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Not wanting children, husband does

(171 Posts)
Daisy790 Fri 15-Jan-21 09:23:12

Hi all, I was looking for advice about one spouse not wanting children and the other wanting them.
I have pretty much known since I was in single digits that I didn't want children. I am now 30 and over the years I've given it quite a lot of consideration. There are many reasons why I don't, and I'm happy with this choice.

My husband (who is 33) knew from the get go how I felt, but there was also a shortish period of maybe 6 months where I suggested maybe it might be nice to have a child together (just from feeling very happy and in love I guess) . I was always clear it was maybe, and in the end I realised it still wasn't what I wanted.

We are now married, and whilst we did discuss it, he said he probably didn't want them anymore either (he always intended to have children before we met) . He was working in childcare for almost 10 years though at this point and was a bit fatigued by kids. It seems now he's left, he really wants kids of his own.

We've only been married 18 months but I'm really worried he is going to be unhappy, and also resent me in the future. I said I couldn't compromise on this, but that I'd understand if he felt he couldnt stay with me. I made it clear I loved him but I wanted him to be happy.

He has said now he'd rather stay with me, as there's no guarantee he'd meet someone and have kids anyway. And that he doesn't want to lose me.
I have tried so hard to think of ways I could compromise and give him what he wants, but I just can't.

Does anyone have advice or experience of this and how did things turn out?
I worry he is settling because financially we are very comfortable (due to my circumstances) and that in won't last, I'd rather know now if things aren't salvageable.

OP’s posts: |
AlternativePerspective Fri 15-Jan-21 09:26:58

When these threads are posted the other way around the advice is usually for the person who wants children to leave and to find someone they can have a family with.

TBH you were unfair to give him the impression that you might be open to changing your mind when you had no intention of doing so.

It’s entirely possible that he will resent you in time, that doesn’t mean you should have a baby to please him, but it does mean that you should be open to the likelihood that this marriage won’t last, and as he’s a man he could essentially leave at any time and have children with someone, he doesn’t have a biological clock to consider in the same way women do.

grey12 Fri 15-Jan-21 09:34:07

Tbh I do find that children tend to be a make or break situation in a relationship. Both partners should be aligned on whether they want kids and roughly how to raise them.

You need to take a very good and long look inside yourself and ask truthfully whether you want to have a child or not. And afterwards have a very serious conversation with your spouse.

Personally I would not stay with someone if they didn't want kids (biological or adopted). DH and me were talking about these things incredibly early in our relationship (we have 3 DCs now!)

Good luck!

NeilBuchananisBanksy Fri 15-Jan-21 09:34:56

I'm childfree by choice. If my H said he wanted them I'd let him go. Sadly it's the one thing there is no compromise on.

Maybe some couples counselling could help you? Do you think he hopes you will change your mind?

I don't think you have been unfair to him, it sounds like you've always been honest.

LightDrizzle Fri 15-Jan-21 09:43:53

You are very right to rule out having a child to please him.
It’s irreversible and in the vast majority of cases it is the woman whose life is most impacted, irrespective of discussions prior to the birth. It is always the woman’s health and body that is at risk.

I wouldn’t have stayed with a man who didn’t want children, but I’m not sure you can make that decision for him. Just be very, very clear that it’s not going to happen.
If the relationship deteriorates over time, don’t let guilt over this issue cloud your mind and delay you ending it for both if you.

The urge may pass for him, it may grow stronger. You owe him 100% honesty and clarity on this but nothing more.

CatherinedeBourgh Fri 15-Jan-21 09:52:12

It’s his choice in the end to stay or leave. I know several couples where he wanted dc and she didn’t (including me!) then she changed her mind (usually in mid to late 30s).

Some managed to have dc, some didn’t. Some managed one and would have wanted more but found they had left it too late.

In none of the cases did the men feel anything other than ‘her body her choice’. I would worry about a man who did, tbh.

sararh Fri 15-Jan-21 09:52:45

AlternativePerspective

When these threads are posted the other way around the advice is usually for the person who wants children to leave and to find someone they can have a family with.

TBH you were unfair to give him the impression that you might be open to changing your mind when you had no intention of doing so.

