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Is it OK to stop someone else from being a parent?

(86 Posts)
tigermoll Thu 22-Sep-11 12:51:33

(first time poster, please be gentle smile )

I have been with my OH for 2.5 years, living together for 1, no children or pets. We are very happy, love each other very much, and I hope that we can stay together for the rest of our lives.

So far, so peachy. The issue is, I have never been very interested in marriage and babies, and throughout my twenties, this ambivalence has hardened into definite dislike. I am now 30, and find it hard to imagine ever getting married or having children. My partner, on the other hand, has always wanted very much to get married and have children. He loves kids, has always assumed he would have a wedding and a wife, and goes all gooey when he sees babies in prams.

We have had several talks where I have been very clear about the marriage/babies thing, and he says he is happy for the r/ship to proceed, knowing that it will mean he misses out on these things.

BUT: the thing is, I know he's not really happy. It breaks my heart to see him holding friends' children, as I can see he is thinking: 'I'll never have one of these'. We have had several 'chats' that have somehow developed an edge over my views on marriage (how 'not everyone thinks like me, and most people see marriage as a good thing', ostensibly in an abstract discussion, but I started to feel like I was somehow being got at)

So my question (which has turned out pretty long, sorry!) is this:

Is it fair of me to proceed with the r/ship, knowing that it will cause my lovely, lovely partner to miss out on a huge part of life, stopping him from being a father (and I'm pretty sure he would be an excellent one) and possibly causing him to resent me? What if, (god forbid) we split up, and then he gave up kids for a r/ship that ended anyway? It seems disingenuous to say 'well, he says he's fine, so even though I know he isn't, I'll just carry on'. Should I wait to see if I change my mind (which is possible) and if so, how long should I wait?

Thanks for listening to me ramble xx

Proudnscary Thu 22-Sep-11 12:59:01

Well you have made yourself abundantly clear - so you are being 'fair'.
You are still very young at 30. You might change your mind, you might not. That is absolutely your choice. But as long as he knows your honest thoughts, I can't see the problem - unless his possible resentment erodes your relationship.
You are new to Mumsnet - why did you decide to come on here and post on here (genuine question)?

tigermoll Thu 22-Sep-11 13:10:34

I have been lurking on here for a few months, - I get pretty bored at work, and started reading mumsnet after it got mentioned in an online article. Since I don't have kids myself, I read a lot of posts on the relationship board, and found (to my surprise, since I'd initially only statred reading to pass the time) that it really helped to put previous relationships I've had in perspective, especially posts around infidelity and controlling r/ships.

I chose to post about this issue as it has been growing in weightiness in our r/ship since we moved in together, and I know that my OH is getting it in the neck from his folks. A lot of my friends are married and either have kids or want them, so it's hard to ask their advice without it sounding critical of their life choices. People who have kids often seem really keen that you have them too smile

HerHissyness Thu 22-Sep-11 13:13:08

I didn't want kids either at 30.

I was told at the time, by a man that had got kids, that I was probably with the wrong man then.

The relationship failed, I eventually found a new partner and we ended up having DS, and it was a whole heartedly joint decision.

Never forget that HE doesn't ever have to give up having kids... he is fertile till he dies. Yes he may resent you if he stays with you and doesn't have kids.

tigermoll Thu 22-Sep-11 13:23:45

I know that, on paper, a man could technically father a child at any point in his life (although apparently, male fertility also declines with age, - stories about men in their sixties and seventies naturally fathering children may abound, but apparently it's pretty medically unlikely to have occured without help), but that still means that he has to find a woman happy to bear it for him. If I make him wait until he's in his fifties to have kids, the chances of him finding a woman twenty years younger than him to have his babies are also not that great.

Ormirian Thu 22-Sep-11 13:25:39

It's up to him to make that decision. If you have made it clear to him that you won't be having babies, not now, not ever, he can proceed on that basis. So you're not stopping him from having kids are you.

MangoMonster Thu 22-Sep-11 13:26:39

I don't see that there's much more you can do. You've been honest with him and haven't given him any false hope. It's ultimately his decision tonstay with you so I think you just have to leave it up to him, as long as you javent given him any false hope...

He might be thinking you'll change your mind and you might but equally you might not. The onus is on him to make sure he's happy in his relationship, you can't do that for him, but I do understand where you're coming from. Not an easy one.

MangoMonster Thu 22-Sep-11 13:28:35

You're not stopping him. He has choice. It wouldn't be sensible to have kids because he wants to, it's such a life altering thing.

MangoMonster Thu 22-Sep-11 13:29:41

You could always say that you'll both review the situation in a couple of years and then decide what's best for each of you.

Pancakeflipper Thu 22-Sep-11 13:31:18

I think it's a little different for men as they can create babies for so much longer than us. You have told him. So you cannot do anymore. It is his decision as it is yours.

I was never having children or getting married. My DP was fully aware of this and was happy enough in our relationship to continue along... He was married to his career anyway.

When I found out I was several months pregnant in my early 30's I spent the weekend crying under a duvet. When I finally informed my DP his face betrayed a huge grin. Then he immediately went into "oh, well there's time to think, don't panic, I will support you whatever is decided"

I had the baby, then I loved it so much I had another. I love our family. Still not married though... Still cannot get over that barrier..

So never say never....

