ASK MERRILY/Merrily Preston – Children or not?

ASK MERRILY/Merrily Preston – Children or not?

Dear Merrily, 

My significant other and I have been considering our future.  He wants to have children before age 35. He feels passionately this is what he is on earth to do.  I am not sure I want children. Because I plan to pursue a master’s degree and possibly a PhD, I wouldn’t be thinking about children until 35ish.  His concerns are the risks involved with having children at an older age and that I may not want children.  We love each other dearly and would not want our relationship to end.  My problem is that I don’t want to feel pressured. We decided that I had to think about what I wanted.  Do I want children?  And when?  I think I know the answer….after I am done with school!  But he would mention the risks. 

Where do I go from here? 

Dear Where do I go, 

Since you are in agreement that you love each other dearly and do not want the relationship to end, you have the challenge of erasing the line drawn in the sand.

You need time and space to pursue your masters degree and to know if you want children, a decision which cannot be made on demand

He needs assurance that the relationship includes a place for his purpose in life, to have children before he is 35 while the risks are less. 

If you can brainstorm with your heads and hearts to create a relationship that includes the fulfillment of both of your hearts desires and makes you both equally happy, then your relationship will be able to continue, and the line in the sand may not become a continental divide. 

Merrily Preston is an Intentional Life Facilitator who lives in Woodbridge. Email her at