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Breeding or Leaving(89 Posts)
I'm 33 years old and have been in my relationship for eight years. After that amount of time we've both become a bit bored, we admit it. There have also been infidelities on both sides that we've worked through but they've left their scars, especially around trust. I love him hugely, I want only good for him. He loves me and we respect each other. However, along with the trust stuff, which we've worked very hard to get over, there are other issues. He's depressive and low energy, though he acknowledges this and does his best. But I look for positivity and fun more from friends and family than from him. We don't share the same sense of humour and we're not having as much sex as I'd like. Though he is amazing in a crisis, kind and hugely solid and wise, he's a heavy presence sometimes. I find myself thinking a lot about other relationships, just in theory, not with anyone real, just imaginary.
This worries me as I want to have a baby. He does too but we both feel trepidatious about it, for all the normal reasons I think, plus a little bit of doubt about the 'rest of life' partner aspect.
in short I'm considering us trying for a baby but I always thought that would happen from a place of absolute relationship bliss and strength. Whilst we're not angry or chaotic, it's a bit tired, like some relationships get ten years in and I do feel a bit like I'm settling and there is something a little damaged, a little sad, after an affair I had and his retaliatory infidelities a few years ago.
I know no one can advise this really but I find myself swinging almost hourly between desperately wanting to become a parent with him and fantasizing about leaving and trying to find someone a bit more upbeat, supportive of me, who makes me laugh. I know this sounds immature but it's one of those moments that feels like a potential life mistake, a major fork in the road. We've worked on a lot of stuff so I feel we know the essence of each other. The idea of losing him makes me feel distraught, but the thought of being with him for another twenty years makes me feel depressed.
Has anyone been in a similar position or have any insight into the best ways to stop over-thinking and just act?
I'm not wise enough to advise but sympathise whole-heartedly with the dilemma.
When I was going through similar several years ago, we eventually decided to split and felt relieved about that very quickly. While I still don't regret it, I also feel that I could have appreciated that partner's qualities more at the time if I hadn't grown 'used' to them.
Is it worth considering a break to see how you both feel over a period of time without each other? Say, 6-12 weeks?
Thanks for responding. We separated for a few weeks after his infidelity and though we could have probably taken more time, it felt like we both needed to say whether we were up for trying again at the end of that period, and we both said we were, so I moved back in. Truthfully, I was about equally happy single as I was being with him (I'm pretty independent). I just didn't want to lose the chance of having kids with him and lose him from my life.
Thanks for sharing, areyoumymother.
If you couldn't have children, would you be with him? It doesn't sound like you would be. Wanting to have children is not a good enough reason to be with someone, IMO. Especially as the children will be in the mix when you inevitably split up. They make things harder not easier, and even if they made it easier you can't keep having children forever. You'll eventually be back in the same position.
You're 33, get out whilst you can and have enough time to make it work with someone else (even accounting for single time to get yourself together).
I'm not saying "LTB" because I'm not really judging your relationship on him at all, just the fact neither of you sound like you truly want one another anymore and that doesn't seem like a fair set up to bring children into. It sounds like it's just convenient for the both of you, at the moment.
I don't have any experience but I will say that I have a very good friend who is the product of an ill thought out marriage which ended in a horrible divorce.
She always says she wishes people would put more thought into who they have kids with, as the fallout is people like her and her brother who are left 30 years later with their parents often loathing one another and them stuck in the middle... All because however many years ago their parents wanted kids and were worried that no one better would come along.
This has stayed with me and actually stopped me starting a family with a boyfriend I was lukewarm about.
Thanks, Dirtybadger, that's very clear-sighted and wise. I think convenient is a very good way to put it, in that we own a flat together and also we work in the same industry so we have a lot of overlap and mutual stuff going on. But it's a good mental test to think what I would do if I find I'm infertile. I know, I think about the children thing a lot, I come from a family where the parents didn't want to be together but stayed together anyway and that was painful as a model. We're not as bad as that was.
supportive of me
very telling, I have spent most of my life with someone who was not 'supportive of me.'
