Bad news. Your relationship is probably already over. You just don’t realize it yet.

You get home from an emergency TP run. That’s when you realize the cashier tied the handles in a double knot. You need to go — and it’s practically impossible to get that knot untied.

The scary thing is that sometimes it’s easier to untie a tight knot in a plastic bag than it is to notice when your relationship is over.

If you’re experiencing any of the potentially unnoticeable experiences below, don’t just let the knot sit there because you don’t want to tackle it. Make the effort to untie the knot, and run far, far away.

1. If you prefer to spend time with anyone or anything other than your partner.

It’s time to end your relationship if you’d rather spend more time in unnecessary work meetings or driving behind a person going five miles an hour under the speed limit than with your partner, spouse, or significant other.

If watching paint dry or waiting for water to boil feels more productive than spending another minute with than your other half, your relationship is over.

2. If residents in a nursing home have a bigger future than your relationship.

If, in your heart of hearts, deep down inside your soul, you know your relationship isn’t going anywhere fast, medium, or slow, end it before it goes any further. Rose’s heart in Titanic will forever go on and on for Jack, but your love is dead in the water. That’s a sign you need to pull the plug on your relationship faster than you hit the “skip” button when that Celine Dion song sneaks onto your playlist.

3. If you’re on again and off again and then on again.

It’s off. It really, truly is off, and one or both of you just can’t seem to stay off. The only thing worse than a returning ex is recurring herpes — especially if the returning ex is the person who gave you those recurring herpes.

It may have been fun in high school to have the drama of the on-again-off-again relationship, but adulting isn’t high school, and high school relationships aren’t an example of mature adulthood.

4. Visions of breaking up have replaced your meditation ritual.

Stress is only useful in pressure cookers, and “stressed” is only good if you’re reading it in a mirror. (Hint: stressed backward = desserts.) If you’re significant other causes you more stress than a work deadline or that recurring dream in which you forgot to study for the big exam, it’s time to end the stress and stop being stressed.

A healthy relationship is a partnership of equal helping each other to become better people, not a partnership that requires daily doses of Celexa.

5. You’re already sleeping with other people.

If you’re in a relationship that doesn’t allow you to sleep with other people and you’re sleeping with other people, you’re no longer in a relationship. The sooner you tell your ex that they’re now your ex, the sooner you’ll eliminate the risk that Clark Gable III (of Cheaters fame) will show up at your doorstep. Besides, it’s better if you and your ex both can move onto healthier relationships.

6. You fight more often and longer than Mayweather and McGregor.

If you’re relationship consist of more fights than dinners, it’s a sign you should end the fighting by ending the relationship. Healthy relationships don’t consist of fight after fight (or fights that last all night).

End this relationship and find one with a better chance at including a diamond ring instead of a boxing ring.

7. If You’re not Paula Abdul and M.C. Kat.

They say that opposites attract, but you’re not a magnet nor a pop star. Relationships are interesting and exciting when you each have unique characteristics and interests. But, if you have less in common than James Carville and Mary Matalin, you might not have a future.

If you disagree with every word your partner makes and cringe at every breath your partner takes, you have no synchronicity and the relationship is over.

8. If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it’s a duck.

If you feel like friends, talk like friends, and live like friends, you’re friends. We never want to hurt our friends, so we often don’t want the “relationship” to end. Even though it sounds cliché to say, “Let’s stay friends,” sometimes that works.

I mean, look at Will & Grace.

9. You have more fun with yourself than with your partner.

If you’d rather be alone than spend more time when your partner than don’t waste another minute with your partner. There’s nothing wrong with wanting the occasional alone time, but if you want alone time more than you want together time, don’t try to stay together forever.

9.5 You have more fun with yourself than with your partner.

If you’d rather polish the pearl or clean the pipe more than lie with your other, it may be time to go solo in life and bed. This isn’t to say that going solo when you’re having relations is bad, it’s just that healthy relations include a healthy amount of copulation.

