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What's more important in life...

(33 Posts)
importantinlife Wed 03-Nov-04 19:50:40

...having children or having a fantastic relationship?
I've been pondering this question because my friend and I seem to totally disagree on this - this may partly be due to the fact that I already have children and she doesn't.
She has had an on/off relationship with a very difficult man for ten years now. About a year ago they split up and she had an affair with another guy, who was totally different to her ex in that he worshipped the ground she was walking on, wanted to commit to her etc... but she let him go and is now trying to sort things out with her ex again, while getting nowhere fast. She's 32 and I'm worried that she'll spend so much time doing this that she might miss out on having children, which would be devastating for her. But she says that he is the love of her life and that that is the most important thing.
I, on the other hand, have been with dh for 10 years now. We are happy, but not ecstatically so - we don't really have the same interests, just the same values and goals in life - the children are everything to us, and that's our main common ground. (I changed my name, by the way, as I wouldn't want dh to read this.) I know that he is faithful, dependable and a good provider. Some people might feel that what I have is not enough, that you should keep looking for your soulmate. But I feel that I'd rather have this relationship and have children and the life I have than hold out for something else while possibly ending up childless.
I know it's a very personal choice, but I was just wondering if there were people out there who feel like me?

zebra Wed 03-Nov-04 19:56:23

Doesn't actually sound like your friend has a fantastic relationship at all with this chap, to be honest!!

I think it's an annoying Hollywood myth that "True Love solves everything", and "True Love is worth waiting for", etc. Sometimes you can definitely love someone with all your heart, but that doesn't mean you can build a happy life and future together.

And otherwise, I think people will always prefer what they currently have.

motherinferior Wed 03-Nov-04 19:58:44

I agree the relationship doesn't sound fabulous, quite apart from children. But I also think that at least she does have time on her side - honestly, it may not seem so to you, but 32 isn't that old.

Sounds to me like she's hooked on the rollercoaster. Been there, done that. Climbed off only just in the nick of time to opt for something rather steadier.

importantinlife Wed 03-Nov-04 20:01:37

The thing is, my friend believes that everything will be fabulous once they have worked their way through their "issues."
I think her bloke is beyond redemption.
I know 32 isn't that old, but so many things can go wrong when trying for a baby...
and if it doesn't work out with this guy then she'll need time to find a replacement!

Angeliz Wed 03-Nov-04 20:04:11

importantinlife, you sound like me!!!
Dp and i don't have the fireworks or butterflys in stomache or anything but he's a good dad, a good partner and i love him and he loves me.
That reading from Captain Corelli's Mandolin was read at a freinds wedding a few months ago and it is SO true!
Someone said not so long ago,(on t.v i think), imagine when you're very old and you're sitting on a bench with your husband/partner, who do you see?
I can't see anyone but DP there!!

Tinker Wed 03-Nov-04 20:04:28

But you can't worry for your friend about her life really. Maddening though it might be to watch, there's not really a lot you can do about it. Doubt she's very happy though in the relationship - regardless of whether she wants kids or not.

Twigless Wed 03-Nov-04 20:06:07

I think 'true love' is the love you feel for your children

I've been there on the passionate roller-coster .. the ups were great (the downs made the ups seem better and at least they made good dining out stories)

Your friend is kidding herself if she thinks they will 'work through their issues' .. this is their relationship .. the ups and downs

I am far far happier with my lovely, solid, dependable DH and our children than the 2 men I thought at the time were the 'loves of my life' ..

Kayleigh Wed 03-Nov-04 20:06:35

at the end of the day it's her life. And if you are a good friend you'll let her make her own mistakes and be there to pick up the pieces at the end without an "I told you so".

It's great you care about her. But you can't make her decisions for her.

Angeliz Wed 03-Nov-04 20:07:34

Totally agree with Twigless about love, REAL unconditional love is what i feel for my dd, she's part of me.

Twigless Wed 03-Nov-04 20:11:10

hey angeliz .. you still haven't explained why you thought I'd changed my name to bonkerz

SenoraPostrophe Wed 03-Nov-04 20:13:45

Dear god, who would really want all that roller-coaster relationship butterflies stuff all the time?

I think the idea of a "soul mate" is a media con - surely a relationship is better if you don't have too many interests in common? Dh and I have a few things, but it would be boring if we were too much alike. In fact I always think that people in relationships who are very alike bring out the worst in each other. People who are in relationships like the one between you and your dh can grow together and will be much stronger as a result.

Angeliz is right - we had the captain Corelli reading too - see the thread called wedding reading (not too cheesy).

On the other hand, it's her life. I would bet a lot of money that those issues will never be sorted, but she'll find that out for herself eventually. 32 isn't that old.

Angeliz Wed 03-Nov-04 20:15:42

No idea, you just popped in my head!!!

Angeliz Wed 03-Nov-04 20:16:34

SP, i saw your thread today that's why the reading was fresh in my head. LOVELY pics

nightowl Thu 04-Nov-04 01:32:04

ive written several posts here, they were all mixed up rubbish so i will just say that i dont know or understand what love is anymore. i dont know whether "the one" is the "stable mr right who looks after me" or if he is the "mr right for me but probably not perfect and not right in anybody else's eyes" is he the one you truly want or is he the one you should be with? i only know that my kids are the most wonderful thing i could ever have and that im happy to have them and no man. it doesnt bother me one bit anymore because im bringing up two wonderful little people. that doesnt answer anything i know! (and its still mixed up rubbish..oh well )

Chandra Thu 04-Nov-04 01:51:17

Importantinlife, I have not read the full thread (basically just your first post so appologies if you have discussed this). Not all women dream with being a mother, many don't care about being not being able to have children if they wait for too long. I have many friends who are in long term relationships (married or living together for 10-15 years) and the idea of having children is not tempting to them. I know children are marvelous, I worship my DS but, to be honest, I only found it was great to be a mother at the moment I became one.

