Should I leave the person I love in the hope I can find someone else who is willing to have children with me? That question comes up over and over in the comments here. Sometimes people ask if they should do it. Sometimes they declare that they are going to do it, that they have to do it, that it’s breaking their hearts, but they have no choice. However, most of them haven’t done it yet. It’s next year, next month, if he doesn’t change his mind, if, if, if . . .
I don’t blame anyone who is hesitating about taking that giant step, especially when they have been in a relationship for many years or when they’re borderline too old to get pregnant. What if you end up alone?
I don’t know how many people are as insecure as I am, but I always found it miraculous to get one guy to love me. How could I know if anyone would ever even ask me out again? And now that I’m older and widowed, it has been ages since I kissed anyone except my dog, and my friends are all busy with their grandchildren. Maybe I screwed up, but now it’s too late.
How do you step out on faith, as my churchy friends used to say, when you’re not sure there’s anything under your feet except a big black hole? I didn’t do it. Most of the men in my life left me one way or the other. There was that handsome druggie whom I dumped because I couldn’t deal with him always being stoned. He was willing to have children. It would have been a disaster. As it was, he stalked me for six months after we broke up. No, you never know what’s out there. It’s not like “The Bachelor” TV show where you have all these men who look like models and who all profess to be eager to get married and have children. The real world isn’t like that.
I suppose a person could do online dating, specifying that they only want partners who are willing to have babies. Back when I was younger and dating, that kind of ambition scared some guys away. I suspect it still does. If you’re Catholic, you could do catholicmatch.com. The church says you have to welcome children. But I know a Catholic couple that didn’t get around to marrying and trying to get pregnant until the woman’s eggs were defunct, so even that’s not a guarantee.
I’m meandering here. It’s that kind of day. But hear me on the following:
1) If you are in the go-or-stay dilemma, I can’t tell you what to do. I don’t know what’s right for you. You have to decide which you want more, to be with this person or to have children. Nobody should have to make such a choice, but that’s the deal.
2) If you’re in your early 20s, just dating, and haven’t been together long, for God’s sake, find someone else. You do not have to stay or to settle for a life that’s less than you want. If you’re older and have been together for ages, see #1.
3) I would really like to hear from someone who has taken the leap, left the relationship and tried again. Did they find someone, did they have kids, did it work out? We need to know.
I welcome your comments.
47 thoughts on “Go or Stay? Readers Keep Asking”
I’ve been thinking about doing this very thing for a long time. It’s not easy. The conclusion I’ve drawn is that someone will be really hurt regardless of what one in this situation chooses to do.
I know. Pain is unavoidable. Sucks, doesn’t it?
I did leave my first husband as he did not want kids. We were married for five years, so I gave him plenty of chances to change his mind. I left when I was 32 and met my hubby only 4 months later (via online dating) and we have been together for 13 years now (I am 45 and he is 49). No, we didn’t get to try for a child (very long story, involving his vasectomy in his first marriage – in which he had two children, and we now have grandchildren – my poor health and a family tragedy) – but we are both far happier than we were in our first marriages, and share a good life. I didn’t just leave that marriage – I also moved to a different part of the UK, left a successful corporate career (to work as a cleaner and spend more time with my dogs!) and so glad I did. Perhaps it is different if you are happy with your partner apart from the children issue. Ali x
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Ali, Thank you for sharing this. I’m so glad it turned out well. Gives us all hope.
You nailed it, Sue. The person has to prioritize. No one can do It for them.
One thing I thought of is having kids is no guarantee of joy and happiness forever, if that makes sense. Some people think if they have kids, their kids will take care of them when they are old, or broke, or sick, etc. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t. A lot depends on who they marry and their career path. Some adult kids can barely take care of themselves much less an aging parent. I wish it weren’t so….I suppose it goes back to *why* a person wants kids to begin with.
Great topic for today. It’s my birthday today and I’m always so reflective. Early in my marriage, I knew a lady who left her husband because she wanted children and he didn’t. She went on to have a family and live happily ever after. Or so I’m assuming. Haven’t seen her in more than 35 years now. But I always remember wishing I could have done it too, but I was too scared to leave. I spent so many years wishing I had left, but now that I’m 52 I’m grateful for the life I’ve been blessed to live. I will always feel sad for not having children, but as I’m slowly watching my husband die, I would rather live my days being grateful for the amazing times we have had together. As a side note, we are living with my sister for a bit until we buy a home after moving to be closer to family for help with my husband. My niece is 13 and let’s just say I’m grateful her hormones and moodiness aren’t my problems! Haha
Happy birthday, Candy. I wish you all the best with your husband and your new home.
