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by Abigail Van Buren

Couple Looking to the Future Differs on Starting a Family

DEAR ABBY: I have been in a strong relationship with my girlfriend for five years. We are very much in love.

I have told her I don't want to get married and have kids until I have attained some level of success. She understands my desire to be a good provider, but she's 29 and worried about her biological clock if she waits much longer.

I work full time, take night classes and I'm trying to put myself on a promising career path. Is my request unreasonable? We want it to work, but being able to provide at least a middle-class lifestyle is very important to me. -- AMBITIOUS GUY IN SAN DIEGO

DEAR AMBITIOUS: It would be wonderful if there was a blueprint for success in life and marriage, but too often, "life" intervenes. You and your girlfriend should have a serious discussion about the future, because you both have to be comfortable with what happens next.

If she wants to start a family right away and you feel you can't afford it, neither of you will be happy. If she's willing to wait another few years to start a family (her biological clock should still be ticking, or she could freeze her eggs), then it's important you agree about what needs to be in place financially in order for that to happen.

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