The first question people ask when they find out my husband is 15 years younger than I am, is, without fail, “Are you going to have children?”
What I want to say is, “If I was going to have children, I would have had them before now.”
But what they’re really asking is, “What if he wants children?” and that’s an entirely different question.
We actually did talk about having children for about the first five years of our relationship. Miguel was 25, I was 40, sex was great, he was beautiful, and stunning green eyes run in my family. We fantasized what our children would look like – black hair, creamy brown skin, piercing green eyes. Wow.
But I’d had my tubes tied when I was 22 – the next door widow in Little Women scared me childless (you know, the one with the infant that died of poverty-induced malnutrition) – so I had made a clear choice about motherhood 18 years before I met Miguel. Nonetheless, seeing what a great father he was to his daughter, and what a wonderful and attentive husband he was to me, well, it all combined to make me rethink my decision.
So we talked about the alternatives: getting my tubes untied, in vitro fertilization, using a surrogate mother, adoption. We ruled out getting my tubes untied because of the risks of surgery and the relatively low success rate for women who’ve been “tied” for so many years. In vitro was attractive until we started researching the effects of the hormones and fertility drugs.
By the time we started considering using a surrogate mother or adoption, Miguel had experienced several more years as a long-distance dad with his daughter and was coming to understand the level of commitment required by childrearing. We got him a cellphone plan with virtually unlimited minutes. His job as a facilities manager allowed him the freedom to talk while he worked alone outside, so they would speak for hours every day after she got out of school – gossiping, telling ghost stories, having the kind of intimate attention that children of working parents rarely receive. Then we’d fly him home every three months and he would spend 10 days hanging out with her during her school vacations while he bunked at his family’s home or camping with all the cousins. It was a bit exhausting for him, but my parents divorced when I was nine, so I was bound and determined that Miguel’s little girl would not have a distant father no matter how far away we lived.
In the end, we decided that we were just having too much fun as a couple to think of taking on the responsibilities of raising a newborn. We have, instead, focused our attention on making sure that his growing daughter, now 12 years old, has a role model for healthy relationships and healthy parenting. Unlike the usual situation with split families in Mexico – where the father goes away and has no contact – Miguel and I take an active role in his daughter’s life and give her the mental tools and emotional stability she needs to deal with her abusive mother. As a result, our home in Mexico has become her haven and she knows she has a place with us. She understands that her mother’s behavior is not about her personally, but rather a result of how her mother was raised and that because we are raising her differently she has the choice, as she says, to “break the chains of anger.” Those words coming from her mouth are miraculous.
As I said in my last blog on age-gap relationships, it takes really special people to build a successful age-gap couple – but the questions are still the same as those for peer-age couples. Do we want children? How many? Must they be our biological children? How do we want to raise them? Is our relationship healthy enough to properly nurture a child?
How you answer those questions really depends on your heart and your head, and not on your age difference.
I’d love to answer any questions you might have on age-gap relationships, so please leave your comments here and I’ll include them in upcoming blogs.
Achaessa lives with her younger husband in Mexico City. It's a growth experience for them both. Check out her blog at Achaessa Writes.
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