Your Life: MAYBE BABY.. ONE YEARNS FOR A FAMILY. THE OTHER LIKES LIFE AS IT IS. WHERE DO YOU GO FROM HERE?
Byline: FLIC EVERETT
WHEN a couple fall in love, there's one question above all others that needs asking. And it's not, "Do you still fancy your ex?" It's, "Do you want children?"
Those four little words can mean the difference between lifelong happiness and a swift divorce - as Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston found out this week.
By all accounts, it wasn't Pitt's alleged affair with Angelina Jolie that destroyed the marriage of Hollywood's golden couple, but Aniston's refusal to give up her film career to make mini-Brad and Jens back home.
So what can you do if one of you longs for a baby and the other would rather spend the cot money on a PlayStation? It doesn't mean it's all over, but you do have to be painfully honest, and prepared to compromise.
YOU DON'T WANT A BABY BECAUSE...
You want to get ahead
LIKE Jennifer, when your career's going well, it can be painful to consider putting it all on hold. Ambitious colleagues will race ahead as you sit at home nursing, and you'll be relegated to some part-time role, turning up at meetings with baby sick on your shoulder, wistfully remembering the glory days like Lynette in Desperate Housewives.
THE COMPROMISE: Remember the saying, "No one ever lay on their deathbed wishing they'd spent more time in the office." Fertility declines sharply after 35, so you may not have as much choice as you think. If you really don't want kids, stop hedging and be honest about the fact that your career comes first.
You're not ready
YOU still feel like a kid yourself and, while you love your partner, you also love long lie-ins, spontaneous mini-breaks, and having no responsibilities other than what kind of wine to get on a Friday night. But your partner may not be prepared to wait years while you grow up.
THE COMPROMISE: Agree a date to start trying for a baby, say a year from now. Before then, commit to enjoying all the things you can't do with a baby around, and make the most of them. It's great to be young parents, but not if you're resentful of having your freedom curtailed.
IF your own family life was more Munsters than Waltons, it's normal to be terrified of inflicting the same mistakes on your kids. Some people would rather be childless than risk messing up a baby's life because they were never shown what good parenting looks like.
THE COMPROMISE: A good therapist can help you to question learnt beliefs about parenting. Make sure you both go together to discuss the sort of parents you'd like to be, and confront your fears head-on. …