No child, left behind
I am a 35-year-old man married for six years to a 40-year-old woman. My wife has fertility problems. We tried in-vitro fertilization, but no luck. I love my wife, and I would love to have biological children. My parents suggested adoption, but I am not comfortable with that. My friends and one of my doctors think that I am under too much stress. They say that if my desire to have my own child is so strong, I should get a divorce and move ahead in life. I know this will hurt my wife. She will be left alone. I don’t know what to do.
Do nothing until you are clear about the right action. You will know you have arrived at that decision because it will be something that honors everyone and harms none. In the meantime, consider your marriage vows. If your oath of commitment included a willingness to persevere “in sickness and in health,” understand that you are being called to live it. Yearning for a biological child creates an atmosphere of emptiness in the home and heart. The body is struggling with the impact of testing, and the emotions are fighting fears of failure. It is a period of physical and emotional sickness that cries out for tenderness and support, not abandonment. So treat your wife tenderly during this time. Treat yourself sweetly, too.
A strong preference to have children containing your own genetic markers may reveal your attachment to biology, not humanity. Infertility problems can be an opportunity to align your life with spiritual beliefs. For example, if all humans are related as one family connected by a power greater than ourselves, all children are our children.
Another belief to challenge is that getting married and having children are signs of a life well-lived. If children are symbols of success to you, consider reinventing the concept of success as an experience based on how truthful, trustworthy and loving you are in any circumstance.
If you fear adopting a child because of the potential for unexpected emotional or physical issues, remember that the same problems can arise with your own child. Finally, confront the relentless anguish of feeling torn between your wife and your desire to have a biological child. You must be honest with yourself and determine if your intensity to produce a biological child is simply a way to avoid facing real problems in your marriage or in yourself.
It’s been 10 years since high school, but my high-school sweetheart and I kept in touch. We both just ended long-term relationships and are now having a great time with each other and with friends. I’m scared because my old feelings for him are returning. I know he only cares about me as a friend. He’s the only guy I’ve ever known who makes me feel alive and happy. Would it be a mistake to tell him my feelings and risk losing the best friendship I have had with any man? Or should I cut my losses and stop seeing him altogether?
Warning! Warning! Emotions on overload! Perhaps this is a repeat of your high-school breakup. Or maybe your perspective is residue from your last long-term relationship. Either way, you’re in no shape to share your feelings with your guy because you have too many right now. Whew! I suggest that you question the idea that he is the only man who makes you feel alive and happy. You’ve tuned your iPod to high school: a sweetheart, friends and a sense that anything is possible. You’re the one with the power. Don’t give it away.