I'm 40, want to have a family, and haven't yet found Mr. Right. Meanwhile, my best friend, a gay guy I'll call Tom, wants to have a baby too and has offered to impregnate me and split parenting 50-50. Tom is a great human being and would make a wonderful father. This may be my last best hope of becoming a mom. But something in me still holds out for the "full picture" of the nuclear family, to the point that I'm even wondering if Tom and I should marry and bring up the baby together (while still being free to date). We love each other, after all, and I've read of women who've done this. We have everything going for us but sex, and sex drops off after the first few years anyway, right? Or am I just trying to put a pretty bow on a bad idea?
He Said: Of course you should have a baby with your best gay friend, who is a great human being and would make a wonderful father. For inspiration look to former Supervisor Bevan Dufty, who had a baby with his good friend Rebecca Goldfader back in 2006. Dufty and Goldfader established a "co-parenting" situation in which they lived together to raise daughter Sidney. This is San Francisco, the home of progressive lifestyles, and there's no reason why you shouldn't create whatever kind of loving family works for you. As to whether you should marry Tom, I can't recommend not marrying him just because you two don't fit the "nuclear ideal" of a heterosexual couple who's (for the moment) having sex. After all, gay marriages don't fit that ideal either and I'm all for those unions. And marriage would make your rights and responsibilities, both to each other and to your child, more cut and dried. But you and Tom have a lot to talk through before you take that route–namely, what are you both going to do when and if either of you fall in love with a new mate? It's bound to happen at some point. Will your mates move in? Will the fact that you're already "married" hinder you from dating at all? Might it be more complicated legally, but easier emotionally, to simply live together for the first few years of the child's life and co-parent her? I suggest you talk through all the possible scenarios and also consult a lawyer before you make this huge decision.
She Said: If you were considering marriage to Tom because it would make the legal ramifications of custody, co-parenting, inheritance and emergency situations easier, I’d probably give it a lot more thought before answering. But you say that your primary reason would be to fulfill your mental ideal of a nuclear family. This in itself is not a good enough reason to get married. You and Tom should, by all means, consider having a baby, co-parenting, and possibly even living together, at least while the child is young. And yes, you need a lawyer to help work out all the legal ramifications. But if I were you, I’d reserve marriage for the day when you fall in love with a partner with whom you want to spend the rest of your life—and with whom you enjoy having sex. Sure, couples stop boning on a daily basis after the first blush wears off, but regular satisfying sex is a huge part of a healthy marriage. You don’t need the traditional nuclear family wrapped with a pretty bow to have a child, a wonderful co-parent, and a thriving marriage. You can have the first two now, and the third if and when it shows up in your life.
Curious? Confused? Heartbroken? Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org