't want children now but might have wanted them in the future. You get the picture.

She was 'told off' by her GP about 6 months ago (when she mentioned the subject of conception) for 'hanging around too much and not getting on with it.'

Yet you read so much about women who allegedly decide to wait til their 40s before starting a family; I suspect some of them would have started far earlier if only there weren't so many idiotic men about.

Sorry, just wanted to offload. Makes me very sad.

OwlCapone Mon 17-Mar-14 15:07:07

I suspect some of them would have started far earlier if only there weren't so many idiotic men about.

Of course, the women are also idiots for staying with men who do not want the same as they do wrt starting a family.

treas Mon 17-Mar-14 15:08:43

Or is it that some women want to live their lives and have a career before 'settling down' (places fingers in ears and waits for explosion)

Petal02 Mon 17-Mar-14 15:14:46

*Owlcapone" - yes you're right, that some women definitely stay with men who make it clear they want different things out of life. I think my friend got to this point with her last boyfriend; she didn't expect him to want to start a family straight away (obviously) but after giving him nearly 4 years to ponder the matter, got to the point where she'd invested too many of her fertile years to walk away lightly. So whilst she could have cut her losses 18 months ago and sought a different partner, I could also see why she decided to hold out a bit longer Just In Case .....

I'm feeling very awkward having got married age 22 (and then again in my 30s) and I don't have any adequate words.

brokenhearted55a Mon 17-Mar-14 15:16:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Kendodd Mon 17-Mar-14 15:19:10

I think your friend might now just need to decide if she wants to go it alone and try to have children with a donor. I don't think she has time to wait for 'Mr Right' to come along anymore.

CoffeeTea103 Mon 17-Mar-14 15:21:03

Yabu to think that's the only reason. Nothing stopped your friend from breaking away from these 'idiotic' men, she had a choice.

caruthers Mon 17-Mar-14 15:25:20

If the men you meet don't want children then they are not being idiotic they are informing you of a decision they have made which is a good thing.

It's then your decision to enact on their views.

MamaPain Mon 17-Mar-14 15:27:25

But on the other hand lots of women I know had children with men who didn't actually want that or weren't ready and expected it all to work out in the end. They're now single mothers to DC, many of them have zero contact with the fathers.

Tbh I think if your friend met someone in their mid to late thirties who still said they didn't want kids and then stuck around for 4 years, a lot of the blame lies with her.

4 years ago she was 37. If she had posted then and said I want kids, the guy I've just met really doesn't, mn would be saying don't get involved. You can't blame him if he was open from the outset.

WorraLiberty Mon 17-Mar-14 15:27:38

I was going to say exactly the same as caruthers

It's idiotic to have children because you feel forced/nagged into it

It's not idiotic to simply not want them or want them later in life.

Callani Mon 17-Mar-14 15:33:47

I think sometimes men can be very good at stalling and pretending they want children "some time, just not yet" which can leave women in awful situations when they finally admit that actually they really don't want kids.

However if a man has always been honest about not wanting children then a woman should not expect him to change his mind (and definitely shouldn't hope to persuade him otherwise)

I've seen the former happen to a few friends of mine so I was pretty upfront with DP (probably far too early on!) about the fact that I wanted kids and wasn't going to risk waiting 'til I was 40 but I think it's very difficult to have that conversation!

Petal02 Mon 17-Mar-14 15:34:11

She's just been unlucky with men, that's all - but bad luck is amplified when you've got a ticking body clock.

NotNewButNameChanged Mon 17-Mar-14 15:37:56

At the end of the day, if the guys have been honest, then it's her fault for staying with them or assuming they might feel differently in two years. And even if the guys WERE stalling, she didn't need to accept that. If having a baby was that much of a priority, then you find someone who is on the same page or move along pretty sharpish. Or just go for a donor.

Petal02 Mon 17-Mar-14 15:46:02

Callani - DH and I had a pretty blunt "what do you want out of life" conversation quite early on in our relationship; we'd both had a few drinks, I think we both realised we were serious about each other, and looking back it actually wasn't a particularly difficult conversation. However that's probably because we were both singing from the same hymn sheet.

Normalisavariantofcrazy Mon 17-Mar-14 15:47:57

I think men need to stop being encouraged to sow their seeds as much as women need to be encouraged to stop hanging around in dead end shit relationships hoping their man may change his mind at some point

KeinBock Mon 17-Mar-14 15:51:34

Sadly I suspect your poor friend will probably find that the ex settles down with someone a decade younger within a year or two, and decides he wants those children after all....

