Realistic Age for Ideal Mate?

Q: What is the realistic age of a partner that someone in their late 40s should be considering? If they have never been married and may or may not want kids, how does that change it?--Justin, 47

Dr. Susan: As soon as someone comes up with a rule of thumb for any aspect of relationships, the rule is proved wrong for some unknown proportion of people. That said, there's one part of your question I can answer more definitely, and that's the part about kids. If you may seriously want kids, and you're pretty sure you'd rather not adopt or be a stepdad, then you need to look for a mate who is potentially fertile. Fertility doesn't completely end until menopause, the average age of which is 51. But that varies a lot, and a few women have overcome nature's barrier. The problem is that the decade prior to menopause is iffy. There are many more potential health issues for mom and baby, plus it's much harder for a woman to get pregnant when she's older. So, if you want a baby or two, try to attract a woman in her early 30s who also wants kids. Whether you've been married or not isn't really relevant to the age of your potential mate. And if you decide that you don't particularly want kids or you don't care either way, then you might best limit your search to women within a few years of your age, for greatest compatibility. Relationships are challenging enough!

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