What can you do when your partner does not want kids, but you definitely do?
Does it mean that you have to end the relationship? Or is there some way to reach a compromise regarding this important aspect of life?
Of course, it would have been best if you had talked about this before you committed to one another. But it can be easy to get caught up in the enjoyment a relationship brings and then avoiding talking about the difficult issues. Hey, who wants to think about kids when love is in the air? Or maybe you did have that conversation but one of you experienced a change of feelings over time.
In any case, you’re here now. What can you do about it?
Why You Want Kids
Before you can move forward, you need to get really clear on why you want kids. The more in-depth you can understand this part of yourself, the better decision you will be able to make about your relationship. Additionally, getting a clear understanding of this desire will help you better articulate the issue to your partner.
Sometimes people feel societal pressure to have children. Is that what is going on for you? Family pressure? Or are there deeper reasons within that motivate you to want children? Consider the following questions:
- What is the advantage of having children?
- What would your life look like with kids? Without kids?
- How do you imagine raising your child?
- What are the reasons you want to trade freedom for a family?
- How would having a child change your finances? How do you feel about this?
- Is this a true desire of yours or just some arbitrary milestone you’re supposed to be hitting at this time?
After thinking over all of the reasons you want to have children, you need to ask yourself one more hard question: Is this a deal breaker? If your partner refuses to have kids, are you prepared to leave the relationship?
Why Your Partner Does not Want Kids
Your partner also needs to think things over and articulate their thoughts to you. Some of the questions that you can encourage your partner to consider include:
- Why don’t you want to have kids?
- Do you see any benefits to having kids?
- What legacy will you leave without having children?
- What do you imagine your near future will look like without kids?
- What do you imagine retirement will look like without kids?
- How do you see our relationship evolving without children?
- How do you feel about the societal pressure to have children?
Again, after assessing and articulating all of that, they need to answer the big question: Is this a game changer? In other words, you might need to ask your partner, “If I insist on having children, will you leave the relationship?”
What are the Options?
Unfortunately, it’s important to recognize that if your partner does not want kids, and you definitely do, then the relationship will be at an impasse and you will both have to consider moving on. This isn’t really something that you can compromise on. After all, a child is a lifetime commitment. You can’t have half a child. Barring an unconventional situation where you have a child on your own and take on full responsibility – emotional, physical, financial and psychological – and your partner becomes a part-time romance, you really need to be on the same page.
However, you might not yet be at the point of no return. Digging deep into the conversations above might reveal some of these important factors:
- Having children isn’t as important to you as you thought it was if you have other shared goals.
- Your partner does want children, but not right now.
- Your partner has fears about having children; discussing them might shift things.
- This isn’t a deal breaker for either of you. There’s more room for conversation.
The important thing is to have those conversations honestly, openly, and empathetically. This isn’t an argument that you’re trying to win. After all, convincing your partner to have unwanted kids isn’t going to be good for anyone. And being convinced by your partner to give up this goal could be a sore point for a lifetime. Therefore, make sure that the goal of the conversations is clearly understanding one another. People’s convictions can shift over time. The prospect of losing each other can lead to changing opinions without resentment if done thoughtfully.
It is definitely a big deal when your partner does not want kids and you do. However, couples counseling can be a safe and supportive place to help you work through some of the challenges. Furthermore, it can help you mutually decide how to move your relationship forward, independently or together. Learn more here.