Men changing mind about having kids?

(99 Posts)
Orangelime79 Thu 30-May-13 12:45:51

I'm 22 and my boyfriend is 26. We have been together for 3 years and lived together for 2 years. I love him so much and am very very happy with him. 

He has been clear from the start that he is not interested in marriage. I do want to get married but it's not the be all and end all to me; also, at the time I was 19 and far too young to care about that. I also had in the back of my mind hoped he might change his mind.

However we had never really spoke that much about children. It all came out last night that he doesn't want children. I come from a very close family, love babies and children and have always wanted to one day have kids. This is not negotiable for me and I will never change my mind.

My boyfriend is only 26, has never had anything much to do with children and does not know any children (no friends' babies, no nieces, no nephews). Is it reasonable to expect that when he gets older he may change his mind?

Obviously at some point I would have to draw the line but I think it would be ridiculous to split up with him over something like this when I'm only 22, not 37 or something. I also really don't want to split up from him - we really love each other. It's also not as easy as just splitting up from him - my whole life is built around our relationship and it would mean I'd have to leave my job, move out of the city and back with my parents, etc.

My boyfriend said that right now he doesn't see himself ever wanting to have children, but in five years there could be a chance he'd feel differently, etc. however, I did have to drag that out of him and he was very careful to make clear that there were no promises he'd ever change his mind.

I don't want kids NOW and even if he agreed with me on everything would wait at least 5 years, would  happily wait 10 years if I knew it would definitely happen. He is fully aware of this.

Lottapianos Thu 30-May-13 12:50:23

Orangelime79, that's a tough one. He may change his mind. He may not. You may change your mind!

He can't make you any promises that he will or won't feel the same way about this forever. It sounds like he's just being realistic and honest with you. You said he's never spent any time around children - do you have any young children in your families or in your circle of friends who you could both spend time with?

My DP and I are childfree. I work with children but my DP had never been around a child since he was one himself, until a couple of years ago when some of our friends became parents. He realises now how much he enjoys spending time with babies and children, and we both do have mild broody feelings, but it hasn't changed our minds about becoming parents ourselves.

I would recommend that you keep talking about it now and then, without putting pressure on him to change his mind.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Thu 30-May-13 12:51:07

He may do. Or he may not.

But what you have to remember is that he is every bit as entitled to not want children as you are to want them.

You have to decide if the possibility that he won't ever change his mind is ok with you.

If you give it until you're 37 then you have to find someone who wants to have children, know that they're a good person, be ready for children with them and actually get pregnant. Have you seen all the stuff causing aggro atm about decreasing fertility as you age?
e's been honest with you - he doesn't want to get married. You're hanging in there hoping that he'll change his mind. He may do. But if he doesn't - you can't ever be angry about it because you knew. From the start, you knew.

Same with babies.

If you stay, stay knowing that there is a possibility that he will never change his mind and that you have no right to try to force him - same as he would have no right to try to force you. A child has the right to be wanted by both parents!

It's a tough one. I don't envy you. Whatever you decide, don't base it on wishful thinking and then regret it when you're 50 and that marriage and child never materialised.

CajaDeLaMemoria Thu 30-May-13 12:54:06

You would be unreasonable to expect him to change his mind.

Some people don't want children. Nieces and nephews, friends children etc might not help: they could either convince him that he doesn't want children of his own, or show him that he can have the fun of children without the work and responsibility all the time.

It is of course up to you what you do. You can wait, and see if he does change his mind, but you may end up resenting him for stopping you from having something that you want so badly. You may well end up splitting up anyway, when your biological clock goes mad and he still doesn't want children.

You do end up building a life around someone, but that'll happen anyway. If you end up leaving to have kids, you'll need to break that.

So it's a choice you have to make, knowing that at the moment, your DP doesn't want children. You can't make it based on "what if"s. So if nothing changes, what will you do? Find someone else? Or stay, and not have children?

You could wait ten years, fifteen years, and he could still be adamant that he doesn't want children, and you won't be as fertile anymore. You could end up with only a few years to meet someone new, commit to each other and decide to conceive.

I'd leave. Maybe not immediately, but I'd put into place things that meant that I could go without disrupting as much as possible, because I'll never not want children. I can't imagine life without them.

In my experience, people who don't want children rarely change their minds.

ChaoticTranquility Thu 30-May-13 12:55:55

I think you need to seriously think about what you want...not him, you. He doesn't want to get married, you do. He doesn't want children, you do. Okay, he's 26 so there is a possibility that he may want children in the future but you can not rely on him changing his mind. It's more likely that he won't change his mind, or, and this is going to sound harsh but I don't mean it to be, he may decide he wants them with someone else.

There are other options other than living with him or moving back with your parents btw. You could look at renting yourself or even a house share on a temp basis. I'm not saying leave him just that it isn't an either/or situation wrt your job and where you live.