It’s entirely possible that he will resent you in time, that doesn’t mean you should have a baby to please him, but it does mean that you should be open to the likelihood that this marriage won’t last, and as he’s a man he could essentially leave at any time and have children with someone, he doesn’t have a biological clock to consider in the same way women do.

"TBH you were unfair to give him the impression that you might be open to changing your mind when you had no intention of doing so."

She clearly said in her initial post she went through a period of thinking maybe she would have them, so I don't know how you've come to that conclusion.

Sundance2741 Fri 15-Jan-21 09:53:14

It's really up to him if you have made your views very clear, though I understand you don't want him to settle for something he doesn't truly want. I suggest HE has counselling about it, even if you don't want to.

I would never have stayed in a relationship with someone who was adamant they didn't want kids because it meant everything to me. But to be fair, your DH did know your views, so he has already made a choice, hasn't he?

BumbleBiscuit Fri 15-Jan-21 09:57:31

If you went for it, it’d be the classic case of he wants a baby but you end up doing all the graft while his life changes very little. You see so many posts where men insisted on having children and then don’t bother with them.

For the love of God don’t have a baby you don’t want. My husband and I are childfree and it’s absolutely delightful. We have the best life.

wibblewombat Fri 15-Jan-21 09:59:27

I probably wanted kids, DH didn't but it was about the one thing we struggled to resolve & I probably wasted a lot of time wibbling about it.

We don't have kids, it's fine. That said, we get on very well & I won't have found anyone more suitable, so leaving wasn't an option for me. No-one can have everything in life, it's his call whether it's a deal breaker

ThisTooShallBe Fri 15-Jan-21 10:01:00

Are you saying that he’s chosen staying with you and your financial ‘circumstances’ over taking a risk to find what he really wants, children? I’m not sure this is in the best interests of either of you. He is not being true to himself and at some point this will come back to bite you both in the bum. I’m sorry OP.

Daisy790 Fri 15-Jan-21 10:01:03

I do wish I had never said 'maybe', but he knew before we got married that I definitely didn't by that stage.

I feel like he is hoping I will sway, i have been very clear though... I just hate the idea of staying just to be left in 5, 10 years time because he realises he really wants them. I want him to do what's right for him, but i don't want to waste my time either.

We did marriage counselling last year, it was really more to do with other issues though and we didn't discuss children.

So far this week he has said it's over, then changed his mind, and then asked about adoption. But he knows why I also don't want to adopt (I just don't want to be a parent at all).

OP’s posts: |
gannett Fri 15-Jan-21 10:04:11

Sounds like OP has been clear about what she wants all along - including emphasising that the six-month "maybe" period was just that, a "maybe", and that her current position is definite. So this is up to her DH and it sounds like he's chosen her above children.

OP I think you might be pre-empting a problem that might not crop up. Your husband has presumably processed and made peace with the fact that he won't have kids. All you can do from here is maintain your openness and honesty with each other. If he becomes unhappy you want him to be able to be open with you about it, not stew in it. And vice versa.

If his nurturing instincts found an outlet in a childcare job, there are still ways to do that without becoming a parent - mentoring young people, for instance. Maybe even fostering (though this depends on whether you'd be OK with that, obviously). There are a lot of kids out there who need a loving parental figure in their lives, and he can be that without you needing to compromise.

BumbleBiscuit Fri 15-Jan-21 10:05:09

I just don't want to be a parent at all

Stick to your guns. Many, many people given their time again would skip parenting all together. For every moment of joy itself one million times thankless drudgery. It wasn’t the best idea to get married with these opposing wants. There is no compromising on this topic.

gannett Fri 15-Jan-21 10:06:38

Didn't see OP's update before posting. I think your fear that he might leave you is something you can be open with him about. It's a legitimate worry. I'd reiterate how firm you are on not wanting to have kids or adopt, but open up the conversation about mentoring opportunities, voluntary youth work and so on.

Lozzerbmc Fri 15-Jan-21 10:06:53

You are right not to have children because he does.

It’s really up to him isnt it. Its a very difficult decision and an awful situation to be in. I do feel for you

RaininSummer Fri 15-Jan-21 10:11:57

It's sad but I think it's likely he will grow resentful as he starts to see friends having families. His choice to stay but I think you may have to spell it out clearly and let him go else he will go later anyway most probably.

