By Jody Valley
Commitment without children
Q: My partner of three years and have a dilemma. The problem is that she says she may not want to have children. Not that she would have to physically have them, but she may not want to be a parent. I definitely want to have children and the sooner the better. “June” and I bought a house together and have been in a committed, monogamous relationship. Up until now, everything ways great. We both make good money, so we certainly could afford children. We never discussed it, but now that I am getting close to thirty, I want to start my family. When I brought it up, she said she didn’t think she wanted to have kids–end of discussion. I don’t think I want to live without them, but I love June and don’t want to give her up.
June says that I should have brought this up when we decided to make a commitment to each other. Frankly, I didn’t even think about it. I guess that I just assumed that whatever came up, we could deal with, so I didn’t think of all the possible things that we might have a disagreement about so that we could settle it before we committed. Like, how do you possible know all possible conflicts that could come up in a lifetime? (And, frankly, I didn’t think about it at the time.)
We really haven’t had any major conflicts, up to this point. So, I don’t even know what to do next, especially when June announces that “the issue is closed, end of discussion.” When June said this, I dared to say that the discussion wasn’t finished and that we needed to talk about this further. We got into a terrible verbal battle. She got mad and stormed out of the house and didn’t come home until the next day! I’m not worried about what she did that night, but I’m now scared to bring anything up that she won’t be happy about.
Where do I go from here? I feel miserable and scared about our relationship, but I don’t even know what to do next. HELP!
Walking on Egg Shells
A: Though you certainly have an issue about having–or not–children, your bigger issue is how you handle conflict in your relationship. Verbal battles and walking out are not healthy ways to settle conflict. I would put the children issue on the back burner for now, and focus on how to do conflict. The children issue can come after that, when you have some skills to deal with difficult issues.
Quiet on the set
Q: My partner has a group over every week to watch the TV program, “Desperate Housewives.” Actually, Dave likes the show and got all these guys together to watch it every week. I like it, too, but I like to talk about what is going on, when it is happening. So, I make comments during the show. I don’t go on and on about it, I just make comments.
Well, you would think that I was one of those guys in the movies who talk all through the show. All the guys get really hostile when I make a comment and tell me to shut up. Dave is with the other guys on this. He thinks I should shut up, too. He says that I ruin it for everyone and that if I can’t be quiet, I should go and watch the TV in the other room and make my comments to the cat! They do have a discussion about the show afterwards, but my comments are just one-liners and something that wouldn’t hold until the discussion time. Frankly, I don’t have much to say about the show, after it is all over.
It’s not exactly a great American movie, like “The Godfather!”
How do I get the twelve other guys to see it my way?
A: I don’t think you do. It seems clear to me that the twelve have spoken, so either decide not to participate or go to the other room with the cat – if the cat is willing to listen – or sit and stifle your one-liners.
Have a problem? Send your letters to: “Dear Jody,” C/O Between The Lines, 20793 Farmington Road, Suite 25, Farmington, MI 48336. Or, e-mail: [email protected] Jody Valley spent 12 years as a clinical social worker. She worked with the LGBT community both as a counselor and a workshop leader in the areas of coming out, self-esteem and relationship issues. The “Dear Jody” column appears weekly.