What do the men say about being childless by marriage?

Is Childless by Marriage just for women? No, definitely not. Sometimes it seems as if this is an all-girls site, but I welcome men as well as women. Both men and women struggle with the same issues about children. One wants them and the other doesn’t. One can’t have them, and the other can’t imagine life without them. The relationship, the engagement, or the marriage is in danger. Should they go? Should they stay? Sometimes I wish we were back in the olden days when everybody who got married had kids, and if they didn’t want children, they didn’t get married.
Of course men are not the ones who get pregnant, and they are not the ones whose fertility ends in their 40s, so that part is different, but their comments sound pretty similar to the ones I get from women.
Let me share a few of the men’s comments I have received lately. I encourage you readers to respond to each other. I don’t have all the words of wisdom. You can find all of these comments under the post, If You Disagree About Children, is Your Relationship Doomed? 
Anonymous said…
Hello, I don’t know if this post is strictly for women but I’m a 37 year old male with 45 year old girlfriend. We’ve been friends since I was 27 but began dating at 30. I’ve never been married and I have no kids. She has been married and has two kids who both are now married. She has two grandkids, a 2-year-old and a newborn. I didn’t begin to think about kids until her first grandson was born, but she was 42 at the time. Now at 45, pregnancy would be a high risk. Friends and co-workers around us are having kids left and right and I can’t deny that it is eating me inside. She said that it’s written all over my face when we see a baby and/or her grandkids. She wants me to be happy and is willing to sacrifice by losing me. I just don’t know if I’m willing to lose her for the chance of having a child. Any thoughts greatly appreciated.
Hi, My wife is leaving me because I don’t want a second child, and it’s killing me. I feel I am being punished for that decision. She says she always wanted two but she never talked to me about it, so now I face becoming a part-time dad and I don’t know what to do .
Anonymous said…
Hello everyone, I am going through a terrible situation with my girlfriend. We have been together for seven years now. We are both immigrants (she is from Russia and I am from Brazil) who live in Los Angeles. I am 32 and she is 35. Her mother passed away in 2010 due to a brain tumor. Since then, she has become addicted to the idea of having a child. At the moment, I do not feel that crazy desire to be a father. I moved to the U.S. kind of late in life at 25 and I am just now transferring to a four-year university to get a degree in business. I have a degree in Physical Education from Brazil, but the hassle to get it validated here was so time-consuming that I decided to do something else. I am also not happy with my career because my work is unstable and the pay is very low. On the other hand, she moved here when she was 13 and had her whole education in the U.S. She is very successful in her career and she is stable financially. Four years ago, I asked her to help me to pay for school so I could finish faster, but she said she was not interested to spend her money like that.
It made me concerned because if she wants a family with me, how is going to be when the kid arrives? I have no financial means to provide for a kid. Not even half of the bills for a child. It really scares me that I may find myself in a situation where I won’t be able to support my son/daughter. I am feeling terrible because I cannot make her happy. I can see that she resents me because she picks fights all the time for silly reasons. The other night she said that it is better for us to go apart. I just cried for the whole day and I am feeling lonely and worthless. It kills me that I am not enough for her and that I cannot make her happy. She said that she wants me to be a stay-in dad, but I am very independent and I believe that I must have a career. It would be better for both of us if I have one. I fear that once the baby arrives, she will just break up with me and leave me in a difficult situation. I would not be able to abandon a child.
I moved here on my own and I have no family in the States. Our relationship was one of the main reasons that made me stay in the country. I also understand that she is coming close to 40 and that it might become harder to become pregnant, but she does not want to wait any longer. Am I being a jerk or too selfish? It is just killing me that the whole focus of my adult life is coming to an end. I just want her to be happy and she deserves all the best. It just hurts that I am not good enough. I believe that the best should be to leave her alone and not interfere on her life. I want her dreams to come true. I wish I could have a normal job so I could help and give her what she wants. I struggled financially since I got here. It took me seven years to get a green card and now (after nine years) things are getting better. I just don’t want to struggle right now, and I want to get my college degree before a kid. What should I do?
Well, dear readers, what do you think? I welcome your comments.

16 thoughts on “What do the men say about being childless by marriage?

