Dear Viv: Do I leave my partner because he doesn't want a family?

On this week's podcast: what happens when you want marriage and babies but the love of your life doesn’t?

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By Viv Groskop on

Dear Viv,
I write to you for advice and support during a difficult situation I find myself in, I’m a bit lost as the what to do and am sure I’m not alone: I’m 36, I have my own business, I am an auntie to four crazy boys, I have my own little flat, I was single for a long time until last year when I met my boyfriend. He’s 46, separated from his wife 3 years ago, has 3 near-grown up kids, he has a good job, he wants to move to the country and get a black labrador. 

We hit it off instantly. We’re on the same wavelength despite our age difference, we make each other laugh, we enjoy similar things and most importantly we talk. He has an uncanny ability to read people’s emotions and experience, even feel them through hugs. I find it refreshing and however “non-masculine” that may sound, I enjoy conversations at that level. To top it all, we find each other intensely attractive and the sex is full of fun, emotion and passion. For all the failed relationships and boyfriends and frivolity that has been and gone, this time feels different, feels solid and feels right. We fell in love hard. 

We have had to date three conversations about the future: namely babies and marriage. I’ve not even come close to either and I am keen to do both. He has been there and got the scars to prove it, and it is definitely not something he wants to do again. My love for him, or possible naivety, has made me stick around in the hope that he may change his mind, that he’ll realise how great we are for each other and want to build the same vision of the future together, with a ring on it and a baby. At some point, not right this minute, but my doctor has already done the “push push push for it” conversation. 

Yesterday we had our latest chat and he confirmed very strongly that he didn’t need marriage to confirm how he felt for me, having been through it, it’s unnecessary. And regarding babies, he wants his life back and feels like he’s only just starting to do that with me-he doesn’t want to change anything, and babies change everything. I totally understand where he is coming and and why he’d feel like that, but I can’t help but feel it’s a rejection on some level, like I’m not deserved of these very usual and common things people do. 

I’m a mess: everywhere I look are pregnant women, prams, baby showers, weddings, women talking about motherhood, it’s Mother’s Day!.... and I’m on the outside, with no prospects of experiencing that life at the moment. I don’t know what to do, the obvious answer would be to leave him and ‘find someone else’, I was single for such a long time before now, dating and hoping to find the right one is a miserable, messy minefield. I’m older now. Indeed I may not even be able to HAVE children if I started trying.  Most guys I meet are older have baggage from a past life like an ex wife or children.  And I love my boyfriend-heck, it’s the FIRST time my mother has even commented on how happy we are together and how much she likes him, my mother! These things don’t happen every day. 

So here’s my dilemma, I don’t know what to do, I can’t stop crying and my married-mother friends can’t seem to offer anything more than ‘that’s so hard, it must be really difficult, what a shame...’  I’m sure I’m not alone-mid thirties women falling for older man with existing family... but I feel incredibly alone with this, it’s all consuming and I can’t find an answer. 

Please help.

Got a question for Viv? Email her at The Dear Viv podcast airs weekly on The Pool at 5pm on Tuesdays. All letters will be edited for length. Unfortunately Viv cannot reply to your emails personally. 

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