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You dislike your job and you can’t find a new one, you don’t have many friends, you’re not sure what you want from your life but you think you do want to have kids. Does this mean that you’re holding out hope that he’ll change his mind in spite of steadily stating that he doesn’t want kids for 12 years now?

Or worse, does this mean you can’t help but associate him with having kids, and you’re confused by that, even though you know it’s not possible?

I’m not talking about kids now; I’m talking about how you’ve lived for the last 12 years of your life with him.

I might be assuming too much, but all signs indicate that you’re the one who has compromised, over and over again.

I really love him and he is a great person, funny, supportive, and caring.

Because I’m picking up a whiff of easy-come, easy-go attitude that I’d imagine doesn’t feel that gratifying after 12 years together. I’ve been with guys like that, where I was always scratching my head, wondering why I could never imagine them taking any kind of a stand for me. You don’t know what to do about it, so instead of throwing a fit or walking out the door, you become someone who exists in the margins, someone who can tuck herself into the background and make do with whatever leftovers come her way. You’re trying to accept whatever happens to come next.

Dear Polly, My boyfriend has always been upfront with me about not wanting children.

We discussed it once in depth pretty early on in the relationship and we’ve been together for nearly 12 years now.

The compromised nature of your situation goes beyond the question of children.

As far as I can tell, you’re in a relationship with someone who’s not interested in compromising or meeting you where you are and never has been.

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