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Don't want kids but wife does - is divorce the only solution?

(306 Posts)
justthisguy31 Sun 29-Sep-13 20:34:10

I'm a bloke, aged 31, married to a clever, beautiful, successful woman who loves me, but I'm starting to think we should get a divorce. She seems firmly set on having a baby, and the idea of parenthood scares me stupid. I know how much hard work it is, as the oldest of a big family, and I still have so many other things to do in my life that will be hard or impossible with a child.

We have had the argument, several times, and then talked about it for real, and finally agreed a compromise. If she still wants a baby when I turn 38 (she is 6 months younger btw), we'll do our best to have one. That gives me time to build a better career and save some money, and both of us some years together as a couple, to have fun before we have to live just for someone else.

Are we just kicking the can down the road though?

I wasted time in my 20s on bad ideas and dead end jobs, and it took me until last year to find a career that would fly. Now I'm doing something I really enjoy, that pays well (for entry level) and has great prospects, but I'm still on the bottom rung. My wife, on the other hand, already finished her PhD three years ago and started a very promising, but very intense academic career. Which is to say that if we had a baby now, the only option that would make financial sense is for me to chuck in my job and be a stay-at-home dad. Not exactly what I want to do with the rest of my life.

I'm also biased by my own parents' financial problems. My mum gave up work when I was born, and while my dad has had a pretty good career overall, when I was 10 he hit a rough patch and got into debt. It took the rest of my childhood for them to get back on a stable footing, and they still don't have the comfortable lifestyle they did when I was young. I remember endless fights, totally futile because there's no way to argue bills or petrol prices down, and I can't shake the fear that we'd end up in the same sort of hole. Even worse, as the lower earner (and likely primary child-carer) I'd be in my mum's position. Trapped.

Then from my wife's point of view, 38 or 39 is old for a first child. If it turns out she can't have a normal pregnancy and a healthy kid at that age, it will be my fault for insisting on the wait. Maybe a pregnancy will work out fine, or maybe she'll change her mind about wanting a kid, but if it doesn't happen there won't be any way back. I don't want to risk trapping her.

So I'm starting to think I have to let her go now, while she still has time to find a guy who wants children ASAP. Still not sure though if it would be self-sacrifice, or just selfish. I am sure she'd miss me, and I'd miss her.

I've typed this up more to organise my thoughts than to start an argument, but if you see flaws in my thinking please say so. Tis a forum after all :-)

Helpyourself Sun 29-Sep-13 20:36:24

Did she know you felt this way before you got married? Have she changed? How much have you discussed this?

LaurieFairyCake Sun 29-Sep-13 20:36:36

I think that 7 years may be too far ahead to plan - in reality you might be

Tinlegs Sun 29-Sep-13 20:37:50

Surely, this is the kind of thing you know about each other, in advance of making a commitment like marriage.

Who changed their mind?

You also talk of missing each other. When think of ending my relationship it causes me extreme pain. I love him. Couldn't be without him. Just missing each other doesn't sound like a very vital, vibrant relationship.

LaurieFairyCake Sun 29-Sep-13 20:37:51

In a good financial position in 3 or 4 years.

In my experience 35 is a whole different age to 31, people mature and change and both of your perspectives might

Just keep revisiting it as time goes on

justthisguy31 Sun 29-Sep-13 20:40:21

I always knew I felt this way. When we met, I thought she agreed. She's very motivated and hardworking, and I thought she wanted a great career instead of kids. Now looks like she wants it all...

LaurieFairyCake Sun 29-Sep-13 20:41:18

Also, we live in an age where people think they can have it all.

A good career, plenty of fun, travel and lots of experiences.

The reality is that biology waits for no woman and sometimes it needs a leap of faith to have a baby.

And often it's the man who has to do that as frankly the pressure isn't on them to produce in the same way. If you did a poll most men would pick about 40 for a baby - for most women it would have to be younger (even if mentally they wanted to wait)

justthisguy31 Sun 29-Sep-13 20:41:29

Yeah, that's exactly what I mean by missing. I'm only a man = emotionally stunted ;)

girliefriend Sun 29-Sep-13 20:41:57

I don't think you are being fair on her at all, esp to make her wait til she is 38 ffs!! Thats crazy, tbh I think you need to man up, address your issues head on. If it is just fear stopping you then thats not enough of a reason imo.

AnyFucker Sun 29-Sep-13 20:42:30

You want to make your wife wait until she is 39 to ttc ?

Have you seen the stats on how female fertility takes a nose dive after 35 ?

I don't like the sound of you. Your fertility will be fine after 35 and beyond. Hers will not.

It seems you expect her to wait until waaaaay after the clock is ticking for her, but not for you.

Do you even love this woman, and want a future with her ?

Because from where I am standing, I would be advising her to cut her losses right now and telling her to fuck you off and find someone who wants what she does (and there are plenty of them)

Balloonist Sun 29-Sep-13 20:43:39

Having a child is like throwing a handgrenade into a relationship. If it's healthy to begin with it will hopefully survive but if it's already shaky it's doomed.

In your case if you don't want children( or is that just don't want children now) you should think very carefully about bringing a child into this world. Your wife could end up doing everything because if you don't enjoy it would you be tempted to say "Well it wasn't me that wanted a child".

I have DC who I adore. My DH really wanted children and I was the ambivilent one. Life with small children is all consuming and very tiring. It has destroyed our relationship. Think about what you want very carefully.

justthisguy31 Sun 29-Sep-13 20:44:30

So being fair means giving in completely? This isn't something I want to do, and I've always made that clear. If I'm going for it at all, I need to move ahead in my career first.

mumtosome61 Sun 29-Sep-13 20:44:58

The only flaw I can think of is that you said you'd had the discussion, but not when. I am assuming this is a shift in the ideas you had before you married, because I cannot understand why you would marry if you had dramatically opposing views over the merits of bringing children into the world.

