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Dating Triumphs and Tragedies
by Nicole Roberge

Editor's Note: Online Dating Magazine welcomes Nicole Roberge as a new team member. Her weekly column explores Dating Triumphs and Tragedies and how to turn a bad situation into something we can smile about and learn from.

The Kids Issue

“Just so you know…I don’t want children,” he said as I sat across the table from him on our second date. Slightly uncomfortable, and hoping we were just sharing intimate little second-date details of ourselves, I replied, “I once peed on my Aunt.”

He didn’t laugh.

Had I signaled to him that I wanted to talk about the kids issue? Was I giving some subtle body language that just screamed, “Impregnate me!” (If I was, I don’t think that would be a subtle pose). Or did he have a special feature on his watch that also gauged my biological clock?

 

Whatever the case, I wasn’t sure of this sudden revelation. Should I have run away from the table right then and there because it was too much too soon? I didn’t even know if this guy wore boxers or briefs, never mind if I saw a future that entailed children. Or should I instead have been glad that he came clean right away in case things did get serious?

It didn’t matter, because the dating dwindled down to an email or two and then radio static. But he got me thinking, when do you talk about the kids issue? If he hadn’t told me then, and things did get serious, how would I react if he whispered into my ear at the altar, “By the way honey, I don’t want children.” At that point, yes, it’s kind of a big deal. But on a second date? What about a few months in? When is the appropriate time to bring up children, and whether or not you’ll be bearing his?

My best advice would be… not the second date. It wasn’t his preference that got me, but the issue itself. Though I appreciated his honesty, when you barely know anything about a person, revealing something that intense can be intimidating. But on the other hand, don’t let it go too long. If you’re dating for a long time and everything is great, suddenly dropping the bomb that you don’t want children can hinder a relationship, and she, or he, may feel deceived.

There are two ways to deal with this, and they depend on how fast the relationship is moving. If you’re in turbo mode, and you know right away that he or she could be “the one,” then it’s a good idea to bring it up fairly early on. Chances are if you have that much in common that things are moving so quickly, you’ll agree on the baby issue too. But if you are taking things slow and dating casually, not fully committing yourselves too soon, then a few months in should do the trick. You’re still learning about the other person, and it will take time to be on that comfortable level of sharing really intimate details. There’s no need to talk diapers if you’re not ready to change them.

It can be a daunting issue for men, who know that for many women whether a man wants children or not is surely a deal breaker—no matter how much she likes him. So don’t panic if he does ask you too early. Yes, it might catch you off guard, but often times it is a harmless remark or sincere gesture to let you in on his beliefs. But it’s not always about you. I have encountered several men who just couldn’t wait to take little Sammy to his first day of tee ball. Believe it or not, he might be just as excited about children as you are.

If you must know but you’re afraid of how he may react if you ask him too soon, there are subtle ways to bring up the baby issue without sounding too overbearing. For example, if you have nieces or nephews, or friends with kids, work them into conversation. Tell him about them, and see what his response is. His reaction could be an indicator of just how he really feels, and you can easily find out without putting too much pressure on him.

People have been known to change their minds though, so don’t cut him off too soon if your opinions do differ. Even reigning bachelors who once only referred to kids while wooing ladies with stories of their childhood have turned around and embraced the idea of parenthood after they found that special someone.

But remember, once you start talking about your preference of children, along comes another slew of questions—religion, schooling, where you want to raise them, and whether you want to name them after your Great Aunt Agnes or Grandma Beatrice. So make sure you’re prepared before you really jump in. Often times, there’s no turning back.



Dating Triumphs and Tragedies is published every Sunday by Online Dating Magazine columnist Nicole Roberge. She can be reached at NicoleMRoberge@hotmail.com.


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