It’s probably true that if your relationship is over you already know it. It’s just a matter of saying “it’s over.” Stein’s Law states that things that can’t go on forever won’t. If the end of your relationship is inevitable, then don’t avoid it.

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There are joys and horrors — but mostly horrors — of Tinder dating. Maybe it can be better.

Once in a while, we present Adulting.tv LIVE! Subscribe on YouTube to hear about future events, and share your questions about or suggestions for our next discussions!

Show Notes

We don’t have a video, but we do have an amazing conversation about Tinder dating with Gwen from Fiery Millennials. Gwen shares some dating horror stories with some help from Miranda and how you can increase your chances of weeding out the losers from your dating pool.

Find Gwen on Twitter and on Facebook.

Listen to the audio podcast above.

Hosted byHarlan L. Landes and Miranda Marquit
Produced byadulting.tv
Edited and mixed bySteve Stewart
Music bybensound.com

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Take your romance skills to the next level.

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Romance is important to a lot of people. But what happens when you’re not romantic at all?

Harlan and Miranda are both firmly in the non-romantic camp — and it’s caused problems in their relationships.

If you want to light a spark and help your partner feel appreciated, you need to figure out how to put a little romance into your relationship. Join Miranda and Harlan on a journey of learning as they explore ways they can be more romantic. And maybe you’ll learn something, too!

Concepts

  • What is romance? It means different things to different people.
  • A discussion of the five love languages.
  • How to focus on your partner’s style of love.
  • Romance isn’t the only thing in a strong relationship.
  • Tips for building a lasting relationship, even without an excess of romance.
  • What constitutes quality time together?
  • Ideas for sparking romance in your relationship.

We encourage you and your partner to take the free love language quiz this week as the first DO NOW. Other DO NOWs include using the information about your partner’s love language to do one thing for them this week and planning a date with your partner — one that’s out of the ordinary.

This week’s listener question addresses what you can do if your partner isn’t into romance or flirty fun the same way you are.

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Running into an ex sucks, but often it can’t be avoided. Even though everything isn’t in your control, there’s some prep work you can do to handle it well.

Breaking up sucks – especially when you get an unexpected reminder of the trauma. There’s nothing like running into a former flame to rip open wounds you thought were healed.

But an unanticipated rendezvous with your ex doesn’t have to be the end of the world. In fact, it doesn’t have to be anything more than a casual conversation with an old acquaintance.

The difference is in how you approach the situation, and how prepared you are for the buried emotions that might come rushing to the surface.If you’re worried about the potential of running into your ex, here are some ways to prepare.

Practice beforehand.

Facing an awkward situation is always scary, whether it’s a presentation at work or a run-in with your former partner. If you’re anxious about the idea of seeing your ex again, try practicing what you’d say if you ran into them. Ask a friend to role-play as your ex and run through a few possible scenarios.

Practicing beforehand can help you see the truth – there’s nothing to worry about. The real thing will feel different, but facing your fear and acknowledging it will make you less anxious. Think of the situation like a job interview.

Doing a run-through won’t take away all the nervousness, but it will make you feel more prepared.

Keep it real.

Running into a recent ex is especially difficult if they were the one to end things. You want to pretend that you’re doing great, that your life hasn’t been affected at all by them leaving. You don’t want to admit how much you think about them.

But acting fake and pretending everything is good won’t convince your ex, unless you’re a fantastic liar. In fact, making it seem like you’re on top of the world will only make you look more desperate and pathetic. If you have to insist on how well you’re doing, they’re probably not going to buy it.

Instead, try keeping it real. Don’t pretend to be aloof or uncaring. Be polite, respectful, and a little friendly. You’re not going to escape any difficult feelings the interaction brings up, so you might as well leave with your dignity intact.

Take the high road.

If the relationship ended badly, you might be tempted to say something biting and sarcastic upon seeing your ex again. How often have you fantasized about the shade you’d throw in that situation? Have you memorized the comebacks you’d throw out if they tried to apologize?

But being petty won’t make you feel better, even if it does make your ex feel worse. Even if you get a brief high from speaking your mind, being spiteful will only leave you feeling worse once the adrenaline has faded.