Wow, I wish there was a simple answer for this. Sounds crazy but I am still struggling with this in some ways. When I was young, I knew I wanted to be a mom more than anything in the world, for the exception of a great marriage. Growing up in a divorced family, I felt very STRONGLY about changing the cycle. To condense this as much as possible, married a man that was happy w/me being a stay-at-home mom ( this was the 1980’s ! Stay-at-home moms were not looked on very POSITIVELY!!! ” What do you do all day???? And comments similar to that were 99.999% of what people said to me. Def thought I was lazy & had NO ambition.) I loved what I did & I hate to say this, but I worked extremely hard to not only break the stereotype, I made sure I did EVERYTHING different than expected. I made sure that I put time into myself ( that didn’t take away from my family) which means I exercised AFTER everyone went to bed AND the house was all clean. I had three children in four years and managed to have the best body I ever had. I was a size 2, managed to keep some curves. So, other than my children ( still followed my mother’s advice and paid as much attention to my husband as humanly possible), my three loves were my children, working out/weightlifting and as always God. One day my husband asks me if our neighbor, a guy our age, was good looking. Well, I “thought” I had a decent relationship so I was honest. I said, “Ohhhhhhh yeahhhhhh, he is pretty good looking!!!” From that moment on, he accused me of having an affair. I NEVER EVEN MET MY NEIGHBOR but heard just about daily that we were involved. One day while playing w/the kids outside, I said, “Hi, my name is Joni. Do you want to met your son!! Hahaha.” He laughed & said of course. I would get in trouble, but didn’t even get to have the fun!! I have never felt what I felt for him and it accidentally just grew & grew!!! The more we talked, the more & more I couldn’t believe what I was feeling & wanting!! But one small problem, he’s not crazy about kids!! Now he def seemed to like mine more than most, but def knew he wouldn’t want more children. I ended up getting divorced, yes, because I wanted to be w/my neighbor but not necessarily sure that’s where things would lead. He was perfect & I loved him so much. But I always had an issue w/his feelings about kids. So we broke up. I was very distraught for a very long time. Met, dated, tried other relationships, but none of them even came close to what Tony & I had. So I moved back to Chicago and out of the blue six years later mail comes to the house from Maryland (state I knew Tony lived), but it was addressed to my sister?? Then when I saw the return address, I said to my daughter, “Why is MY Tony Writing Aunt Lori?????” Open it!!!! Long story short, we started talking, and were married nine months later!!! I have never been happier. Only problem is my children are getting older ( have one grandchild & due in Jan). My husband STILL isn’t happy about kids being around a lot. And the daughter w/the son has no place to live so my daughter & my grandson have being living w/us!! It’s not easy, but I really feel like his horrible attitude is a big contributor to the stress!!! He is ALWAYS ANGRY!! He is even saying a lot of mean things that I know he doesn’t mean them, but to me if you say it more an once, YOU MEAN IT!! I love him w/all my heart & soul. I can’t bear the thought of losing him AGAIN. But at the same time I feel I am just watching our relationship die!! I know the kids should be self-supportive but they’re not. There are two on their own, 25 & 22. And two at home, one a senior, 18, the other 24 with a 4-year-old son. I have no clue what to do. I feel like this is killing me from the inside out, and none of them love me enough to fix or change things. I love my grandson and I want to see him, not necessarily 24/7, but I don’t mind watching him while my daughter works, but I don’t think my husband even likes that. I know we need our private time together. But isn’t creating some for now really all that bad, my brother always taught me our children are not little for very long so cherish every moment because you blink & they will be grown. But I am afraid that will be too late and I will have lost my husband by then! 😢😢😢😢😢😢 thank you for listening to my story & I apologize it is soooo long!! Sincerely, Joni Kazaras
That was a really long reply that had almost nothing to do with the topic….
Think of it as cheap therapy for the writer. Hopefully she feels better after getting that off her chest. Yes, I agree, it would be nice if people would stay on topic and also if they would write in clear and well-developed sentences but it’s the web. You get what you pay for.
My husband and I are practically perfect except for the child issue, but it’s the child issue that, when it comes up, makes me feel that we won’t last forever. We had broken up in the past over the issue, but we always came back together. He doesn’t want me to resent him. He has said before that he’s okay with me not having much to do with his kids (we hardly see them, they live far away; they’re moving near my mother-in-law soon, and he is planning on visiting them and staying with his mom, while I will be working and taking care of my dog at home. I don’t think he’s thrilled.)
I have a co-worker who has two kids from a previous marriage, the youngest being 11 1/2 years old, and the father has been absent for 11 1/2 years. Having kids with someone is no guarantee of having the person stay. I think sometimes it comes down to either be alone with kids or have a spouse but no kids? It sucks, but no one gets everything they want.
For us childless stepparents, it seems like our spouses get everything they want. They get amazing children, their ex in a different capacity (classic member of the Golden Uterus Club here, y’all), and a wonderful spouse. They don’t give a flying fig that their spouse is hurting when they have it all. “If you don’t like it, leave.” My husband told me a long time ago that he wants a partner who goes along with all of his big decisions.
