Advice: I want a baby, not part-time love

Last updated 08:23 28/02/2013

She's been in a long-distance relationship for four years and she really wants a baby. Should she go it alone?

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I have been living abroad for almost 12 years. My current four-year relationship is being conducted across two distant continents with adversity.

I lived in his country, which was full of cultural differences and endless challenges. I am older than him, while his religion and family are sources of conflict.

I moved away 14 months ago for several reasons, but am completely disinterested in anyone else. We are still deeply connected and trying to find a way to be together, although he will never go against his family out of loyalty and I respect that. I feel like we are supposed to be forever, but the odds are constantly against us. I am highly social, active, attractive, driven etc but feel undesirable in this new country. 

For selfish reasons, I want a child and he is so eager to see me as a mum, but tells me he is not sure in what capacity he can be there for us. I am very traditional in thinking and want the two-parent family, but reality is, it may never happen and I am so ready for parenting. He says the only way is to leave his country and make it abroad, but I don't think he has the courage, so strong are the ties back home.

There are two issues here: a) How is this relationship supposed to play out? How do I meet someone else if I just don't want to? b) The opportunity to be a mum, but possibly without the support of a dad - which I ethically disagree with and yet find myself tempted!

Confused

It is very painful when we find a deep connection with someone and yet the circumstances create significant obstacles to realising that connection. You pose a number of questions and there are so many ways to approach these questions, and so many potential choices in the complexity of it all.

It's important that as you face these tough issues that you identify what your values are and you are guided by these. In this way you can know that any decisions you make, even though they may be tough decisions, are aligned with who you are.

You identify substantial cultural differences. These are important and will continue to be a strong context for your relationship. You do not sound to be sitting comfortably or well placed in the culture of his world at the moment. It also sounds like your relationship challenges some aspect of this culture and his family. What do you understand about that? Are there ways you can find to be in his world that give you enough room to be who you are, and to be with each other? What would this require? Do you want to commit to this in a significant way?

You identify that he has suggested that you both might be able to make it together away from his homeland. You need to get clear with him about how real this option is, is it a real alternative or not?

Wanting a child is not selfish, and wanting the best for that child is wise and necessary. If you have a child you will need a stable environment where you and the baby can flourish and be well-supported by a good network of people. Itt is important to hold off on having a child until the other matters you raise are more substantially resolved. Please don't think of having a child as a solution to this situation.

Know what you will need in order to do well as a parent, trust what you know, and have the authority to back yourself to get it. If you are in your 20s you have time to sort things out before you embark on parenthood, if you are in your late 30s time will start to be a pressing issue.

Issues of culture, family support, and his response to these, may not support your hopes for the relationship. If so it will be important to realise that while you have a strong love connection, you may not have the basis for an ongoing primary relationship, or to have a family together. If this is the case, you will need to learn how to let go of the idea of partnership and family with him, and grieve the loss that you experience.

You won't have room in your heart for another relationship until you do let go and grieve. Once you do go through this process of letting go, and become truly available again, I'm pretty sure you will be surprised at what opportunities arise.

For more advice and information on counselling, visit Relationships Aotearoa online or join them on Facebook.

We'd love to hear your take on this week's issue. Before you comment below, though, remember that this is a real-life situation. This reader has bravely shared their personal life with you; please show them respect by refraining from hurtful or abusive comments.

- Stuff

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