If They Don’t Want Kids, Do You Have to Break Up?

That’s the question that arises in the majority of comments here at Childless by Marriage.  So many people, mostly anonymous, write that their partner says he (or she) does not want to have children. In some cases, they both agreed on not having kids in the beginning, but now the writer has changed her mind and is frustrated because her partner has not. In other cases, the partner has just announced that he isn’t interested in having kids. Not now, not ever, he doesn’t want to discuss it.

The heartbroken writer says: Now we have to break up. They may have been together for five, ten or twenty years, but it’s over because their partner does not want to be a parent.

Yesterday, Anonymous wrote: My girlfriend of 8 years has just told me she does not want children. she won’t even discuss it. I’m gutted and know I can’t stay with her. It is incredibly painful. She loves children and is great with them. Instead of even giving a reason, she just says she is ‘at peace’ with her decision.

But is it over? Should you really throw away a relationship that is good in every other way over this issue? God knows it’s a huge issue. The Catholic Church considers it grounds for annulment, declaring the marriage was never valid. Having children or not changes the whole course of your life, and if you have always wanted to be a mother or father, shouldn’t you pursue that?

Maybe. But how do you know whether you will find someone else in time to procreate or that you will ever love another person as much as the partner you have now? You don’t. So hold on. Don’t be too quick to jump ship or to broadcast to the world that your partner is a rat. Take a breath. Talk about it. I know, they don’t always want to talk. Give them a little time. Find a way to approach the subject without accusations and threats. Maybe say, “I love you so much and I want to understand . . .” Maybe you could each write a letter explaining your feelings. Maybe you could try counseling. Maybe there’s a good reason or an obstacle that you can help them get over. Or not. Just don’t give up too quickly. If you really love someone, you have to accept them as they are. If up until now, this person was The One, maybe he still is.

If the relationship is new and you really haven’t established any strong ties, then adios. Tell them it’s a deal-breaker and move on. But if you have given everything to this relationship, maybe it’s meant to be.

What do you think about this? Have you ever broken up over children? Are you thinking about it? What would you advise if it was your brother or your best friend? Please comment.

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121 thoughts on “If They Don’t Want Kids, Do You Have to Break Up?

  1. I have been with my bf for 3 years. Since he and I have been together, we have never had any altercations no arguments. I love him and he loves me. In the beginning, we discussed whether he wanted more kids, as he has children but I don’t. He agreed that later he would want another child, as he would not be selfish and would give whatever woman he was with a child if she wanted one and didn’t have any. Three years later and we get to this subject and he is telling me he is indecisive which make sure me feel discouraged because I don’t have a big family and I love children. I would honestly be devastated. I don’t ever pursue a relationship with someone knowing we don’t have the same mindset, meaning a future with a child as I would love to have a child. I don’t feel that I would be happy in these circumstances. Advice anyone?

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    • Divine, it sounds like you need to talk about this with your boyfriend some more and try to pin him down as to what he wants. Let him know that not having a child is a deal-breaker for you. I hope you can work this out.

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