Is the parenthood prospect scary from using your own experiences solely, or because you genuinely do not want children? It's okay to admit the latter and you shouldn't have to compromise on something you feel strongly about, in the same way she shouldn't have to either.

If it a conflict of interest that is only going to drive you apart or leave one/both parties with resentment, it isn't going to necessarily make things better by staying together and seeing it through. Also, the compromise of trying when you are 38 seems to be done with the mind that it's the last point of "no return" and factoring in what you said about your wife being "old" to have her first child at that age (that is a whole different debate together!), it does make me wonder whether that compromise is done under the assumption that at that time, it may not happen at all, hence waiting that long.

KippyVonKipperson Sun 29-Sep-13 20:46:29

Is there no way you could both continue to work? Even if it didn't make financial sense it could still be worth doing. I don't think it's fair to make her wait until she's older at all, for the reasons you've stated in your above post. And how would you feel having a baby at 38 that you didn't really want but felt obliged to have. Would couples councilling be an option, before you commit to divorce?

justthisguy31 Sun 29-Sep-13 20:46:51

Well, it's me here posting this and not her, so at least I'm trying. That's the whole point of my post: should I let her go? Even though I'll be pretty damn miserable without her.

AnyFucker Sun 29-Sep-13 20:47:42

Let her go, OP

Making her wait until her best fertile years are behind her seems abusive to me

yes, divorce her

and live your footloose and single life with out her

if you make her wait past her best fertile years that makes you a control freak and she is beter finding someone who wants the same things as her

you won't though, will you ?

Ragwort Sun 29-Sep-13 20:47:44

Did you really, really discuss this before you got married? It constantly amazes me that people spend £1000s on a wedding, get so wound up in all the 'detail' of their wedding day, buying a house, whatever but fail to discuss the most fundamentally important aspects of sharing your life together - one of those obviously is whether or not you want children.

I know people change their mind (my DH did - we always agreed not to have children but he changed his mind grin) but I cannot understand people who commit to each other without thrashing out these issues.

I think you have been honest with your DW - you say you will accept the decision when you are 38 but what if you still really don't want a child, will you just be giving her the answer she wants to hear/

If you genuinely don't want to be a father (and there is nothing wrong with saying that) then I think you should stick to your point of view & let her have the option to leave & have a family with someone else.

claudedebussy Sun 29-Sep-13 20:48:18

the waiting thing is a big problem and imo a mistake.

decide now. go your separate ways if you really can't reconcile but time is crucial. you have it. she doesn't.

i would be advising her to walk away.

piratecat Sun 29-Sep-13 20:48:22

bloody hell, it all sounds so, i don't know, clinical.

Why are you posting here, really? Sounds like you don't really want kids to be honest.

Balloonist Sun 29-Sep-13 20:49:26

What makes you so certain you would be the one to give up your career. Chances are your wife will want to stay at home. Having a baby changes things. There are other options too, part-time, flexible working.

IME very few Dads end up at home full-time (more's the pity).

mumtosome61 Sun 29-Sep-13 20:49:57

OK, we cross posted.

So you have said categorically that you didn't want children, or if you did, you wanted to be further along career wise?

Everyone changes their mind. Your wife may indeed have felt perfectly content with a career and financial security with marriage. But if she's 31 (similar age to me, I'm nearly 29) and seeing friends/family having children, it is hard to not get broody - even I do, and I'm rather lacking in maternal instinct (although I love children). Is this a recent turn around on future plans?

The fertility discussion is a valid one. Women became less fertile as they get older, so yes; if she is hell bent on having children and you are not, then it's going to make an unstable relationship worse because one or both of you will resent the behaviour of the other.

AnyFucker Sun 29-Sep-13 20:50:14

You see this dilemma in terms of "standing your ground" and "giving in" ??

yes, she should fuck you off, immediately

I hope you are showing her this thread

totallydone Sun 29-Sep-13 20:50:38

Do the decent thing here and talk to her. You really don't want kids tell her that.
Then let her make the decision to stay with you or leave and have a family with someone else. This agreement to wait until your DW is 37/38 is frankly stupid giving the fertility issues.

HotelTangoFoxtrotUniform Sun 29-Sep-13 20:51:47

How long have you been married and how old is your wife?

I was adamant I didn't want a child all through my 20s and DH has always known he doesn't want children. It was discussed before we got engaged and it was pretty much all done and dusted. We married just after I turned 30 and within a few months I changed my mind and told DH I wanted a family. He told me we should wait at least a year as just us. I am grateful he did as long before that year was up I had reverted back to my not wanting a family stance.

I think it was a combination of it being the next thing to do after getting married and an awareness of time marching on/fertility declining that made me panic and want a baby. I only ever wanted a baby, not a family or a child, it was about the immediate.

If your wife was on the same page as you and has changed it could be a phase she's going through due to life changes or similar, or it could be that she has changed her mind. In either case I would suggest waiting a year and then you'll know where you stand. If she's no longer bothered it may be a momentary blip like it was for me, if she's certain she wants a baby and you're certain you don't then you can leave and allow her to find someone she can have a family with.

QuintessentialShadows Sun 29-Sep-13 20:51:52

You wasted 10 years of your life on indulging in dead end jobs and not making a plan.

Dont let her waste her best child bearing years on you.
It seems to me you are punishing her for you being/having been a layabout.

It is hard being a first time mum when you are nearing your fourties. It guarantees she will pretty much have just one child.

You are expecting her to spend her youthful years where she could have energy to raise a child and have fun, to just work work work.

Be fair. Divorce her and let her find somebody who can give her what she wants.

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