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DS38 won't/can't commit to his long term DP and she wants a break

(65 Posts)
nunnun Mon 14-Sep-20 12:29:57

My DS has been with his partner for five years. She wants to start a family but he says he isn't ready to commit to that. They've discussed it and she's told him that she wants a break from the relationship to decide what to do. He's told me he feels 'very, very down'. He's recently started a new job living in London, earning good money but in a career that he dislikes, while she's remained in their home eighty miles way. He's texted me this morning and wants to talk to me but I don't know how to advise him. It's not just the issue of their relationship, but the fact that he seems to have a fear of commitment to anything or to anyone and is getting depressed about how his 'life has turned out' (his words).

What can I do or say to support him?

OP’s posts: |
MMmomDD Mon 14-Sep-20 12:40:17

I suppose you can tell him to see someone and chat to a professional about his feeling down. As it does seem like a bit of a depression.

Objectively his life has turned out quite well though? He’s got a gf who wants him, a house, a well paid job. Etc.
It’s not atypical for men in that age group to feel scared of commitment and resistant to growing up and making a decision.
And often they do it only when faced with a prospect of losing their relationship.

I think your son needs less of ‘support’ and more of the ‘grow up and be a man’ sort of conversation. He doesn’t have to commit to his gf if he isn’t sure. But he does need to make a decision and either let her go or be all in. If she is the same age as he is - she doesn’t have much time to waste waiting for him to make up his mind. And if he isn’t sure after 5 years - he never will be.

SoulofanAggron Mon 14-Sep-20 12:41:11

I would suggest he talks to his GP about his depression.

The relationship/issues about having a family are to an extent separate from that. How old is his partner? If she's also 388 she doesn't have the luxury of risking waiting any longer to try and start a family. If they wait another couple of years (if he's even up for it then) it does happen but her chances or carrying a baby to term will be quite low.

SoulofanAggron Mon 14-Sep-20 12:42:21

If I were her, I might feel he's wasted my time, 5 of her fertile years she will never get back, when she could've been with someone who didn't waste her time.

NHT32 Mon 14-Sep-20 12:42:25

I think you can listen and offer support and guidance if asked. you can’t solve the issue though. That’s for he and his partner to sort out.

ButteryPuffin Mon 14-Sep-20 12:47:08

I'm sympathetic to her to be honest. He has to recognise that if he's not ready, that's his choice, but it's also her choice to take a step back and possibly move on. Would he pay to see a counsellor to talk it through?

Dery Mon 14-Sep-20 12:54:41

"I think your son needs less of ‘support’ and more of the ‘grow up and be a man’ sort of conversation. He doesn’t have to commit to his gf if he isn’t sure. But he does need to make a decision and either let her go or be all in. If she is the same age as he is - she doesn’t have much time to waste waiting for him to make up his mind. And if he isn’t sure after 5 years - he never will be."

This. He needs to realise that his window of opportunity for having children is much greater than hers - in all likelihood, he could comfortably father children into his 50s and quite possibly beyond, whereas if she is a similar age to him, her fertility window may already be on the brink of closing. The truth is that if, at age 38 and 5 years into the relationship, he can't commit to having children with her, then he needs to let her leave and find someone who will.

I'm glad she's told him she wants a break. If you're a regular MN user, you will know that if she had posted about his ongoing hesitation, we would be advising her to cut him loose or risk having her window for children close only to have him leave her 10 years from now and start a family with a younger woman. Which happens quite often.

As to how his life has turned out - as PP said: it sounds like it's turned out pretty well but he's only 38 and hopefully still has many decades left in which to adjust his course if he feels he's going wrong. He may just assume everyone else is way more comfortable and certain about where they find themselves and where they're going than they actually are. Most of us make wrong turnings in various aspects of life at various times (in my experience, the most painful mistakes often turn into the most useful life lessons) and most of us have things we would do differently in retrospect (hindsight being 20/20 and all that).

ivfbeenbusy Mon 14-Sep-20 12:55:18

Tell him he needs to grow out of his Peter Pan complex - he is 38 not 28 - he's a grown man - if his girlfriend is a similar age it's not fair of him to string her along if she wants children one day. If she's 38 she will already more than likely face struggles TTC

potter5 Mon 14-Sep-20 12:58:05

Yep, if he can't settle down now then he needs to let her go.

KatherineJaneway Mon 14-Sep-20 12:58:16

He needs to do some soul searching and really understand what he wants out of life. Ask himself why is he in a career that he dislikes.

His partner clearly wants to get married and have a family. After 5 years together it should not be a surprise to him so maybe he has been hiding his head in the sand. It is fine if that is not what he wants, but he has to respect that his partner and he do not want the same things so splitting up is the only way forwards.