Don't do it - seriously, you are worth more x
That's exactly what my parents did, somedizzy! I'm sure that has something to do with it. i always expected to compromise. And I don't see much wrong with having children with someone you love who is kind and responsible.
One of the baby books I read said that having a baby is like throwing a grenade in the middle of your relationship, and if it wasn't a strong relationship before, it will explode after.
Looking at a lot of these boards, a baby will put a relationship through the worst situations imaginable. Judging from the way your relationship has been so far, do you think it would be able to handle worse?
If i was being really honest I felt similar to you when I married my DH. I was 32. We now have 2 children and so there is no way I could say I wish I hadn't married him because our children our amazing and they are a product of both of us. However, if I could make my decision again I would not marry him. We are ok now and will stay together but it has taken an awful lot of work to get here. We both would have probably been happier with other people.
You need to find someone who lights fire within you, enjoys life, laughs a lot and is always up to new adventures. Being with this man will kill you from inside; it will make you into someone you would not be able to recognize in 10 years time, someone you will not even like. My advice to you is: Run away, as fast as you can. As they say YOU ARE ONLY AS GOOD AS THE PEOPLE YOU SURROUND YOURSELF WITH, SO BE BRAVE ENOUGH TO LET GO OF THOSE WHO KEEP WEIGHING YOU DOWN.
And no, baby will only make matters worse.
Quite possibly a daft idea, but if you separated would you consider co-parenting? At least as a if-we're-both-single-in-five-years backup plan. Adding kids to a bad relationship won't be good for anyone, but if you take the relationship out of the equation, hypothetically it might work.
Honestly, if I were you I wouldn't have children with him. Sorry OP, it's probably not what you want to hear. This is why I think that:
DH and I have the most loving, stable relationship. We support eachother, make eachother laugh, we are absolutely best friends, and the sex is great too. But when we had a baby it was rough. DS didn't sleep at all, still doesn't very well and he's nearly 11 months. I was exclusively breastfeeding and exhausted. My hormones took ages to settle down, leaving me emotional, drained and feeling ill. I got mastitis, blocked ducts and thrush. One morning after being awake all night trying to feed through a swollen, painful boob, my DH got up, made himself breakfast without thinking of me and left for work. Honestly I nearly left him over that alone. After that things got much better, now I'm pregnant again and we're realising there is so much more to parenting together than those early days, and they were hard enough.
He takes DS so that I can nap, without me having to ask him. He always has the energy to play rough and tumble with him, even after a full day at work and a long commute. He then makes us dinner after putting DS to bed. We have the same parenting style meaning that we don't contradict or undermine eachother.
I am also hugely apprehensive about how my body will look after having 2 babies so close together, but I know he will never look at another woman and compare me to her. I have complete trust in his loyalty to me.
I'm not saying this to be smug or to make you feel bad, I hope it doesn't come across that way, my point is that parenthood has thrown up so many things I didn't imagine, and you need to be able to deal with everything together. If you're on shaky ground before you've even begun it's going to be hard.
I wish you luck with whatever you decide.
if you can say 'breed or leave', you don't want to breed with this man.
do you want to use him as a stud for your child/ren then ditch him? possibly bring them up alone? because that is what you'd be doing, so better go into it with your eyes wide open.
it might be that you leave him now, look for someone more 'special' and never find him. what then? childless?
but, being tied into a relationship where you stay with your partner out of pity/for convenience isn't very healthy.
sorry, no conclusions. you're in a difficult position. hope you can find a way through that suits you. put 'you' first. you have to live with yourself for the rest of your life.
children put a massive strain on any relationship I think We still find it hard now (dds 5 and 2). Much of our lives is planned around entertaining them then in the evening one or the other of us does something or we are exhausted.
If things are rocky at the start you are pretty much guaranteed to split up. If you want a baby on your own just get a donor it will be less complicated.
"I know no one can advise this really"
Yeah they can. Please don't have a band-aid baby. If you actually seriously want to try to salvage this try couples counselling.
