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Boyfriend doesn't want kids - I love him, my heart is breaking - should I leave him?

(234 Posts)
Nuttybiscuits Wed 09-Jan-13 15:14:10

I'm having a meltdown, I hope the lovely people of MN might be able to help me.

My wonderful, loving, gorgeous boyfriend of nearly 3 years doesn't want kids, and we are on the brink of splitting up over it.

A bit of background - He had a vasectomy when in a previous marriage. He has never wanted kids, and has never regretted his decision. Unfortunately, he didn't tell me this when we first met, and actually waited until we had been together over a year before he dropped this bombshell, despite me making it clear I wanted kids in the future.

At that time, he told me that he might be prepared to get it reversed, but needed a little time to think about it. That was a year and a half ago, and since then we have talked, argued, agreed to think about it on and off every few months. We have researched vasectomy reversal surgeons, and I have had to come to terms with the fact that we might be infertile forever (I'm 34 so we don't have a huge amount of time to get things sorted either). In the meantime, we have fallen completely in love, and have had a very happy time together. I can honestly say, I have never been so happy with a partner (apart from this very large problem), and having been through plenty of rubbish relationships, I really don't want to let this one go.

Crunch time has arrived - a few months ago, he told me he was ready to do it, thought he did want kids and would have the reversal operation in January. He saw his GP, and chose a surgeon. I begged him to get it booked so that we didn't argue about it over Christmas... but of course he didn't, and so the subject came up again. He completely melted down, said he didn't want to do it and that if that meant that we would have to split up then so be it.

We have spent the last 2 weeks evaluating our relationship, trying to decide what to do. We love each other, make each other so happy and want to have a future together. But he still doesn't want kids. We have faced the prospect of splitting up, but it makes me so sad to think about it, I basically refused to leave him when it came to it. He is trying to persuade himself to do it, realises what he stands to lose and occasionally thinks he might want kids, agrees that it could be lovely.. but then panics and says he really doesn't want to do it.

I have been trying to persuade him - he'd make a wonderful father, we are financially secure, no issues at all. We have a great life which would only get better with children. He is scared of the usual stuff - losing his freedom, having responsibility and thinks he might resent the child in years to come.

I have to decide whether I stay with him regardless and give up on my dream of ever having a family of my own (something I find very hard to contemplate), stay with him and hope he changes his mind once the pressure is off (difficult, would require a lot of strength and I'm struggling to be patient after 1.5 yrs), or leave the love of my life to take my chances that I might find someone else who wants a family with me.

I'm trying my best not to bring it up with him, to give him the space to think - but it's so hard to try and carry on a normal life when all the while I'm thinking that we could split up next week - hence me venting my thoughts on here I guess. What would you do in my situation?

Isetan Sun 26-May-13 10:15:33


Take off the rose tinted specs, your so called perfect relationship was founded on a big lie. You are both being selfish, he for lying and half heartedly wavering and you for pressuring someone whose mind has been made up for a very long time.

If you really want children then this is the wrong relationship, leave now because you may not have time.

stargirl04 Sun 26-May-13 11:58:06

OP, remember those books written by Greg Behrendt - "He's just not that into you" and "It's called a Break Up because it's broken"?

Can't remember which (I've read every self-help book going!) but in one of those he tackles this dilemma, and concludes that "not agreeing on kids is a biggie. Better to leave and find someone more compatible with your life goal", or something to that extent.

I know of five other couples who went through this exact dilemma - in all cases the woman wanted kids, the man didn't.

The first broke up with her bloke outright, and is now married to someone else with a much-loved DD. Their arguments about it created huge resentment and anger and brought the relationship to a head.

The second got pregnant by not taking her Pill and not telling DP, which she told me she was going to do "by accident". They married after he realised she was pregnant.

But after DD was born he was a terrible father, would not help with night wakings and early morning feeds etc and took little interest in the child. My friend was virtually a single mother and their relationship deteriorated to the point where she divorced him when their DD was still a toddler. Even now, he barely bothers to see his DD, which has caused my friend no end of heartache on her daughter's behalf. Life has been tough, and lonely, for my friend as a single mother with a young DD.