As hard as it might seem, taking the high road is better for both of you. There’s a famous saying that goes, “Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for for the other person to die.” Of course it’s easy to stay mad at an ex, especially if they cheated on you, but taking the low road won’t make you happier.

Keep it brief.

Unless you’re on great terms with your ex, you don’t have to discuss everything that’s gone on since you two broke up. Keep the conversation light and simple, make a joke or two and then find a reason to leave.

If you have an extended conversation, it could make them think you’re still interested. That can lead to even more awkwardness, with them preemptively rejecting you or trying to win you back. A five-minute chat leaves no room for interpretation.

Ignore them.

If you feel like you’re still too emotional and won’t be able to hold it together, it’s ok to ignore them. You might feel a little awkward just turning and walking away, but it’s better than bursting into tears as soon as they say, “Hi.”

You don’t owe anyone your attention. After a tough breakup, all you need to worry about is taking care of you.

Don’t obsess over it.

If you’re in college or live near your ex, the possibility of running into them is very likely. When I was dumped in college, I still had to see my ex every day. I dreaded walking into the journalism building and seeing his face.

Over time, I realized that my dread wasn’t making me feel more prepared. It was just extending the pain. Plus, spending all my of my free time obsessing about the next time I’d see him was pretty annoying for my friends. They made that very, very clear.

Yes, you might run into someone who hurt you – but you don’t have to let them continue to make you feel bad. Focus on your work, your hobbies, and whatever else you have going for you. Eventually, the thought of running into your ex won’t even cross your mind.

Have you ran into an ex and not handled it well? If you rocked it like a pro, what tips can you give. Tell us all about it in the #Adulting Facebook community.

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Friendships are work. Just because you’re adulting hard doesn’t mean you have to let them slip away.

When you’re going through high school and college, the idea of drifting apart from your closest friends seems impossible. When you share a bond so strong, how could living in different cities or working opposite schedules get in the way?

Flash forward to your mid-20s, and you haven’t talked to any of them in months. Maybe you don’t even have their numbers.

After I graduated college, I learned the hard way that friendship is like a garden – if you don’t water it consistently, the vines will wither and die. Busy with work and high on my new career, I gradually started losing contact with the people who once meant the most to me. I assumed it would be easy to make new friendships, just like it was in college – how wrong I was.

Thankfully, I was able to turn things around before I lost my friends completely, but others aren’t so lucky. There are twenty-somethings all over the country pining for their old buddies, wondering where it all went wrong. If you don’t want to become one of them, read ahead to find out how.

Create a schedule.

My friend Leslie told me about how she would go weeks without talking to her sister, and how sad it made her. Every time she’d call, her sister would be busy and vice versa. Sick of playing phone tag, they created a schedule where every Sunday at 2 p.m., they call each other and catch up on an episode of their favorite show, usually “Pretty Little Liars” or “Chopped.”

Leslie said that since they created a schedule, they haven’t missed a phone call unless one of them has been on vacation. I love the idea of creating a regular phone date at the same time every month.

For this system to work, each person has to promise to be available during the agreed time and not cancel when life gets busy. You can’t flake out just because you’re tired or your boyfriend really wants to watch a movie – once you miss an appointment for flimsy reasons, it’s going to be easier to skip out from that point on.

Keep it simple.

A couple weeks ago, my college friends and I took a four-day trip to Asheville, North Carolina. We stayed in a rustic cabin outside of town and planned to spend our time kayaking, paddleboarding and hiking – almost none of which we actually did.

Why? We spent most of the time talking to each other, drinking homemade cocktails and staying up late playing Taboo. I had as much fun with them singing along to the Spice Girls in the car as I did exploring downtown Asheville.

If you’re struggling to make time for your friends, you might be overthinking it. Don’t try to plan an amazing Friday night, ask them over to watch “30 Rock” or play a board game instead. You don’t have to plan a dinner party or make reservations at the newest bar to have a good time.

