Should we get married and have kids?
March 27, 2008 10:36 PM   Subscribe

In the past year I have had several men propose marriage to me, how serious should I take these proposals?

Proposals have been in what I consider to be all seriousness, but in various levels of informality (no ring) that have been easy to brush off. However, the baby crazies have set in full force, and I wonder how serious I should take these proposals. I am 28, career focused, and my career dictates wheres I live. The men in question are not currently living in my area and are professionally employed, so not easy to relocate either. I guess what I am asking is any advice on non-traditional marriages and baby-making arrangements. I have no idea if I have even framed this question correctly, ask questions at
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (28 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Don't take them any more seriously than those mortgage refinance offers that show up in the mail on a weekly basis.
posted by iamabot at 10:43 PM on March 27, 2008 [7 favorites]

I'm confused - how are you in a situation in which you have a solid relationship with several men to the point where you could receive serial requests for marriage?
posted by phrontist at 10:45 PM on March 27, 2008 [6 favorites]

If you want to marry someone, ask them to marry you. They can say yes or no, then you'll know how serious they were.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:48 PM on March 27, 2008

The men in question are not currently living in my area...

If this means what I think it means (i.e. these are online romances), do NOT take marriage proposals seriously until you have MET IN REAL LIFE and formed an actual face-to-face relationship. There are many online romances that turn into real life marriages (and some are very successful), but my guess is that if you are involved in "several" of them, they're not serious enough to be at the point of marriage and baby-making.
posted by amyms at 10:50 PM on March 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

Are these men looking for green cards by any chance?
posted by found missing at 10:56 PM on March 27, 2008 [2 favorites]

Relationships come before marriage. If you do it backwards, the chances that you've picked the right person are minimally small--especially among the pool of men who think they can get away with picking a lifetime partner without any genuine effort. Do not take them seriously.
posted by |n$eCur3 at 11:03 PM on March 27, 2008 [4 favorites]

Sounds weird to me, but YMMV. I think you shouldn't take them seriously at all, unless you've met them, dated them, gotten to know them, slept with them, seen them at their best and gotten a glimpse of them at their worst, had long heart-to-heart talks with them, are sure your personality, beliefs, values, and hangups are compatible with theirs, and whatever you feel for them, you're determined to make it last as long as you can.

As a joke it's in slightly questionable taste. As a serious offer? Cui bono. What's the catch?
posted by aeschenkarnos at 11:05 PM on March 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

This is why anonymous askme isn't always for the best.

You're 28 years old. You've been of marryin' age for about a decade, and all of the sudden, in the past year, you're getting multiple marriage proposals when it's never been a problem before?

What did you do to cast yourself into the pool of available women?

Without information about your cultural background, where you're finding people who want to propose to you and who these guys are, I can't imagine that anyone could give you the advice you're looking for.
posted by freshwater_pr0n at 11:30 PM on March 27, 2008

No, of course you shouldn't get married! Let me summarize this: you can only describe these men as businessmen who don't live in your area, the proposals are casual and without rings and yet, because you have biological urges to have children, you are taking them seriously. Does that make sense to you?

I can't decide if you are naive and vulnerable, possibly incredibly impulsive, or if I am just completely uneducated about cultural traditions in your country, because the details we have are so sketchy and vague I don't even know what country that is. Please ask one of the moderators, who will respect your anonymity, to post more information, and perhaps we could be more helpful.
posted by misha at 12:55 AM on March 28, 2008 [2 favorites]

Um, these aren't boyfriends. Not even a date with one, much less "how U arranj babby?"
posted by sourwookie at 12:59 AM on March 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

If you're uncertain enough to want to ask us about it, you probably shouldn't get married.
posted by Coventry at 5:11 AM on March 28, 2008 [3 favorites]

the baby crazies have set in full force, and I wonder how serious I should take these proposals

"baby crazies" are a terrible reason to get married to someone you're unsure of. If you're only lukewarm on the person now - or if you haven't been in a relationship with him long enough to tell - the chances that marriage and a child will make this better are slim to none. Marriage and childrearing are both difficult at times and will tax the strongest relationships. With the right person, they can be incredibly rewarding. With someone with whom your relationship is apparently so casual that you can brush off a marriage proposal without a second thought? The odds are really stacked against you.