Joni, I know that they say that parents have to put their relationship above anything, but at the same time, your kids’ needs should come first. It’s not like you’re going to put your kids and grandkid out on the street just to please your husband. Have you gone to marriage counseling with him? Maybe just having the “safety net” of the counselor being there can allow you both to discuss things you never can discuss (calmly). Did your husband never have children by choice? Kids can be stressful anyway, so maybe if he never wanted children, he just needs more quiet time than he’s currently allowed. It’s a tough situation, and I wish I had more advice, but I definitely recommend counseling. My husband only went once with me, and I wish he was open to going again. I think it can be a great thing.
Hi, just curious. Who says that kids’ needs come before the spouse’s needs? My husband is a biblical man. It’s God, wife, kids, work with him. He doesn’t veer from that. By the way, I have two adult steps and no bio kids of my own, so I feel your pain. Yes, my wonderful husband does have the best of both worlds.
Hi, SilverShil0h. In the context of what I meant in my blurb to Joni, I know that Biblically, spouse comes before kids; if a stepparent is so miserable living with their stepkids, the bio parent can’t just kick their kids to the curb. That’s what I meant.
In my relationship, he would rather divorce me than give me a kid. I have an elderly dog who has been my “child” for many years, and my husband has been great with hoisting him in the car (my dog now weighs half of what I do and it’s near impossible for me to get him in the car, plus he fights it!) and he’s great with him, and I have been trying lately to make that enough. “At the very least, he loves my dog.”
SilverShil0h, I don’t want to stick my nose where it doesn’t belong, and I know that I have read posts by you before, but was your husband unwilling to have kids with you, or was it a medical reason? Because (and please don’t take this as me attacking the two of you) if so, that’s not putting the wife first.
I just feel for us spouses whose S.O.s were willing to give their exes children and refuse to make us happy in that way.
Hi, wordpress isn’t displaying the ‘reply’ button so I’m unable to reply directly to Amy’s comment. To answer her rather nosey question, he was reluctant at first but now willing. I’ve had 3 miscarriages so it’s not him or his attitude.
Hi SilverShil0h, I really didn’t mean to come across in a negative way, so I do apologize. I’m sorry to read about your situation- that is very sad.
Oh, it’s me again (I had typed something to post in Word while reading the other new posts).
Reading comments in the blog, or even from your posts, Sue. Reading that people feel loved “to the ends of the earth” by their spouse, even though their spouse won’t give them children. I wish I felt like that about my husband. He’s more willing to just leave me than I am willing to just leave him, and he’s the one who won’t give me a kid. Reading about people who can have good conversations about their childlessness with their spouses, even if they’re sad…versus me who feels that we’ll just break up. I don’t feel like our marriage is necessarily forever, and it’s more because he can’t handle the fact that I want kids. Like many with children already, he regrets ever telling me that he wanted a kid with me. I’m only 31, I know that I could leave him and have the possibility of finding a guy. I never had problems dating, but boy, I don’t want to have to start dating again.
It’s still the classic “Should I stay or should I go?” and I just wonder if that ever gets easier, or if I stay married to him, if every six months I’ll wonder if we are going to or should break up.
Having an “off” couple of days that seems to have stretched into almost two weeks. I find myself here to unload. I brag about how great my marriage is. We’ve been through a lot. I’ve forgiven a lot. I’m grateful to be riding a five-year stretch of awesomeness. So why am I here? Things are great with my husband. I’ve been mostly okay with our childless life. Just lately I feel like there isn’t really any point. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not suicidal. Just sad. The days blend into each other and I’m finding that the years have disappeared and I wonder if I’m really living.
We watch other people have new adventures all the time. Preschool for the youngest. The older one is starting junior high and football is a big deal. Homecoming outfits, a new flute in the house. A friend a couple years older than me just had her third. All of that is a world that my DH and I are only watching from a distance. It’s like one of those old fashioned bank teller windows – a little hole to say hello, a little slot to get the money. We see it all happening and we can talk all we want. But those people behind the window get to decide how much they will give us through that little slot.
My secret is that I’m crushing on someone. A man I only see occasionally but has similar interests. He’s older, not traditionally attractive and he would definitely not fit into my lifestyle – but I’m into him. I’m pretty sure the feeling is mutual. It’s ridiculous. I imagine how my life could be if I was with him. I guess in this life I magically wouldn’t care about being childless. We’d have different kinds of adventures. I imagine I’d be interesting to him and at 15 years his junior I’d be an exciting addition to his quiet life. My wild daydreams have run the gamut from sexual escapades to how we’d spend holidays.
It’s making me so sad and confused. I love my husband and I definitely do not want to leave him. No one else turns my head. But lately I feel boring, frumpy, and like we don’t have anything in common. A recent romantic getaway did not go great. Seasonal hobbies will take my husband away for long weekends and this is why I’m so bothered by the crushing feelings I’m having. I’ve never been tempted to cheat and I KNOW that I don’t want to cross that line. But somehow, without kids, this life doesn’t feel real. I’ve never felt temptation like this and the fact that I know I can’t do what I want has paralyzed my mind.
