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Dear Debra
Dear Debra, Advice Columnist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1765
Experience:  I have been an Advice columnist for 14 years. My column is published weekly in local newpapers.
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I love my boyfriend and he wants to get married soon. I also

Customer Question

I love my boyfriend and he wants to get married soon. I also want to have kids and I discovered he had undescended testes as a baby that were not corrected until his early teens along with high exposure to radiation in his late teens due to work he did. It is quite possible he might not be able to have kids. I'm in my mid 30s so the clock is ticking for me too. It bothers me to plan a wedding, not knowing if we'll be able to have kids someday. What should I do?? Please help. I've brought up fertility testing and not sure if he is completely open to it....or maybe we should both get it done?

Also, He grew up on his town since his mid-teens. He worked in a number of jobs related to army and defense and he may be suffering from PTSD. I find his mood is very up and down and can suddenly get angry and so many small things. Usually we spend hrs resolving the matter only for him to get angry at something else a day or two later. This pattern is mentally and physically exhausting for me and very emotionally draining.

He is a sweet person, very caring, and I do believe he will make a great husband and father but I'm torn given his personality and the fertility issues. Please help.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Dr. L replied 1 year ago.

Dr Levang :

Hello,

Dr Levang :

I can understand how scared you are to make a life long commitment with these issues hanging over your head.

Dr Levang :

I like your idea of both of you going for testing. The testing for men is really quite simple. It takes an examination by a urologist and really is not very complicated. Testing for a woman is much more complicated. Perhaps if he knew that..it would be easier.

Dr Levang :

To say to him that at your age (mid 30's) you would like some insurance about your own fertility is a fair and reasonable request.

Dr Levang :

The approach I suggest is this, "Honey, I am a bit worried about my own fertility given my age. I want to undergo some basic fertility testing so we know what challenges we may have attempting to get pregnant. Would you be willing to join me by having some testing to? Testing for men is very easy. For women it is more complex. But I am hoping that I can get a quick answer and not have to undergo much testing."

Dr Levang :

If you keep the focus on you, perhaps he will be willing to support you.

Dr Levang :

The main issue with men is low sperm count. But there are remedies for this. So...I want you to feel hopeful here and not terribly worried.

Dr Levang :

There are also a number of options for couples...from in vitro fertilization to adoption. So...please stay optimistic here.

Dr Levang :

As to the mood swings and possible PTSD. My best suggestion is to ask if he would be willing to see a therapist. Perhaps you would be willing to consider couple's therapy as a way to be part of exploring and understanding his mood swings.

Dr Levang :

The fact that he has became independent at such an early age leads me to wonder if he has some long-standing issues with abandonment or anger over having to only depend on himself.

Dr Levang :

I do think that a pro-active approach is best. You need to go into marriage with your eyes wide open!

Dr Levang :

I see that you are offline. When you come online I will be notified.

Dr Levang :

Thank you.

Customer :
Customer :

Thank you for the response Dr. Levang. I tried speaking to him about fertility issues and he we end up fighting about it and he says if you're just with me for babies then you should find someone else. I told him that I'm getting older and maybe I might not be able to have kids......when I bring up the topic of testing he gets upset and wonders if I will leave him if the testing shows he cannot have kids.

Customer :

His mood swings come and go and in general they have been much better this year compared to last year. We started dating in December 2010. I told him I would leave if he kept being so unstable since I hated fighting over the smallest things and then arguing about nothing for hours until the next issue. He is a lot better now, but there are still occasions where he overreacts.

Customer :

Yes....you're absolutely correct. He has been on his own since mid-teens and I do feel a lot of his personality and moods might stem from the long-standing issues with abandonment you noted....and anger over only having to depend on himself.

Customer :

It's tough, since the two of us have completely differenct upbringings. I come from a very large family on both of my parents side who I am very close with and I am even closer with my immediate family. Him on the other hand has never lived with his family and speaks to his mom once a week on the phone. He has a sister that is married and lives about an hour away but never speaks or visits her. I see my family quite often.

Customer :

He talks about getting married but says he wants a small wedding...and given that my family is soo large it would be difficult to keep it small.

Customer :

I can see all the pent-up anger in him over his family and I try to help but he is very sensitive over it all ....so I've learned to say nothing much or else we usually end up fighting about me not understanding any of it.

Customer :

I feel like i'm in such a predicament. I've had a great family life, gone to university, great job, and I feel like I'm struggling with this relationship given all of the issues and the different lives we've had.

Customer :
Customer :

Can you please help, any advice would be great.

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