It's a familiar pattern, IME

UptheChimney Mon 17-Mar-14 15:55:31

Sadly I suspect your poor friend will probably find that the ex settles down with someone a decade younger within a year or two, and decides he wants those children after all

Yup. I've seen that several times, including a dear friend of mine who was messed about by the person she thought was the love of her life.

I'm passed it all now & was widowed young & too busy raising my DS & working to do the whole marrying thing a second time. But it still makes me cross whenever I see women being publicly told off for waiting or being "selfish" What about the Peter Pan men?

purpleroses Mon 17-Mar-14 15:57:28

I agree with you completely that the rhetoric around "women need to think about having children sooner" needs to be rephrased as "*people*". There must on average be just as many men who end up childless because they left it too late - the cut off may be less sharp than for women, so some who are eternal optomists may go on holding out some vague idea that they're still yet to meet the right woman into their 40s or 50s... but in reality they're not all that likely to. Whether that bothers men as much as women on average I'm not sure.

formerbabe Mon 17-Mar-14 15:57:39

I know lots of gorgeous single women in their thirties who are single and childless...not by choice!

Many men I have met, shudder at the thought of marriage and kids before the age of 40.

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 17-Mar-14 16:01:26

I agree with worra and others that no-one should be nagged into having a child.

But I do think there is a cultural problem here. I know very few women who want children, and are over (say) 25, and who are not clued up on female and male fertility. I know masses of men who aren't clued up. I sincerely believe these men want children - but they're not the targets of the endless messages about female fertility, so a lot of them really don't know stuff that they should know.

UptheChimney Mon 17-Mar-14 16:01:33

Many men I have met, shudder at the thought of marriage and kids before the age of 40

Yes, I've seen that too, and then those men go looking for a 20-something twinkie, rather than a woman their own age. I've seen what that does to women in their late 30s and 40s. it's very difficult watching a friend go through it. I can't imagine how it must be to be in that situation.

Normalisavariantofcrazy Mon 17-Mar-14 16:03:42

There's a lot to be said for people being told they can have it all when that's becoming more apparent they can't.

The people who lambasted me for having children young are now desperately trying to settle down and scrabbling to find anyone - not even 'the one' - so they can have a baby.

I'm glad I did things the way round I did - I can build a career and take holidays later (and I have and I am) and I keep saying this to my friends too. Sod the career that can go on hold, your body clock won't hold. If you're in a stable relationship, have a home, go for it.

nightowlmostly Mon 17-Mar-14 16:04:44

I always get the hump when there's yet another article about how women are delaying motherhood etc! selfish career women blah blah.

Try and find a man who wants to have kids in his twenties! It's not so easy. My DH is that little bit older than me, 6 years, and he was on and off about the whole idea for ages, but finally decided we'd better get on with it when he was 37, I was 31. So not too late.

I hear so many guys at work going on about how they don't want kids yet, or don't know, and they're all being very vague about it to their girlfriends, possibly stringing them along just long enough to waste their best fertile years on them. Pisses me off, just be honest.


Normalisavariantofcrazy Mon 17-Mar-14 16:05:32

And yes I've also witnessed the peter pans promising the earth to my beautiful lovely friends only to drop them when they're in their late 30s for someone much younger.

They're cruel.

But as much as the men are cruel the women are just as daft for not standing up to them

MoreBeta Mon 17-Mar-14 16:05:51

I am 50 and I am a man.

I have teenage children and me and DW talked about children before we got married. We both built careers first then started on 'having children'.

A really strong impression I get from younger men is that they know they are in for a very big financial commitment if they agree to have children with a woman. They know the law on divorce favours women. they know a woman with children gets custody and a meal ticket and the house.

The economic and legal situation now is 'men and women are equal' so young men are saying 'no way I am signing up for a life of supporting a woman just because she wants kids'.

That is why many men are holding back. Honestly, some of the youngish men I speak to are very explicit about their decision and why.

Equality has in a way come back to bite women and the current economic situation has made the situation worse. Young men just are not willing to take on that economic commitment but still want all the benefits of a relationship.

Of course, older men do suddenly realise they want children and as KeinBock says they tend to take a younger wife later in life. In fact this is very much the model of Victorian times and the economy is very much in that mode right now with a very big economic divide between the top and bottom of society.

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