I know I’m being silly. I know I need to clue my husband in on some of this I am praying for this to pass and I’m working on ways to improve my thinking but it’s hard. I have so many good things in my life – it seems selfish to want more. And yet, I can’t help but feel that I’m not getting even half of what other people have. And it makes me mad. I’m tired of being “good” and “patient”.
Oh Anon S, I feel your pain. I definitely have times when I think “what’s the point,” when I see this immense gap in my life that ought to be filled with children and grandchildren. Last week on my trip to California, I got to meet and hold my new great-niece. So cute. It felt so good and I left on a high, but down the road I fell apart. She’s not mine, will never be mine, and I should have grandchildren I can love and hold and teach and brag about. It’s just not fair. But here I am, too old to change that. Have I ever been tempted to cheat on Fred? Yes. I’m glad I didn’t. The guy turned out to be kind of creepy and my shrink at the time told me very firmly “don’t.” But oh, it’s hard when you can envision a different life and feel so tempted to try to grab it. Hang in there. You’re not bad, just human. I don’t know if you should tell your husband about it though.
Bless you, Sue! You make me feel so much better. I really needed to tell someone and you were on my mind. I’m glad I reached out.
I have personally been cheated ON so I know the thrill is not worth the rebuilding it takes. I just wouldn’t be able to go through with it. Even thinking about it makes me feel guilty. So this is really just an innocent crush that I’m not planning to reveal to ANYONE. It will go away – I know this. Which is why I’m so relieved to have you and this site to confide in. If I told a person “in real life,” then that information would be “out there” and become real. I would then feel obligated to confess to my husband. My husband knows the man I’m crushing on and he would NOT think it’s cute. Revealing this info would cause pain, not amusement.
My imagination is getting the best of me and I’ve built up this crush into something it’s not. It feels like a double life. I feel a real sense of loss for this relationship that never happened – it feels really messed up.
I do need to let my husband know the sadness that is creeping in so we can figure out a way to add value and excitement to our life. I know he struggles too. We’ve had a family drama that just hurts. That contributes greatly to my personal sadness. In addition, my mother has become more grouchy this past year and it’s hard to deal with her daily visits. (I promise you that I am a mentally sound person, but if I’m not super happy she thinks terrible things are happening – abuse, dying of a disease, whatever). It’s exhausting to combat her negativity and fake super happiness to keep her satisfied. Life just seems to be getting harder – not easier. I’m tired and I need a break. I think I’m going to visit the therapist that helped us once before.
Thank you, Sue! Your blog and your words have made a positive impact on my life and I appreciate this lifeline that you’ve given all of us. You put your words out there while I hide behind a username. You’re brave and wonderful!
Thanks for your kind words. I’m glad I could help. Hang in there.
Just wanted to let you know that my crush is over. How stupid and silly that all was. Why does our mind play tricks on us? I mean I was incredibly sad and now – I’m fine. What a roller coaster this is. Bless you again for being here.
Anon S, I’m glad. We just want the attention and excitement. Perfectly normal. Thank you for being here.
[…] ’em if you dare. Meanwhile, the comments have been pouring in on previous posts, especially, “Go or Stay” from Aug. 31. Take a scroll back through the posts and see if you want to add to the conversation. […]
I have been having these thoughts for a while now. I’m turning 30 in just a couple of months, and I always wanted to start my family long before now. My husband and I have been married for 10 years. In the beginning, we both wanted to wait a few years before having kids, but then, about four years ago, he decided he no longer wanted kids, at all.
I was heartbroken then, and it has only gotten worse with time. Now all my friends are married and trying for kids. Every time I log in to Facebook, I am bombarded with pregnancy announcements or baby pictures. It hurts to act excited for loved ones when you don’t know if you will ever get to experience it yourself.
I love my husband, and I know I didn’t marry him for children, but I feel a bit betrayed that he has changed his mind so far in. I don’t want to have to leave him. I honestly don’t know that I could. And if I did, there’s still no guarantee that I will find someone else in time to have kids.
It’s a terrible situation to be in, and I feel like no one around me understands. My friends and family, though they may think they are helping, are making it worse. “Accidents happen” or “just poke holes in the condoms” is not an actual answer to my problem.
I’m sorry for the very long post, I’ve been very emotional for a while now, though it appears I am actually not as alone as I feel. Thanks for the support.
Jessica, you are not alone. I wish so many women weren’t dealing with this. As my mother would say, “What’s wrong with these men?” Your husband did betray you. Kids were part of the deal when you got married, and it’s not fair to announce you don’t want them six years in. Feel free to tell him that. I know how hard it is when everybody else seems to be having children and helpful folks are suggesting you get pregnant by “accident.” Hang in there. We’re here for you.
Thank you for your support and kind words! Your posts and others’ comments are comforting.
