Ask Amy: A husband grapples with his wife’s child-free choice

Dear Amy: My wife and I have been married for 13 years. We both recently turned 40.

Before getting married, she had always expressed wanting to have two kids. I wanted that, too!

We put this off for a few years to gain a good financial standing.

Her younger sister had two children, and the inevitable questions started flying regarding when we would have kids.

It was mostly a question that I regarded as rude, so I did not answer it.

Over the years, my wife has gone from saying: “We have dogs” to “We don’t want kids,” with no conversation ever occurring between us about it because she regularly avoided that talk.

In more recent times, she has told others that we don’t have kids because I don’t want them, which could not be further from the truth.

She is now set that she is too old to have children, and bringing up the idea of adoption gets scoffed at because she believes that these kids are “problems.” She has said extremely derogatory things about adoption.

This has caused a huge rift in our marriage, and I don’t know if it’s capable of being fixed because she is unwilling to go to couples counseling, meet with adoption agencies to actually get factual info, or discuss it.

Am I being unreasonable to think that her shift in thinking, with no conversation about it, is unfair to me?

— Childless Husband

Dear Husband: First, to address your wife’s attitude toward children who are available for adoption: She’s wrong.

She obviously does not want to be a parent. She may be putting all sorts of phony roadblocks across the path to parenthood, but the answer is clear.

Your wife refuses to address any deeper issues, attempt to work this out, or even discuss this with you.

This is an extremely important and primary issue. The way this is resolved will affect the rest of your life in profound ways.

I strongly suggest that you find a counselor for yourself. Reviewing your history and disclosing your deep feelings about this with a neutral and compassionate person will be challenging, and very helpful.

Single men can foster and adopt children. This is legal throughout the country, and although it is still relatively rare (compared to single women adopting), if your marriage collapses on this issue, I urge you to look into adoption.

Dear Amy: I am a 32-year-old woman. I spent my 20s in a serious long-term relationship.

After we split, I took a couple of years to “sow my wild oats” and to find out who I am without him.

Now I’m looking for something more than “friends with benefits.” However, the last few men I’ve met and gone on dates with, as wholesome as they seemed on online dating sites (since that’s been my main way of meeting men), these men were really just looking for hookups.

I want to find a life partner. I’ve been chatting with a great guy I met online and we have a date scheduled for later this week. But I’m nervous that we’ll meet and he’ll just expect more than a date. I’m over that. Like I said, I want an actual relationship.

Can you give me some advice on what to do or say on a first or second date to help move it in that direction without scaring the guy away?

— Starting Over

Dear Starting Over: Mainly, I suggest doing a lot of listening. As you’ve no doubt already experienced, people tend to reveal themselves (and their intent) when you finally meet in person.

It is valid to ask someone outright what they are looking for. If they are fresh out of a relationship, they may be in their own phase of oats-sowing.

You might say that you are looking for a long-term committed relationship. The only phrase I can think of that first or second date prospects might find “scary,” is if you refer to “the tick tock of my fertile womb.”

Otherwise, if guys are scared by your own sincere intentions, then it’s best that you know early. Onward!

Dear Amy: “Exhausted” reported that on Thanksgiving night, she received a lengthy email from a “woke” friend attacking the concept of Thanksgiving, ruining it for her.

Thank you for saying, “If merely learning someone else’s views ruins your holiday, then you should re-examine your holiday.”

— A Fan

Dear Fan: People who are entrenched in their own views often find it exhausting to recognize that others are entrenched in theirs.

(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)

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