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Me (31f) and my boyfriend (30m) have been together for 4 years. I feel dissatisfied in the relationship but I’m not sure if that qualifies as a reason to leave. There’s nothing wrong with him but we’ve been fighting more and more and I just feel restless. My best friends keep hinting that I should break it off but I don’t think they’re taking my concerns seriously. I want a family and breaking up with someone who’d be a good dad seems like too big a gamble. Should I stay or should I go? – Stacey
Whoo boy. This was me. My boyfriend was sweet and kind and so boring that I took up weightlifting just to feel something. I wanted to go but felt embarrassed and ungrateful. My friends, no matter where they landed, just couldn’t grasp what my issue was. I stayed until I could stay no more.
Granted, I was in my mid 20s and not thinking about kids. I’m not going to lie to you, Stacey, that is a big big thing and I’m proud of you for thinking ahead. Here are some things to think about.
Talk to the guy
This is so obvious, but if you haven’t already, ask him this question. See how he feels. Are there things you can work on together, or do you both get the sense that it’s time to call it? It doesn’t have to happen in one agonizing conversation – just keep the words flowing.
Having a baby does not mean staying together forever
As a child of divorce, I can safely tell you that divorce is good for kids. Disruptive? Yes. Challenging? Absolutely. Ultimately good? You betcha. Except in the most extreme cases, you will stay connected with your ex and co-parent together. That might mean staying in the same city, but not the same house.
Fertility information is power
When it comes to baby making abilities, one woman’s 31 is completely different to another woman’s 31. Look at your family history, ask your relatives about their fertility experiences and, if you can afford it, get your fertility tested. There are so many ways to make a baby and make a family. Arm yourself with intel and think about what works best for you and your body.
Your happiness matters
In your letter you talk a lot about your future happiness. Would you be unhappy if you stay? Would you be unhappy if you don’t get to be a parent? I invite you to value your happiness in this moment. Life isn’t something that happens to us later, it’s happening now. If you choose to leave, then forge ahead knowing that you chose yourself.
As for what happens next, I’m willing to bet that if you want a new partner you can find one. Did you know that, statistically, 100% of women are amazing? Take yourself on a beach vacation (psst… crowdfund it with a Divorcist cash fund!), download that app, and see just how in demand you are.
Sorry I can’t give you a yes/no answer, Stace. All I can say is that we’re here for you no matter what.
Time to say goodbye!
Let him go. This will result in one of the following. Maybe more than one of the following:
- He’ll realize what he had and beg you to take him back and yes, he’s finally ready to make that commitment
- You’ll meet someone perfect: Your independent self
- You’ll find a new partner who is better suited for the position than your ex
- You’ll realize that what you had with your ex was your happy place, all along and get back together with him
Girl, it’s a win-win-win situation, I promise. Break ups are brutal but they almost always make you better. You’ll learn what you really want and who you really are. You’ve been half of a couple for a significant portion of your adult life. Go on and see what you can do on your own. I bet you’ll love it.
As for the baby business? You can do that on your own, too! Consider all the ways, as Eliza said, to make a family, and never settle for anything less than your happiness.
Disclaimer: Divorcist staff are not licensed therapists and this column does not take the place of talking to a trained professional.