To think my fiancé is being unrealistic about parenting?

(309 Posts)
pinkdaffodils90 Thu 25-Nov-21 11:08:40

So I’ve been with my fiancé for 5 years, engaged for 2 (postponed due to covid, fingers crossed for next summer) and for the last few years we have talked about moving out of Oxford so we can afford a bigger house and start a family. We’ve always agreed that we only wanted one and that we definitely weren’t ready yet, but as the years have gone on I still haven’t felt ready and have been more and more put off the idea. There’s a few reasons for this-

1. My fiancé has BPD which is largely under control, but does flare up under stress- the upheaval of moving house last year was the closest we’ve ever come to breaking up. Sleep deprivation is also a big trigger for this.

2. We both really enjoy our own space and spending time on separate hobbies. Our perfect weekend (and what we do most Saturdays) is brunch together, then separate afternoons doing our own thing before coming back together for a film and glass of wine in the evening. I know this wouldn’t be possible if we had a child, we’d both have to give up a lot of our independence, and I really don’t want to.

3. We both get stressed when our ‘to-do’ list gets too long in our free time. We both have high pressure jobs with long hours, so our evenings and weekends are precious. I can’t imagine having to constantly worry about childcare, the school run, spending weekends ferrying them back and forth to clubs etc. He just keeps saying ‘we’d manage, people do’ but I don’t think he’s really considering how much of a change it would be.

I don’t seem to be able to get through to him that I have genuine concerns about how we’d manage and how happy it would make us, he just thinks I’m doubting my abilities. I’m sure I’d be a good mum if I wanted to be one, but I don’t. He keeps talking about wanting to take them camping and on bike rides and give his parents a grandchild to spoil, and I think he’s hyper focused on those idealised moments and not the actual reality.

We have a wonderful relationship and I absolutely adore him, I can’t imagine my life without him, but this is really starting to cause a problem. I don’t want to let him down, but I really don’t think he’s got a clear head about this. I wonder if it’s his biological clock? He’s 42 and I’m 31.

I suppose I’m mostly just venting, but any advice would be very welcome.

OP’s posts: |
ToughTittyWhompus Thu 25-Nov-21 11:12:33

If you don’t want to be a mother, then don’t be.

stalkersaga Thu 25-Nov-21 11:12:54

If you are really sure that you don't want a DC, you need to tell him so, in as many words, asap. This is a marriage deal-breaker; you cannot marry him with the two of you on different pages about this.

FawnFrenchieMum Thu 25-Nov-21 11:13:05

I think you really need to get this sorted before you get married. personally I don't think people who are unaligned on having children are compatible.

He is right in some ways that you would manage, as people do 'manage' all the time but if you don't want to manage then that's a totally different thing. Having children is hard, very hard and if your not 100% you will end up resenting him if you have a child to keep him happy.

theemmadilemma Thu 25-Nov-21 11:14:31

Firstly, congratulations on being realistic with yourself about how much parenting seems (not a mother) to take out of your life, and how imo it should be something you really want to do, not feel you should do, or you'll end up miserable.

I suppose the issue is your partner is looking at the idolised version, a huge cry away from reality. (I was a SM for 9 years so I have a good insight.) Do you have any friends/family who's child you could 'borrow' for the day? Overnight even better. It shouldn't take long to get the message over that way.

Lottapianos Thu 25-Nov-21 11:15:45

' think he’s hyper focused on those idealised moments and not the actual reality.'

I think this is how a lot of people approach the idea of parenthood. You sound a lot more prepared for the reality of how much your lives would have to change. If he's so idealistic now, he's likely to find it even harder to cope when inevitably those expectations don't match reality, at least not all of the time

It sounds like you have a lovely life at the moment. Do you actually want a baby? Can you see your life without children?

stalkersaga Thu 25-Nov-21 11:15:47

And make no mistake; the burden of having a child will fall on you. Men get to be misty-Instagram-momenty about kids, mostly because there's a woman racing home from work to do pickup and rocking the baby at night and checking the bloody homework diary and wiping up all the poo.

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theemmadilemma Thu 25-Nov-21 11:15:54

Difficult to have a realistic discussion if her Partner isn't seeing the hard drudge that comes with children...

