I’m dating a guy who says he wants a family but won’t say specifically that he wants kids. This is confusing to me. What should I make of this?
Tiff F. - Oakland, CA
What you should make of that is that he wants a family. But I get your point. There’s a whole lot of “new normal” out there, so a “family” may mean one boy and one girl, or it could mean being the guardian of three frogs, two crabs, four (fat) newts, and a rapidly shrinking supply of goldfish in a terrarium. Or the dad of a dog, or a pot-bellied pig, or a herd of goats. It’s hard to know, isn’t it?
So how do you bring up kids without putting the cart before the horse and scaring him away with a question that’s too soon?
If he said he wants a family, try, “You said you want a family. If you had it all your way, what would that family look like?”
Then zip it.
Kick back; let him talk as long as he wants. And when he stops talking, hang out in the silence in case he decides he has something more to say about that. Because given the right environment, and enough space for him to talk into, that simple question will give you tons more information than “I want three kids.” He’ll probably share his opinions on how they should be raised, and what values are important to him, and what bugs him about the kids today, etc. Or… he might tell you what room in the house he wants the terrarium to go in, and a game plan for when the newts eat all the fish.