So I guess its over now?
May 17, 2013 11:52 AM   Subscribe

How to deal with heartbreak and the logistics of 'what next?'.

So I guess I broke up with my boyfriend yesterday. I'm 34 (he's 31) and we've been together 3 years, lived together a year and a half.
Basically, a few days ago I asked him if it was possible that we could get married in a year and try for a baby shortly after. He said he was not ready to think about babies, even a year from now, and is pretty sure he never wants to get married, citing his parents divorce gave him a negative view of marriage. I can deal with never getting married, but his reluctance to consider a kid with me just tears me apart. I feel like he'd be an AMAZING dad, but if we wait until he's ready I may be too old to become a mom. I asked if he'd consider adoption if it came to that, and he turned angry and adamant that he is not in a place to even think about it. I cried and said that I would have to leave him then, because I don't think I can stay with him if it means burying my dream of motherhood.
He cried and asked why can't I be happy with just him. I don't know why, and maybe I'm making a mistake (am I?) but it just feels like something is missing.

So now what? Adding to the colossal disappointment we are both feeling, now we have to separate all our things and someone needs to move out of the place we love.
Am I the one who is supposed to move out since its more my decision?
Another concern is that his sister is getting married this summer (apparently their parents' divorce didn't give her a negative view of marriage) and I was planning to attend her bachelorette weekend in a couple weeks..do I need to cancel on her? I can't figure out if thats rude or if it'd be more rude to attend, seeing as I may never see her again after.

But most of all, how do I move on? I had pictured this guy as my future husband and father of my children and now, poof! I'm not as young and cute as I used to be, but I don't want to be desperate.. What are the chances I'll find Mr. Right anytime soon? I live in Los Angeles and HATE the dating scene here, not to mention I don't want to raise a kid here. I've always wanted to move to Portland, should I put my focus on finding a job there and move??
posted by hellameangirl to Human Relations (30 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
Well, first, I think you are doing the right thing, if marriage and children are important to you. It's better to break ties now and find someone who wants the same things you do. Several years from now, this will probably be a bad memory, even if it hurts now.

And yes, you need to cancel on the wedding, unless you were friends with the sister first and really comfortable with the situation.

Obviously, nobody can tell you what the chances are that you'll find someone, ever, or soon. Put yourself out there and see what happens. It sounds like a move might be in the cards for you ASAP.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:57 AM on May 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


I live in Los Angeles and HATE the dating scene here, not to mention I don't want to raise a kid here. I've always wanted to move to Portland, should I put my focus on finding a job there and move??

Go yesterday. The dumper/bigger person moves out, this seals it.
posted by slow graffiti at 12:02 PM on May 17, 2013 [13 favorites]


It's a lot to think about at once, but if you really want to have a kid then you're doing the right thing. When I was your age, my best friend gave me a metaphorical slap in the face and said, "Decide, now, if you want to have kids, and if you do, it's time to get this cracking." Now I have a ten-year-old and I'm so happy I had that "shit or get off the pot" moment.
posted by BlahLaLa at 12:03 PM on May 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


Congratulations. You've made a mature decision based on your priorities, and you've done it in an adult manner. You are a better person for having done this, and he will be as well.

So now what? Adding to the colossal disappointment we are both feeling, now we have to separate all our things and someone needs to move out of the place we love.
Am I the one who is supposed to move out since its more my decision?


It's the decent thing to do, but I don't think you're not under any obligation to do so, especially if you lived there first or you actually own the place or contributed the vast majority of the rent/mortgage payment or somesuch. If not, and he can afford the place on his own, offer to be the one to leave.

Another concern is that his sister is getting married this summer (apparently their parents' divorce didn't give her a negative view of marriage) and I was planning to attend her bachelorette weekend in a couple weeks..do I need to cancel on her? I can't figure out if thats rude or if it'd be more rude to attend, seeing as I may never see her again after.

It sounds like your only relationship to her was through him, so cancel now with regrets. You don't have to cut her off entirely, but for now, it's more graceful to let that relationship fade.

But most of all, how do I move on?

