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My partner doesn't want children

(41 Posts)
Noo92 Mon 10-Oct-16 12:32:43

Sorry if I'm posting this in the wrong place, but I would really like some advice.
Me and my partner of 8 years are both 24. We've lived together for 2 years, we're both working and moving up, and we're very happy together. Neither of us want to get married, and our only big goal now is to buy a bigger house next year.
We decided to have the baby talk. We've talked about it before, but not very seriously, about how things would be 'if' we have children.
When we talked about it seriously my partner said that he never wants children, and if he ever does it won't be this side of 40. Even then, he said, it's very unlikely as his main reason for not wanting children is that he doesn't want to pass on genetic problems to them.
He said he feels bad for 'stringing me along' all these years with the false hope that we may have children some day, but that's just how it's going to be. He said he loves me and wants to be with me, but it's my choice now to either stay with him and never have children or find someone else and have a family.
I'd rather have him than kids, so I'll stay, but I feel like I'm grieving now.
I know a lot of you will say 'you're young, he'll change his mind', but that's not the case and the false hope will make it even worse. I would prefer practical advice and will be very grateful for it.

expatinscotland Mon 10-Oct-16 12:39:48

You'll get a lot of people telling you that you are too young for this to matter. Bollocks.

'When we talked about it seriously my partner said that he never wants children, and if he ever does it won't be this side of 40. Even then, he said, it's very unlikely as his main reason for not wanting children is that he doesn't want to pass on genetic problems to them.'

LISTEN to him. This is a very valid reason. And he's not going to change.

And listen to yourself. Don't give up having kids for a man/woman. Just don't. You think you will, but you're already waffling or you'd not have started this thread.

I'd start making plans to move on, tbh.

BertramOliphantWest Mon 10-Oct-16 12:46:49

I would listen to what he is saying and move on now while you are still young. Disagreeing about something so fundamental will not end well.

Noo92 Mon 10-Oct-16 12:49:05

We've been together since we were 16, we're very close, and I feel very lucky to have him. He's hardworking, kind, and intelligent.
I think the only reason he didn't make this clear earlier was because he was afraid of losing me.
This is the only thing I would change if I could, and I'd rather have him and not have kids than settle for someone else so I can have children.
So I don't really want to move on. It'd be like giving up a million quid to see if I can find 2 million somewhere else.

smellsofelderberries Mon 10-Oct-16 12:59:25

Glad that you're not looking for those 'he'll change his mind' answers because he really won't. I would personally look into some counselling so you can sift through your feelings on the matter and you can hopefully reach a decision from a rational place than an emotive one. You say you would rather have him and no kids, but you could end up feeling very very bitter in 15 years time when the clock has almost run out. For me, I was ambivalent about kids at your age. When I met my now husband, I knew I wanted his babies and then when I went off the pill and my hormones were unleashed, I was desperate for children.

If you also don't want children then more power to you. I sometimes wish I had no desire for kids, life would be a lot simpler (and we'd be a lot better off financially!)

Thumbcat Mon 10-Oct-16 13:05:48

I was with exH from 17 to 24. Because I'd only ever had my adult life with him I couldn't imagine any other way. I'm 40 now and looking back I was a completely different person then and it would have been impossible for me to have imagined how I would change and grow as I got older. What I'm trying to say (and trying not to sound patronising saying it) is that you need to consider that there's a very real chance that you'll feel differently in the future.

Oysterbabe Mon 10-Oct-16 13:25:13

I'm afraid to say you need to leave him. As your child bearing days pass you by the resentment will grow not lessen. If you want babies and don't have them you'll regret it forever.

If his main reason is genetic conditions, would he be open to you using donor sperm?

NapQueen Mon 10-Oct-16 13:27:46

If you genuinely would rather not have children then by all means stay.

Personally I'd hate to have that choice taken from me by someone who is (1) not affected by infertility until much much later in life and (2) could realistically up and leave you at 40 years old childless and single.

Is it worth the risk?

Gardencentregroupie Mon 10-Oct-16 13:29:22

He's not going to change his mind. There is a massive chance that as you get older and your friends are having babies then toddlers and children, and you're going to baby showers and birthday parties, you're going to be smacked in the face with everything you've given up for him and it will eat you up and make you bitter and resentful. You're young, give real serious consideration to cutting your losses and looking for someone who wants the life that you want.

Milzilla Mon 10-Oct-16 13:30:24

The thing is - it's not a good idea to put all eggs in one basket i.e. his.

What if, in fifteen years, he left you for someone else - and you'd lost your chance to have children and didn't have him either?

You need to really think about this before committing to him/life with no children...

mouldycheesefan Mon 10-Oct-16 13:30:39

I think you will regret it if you stay.
Choosing to be childless may not seem too bad when you are 24 but when you are 34 and all your friends have kids, it will hurt. Tough decision but not one you need to make in a hurry.

expatinscotland Mon 10-Oct-16 13:30:57

'and I feel very lucky to have him. He's hardworking, kind, and intelligent. '

You're a kind, intelligent, hardworking person yourself.

He's prefaced all this, too, telling you he might have kids in his 40s. It will be too late for you by then.

I dread my own daughter getting hooked up with a man like this, putting aside her own desire for children, and winding up dumped for a younger model when she's thrown away her chance for a man.