Atm you're only young so you do have the luxury of time but have a good think about what truly is important to you, what are or aren't dealbreakers because you don't want to wake up one morning and realise that somehow you've wasted x years of your life hoping he'll change his mind only to find out he hasn't.

StuntGirl Thu 30-May-13 13:04:38

Don't make this decision by second guessing what might happen in the future. He has made it perfectly clear he doesn't want marriage or children, and you have made it perfectly clear you do. Neither of you are unreasonable, but if either tried to force their view on the other that would be unreasonable.

Your choices are: stay with him knowing marriage and children are not in your future, or leave him and find someone who does want those things.

It's a horrible decision to make, I know. He may change his mind, he may not. I didn't want marriage and children at that age and I still don't.

If you choose to stay, can you honestly, hand on heart, live without marriage or children?

Lottapianos Thu 30-May-13 13:07:50

'I didn't want marriage and children at that age and I still don't'

Ditto here and I'm 33 now. I could still change my mind of course but honestly, I think it's very unlikely.

Also, don't be fooled into thinking that men and women are different in this respect. He's no more or less likely to change his mind on this than you are. How would you feel if someone told you you would definitely change your mind about having kids when you hit 30?

CAF275 Thu 30-May-13 13:11:00

Be very, very careful. A really good friend of mine was in the same situation as you. BF was adamant he didn't want marriage or kids. Then changed his mind a few years later and they obviously discussed the kids issue as he had changed his mind about marriage. He promised her one child, and on that basis she married him.

He then changed his mind again after a few months and the conversation was along the lines of "I'm not discussing it. See a divorce lawyer if you won't accept my decision".

She was devastated but is still with him, and still childless. Not sure I could have stayed with such a selfish bastard tbh.

diddl Thu 30-May-13 13:11:42

Tbh, I'd have a serious think about splitting.

He doesn't want marriage/children & you do.

Pretty big things to not be in agreement on imo.

HotPanda Thu 30-May-13 13:20:20

My DH has always said he can't see imagine not having children, BUT that he doesn't want them right now. We have been together over 10 years and this hasn't changed. We do still have loads of time on our side as we are late 20's.

It is hard, because he has been as honest with you as he can be, none of us can predict the future, or how our feelings might change.

If I were you I would be tempted to not discuss it again until he is 30. Then you can make your decision as to staying together childfree, staying together with children or separating.

Whatever you do, do not trap him, of force him into it. As a child who was not wanted by their father I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

DontmindifIdo Thu 30-May-13 13:21:28

I think at 26, he's not gone through the stage of all his friends getting married and having DCs, normally about late 20s suddenly you go to a lot of weddings, and then early 30s for men there's a bit of a baby boom amongst friends. That might change his mind when it's something his friends are embracing.

However, it might not. Long term, this isn't the relationship for you if you want marriage and kids and he doesn't. That's fine at 22, but do you really want to be passing up the chance to meet the right man for you staying in a relationship you know isn't the one you are going to be in long term.

i wouldn't buy a house with him (will be v complicated to sort out when you split up), plan more than 2-3 years ahead. realistically, you might as well end it sooner rather than later, spend some time getting over it, have some fun and then look to find someone who does share your future plans.

RedHelenB Thu 30-May-13 13:24:45

What does he want to do if he doesn't want to get married & have kids? Is this something that would satisfy you too? I am now a single mother of 3 but could never have married someone who didn't want children & thought we'd be together forever but things change.

specialsubject Thu 30-May-13 13:27:00

turn it round. How would you feel if your desire to have children was assumed to be something that you would later change your mind about? Insulted? Patronised? Of course.

very hard choice, but he has told you how it is. Stop hoping about mind-changing. Not happening.

you know what you have to do. This is the one thing where there is no compromise. You've been together since you were very young so it is going to be difficult.

good luck.

VanitasVanitatum Thu 30-May-13 13:29:05

I left my ex for this reason. We were together six years, I loved him and still do, but I'm 29 and do not have time on my side! He had always said he would have more kids (two dds with ex wife) but then admitted that actually, he had realised he didn't want any more. I probably could have persuaded him, but I don't think either of us would ever have been totally happy with that. You are both very young, you don't need to make an instant decision on this, but please don't rely on him changing his mind. If it's non negotiable for you, you need to face up to the fact that this may not be the right relationship. He has been very honest with you, and there is really no guarantee he will change his mind as he gets older.

teacherandguideleader Thu 30-May-13 13:35:28

My ex didn't want children. When pressed he would say maybe he'd change his mind. At a family meal he announced there would never be any children and later admitted he'd only said he might change his mind to keep me quiet.

MoreBeta Thu 30-May-13 13:37:23

Marriage and children are very important to you. He does not want them and TBH there are increasingly large numbers of women out there who are finding this. I think you need to find a man who wants what you want.

There was a long thread about this issue of men being unwilling to comit to having children recently on MN.

