Should you stay with the guy who doesn’t want kids?

In looking for what to write about today, I keep going back to the comment I received over the weekend on a post titled, “He said he didn’t want any more kids.” 

Anonymous said…  
My boyfriend and I have been dating for going on five years and he has said repeatedly that he does not want anymore kids. He has two kids from previous relationships and basically refuses to even talk about what would happen if we have an accidental pregnancy. I do understand where he is coming from. He lost his daughter in a horrendous and long custody battle after his divorce, and although we see his son on a regular basis, he simply doesn’t want anymore children. I very much want to be a mom at some point, and though I’m only 25 (he is 33), I know I want a child of my own, too. I love his kids, but it’s heartbreaking and makes me incredibly envious and even a smidge resentful. I have nightmares about being pregnant and him leaving me because of it. I’m terrified of the possibility of becoming pregnant because I love him more than anything and don’t want to lose him, but what if I do get pregnant even while on birth control? I want to know he won’t leave me in that circumstance, but he won’t give me any reassurance on the issue. Any advice would be appreciated!  

Oh boy. As I noted in my reply, my gut instinct is to tell her to get another boyfriend. If he would leave her if she got pregnant even by accident, come on, that’s not right. At least that’s my opinion.

I know what it’s like to be in a relationship that is not good in some ways but still feel like I would absolutely die if he left me. More than once. And you know what? Eventually these men dumped me. Maybe I was too clingy. Maybe I scared them with my dreams of marriage and children and a nice house in the suburbs. Maybe they were just jerks. I’m no expert on relationships, but it does seem to me that if you can’t discuss an issue as important as whether or not to have children, the relationship won’t last. Also, if this guy is so anti-children, why doesn’t he get a vasectomy so there won’t be any accidents?

I would love to hear other opinions on this situation. If you read the other comments on that post, you’ll see that this particular anonymous writer is not the only one struggling with this. It all comes back to the same question: Do you love this person so much that you’re willing to give up having children for him or her?

Please comment.

9 thoughts on “Should you stay with the guy who doesn’t want kids?

  1. In this situation, I'd say to start looking for a new man who can fulfill your dream of being a wife and mother. Don't sell your life short to a man who doesn't care enough about your wants and desires to help fulfill them and be happy and proud to do so. Would you be “happy and proud” to give up the dream of being a mom just so he can be happy? Does he (and his kids) give you enough joy in life that you desire nothing else than to be with him/them? It's a hard choice, I know, but at age 25, you've got time to find a new relationship that can be better matched to you. Another angle is to ask why he doesn't want kids. For most men it's about money/child support. So if it's just about the money, work on 'your' finances, find a better job, etc. and then afford the baby with or without him.


  2. I am in my mid-forties and have been married for 14 years. I'm not happy with having no children, but it is now not possible for me to have them with my husband or anybody else. I love my husband, and I married him before we knew there was a problem. So I'm sticking with it. If I was 25 though and it wasn't a bio problem, I think I would see it more as “we are not suitable life partners.” I know it is not easy, as I could leave my hubby to adopt (which he doesn't want to do). I have considered this long and hard and was tempted but couldn't bring myself to do it. At 25 though – there is a lot of life to be unhappy.


  3. Leave him and find someone who shares your desire for children. You are too young to give up on your desire for children just to be with a man that is too selfish to give you a child. Trust me, you will REGRET spending all of your childbearing years with a man who won't give you a child.

    I have been with my husband for 14 years. I am 38, and my resentment about not having another child grows stronger by the day.

    You are young enough to find someone who shares your desire for children. Don't give this selfish man all of your childbearing years. You will deeply regret it in the end.


  4. I would tell her to find another boyfriend. If he doesn't want kids, then let him never have sex with her again. Because any kids would NOT be an “accident.”


  5. I've just discovered this blog browsing the internet out of desperation and trying to make sense of my situation.My Boyfriend and I have been together three years and moved in together six months ago. He is 42 and I am 34. It's the most successful relationship I've ever been in. We respect each other and help each other flourish and grow. We found each other after we'd both been through some really soul-searching times and were both happy in ourselves and ready to share our lives with someone else.After a being together for a while, I got that anxiety where it all seemed too good to be true, that something must be wrong. I started to worry he might not want kids. It took me a year to build up the courage to ask him. I was convinced he'd say “no – never” and this wonderful relationship would have to end. Instead, he smiled and said that he'd never wanted kids before, but that he loved the idea of changing his mind for me. I felt reassured and I relaxed into the relationship and didn't think about it again.When we moved in together, something inside me started niggling away and I started to feel that I wanted to start thinking about planning for a baby. I tentatively mentioned it to him and he seemed stunned! It seems that after all this time, he'd been thinking that he'd made it clear to me that he didn't want children and he said he hadn't changed his mind at all. I felt shocked and deceived at first. Now I just feel shocked and distraught. I think it was a case of me hearing want I wanted to hear and him being a lousy communicator–trying to soften the blow and not picking up on the fact that I was so relieved when he said what he said.He said that his own childhood has stripped him of any desire to have kids–his parents suffered a really nasty breakup and still don't talk to each other 30 years on! He's afraid of losing contact with his children through a breakup, and he says he just likes his life how it is. He is very much a person who likes things to stay the same (which I think is possibly a symptom of his unstable childhood, but it's not my place to speculate). He has made it quite clear that although he wishes he could change his mind, he just doesn't have any urge or desire to have a child. The hardest thing to stomach is that I asked him what he would do/say if I found out I was pregnant tomorrow, and he replied, “Strangely enough, I'd probably think, ‘Let’s just go for it.'”I don't know what to do. and I don't feel I can talk to anyone. I don't want to up and leave him straightaway, but I don't know whether it's worth sticking around for him to change his mind. He said he's open to couple counseling and talking to people–friends whom he respects with and without children. I'm about 85% sure I want children. I in some small way I dream about being a mum every day. It’s just the way I'm wired, and I'm at the crucial age. I think that if I stayed with him I would end up resenting him and bitter. But I might never find anyone as wonderful as him again. I can't imagine a better father for my children than him. Sorry for the long post. Does anyone have any advice or links to where I can get advice/help? I'm devastated. Up until yesterday, I thought I was the luckiest girl in the world. Thank you -M


