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I’m Racing My Biological Clock and a Tight-Lipped Boyfriend. Help!

I am a single woman in my late 30s. I am also a neurosurgeon, and my medical training ate up 15 years of my life. I don’t regret it. I love my work, but it often meant sacrificing my personal life. The problem: I want to have children, and I am getting a late start. Ten weeks ago, I met an incredible guy online. Our interests overlap, we get along famously and he wants kids, too. But when I talk about the future — about moving in together or how our relationship is progressing — he pulls back. I don’t have time to waste if I want a kid by the time I’m 40. Is his reticence a red flag?

SARA

I sympathize with your fear that time is running out. But the only red flag I see is that you are rushing your new boyfriend because you want a baby in short order. You’ve been dating for only 10 weeks! Your boyfriend probably isn’t yet sure about your future together. Are you? Is this man your life partner or simply the guy standing in front of you at this moment?

Try to uncouple your worries about fertility from your concerns about the relationship. I will not be the jerk who mansplains the pressure on women to get pregnant. Still, I urge you to see a specialist to assess your current fertility and your options for pregnancy in the future. If it’s affordable and viable, consider freezing some eggs now to give yourself some breathing room.

You are wrestling with major decisions: partnership and parenthood. I would hate to see you make a mistake — marry the wrong guy or scare off the right one — by rushing. If your boyfriend stays reticent over the coming months, we can talk about red flags then. And remember: There are many ways to create a loving family, including through adoption or by becoming a foster parent.

Credit…Miguel Porlan

A Brother Sexts, a Sister Frets

My brother and I went home to celebrate our mother’s birthday. While we were there, I saw by accident that my brother was sexting with a woman who is not his fiancée. (She didn’t make the trip.) I am so upset. Should I warn his fiancée about his disgusting behavior?

SISTER

Let’s put aside questions about the “accident” that caused you to spy on your brother’s phone and read a text chain closely enough to determine both its subject and the identity of the other party.

To the extent this is any of your business, which I question, why wouldn’t you start by talking to your brother? We don’t know the circumstances of this conversation, what came of it or whether your brother has an agreement with his fiancée about online flirting. Unless your aim is to break up his engagement, it’s hard to imagine why his fiancée would be your first stop.

It’s Not the Flight That Makes a First Hello Special

My husband’s father is dying and has only a few weeks to live. We have a newborn, and my husband wants the three of us to fly from New York, where we live, to Paris, where his father lives, so his dad can meet the baby before he passes. We’re told that his father is mostly out of it now. I am terrified to fly with our newborn with the current rates of Covid infection, flu and R.S.V. Plus, flying for eight hours with a baby while pumping breast milk feels like too much to me! What should I do?

WIFE

Trust your instincts. Be gentle with your husband, though, when you make your case. Both of you are probably overwhelmed with the new baby, and your husband will soon be grieving a deep loss. I’m sorry that so much is happening at once.

Your husband’s impulse to let his dying father hold his grandchild is a loving one, but it’s not practical now. Encourage him to make the trip alone. Explain — with your doctor, if necessary — that your newborn’s immune system is too vulnerable to illness to make long flights sensible. A video introduction to the baby will be fine, but your husband may need your help to see that.

Just Be Glad I’m Not Asking for Interest

Last summer, I bought four tickets to a concert for three friends and me. They each agreed to pay $400 before I bought the tickets. We had a great time! Two of my friends repaid me at the concert; one didn’t. I reminded her a few weeks later by text. She apologized profusely and promised to pay me right away. Well, now it’s four months later, and she still hasn’t paid. I want to send another reminder, but I’m afraid to. What if she still doesn’t pay me back?

FRIEND

Either your friend is going to pay you, or she is not. It’s true, I suppose, that delaying your (second) request lets you avoid the certainty of her being a deadbeat. Still, she has strung you along for months already, and here you are fretting pre-emptively about her next move. Not stellar friend behavior!

Ask her for the money directly. The sooner she acts, the sooner you can start processing your feelings about it. This is not a problem that improves with time.


For help with your awkward situation, send a question to [email protected], to Philip Galanes on Facebook or @SocialQPhilip on Twitter.

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