The problem is that men know full well that marriage and children bring financial responsibilities and the law has given women much much more power to force men to pay Child Maintenenace. The UK courts are also known to be increasingly handing down divorce judgements that are far more generous to women who give have given up careers to have children and follow their husband when moving jobs.

Not surprisingly, many young men are responding to these increased legal rights that women have gained by deliberately refusing to be married and have children. They still want a commited long term relationship but not one that leaves them vulnerable to the woman demanding a fianancial penalty if it breaks down. Add to that, the fact that men in general do not have the same overwhelming feeling of wanting a child that most women have and you have a set of young men being increasingly reluctant to commit.

The net result is that being in a relationship with no legal obligations is what many young men now see as the optimal outcome. It works fine when both the man and the woman in a relationship are still young like you but as the woman gets older her opinion will inevitably be forced to change as her child bearring years diminish.

In the old days most men basically had to get married to have a physical relationship with a woman but now that is no longer the case and as women have gained far more legal rights many young men see no upside at all in marriage and children.

MoominsYonisAreScary Thu 30-May-13 13:48:02

You say your whole life is built around your relationship? Maybe now is the time to change that. Then, if you decide to leave in a few years time when he still hasn't changed his mind you will already have a life that doesn't revolve around him and it won't be such a big jump for you.

LemonPeculiarJones Thu 30-May-13 13:51:43

Why stay longer and get more and more attached, involved and invested when you know this relationship can't go anywhere?

Don't sign up for greater heartache in the future by prolonging this relationship.

Sallyingforth Thu 30-May-13 13:54:35

OP I have a dear friend who is in exactly your position having married five years ago.
Her DH is a lovely man but has always made it clear that he never wanted children. She married him anyway but is now coming to realise that she made a mistake. I have seen her face when she looks at babies and I know that tears have been shed.
Is your love strong enough to survive years of regret at not having children? Will it turn to resentment?
I can't advise you what to do, but I hope that in your place I would have the strength to end it amicably now.

LongGoneBeforeDaylight Thu 30-May-13 14:01:12

Not sure I agree with the poster who said that people who don't want children rarely change their minds... I think many people don't want/are ambivalent and change their minds in their early 30s. Maybe more women than men.

I don't want children and my DP does. He's 31 and I'm 28. I have said pretty much what your DP has said to you: that I don't want them but there is a possibility I will change my mind in the future.

I spent a lot of time worrying in my mid twenties about whether this would become a deal breaker for DP. It's not at the moment but might well do. But I figure, you can't leave someone because you might not want the same things in 5 years' time, and you currently do want the same things right now (ie neither of you wants kids now). Men in particular aren't very good at hypothetical situations - in my experience my DP can only say how he feels NOW and not how he will feel in the future.

Almost everybody has children eventually. I wouldn't leave someone you love at 22 over this as the disagreement hasn't materialised yet. If you were my age and ready I might advise differently. But are the odds any higher of you meeting someone you want to have babies with as they are of your DP changing his mind? You're very young and many relationships in your early 20s don't make it to your 30s anyway. Give it time and all will become clear I think.

Lottapianos Thu 30-May-13 14:04:32

'Men in particular aren't very good at hypothetical situations - in my experience my DP can only say how he feels NOW and not how he will feel in the future'

LongGone, isn't that all anybody can say -what you want right now? No-one can tell how their mind may or may not change in the future. I hope that things work out for you smile

LongGoneBeforeDaylight Thu 30-May-13 14:06:25

Yes, true, but I think the OP is saying she doesn't want them now but will in the future. I have no such foresight, haven't got a clue if I will want them! smile

attheendoftheday Thu 30-May-13 14:12:45

At 26 I knew I wanted children, as did dp. Neither of us changed our minds.

I'm sorry, but I think that you have to decide whether this relationship is more important to you than having kids. If it's a dealbreaker (it would be for me) then I'd leave now. It's much easier to find a new partner who wants the same things as you in your twenties than when you're older.

bellablot Thu 30-May-13 14:16:18

The facts are, you both disagree on the two very important subjects in your relationship, you aren't deciding what pizza to have for your dinner.

You know what you want, don't let anyone but yourself change your decision.

Chances are if you do dump him, he'll marry in a few years to someone else and have kids with them, when he's grown up a bit.

Good luck in deciding!

StuckOnARollercoaster Thu 30-May-13 14:34:00

I'd second Moomins advice - start building a life that doesn't revolve around your relationship - build up strong friendships, activities and interests and enjoy your life. At your age I don't think its important you make a decision now to leave - but I would stay clear of making any commitments with your boyfriend - do not move in together, do not purchase property.
I'd reexamine the scenario in 2/3 years time - you may find if you are no longer dependent on the relationship being your life that he is no longer the attraction you think and you are ready to move on and be open to meeting someone that does want a family.

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