Run errands together.

When I still lived in the same city as one of my best friends, we would often do the most mundane tasks together, like go grocery shopping or return clothes we’d bought online.

It’s not that we didn’t want to do something more exciting, but I was very frugal at the time and didn’t have extra money to spend on movies, concerts or going out. Instead, we’d go to Costco, get a hot dog for $1 and then buy whatever was on our list. Even though we were spending our Saturdays at a warehouse club, we still had fun.

If you’re pressed for time, don’t choose between your friends and your responsibilities. Combine them instead. Who knows, your friend might also need to buy moisturizer at Sephora or a new blazer at the mall.

You can even do this if you’re on a call with someone. For example, I love talking on the phone while I’m out walking the dogs or cleaning up around the house. It doesn’t take any extra mental capacity, and I’m not shirking my responsibilities.

That’s why I would always call my mom when I was driving home from work. I didn’t have anything else I needed to do at the same time, and it always made me feel better.

Take advantage of technology.

My best friends and I are separated by multiple states and we only see each other a couple times a year. To bridge the gap, I try to send them articles I think they’ll like or comment on their Facebook photos. Technology makes it so easy to stay in touch, especially if you’re far away.

Since I’ve started texting my friends more, I’ve felt more connected to a part of my life that ended when I graduated from college. I feel happier when I get a text from a friend, even if it’s as simple as an inside joke or a recommendation for acne cleanser.

Send snail mail.

You can also send letters and cards for birthdays and random events. It’s cheap, but it’s so fun to get real mail from your friends.

What are some of the ways you make time for friends? Have you adjusted relationships due to distance or schedules? Tell us about it over at the #Adulting Facebook community.

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While fun, dating isn’t just about playing around. Life’s too short to entertain situations that aren’t right for you. Say what you mean so you can find who you’re looking for.

I’m currently dating (again) after a much-needed break from the single’s scene. This time around has been a lot more fun because I’ve removed a lot of the pressure that I was putting on myself to “meet the one.” That pressure caused me to say “yes” to a lot of dates that should have been immediate “no’s.”

As I navigate the murky dating waters of 2017 I find myself becoming more and more confident about when I need to say “no” to a date and pass on what, at the time, feels like an opportunity that can’t be missed.

In fact, after I finish this post I need to text a guy that I originally connected with on Bumble. He seems pretty nice and if pictures are to be trusted…he’s handsome. But, we originally connected at the beginning (or was it the end?) of July. It’s now August 31st and we still haven’t gone out.

The reason was pretty reasonable. At the time we both went on vacations and were out of town for a couple of weeks. In fact, when he contacted me last week, I had basically forgotten about him because it had been so long since I had heard from him. When he reached out I was actually confused and surprised. But, I decided to say yes to meeting up the following week. But, to be honest, I wasn’t excited.

Are you on the same schedule?

That “yes” left me with that feeling when you want to say no to a date and don’t trust your gut. Originally I was concerned about the amount of travel that this particular gentleman enjoys. I love to travel too, but, what’s the point of starting something with someone who has basically indicated that he won’t be around that often? In fact, he’s heading to Latin America in a few weeks and who knows when he plans on returning.

I’m not looking for a booty call, those are easy, I’m looking for someone to get serious with. In fact, my initial thought was to pass on this guy because he’s just not around enough for what I’m looking for.

My initial “yes” made me feel a little desperate as if there weren’t enough matches out there for me. So I said “yes” to a guy who just isn’t that into being in town.

The thing is, saying “no” to a date doesn’t mean that you won’t ever have another date again. It just means that you’re sending out consistent signals to the Universe about what you will and won’t accept for yourself.

Do you need a break (up)?

Now, if you have been dating your person for awhile and you say no to a date, that action is filed under healthy communication and potentially setting boundaries, depending on why you said “no.” Sometimes you just need to take a break from people-even from your lovers.

When you are honest and kind about why you need space, that is part of establishing honesty and respect within your relationship. Because, in all seriousness, who wants to hang out with someone who needs space or just is not in the mood? I don’t.

