When I was in my twenties I used to love my weekends. Out with my friends, doing what I wanted because we all had the same goal. Beer and women. Luckily the former didn't stop me meeting the love of my life. She was kind enough to put up with me and tame me into a relatively sensible chap.
During my thirties, the weekends meant drinking herbal remedies, timed sex and tears as my girlfriend and I struggled to conceive. Turns out that no amount of vile tea, spinach and weeks of being teetotal could help us. We had ICSI a few times and it didn't work. The next step was donor everything and that didn't feel right. We felt too fragile for adoption.
We'd take a weekend away. Sit in posh hotels repairing our relationship when I wished I was at the football or the pub with my mates. I sound like a selfish git but I didn't think the need for a child should outweigh the relationship and your sanity. Maybe it's easier for a bloke? I'm told it is but I don't always agree. When I see my mates out with their sons, taking them to the matches as they sit in a different section to me now, that hurts.
But I could see our fragile relationship fading away and my girlfriend meant more to me than a child. We split up for a while, but we both realised that we had too much to lose. We've been to going to see a therapist who specialises in helping men and women after IVF fails and we're back together, hoping to get married next year.
I enjoy the weekends now. We have a dog. We walk her across the downs and usually pop in a pub for a pint, maybe take our camper van out for a spin.
Or course it hurts. There are times when it's a struggle for both of us but we know to keep talking about it. That's tough for blokes but a cuddle can mean a thousand words.