Move to Portland, live your life. It will hurt for a while. But it will hurt less as time goes on, and eventually you'll remember these three years fondly, because they were a part of what made you the person you'll become.
posted by Etrigan at 12:07 PM on May 17, 2013 [14 favorites]


Relationships are about compromise, but you can't compromise about having kids. Would you rather stay with this guy and probably never have kids or start working towards a future where you could have kids? By deciding which of those answers works for you is how you start to move on.
posted by obol at 12:10 PM on May 17, 2013


I don't know why, and maybe I'm making a mistake (am I?) but it just feels like something is missing.

Wow, it's weird that I remember this, but didn't you ask a question at the beginning of your relationship about these very same issues? If you guys couldn't resolve that in 3 years, I don't think you ever will. So, no, this is not a mistake.

I would say that worrying about Mr. Right right now is only a misplacement of your current, immediate concerns. You should start looking into a new place, ASAP, and even maybe a friend to stay with while you're apartment hunting. Also, I don't know how much you two shared finances, but now is the time to close shared accounts, and to take over you own, individual budgeting.

Ugh, before you think I'm heartless for focusing first on the logistical details: also take some time for yourself, to just grieve, and feel things, and to do nice things for yourself that might make you feel a bit better during all this.
posted by vivid postcard at 12:11 PM on May 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


You are doing the right thing by breaking up. You shouldn't have to live in limbo, nor should you compromise your feelings on marriage and children. So good on you there!

Secondly, call his sister and explain that you're breaking up and that it's probably best that you not attend the bachelorette party or her wedding. Wish her a nice life and hang up.

Find a place to live temporarily, perhaps with a friend, or a small apartment you can rent month-to-month. Then concentrate on getting to Portland.

Here's a dippy little article about how to divide up your household.

You feel like shit now, and that's not going to change, but as you make your way on your own in the world, you'll feel better about it every day.

In about a year or so, you may be ready to date. You'll find your very own, porkpie wearing hipster and you'll be very happy together in you MCM home.

In the meantime, just put one foot in front of the other. Make lists. Check items off of them.

Let him keep the bed and bedding. You'll want new anyway.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:11 PM on May 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


I totally understand why this is a dealbreaker for you. Your desire to have children and a husband is totally reasonable and okay. You're allowed to want that stuff. He is also allowed to not want that stuff. If both of your stances aren't going to change then breaking up seems pretty inevitable. If you don't either YOU will resent HIM for making you give up on your dream of a husband and kids, or HE will resent YOU for making him have kids and get married when he doesn't want to.

I agree, move to Portland. If you don't like it where you are and if you don't want to raise kids there, go. Just go. Start fresh in a new place, a place that you could see yourself being happy for many many years. I have no idea, but I have to believe that the percent of people who share your desire for marriage and a family is higher than it is in LA. Different way of life, different values maybe? I don't know. I just think that if you can make it work in terms of your career and finances then I say move.

Also, no idea if you'll find someone new. I don't think there is any reason to assume you won't, and there are actually a lot of reasons to expect that you will. 34 isn't old. It seriously isn't. The guy I am marrying ended his 10 year marriage when he was 37 and he found someone new. So did his ex-wife. I know a couple who met and fell in love when they were both in their 50s and they have been together for over a decade now. People find love at all ages.

The only thing that is hindering you in finding a relationship with someone who shares your values and priorities is being in a relationship with someone who doesn't. Know what I mean?

So I think the breakup was a good call, and I think you should start fresh in Portland. Give your life Etch-a-sketch a big shake. New place, new life, new chance. You'd be doing something you always wanted, and maybe that will be the catalyst for you finding the relationship you always wanted. I acutally think the whole thing is brilliant. This is my official Internet Advice to you.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 12:14 PM on May 17, 2013 [12 favorites]


You are not making a mistake. If you are the type of person who wants to have a baby, then you will find having a baby to be incredibly joyful and rewarding.
posted by Dansaman at 12:14 PM on May 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Good for you for knowing this about yourself and doing what you need to do.

He cried and asked why can't I be happy with just him.

Really? Most people want marriage and children. If we're asking "why don't you love me enough" questions, it'd be just as valid for you to ask why can't he just give you what you need. (But good for you for not getting bogged down in this ultimately pointless discussion; these are big, fundamental differences that can't be compromised on.)

I've always wanted to move to Portland, should I put my focus on finding a job there and move??