Are your beliefs aligned?

Here are some other moments when you should feel confident about saying “no” to a potential date. If you had a first date and you discover your would-be new person has habits or belief systems that are out of sync with yours. Remember the post that I wrote about being ghosted?

Well, when we initially met, that guy shared some political views that are a complete 180 degrees from what I believe in. In fact, we had a really good conversation about all of the things that you never talk about on a real first date. And, during the course of that conversation, I kept thinking…seriously? You believe this sh$t? So, why on earth did I say “yes” to that date with him? Desperation.

I’m trying to meet the one…but, the one will have to be a heck of a lot more aligned with my belief systems than that guy was. If we had gotten serious we would have had problems every time the t.v. was turned on! And, no amount of makeup sex would have fixed those problems.

To be clear, here is a list of reasons why you should say “no”.

  • There is way too much time between the time you initially connect and your actual date. The only exception to this if you bump into each in person and sparks fly like in the movies.
  • Your initial gut feeling tells you that it would be a good idea to pass on this person. Not because they are good or bad, but, because they aren’t the right person for you.
  • You don’t have to agree on everything, but, if your personal belief systems are so out of whack that you will potentially argue every time the TV turns on, you probably should pass on that date.
  • If there are feelings of desperation connecting to your “yes” that should be a solid “no.” You will act crazy and clingy in this situation. Don’t be that person.

Dating can be stressful, exhilarating, and fun. Avoid unnecessary drama (and the appearance of leading people on) when you say yes to a date that should be a solid NO!

Have you ever said “yes” when you knew you should have turned a date down? Any interesting stories about that date that shouldn’t have happened? Tell us over at #Adulting Facebook community.

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Moving home can be a good way to get your feet under you. Just make sure you move home like a grown-ass adult.

Once in a while, we present Adulting.tv LIVE! Subscribe on YouTube to hear about future events, and share your questions about or suggestions for our next discussions!

Show Notes

Does it really mean you’re a failure if you’re moving home? The good news is that it doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. In fact, you can still be an adult and move back with your parents. But that doesn’t give you a pass to be lazy. Connie Albers joins us to talk about her experience living with her adult children.

Moving home can be a good way to get your feet under you when you’re in a tough spot. Today’s adults face many challenges not experienced by previous generations. We take a look at what it means to be an adult moving home, and how parents and grownup children can make the experience a good one that doesn’t keep you from developing as an adult.

Website: http://conniealbers.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/connielalbers

Hosted byHarlan L. Landes and Miranda Marquit
Produced byadulting.tv
Edited and mixed bySteve Stewart
Music bybensound.com

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Move beyond the petty childhood stuff.

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Sibling drama is part of life for many of us. Many of us assume we will all grow out of it in adulthood. But what if that isn’t the case? What if adult sibling rivalry becomes a thing?

In this episode we look at adult sibling relationships, what you can do to strengthen them, and how to get over the sibling drama once and for all.

Concepts

  • Sibling rivalry, in small doses can be a good thing.
  • The complexity involved with sibling relationships.
  • What contibrutes to sibling drama?
  • How life events and other factors shape our sibling relationships.
  • Tips for improving your relationships with your siblings.
  • What happens when the sibling drama is more than you can handle?
  • Strategies for dealing with sibling drama when it arises.

The DO NOWs for this week revolve around helping you develop stronger ties with your siblings. We look at how you can shift the narrative so that it’s something positive, as well as ideas for connecting with your siblings if you feel estranged.

This week’s listener question tackles the issue of what happens if your sibling BFF is no longer your bestie. We look at how you can approach the problem, and explore ideas for re-establishing good relations.

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Resources

Adult sibling rivalry
The benefits of sibling rivalry in childhood

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No cash? No problem! Fun and romance can happen without spending your whole paycheck, and may even be better for it.

My husband and I are no strangers to broke dates. We started seeing each other while interning abroad on shoestring budgets and continued to be dirt poor throughout college. Eventually, we graduated and started making decent money, but we still consider ourselves connoisseurs of the reduced-cost rendezvous.

