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  1. Kids & Family

Tell Me About It: Her priorities deem his feelings irrelevant

Carolyn Hax is away. In her absence, we are offering columns from her archive.

Q: I have been dating my boyfriend for a year ("officially" together for six months). I am 30 and he is 33. I am acutely aware of my desire to have kids by 35.

I told my boyfriend exactly this, and he said nothing. He reassured me that he cared about me, but said he "didn't know" when I asked how he envisioned his life in five years. He still hasn't told me he loves me (I told him, because I absolutely do).

I also said I want my life to include marriage and kids, and if he and I aren't headed there, then it's pointless.

Do I give him time? Break it off? If we break up in six months because he still "isn't sure," I am going to be really angry and bitter about relationships.

The "Pushy" One

A: Your needs are clear and legitimate and I get it.

I also would get it if he wrote in worried that his girlfriend loves him only as a sperm donor. And while that might not be fair — I obviously have no idea how you fell for each other, why, or how deeply — you have to consider this from his perspective, or else you're not being fair.

Your needs do not trump his feelings. In a loving relationship of equals, his feelings matter as much as your feelings, his needs matter as much as your needs, his preferences matter as much as your preferences, and so on. Even valid priorities can't muscle out the other person's selfhood.

What if you married him and for some reason you couldn't have kids. Would you still be glad you chose him? And since you are openly choosing a father for your kids: Is he a dad you'd want? If you do get married and it doesn't stick, will he be a good ex-husband, a good joint-custodian?

Set your mind to these questions, don't rationalize, and give him room to ponder what's his to ponder about you.