If you want to take that risk, fine - if the relationship breaks down, you're only hurting yourselves. But don't bring a child into that.
posted by AV at 5:32 AM on March 28, 2008

You could adopt or do artificial insemination. Both seem like much safer options than marrying a random person and trying to raise a kid with him.
posted by hydropsyche at 5:47 AM on March 28, 2008

Wanting a baby is not the same as wanting a husband. If all you want is a baby, then adopt or foster a child.
posted by 26.2 at 7:08 AM on March 28, 2008

IANAW, but I would say that you should probably only take a proposal seriously from someone who you are having a solid relationship with and know extremely well. Unless of course you are from a different culture than Western or are a deep-faith, conservative religion where proposals from relatively unknown men is standard. Don't base a marriage only on a baby-making partner unless you are both into eugenics.
posted by JJ86 at 7:21 AM on March 28, 2008

Good gravy, unless there is a ring and some serious financial commitment they are not serious in any fashion. Having children is a huge expense in time and resources so their lack of commitment beyond some mumbled words means, NOTHING.

The lack of commitment is troubling if you are planning to embark on one of those most serious obligations a person can have, a family. I know that "babycrazies" can make one's head a bit wobbly but please, do not rush into things. I have been an eyewitness to babycrazies leading to a lot of heartache.

Reading everyone else above, I have to agree with statements of caution and doubt.
posted by jadepearl at 7:36 AM on March 28, 2008

posted by electroboy at 7:45 AM on March 28, 2008 [2 favorites]

You don't need a husband to have a baby. You need sperm. Sorry to be indelicate about this, but do consider how marriage to a complete stranger for the sake of having a child is going to affect the child in the long term.

This question reminds me of a talk I had with a friend a few years back. She was considering marrying a guy who was emotionally abusive because, in her words, "I'm forty, I'm tired and this may be my last shot at having a kid." And I thought, jesus christ. You'd want to subject an innocent kid to this jerk so you can silence your biological clock? The hell are you on about, woman? So, I do understand the mix of biological and cultural forces at work on you, but think a little harder on what is fair to bring to bear on a child who has no say in the matter.
posted by TryTheTilapia at 8:23 AM on March 28, 2008

What do you want out of marriage, besides a child? Do any of these guys provide that?
posted by desjardins at 9:16 AM on March 28, 2008

As someone who was terribly in love with my husband to the point that we repulsed others in public, then waited a sensible six years to get married, then built a house, then discovered in the middle of the eighth year of marriage that he had a serious drug problem, hidden debt, and a secret life, I was relieved never to have had children with him. Even though we'd halfheartedly been planning for it and he had even visited the maternity ward at our nearest hospital and picked up literature about the birthing process before this information revealed itself. The divorce took two years and cost ME $25,000. I had to get tested for a battery of STDs, lost half of my friends and will be in debt forever (or at least that's how it feels).

Now, I thought I was ready to have a baby with the right man. We'd lived together for years and I was close with his family and it would have been the WORST MISTAKE OF MY LIFE to have a baby with him.

What makes you optimistic that a random stranger would treat you (or your child) any better? Insert nightmare scenario of abusive marriage, bad (or at least incompatible) sex, cultural clashes, difficulty explaining your quickie marriage to friends and family, STDs after the first time you have sex, insane amounts of debt trying to extricate yourself after the situation, the possibility of raising a child alone after god knows what sorts of manipulative behavior is revealed (come on, WHO proposes to a stranger that isn't someone looking for a green card or something even more insidious? seriously???)-- DO NOT MARRY A STRANGER. PERIOD. People with agendas will go to amazing lengths to hide their true selves, especially online. That's why you should quickly move from online flirting to real-time meeting, chemistry, and romance, if that's the right path for you.

My husband was effectively a stranger to me when we separated and we'd known each other for almost 15 years.

If you have the baby crazies, and think you understand what that truly means, I suggest you find a coworker who'd like to take a vacation and has a two-year-old and you babysit that child for at least a week.

Then reevaluate if your ovaries are the right part of your body to be in charge of making severe, life-altering decisions that can never be reversed.

If you have the financial means of caring for a child in perpetuity alone, a sperm bank is honestly your best bet.

Apologies if my answer sounds extreme, I just wanted you to consider the possibility of a worst-case scenario and prepare accordingly.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 9:22 AM on March 28, 2008 [3 favorites]

Unless you are madly and deeply and responsibly in love with someone who respects you and wants to be a parent...Sperm bank. Period.
posted by cachondeo45 at 9:26 AM on March 28, 2008

Why does babymakin' require a husband? Sure, single-parenthood is hard, but lots of people do it, and raise normal, rational adults who are not any more screwed up than the rest of us. If you want a husband, get thee a relationship where you feel you would live better with the dude than without him. If you want a baby, at any cost, get thee to a fertility clinic.
posted by muddgirl at 9:29 AM on March 28, 2008

I knew a girl in high school who was always receiving marriage proposals from random dudes, usually when she was wearing low-cut tops. I wouldn't take a marriage proposal seriously from anyone who doesn't know, like, your middle name or where your parents live.