  6. M, I'm so sorry things have turned out this way. But your boyfriend's “Let's just go for it” comment makes me think there's hope that he might change his mind. Keep talking, do the counseling, make it clear that you will not be happy without children.


  7. M – I have been going through this dilemma for six years. I first met my bf when I was 33 and he was 39, I am now 39, nearly 40, and he is 45. He has a young child from his previous marriage and has always said he would NEVER have any more, so we have split up numerous times. He got back in touch every time, saying he just couldn't live without me and he loved me SO much. He is always so heartfelt and distraught and can never move on from me. We split up three years ago, but two years later he was back in touch after neither of us was able to move on from each other. We have been back together three times this year too. Each time with him saying okay, I'll try and do it for you, then each time getting the fear and changing his mind as he got more distant and unloving due to him feeling such anguish at the idea of having another child. It split him and his first wife up kind of, and he also had a difficult childhood with his dad coming and going and treating him and his mum badly. He also feels he is too old. I'm not happy about my age either and regret not doing this sooner. I've always been understanding, but last time I accused him of ruining my life and holding me back from having a child with anyone else as he kept coming back and forth and not being able to keep his promise. We split up again on Sunday, but after much soul-searching, I'm now considering staying with him and not having a child. Although after speaking to him about that option. he says he doesn’t know he can even do that as he'll always feel he's the man who deprived me of a child and didn't step up and he couldn't live with that. I wish I'd have gotten free from him years ago, although I doubt very much I'll ever meet anyone who comes anyway near him. I want him so much and always have, but age is not on my side anymore and I'm confused. He said when he told me he just couldn't do it (AGAIN), that if I'd have gotten pregnant in the last four or so months I'd been trying, he would have just gotten on with it, but no, he's let the fear get the better of him and this time it's for good, I think. I can't trust that he'll change his mind back again, as this is just a hideous cycle/nightmare that is damaging to both of us. He's also going to get a vasectomy, which is pretty final. I've always had hope but that is misplaced. I needed to get out a long time ago and I tried, but he always came back, and I always took him back, believing he meant it this time as it was all I wanted. I'm jealous of the utter love and devotion to his child–he's the best thing ever to him. That makes me so confused as to why he just couldn't stand another and would rather lose me when he claims he loves me more than anything, but there is no use in questioning. You can't make anyone be someone they are not and he just isn't the type of guy who wants a child around him again. He’s happy being a part-time dad. He's a great dad, too. I wasn't sure 100% about kids, but him saying no and me seeing how good he was just made me want his so much. Anyway, I'm saying I want him, but I also wish I'd stuck at staying away possibly, as I might have forgotten him or just even gotten over him by now and someone else may have had a look in, so I could have found happiness before it was too late. I know I'm only 39, nearly 40, but it takes time to meet people now and you never know – I could have left it too late, plus I'm not over the moon about attempting to be a mum at 42/43/44. I'm going to try and get back together and see if I can be with him and not feel jealous of his relationship with his child and see how that goes. We'll see if it happens or not. Sorry for the long post too, but I just wanted to say you are not alone and be aware of your age and don't leave it too late or have any regrets.


  8. Anonymous, I'm not even sure what to say. This back and forth for so long is crazy. Take the baby question out of it, and ask yourselves if you have a strong enough relationship to stick together without breaking up every few months. From my perspective, it looks like you don't, but love isn't logical. I wish you all the best.


  9. I knew by age 14 that I did not want children. Never ever. Ever!

    By that age, age 14, I had seen way too much mess already: Family feuds over custody battles. Family fortunes battled over and lost in court. Alcohol and gambling addictions. Family drama over nothing. That was 40 years ago.
    Great women divorced me because I could neither believe my own strong convictions to not procreate nor resist their charms to agree to marriage. In my life, women always took the initiative and proposed to me. I never proposed first. Not wanting children in my then socioeconomic environment was unheard of. Perhaps I was hoping for these great women to overturn my inner convictions. To no avail. Like me, they ended up childfree anyway. And they stayed single, too, afterward. I guess I ruined it for them. For good.

    I’ve still had a great life. I live with a single-parent older girlfriend and four cats now. Perhaps because I stuck to my own true convictions. Perhaps, we should really, really listen to our inner voices, our gut instincts.


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