Proudnscary Thu 22-Sep-11 13:35:21

Tiger - you sound like a very nice, thoughtful person and it's always good to hear non-mums gettting so much out of MN.
I wondered if it was you subconsiously checking out motherhood and it's trials and tribs!
I wouldn't beat yourself up about all this, it will work itself out.
You're doing all you can for now.

violetwellies Thu 22-Sep-11 13:37:17

I did this with my exh. I m still very glad of my decision, he had a vasectomy and 20+ years later still has no children. He ended our relationship after 5 years of marriage.
I m 46, I have had my first / only child this year.
I really don't think I would have ever wanted or had a child if I had stayed in that relationship.
I am very happy to be a mother now, and also extremely happy that I did not have a child earlier.

tigermoll Thu 22-Sep-11 13:38:56

I suppose I have been pretty unequivicably honest about it, and never even said 'we'll see' or 'maybe further down the road' and given him false hope.

It does make me feel a bit unnatural, though. Loads of people have said to me 'I felt just like you, and then I met my now husband/wife and I realised a DID want to get married and have babies after all'. It sort of leads you to question your r/ship, - can this person really be The One if you don't want their ring/babies?

violetwellies Thu 22-Sep-11 13:45:51

And now I'm in the 11th year of a happily unmarried relationship, It is not obligatory to want both.

tigermoll Thu 22-Sep-11 13:46:52

Hmmm....I think maybe you're right, Proudnscary, - I think I have been data gathering on motherhood to see if it's right for me. Although if there's one thing I've learnt from MN, it seems like wanting/having kids is never a coolly-thought out decision, - people who want them just really want them. My best friend, when advising me to procreate, said 'just keeping them alive and allowing them to grow gives your life meaning'. That answer chilled me to the bone, but clealry works for her.

mummytime Thu 22-Sep-11 13:46:56

Why not try a few sessions of couple counselling. Find out if he is thinking "maybe she will change her mind" or would rather be with you than have kids.

But people do also change their minds for a variety of reasons, and accidents happen. A friend of mine didn't want kids, until she had an accident, which she miscarried, then she desperately wanted a baby.

MangoMonster Thu 22-Sep-11 13:47:40

I personally think someone being right for you and you wanting children are two separate things. Priorities do change with age and there is the so called body clock... So I think you are doing all you can, just enjoy your relationship and everything else will work out.

Pancakeflipper Thu 22-Sep-11 13:47:55

No - I don't think it is all about being in the wrong relationship. I think that is true for some but not all.

I think you do need to know why you do not want to have children. I knew my reasons and they were good reasons.

mayorquimby Thu 22-Sep-11 13:52:43

you're not stopping him. you're essentially giving each other a choice. You can be with me but I want x/y/z.

Robotindisguise Thu 22-Sep-11 13:53:50

If I were you, I would make decision to park this issue for the next 5 years. If (as you fear) he may eventually decide to leave in order to have children, 35 is an easy age for him to meet someone else. In the mean time, enjoy your life and your relationship. And see whether your biological clock does go off. Mine didn't till 32.

tigermoll Thu 22-Sep-11 14:02:18

That's true. I am entering peak 'biological clock' years (which is what stopped me from getting sterilised earlier this year, - I'd feel like such a tit if I changed my mind) and maybe I will wake up one day and realise I want babies.

If I get to 35, and still havent felt a twinge of maternal instinct, I guess I can get the snip, and OH can decide for himself. (I strongly suspect at the moment he, like many others, is expecting me to change my mind.)

I can't see myself changing my mind (the older I get, the more I dislike children, even, I'm ashamed to say, ones I know quite well) but stranger things have happened.

Maryz Thu 22-Sep-11 14:05:43

I think this thread is easier to read this way around (with a woman not wanting children), because essentially your dh has plenty of time to decide what he wants. He can drift with you for another 10 years, and still have time to decide he wants out, and meet someone else and have a family.

These threads are so much sadder when posted by a 40 year old woman, who essentially has given up her chance of having children to be with a man who doesn't want them. And the saddest ones are when they then split up and the man who "didn't want children" goes off and has them with a younger woman - so really his opinion was more one of "I don't want to have children ^with you^", iyswim.

As long as you are absolutely honest with him, and are clear that you aren't saying "not now", you are saying "never", because he may think you will change.

Pancakeflipper Thu 22-Sep-11 14:12:22

That happened to my SIL Maryz... When she was 42, her and her partner spilt up after 15 yrs together.... No children. According to them whilst in the relationship it was a joint decision. After the relationship SIL said it was him who never wanted them and she had.

He's now with another partner and baby due.

My SIL is now married and been trying but nothing happening.... She has a happy life but she keeps her distance from her siblings now ( physically and emotionally) who all have kids. She's not an Aunt involved in their lives. She's only met one of our kids once when he was weeks old...

Maryz Thu 22-Sep-11 14:14:28

Yes, it has happened to three friends of mine over the last ten years sad. Two of them, their ex-s were married with a baby on the way within a year of the break-ups. None have gone on to have children themselves.

tigermoll Thu 22-Sep-11 14:24:03

A friend of mine, who was always v.against having babies whilst together with his partner of five years, has just had a DS with his new girlf. I'm afraid in his case I felt rather sorry for him, - I'm not accusing his new partner of anything devious/underhand, it just seems a mighty big turnaround for him. It seems slightly suspicious that he would suddenly change his mind, with no intervening stage of ambivalence.

Actually, I suppose I am accusing his new partner of something underhand (or at least of forceful tactics) ......which isn't very nice of me wink

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