Yes, IF you are sure that you can handle the weather. Many people can't, and if you are at all susceptible to depression I think it might be a tough combination. But moving SOMEWHERE fresh sounds like a great idea.
posted by fingersandtoes at 12:38 PM on May 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


I know a couple who met and fell in love when they were both in their 50s and they have been together for over a decade now. People find love at all ages.

Perhaps, but they do not bear children at all ages. Obviously, time is a consideration here.

I think that focusing on the move to Portland is a good idea. But, you can probably get a new place in Portland faster than you can get a new job there. You might want to move to a short-term abode in LA while looking for jobs in Portland. I would not recommend moving straight from this situation to Portland unless you have a job lined up there.
posted by Tanizaki at 12:43 PM on May 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have no idea, but I have to believe that the percent of people who share your desire for marriage and a family is higher than it is in LA. Different way of life, different values maybe?

Yo, PuppetMcSockerson, unless you have an LA connection I'm not aware of, I don't think this is helpful (or accurate). I live in LA, and I work in the entertainment industry, and I feel like the only non-shacked up person I know. Plenty of married folks down here. Dating everywhere sucks, and it might suck more in LA, but really, dating and love and all that business is tricky business everywhere and that's the human condition.

But I think the OP should move because she wants to move and a fresh start can be A Good Thing. You can always move (back to LA, or somewhere else) if it doesn't work out.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 12:46 PM on May 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Are there other things you like about Portland, other than this idea that you think the dating scene there would be better? I just think it would be misguided, IF you generally like your life in LA, to leave just because you think you can't find love, marriage, and kids in Los Angeles (which strikes me as a highly suspect notion).
posted by Asparagus at 12:52 PM on May 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


All great advice. And fantastic that you have options. However, slow down a bit and take a "first things first" approach and disentangling your current life from your ex. Once that's squared away, focus on starting fresh somewhere new that may invigorate your life and possibly open up to new experiences. First, just grieve for the relationship. Let the baggage stay in LA. Once you feel recharged, make the bigger more important decisions for the rest of your life. I'm sorry you are going through this. Breakups are awful, but they are always for a reason. Let this be a positive reason, even if it can't be a positive breakup. Best of luck!
posted by lunastellasol at 12:52 PM on May 17, 2013


Asparagus, OP doesn't necessarily want to raise children and have a family in LA. Portland seems to be her ideal.
posted by lunastellasol at 12:53 PM on May 17, 2013


> What are the chances I'll find Mr. Right anytime soon?

The same as your chances of being Ms. Right.

I have a friend who is contemplating divorce right now and I want to tell her how marketable she is [somewhere between "adorable" and "awesome"] but the truth is 1) I don't want to influence her decision and 2) I don't believe Mr. Right exists I just think 2 people make a decision and either stick with it or they don't.
posted by surplus at 12:56 PM on May 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Compatability stems from many things. The top of the list is sharing a need for or an aversion to reproducing. Otherthings can be a compromise, this one cannot. Surprised it has taken this long for the two of you to discuss it. In terms of all the logistics, do whatever makes you happiest.
posted by BenPens at 1:00 PM on May 17, 2013


lunastellasol, I just think moving somewhere because it's a better place to raise a family is one thing ... if you have or will imminently have a family to raise. But OP could move to Portland and be still be single for years before meeting the right guy, so I would just say she should make sure she'd be happy there regardless.
posted by Asparagus at 1:01 PM on May 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm not as young and cute as I used to be, but I don't want to be desperate.. What are the chances I'll find Mr. Right anytime soon?

Since it sounds like you've been stressing quite a bit (perfectly justifiably) about your timeline for marriage and kids, this might be something to consider, by way of removing some of the bioclock desperation as you start anew in a fresh place and enter new relationships. At 34, I think you've got a great chance of finding someone eligible (just plan to have the marriage-and-kids convo early, this time).
posted by Bardolph at 1:02 PM on May 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Came back to say that you need to vet your dates. My cousin did this on the first date with her husband. "Look, right now I barely know you, but I want to let you know that I'm looking to get married and to have a family. If those aren't things you're interested in, then lets have a nice dinner and we'll both move on. If you are interested, we can see where this takes us." As it turns out, he was interested in being married and having a family. They now have two of the cutest kids you've ever seen and FWIW, they live in LA and are both in the entertainment industry.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:31 PM on May 17, 2013 [8 favorites]