I have been with my husband for eight years. When we had been married for two years, he would ocasionally say, ‘Let’s have a kid.’ Sad part is that he never tries. How can i have a kid if he doesn’t try? His sister had a baby and she lived with us for a while. He would carry the baby, kiss it, and I just would get emotional because he never tries to get me pregnant. A few months back, we got into an argument, and I told him that I wanted a kid and he said then have one, don’t be a spoiled woman always wanting the man to give them the baby. So that day it dawned on me he doesn’t really want children. It kills me because sometimes family members ask when are we having kids. How do you tell em geesh my husband doesn’t even attempt. so I gulp hard and just smile but in the inside I’m slowly dying. I know I’m probably not that old yet, but I am gonna get there soon. I’m 26 going on 27; he is turning 31 this month. I feel like a failure. His brother tells us we are never gonna have kids and that hurts really bad. It’s hard at times. He tells me what would you name your daughter or your son and I reply with a little hope, but then the true reality hits me and I get quiet and the sadness eats me in the inside while I smile and act like nothing. Even watching movies involving a woman giving birth or families with kids get me emotional. I don’t show it, but it does, and I just go to the bathroom, cry and wash my face and put my strong face on. I feel like he plays games with my desire of wanting kids so I have decided to just give up on bringing up the subject and just heal on my own and go on with life..
Oh Shelly. I’m sorry. Of course it hurts. I remember hiding and crying, too. Are you saying that he doesn’t have sex with you or that he just never agrees to try to get pregnant? Whatever you do, don’t keep it bottled up inside. Try to talk about it with him and anyone else who will listen. I sure hope you can work this out. Don’t give up.
Yes we have sex, but we use protection to avoid pregnancy. Thank you for your encouraging words.
I’m in a similar position. Stepmum to a lovely stepson but no agreement on our own family. He has agreed in the past and then changes his mind (after he tells everyone we are gonna try!).
Last conversation we had was he agreed to ‘try’ in the new year, although I know he’s changed his mind from his behaviour. He hasn’t actually said as much so I’m tempted to just come off the pill then.
I know it’s deceitful, but he’s deceiving me and depriving me of a family too. Why should I actively prevent it because I have more control? (Im 35)
Would be interested to hear others thoughts, those who are older now. Looking back, would you have deceived your husband to get the children/grandchildren you want now? Chances are they will ‘come round’ if you’re in a loving relationship…?
If I were you, I’d be tempted to do the same thing. I’m glad I didn’t try it with my first husband because I’d have ended up divorced anyway. I couldn’t have deceived my second husband; I just loved him too much. You have to talk about it with him.
I love him very much, but I know what will happen if I talk about it again. Most likely he will try and postpone again or he will say he doesn’t want one 😦
I’m 95% sure he would be fine if one ‘came along’. He’s just scared because he feels he messed up the first time and the other excuse of too old, which he isn’t at all.
If the 5% chance of him leaving came true, then is it better being 35 and single with a child than 35 and single without a child and a lifetime of sadness just to protect his happiness!? Ultimately in most cases children only bring joy.
These are questions constantly whirling round my head 😦
I have some good insights into the stay or go question. But unfortunately, I feel I am preaching to the wrong audience here on this website. It is the MEN who decided NOT to have kids, which is ironic considering it is the WOMEN who have to get pregnant, breastfeed and whatnot.
I was a practicing born-again christian woman when I met my future husband. We hit it off right away and were so in love. He popped the question after only three months and I said yes, even though I felt it was too soon to be engaged, but I really fell for him. I told him when we first started dating I wanted kids. His reply was, (he was 29 at the time) that he had never wanted kids in the beginning, but then he realized, he didn’t want to become an old man and have no children. Okay, so I was fairly young at the time, and I didn’t really like his answer, but he was telling me he wanted kids. Now, after we have divorced, I have to say, that is one fucked up way of looking at children. Kind of like, I don’t want to have to bother with raising kids and all, but I want them to be around and take care of me when I’m old.
We were married with the intention to wait until things were settled, he was still in school obtaining an advanced degree. I was working to pay the bills. He graduated and took a job very far away in another part of the country. His job was very good, very well paid, good benefits. Then I broached the subject very gently, about how it was a good time for us to have a baby, and he said things like, the world isn’t a good enough place to bring a child into. I waited a year, brought it up again. He said he didn’t remember talking about it the first time. Like we never had a 30 minute long conversation the year prior. It was like a knife in the heart really.
On our fourth anniversary, I brought it up again. We ended up arguing until two in the morning. Then he told me he wanted a few more years of “fun.” I was pissed!!! We had been having lots of fun. He was 34 years old. I could not stand the fact that he had insisted we get married right away, and had said we would talk about having kids and wait for many years, only to again say we will wait for many years. The man would not have sex with me without a condom! It was so unromantic.