AmaryllisNightAndDay Thu 25-Nov-21 11:16:27

he just thinks I’m doubting my abilities.

No, you are doubting his abilities. Sure, you must be wondering whether you can fill the gaps that he is likely to leave, but you need to confront the possibility that he's not a brilliant bet as a father. How will he cope with sleep deprivation? What if his BPD flares up again - will you have look after everyone? How will he support you?

One big question you need to ask yourself is, do you really not want children at all? Or do you want children but only with a stronger, more reliable father?

This is something you could realistically explore together in marriage counselling. I would do that before starting a family.

BestZebbie Thu 25-Nov-21 11:16:37

If you have now decided that you definitely never want to breed ever, you need to tell him asap so that he can choose to break up with you and pursue another relationship if he does see having a child as a dealbreaker/essential for his future happiness.

You are right about the things in your list, but he is right about the fact there are pleasures that come from parenting a child that aren't replicable by other means.

Are you concerned that he is expecting you to shoulder more lifestyle change than him once the child is born - if so, it is definitely your right to make it very clear to him that you expect to eg: go back to work fairly quickly and continue an adult hobby one or two evenings a week outside the house and have him take the parental career hit, if that is what would swing it for you.

niceupthedanceagain Thu 25-Nov-21 11:17:11

If I were in your shoes I wouldn't have a child. Your DP cannot handle stress, how would a small child impact this - it's relentless stress! Also yes, ferrying around to clubs etc, have you considered the impact of a child with SEN on your lifestyle too? Our DC have a life limiting illness and neurodiversity between them. It's hard. And it doesn't stop because you need a holiday or want to do your hobby.

Peanutbuttercupisyum Thu 25-Nov-21 11:17:33

You need to tell him categorically you don’t want to have a family. And let him decide whether he wants to continue the relationship. I mean you run the risk of changing your mind in a few years as 31 is still fairly young and whilst brunch/hobby/films sounds amazing would you want to do it for another 50 years? But - I don’t think you should string your fiancé along xx

Lottapianos Thu 25-Nov-21 11:18:12

I'm so sorry, I missed your comment about not wanting a baby. DONT HAVE A BABY. You are the one with your head screwed on about this issue, not him. It sounds like he only wants the Kodak moments. You would be stuck with all the drudge work. No way should you give up the life you have built up until now

dreamingbohemian Thu 25-Nov-21 11:21:52

One big question you need to ask yourself is, do you really not want children at all? Or do you want children but only with a stronger, more reliable father?

This is my question as well.

Do NOT get married without sorting this out

clatterclatter Thu 25-Nov-21 11:22:31

He’s imagining an Instagram dream, not the actual reality. For this reason alone do not do it.

The stress of holding everyone together will fall to you. If he can’t handle the stress and you split, that’s your life impacted for the next two decades. It won’t be him rushing to do a school pick up, finding a yellow T-shirt for school banana day, or up all night with a small child with a sickness bug.

Porcupineintherough Thu 25-Nov-21 11:23:21

It's fine not to want children and, if that's what you are now concluding, then please be very clear to him that this is how you feel.

It's also fine, particularly as a woman, to want some pretty detailed conversations about exactly how children are going to fit into your life. In particular, I'd discuss exactly what changes he's planning to make to accomodate them. Is he imagining a works where he starts late or finished on time to drop/collect them from childcare? Where he takes time off to sit home with a sick child, or take them to the gp, or to go to parent's evening or the school play - or will that be your job? Which hobbies is he prepared to give up? Which additional aspects of life work (washing, washing them, cooking, clearingbup after them) is he intending to pick up (this includes being home to pick up - is he home by 5.30pm)?

Obviously if you dont want kids then you've no need to discuss this bit but if you are considering it then I strongly recommend that you do.

Movingsoon21 Thu 25-Nov-21 11:23:51

You are being realistic, he is not. Sit him down and get him to describe in detail how a weekend would go when you have a toddler. Get him to give the details - who is getting up at what time? Who is feeding and changing the baby? How will you spend your morning, afternoon and evening.