I just wanted to tell you that I feel for you and that I'm very sorry this is happening to you. What you are going through is extremely hard; it's such a tough choice, leaving someone you love dearly for the *potential* of meeting someone else who can give you what you need...it's leaping in hopes that a net will appear, all while suffering heartbreak. For whatever it's worth, I really think you made the right choice. I was in a similar situation in my late 20s. I ended up leaving the person I thought was the love of my life because he didn't know if he would ever want children, getting married to/having a child with someone else, and subsequently getting divorced. I have friends in common with my late-20s ex and I know that, ten years later, he has reconnected with and married an old girlfriend (who has kids from a past marriage), is madly in love, but still has no children of his own. I say this because--had I chose to wait it out--I more than likely would never have had the opportunity to become a mother.

I have seen so many women ask questions like this--both online and in my real-life circles--that I am about to post an AskMeFi query about it.
posted by kribensa at 2:07 PM on May 17, 2013


Am I the one who is supposed to move out since its more my decision?

No. Try really hard to get him to move out instead. First ask nicely if he'll move out. Be kind but firm about it. Someone has to, might as well be him. Hopefully he'll agree. If he gives you any resistance, you can use the following arguments: 1. You're more upset than he is because it's you, not him, who just found out that one of her long term dreams is not coming true and you don't want to also have to move. 2. You're older than he is, so your time is slightly more valuable especially with fertility. Biological fact. The less your life is disrupted, the better. 3. If you have any practical arguments (close to job, more invested in the place with furniture, etc.) use all of those arguments too. Make a strong case.

do I need to cancel on her? I can't figure out if thats rude or if it'd be more rude to attend, seeing as I may never see her again after.

Yes, cancel. Rude doesn't matter here. Moving on and protecting your time, money, and energy does matter.
posted by htid at 2:13 PM on May 17, 2013


i am sorry things didn't work out with you and your guy. usually it would be your place to get a new apartment unless there are some special circumstances. as for moving right away i'd consider how well you handle a lot of changes at once. some people would do well throwing themselves into a new life in a new city and others might move and feel overwhelmed, lonely, and depressed. only you know how you handle simultaneous changes so i'd consider how easily you meet new people, if you can handle the portland weather or if you have a tendency toward depression or SAD, what your stress levels are like, whether or not you know anyone there, etc. if it would be too much to move right now then maybe in a year start planning to do that.
posted by wildflower at 4:09 PM on May 17, 2013


I'm 34 ...

Time will heal the pain. Time is not your friend when it comes to any future delays towards a baby.

Getting married and having a child is the most important thing in front of you. You ended a good relationship over exactly this issue - nothing is louder in statement. Recover and get on the partner search soon, and qualify them quickly up front.

Don't let 35 sneak up on you.
posted by Kruger5 at 6:50 PM on May 17, 2013


Don't let 35 sneak up on you.

Oy. I am not a fan of the tone of some of these answers. Declining fertility is a thing and all, but your ovaries aren't about to instantly shrivel up. And, even if things don't quite go as you had imagined, you, yourself, said in your question that you would consider adoption. There is no need to make you feel as though now is a time to be desperate.

Because what you just did is not desperate, at all - you came to realization that this relationship differed in values that were very important to you, and you were strong enough to end it so you could live a life that includes those values. Awesome!

You realized that you strongly want to be a mother at some point, and aren't willing to be with someone who won't support you in that goal. Excellent; it sounds like you were being true to yourself. Instead of letting people scare you into plowing through the dating scene in a state of panic, maybe you could consider using this time to really evaluate how you would like to work towards your goal: would you like to meet and marry someone to set up a nuclear family? are you set on only having biological kids? rather than settling, would you rather wait to meet someone with whom you fall deeply in love, even if that means adopting? are you okay with having kids come into your life another way, like if you were date someone with children? or are you really set on starting from scratch, and starting a new family on your own? is becoming a single mother an option? etc...

You have many options, not just the one of rushing to marry before 35. I like what bardolph linked to above, and think it's okay to take advantage of any resources that will allow you be flexible about this.