Sounds like this relationship has run it's course. Breaking up is hard to do but if your hearts not really in it then you know what you have to do
I agree with Quitelikely it sounds like its reaching its natural conclusion. I think this is sometimes the problem with timing and being with someone a very long time before starting a family. Imagine meeting someone at 28/29 and marrying, then a few years later having children. Of course there is nothing about having children that means that the relationship will be a forever relationship, but one might hope that it might at least last for the duration of raising the children.
I might be slightly odd, but for me it was about timing and the knowledge that DP would make an excellent father to the children I wanted to have. I was 29 when we had Ds1. I knew then as I know now, I am not in a forever relationship with the love of my life. But he is caring, supportive, hard working, a brilliant dad, quiet and easy going.
No one can tell you what to do, but 33 is young enough to meet someone else and start again but the longer you leave it, the more the temptation to exchange the "not the love of my life" for another compromise.
Thank you so much for taking the time to reply, everyone. I'm particularly touched by those brave enough to reference their own experience/regrets. Obviously the title of this thread is deliberately tongue in cheek, I don't think of him as a 'breeder'! Though I'm well aware there are time limits on these things and a practical element. I guess I'm just a bit sad because we do love each other. Mini is right, it's a matter of timing more than anything, if I'd met him a couple of years ago I've no doubt I'd be pushing the baby thing right now with passionate abandon. We went through a very loving, excited period at the start I really do feel that we've just moved past each other and got sick of the pains we inflicted along the way.
I guess I'm scared to end it with no good reason and no future romantic prospects at 33. I work in a small, select group that I rarely meet men in. And I know the pain of separating from someone I've spent most of my adult life with will be verging on the unbearable. but then so would having a small child on shaky foundations, I guess.
I know it doesn't seem like that big a problem to have compared to lots of people but it's going round and around my head like a constant sad anxiety stopping me from getting on with my life one way or another or enjoying things. Thanks.
We did counseling by the way, which helped me a bit as I felt much more able to voice things. We noticed how much I tend to feel his emotions for him, which is exhausting for me and kind of annoying for him. He also didn't really want to talk about my affair, but focus on moving positively past it, while I really wanted to talk about it and his own aftermath stuff. In the end I respected his position since I felt he should be able to deal with it how he wants. I suggested we go back recently but we both felt depressed by the idea.
BloodontheTracks I am in a similar predicament, been with my OH 9 years. Except I am 28 (OH 33) and my OH is the one desperate for a baby.
I kind of think we've waited too long if that makes any sense? You know how some couples are only together a year and have a baby straight away, some people say it's too soon, but somehow they muddle through as it's how the relationship starts and they don't know any different?
Perhaps there isn't a right way to do it. If you have a baby really early you probably yearn for all the free, fun years you missed out on.
The one thing I would say, from five years on, heyho, is don't just wait it out like I did. There's no 'new information' to obtain, feel what's in your core and act sooner.
Gut response: leave.
As one poster said upthread, if you can even frame the question "breeding or leaving", your relationship is already dead in the water.
And having a child is (in my experience at any rate) the hardest thing you will ever do - and I'm an old gimmer so my list of other things I've done includes some pretty difficult stuff. Don't get me wrong, it's also the most rewarding, and I love my child to bits. But a weak relationship will not survive the stress of parenthood. (And you can always do parenting alone!)
I am an old gimmer in relationship terms, having been with someone for twenty plus years, in my late thirties. Thoughts at random:
Relationships are funny things - new phases emerge all the time.
Be careful of taking 'find your soulmate' advice from people who may be in the 'loved up' stage themselves.
It is entirely possible to fall wholly out of love with someone, then fall back in love with them - I know that for a fact!
On the other hand you can also reach a point where things are not ideal but there is enough there to sustain you.
Babies are priceless They get a bad press, but they really are!
My advice is to check your fertility status, then you have a better idea of what you are dealing with. Do an ovulation test and look up something called Fertell.
Thanks for the different views and practical advice. I know 'breeding or leaving' is cold, dour name for a thread. I have a very dry sense of humour so I tend to frame things like that even when I have very deep, soft-hearted emotions. Probably not that useful. But I take your point, lurcio. To even be considering leaving a relationship in comparison to having a child with someone is the wrong place to be, emotionally.
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