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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?

cathers Wed 09-Jan-13 16:11:06

From what you have written, I think you need to leave him. You said yourself, if you stay with him and don't have kids, you will probably end up splitting.

I think, even if you do manage to have a child with him, there will be too much resentment on his part towards the baby and how his lifestyle will change. Or he would likely carry on his 'single life' lifestyle while you would be the primary carer and resent him.

I think I would leave- if he really wants you and the kids that hopefully come with you, he will go after you.

BalloonSlayer Wed 09-Jan-13 16:14:55

I think you need to wave bye bye to this one.

I don't like the way he spent a year reeling you in before dropping the bombshell of his vasectomy on you. I reckon all this talk of "yes I'll have it reversed" is just bullshit to stop you leaving, and it's just dragging it out.

I had a friend who met a man who made it perfectly clear he didn't want children when she was 34, and desperate for children. She fell in love with him and before long was proclaiming that no, actually she didn't want children either, never had in fact. Yeah right, so all those conversations about her broodiness were in my imagination were they? We lost touch after I had my first DC, not sure why . . . hmm The last Christmas card I had from her, she was still with him, and she would have been aged about 43. I wonder how she feels about that decision now. sad

penguinplease Wed 09-Jan-13 16:17:51

but you don't know that he would deal with it if it was able to just happen because it isn't so of course he would say that.. in reality the very fact that he had a vasectomy speaks volumes.

Oh and just to counter add to a post above, we have 3dcs.. but we still have a social life both together and apart, we still get pissed when we want, eat out and go on nice holidays. Life doesn't stop when you have kids its just changes and comes with some compromises. But if you are trying to compromise on the very fact of having children you need to walk away.

Nuttybiscuits Wed 09-Jan-13 16:18:15

Notactually I read your post thinking "here comes the bit where she says she left him and now has 3 kids"... what a refreshing change. I think our life would be fab if we never have kids, but I'm just not sure whether it would chip away at our relationship and I would resent it in years to come.

Of course, I could just get on with it and see how I feel in a year... which brings me to solidGold's question - I think I want kids because I love children and do feel that yearning to have my own. What I'm most scared of is resenting him in the long term - I can't imagine getting to my 50s and still not having kids... but like you say, there are many kids out there needing good homes.

So many decisions, I just don't know. I could stay with BF, have a few great years and we could split up over something else anyway. Or I could leave him, and be miserable... who knows. I just don't know if I'm brave enough to leave him on the offchance that there's something amazing around the corner...

catnipkitty Wed 09-Jan-13 16:18:52

Similar thing happened to a friend of mine. The decision has to be yours, whatever makes you happy - would you rather keep him and not have kids (and maybe resent him forever) or leave him and risk not finding anyone 'better' anyway. So hard, but don't leave it too late, you can never assume you'll be able to concieve easily and you may need time (1, 2, 3 years for intervention maybe). Some people just really don't want to have children, and he seems to know his own mind, but is messing you around because he doesn't want to lose you.

My friend eventually left the bastard partner who kept her hanging on and on while he 'made a decision'...she's now with a lovely man but she's in her 40's and no chance of kids.

noddyholder Wed 09-Jan-13 16:20:31

I think he is scared of the op. Can you just sit him down and say time marching on and we need to split if we really don't want kids. Lots of people who don't end up besotted. Do you know why he had a vasectomy in 1st relationship rather than just use contraception. Seems radical

Nuttybiscuits Wed 09-Jan-13 16:25:41

He is scared of the op, but it's more than that. He had his vasectomy when he was 25.... twenty five!! when he was with his future wife. She didn't want kids, and the pill "didn't agree with her" and he agreed he didn't want kids either. He says he's never regretted the decision.

The thing is i'm certain that if we did have a child, he would love it. He's an incredibly homely, responsible, loving kind person. He isn't selfish, and doesn't have a high flying lifestyle where we go out on the piss every weekend or anything. He is simply worried that he wouldn't have enough time, as he works hard and never finds time to relax. And he's worried that we wouldnt have enough time for each other. That's all.

