what: I am a happily married man with three adult children. My son and youngest daughter have children, but my oldest daughter is still single at 37 and I’m afraid she’ll miss the boat to have a family of her own.
Their long relationship ended four years ago and she took it very badly. As far as I know, she hasn’t had a boyfriend since then, but now she doesn’t talk about such things, whereas before she was very open.
She has previously said that she would love to have children one day. She is successful with a well-paying job, but time passes.
I feel like she should consider freezing her eggs before it’s too late, but I have no idea how to broach the subject with her. I have begged my wife and our other daughter to discuss it with her, but have been told it is her business and hers alone.
How can I find someone who will sensitively discuss the issue with her? He would be willing to pay for the entire process of freezing his eggs. It is causing me anxiety and sleepless nights.
She has previously said that she would love to have children one day. She is successful with a well-paying job, but time is passing (file image used)
TO: You are clearly a loving father who is anxious for his daughter and wants the best for her. However, this all-consuming parental love may be making you overprotective and also in danger of being overbearing.
She is 37 years old and still single. I am afraid that she will miss the boat to have children.
Because what I think your wife is trying to tell you (and may not be listening due to her anxiety) is that egg freezing will not necessarily guarantee your daughter’s future happiness.
The success rates of this process are not guaranteed and decrease if the eggs are frozen after the age of 35. It might even increase the pressure on her. It may give her false hope that she might still have children, only to have that hope dashed later.
What if she hasn’t met a new partner yet, say, at 45? Should she go ahead and raise a child alone? I suspect she may be just as anxious about not having a partner or children as you are, and I’m sure she feels her concern.
You might meet someone in the next year or two and still have kids naturally, but you might as well not. The important thing is that you support her no matter what.
Sure, it can be heartbreaking for women—and men—who can’t have children, but it’s not the only path to happiness. It might help to ask her daughter (or have her wife ask you) if the fear of getting hurt again is keeping her from falling in love.
Your fatherly love may be making you overprotective
You could offer to pay for the counseling if you would help with this. But please don’t push her with the kids; I suspect you are already doing it.
I also suggest that you seek counseling to help with your anxiety and insomnia, because your concern for your daughter is affecting your own well-being. Visit mind.org.uk for information on how to find a counselor.
I LOVE HIM BUT I DON’T WANT TO MARRY HIM
what: I am a divorced woman in my 50s with two children in their 20s. My ex-husband, while perfectly nice, was quite old fashioned and I found him stifling. I was young when we got married and we drifted apart.
Two years ago, I met a lovely man who had also been married before. He is kind and funny and most importantly my daughters really like him. However, I have told him that I never want to marry again.
At first he accepted it, but lately he’s been thinking about it and upset, saying that I can’t love him as much as I loved my ex-husband. I know he’s jealous of my ex, but he doesn’t have to be, I love him so much more. How can we solve this?
TO: The solution is to look more closely at the reasons for both positions. I guess it was you who ended your marriage, out of frustration and feeling trapped. Even though he loves his new partner, he is afraid to put himself in a similar situation.
However, I suspect that your new partner was not the one who decided to end your marriage, perhaps it came out of nowhere, or perhaps your ex cheated on you. So this has made it insecure.
He clearly adores you, and because his world has been rocked before, he’s eager to commit, and he’s afraid you won’t. This can be resolved if you explore these feelings together, ideally with couples therapy (relate.org.uk).
One thing to keep in mind is that if you don’t get married but stay together until old age, health or care related issues may arise.
Making decisions about these matters could be more complicated because they would not be considered next of kin. It sounds great so I hope they stay together.
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