The thing is, there’s no reason why a date needs to be pricey. In fact, those of us looking for a frugal partner may actually want to find someone who can have fun without dropping a week’s salary in the process. There are so many options for a cheap rendezvous, you can even suggest one without mentioning that you’re trying to save some money.

Here are some of the best options for dating on the cheap, pulled from my experience as a dead broke, love-struck twentysomething.

Take advantage of free admission.

Almost every local museum, zoo or other attraction has multiple free days during the year when anyone can visit for no cost. My local botanic gardens offer free admission once a quarter, while the zoo has them once a month.

Free days are usually packed with people, so it won’t be a very intimate experience – but it’s a great compromise for broke couples trying to have a little fun. Heavy crowds can also be a great opportunity for people watching.

You can find when attractions are free by searching “free admission [insert city here]” or subscribing to newsletters related to local events. Newspapers usually have an entertainment section where they list event details, and even your city’s Reddit forum will have information on when attractions are free or heavily discounted.

Get outdoors.

What better way to spend a few hours with someone special than by exploring the great outdoors? Find the best local hikes near you and pack a few snacks, water bottles, and sunscreen. You probably won’t have to pay a dime, except for the cost of gas.

Hiking not your thing? Grab a pair of old roller blades and find some quiet side streets, or take your bikes out for a ride. Being active together is always more fun than a traditional dinner-and-a-movie date, and is usually free or absurdly cheap.

It’s well known that exercising and being outdoors releases endorphins and promotes a happier mindset – perfect for a date.

If you’re not the adventurous type or don’t live near any decent hiking spots, hit up the best parks nearby or take a walk through an interesting part of town. When I first started dating my husband, we’d spend date nights taking walks around the neighborhood. Granted, we were studying abroad in London at the time so walking aimlessly was still romantic and exciting.

We didn’t have much money, but I cherished our walks, even if we covered the same ground every time.

Go to trivia events.

I’m a huge fan of going to trivia nights at my local bar. It’s one of my favorite things to do with friends, and it’s way cheaper than you might think. Trivia events usually last a couple hours, and you can order as much or as little food and drinks as you want.

Trivia on a date is fun because it’s interactive and doesn’t require you to answer repetitive questions like “where are you from?” and “how many siblings do you have?”. You’ll learn so much about the other person, like why they know Selena Gomez’s birthday or how they can list all the Star Trek captains in alphabetical order.

I always eat dinner at home before going to trivia and only order a small appetizer when I’m there, spending around $5 each time. You can find a trivia event no matter where you live or what your schedule is. Plus, it’s the perfect excuse for your friends to meet the person you’re seeing.

Cook together.

One of the most memorable dates my husband and I ever had was when we decided to make lasagna on Valentine’s Day. Neither of us had ever cooked lasagna before, but we thought it would be fun to save money and do something together.

It was a disaster. Cooking lasagna is an intense process, both in cooking and cleaning up afterward. We made enough lasagna to last the two of us for a week, after which we decided to never make it again.

But we had a blast, and I still recommend cooking together as a fun date for broke couples. Pick a recipe you’ve never tried, preferably something new or challenging like Thai Curry or a chocolate soufflé.

The point is to get you both out of your comfort zones, trying new things and embracing the challenge together. If the dish doesn’t turn out well, you’ll have a fun story to share with friends and family.

Make the shopping more exciting by visiting a local farmer’s market or ethnic grocery store together. It won’t be as easy or convenient as grabbing take-out or ordering a pizza, but you’ll have more fun and learn a new skill at the same time.

If you have any other great date ideas that won’t break the bank, let us know in the #Adulting Facebook community. See you there!

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One person wants kids, the other doesn’t. It isn’t hopeless but it will take some work to get through it. Here are your options.

In relationships, it’s often our differences that bring us together. A creative type might be drawn to someone with a blue collar background and a handyman skill set. A hardcore fantasy fan might be intrigued by a nonfiction lover. Even Yankees and Red Sox fans have been known to get along.