LeChatRouge Wed 09-Jan-13 16:26:19

How would you feel about a trial separation to test how you feel about the reality of not being together? With some time and space apart, you might feel despair at first, then clarity, knowing that being a mum is something that you have to do.

Or, you might realise the totality of what you would be giving up by moving on from this confused soul, and if that is too much to bear, too painful, a life without this man is too much, then you might discover your answer.

Nuttybiscuits Wed 09-Jan-13 16:28:40

Can I just say thank you to everyone who has taken time to respond - I'm a long time lurker, and spent so much time mooching around worrying about this and annoying my RL friends and family that is is so good to get advice from all of you. Thank you, it is really helping smile

NotActuallyAMum Wed 09-Jan-13 16:30:03

"but I'm just not sure whether it would chip away at our relationship and I would resent it in years to come"

Of course you're not, you can't possibly know that. I was worried about the same thing but I told myself at the time that I have to make my decision, stick with it and never look back or have regrets

I've now come full circle and I'm very glad I never had children - they get on my nerves LOL

I really do feel for you Nutty, I remember my meltdown sad and how awful that time in my life was

BalloonSlayer Wed 09-Jan-13 16:30:22

He isn't selfish, and doesn't have a high flying lifestyle where we go out on the piss every weekend or anything. He is simply worried that he wouldn't have enough time, as he works hard and never finds time to relax. And he's worried that we wouldnt have enough time for each other.

... but he's not worried that he effectively lied to you for a year, not worried about going back on an agreement, and not worried if you are miserable because you don't get to fulfil your dreams.

All about him isn't it?

dequoisagitil Wed 09-Jan-13 16:31:06

How does he justify lying to you for a year?

Nuttybiscuits Wed 09-Jan-13 16:31:58

LeChat I think that is probably what we will do. He has already suggested it, but I didn't want to go through with it. He wants to try being without me to shock himself into realising what he might be missing - whereas I think we're better off being happy together to realise what we still have.

But a trial separation might be our only option - he is a classic Man from Venus who goes into his 'cave' in situations like this, and can't talk about it, so time apart might bring clarity..... sad

Ridiculous thing is, I still have my own house, so moving out would be very easy. I would be fine. I just feel too sad at the thought of it...

drjohnsonscat Wed 09-Jan-13 16:32:07

nutty I am sorry you are in this horrible position. Really sad and he sounds great. Excep that if you want children it's a dealbreaker. Unless you can follow Notactuallyamum's route which is cool and I am envious

If you can't follow her route then it's a dealbreaker. But I note that upthread you mentioned you would contemplate becoming a parent on your own. That's usually a sign that having a child is the most important thing for you rather than the relationship - the fact that you would even contemplate doing it on your own.

I did just that - I have two DCs on my own. Best thing I ever did. This is not for now but giving yourself permission to think about this might help you feel less desperate about things - because if you leave him you absolutely have to find someone great who wants children and we all know that's not easy. So it adds to the sense of panic and fear. Maybe just give yourself a little bit of permission to think about alternatives it might help to clear your mind - is it him you actually want, a relationship generally or a baby (one day). Any one of these answers is ok but at the moment it feels like everything is up in the air and it's not clear to you which one matters more to you because you are (understandably) dealing with the sadness you feel.

Greer123 Wed 09-Jan-13 16:34:26

Sorry hun, but it's better if you leave him. If you push him into having children and he really doesn't want them it will be entirely your fault for screwing up his life, your kids life and your own life. It's really your mistake for leaving it too late to find a committed partner - trying to correct your error by forcing someone else to find a solution for you will only lead to more problems.

NotActuallyAMum Wed 09-Jan-13 16:37:00

I have to agree that not telling you he'd had the snip for a whole year is not good at all

Nuttybiscuits Wed 09-Jan-13 16:37:39

Notactually - I admire you, I'm not sure if I could have the courage of my convictions as you do. I would like to think I would, and I don't doubt that I would enjoy my life... but how did you get past that urge to become a mother?