I think counselling would be beneficial to him.

LemonTT Mon 14-Sep-20 13:09:58

At 38 he knows he doesn’t want a family. He is just not ready to admit that because he selfishly wants to keep his GF. She doesn’t want that. The relationship is over. If he is more than sad then yes get medical treatment. But he should expect to be sad. He shouldn’t have children if he doesn’t want them.

nunnun Mon 14-Sep-20 13:12:30

She is only 25, so she does on the face of it have plenty of time, but after five years in their relationship she feels she's ready to start a family. She's very sensible and I love her dearly and I'm gutted that he's hurting her like this. I have told him my feelings previously when a similar crisis has come around but I don't want to be too hard on him because I'm worried about him.

OP’s posts: |
rookiemere Mon 14-Sep-20 13:17:21

I think you need to ask him where he sees himself in 5 years time.
It's absolutely fine to not want a permanent commitment or DCs, but he needs to decide if that's actually what he chooses or is it the default path of least resistance.

Probably not deliberate, but interesting that his GF is so much younger - almost as if he picked her on the basis that he wouldn't have to face this issue for a long while .

Dery Mon 14-Sep-20 13:17:59

Well, from the perspective of her ability to have children, it's a relief that she's only 25 but I find it odd that a 32 yo man was dating a 20 yo. That suggests a reluctance to grow up and I'm wondering if he deliberately chose someone so much younger to avoid making these kinds of decisions.

RB68 Mon 14-Sep-20 13:19:07

I actually think you can only listen and ask the right questions.

What they are we might never know but it is more about him than her and he runs the risk of having a life without her and not actually getting tot he bottom of what his issue is and being able to sort it out

Too many with the Peter Pan Complex these days - never growing up

ravenmum Mon 14-Sep-20 13:19:34

He's not "hurting her" by being honest and not drifting into fatherhood without reflection. He's being sensible and responsible. She might be sad, but that's because of the situation, not because he's doing anything bad.

What do you think he should do (not that that is relevant to his decision)? Have a child with her that he doesn't want?

Batshitbeautycosmeticsltd Mon 14-Sep-20 13:21:06

He needs to let her go.

TwentyViginti Mon 14-Sep-20 13:21:40

Dery

Well, from the perspective of her ability to have children, it's a relief that she's only 25 but I find it odd that a 32 yo man was dating a 20 yo. That suggests a reluctance to grow up and I'm wondering if he deliberately chose someone so much younger to avoid making these kinds of decisions.

Good point. Now he's being pushed to grow up, and it's causing him stress.

alreadytaken Mon 14-Sep-20 13:22:09

You need to find out why he is not ready to commit to his girlfriend. Where is his father, is he afraid he'll be rubbish at it? Did he feel responsible for splitting up his parents? Does he have siblings or friends who are married with children?

turnitonagain Mon 14-Sep-20 13:24:21

Her age is the answer OP. He began a relationship with a 20 year old hoping not to have to be faced with issues of having children and settling down further.

Support your son emotionally but be honest with him. If he doesn’t want what she wants he should end it and let her move on. But he needs to ask himself if his chances of finding a new partner who either doesn’t have or doesn’t want children are all that great as he approaches 40.

ravenmum Mon 14-Sep-20 13:32:25

He'll soon have a whole new set of potential partners who don't want any more children; at 40, say, some might even have children that he doesn't need to take care of in any way.

Does he want children at all? Why is he sad about his life?

FourTeaFallOut Mon 14-Sep-20 13:33:19

Mostly people don't come looking for advice. Mostly people want you to listen and approve their point of view. If he doesn't want to move the relationship further, then that's up to him and if she wants to leave, then that's up to her. It really is lack of honesty that causes the most damage. All of this would be a hundred times worse if he plays the game for the sake of a peaceful life and then, in a handful of years, you have a small child baring the brunt of cowardly adults.

Sakurami Mon 14-Sep-20 13:33:50

He started a relationship with a 20 year old when he was 33?? And now he doesn't know what he wants at 38?

My advice to her would be to leave him and to him to grow up and make a decision. If he doesn't want a family maybe he should start dating a 50 year old?

ravenmum Mon 14-Sep-20 13:36:10

Or maybe he does know what he wants, but it is not what OP wants, and he finds it hard to be honest with her in case she is disappointed?

AmICrazyorWhat2 Mon 14-Sep-20 13:41:05

I agree with @rookiemere. Ask him to think about where he sees himself in 5 and 10 years. If he can’t visualize having a family, he needs to let his gf find someone who does want children.

If he’s no happy with his life right now, coming up with some long term plans might help him to move in the right direction- but it could be without his gf.

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