I did leave at that point, but then he wanted to reconcile, and I still felt in love with him, and our phone conversations were so great. So he came back to be with me, telling me I was the most important thing in his life. I had mentioned having kids again, being with my parents more often. Then we moved back in together and starting planning to buy a house. We were settled, with jobs and family and we were happy. I directly brought up the fact that I was happy, and wanted a baby. He flat out told me to be a surrogate mom and get it out of my system!!!!! I told him, sure whatever, I’ll be a surrogate. He looked it up and found out no couple on earth would have a surrogate mom who hadn’t already had a healthy pregnancy!!.
After that, I did not love him so much anymore. He was a crook, he wanted to use me as a wife, and have everything he wanted and give nothing back. He took all my money, and hoarded all of his, total selfish guy.
He used every trick in the book to use having kids someday to get me to stay, do what he wanted, (pay off debts, etc) and then after I did all those, guess what, another bullshit reason to not have kids. All the while, never having sex with me if it was my idea. Didn’t trust me to even use birth control. I started poking holes in condoms and told him off.
I left after six years of marriage. But since then, it has not been easy to find a replacement. First of all, most of the single guys my age already have kids with their ex gfs from college or hs, or wife. So they are in the process of getting that vasectomy, which to them means, fun all the time.
They do not care about our feelings in any way. My solid, genuine advice is to start using birth control and then stop using it and do not tell him, get pregnant. If he divorces you, fine, then he gets to pay child support. If not, then you get a baby. You have every right to take matters into your own hands, if you are marrried. If he didn’t want kids, then he should have become a priest. It is not easy to replace a decent husband, or find a new guy, or whatever.
My main point is, having kids is somewhat up to them, especially if they get the vasectomy. We have no say, and they are being totally selfish, do not care, and should be ashamed of all the hurt they caused, NOT US.
Crystal, this is so sad. I’m sorry this happened to you and when you broke up the first time that was the end of it. But you were still hoping, and I’m sure you did love each other. I hope you find the right guy.
Before my male readers jump on this, I have to point out that it is not always the guy who doesn’t want kids. Many times it’s the woman.
Thank you for the kind words, Sue. You are very right that it is not always the men who don’t want kids. And there are plenty of men out there who really want children. But, in my experience, men don’t want kids, period. They don’t want to talk about it during dating, they don’t want to talk about it before marriage, and then they don’t want to talk about it after marriage.
I actually dated a guy after my divorce who had two little girls. They were adorable and I thought they were very special. This guy decided to get a vasectomy and break up with me. He was too selfish to consider my feelings in any way. And don’t get me started on their complaint that it’s a financial burden, because I make more than most guys my age do. I am bitter and resentful, unfortunately, but I will never give the time of day to someone who looks at me and goes, isn’t it great to be an uncle and give the kids back after a few hours 😉 on a first or second date. They want to have it all and not give any love back. That is my experience and honest opinion of these type of guys who refuse to even have one child with the women they supposedly love.
It’s been nice to read everyone’s stories. The stay or go dilemma is truly tough! I’ll chime in with my story.
I have never had an easy time at dating, as I have always managed to choose the wrong men. I sometimes wonder if this is due to my father dying when I was very young, and my mother never remarrying. I grew up with no male role models, and was raised by my mom and grandmother. Anyway, I was married previously, and it was a tumultuous relationship to say the least. I was busy in college during most of our relationship, taking a long road to becoming a veterinarian. When I finally finished school and my head cleared from all the studying, I was finally able to summon the strength to leave my alcoholic, drug-using ex-husband. He was emotionally abusive, deceitful, and would have made a terrible father. He stalked me for months after I left him.
My life is 100% better since leaving him, but the dating scene has been rough. I am almost 31, and have found that there are few good men out there left to date. What is interesting, though, is that all the men I have dated since my divorce have ALL said they do not want more kids. TWO have even had vasectomies! I was really shocked to learn how common that is, especially after reading other stories on this blog.
This brings me to my dilemma – I have finally met a wonderful and kind man that I am very much in love with, and he is everything that I have always hoped to find (and dreamed of while I was with my ex-husband), but he also doesn’t want more children. He has a very sweet and caring 9 year old daughter (whom I get along with very well), but he definitely doesn’t want more. He very fairly informed me on our first date that he had a vasectomy 9 years ago (after his daughter was born), and that he absolutely doesn’t want more kids. I stayed with him because children have never been a major priority for me (so I didn’t think it was a big deal), although I always assumed I would have kids eventually because that’s what most people do. I have always been more focused on my career and longed for a loving, lasting relationship. A happy relationship/companionship is very important to me, and I just always assumed children would be part of that.
It scares me to regret not having my own children, but it is hard to leave a good man over something that hasn’t been a major priority in my life. Having kids was always something that would happen “later”, and I never gave it much thought until I met and fell in love with someone that didn’t want them. I am truly confused as to what to do. I am happy with my life right now, but I have a major fear of regret – regretting leaving this man, or regretting later in life that I didn’t have kids. I don’t know how to picture what my life would look like if I didn’t take the traditional route (my family is very Catholic and traditional), but I know people do it all the time. Trouble is that I’ve been through enough toxic men to know what a good one looks like, and I REALLY don’t want to let him go over something that I’m so ambivalent about. I’m also not sure that I have good enough reasons for even wanting to have kids in the first place – it’s the traditional way of life, I’m afraid to be alone when I’m old, fear of regret, etc.
