My boyfriend has changed his mind and now wants children | Dear Mariella

Mariella Frostrup admonishes a woman of 22 not to acquire her psyche up hitherto about becoming a parent

The predicament I’ve been with my lover for three years, and recently he has decided he requires teenagers when before we both shared vistums on not craving them. He guesses occasion will change my thought( “he il be” 31 and I am 22 ), but I know myself. I am ready for every other big step in life- get a house with him, getting married- both of which “hes not” showed he requires. I want to believe I will change my brain, but I’m afraid it will then be too late for him to have children. I’m scared he’ll resent me if I don’t given a newborn. And worse, I feel I will resent him if I do. Any admonition? I don’t want to leave him, but I’m afraid it’s the more responsible decision. No problem how much it will hurt .

Mariella responds Whoa, steady on! This really isn’t as calamitous as you are able to envisage, and there’s certainly no need for immediate action. That said, you’ve presented me with a most sophisticated situation than is immediately evident. In lonelines, the child problem may appear momentous, but it’s actually more of a distraction. You are scarcely out of your teens and have years ahead of you which could be used to reflect your alternatives on parenting. It would be peculiar if you two are champing at the bit to get on with reproduction when merely 22 years old.

When it comes to breeding, we’re evolving into late starters , not least because with increasing lifelines we cling on to the distractions of youth for much longer. There are plenty of debates about best available time to become a mother and, although leaving it too late is a bad idea, very little of the proofs weigh up on the side of extreme youth.

Working out who you are and what the hell are you want to achieve is obviously more easily embarked on without the responsibility of heightening small children. But don’t shape the error of acquiring what you feel now is what you will feel forever.

Adaptability is a key characteristic as we move through life. Imagine how boring “it wouldve been” if your opinions, your psychology and your appearance were determined in perpetuity by the age of 20. We would be little better than robots! At your age you may be in a minority in acknowledging you don’t want a child at all. But I’d wager you’re in the majority of young women who’d prefer to defer until they’ve had time to enjoy unfettered freedom.

As I said at the outset, I can’t help feeling this isn’t about current realities of parenting. Your boyfriend is hurling down a challenge and you need to work out why and what it is. In the absence of proposals for cohabitation or similar commitments for the long term, this child business seems to be a red herring. Why does he want to highlight an impasse that exists between you at a time when it’s truly not relevant? It may be he doesn’t understand that having a baby is ideally an evolutionary phase in a committed relation , not something you pick off the shelf in passing.

You’ve been together three years now without any of the groundwork for future developments being laid out as far as you describe it. Is there all opportunities that your boyfriend is actively trying to move you reconsider the relationship by pushing you on something he knows you can’t agree to? It would be a classic coward’s way out of discussing the more general misgivings he may be experiencing.

He wants an answer and it’s either because he can’t considering whether to bind himself to you further, or “re looking for a” catalyst to escape blamelessly. Either direction, it’s you “whos had” the choice. If he wants promises about a future you can’t yet envisage, you either forge ahead with a deadline in a few years for a final judgment on parenting, or consent now that on this important issue you will most likely remain unreconciled.

Obviously, you can’t even ponder having a child until the future prospects of your partnership were members of those discussions, and your tenacity not to have one will affect how far they are able to espouse a long-term relationship. I’d be invited to believe not only about the personal freedom that being unencumbered by a child has to offer, but also how much life might open up if you were being persuaded into making very adult decisions while still in the sampling period of your life.

I’d certainly set my paw down about further babe talk until you’ve created the infrastructure to sustain such a momentous decision. If it’s unfettered freedom you’re after, I’d likewise consider the pros and cons of your current relation. It can devour as much of your time and vitality as “childrens and” be much less rewarding.

You are young, with a zest for life, and can move through the world unencumbered in the knowledge “theres been” spate of opportunities to add constraints as time inexorably moves on. And what a perfect time of the year to opt for reinvention!

If you have a dilemma, send a brief email to mariella.frostrup @observer. Follow her on Twitter @mariellaf1

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