On the other hand, what do you think is the best option, to have children with somebody you don't feel like spending your life with, or think a little in the prospective future of those hypothetical children and wait until you find somebody who can be a great partner and a *suspected* great dad? I think the last option is more generous, is already difficult to deal with all issues of parenthood when you are (or at least were) sure that the person sleeping next to you was the person you thought would fit the bill?

importantinlife Thu 04-Nov-04 08:43:05

The reason I worry so much about my friend, chandra, is that she has tears in her eyes every time she talks about having babies. She would be devastated if she never had children, I think.
I have another friend who is the same age and also in man trouble, but I don't worry so much about her as she seems more fulfilled by her career and social life. I think she will be happy to have children, but could cope if it doesn't happen.
The thing is - is the man who inspires such great passion in my friend really the man to have children with? He's interesting, certainly, has many diverse interests, but these also take up a lot of his time and energy - maybe not great either when you have children...
The person to have children with might be the more boring type who will be around.

aloha Thu 04-Nov-04 09:45:34

I fell madly in love with my dh at the age of 35 - very passionate and romantic. I have a three year old son and in February, all being well, we'll have a daughter. I also have a 13-year-old stepdaughter, so a lovely, lovely family of which I am hugely proud and no compromises. I do think I got a bit more focussed in my early thirties about what I wanted out of life, which may have made my dh even more attractive to me, as he also wanted more children. Sometimes we can simply be late bloomers! Having said that, I do have two friends who *may* have left it too late to have children, but one I think would never have found it easy/possible and the other is more than glad just to have found a really good man to marry and she says that a baby would be icing on the cake for her, not the whole cake. In short, we are all different!

aloha Thu 04-Nov-04 09:48:57

Also, I was once told by a pyschologist that I was interviewing that it's rarely a good idea to think about the 'perfect man' for you, but instead think about what kind of *relationship* you would like, which will lead you to the kind of man who will make you happy. I thought that made quite a lot of sense.

BeckiF Thu 04-Nov-04 10:28:56

When I first met my dp nearly 7 years ago I said that I would rather have a fabulous childless relationship than have a baby in an unhappy relationship. At the time this was true, but as time has gone on we both agree that a child (or hopefully several!) would add something more to our relationship. We have been through tough times, and I think that you have to to get to the good bits, and for them we are stronger and more positive that we belong together. Again I'm lucky in that I adore hime more than I did 7 years ago and am safe and sound in the knowledge that no-one could possible love me and cherish me more, and likewise.

listmaker Thu 04-Nov-04 10:32:50

I spent years with unsuitable men who I fancied like mad but were no good for me in the long term. I even had 2 dds with the last one and have been on my own for 4.5 years since!

But I think I'm finally learning and your last post about the psychologist made great sense Aloha. I have recently met someone who would never have been my type years ago but I would totally have the right sort of relationship with him. I'm not totally 100% crazy about him but I really, really like him and think he could grow on me and give me the sort of life I want now for me and my 2 dds so I'm really happy with it abd am determined not to bottle it!

As to the original point of this thread, as others have said you can only give gentle advice and be there to listen and pick up the pieces for your friend. Some people take a long time to see sense (I'm 40!!). Luckily I did have my kids along the way. If I'd missed that I would have been devastated.

fio2 Thu 04-Nov-04 10:34:41

I think you can have both tbh but i think even if you have the great wild relationship, things do change when you have children. your relationship changes.

I do love my kids more than husband though hope he doesnt read this. maybe i love them the same but it is a different kind of love isnt it?

johnnydeppsmistress Thu 04-Nov-04 11:59:20

HI importantinlife! I found your thread really interesting as I started a similar-ish thread on soulmates recently. I am in a very similar situation to yourself. I am married to a lovely man with 2 fantastic kids who I would not be without for the world.... but I could easily be without my man! He has all the qualities which your man has but over the years we have grown apart (although he is oblivious to this). We have never been soulmates, I suppose I let things get too deep and just stayed with him. I yearn for a soul-mate and feel that what I have is NOT enough. But what do you do - carry on until the kids are older or split up and disrupt your kids' life for your own selfishness? I don't know - I am still pondering this one. On the other hand, personal happiness is what life is all about and life is so short.... who knows?! Any more thoughts, anyone?

ks Thu 04-Nov-04 12:07:32

Message withdrawn

welshmum Thu 04-Nov-04 12:16:49

I've forgotten which religion it is but isn't there one that speaks about true happiness being the absence of desire - not sexual desire but constant striving for something outside ourselves.
When I met my dh I fell head over heels with him but this has now changed, broadened and deepened into a completely different kind of love. There are no butterflies or rollercoasters anymore but I don't want that either, I want something more reassuring, reliable, something that surrounds me and makes me feel warm and safe. He does all this and is an excellent dad to dd.
I'm trying to measure happiness differently now. In little moments of connection with him, dd, family and friends, neighbours, nature etc.
I feel much better for it, less discontent, warmer inside.
I wouldn't call it settling for less but choosing different.

JoolsToo Thu 04-Nov-04 12:21:46

welshmum said it beautifully - an enduring love is what we need -
imo you can have both - I've got fantastic children and a fantastic relationship (32 years and still going strong despite some bad times we've had)

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