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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wife and I have been together 7 yrs, married just over two.

We have an enormous problem, which is that wife doesnt want kids and I do. The first I heard of her position was a couple of months before our wedding (so 5 yrs in to relationship), she felt that we couldnt have a child where we lived because of the neighborhood, and we'd have to move to the other side of the city ( the expensive side), in order for her to
feel safe enough to have a kid. At the time, I took this to mean that:
-- her (recently disclosed) issue around not having kids were related to our environment and hence resolvable
-- moving over the other side of the city would alleviate the security concerns.

Prior to that period, the only other kid conversations we'd had were all about "she was concerned I wouldnt want them in the time thats best for her " etc etc. So, given that I thought her concerns were readily resolvable, and prior to that , kids were definitely on the agenda, I assumed it was not enough of a reason to call off the wedding.

Fast forward a couple of years, we're in a nice house in the promised land , and I find myself (36, wife is 35) thinking periodically about wanting to have kids. I try not to bring it up often (i'd say its been brought up twice this year), since I know I'm not going to be able to talk her into it against her will. Sometimes its unavoidable though - you see some guy down at the park with his kid playing ball etc, and I literally get jealous, and then start to think that may never be me...

Every discussion we have on the issue seems to come back to a few points for her:
a-- concerned about lack of either family in town to fall back on [both our families are a long way out of town]
b-- concerned about effects of pregnancy + childrearing on her lifestyle and career

I agree that the concerns in A are valid, however when she breaks down her side of it the biggest take away is that they are not her primary problem. The primary issues are more in line with B - she doesnt want the responsibility AND doesn't want to leave her career .

Whenever we have the discussion I go into it hoping for some sign of change, that she's changed her mind, realises there's more to life
than going to work every day. And each time I get disappointed. Her next priority is to 'get a new kitchen' and 'get new floorboards'.
ie -- when we do get into a better financial position, rather than having a child, or even striving for something like financial independence, which is something we could obtain in say 5-10 years, thats not what she wants.

So .. any advice / help? I mean, on the face of it, it looks like an A or B decision right? Want kids get divorce, or B , dont have kids, stay married. What I'm currently doing is C , stay in holding pattern hoping for her to 'change her mind', without being really able to talk about it with her
because it leads to the 'inevitable argument'.

Its no way to go through life, and its weakening our relationship as time goes on.
 

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Good breakdown. You've nailed the situation and the options from here. I call situations like yours (and mine too actually) "marriage fraud". You go into the marriage believing the advertised features and benefits only to find once you're in that what you have is actually something quite different. The bottom line is that you have exactly the hard choice to make that you mention. Maybe get some counseling just to get some professional feedback and check yourself. If you pressure her or threaten her with leaving and she gives in you run the risk of her hating you for taking her career away from her and forcing her into the mother role that she never really wanted. If she's not happily walking into the mother thing, with open eyes as to what that means you run a huge risk. Better to cut your losses, call it experience and find a woman who really wants a family. In spite of what the culture is telling us, you really can't have it all. At least for one parent, and to do this right, its family or career not both. Best of luck.
 

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So .. any advice / help? I mean, on the face of it, it looks like an A or B decision right? Want kids get divorce, or B , dont have kids, stay married. What I'm currently doing is C , stay in holding pattern hoping for her to 'change her mind', without being really able to talk about it with her
because it leads to the 'inevitable argument'.

Its no way to go through life, and its weakening our relationship as time goes on.
How long are you going to kid yourself that there *IS* a "c". You've been waiting TWO YEARS and "c" has NOT presented itself...because it doesn't exist.

You can
  • remain married and childless
  • divorce and have a family with someone else
There really is NO in-between. If you choose to remain married and childless, I expect you will eventually become EXTREMELY resentful of your wife for denying you the opportunity to become a father. I think the resentment will GROW STRONGER the older you get as you realize (consciously or subconsciously) that you are (or, in the future "have") run out of time to father children with anybody and live to raise them.

It comes down to whether or not being a father is a deal-breaker for you. Being a mother *WAS* a deal-breaker for me; divorced my 1st husband because of it. Being a Mom is the hardest and ABSOLUTE BEST job I've ever had (and it IS a job).

Don't beat yourself up because you did not recognize sooner that your wife was really erecting barriers to having children. NOW that you REALIZE her true underlying agenda (she never wanted children and I believe she's been passively DISHONEST or at least NOT HONEST with you), you can now make a decision based upon the REAL facts.

Do NOT coerce/bribe/trick/cajole your wife into having a child with you. SHE will resent YOU, and your child will SUFFER from not being wanted by his/her mother.

Flat out ASK YOUR WIFE , then deal with the answer.
 

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I think there is a compromise:

Since you want the children, will you be willing to make the sacrifices or will you stick it to her and tell her it's her womanly duty to do a,b,c and d and that you work 14 hours a day and can't do blah, blah, blah?

What I'm getting at is that you really have to look at this from her point of view.Women aren't stupid.Most men want kids,but don't want the work. Having kids isn't just something you do, it is huge commitment for both parents, not just mom.When we decide to have kids we want our husbands to be just as involved and willing to make sacrifices for the kids as we do. We want to be sure we have your assistance without reservations. Unfortunately, for almost all women this is not the case. You guys tend to stick it to us real good after the baby comes home and by that time it's too late and we can't undo it. Now we have twice the stress and twice the housework. We're arguing with you cause we need your help and you don't want to help. Then we're miserable and making "he won't help out" threads on marriage forums and you're complaining to your friends that you're being nagged and that she won't have sex and I mean it just snowballs from there. I bet she fears this becoming her life and does not want to be suckered into something she won't be able to change later.
 

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I think there is a compromise:

Since you want the children, will you be willing to make the sacrifices or will you stick it to her and tell her it's her womanly duty to do a,b,c and d and that you work 14 hours a day and can't do blah, blah, blah?

What I'm getting at is that you really have to look at this from her point of view.Women aren't stupid.Most men want kids,but don't want the work. Having kids isn't just something you do, it is huge commitment for both parents, not just mom.When we decide to have kids we want our husbands to be just as involved and willing to make sacrifices for the kids as we do. We want to be sure we have your assistance without reservations. Unfortunately, for almost all women this is not the case. You guys tend to stick it to us real good after the baby comes home and by that time it's too late and we can't undo it. Now we have twice the stress and twice the housework. We're arguing with you cause we need your help and you don't want to help. Then we're miserable and making "he won't help out" threads on marriage forums and you're complaining to your friends that you're being nagged and that she won't have sex and I mean it just snowballs from there. I bet she fears this becoming her life and does not want to be suckered into something she won't be able to change later.
I don't remember fighting much at all when the kids were little. It i now that they are older, that our alone time has faded away.

Back to the OP, there is never a good or bad time or part of town that matters when you have kids, just that when you do, as a dad, you need to help out as much as you can. My wife always said she wanted one child, and we live on the wrong side of the tracks. Three kids later...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
thanks for the comments so far.

Shoto well, i was hoping to hear things like "oh its common for women to change their mind etc".. I think realistically, what I'm hearing from her is a pretty solid "no" to kids, just struggling to admit the inevitable conclusion to that.

This is going to sound kind of weird, but it also sucks to hear her so casually say no and then explain a bunch of really self centered reasons for not wanting them. And seeing that in her head, her career is more important than not only kids but our marriage - i mean, its a pretty obvious conclusion that if I really want kids I'll leave right -- so whats up with that? Happier to be working full time than to be married as well?

SlowlyGettingWiser point taken. I dont believe she's been dishonest. I believe that its a decision in her head that is 90% against, 10% (maybe less) for. I think that whenever I hear something in the 10%, I latch onto it because it sounds like what I want to hear. One of the reasons I've waited 2 years on this , is that in the 5 yrs prior to her revelation, the only times kids were discussed it was all 'yes'. ie it seemed like if she felt that way ( that if we moved she'd feel ok having one), and prior to that it was all yes, then it could become 'yes' again. Is that the mistake? I mean should I have pulled the pin right before the wedding ??
The real dilemma for me is I don't really know how much I want kids. You know? Is it more than I want to be married to this specific woman?

tiredwife well -- i wish there was room for compromise! I've basically left it at that I would move heaven and earth to make make it work. Wife working while I stay at home is not an option, wife doesnt earn enough $$ to provide for house & family, but anything short of that I'm up for. I'm even happy to pay for a nanny. I'd be completely ok with taking over child duties when I get home from work each night etc etc. Wife is aware of all of this, I dont think it would change a thing. IE we already have 2x dogs , and the same already applies to that - her involvement in their care / excercise / discipline / training is pretty minimal..

Again thanks for your replies, its not what I wanted to hear but it's probably what i need to hear...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Bbrad[\B] at the time it definitely had a whiff of 'carrot dangling' (ie buy me a house over there and i'll pop out a kid). I hear what you say regarding putting in the effort, I'm definitely ready to do that.

I kind of feel like there's no room for discussion with her though... Ie last time we talked about it ( start of last week), it seemed like a "good outcome". In the sense that she brought up a number of things that worried her about having kids, and we talked about how we could make it work. Then we get home from work the next day and says words to the effect of:

" you want kids, I dont. I think you're going to stay with me until I can't have kids, then leave me. I dont want to be left alone at age 40-something. Therefore I think we should get divorced now".
It was kind of like Shoto above's position but in reverse. Except it also felt more like a threat than something she was executing. It was weird. When I'd thought about it earlier that day, I was thinking well, that went better than expected, it sounds like a few of the things she's worried about are resolved and thats good.

Also what are the opinions on how much talking really needs to be done about this? I mean, I'd start a conversation about this every day if I thought this was just an issue of her being afraid in order to allay her fears. But it doesnt seem like that's productive at all? Every time its been raised, there's a 12 to 36 hour delay followed by the ' we should get divorced'. Am I being way too optimistic here? Even as I type it I can see the answer is yes. In her head its a definite No, and thats why 'the talk' always leads to the breakup talk.
 

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She doesn't want children. Maybe she thought she'd change her mind over time, or she assumed her 'biological clock' would start ticking as she moved into her 30s, but it obviously hasn't.

Children are an enormous amount of work and sacrifice, almost always for the woman in terms of career achievement. Without a driving desire for children, I can't see why any woman would agree to it, unless there was an iron-clad agreement that her husband would be the primary carer.

I say this as the very joyful stay at home mother-of-two, but I can certainly see the other side.

If she hasn't changed her mind yet, there is very little chance she will. Sorry I don't have more hope for you.
 

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ie it seemed like if she felt that way ( that if we moved she'd feel ok having one), and prior to that it was all yes, then it could become 'yes' again. Is that the mistake? I mean should I have pulled the pin right before the wedding ??No, I don't think it was clear before the wedding, but IT IS CLEAR NOW! There is ALWAYS going to be another qualifier, another "if", another hurdle to jump through. THIS WOMAN DOES NOT WANT KIDS.
The real dilemma for me is I don't really know how much I want kids. You know? Is it more than I want to be married to this specific woman? THAT is the $64,000 question!
tiredwife well -- i wish there was room for compromise! GOD, NO! Do NOT do this. I just read another thread on TAM yesterday about a woman whose H did NOT want any more children (he had 1), they compromised, she had twins, now they're divorcing and the children are a bone of contention (he's not bonding with them and you KNOW he will NOT be happy about child support x 2). Your child will KNOW that s/he is ignored by Mom. Nothing will break your heart like watching YOUR CHILD (your baby) begging/trying ANYTHING to get Mom to acknowledge him/her, love him/her, pay attention to him/her. It WILL SUCK!
Do you want to be married to her MORE than you want to be someone's dad?

You'll always be your child's dad but, even without children, there's no guarantee you'll always be your wife's husband. Look at the divorce rates in general. Think LONG AND HARD either way.
 

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Sounds like you already know the answer but are hoping that someone can give you the magic words to say that will turn her around. There are none. She doesn't want kids bad enough to make the sacrifices involved. Period.

Be thankful she is self-aware and honest enough to come to this conclusion. There are plenty of women out there who have the same feelings but plow ahead anyway thinking that once the kid arrives they will feel differently. Six months in they are miserable and resentful (of you and the child.)

Also, don't be so sure you will rise to the occasion and take over whenever you are home. Kids are had work, some moreso than others. Day in, day out, week after week, month after month...it can wear anyone down. It might not be very long before you are seething over the fact that your wife "expects" you to always take the mound when you are home, even though you offered it. It's easy to be jealous of the dad playing with his kid in the park when you don't get to see the day in and day out of parenthood. It is particularly hard when your wife is a reluctant partner in the situation.

Make your decision and make it soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
She doesn't want children. Maybe she thought she'd change her mind over time, or she assumed her 'biological clock' would start ticking as she moved into her 30s, but it obviously hasn't.

Children are an enormous amount of work and sacrifice, almost always for the woman in terms of career achievement. Without a driving desire for children, I can't see why any woman would agree to it, unless there was an iron-clad agreement that her husband would be the primary carer.

I say this as the very joyful stay at home mother-of-two, but I can certainly see the other side.

If she hasn't changed her mind yet, there is very little chance she will. Sorry I don't have more hope for you.
I'm not sure if its "just" career.. in the sense that I said to her she can go back to work as soon as she's medically able to, we can get a nanny in, if thats what she wants to do. Or go part time to get some time out of the house. Or whatever she needs. We're a long way ahead in our mortgage, I even offered for us both to take a year out .

It sounds wrong , but I think that its important to her to be considered an equal contributor financially to the relationship, and that if she quits her job (eg to raise kids), she'll end up in a subservient position in the relationship or something. ie that by not drawing an income for the time she's childrearing that somehow I'll start to control the relationship or something?? I dont know for sure, I do know in her prior marriage, control / arguments around who earns most of the money were a big part of the fighting that went on .

In the early days of our relationship she had a very big issue with regard to our income disparity, and when / if we fought, income was always a big deal . She always would end up at "you dont seem me as an equal contributor " .. One of those scenarios where you could tell she'd been through that fight with someone else a lot of times ... ( meanwhile I"m there scratching my head wondering how we got to that from "where to go for dinner tonight")

Ironically she always says that the final straw was one day she realised "i cant have children with that man [her ex husband]". It was said in the sense of "hence she has to find someone she can have children with". Strong statements like that in the first 5 yrs of the relationship are part of why I'm finding it hard to come to terms with her being a definite 'no'... [ although obviously there'd be no reason to say No when you mean Yes here ]

Anyway thanks for putting down your thoughts.
 

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I think that you and Lyris are right in that it really isn't dishonesty on your wife's part. I know personally, I just kept expecting that some day I would "get" why people made such a fuss and went to such huge lengths to have kids.

For me, the light just finally came on and I realized it wasn't going to happen. There is absolutely nothing about having kids that doesn't skeeve me out. Body fluids are the least of it, but milk, pee, poop, snot, germs and vomit are just not okay with me. I like small cars, vacations and restaurants without crayons. I love my job, spending time with my friends and being able to sleep through the night. There hasn't ever been a time in my life where I had any kind of deep longing to have a kid.

The conditions I'd have to have in order to deliver are child are probably not ideal for either the potential father or the child's future mental health. I really have no desire to feel something taking over my body, sharing space with a baby or small child or any of it. I'm just not a "kiss your booboo" kind of person.

However, that's all the cognizance of someone in their late 30's. If you'd asked me about having kids when I was in my 20's, I likely wouldn't have thought twice about saying "OK, sure". Not because I was lying, I just figured for a long time that whatever that "biological clock" thing is would eventually kick in. Apparently my biological clock only kicks in to the extent that it's pretty fun to sugar up other people's kids and buy them wildly inappropriate gifts like fancy purses and unapproved pets!

That being said, I kind of see how you feel as well. Most of my friends went to amazing lengths to have their children. The process was agonizing to watch. Things like deciding how far to go to have a biological child, whether to risk health and money again to have a second child, surgeries, hormone treatment....just to fill up what I call the "kid-shaped hole" in their hearts. I know absolutely that if you have that "kid-shaped hole", you ABSOLUTELY SHOULD do whatever it takes to fill it. It's not like wanting a new Porsche, it goes far deeper and I really don't think that you're ever truly happy until you have "your" child in your life

Just a little glimpse into the other side of things....
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Do you want to be married to her MORE than you want to be someone's dad?

You'll always be your child's dad but, even without children, there's no guarantee you'll always be your wife's husband. Look at the divorce rates in general. Think LONG AND HARD either way.

I lurked on these forums for a while before posting, looking at a variety of other problems in other peoples marriages thinking to myself what a great resource this place is.

When I posted, I didnt really expect such simple and direct responses that indicate that yes, it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck --- its a duck all right. Someone else posted that its like I've come on here asking for the magic code to make her change her mind ... well... I guess I did actually. Everyones responses so far have been really thought provoking, however, and have really helped me to crystalize in my head exactly what the decision here is.

If I had to answer the first question above, I'd say that when I got married my #1 priority was to have a successful marriage, with my wife. Now its a different proposition - can I have a satisfying life with this woman if we dont have a child.
For a while I interpreted the issue as being a variant on " Would I leave my wife if I found out she COULDNT have children?". The answer to that is no. And I'd hope the same from her if I cant have them. And I think in that instance, I would have a satisfying life.

I know I could be happy with her and life if we didnt procreate because one of is us unable to, and this says to me that I'd be ok without having kids. Regretful, but not devastated. I'd feel like I missed out on more than any material posession I might be after, but I'm not a particularly materialistic person.
SlowlyGettingWiser - your comment that its not guaranteed that our marriage will work out is right on the money. I need to be in a place where I'm not going to get divorced at say 55 w/o kids and suddenly be regretting not exiting right now.
I have a fair bit to think about...
 

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OP I don't think you should be expected to miss out on being a father because your wife had decided she wants to be childless. It's sounds like your wife has made her decision and is not willing to compromise. Is she like this with all the decisions made in your marriage? I'm sorry but she sounds selfish. I know I'm going to get blasted for that, but its true. I'm not saying she should have a child to make you happy, but it doesn't even sound like she's open to having a real conversation about it.

Kids ARE hard work, they're time consuming, exhausting and expensive, BUT they are also a joy and a blessing and can bring much happiness, love and fulfilment.
I think you have some tough decisions to make.
I wish you well
DG
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Apparently my biological clock only kicks in to the extent that it's pretty fun to sugar up other people's kids and buy them wildly inappropriate gifts like fancy purses and unapproved pets!
Oh my God! :eek: Belle, is that YOU?!? :rofl: :rofl:

[Sorry, couldn't resist! Belle is my childless (by choice) sister who loves to, as she puts it, "play Auntie Mame" to my kid! :rofl: YES even to the purses, high heels, and teddy bears larger than my child!]
 

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You've got to realize too that she only has about five more years before the possibility of Down's syndrome goes way up for having a baby, as well as other complications. The clock is ticking down, and if she still isnt' ready...
 

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Ironically she always says that the final straw was one day she realised "i cant have children with that man [her ex husband]". It was said in the sense of "hence she has to find someone she can have children with". Strong statements like that in the first 5 yrs of the relationship are part of why I'm finding it hard to come to terms with her being a definite 'no'... [ although obviously there'd be no reason to say No when you mean Yes here ]
If you decide to stay married to this woman, here's the first thing you need to work on. Making assumptions like this is a great way to create serious conflict. You read into her statement what you wanted to hear, not necessarily what she meant. Sounds like your communication skills could use some help.

Now you are taking these potentially mis-interpreted statements from the past and using them as evidence that her unambiguous statements now are somehow not valid. Even if your original interpretation was correct, that doesn't mean a thing now.

When I dated my wife she talked of how she wanted to finish school and become a teacher. It was a calling for her. When we married she quit her job and went back to school with my blessing. She graduated and taught for one year before quitting when she became pregnant with our daughter. During this time she was adamant that she would return to work by the time our daughter could talk. I was somewhat ambivalent about the decision, though favored her staying home until our daughter was of full-time school age. She insisted she would go back to work by age 2.

So here we are, nearly 5 years later and she now says she doesn't want to ever teach again. She's not too sure she wants to work at all. This doesn't mean she was lying then or now. Things change and a person's perspective does too. I can't use her previous statements to change her current feelings. This isn't a contract dispute. If her not working is a problem for me (it's not really) I have to deal with it in the here and now, not refer back to past statements and hope she is just confused.
 

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She doesn't want children.

:iagree: And nothing will change that. Women either DO or DO NOT want kids. There is no fine line or gray area when it comes to kids. I ALWAYS knew I wanted to be a Mom, even when I was a kid. Nothing in my life ever changed that. I know women that DO NOT want kids. Nothing will ever change that.

Sorry, but your choices are very clear, as stated before:

1. Accept life with no kids and stay married to this woman

or

2. Leave her to find someone else that does want kids and has the same goals as you.
 

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OP I don't think you should be expected to miss out on being a father because your wife had decided she wants to be childless. It's sounds like your wife has made her decision and is not willing to compromise. Is she like this with all the decisions made in your marriage? I'm sorry but she sounds selfish. I know I'm going to get blasted for that, but its true. I'm not saying she should have a child to make you happy, but it doesn't even sound like she's open to having a real conversation about it.
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What kind of compromise is there when it comes to having kids? I can see where there might be compromise if both people want children and are negotiating how many or what school they'll go to. Having them seems to be an "either/or" proposition. You can't be halfway pregnant. You can't have them for half a childhood. There's no return policy if that maternal intinct doesn't ever kick in.

I think that an honest straightforward discussion, a real conversation, as you put it, is definitely in order to put all the cards on the table. In the end though, I don't think there's any kind of win-win in a situation like this. As selfish as she may or may not be, I'm sure she feels that he's equally selfish in his desires. How do you find middle ground to overcome that?
 

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A lot of good comments from others.

Just one extra thought. If you decide you will stay with your wife, you could always consider other ways of connecting with the young e.g. if you are able to coach sports or some other activity. It is not the same but could be a substitute of sorts.
 
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