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Ask Aunty Pam

Ask Aunt Pam

 

I’ve been going out with J for nearly two years now and we get along great. We’re both in our late 20s and enjoy doing a lot of things together: hiking, running, sushi!
About six months ago, I brought up the topic of our future, in terms of a life-long commitment, and he said that the thought of being married to me was ‘very nice,’ and he could see us getting married in the future.
Aunty Pam, I would like to get married and start a family. I’ve always wanted children and J is my dream man in all respects. When I bring it up, he usually says something like, “We’ve got plenty of time,” etc. How can I get him to nail down a date?
Getting Desperate

Dear GD,

Child, you might want to glance at your moniker again. There is nothing more off-putting then giving off even a whiff of desperation when it comes to ’nailing down’ a commitment. Regardless of how subtle you think you might appear, how valid you are in your request, you still will come across like a quivering dog under the dinner table, poised, trembling, begging for the tiniest morsel of hope.
I get it. You want to get married. NOW. And start popping out kids like Jiffy Pop. That’s a lot for a young man to sign on for. Because life is not a soft focus, romantic commercial for Osh Kosh toddler clothes.

Having children means that for the next 18 years there will never be a decision that can ever be about just him. Or you. It has to be what’s best for the kids: the kind of vehicle you drive, the new house near a good school, 2:00 a.m. feedings on zero sleep and the shock of seeing the expense of a month’s supply of diapers. That can be quite a bit of stress for someone who isn’t besotted with the idea of having children and happily ready to make any and all sacrifices to raise functional, well mannered, responsible human beings. It’s just the way people are. Some people can’t wait to get married and raise a family and some people would rather slam their fingers in the car door. Which is why Aunty Pam will never be able to play guitar.
Look, I know ‘almost two years’ seems like a long time for you. But in the grand scheme of things, ‘almost two years’ isn’t much time at all to really know someone. You’re still pretty much in the honeymoon phase—you haven’t even started taking each other for granted, yet, for heaven’s sake. You need to be together much longer, in my opinion, to really, really get to inspect all the potential abscesses and fractured molars in the mouth of any gift horse.

How do you cope together when life throws a curve ball and one of you loses a job? Or gets passed over for promotion? Are you truly there for one another when there is a family emergency, a death of a loved one, or a serious surgery? When differences arise how do you both argue? Does J hold a grudge for days? Do you? Is he fair? Has he ever descended into name calling when angry, or worse? Is he emotionally generous? And most importantly, does he respect your opinion even if he disagrees?
Aunty Pam sincerely hopes J is the right guy for all your happily ever afters. Just remember that J has to feel the same way. At the end of the day, do you really want to marry someone you have to pressure to ’nail down a date’ and drag down the aisle like a pack mule? Wouldn’t you rather marry someone who is clearly head over heels with you and can’t wait to carry you over the threshold of his renovated farmhouse in the Loire Valley?

The French have a saying, “In every relationship there is one who kisses and one who is kissed.” Perhaps pour a soupcon of Chenin Blanc and chew on that.
Cheers, dear!

Aunty Pam