Silence is not golden but safer
I've been watching the hunk Brad Pitt and his dazzling wife Angelina Jolie dragging their soccer squad of babies and toddlers. I scrutinised the lines on his face.
That guy didn't see things spiraling the way they are. These kids look like they might send him to an early grave.
And his wife on the other hand is basking in the glory - she's having the time of her life.
Perhaps because it was all part of the plan and whether Pitt is taking it in his stride or pretending that all is well is unclear.
It's pure speculation about them of course, but there are many people who tag along their spouses on decisions that were never put on the table before the wheels got into motion.
This creates a life-long, unbearable situation. You see it in the photos. One partner is smiling proudly in the farm's sunny kitchen while the other is knitting a jersey that may never be worn, all because she is trying hard to take her mind off things.
No one said anything about settling on a farm.
It's happening to my friend. She is living with her husband's teenage, busy-bodied daughter and she doesn't know where to begin addressing the living arrangements.
"I knew about her when we met, but that she would end up being my problem was never discussed and I hate that. Just because we are married, I cannot put my foot down on the matter," she says.
The teenager sees nothing wrong with opening a new pack of snacks every time she feels like nibbling.
She doesn't clean after herself and treats their helper like her slave. And although teens are sometimes asses, it's better to have your own little madam to straighten out than your better-half's old dog to teach new tricks to.
An American relationship coach might say that couples need to make a presentation for their spouses to talk about expectations so that things like having a ridiculous number of kids may be settled. But how do you see living arrangement issues coming?
As it is, I'm housing a cousin who has a cry-baby screaming blue murder every night and I'm sure the only reason my partner hasn't objected is because he loves kids.
But to what extent does he like them? It's a question that cannot be asked at a time like this.
So on top of everything, timing is also a key issue. How do you discuss procreation after three months of dating without it seeming like you are too hopeful? How do you bring it up after a year without sounding like you are asking him to marry you?
It then stands to reason that, in order to avoid a confrontation, people ask in a roundabout kind of way.
But the pay-off for that kind of approach is too mild to be taken seriously. If you ask: "You seem drawn to the cry-baby, are you embracing the idea?"
Chances are he'll say: "How can someone look so cute even when they wail all the time?"
That by anyone's standard is a fart. It's a response you get when you beat about the bush.
So these days, I slowly observe as he picks her up, tries to comfort and bond with the little one. She looks directly in his eyes as if to ask if he's her daddy.
Sometimes he feeds her and she thanks him by spitting in his face. When I change her nappy and he looks the other way, I'm not sure if it's poo-poo phobia or because he respects her privacy.
At times they play a game of trust and I melt. It's a heart-warming sight that does not answer my question. My direct question should have been: "When do we start working on our own baby?"
Maybe his answer would be: "Whenever you are ready."
But it might even be: "What? Have a baby take over your breasts while I look on and wait for months before my conjugal rights resume .?"
Are we not asking the questions for the sheer fear of the answers? Maybe spouses don't volunteer information out of ignorance or fear. So we would rather acquire a new talent of operating on the surface and let dangerous objects sit at the bottom of the pool with the hope that the creepy crawly will suck them out. In the meantime, like Pitt, we go through the relationship or marriage wondering: "How did I get here? Where was I when this decision was made .?
Excuse me while I kiss this guy. As soon as he lowers me down on the bed I'm popping the question. It's abuse of timing I know.