How Did You Find Out?

When Fred and I got together, I was 31 and still hoping to be a mom. He was 46 and had had a vasectomy after his third child was born. For a while after our engagement, we talked about having a child together. If his vasectomy couldn’t be reversed, we would try artificial insemination or adoption. We talked about it with my gynecologist. We collected information about adoptions. It never occurred to me that I would go to my grave without children.

Then one evening on a camping trip, Fred dropped the bomb. “I really don’t want to have any more children,” he said. “I’m sorry.”

“Oh,” I replied, stunned. That’s pretty much all I ever said about it until many years later. Somehow, I had this big case of denial. He would change his mind, or a persistent sperm would find its way to one of my eggs, and I would have a baby.

Looking back, I should have demanded that we talk about this a lot more. I should have made it clear that I wanted children. But I didn’t. Why? I was more afraid of losing Fred than of not having children. My first marriage blew up, the three-year relationship I had in-between turned out badly, and I had almost reconciled myself to being alone forever. Then Fred came along. I had never felt love like that, and I didn’t dare do anything to mess it up.

Now I suspect that, if I had insisted, he loved me enough that we would have had children. But it’s too late now.

So, ladies and gents in childless relationships, how did you discover your mate wouldn’t or couldn’t become a parent, and how did you react? Is there time to change the situation?

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11 thoughts on “How Did You Find Out?

  1. My husband's ex-wife was having an extra-marital affair while she was pregnant with his child. She finally left him when his baby was 4 months old to move in with the boyfriend. My husband has been alienated from the child ever since. Visitation is not fun. He was forever changed about having more children. We were both on the fence when we got married and subsequently fell on opposite sides – me for, him against. I have been struggling badly ever since.

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  2. My husband's daughter was 15 when I wanted to try to have a baby. At this time, his daughter was starting down her path of distruction. He felt he couldn't have another child.

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  3. Anon #2 here…how do you get through this? I have no pets (can't right now), which I think would help. I've been to counseling (3 times). I've been on anti-anxiety meds (2 times) and they are not the answer (I got off). I have a great job, I have friends, and I'm a runner, but…HOW DO YOU GET THROUGH THIS?

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  4. Pets do help, but you have to find the answer that is right for you. If there's still time to change the situation, think hard about what you need to be happy in life. If not, cry, pray, talk about it. Does your husband understand how much this hurts you? For some childless people, finding other ways to be with kids helps. For others, it adds to the pain. If it's a situation that won't change, we have to find some way to work toward acceptance.
    I'm so sorry you have to go through this.

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  5. It was really more my career plans than the men in my life that messed up my reproductive hopes, although I probably shouldn't have continued either of my early long-term relationships as long as I did (they were willing to have children at some point in the future when we were married and financially independent and all that, but I finally decided I wasn't willing to have children with them). By the time I was out of those relationships and gradually coming to terms with the fact that the career wasn't going to pan out, I was 33 and my biological clock was ticking loudly enough to scare off most men–at least I never ran into any who were eager to get married and have kids RIGHT NOW. I've been dating my current BF for over four months, and I think that's the longest relationship I've had in the last fourteen years.

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  6. I relate to your story. About 6 mos after our wedding (I was 41, he 45)we had a conversation that felt like I was learning for the first time that “well, I think I'm too old for children at this time” meant no children including not adopting! Had I really not heard this at the beginning?

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  7. I learned 2 years after we were married. We've been married for 13 years, and I'm still trying to deal with it. It doesn't really get better – but I hope I'm getting better at dealing with it.

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  8. My husband is 12 years older than I am and had a son. He's a worrier and I think for him, having another child was 'risky'? His first marriage fell apart (stress of new baby?) and he had the perfect son, so why tempt fate. The problem was for so long, he said 'maybe'…..by the time I realized that he really meant no, I had 10 years invested and too scared to go it alone. I love him very much. Still…..knowing then when I know now, I would have left. At 42, it's too late for me start again. But for anyone else still in your childbearing years, think very carefully about your decision (or lack thereof in my case). It will haunt me forever…..what if?

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  9. I am new to the blog and I found out on April 14th of this year. I have been together with my fiance for nearly 5 years. I am 32 and he’s 40. He’s the father to two teenaged boys-one is 16 and the other is 15. I have been in their life since they were 10 and 11 respectively and we co-parent so I am pretty active in their lives but still they have a mother and a father and I am just the “step mom”.

    So how did I find out? not the right way… I felt like there was something he wasn’t telling me about. I found out by luck, or I should say by snooping around. I guess I was searching for something, but I like to believe that I was meant to find that text on his computer from the kid’s mom where she was sending a picture of the kiddos when they were little and he responded he missed them at that age… She then asked if he was going to have more children…He said “it’s not possible” and she responded with “I thought it could be reverse or you could adopt”. My heart dropped and shattered in 1,000,000 pieces. How did she know and I didn’t? The woman he is about to marry… and he claims he has the right to tell me when he’s ready. Kids aside, I am more upset at the fact that he was dishonest and not upfront with me. How could he not disclose this to me? I think I am entitled to know so that I can decide which direction I wish to go and whether or not I want to continue in this relationship.

    I remember when we initially started dating and I asked him if he wanted to have kids. He said “maybe”– never clear. As some other readers, I thought maybe is yes… or maybe I will get pregnant. I felt like such a fool because when we became sexually active I ran to the doctor to get on birth control and he told me, “don’t worry you won’t get pregnant, it’s not that easy”. I am like yeah right… you have two kids to prove how easy it was. Long story short, after a lot of poking and pushing the conversation (I literally have it every day or bring up the baby topic every day) he said he would go ahead and have a kid for me. I am sitting here thinking, okay, if the statement “be true to yourself” means anything, by pleasing me and going ahead with having a child together, he’s displeasing himself. I am concerned on how this will affect our relationship. If he does not enjoy parenting and I am left with parenting myself… I would be open to going to a sperm bank and having a child but that’s a decision I would make alone, knowing I am not dragging others with me into my decision. I care too much about others to where I don’t want to hear “I didn’t want this for myself” or “this is your child”. It’s so complicated… he states that the reason is because he has two kids already, he doesn’t want the responsibility and he wants to travel… I am financially responsible- make more than he does, and could sustain the child on my own. All in all, I don’t feel supported. I am scared for how this child would affect our relationship. Part of me wants to stay another part wants to run away. I came to this blog to see what others in my situation felt. I joke around saying who will take care of me when I am old? I don’t want to be alone when I am an elderly person and he has his sons and grandchildren and I am part of the picture, but of course, won’t be connected to them. I love his children, but after I found out he didn’t want kids, I retracted. I felt like why give my all financially when you’re unwilling to give me the joy of motherhood? Am I being selfish? or inconsiderate?
    He thinks that my love for him is conditioned to having a child together. I guess I wasn’t clear enough when we met or I want him to fit into my motherhood plans.

    Long post. Sorry. I hope I make the right choice.

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