Icanseegreenshoots Fri 15-Jan-21 10:14:18

I felt the same as you - and was adamant throughout my life that I did not want children at any point.
I got married, and dh asked me to compromise and have just one child. So we had one child, I had no maternal feelings throughout my pregnancy, and we largely treated it like an illness. The shock when we had the baby and brought her home was absolute, and for first few months I genuinely reeled from the shock, at my lack of experience and the exhaustion and the loss of my life as I knew it. Even if I did love my dd with all of my heart, it was very difficult.

At some point, in the first month or two it all came together, and I really did enjoy motherhood, and people would comment how much I had 'blossomed' (pass the sick bag) and my close friends and sibling would laugh and say they never knew I had it in me. I was actually a very good parent against all the odds. I enjoyed it so much that I wanted another baby, and the second time around was even better, I knew what I was doing. All good.

I still struggle with feeling trapped though, I still need to have adventures and lots of them (I take the dc with me) and I have been very careful not to let the things that are important to me go. I never had that feeling of wanting babies, and it still isn't there now. But once they arrived, an overwhelming sense of love is what happened for me.

Now I look back and wonder why I took such a huge gamble. I had no idea the stakes were as high as they were. It could have easily been a disaster, and I am always quite cross that I did not stand by what I wanted, that I was railroaded into motherhood in many ways.

I am a traveller at heart, I don't like staying in one place nor consistency and stability. I would not change my decision now, as I love my dds so fiercely and can not imagine life without them, but whatever work you think is involved, x 1000, the drudgery nearly killed me half way through, and you can not ultimately bring a new life into the world without committing to it fully and without question it is decades and decades of commitment. You have been incredibly honest and straight forward with your dh, and it is up to him now. There is nothing else you need to do. It is for him to decide.

You will be happier free as a bird, stay free as a bird.

BumbleBiscuit Fri 15-Jan-21 10:14:42

Can he spend some extended time with someone else’s children? Any time I get even a fraction broody I find being around other people’s children instantly dries up my ovaries!

ThisTooShallBe Fri 15-Jan-21 10:16:23

Your update suggests he is not at all certain of his decision and your marriage is quite shaky. This is a very tricky situation but OP I think you are looking at a lifetime of uncertainty and insecurity if you stay with him.

SuitedandBooted Fri 15-Jan-21 10:16:58

If you went for it, it’d be the classic case of he wants a baby but you end up doing all the graft while his life changes very little. You see so many posts where men insisted on having children and then don’t bother with them.

Projecting much? Where does she say he would be like that?

I would be more concerned that somebody who has only been married for 18 months had marriage counselling last year!

I think I would be considering ending this, as the husband is clearly so torn. He wants kids, but he also wants the lifestyle he has with OP, and hopefully loves her. The shine will go off that with time, but wanting to be a father will remain.

ArseInTheCoOpWindow Fri 15-Jan-21 10:19:53

‘Stick to your guns. Many, many people given their time again would skip parenting all together. For every moment of joy itself one million times thankless drudgery. It wasn’t the best idea to get married with these opposing wants. There is no compromising on this topic’

I don’t know anyone who would have skipped parenting. My children are an absolute joy. Even the drudgery and shit has its rewards.

What a sad post.

Badoukas Fri 15-Jan-21 10:20:02

ThisTooShallBe

Are you saying that he’s chosen staying with you and your financial ‘circumstances’ over taking a risk to find what he really wants, children? I’m not sure this is in the best interests of either of you. He is not being true to himself and at some point this will come back to bite you both in the bum. I’m sorry OP.

Exactly this.

FinallyHere Fri 15-Jan-21 10:20:05

* So far this week he has said it's over, then changed his mind,*

Once a partner starts with this, you are effectively doing the 'pick me' dance, with all the power in their hands. That's not healthy for either of you.

I would encourage you to tell him to leave and prove to you that he wants to be with you. Take control and make the decision whether you continue together yours.

Good luck.

wibblewombat Fri 15-Jan-21 10:24:56

I used to discuss this in rl with people whilst thinking about it & I did meet people who would have not had kids looking back. Rare but definitely a few. Men opt out of family life if they don't like it, don't they?

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