  1. Wow, every one of those is so hard. I empathize with them so much; their words bring such passion and depth to their heartache.I don't have the perfect answer because it truly is up to each individual and their priorities. I know that for me, being a woman of faith, I would have to pray for God to help me know what is the right thing to do FOR ME. I am responsible for me, my actions and my decisions in this life, no one else.I read the book I'm taking my eggs and going home. The author broke up with a man largely because he didn't want children & she did; years later HE married and had children. (while SHE remained infertile and childless.) My point is that leaving someone to have children…well, I know it sounds like a good answer in theory, but there is an underlying assumption that one CAN even have children to begin with, and 99% of people don't know for sure they can or can't have kids until they actually try to conceive and either fail or succeed. So in terms of these men, one of my practical, logical suggestions is to see a urologist and have their sperm tested before exiting a long-term relationship so they know for sure they can or can't. I know that is kind of out in left field, but I've known a lot of both men and women who battle infertility.If the sperm test is normal, then it's time to make a list of positives and negatives about the relationship, pray for guidance, and perhaps visit a counselor/therapist once or twice to get a professional's perspective (aka the “bigger picture”) and topics/subjects brought to light that one may not have thought of on their own. I have to say the “bigger picture” because I've been down this road for over 20 years and can guarantee you that a person who wants a baby has chronic tunnel vision and tends to overlook the obvious sometimes. Male or female.Hope this makes sense. Heartbreaking subject.


  2. Dear Anonymous #3,It sounds like your girlfriend is not interested in a future with you. After being together for seven years, you should be a solid team. If she's not interested in spending “her” money to help you go to school, then she's not investing in the future you would have together.Sounds to me like she wants to use you as a sperm bank.I'd have some discussions about planning for the future together (marriage, combining finances, life goals, etc). If she's not interested in any of those things, I think you need to move on. I don't mean for this to sound harsh, but it sounds as if she just wants to have a baby with you because she's worried about running out of time, not because she wants to have a future with you.I wish you luck with your decision.


  3. I was pleased to see this topic, and I am hoping to get things off my chest with this comment. Forgive my complaining, please.I'm a 34-year-old childless man. My wife has two boys from her previous marriage, and due to health issues is infertile. Though I've always wanted a child, I delayed it, as some do, waiting for the 'right' time, financial stability, etc, etc. However, the older I have gotten, the stronger the desire has grown. Now, the powerful sadness of not having a child, of not feeling a real part of our family, and the resentment and feeling second-class to my stepsons’ father and my wife as the biological parents has begun to consume me and bring about a depression that I didn't know was possible.I have always had a great desire for us to be as close to a conventional family as possible. I've poured my heart, soul, years, resources, time into it, yet the results I hoped for always eluded me. The father pays no child support, and it falls to me provide, clothe, and care for the boys, which I happily do. But doing homework with them but never being allowed to attend a teacher conference, maintaining all the responsibilities of a parent but I'm not and never will be called 'Dad', is a torture that I'm not familiar with. Simply, I feel resentful, hurt, and lonely from what I perceive my role to be: second class, outsider, not good enough.No matter what I do, I'll never have the bond my wife does with her ex. I'll never have those experiences with her, and it’s hitting me for the first time that this is my reality. I love my wife dearly, which is perhaps an aggravating circumstance to my emotion. It's my own fault for making the choices in life I have. I just hoped for more, and I'm understanding that that hope was foolish. Thank you for providing a venue to vent. This has been eating me alive. I've browsed your blog, and it helps to know that it isn't just me, that maybe I'm not completely weird in my feelings.


  4. Thank you for sharing this, Mr. Anon Aug. 11. You prove that no matter whether one is a man or woman, this is a difficult and painful situation with no easy answers. You are not weird for feeling the way you do. I pray you can find some peace.


  5. To the anonymous 34-year-old childless man, I am sorry for you, but it seems you are carrying around the idea you must have a bio child to feel complete. Many people have children young and it doesn’t always turn out well. Stop beating yourself up. Maybe you should sit your wife down and tell her these exact things.


