Dear Amy: My wife and I have three beautiful children. I am ready for a vasectomy, but my wife does not want to permanently close the door on having more children.
I have tried communicating my feelings and desire to move on to the next phase of life, as we raise the children we have. I have no desire to start the infant cycle over again.
My wife is an amazing mother and has a deep love for children. How can we come together on something we completely disagree on?
Husband and Father
Dear Husband: When it comes to sex and the pregnancies that sometimes result, the person who says “no” should prevail. In this regard, your wishes outweigh your wife’s. And so – just as a woman will use birth control when she wants to exercise her right to prevent pregnancy, you should use birth control to assert your right to prevent pregnancy. Your options are somewhat more limited than your wife’s, and I can understand why you would want to get a vasectomy.
There are many ways to experience the deep love of children other than having another baby. Your wife could work at a nursery school or at your kids’ school. She could volunteer holding and nurturing babies as a “cradle cuddler” at your local hospital’s neonatal unit.
You don’t have any equivalent options.
You two might have success discussing this with a couples counselor, who could cuddle and coach you both through this very important issue.
Dear Amy: Two years ago, I was in an abusive relationship that ended when I got pregnant.
I left the situation immediately, and have never returned. My young son’s father has never met the child or shown any interest in being involved. That’s not really a problem for me.
Since then, I’ve gotten engaged to another man, “Barry,” with whom I have a much healthier relationship.
He’s the only father my son has ever known, and he plans on adopting him in the near future.
Should I ever tell my son that the man who has raised him is not his father?
And when do I address that? I feel as though at some point it’s necessary, so that my son doesn’t find out on his own and is upset with me for not being honest. Is there an age that is too early or too late?
Dear K: Yes, you should tell your son.
One way to introduce the concept of the distant biological parent would be to be open and celebratory about the adoption process. Take pictures of you and your husband holding your son at the courthouse. Celebrate this as the day “Barry” became your child’s “Forever Dad.”
Keep in mind that an adoptive parent is the “real parent.” Don’t use the phrase “real father” to describe your son’s biological parent.
You and Barry should share this story as often as your son wants to hear it, and always in a very joyful way.
At around the age of four, children start to become fascinated by babies, families and relationships. Use photos to help tell his story. You can say, “First I met this man. His name is Steve Smith [provide both names]. He put the seed in mommy’s body that grew into a baby, and that baby is you! Then I met Daddy and he told me his wish was to be your forever father, and so the three of us got the papers signed and ... we’re a family! Do you remember this day? That was a great day for us.”
Through time, answer every question carefully and truthfully. Later on, if your son wants to meet his biological parent, help him try to make that connection. You and his father should also help him to handle whatever consequences flow from that particular challenge.
Dear Amy: “Driving Me Nuts” complained of her 90-year-old husband’s sexual “jokes” directed at women.
Approaching 80, I have seen lots of men my age, and older, expect laughs from ill-timed, ill-told or just plain unfunny stories.
If this guy’s behavior doesn’t respond to spousal admonition, maybe he ought to see a doctor. Age by itself doesn’t connote dementia, but it certainly can lead to a dimming of perspective on one’s own conduct. A talking-to by a health care professional might help sharpen his focus.
Dear Mike: Thank you for sharing your perspective. I had a feeling that this man was always this way, and – like you – I believe that these comments and “jokes” were never funny.
Email Amy at firstname.lastname@example.org.