Truly: but I don't want to be desperate..
You don't have to be desperate! It's great that you are looking out for yourself; don't let anyone make you feel pressured into doing so in any particular way (including me).
posted by vivid postcard at 7:30 PM on May 17, 2013 [13 favorites]


htid: " No. Try really hard to get him to move out instead. First ask nicely if he'll move out. Be kind but firm about it. Someone has to, might as well be him. Hopefully he'll agree. If he gives you any resistance, you can use the following arguments: 1. You're more upset than he is because it's you, not him, who just found out that one of her long term dreams is not coming true and you don't want to also have to move. 2. You're older than he is, so your time is slightly more valuable especially with fertility. Biological fact. The less your life is disrupted, the better. 3. If you have any practical arguments (close to job, more invested in the place with furniture, etc.) use all of those arguments too. Make a strong case."

My feeling on this is that the onus of moving out is on the person who initiates the break-up, in general. As Etrigan says, there may be other mitigating circumstances. But if your boyfriend has been expressing reluctance or unwillingness, as vivid postcard suggests, it seems unfair (in the absence of mitigating circumstances) to assume that the burden of moving is on him. If he initially expressed enthusiasm for marriage and/or children, or at least willingness to consider the idea, that's one thing. If he's been expressing reluctance and reservations all along…

It sounds like Portland is calling to you, anyway. Better to move forward into your chosen future with enthusiasm and commitment than to painfully drag out something that's clearly not working.
posted by Lexica at 9:26 PM on May 17, 2013


I dated several men while I was in my 30s who said things like "I'm 98% sure I never want kids" and I'd think "Great! 2%! I can work with that!"

At some point I decided to face the heartbreak that I was not going to find the man of my dreams in time to have biological children with him. And then I moved on with having a child on my own, which is the best thing I've ever done.

This may not be the path for you, but it's important to know there are lots of paths to a wonderful and fulfilling life. The important thing is to pick one and move forward.
posted by judith at 12:21 AM on May 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Randomly, one of my lady-friends broke up with her boyfriend of 2 years for exactly these reasons. She wanted kids, she wanted to raise them somewhere other than the big city, she wanted space and dogs and a garden. She was 33. Just three years later she's living in the Pacific Northwest, very happily married, with 2 great step kids, a couple dogs and a righteous victory patch.

She mourned her big city boyfriend very much, but even the first year was very exciting. Start making your way down the road that's going to take you to how you want your life to be and the faster you'll get there.
posted by Blisterlips at 4:37 AM on May 18, 2013


No guess what your finances are like, if you could move to Portland sans job and be fine for several months.............

I'm among those with the view that dating everywhere is a tough row to hoe.

FWIW, I've three good male friends who are very different types of people and were single in the L.A. area; they're all married now to women they met there and by all account things are good.

Too, dunno where you work, but my sister raised kids in South Pas and all concerned were very happy. Day-to-day stuff was fine and the kids got to see and do a staggering amount of stuff on weekends, etc. (Sis is cool; she pulled her kids outta school one day so they could see Eddie Murphy get his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.)

One of the above-mentioned friends is raising kids in the Redondo Beach area, and the family is quite happy with it all.

L.A. has long struck me as being big and diverse enough that there's a niche/part for everyone so I hope you're at least open to exploring its options, to the extent that it's logistically possible.

But if you don't wanna be somewhere, you don't, and we don't know if you have the $$ to move to Portland (or anywhere) quick quick with a comfy cushion.
posted by ambient2 at 5:22 AM on May 18, 2013


Sometimes doing the right thing hurts like hell, but it's still the right thing. For now, try to take things one day at a time.

(1) I would move out if I were you. It gives you control over the situation and if you are iffy on LA you might not stay for long in any event.

(2) Sister: I would be honest. She'll understand. Something like: brother and I love each other, but we had issues that we couldn't work out and we're breaking up. Having me there at your bachelorette might be awkward for everyone, so maybe I should bow out.

(3) Dating in the long term/moving cities: give yourself a little time. In a month or so your head will be a little clearer. It sounds like you are open to having non-biological kids. If that's really the case, then the good news is you have time to find the right guy. If you don't like LA then by all means move when you still have the freedom. (One of the perks of being single at least is that you do have the freedom to pick up and move.)

Break ups suck, but both you and he will be just fine in the long term (better even because you are both taking a step toward what you want in life).
posted by bananafish at 8:52 AM on May 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


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