Sorry this turned into such a long post! Good luck to everyone with this dilemma, and I pray we all find our way!
First of all, I need to thank you for this blog. I’m not alone and that is an amazing feeling. My husband’s ex got pregnant and they were forced to marry when he was 20. They were never happy and divorced four years later. We met when he was 26 and I was 20. I had a rough few years prior to meeting him and had just started my sober journey eight months before. We fell in love even though we are completely opposite and started our life together. We both discussed and wanted more children in the future if I was able. I have PCOS and was straightforward about it from the beginning. He accepted that I may never be able to have children but still wanted them in the future. From about one year in, we never tried to prevent getting pregnant, but six years in, I’m still a childless stepmother. I decided to make an appointment with a specialist and get the ball rolling. When I told my husband about the appointment, he decided to inform me that he doesn’t want anymore children. I always thought we would have children together and now he tells me this. He says he loves me and wants me to be happy but he never got to have his “fun.” He works 80 hours a week in order support us and is always too tired to do anything once he gets off. He says that once his son is older and he is no longer required to pay child support that he wants to get a part-time job and have time to do other things. He doesn’t want to be tied down for another 18 years. I’ve been an emotional wreck. I thought we were happy. We’ve been married for two years now and I felt ready to start try to conceive. I now have to figure out what I truly want in my life and I don’t know where to begin. All my life I have wanted to be a mother and while I enjoy his son, we don’t have the bond a bio parent would have and I don’t expect we ever will. I’m so lost right now, and finding my inner peace has been a real struggle. He won’t talk about it anymore as he thinks I’m too emotional about it. He will never understand the pain of being childless in a happy marriage or trying to start over. I know I’m young and I might not even be able to conceive but I feel betrayed at this moment and I don’t know what to do.
I am SO grateful to have found this blog. I have spent hours reading posts and comments last night and this morning. It is all so relevant to my life right now, and I so appreciate hearing from people who are in the same situation as I am, people who are not telling me what I should do but offering their own insights and experiences.
I’m 26 and engaged to a man who is 15 years older than me. We’ve been together four years and engaged for six months. I love him so much, and our relationship is so great. He’s very loving and takes wonderful care of me. He protects me and makes me feel safe, he’s supporting me right now as I go through graduate school, we laugh together more than I’ve laughed with anyone before, and he’s excited about “doing life” with me. I grew up with an emotionally and verbally abusive father (who I’ve since cut ties with completely) and, as a teen, I used to tell myself that I’d rather be single than be with anyone like my dad. My fiance has been so different from my father that it’s almost therapeutic for me! He’s shown me that men aren’t all scary. They don’t all think they’re better than women, and he actually values me and makes me feel good about myself.
AND he doesn’t want kids. He wanted them when he was younger but, by the time I met him, he felt like he’d passed that phase in his life. At the point in my life when we got together, I didn’t think I wanted kids either. I’ve known since I was an early teen that I loved kids. I nannied a lot, I worked in schools, and now I’m getting my masters in teaching. But, up until recently, I knew that I loved kids…and I also loved being able to come home to my nice quiet house and get away from them after I was done working. I value so much the relationships that I have with them and I really enjoyed not having to take care of children 24/7.
In the last year or so I’ve just begun to have anxiety about whether I do want to be a mother. I never had a strong desire for that until I met my fiance. I think being in a relationship has made me consider having kids more. Making something beautiful together, loving that human together, and raising him/her. There’s something that feels very appealing to me about it. My fiance is still quite adamant that he does not want kids (he told me this very firmly last night after a few conversations where I know I was hoping to sway him). He’s been 100% honest with me about this from the beginning. I’m the one who has wavered and I don’t know what to do about it. In fact, it’s so funny because when I think about leaving over this issue, I don’t know that I see myself having kids after I’ve left him! I honestly don’t feel like I’d want them much if I were single again. Being in a relationship has made me want that more. So strange.
I keep trying to tease out what is my actual desire versus pressure I feel from the outside world to have kids because I’m in a relationship. Being a teacher, everyone just automatically expects that you’ll have children soon. You love kids, of course you’ll have them! This makes it even harder for me, I think. People don’t ask me if I want children, they just assume that is to come for me. Hearing other people think that I, of course, will need/want children I think has made me question myself more and more.
Would it be horrible if I had a child? Not even close. I actually think I’d love most parts of being a mom. Can my life feel complete without a child? I don’t know. I think it can be very full without a child. I also think it’s too much pressure to put on a child to make me feel complete. Will I regret not having kids? Probably. Probably a lot off and on through the years to come too. Are there things that I want to do that I can’t do with children? YES.