But there’s one difference that hardly ever jives with a healthy relationship: whether or not you want kids.

The need to have children is so hardwired in some people, it can be hard for them to grasp why anyone would forego the chance to pass on their genes. People on the other side of the spectrum might have trouble understanding the allure of changing diapers or going days without sleep.

It’s a contentious issue – so why do people wait so long to bring it up?

If you’re currently in this situation, it’s time to take action. Here’s what you need to do.

Discuss the issue.

It’s easy to bury your head in the sand about this topic. After all, who wants to talk about something as complicated as having children when you could debate what you think will happen on the next “Game of Thrones” episode?

Unfortunately, this is the kind of potential problem that needs to be discussed as soon as possible. If you’re a woman who wants kids and are married to or in a relationship with someone who doesn’t, you can’t wait forever. Female fertility goes down significantly after 35 and the chance of genetic disorders and other problems also increases. If you’re approaching 30, you can’t just ignore the problem for a few years.

Try talking about the question of children together and see where you both stand. If your partner mentioned a few years ago that he wants kids, it’s entirely possible he’s changed his mind since then. If you talk about your priorities early and often, there’s little chance you’ll be blindsided by a change of heart.

Couples who have been together a long time should consider seeing a therapist. They can help flesh out the issue, offer some perspective and lay out the best options for moving forward. For example, are you really averse to having a child because you’re scared that your partner won’t help shoulder the burden? Even if you’re sure you know the reasons why you don’t want kids, it might be easier to discuss the issue with a professional

For example, are you really averse to having a child because you’re scared that your partner won’t help shoulder the burden? Even if you’re sure you know the reasons why you don’t want kids, it might be easier to discuss the issue with a professional present.

Talk about other options.

If breaking up is not something you want to do, there might be a few ways to compromise. For example, you could look into temporarily fostering a child to see if it fulfills your partner’s parental instinct. Fostering is an intense process and a new home can have a permanent affect on a child, but placements are temporary and can let you both see what it’s like to be parents without making a permanent decision.

Fostering is an intense process and a new home can have a permanent affect on a child, but placements are temporary and can let you both see what it’s like to be parents without making a permanent decision.

You could also consider adopting an older child, if you’d rather skip the diapers-and-midnight-feedings stage of parenting.  If you want to start really slowly, try babysitting for a friend or relative to see how it feels before you decide to foster or adopt a child.

You can also talk to people you know who have children and aren’t afraid to share how it really feels to be a parent. These options should not be taken lightly, especially not as a direct replacement for having your own child.

Too much of what we see on TV and in film romanticizes the act of parenting and doesn’t prepare people for what being a mother or father actually means. Plenty of people want kids right up until the point where they actually have them, so make sure you’ve put real thought into the decision. Becoming a parent should be a conscious act, not a product of biological urges.

Take action.

The easiest decision to make is to maintain the status quo. Our comfort zone is soft and cozy, and disrupting it comes with challenges. Unfortunately, if you’ve discussed having a child and haven’t agreed on a decision you and your partner will be happy with, it might be time to say goodbye.

Everyone deserves to try for the life they want, whether it’s filled with babies and diapers or exotic vacations and late nights out. That’s not to say you can’t go along with your partner’s wishes for the good of the relationship, but make sure it’s a decision you buy into.

Don’t lie to yourself or your spouse if you truly can’t see yourself having kids and being happy, or vice versa. The longer you wait to reveal the truth, the worse the break-up will be.

How to prevent this.

It’s always hard to find someone you like, only to break things off because of a difference in priorities. Still, it’s a lot easier to break up with someone three months into the relationship than three years. Even if you’re worried the question will scare away potential mates, consider how much easier it will be to break up before you’ve moved in, met his parents and adopted a pet together.

Bring up your child-free status whenever you feel comfortable, but do it sooner rather than later. It never feels like the perfect time to discuss a sticky subject, so be prepared to feel awkward no matter how you approach the conversation.

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