Balloonslayer Yeah I can see how it looks like that. He is worried about how he has treated me, and feels awful about it. But it's not enough to make him do anything about it, clearly...

dequoisagitil - I have been reluctant to say this on here because of the slating I know he will get... but would you believe he told me he actually forgot he had had a vasectomy? Of course, I asked him how could he not have told me earlier, when I made it clear I wanted kids, or when he saw me taking the pill every day...? He said that because it happened so long ago, and because he had never thought about it from that day onwards, it just didnt occur to him. Of course, I found that hard to believe, but he is adamant, that although it sounds ridiculous, he never thought about it, until I finally pushed the subject of having kids.

If you are contemplating sperm donation and single parenthood, being someone's mother means more to you than being this man's girlfriend.

I recommend as others have that you break up with no intention of getting back together. Immediately look at your options (donor sperm, adoption, etc). He may end up coming along for the ride; in the meantime you haven't missed the bus you always planned to catch.

NotActuallyAMum Wed 09-Jan-13 16:38:28

Rather harsh Greer123

dequoisagitil Wed 09-Jan-13 16:39:27

Oh, er, very absentminded of him hmm.

And you don't really particularly outraged by this?

Hatpin Wed 09-Jan-13 16:40:03

Have you discussed properly what will happen if the reversal is unsuccessful?

There is a high chance of failure with a vasectomy reversal, particularly if it was several years ago. The surgeon should have explained to him / you that even if the operation itself is successful, he will probably have developed anti-sperm antibodies which means that his sperm will not reach maturity and be able to do their job. AFAIK this is completely irreversible.

The only possibility of him fathering a child in that case would be via IVF - ICSI which is an expensive and intensive process for you both ( they would aspirate sperm from his testes using a needle, you would have to undergo treatment to stimulate egg production and have your eggs collected, then IVF would be carried out). Again, this procedure has high failure rates, and it may take a long time to achieve a pregnancy, if at all.

If you go down this road it is extremely stressful, and you will both need to be committed 100%. You will also both need to believe that if the process fails, your relationship will survive.

dequoisagitil Wed 09-Jan-13 16:40:26

missing word: feel smile

drjohnsonscat Wed 09-Jan-13 16:40:43

agree notactually. I'm hoping it was just badly phrased. Most women spend years hoping to find a committed partner and doing all the right things to make that happen - I know I did and broke my heart over my failure to do that. Just so happens it all worked out well for me but I'm very sad for a number of my friends who are lovely, presentable, fun, not flakey, who never found the one who wanted to commit to them and now it's too late.

meditrina Wed 09-Jan-13 16:40:46

I tend to agree with the "another rubbish relationship" view. You said he didn't tell you about the vasectomy for a year, despite your talking about wanting children. OK: it's not something for the first date, but isn't something to keep back once more settled. It's a pretty major thing to withhold.

You may feel good with him at the moment, but incompatible views on family is one of the biggies.

There is one last thing you may want to try, in case the reality of a further op of uncertain outcome is a factor, is to discuss the use of donor sperm. But I think this may be clutching at straws.

LeChatRouge Wed 09-Jan-13 16:42:38

You know what? It issad because in the other areas you are fulfilled, you don't have any complaints. It is heartbreaking.

What does strike me is that he has imaginary scenarios around the reality of having children, very natural fears, but not really proven.

Any option at all you can try and involve some relative's children in your life for a while? Nieces or nephews or even friends? Hang out together having fun, kicking a ball, going to a cafe, doing some activities, try and get to see together what kids are all about....it isn't the same as 24/7, through sickness and sleepiness nights, but still an insight.

As a parent, time is an issue, you have many days where you don't feel like there is enough time, but every phase and stage is temporary, they grow out of that bit and someone new comes along, another challenge. I think it's important that he can name and recognise his fears and be allowed to feel like that.

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