Then ask him to do the same thing, but thinking about when he had one of his episodes. Hopefully he will see the light.

dreamingbohemian Thu 25-Nov-21 11:24:40

I will also say I've known a few people whose BPD was 'under control' until they had children, and then things got very bad. It's not inevitable but it is a big risk to take.

clatterclatter Thu 25-Nov-21 11:25:36

The other thing that stood out to me is that the responsibility of managing him will also fall to you.

Taking on the night feeds so he gets enough rest. Sacrificing your weekend so he still gets a weekend of freedom. You taking on the stress to keep him stable.

You’ll go crazy with resentment when you run around doing everything for everyone else with no support.

ToughTittyWhompus Thu 25-Nov-21 11:26:22

Women who don’t want children but have them to keep their husband happy fall into two categories

- make good mother’s anyway
- make terrible mothers who damage their children

Lottapianos Thu 25-Nov-21 11:27:19

'Is he imagining a works where he starts late or finished on time to drop/collect them from childcare? Where he takes time off to sit home with a sick child, or take them to the gp, or to go to parent's evening or the school play - or will that be your job? Which hobbies is he prepared to give up? Which additional aspects of life work (washing, washing them, cooking, clearingbup after them) is he intending to pick up (this includes being home to pick up - is he home by 5.30pm)?'

All EXCELLENT questions. And 'it will be fine' or 'we will work it out when the time comes' are NOT acceptable answers!

Skeumorph Thu 25-Nov-21 11:28:17

Now this is a tricky one as age is such an importnat factor.

I didn't want a child at 31. You might very well swing precisely the other way in 3-4 years time (and this is why it is so super tricky for women because the ideal thing is that at 31 you're already with the person you eventually will have kids with, building a strong relationship and moving forward together on it -because by the time you DO want them you are ideally solid in your marriage/partnership).

But he is a decade older and in a different headspace.

At least it isn't the other way around, is the first thing to say. If you were the older partner, you'd have no time to mess about. Here, at least you can afford to spend another year trying to work this one out.

That's what I'd suggest you do first. You can afford to discuss this one more. You do have some joint time. But make it clear to him that you may decide that no, you don't want kids for another 3-4 years and what does he think of that.

Secondly, tell him that unless he is willing to have a more in depth discussion than 'we'll manage' - then it's definitely off the table as you won't be even thinking about it unless he can communicate with you on your concerns, properly. See what happens then. And talk hard practicalities. Is he willing to drop hours? Take extended paternity leave/share the first year mat/pat leave? His answers here might be illuminating.

Finally, yes the things he is saying do sound utterly idealistic so you need to throw some reality on that too and see how he responds. One thing that is slightly concerning is the 'give my parents a grandchild to spoil'. Ok - so what is he envisaging here? Spending lots of time with his parents on your free days, which I presume you don't do now? Do you get on with his parents?! Have his mum suddenly be part of your daily life in some way? Pack the kids off on a Saturday to the in laws so he can carry on cycling? How about you say, ok, and what would you say if I said no - that's not my idea of the father I'd want for my kids - I wouldn't want the children to be shipped off to your parents every other weekend so that you can bask in the glow of 'giving' to them - I would demand that YOU were there doing this stuff, I would expect you to be giving your free weekend time to our family and child-centred stuff for the vast majority.'

What would he say?

ChristmasScrooge Thu 25-Nov-21 11:31:11

If you don't want kids. You need to tell him now before it's to late so he can find someone else to have kids with if that's what he wants.
Don't put it off. It definitely sounds like you've made your mind up.

Aprilx Thu 25-Nov-21 11:31:25

You seem to think that you are correct and he is wrong and not seeing clearly, just because he wants children!

It is fine that you do not want children and your reasons all seem rational, but it is also fine that he wants children. The problem is that you want different things, not that he is in the wrong, which from the way you have written this, sounds like you think is the case.

TractorAndHeadphones Thu 25-Nov-21 11:33:39

Congratulations on having a good head on your shoulders OP. This is a recipe for disaster.

A child is far, far more disruptive than moving house wil ever be and it’s for the long haul. If he cannot even envisage the changes he needs to make to his way of life he won’t be able to cope. One of you will have to give in. It’s likely to be you as he has BPD and you don’t want to.

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