It's your life and your time. You only get one shot at this.

expatinscotland Mon 10-Oct-16 13:33:03

It's all on his terms - no marriage and no children.

cestlavielife Mon 10-Oct-16 13:33:21

What genetic problems does he have which could be passed on ?
You could screen them potentially. .

But basically if you want kids and he does not then move on

ShotsFired Mon 10-Oct-16 13:38:25

Not once in your OP is there anything saying you want kids yourself, OP.

Are you thinking you want them because it's the done thing? Or do you have an actual yearning desire that some women have? Or just a vague "well, I might in the future..."?

Your £1m/£2m analogy is a good one - you have a wonderful man you love very much; and you will have to throw that away on the off-chance of a "maybe" in future. I mean, you don't even know if you will be able to bear children, for one thing (sorry to be blunt).

Not having children is absolutely as valid and right a choice as having them. Don't forget that.

Noo92 Mon 10-Oct-16 13:56:34

No marriage is my terms as well. I'd prefer to get a couple of nice holidays out of the cash (:
I didn't really know if I wanted kids. It's not something I ever put a lot of thought in to, but I guess I do because the thought of never having them upset me. I do really like children and get on well with them.
We're both fine ourselves, but in our families there is a tendency towards alcoholism and (particularly post natal) depression.
I would be more of an optimistic person than him. He's more likely to look for the worst case scenario in everything and make plans based on it.
He's worried about becoming a bad, alcoholic father with an alcoholic partner suffering from PND with a child who has mental health issues.

Noo92 Mon 10-Oct-16 13:57:48

In his head that is exactly what is going to happen.

expatinscotland Mon 10-Oct-16 14:20:44

Read your own posts, OP. Over and over. Notice something? It's all about him, him, him. You're trying desperately to convince yourself you'd rather have holidays than marriage (it only costs £75 at a registry office, you don't even need rings), rather have him than children (which you want), etc etc etc.

It won't work. I can tell you this because I was once you. Thankfully I came to my senses and divorced when I was 30, before it was too late.

You don't want to see it, but you're selling yourself short here.

Noo92 Mon 10-Oct-16 14:24:39

Why should I get married? I'm an atheist.
I said I don't want to get married.

PlumsGalore Mon 10-Oct-16 14:29:10

if both of you want children fantastic! if both of you don't want children, great! If one does and one doesn't, then one person is ultimately going to be unfulfilled and unhappy, maybe not now, maybe not next year, but in the future - most definitely.

You are 24, so young. I wouldn't give up the opportunity to have children and a family because my partner didn't want them, nor would I expect him to have them when he didn't want them. This can only go one way ...

expatinscotland Mon 10-Oct-16 14:29:40

Marriage has nothing to do with god. It confers a number of very important legal rights. But again, you're talking yourself into what he wants by telling yourself it's what you want, too. Keep going. Hopefully the scales will fall off before it's too late for you to have children. hmm

SheldonsSpot Mon 10-Oct-16 14:31:04

You're only 24?

Then stick with him for now and see how you feel in a few years.

You don't sound particularly sure about children yourself at the moment, you might feel very strongly either way in another 4-6 years and you can act according/make some decisions then.

The one thing I will say is do not ever bank on him changing his mind. He sounds very fixed in his own mind about this. Don't hope that he will change his mind at some point, he probably won't.

If you decide you don't want children then you need to be at peace with that decision regardless of whether you have The Man or not... Because I have seen exactly this scenario in action and what happened was when they reached 42/43 he split with her, and within 2 years was married to and expecting a child with someone else, while she remains single and childless sad.

Noo92 Mon 10-Oct-16 14:35:23

Expat in Scotland.
I live in a place where marriage laws are not equal and it is still very much a religious thing.
I would rather this whole marriage thing was dropped as I don't wish to get in to what will become an inappropriate and political discussion on this thread.
My views on marriage have been pretty much the same since I was about 12, 3 years before I even met my partner.

Sugarcoma Mon 10-Oct-16 16:21:59

I think the point people are making is that marriage and children are the two biggest commitments you can make with another person - and no, it's not the same as buying a big house which you can always sell and split the proceeds if the relationship goes tits up.

Marriage gives you the right to make a decision whether your partner should continue on life support if heaven forbid you ever find yourself in that situation (so literally life or death) and kids mean you will be connected to that person for the rest of your life, regardless of how the relationship turns out. As much as I can appreciate your DP's fears (trust me, we all have nightmares about passing on shit in our own genetic make-up) the big warning sign here is the lack of commitment (not to mention the lack of faith in himself and you - a friend's husband has alcoholism in the family and his response has just been never to drink, which I admire him for. His wife supports it and she's pregnant with their first child).

At 24 you are still in a great place to cut your losses, meet new people, start a new relationship and have a family but you will soon get to an age where it's much, much harder. I'm watching friends go through it now, one of whom is recently divorced (without kids) and back on the dating scene and another one who feels it's too late to break up with her partner and find someone more suitable. I've no doubt both could/will find better relationships but it's just that much harder in your late 20s/early 30s when you feel like all your peers are getting married and having babies.

Noo92 Mon 10-Oct-16 16:37:57

Thank you (:
I think he and myself need to speak about this more openly. I don't want to have a child he doesn't want, but at the same time I don't want to rule out ever having a child.
He has put me in quite an unpleasant position, but he's only being honest.
I'm considering counselling for us.

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