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Parallax - Advice

April 7, 2003

Language barrier?

Dear Conversely,

Ask us a Question!I have been living in France and dating a Frenchman for the last year. When we first started dating, I told him I would never live the rest of my life in France. I speak French; he speaks no English whatsoever. We fell in love very quickly despite the language barrier. Now I realize the conversation we have is limited and it's getting on my nerves. I will soon be thirty-nine and I want to have a baby. He says yes to a baby, even though he knows I don't want to stay in France. I have wanted to have a child since I was thirty-two, but have been in one unfulfilling relationship after another. I was close to going to a sperm bank, but now I have a donor right here, whom I love. Do I stay with him, have a baby and take a chance that I will be able to tear a child away from its father and move to America as a single mother? Or is this his way of manipulating me, trying to keep me here in France, knowing that I might be too emotional to leave with his child? I feel a little bit suspicious of how 'cool' he is about it. Email to a Friend

Her view:

Dear Desperate,

You have not presented the 'baby' as a donor situation. Nor have you clearly explained that you intend to use him as a sperm bank. I think you need to be clear about that to avoid complications later...because if he is not willing to be just that, you will have issues later. It is also clear that you do not really have a long-term option with this man, as he is already annoying you and you are geographically incompatible, as you say.

All that said, if you can get the okay from said donor, and be clear about the fact that you will have his baby and leave, then the idea seems reasonable. You also need to decide if that is really what you want. It does not sound like the best recipe for happiness, and this is the first time you'll really need to factor in someone else's happiness ahead of your own.

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His view:

Dear Desperate,

Not that I'm any better equipped to advise on baby-making questions than I am to discuss Botswana's development policy, but here goes.

I think you only have two choices: Have the simpleton's kid and stay in France or move back to the U.S. and call on your local sperm bank. If you can't picture yourself making a go of it in France, try picturing a fatherless child. How uncool is that? Whose fault is it anyway, that you've had 'bad luck' in your last seven years of relationships?

Back to the relationship front, your problem is a complete disconnection between what you say you want and how you end up looking for it. If you want to have a relationship with a man to father a child, and you want to live in the States, how much sense does it make to go to France, find a non-English speaker you can barely relate to, and then expect him to move to a country where he can't even order a beer? Why don't you make it easier for yourself next time? You know, move to Mongolia or Bolivia?

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