DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a 28-year-old woman who is in a steady relationship. I am currently on birth control (an IUD that lasts three years at a time). I am due to have it removed next month. I have discussed it with my partner, but I have not asked him if I should be getting another IUD that lasts three years. I don’t want to assume that we will be having a child anytime soon, but I also don’t want to automatically throw it off the table by getting another birth control device put in. Should I discuss this with my boyfriend, and if so, how? -- Birth Control Confused, Charlotte, North Carolina
DEAR BIRTH CONTROL CONFUSED: Given your age, the status of your relationship and the parameters of your birth control method, it is time for you to have a serious talk with your boyfriend about the future. If you get the IUD now, you will be 31 before you remove it. Do you want to wait that long to consider having a child? Decide for yourself what you think about your future, and then broach the topic with your boyfriend.
Birth control can sometimes make a couple feel like the pressure to make decisions about the future has been removed, but that should not be the case. Now is a perfect time for you to talk about your plans. What do the two of you want for your lives? This should include whether you think you are in the relationship for the long haul, whether you want to have children and, if so, when. If your boyfriend gets agitated when you bring this up, remind him that there is a natural reason for it. You have to decide about the IUD.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)