Ditto the third case, almost exactly. And post divorce, he can only be bothered seeing the child on his terms rather than on a regular basis.

(Both these blokes though were real losers.)

The fourth "persuaded" her reluctant DH to have children, got pregnant, had the baby but they split up when the child was a toddler.

The fifth was told by her partner when she got pregnant - "it's either me or that baby. I want you to have an abortion."

It was a very difficult decision for her because she told me that she was "besotted" with her DP. It took her a while to decide and she said it was a gradual decision, "like light coming under a door".

She chose to keep the child and they split up. She resigned herself to life as a single mum but shortly before she was due to give birth, DP got in touch and said "the three of them needed each other". They remained together until my friend sadly passed away (from cancer) a couple of years ago. Her son is now in his 20s.

I do know of another woman who resigned herself to her DP's wishes not to have children, married him and as far as I know, they are very happy.

I feel for you OP. I don't think you should try to persuade him. Either stay and truly accept that he doesn't want kids, or leave while you are still young enough so that you have a chance of realising your dream. But if you do leave, get a move on - or get your eggs frozen!

SugarPasteGreyhound Sun 26-May-13 22:06:44

Er isetan, try reading the whole thread before you climb up on your high horse hmm

gettingeasiernow Sun 26-May-13 22:45:37

It's hard to see from where you are standing now, but the love you feel for a child would probably far outweigh the love you have for DP now. So even if, years from now, you reach the point where you go it alone, you'd probably feel okay, the heartbreak would be mended by the love for the child. Depends how much you want children. Obviously you may meet someone else and it may all work out.
I also see that if you stay, he may begrudgingly have the operation in a moment of "weakness", to buy time if you like, then there would be the wait to see if it's successful, then there may be years of reduced fertility but just enough to keep you hanging on, or he may suddenly find his libido gone because he feels pushed to something he's not really convinced about, that will erode his self confidence and in the end he'll go because the pressure's just all too much for him - I'm just saying if he's not sure, he'll probably never be sure and the future looks bleak.
I'm sorry but you just can't make him want what he doesn't want. It's a huge huge deal.

wendle70 Fri 27-Sep-13 18:45:46

Hello NuttyBiscuits...I was looking on Mumsnet as I am now pregnant and I was wondering whether your situation had improved. I do hope so. I updated my post but suffice to say time and some counselling worked for us and now I am pregnant and we're both v happy (though it is a little earlier than either of us were anticipating!) Such a difficult place for women to be in though..I guess there's no magic answer but I disagree with the men never change comments. Of course people can and do change. I guess a lot of it is to do with the reason behind the fears about kids in the first place though.

Nuttybiscuits Tue 01-Oct-13 17:02:05

Hi Wendle!!

That is wonderful news, I'm so happy for you! I've been meaning to update this thread for a while, but was holding off...

My relationship with DP has gone from strength to strength. He had the vasectomy reversal operation, and although it's early days and we still don't know whether it was a success, we are currently TTC.

We are very happy, and he genuinely does want this. I too agree with posters who said that he would never change his mind. I didn't force his decision, it was his own to make, and we have never looked back. And he's a wonderful man, and would make a wonderful father if we are lucky enough for it to work for us.

I was holding off on updating as I wanted to end it with the happy news of a BFP or at least a positive result from her SA, but we haven't got there yet. I will be sure to let you know if we do smile

Nuttybiscuits Tue 01-Oct-13 17:04:58

Oh and I should add that I have come to terms with the possibility of it not working. We have a long road ahead of TTC and possibly ICSI if it doesn't work.

If that doesn't work, then I know we will have given everything we have to trying together, and at the end of the day I'm with a wonderful man who I love, and we have lots of great plans for our future with or without DCs.

Yes, being childless will break my heart. But I won't resent him if it comes to that - he has tried his very best and we are lucky to have found each other.

Sorry if that sounds puke-making....

wendle70 Thu 03-Oct-13 18:36:22

Ahh I am pleased that sounds great! Wishing you lots of luck and keep us posted. Also agree, the fact he went through with the op and you are TTC speaks volumes about what a great guy he is. Fantastic!

Finney2 Thu 03-Oct-13 23:15:08

What a lovely update. Good luck OP XX

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