My partner and I both want to travel a lot and we’ve talked about how, if we don’t have kids, we can feel so excited about all the places we’ll see and things we’ll have the freedom to do. He wants to go to Egypt, I’ve always wanted to go to Italy, we’re planning to go to Scotland in a year, I also want to see Germany, etc. All of these trips and things feel so important to me. And they financially cannot happen with a child.
When I think about the possibility of a child-free life full of travel and love with my fiance, I feel excited. When I think about a life with my fiance and a child that we love and raise together, I feel excited. I don’t know which is right and I don’t know which is more important to me. And I don’t want to leave my fiance. And I don’t want to regret not having a child now or in the future. And I don’t know what to do! There isn’t a clear right/wrong here and it’s so hard.
Anonymous, I’m glad you found us. Keep coming back. There are great people here. You are right that there isn’t a clear answer. Only you can figure out this puzzle. You’re young. Maybe if you give it a year, you’ll know better how you feel about things. Meanwhile, you are lucky to have found this great guy.
[…] husbands. Sometimes it goes the other way around but not as often. A new commenter calling herself Anonymous wrote today about her dilemma. Her fiance is 15 years older than she is. He’s perfect in every way except […]
I am on the other end of this dilemma, sort of. I’m 42, my amazing wife is 33. We have been married for five wonderful years. My second marriage (two kids from previous 18, 15), her first. Never thought my first marriage would end, so after our second child was born, we decided that was enough and I took on the role of birth control and had a vasectomy. When my second wife and I got married, we discussed the possibility of having a reversal and having kids of our own in time. She took on an incredible role of “stepmom.” The kids were young at that time, 9 and 5. She has accepted them as her own and they love her dearly, as their bio mother has very little if anything to do with them. As time passed, my wife and I discussed her wanting children and I grew more toward not wanting any more. She always told me that she was okay without having children of her own, that the relationship we had was more important to her than having her own children….
She was lying to herself and me. All of a sudden, two months ago, we have the talk again. She tells me she needs me to tell her I don’t want more kids, and she’ll move on and get over the fact that she does. I reluctantly told her I thought it best if we didn’t have kids. Finances are very tight due to some immature decisions on both our parts, and she is not the best with money. She said that’s all she needed to hear and she loved me and we moved on. The last two months were amazing; it was like we remarried. Then, suddenly she told me that she really wanted kids and she was leaving me to see if she could find someone to have kids with. Even though she loves me and we are perfect for each other, she wants to leave instead of giving me the option to change my mind. All this time, I was being told that she was okay not having kids and I believed her. Now she’s leaving, not even allowing me to discuss it. It hurts. This woman is amazing and we truly love each other. She is telling me she hopes she doesn’t meet anyone and comes back to me later on down the road. I told her let’s just have kids. She thinks that I don’t really want one, which isn’t necessarily true. If I knew it was that important to her, I would give her a child. But I don’t have that option now.
My world has been completely destroyed. I could go on and on, but I won’t.
Advice to anyone in the same boat…If the baby talk arises at all, it means they want one. Even if they tell you they are okay with not having one. Don’t listen to them. Either be ready to have children or move on.
I wish she had been honest with me. Now, she is giving up on an amazing, loving marriage. Without even giving me a chance. I guess it all comes down to communication, and being able to read between the lines.
Good luck to everyone.
JMC, I’m sorry it has turned into such a mess. It sounds like there’s a lot of miscommunication. Don’t blame her too much for suddenly wanting to have children when she said she was okay with it before. People can’t help what they feel. Maybe you two could benefit from working with an impartial counselor. But when you say if you’d only known how important it was to her to have a baby, how could you not know that? She was ready to leave. And then she’s kind of hoping she doesn’t find anyone else so she could come back to you. That’s kind of crazy. You need to figure out a) Do you want to stay together and b) Do you want to try to have children. You know that vasectomy reversals don’t always work, especially when a lot of time has passed. I hope you can figure it out.
Thanks Sue, I don’t blame her for feeling that way at all. I blame her for not telling me how important it was before. One day we’re fine and the next day she wants a divorce without even giving me the option to decide to have kids with her. She changed her mind, which is fine but I never got the opportunity to change mine. I wasn’t allowed that liberty. She wasn’t ready to leave until all of a sudden. I want to stay together, I think she really wants to. I would be willing to try the reversal and see if it works which is all she would ask. To try, then leave it in God’s hands at that point. She just thinks that since I said I didn’t want kids that I would be making a sacrifice and resent her. I wouldn’t feel that way, just can’t get her to understand that.
JMC, Show her what you just wrote. It says everything you need to tell her. I hope it works, especially since this is Valentine’s Day.
Well, that didn’t work. She is moving forward with the breakup. She is giving up on a loving marriage for the hopes of finding someone to have children with, all the while thinking I’ll take her back if she doesn’t find what she’s looking for. My heart is heavy with sorrow at the moment. I’m losing my best friend.
I am so very sorry.
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