I was scared of cohabitation at first. Didn’t sharing a room — or worse, a toilet — mean the beginning of the end? Goodbye mystery. Goodbye romance.
But eventually, I warmed up to the idea, and Phil and I moved to Berlin together. We were finally ready to settle down, to build a nest.
So I flapped around the city and brought back decorations for the walls and food for the fridge. He brought home a state-of-the-art vacuum cleaner and kitchen supplies.
Watch: The things people say before having kids. Post continues below.
We slept together with an extra pillow whose sole purpose was to sit between both of our sets of legs at once. It was coined “the dildo pillow.”
On Saturday mornings, I woke up beside him and nuzzled my head into his chest. We would lie there too long before getting up to make coffee and read on the Ikea couch we’d picked out together, or taking a walk on the Landwehr Canal.
On weeknights, I’d read my German homework aloud to him, and when I mispronounced something, he made me read the whole sentence from the beginning.
He took me home to his family in South Germany over Christmas. We all ate cookies his mum had spent the previous days baking, sang Christmas carols under their tree, and went to church together, even though I’m Jewish.
My life was perfect. I had just turned 31, I had a cool job, and I lived with a sweet and smart boyfriend, who loved me. I’d even written a blog post about how I’d met a perfect guy simply by doing what I loved.
But there was one obstacle that was too big for us.
One day, we were sitting together at our kitchen table, and he admitted to me he wasn’t sure about having children in the coming years.
It was something we’d discussed before, and on which I’d thought we were on the same page.
When he told me about his uncertainty, my first thought was: we must break up. I couldn’t stay with him for years and wait for him to “maybe” want kids. My biological clock was ticking.
But at that moment, the reality of that choice was too much to digest. Despite this big difference in our desired futures, we needed to stay together.
We’d committed. We had our apartment, our love, our whole lives melded together. I didn’t want to give up the life we’d built for a child that didn’t even exist. So we tried to figure out a solution.
“What if we date other people and I try to find someone who wants to have a child with me?” I suggested.
“If that means we can stay together, let’s do it,” he said.
So I tried meeting other men open to open relationships, but I didn’t enjoy the process. It felt weird to want such a specific thing from the online dating world, which wasn’t fun to navigate in the first place. My heart wasn’t in it. So after a few weeks, I suggested something else: