Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Reader Needs our Advice...

Dear Readers,

I received this letter from a reader of my blog and in the letter, he asked for my opinion on what he should do about a difficult situation he is going through. I sent him a reply and I also asked him if he would permit me to post his letter here, so that you can also offer your insights and thoughts about his problem. He gave me his permission, so here is his letter. I have changed his name to protect his privacy. Please feel free to post your reply. Thanks.

"Hello -I've just discovered your blog, and very much wish I had done so earlier. This morning, you see, I'm fresh off the thousandth conflict with my girlfriend, who has stated, extremely clearly, that she wants kids. I've always been on the fence about it -- at least I thought I was -- and have, for the past year, been thinking. And thinking. And thinking. Last month, I set a final deadline for myself, which is imminent, and I still find I'm 'undecided.'

In truth and honesty, I'm not undecided. I don't want kids, and every word I've read of your blog rings starkly true for me. But there's a problem -- a big one. I'm in love with the woman with whom I'm involved. She's wonderful, sweet, smart, creative, and would/will make a fantastic mother. She has all the patience I do not, and I could never deny the happiness she will find in being a parent. In addition, I've had a lot of trouble with relationships in the past, and there's no question this one is the very best I've had. I desperately do not want to let go of it, but this is a crossroads that can only go two directions. There's no in between.

Many people have told me I'd make a good parent. And I probably would. I do love kids. They're fun. Silly. Wacky. I just don't know if I can deal with the un-fun parts of parenthood. I'm pretty sure, actually, that they would drive me nuts. I no more want to clean up someone else's bodily functions than I want someone to clean up mine. Etc., etc., etc.

So. I've tried to present both sides of my problem briefly and equally. 1. I'm in love. 2. I don't want kids. There's no way these two things can happily coexist. So here's the question I'm hoping you can help me solve: I've written one letter to you, and I'll write more if you want clarification, but based on this single letter... should I dive into the relationship? Or let it go and hope to find another?Thanks for your blog. It's really quite excellent.

Michael

33 comments:

tocophobic said...

A few things to consider (warning, brutal honesty to follow):

1) Children internally know when they are not wanted. Even if you enjoy them when they're fun, they're going to sense that you're put-off by having to do the "un-fun" parts. (I am speaking from experience as an unwanted child.)

2) You will inevitably shirk your responsibilities because you won't enjoy a lot of the daily mundanities of child-rearing (changing diapers, cleaning up vomit, midnight feedings, dealing with a teething child, the terrible twos, cleaning poop off of every surface in the house, etc.) You may think you won't, but you will. People tend to avoid things they find to be unpleasant. Your girlfriend (assumed future wife) will resent you for it and your relationship will fail epically, leaving at least three people shattered, possibly more if you have more than one child.

3) You will, more than likely, grow to resent your future wife and child(ren) for the daily frustrations being a parent will undoubtedly bring you and for you lack of sleep, free time, money, etc.

I realize it sounds harsh, but reality often is. My heartfelt advice--as hard as it is to read--is to move on. If one person doesn't want kids and the other does, any solution other than parting ways will leave BOTH people miserable. I'm very sorry that you're experiencing this and I wish you the best of luck.

Emma said...

First of all, make sure your gf is fully aware of all sides of motherhood, not just the Kodak moments, so take her for a weekend of babysitting friend's kids (choose a particularly nasty kid!). Then, make sure you truly know yourself and what you want or don't want. Remember, if something happens to your gf you will have to take care of the kid.

Also, you might have twins, or a disabled child, which would add significantly to the work you both will have to do, and that could also be a lifetime commitment.

Another thing to consider is that if you really don't want kids but give in, your relationship can suffer, since kids do take a toll, and your resentment might eat away at your love. You and your gf will be more stressed, have less time for each other, less money etc, and it will be harder to deal with potential issues. Would you still feel the same about her?

Finally, remember that women can change dramatically after the birth of a child - for some the kid is the new love of their life and their partner becomes secondary...on the other hand the dad can also change and discover he enjoys fatherhood...but there are no guarantees.

I don't know how old you are, but I do know that guys age better in a sense, so I think you shouldn't settle because you are scared you won't find someone better...

Finally-just try to run a whole bunch of scenarios in your head to see what you really want. Oh and make sure you wear condoms/have protection of some sort!!!

ChildfreeForever said...

My advice to the reader would be, that unfortunately you will have to let the relationship go. My childfree status is not something I could EVER compromise on, and if you do compromise what you want, it will only end badly. Your relationship may be great now, but bring kids into it and it won't be something you'll want to save, trust me. And once your girlfriend has a kid, all her attention will go to the kid, not you anymore. She will lose interest in sex, become grumpy and miserable and you will be her absolute last priority. If she wants kids that badly, she is going to be one of those mothers who lets her life revolve around her kids and she won't be the same person you fell in love with.

This is a perfect example of why people should bring up their childfree status to the other party on the first few dates.

Miss Silver said...

I will be frank: this is where the relationship ends. There is no way that it can proceed with both parties being happy because, invariably, this setup leads to three possible scenarios:

1. She won't have children and, regardless of how happy she may seem on the surface, several years from now, you will become "the evil man who didn't give me children." The resentment will remain for some years to come.

2. You will have a child with her and will resent them both - and children are very perceptive, they know full well when they're not wanted. It can, will and often does screw one person up for life.

3. You both walk away from the relationship.

Option 3, while painful, is the safest possible scenario for both parties involved. This is the proverbial dealbreaker; one cannot have half a child.

I'm sure that your gf knows of your stance. It is fair time you two sat down, weighed the child/no child possibilities and decide how to go from there.

Sara said...

I agree with everything that has been commented already, and would just stress the following point: a relationship built on conflicting goals never, never (did I say never?) works. She wants kids, you don't. That's the dealbreaker.

Childfreeeee said...

I just wanted to comment about something expressed by Michael in his letter.

I think, Michael, that one of the biggest things holding you back from leaving this relationship is that you believe that because it is the best you have ever had (to date), and because you had a string of bad relationships prior to this one, that you will never again have a relationship this good.

I speak from experience in telling you that a string of bad relationships does not necessarily predict future relationships. I myself had a string of bad relationships prior to finding hubby (who truly is the perfect match for me), and for a long time I felt that it was dumb luck that I found him and that we came together. But as time went on, I realized that I had learned a lot from those prior bad relationships - it took a lot of repeated mistakes to finally realize the negative patterns I was in with choosing the wrong men, and the things I was doing to encourage the problems in those relationships. It was those realizations that I believe finally ended those bad patterns and led me to hubby.

I also have realized, through being with hubby, what makes a good relationship and God forbid if I ever lost hubby and decided some day to move forward to find another partner, I would take this knowledge with me. I am sure you have also learned in your current relationship WHY the relationship is good and if you should choose to move on, you will take this knowledge and positive experience with you. It will influence your future choices in women, and the way you conduct your relationships with them in a positive way. You will probably be more adept at recognizing problem people before you get deeply involved with them. You will have a better idea of what you want and don't want and the best ways to conduct yourself in a relationship.

So what I am saying is, I think assuming that you will never have as good (or better) a relationship than the one you are currently in is faulty thinking. There are billions of people in the world. To think that there is ONLY ONE that you can have a happy relationship with - if you really think about it - seems very likely to be untrue.

Leslie said...

In my opinion, the decision to have children is too important to make compromises. I've been told I'd be a good parent too, but it doesn't change the fact that I don't want that. I think if you really think about it, you already know this won't work. It's time to tell her how you feel so you can both move on and have what you want in life.

djmist said...

Think about your relationship this way... If you were to force on your gf an ultimatum - our relationship or motherhood - which would she choose? My sense is that you know she would choose motherhood. This means you, her mate, already takes second chair to potential children. As wonderful as the relationship seems now, you will be orders-of-magnitude less important to your gf after children actually arrive. As difficult as it seems, there isn't a workable compromise in this scenario.

CFVixen said...

First, I'm sorry you have this choice to make. It cannot be easy. But I think if you can step back out of the emotion and the fear of loss, you can see more clearly what your decision needs to be. What will be best in the long-term? I think you know the answer to that.

There's no way to buffer the pain that comes with ending a relationship. But eventually, there will be healing, and then most likely a sense of relief. And you will then open yourself up to even better opportunities. Don't think they don't exist.

I wish you the best of luck!

SwissBarb said...

As I read somewhere on this or that CF blog, having or not having one or more kids is a "two yes/ one no" decision in a relationship. I think it sums it up pretty well.
You have to be sure of what you want, and follow the path that is right for you, not for the woman you love, even though it will hurt if it means you have to part ways.
Good luck, Michael!

Schrodinger's Kittens said...

Michael, I'm so sorry to hear this. I was in a similar relationship once and I'm here to tell you, kids are a zero-sum game when the partners can't agree on whether they want them. You are correct, you don't want to deny her what she wants, but at the same time you don't do anyone any favors, least of all yourself, by denying what you want. That only builds misery and resentment. Even though it hurts in the short run, the best thing to do if you know you don't want kids is to end the relationship. A fundamental incompatibility like this cannot be overcome. I'm sorry. Good luck to you.

redwings19 said...

Michael, I don't have anything new to add. I agree with everyone here.

I know that if I was in your shoes, I would not want kids, and it would be a deal breaker. And it would hurt like hell.

Just remember, YOU are the only one that will be with you for your entire life. YOU will be the only one in charge of your decisions, and YOU will be the only one that can make this decision. As tough as it is, you already know the answer.

I hope you can remain friends with your g/f, and respect eachother's decision: you not wanting kids, and she wanting kids. I hope you can support eachother in your paths.

I want to leave you with some hope. My boyfriend and I met at age 35+, and we thought we were done with meeting people who didn't have kids and didn't want them. WELL, to both our luck/suprise, we found eachother. I don't know how old you are, and 35+ really isn't that old, so DON'T GIVE UP, we are out there and waiting. You will find someone who has the same goals as you and who wants what you want.... and it will be SPECTACULAR.

Please keep us posted. I know that a lot of thought is going into this, as it should. I will send good vibes into the universe for you and I know that, whatever you decide, your decision will be right for you and for your potential child, and for your g/f.

Childfreeeee said...

A response from Michael which he asked me to post here:

"All right. So things have... progressed a bit, and I'm not sure where to go with them. The other night, as these nicely supportive responses were just starting to trickle in, my girlfriend confronted me. I tried to put it off. I tried to tell her, again, I had not decided, and she started insulting me. Not improperly or inaccurately, mind you, but her patience was gone. And I told her, finally, that I didn't want kids.

Almost immediately, and the next morning, I felt differently, and I really can't tell if that's because I love her and care about her, and couldn't stand to see her in pain, or because I was scared of losing her and all the parts of our shared lives, and of being alone. I also can't say, for sure, that I have decided. I was forced to say something, and so I said both things. (I know: ridiculous and weak. But I had no choice.) She, of course, heard the second one more distinctly, and embraced it. Fully. We talked things through and she exuberantly said, "So, no more condoms! Right?" To which I said, of course, "Right!" And I smiled. We spent the day together, went to a movie, ate ice cream and Indian food, and had, as always, a lovely time.

I love her. And still I find myself terrified. It would be such a massive mistake to lose this person. She is the foundation of my life. I have come so far with her in the last two years. But I am not ready. I'm not. I'm not. I'm not. And I wouldn't be writing here unless I strongly suspected that I may never be.

That said, I have some trouble believing some of the extremes laid out in these responses. Not everyone changes. Not everyone has a reduced sex life. Not everyone has only enough love to make ONE person their primary focus. I love the responses here -- honestly, they're the most well-reasoned and intelligent responses I've ever seen on a blog (most blog responses are lucky to contain a single acronym, let alone a responder who knows what an acronym is) -- but they strike me as extreme. Final. Black and white. I know this situation is usually a black and white one, but I swear mine is not. Truly. I truly feel split down the middle. I was telling the truth when I spoke each, entirely different response. I meant them both. Completely.

I feel like a horrible, weak heel. And I know if I flop again and tell her no, my heart will break right along with hers, once again. And I won't cause that pain unless it's the right thing to do. The problem is, I can't see this clearly. I can't tell if I'm making excuses or actually feeling clear-headed. Am I just scared, or... or....

I don't even know what to type next. Except to thank you all for your words and feelings. Thank you so much."

Michael

Sustantivo said...

I'm woman in the same situation as you. I am leaving the relationship. I will miss him terribly, but it won't be the first broken heart I've had to deal with and it hasn't killed me yet. Kids however...well they just MIGHT kill me - or me them!

Recently in my town there have been three cases of new mothers drowning or smothering their children. Yes, there were existing tendencies toward depression and mental illness in all three cases - but to me it really highlights just how wrong it can go.

Also check out http://thebritgirl.com/ - there is a recent post on there about "bob" who is also in your situation. (I hope the owner of this blog doesn't mind me pointing out another one?)

My advice: leave. In the end, it will take far less strength and cause far fewer regrets.

SwissBarb said...

Michael, all I can wish you at this point is that if you go on and have a kid with your GF, you'll love the experience.
Because if you don't, you'll just keep on feeling "like a horrible, weak heel".
You felt like you did not have a choice, but you really had one, as everyone has in every situation. It's just that when the choice we think we really should make is SO hard, we prefer to think we have no choice. It's perfectly understandable, but... let's say you do have one kid, what happens if your GF then wants another one or two? Will you just cave in every time because you're afraid of losing her?
Sorry if I sound very harsh here, but if someone is "the foundation" of your life, you're in a dangerous situation. No matter how deeply a person loves their SO, they also have to be able to stand on their own feet. It's the same story for people who say they'd feel incomplete if they didn't have children... the priority would be to make themselves complete first, then have children if they still feel it's something they want.
Also, keep in mind that the nice day you got "in reward", going to the movies, quietly having an ice cream and dinner... this won't happen again anytime soon once you have a baby to take care of.
Again, good luck, I'm sorry you feel so torn about the whole issue.

kalinka said...

Michael, are you ready to be a father? Because, if not, then I'm sorry, but you are messing this poor woman about.

The least a child deserves is to come into this world wanted and loved by both parents. No matter how much you go through the motions, a child can sense if they are resented. If you don't want to be a father, please leave your partner before anything happens, and while she is still young and healthy enough to get over the hurt and meet someone she can have a family with.

If you've truly decided to go the father route, then please do it wholeheartedly. Your whole lives will change. She will need your support and understanding.

Try to separate out these feelings. You love your gf and want to be with her. But do you or don't you want to be a father? Are you looking forward to having the kids, playing with them, bringing them up during good times and bad? Are you prepared to be a good dad even if your kid has physical or mental problems? If your gf becomes ill and can't do her part in taking care of the kid, are you prepared to take over?

Whatever happens, don't make this decision out of fear of losing her. If you truly love her, then you'll allow her the opportunity to have the family she wants, whether it is with you or someone else. The one thing that she doesn't need is someone who is half-hearted about being a dad.

Stella said...

We talked things through and she exuberantly said, "So, no more condoms! Right?" To which I said, of course, "Right!" And I smiled.

Michael, are you ready to have child TODAY?

If not, this is insane behavior.

Miss Mo said...

My fiance was in your situation with his former girlfriend. They went back and forth on the issue for years -- he "wasn't sure" he wanted kids, she was dead certain. He went to therapy to try to work through it (because evidently not having kids is a sign that something is emotionally wrong with you) and eventually came to realize that he cared enough about her to want her to have everything she wanted in life, including a supportive husband who wanted to be a father as much as she wanted to be a mother. So their relationship ended.

Fast foward to many years later...once he and I got serious and started talking about a future together, I said I didn't want any kids and he finally could stop saying he "wasn't sure" and start speaking his truth -- that he didn't want them either.

His ex is now married, with a kid. They are a happy family, and they are coming to our (childfree) wedding in a couple months. She's happy, he's happy.

Long story short: be true to yourself. Love the person you love by letting them have the life they want...love yourself by letting yourself have the life you want.

Don't be afraid. There is a FANTASTIC woman out there who does NOT want to have kids...and she's waiting for a man like you, who doesn't expect her to be a baby factory for his genes. Go find her!

Insomniac Chef said...

I hate to admit it but I'd be a bit torn if my husband suddenly decided he wanted kids. I do not want them and neither does he. This is something we agreed about going into our marriage and something we still agree about. Could he get baby rabies? Doubtful, but nothing is impossible.

My love for my husband is pretty all-consuming and I am definitely committed to this man for life. If he wanted to talk kids I'd at least entertain some negotiations about terms that would make the scenario workable for me. For example, I'd insist on adoption over getting knocked up. I'd insist the traditionally "motherly" responsibilities go to him (meaning he would stay home while I worked). I'd insist on a nanny so we still had time for ourselves and each other. It wouldn't be my first choice of lifestyle but I'd probably see if we could settle on terms that met both of our needs.

Maybe that all sounds horrible but I just love my husband too much to give him up so I'd try to find a way to make both of us happy. That said, he feels the same way about me and knows a kid would make me unhappy, so even if he decided he wanted one he'd probably forget about it if it meant ending our marriage.

Diandra said...

Regarding Michael's update: It sounds to me like this woman hears what she wants to hear when he tries to tell her his conflicted feelings regarding children and their relationship. To me that indicates that she puts her desire to be a mother above her relationship with Michael, and that sounds like the beginning of the end to me. I also think he needs to man up a little bit and at least tell her that he is still undecided and they need to wait. You don't have a baby to save a relationship, that is not fair to the baby. There are other women in the world besides this lady, and a whole lot of women now don't want kids. It doesn't sound like Michael has a well-grounded sense of himself right now, and maybe he needs to take some time by himself and figure out what he wants out of his life, then he can be a better boyfriend, husband, and/or father. At least that is what I think. By the way, my husband is going to his first doctor's appt. for his vasectomy tomorrow. WOO HOO!

Dave said...

I wish you the best of luck in your decision Michael, but I'm in agreement with the other responses saying this relationship should end. You said it in the first letter "there's no way these two things can happily coexist."

That's pretty black and white to me.

I spent the weekend with some friends who have four kids, they're awesome parents, the kids are wonderful, they adore me and I love playing with them but I know that raising kids of my own just isn't for me. That's something that's definitely cost me in the dating world but at the end of the day I have to look in the mirror and know I did the right thing for myself.

Again I truly wish you the best, but if someone told me what you wrote in your letter and I was given the chance to bet on whether that relationship would still be going in 10 years I'd take the breakup side of the bet in a heartbeat.

Best,

redwings19 said...

Michael, can you take another story? My BF's brother was like you. The brother didn't want kids. Then the brother met this woman on the internet that "is his whole world". The brother has cut off his entire family for questioning his flip/flop. The brother has also just married this woman who doesn't believe in birth control and intends on having kids "as it is God's will". (no joke!). We actually have a pool going for how long this relationship will work.

At least do this, and bring the GF, and do some research: volunteer with children of all ages. Hold the crack babies at the hospital. Help out at your church. Spend a shift with the kids born into prison nursuries. Vist the Children's Hospital and play with the kids who are sick. Babysit A LOT. ASK QUESTIONS. And get some counciling.... not because you are somehow "off" but because you need the strength to back up your decisions on their own merits.

I personally believe that parents won't give you the real scoop on how it really is for them, and so it's left to blogs like this to get you thinking.

IT'S POSSIBLE that you will like your kids and no one else's (I know people like that), but please make sure this is what you want. Kids really do know when they are not wanted and it's HORRIBLE. It messes with their identities and growth. And why would you do that to a baby? Just because you don't want to have an akward conversation?

Gumby said...

I just have this to say regarding the whole idea of having a kid to "save" a relationship:

There are tons (probably millions) of single moms out there who got knocked up to save a relationship and keep their man.
Where are those men now??

Think about it...

Wag the Dog said...

Stella: "Michael, are you ready to have child TODAY? If not, this is insane behavior."

Michael, I don't think you're insane to be on the fence given such a predicament. However, it would be wise that as long as you're still on the fence, do not behave in a way that says you've committed to a side already, especially if such behaviour leads to an irreversible outcome: a pregnant wife or a bad break up, or both.

Your dilemma is to be expected given the nature of human psychology and so your choices at this moment would not be expected to be entirely rational. As high as the stakes are it is wise to understand what is the source of the irrationality so that you are better positioned to overcome it and ultimately be more decisive about the path that you choose.

Your story indicates the presence of an irrational bias that most people encounter often -- availability bias (a.k.a simulation heuristic in psychology). You find it easier to simulate in your mind how devastated you would feel if you broke up with your girlfriend. However it is very difficult to imagine all the ramifications of raising children (how many?) to adulthood. So this bias is pulling you toward toughing it out as a reluctant Dad instead of toughing it out as a newly single man.

This bias would have been easy to redress had the TruuDadConfessions site not been shutdown. Luckily, a few of the salient stories still survive on other forums such as BellaOnline. Have a good long read of that thread. Even if you don't accept that any of those example could very well be describing you in 9+ months time, it will at least help address the availability bias.

A second bias is that of loss aversion. We feel worse about losing $100 than about failing to win $100. The same holds true about your girlfriend. The problem again is a difficulty in simulating in your mind what you would lose if you were to become a father. Losing your independence, your time, your sleep, and even the girl you fell in love with who will transmute into the mother to your kids -- all are losses that are every bit as real as the loss you face in a break up. The only difference is that the first loss is immediate, whereas the latter losses are far in the future (at least a few months), which brings me to the final bias...

High discount rate - $100 earned today is far more valuable to us than $100 earned in 12 months time. And likewise for losses. The loss of your girlfriend today feels far worse than the loss of your girlfriend in a year from now. So steep is the discounting for a typical human, that a loss of freedom, time, sleep, and romance in 12 months time pales in comparison to losing the love of a girlfriend today.

Overcoming these biases is very difficult but recognising their existence in one's own thought patterns is half the battle. I wish you well in whatever decision you commit yourself to.

Andrea Runyan said...

I wonder - would she leave you if you were physically unable to have kids (some genetic problem, infertile, etc.)?

Sometimes I think a lot of the anger is at the partner's refusal to go along with having kids, and also the idea that there must be something wrong with them (damaged, immature, etc.) if they don't want kids.

Andrea Runyan said...

I thought about this a lot today since I'm in the same situation, and I came up with the following: an approach of saying, "people like me who don't strongly want kids, who have xyz values, who are like xyz, should not have kids" and then trying to argue over that (and probably coming to the agreement that people like that should not have kids or be pressured into it), rather than having the discussion be about why you don't want kids.

I wrote two posts explaining it:

A head-to-head comparison of the standard approach and generalizing approach when one partner wants kids and the other doesn't

what to do when one partner wants kids and the other doesn't

Emma said...

I think Michael is a goner (:

good luck!

Patty Jean said...

If he doesn't want kids but is forced into it just because he 'loves' her, he will very quickly fall out of love with her down the road and probably divorce her, thus forcing the kid(s) to live in a broken home. Break up with her now and find someone else. BTW I'm a mother and I give this advice.

WhiteRaven Slade said...

Wow.
Just catching up on this blog. Probably too late to say it, but Michael you are in trouble buddy.

This woman has pushed you to commit to a child when neither of you have committed fully to having responsibilities to each other? This is a GF, not a fiancee or a wife.

Skipping steps in a relationship rarely turns out well.

I'm sorry you decided people on here were being "extreme" in their projections of what your future holds. I'm sure you'd like to delude yourself into the idea that folks on here are "just guessing". But if that were true, wouldn't the guesses be more varied?

People were sharing what they had seen happen with other couples. But you believe you are such a special snowflake, those scary stories couldn't possibly happen to you.

You are setting yourself up, and we tried to help. I hope for your sake, if you can muster up this level of denial now, that you can stir up enough cognitive dissonance later to talk yourself into being the happiest daddy in the world.

Almost Alright said...

I just want to applaud Insomniac Chef for at least trying to think of some compromises that would meet both her needs and those of her significant other, were he to decide he wants children.

I just think that everyone on this blog sounds really intelligent and that together, there MUST be an alternative to breaking up - don't give up so easily!

I don't know if Michael has tried this, but maybe he should explore the source of her desire for children. I do think many people have children just because they think they should, or they always assumed they would want to, or women feel they have to get them in before they lose fertility even if they don't actually feel like they want one now. These are issues they can discuss and deal with once they stop seeing their desires as diametrically opposed within a no-win situation.

Michael can also try exploring the reasons for his own desires as well. Maybe he has certain goals he wants to accomplish first, and if he could present a time-line to his significant other, she might be relieved to know he's not closing the door completely. Michael has said that he is just not sure, which makes it seem clear he's not ready now, but maybe he can picture a situation in which he would be ready.

There may be more room for compromise than they think.

Michael, my advice to you would be to not just look at each of your goals, but the reasons behind your goals. Ask yourself if you can think of a life situation which would make you want to have children (a certain job, a certain amount of savings, a certain living situation). If you can't think of any situation in which you would be SURE you want to try having a child - I think you need to be honest with your significant other and tell her so.

Also, ask your significant other what she wants to get out of parenting. What needs she thinks will be filled. Where do these needs come from. Maybe there are other ways those needs can be met.

If you ask her and she just answers "because I feel like it" - ask follow up questions like, why, or explore what her expectations are, what she pictures as the benefits.

Share with her *honestly* what your expectations are, both the negatives and the positives.

I hope that discussing your needs without resorting to discussing just what you both think will meet your needs, may help you break past putting yourselves on opposite sides of the spectrum.

Good luck, Michael. I don't envy your position - but I hope you can work something out without giving up on someone you obviously love very much.

ChildfreeForever said...

Actually, Almost Alright, Michael has in fact said he is sure about not wanting kids. I quote "In truth and honesty, I'm not undecided. I don't want kids, and every word I've read of your blog rings starkly true for me".

If you don't want kids, you don't want kids. And no amount of "exploring your desires" and the reasons behind them is going to change that in my opinion.

So he may as well stop wasting his time on a relationship that's going nowhere.

Corrinne said...

This is months after this, but did you ever hear back from Michael? I was riveted through the comments and didn't get a closing story lol It would make a good follow up post if he was willing to play ball =)

Childfreeeee said...

Hi Corrinne,

No I never heard back from him, although I sent him an e-mail asking him to update us. He didn't reply.

My guess is he probably caved in and is going to have a kid with the woman.