If you are inclined to take these random proposals seriously (and DON'T), or if you just want to scare them off or have some fun, you could always present your suitors with a ten-page compatibility questionnaire requesting information on their income, views on major political topics, medical history, and "I hog the covers/refuse to share popcorn/chain-smoke/love Baywatch. On a scale from 1-10, how comfortable are you with that?" As jokey as that may sound (and I would have SO MUCH FUN doing it, but I never get proposals), those are the kind of things you learn over the course of a relationship and are good to know before you marry someone.
posted by Metroid Baby at 9:32 AM on March 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

I'm a guy, and I've had a dozen or so offers similar to this -- never random people I'd never met, but long time friends who mostly had turned me down when they were younger. Most were not terrible practical either... so maybe it's a similar situation?

Anyway, I laughed off the first couple offers as a joke, but it didn't take long to realize they were serious. My friends had simply arrived at the age where they'd had enough of dating men they actually found attractive and not having it work out, so they just called someone they liked enough that they wouldn't be too miserable, at least. They were always stunned to have me say no... and would then just grab whomever (if any) they could get to marry them quickly, with the predictably miserable results. Basically, I was a lot of folks' backup reproduction plan: not good enough to actually choose, but good enough to keep around and settle for in a pinch (they call it settling for a reason).

I've never regretted saying no to any of them. I don't deserve to be anyone's backup plan, and neither do you.
posted by Pufferish at 9:41 AM on March 28, 2008 [3 favorites]

are these online boyfriends? have you met any of them?

i suppose one of these -could- work out, but the odds are tiny. i really wanted a baby a couple of years ago, but i wasn't with the right person. it passed. your ovaries will be in good working order for 10 more years and functional for another 5.

i always figure the way to go is to be in a relationship for at least a year before making plans to marry. so random proposals? nope.
posted by thinkingwoman at 11:46 AM on March 28, 2008

okay, a) I think you're me, and b) don't get married to have a kid, okay? especially getting married to a c) person that cannot/will not/what have you move because of something like a career.

If you have a kid, then have one because you really want one -not because you're trying to have this whole "well, i want a baby so obviously i need a husband!" bullshit.
posted by damnjezebel at 7:50 PM on March 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

Please do not have children. This is not a joke. Having the "baby crazies" is an insane reason to marry a random dude from the internet or the moon or wherever you "met" him. Having a baby with a random moon-man is even more insane. Get a cat.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:44 AM on March 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

My question for you is this:

If neither you nor he(s) can move because you're both so deeply entrenched in your work lives (which I don't buy for the reason explained in the next paragraph), then what makes you think you can have a family with this man? You can't have children with someone you never meet.

I think the work excuse is a bit of a cop-out; no man is so married to their job that they wouldn't relocate if they met the right girl, or at least have Coffee with her. Unless...he's expecting You to be the one making all the changes in your life --you move to be with him, place Your entire career and livelihood in upheaval, etc.

If you are seriously considering a scenario anything like the one I detailed above, I highly recommend you to read a little book about having self-respect and being able to make good decisions about what you will and will not accept in a potential mate.

As someone who went through the self-doubt and desperation that I'm reading between the lines, I can understand your desire to meet the right man and get it together as soon as possible. I am happily betrothed to the Right Guy. And as someone who wants babies Yesterday, I understand your biological need to procreate. To nurture something that comes from you is to nurture a part of yourself.

In my case, even though I thoroughly want to give birth and soon, I cannot realistically do this for a couple of years (I'm getting married in November and want to look GOOD in my dress, and next year I'm going to live alone in Chicago for a few months during my post-grad program. I'm trying to plan a pregnancy to begin right before I leave, but you know as well as I do that I don't have a lot of control over that ;-) But I digress.)

Take home message: Examine yourself for the real reasons you want to commit to the next man you see. If the answer is, I want to have babies, it might be good to remember that you still have about 10 good years of babymaking time left. And that is 10 years you can spend developing your own emotional security and self-nurturing until that Mr. Right and Mr. Right's Offspring come along.

An alternative suggestion and anecdote follows:

Or you could do what I did and just start dating a guy locally that already has a child. I met muddylemon online (HotorNot is free, y'all) and agreed to meet IRL at a coffee shop a week later.

Muddylemon Jr. was 2 and some change when we met on our first date, and I fell in love with him instantly. Spending the time with them gave me a channel to develop my maternal side and has shown me what kind of parent muddylemon will be to our shared biological children. Muddylemon's parenting style has made me a better parent than I ever thought possible. Plus, no ugly scarring or painful 24-hour birthing process to go through.

Stepparenting is like all the flavor and none of the calories. Seriously, date a good man with shared custody. It's like coop'ing, only better. And part-time is a great way to parent until you're ready for a more full-time (biological) commitment.

No matter what life you choose, I wish only the best for you and your life. Good luck from the bottom of my heart.
posted by mynameismandab at 8:43 PM on March 29, 2008

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