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When One of You Wants Kids & the Other One Doesn't

Updated on June 16, 2009

You and your life partner can disagree on a lot of different things and still live a wonderful life together. I love scary movies. My husband hates them. My husband enjoys riding motorcycles and motocross racing. I would rather have a root canal then sit through one of those races. I’d rather go to a runway fashion show in NYC. He likes baseball, I love hockey.

These things don’t make much of a difference in our lives. If I take in a scary movie with a girlfriend or a hockey game with some old school pals, or if he goes off racing the boys, our lives are just not impacted.

But there are some things that a couple must agree on. Monogamy is one of those things. Having children is another.

Prior to marriage or making a full life commitment, a healthy couple has all the necessary conversations. Should we buy or rent. Should we live in the city or the country. Are we going to try to have children.

You’ve had the conversations. You’ve listened, you’ve spoken. You’ve compromised and agreed. Now you’re several years in. And suddenly, your partner changes the rules.

What do you do when you’ve entered into a marriage or partnership believing and agreeing to have children, or not to have children, and your partner changes their mind?

This isn’t like some of the other things you’ve agreed upon, where you can just agree to disagree or find a compromise. If you agree you want to live in the city and then after a few years one of you changes their mind and wants to live in the country, you can compromise with a move to the suburbs. You can compromise with a weekend house in the mountains.

Having kids is not something anyone should compromise about. And there is no way this can be a part time thing.

There is only one reason to have a child: because you truly want to have a child. Having a child because someone you’re with wants babies, is one of the worst reasons to make the huge lifelong commitment of bringing another human being into the world.

This isn’t like sitting through a few scary movies or a few baseball games to appease your partner. This is a 24-7 commitment for the next 18 years at the very least. This is not something you can change your mind about later. It’s not like saying one day that you gave the suburbs a try to you really miss the city. There is a completely dependent human life involved, not to mention your partner and their 24-7 commitment.

Your entire life as you now know it ends once you become a parent. You are no longer the first person you get to think about. In my HUB Unhappily Married Men – Kids Change Everything.

I discuss the many specific things that will become your reality for the rest of your life if you have children. Unless you want to have children, these changes and sacrifices are overwhelming. Many people that DO want to have kids can’t handle the reality of the decision.

I discuss the many specific things that will become your reality for the rest of your life if you have children. Unless you want to have children, these changes and sacrifices are overwhelming. Many people that DO want to have kids can’t handle the reality of the decision.

If you have a baby because your partner changed their mind and now wants one, the resentment you will feel towards them will be astronomical.

What if the opposite is the situation. What if you’ve agreed to have children, enter into your life together and then a few years in your partner change their mind and say they don’t want to have kids.

Unlike the former example, at least this one is reversible. You can try giving them some time to change their minds. You can try out being just the two of you without kids. And if it doesn’t work for you, you can move on. No lives are at stake. You have the time to talk, try, wait and see.

My HUBS all echo the same relationship mantras: Communication and honesty are the keys to success. And this subject is intensely in need of serious communication and total honesty. It requires both parties to be 100% honest with each other and with themselves.

There is nothing wrong with wanting children. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with not wanting children. But there is everything in the world wrong with having a child when you don’t personally want to have one. You can’t be in halfway. You can’t do it because your partner wants it. This is the rest of another human beings life you’re talking about. If you aren’t truly in 100% with all of your mind and heart, then you have to be 100% out.

The three biggest reasons couples divorce are money, infidelity and children. Many of those couples that separated over children both wanted to have them. If you and your partner feel differently about having children, I’m afraid this is an ending. This is an impasse.

One thing you can really try to do so that you and your partner never reach this impasse, is communicate clearly and honestly every step of the way.

Nothing can prevent someone from changing their minds. But I think that completely doing a 180 on the subject of having children is rare. If both you and your partner honestly communicate all your feelings, thoughts and ideas about this subject, the possibility of being blindsided diminishes. Make sure both of you are in full disclosure mode while talking these important subjects all the way through. People have a natural tendency to avoid confrontations or disagreements if they can. That may be the case with your conversations in the early stages of a relationship.

It is important that this not be a subject you gloss over. Really encourage your partner to be complete with sharing thoughts and ideas about the future regarding this subject. It’s better to figure this out early if you can, than to be years into a marriage that can’t work because one of you wants children and the other one doesn’t.

This article

was written for Hubpages by Veronica. If you are reading it anywhere else, it has been stolen.

All text is original content by Veronica.

All photos are used with permission.

All videos are courtesy of youtube.

Do you have a relationship quesiton? Email me. Thanks!


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