  6. I am the anonymous from 11 Aug. I appreciate both responses.In the beginning, I didn't feel compelled to have a biological child to feel I had a family or children. However, in retrospect, this may be because I had unrealistic expectations. I felt that in time, I would clearly be viewed as the father figure in my household. I do not believe this is the case in reality however. My wife and her ex-husband are clearly the parents, and in the end, when it gets down to brass tacks, I am clearly not relevant in any decisionmaking. They detest each other, and I think this may have created a territorial feeling in my wife regarding the boys, due to the constant conflict between her and her ex.Further, I underestimated the feelings, confusion, and trauma the boys have regarding their father. Though it was the father that left them and has had extended periods of neglect and absences from the boys, it has done nothing to lessen their desire to have a strong relationship with him (and far be it from me to interfere in such a situation). He is Dad. I am little more than a guy they live with that their mom is married to. Please don't misunderstand me. Things are not hostile. But it is nothing resembling a parent/child relationship. Having seen my friends and their stepchildren, I hoped and expected to have the same. I thought that was normal. Apparently not in all cases though, as I am learning recently.I can't control how the boys feel, and they have every right to feel the way they do. I had just hoped for more, and a much different dynamic. Such is life, I suppose.


  7. Sue,Marrying a woman who is past the age of having children makes a certain amount of sense for someone who is sterile naturally or is sterile as a side-effect of some medical treatment (such as hernia repairs, nerve blocks, etc.). Varicoceles, repeated cases of epididymitis, and anejaculation are things that naturally occur in a certain percentage of the male population and some of us have multiple issues that make having children impossible. Marrying someone else who can’t have any for whatever reason makes a lot of sense. I was very touched by a few stories I've read where girls had premature menopause in their teens or twenties and didn't think anyone would ever want them and wound up marrying someone who married them because they loved them and simply accepted them as they were.Some fellows will marry someone who can’t have children because of 'no eggs no drama' and some marry because of love and because other women wouldn't touch them.Marrying for love and accepting someone as they are is the best. Two folks falling in love and realizing they accept each other when most of the rest of the world considers them to be rubbish brings those two people together in a very special way.


    • George, I’m sorry this has happened to you. It doesn’t seem fair. I could recommend counseling or talking to a close friend, but I can’t help wondering why you don’t think about getting out of this relationship. She’s still not divorced and she doesn’t want to give you kids at this age and stage in her life. It’s something to consider.


      • First off, thank you for taking the time to reply. Just knowing someone is listening, or in this case reading, means more than I can express.

        I have been running the thought of leaving this relationship through my head over and over. But I always come back to the same feeling. Will going back into the single life and dating scene be any better? While I know that medically men are able to procreate much later in life than women, how would it be to have a child when I’m approaching 40? Could I even find someone who I could see having children with? While the simple act of at least attempting to convince someone is easy, finding a partner that you could envision raising a child with and building a family with is much harder for me.

        To me, the thing I keep getting stuck on is my love for my current partner. I love so many things about her, and yet lately, I’ve found myself hating the situation that she has put me in. I hate the fact that I’ve become so close to her children. I hate the fact that over the past four years, I’ve invested myself in this family, and now she changed her mind and has put me in this position of having to make this difficult decision.

        I still love her and her kids, but I hate feeling like I wasted the most precious thing any of us have, and that’s my time. I’ve always wondered exactly what a love/hate relationship was all about, and I think I have now found out.

        Sorry for the long-winded, rambling reply. Thank you again for giving myself and others a place to both vent, and for me at least, feel not so alone in this


  8. I am a 36-year-old male, in a relationship with a 38-year-old female. She has four children, ranging in age from 10 to 16, from a previous marriage, one that is still not totally over, due to some dragging-ons in the legal system, and by her hopefully soon-to-be ex. When we began our relationship, I was very open about my desire to have a child of my own. At the time, she was agreeable. Now, fast forward four years, and things have changed. She wasn’t willing to have another child until her divorce was final, which still hasn’t happened, and now she is saying flat out that she will never have another child, due to age, physical toll on her body and some other reasons. She just told me this almost three weeks ago. I have not been handling the news well, between not eating, being angry and resentful towards her, not finding happiness in the things I normally do. Everyone I know either has kids of their own or never wanted them, so talking to them about this seems like a dead end. It feels like I have nowhere to turn for help and advice. The emptiness inside me with the realization that this dream I’ve had for years of being a father just up and evaporated has been heartbreaking, to say the least. Finding this, while not totally taking away the pain and suffering, has helped. Is there anywhere else that you could recommend to get additional help and support?


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