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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, sorry for a long one, but I'm dealing with 2 years worth of pent up frustration and anger since my husband changed his mind and decided he didn't want a second child. I'm not sure how to continue our marriage as this has been devastating for me and the feelings of resentment and anger are just building and building. Meanwhile Hubby thinks everything is just hunky-dory, even after I've sat him down several times in the past 2 years and told him how unhappy I am.

A little background: My husband is 13 years older than me and it is his 50th birthday today. I'm 37 and we have a 3 year old daughter. We've known each other for 13 years and have been married for 7. Before we got married, I specifically told him that I would only marry him if he agreed to have children. It is that important to me that it was a deal-breaker. He was ambivalent about kids but did agree to having them. Then we talked numbers and agreed to have 2 kids.

We ended up needing invitro for the first one but still were talking about our next child all through the pregnancy and for the first 6 months after she was born. We did have a rocky start with 6 weeks of colic but after we discovered the cause (I stopped eating all dairy products) she became a much easier baby. She is the apple of her Daddy's eye and he loves her to pieces.

He has said he doesn't think he can go through that first year again and he said he started crying just thinking about it. Now he says he doesn't want to have another child at his age for fear that he'd die and leave us alone to cope. He has also said he doesn't think I would handle another baby very well as I had to call him home from work 4 or 5 times at the beginning because I was so frustrated. We live nowhere near any family and my friends all work full time so I had NO help with my colicky baby and I actually feel quite proud for how well I did under the circumstances. I found his questioning my mothering abilities VERY insulting and hurtful and he's trying to turn it around so it's because he's got my concerns in mind. He broke his PROMISE to me and I feel betrayed.

As for dying, that's why we have an insurance policy and I'm a professional who can make more money alone than most dual income families can, so money is not at all a concern for me.When I decided to marry him, I accepted the fact that I would likely be a widow at an earlier age. There's nothing new there.

Lastly, I do NOT want my daughter to grow up as a lonely only child. I have been reading a lot about only children and speaking to some adults who were only children and despite the fact that studies say they are no different, my friends tell me they hated it and were so lonely and would NEVER have just one child (they all have 3 or 4). I had an ideal childhood with an older brother but my hubby didn't have it so easy and he was the oldest of 3 with an absentee father and says he would have rather been an only child.

How do we resolve this? We talked about this first 2 years ago and then again last year and even now neither of us has budged an inch on our wishes. I don't think I could divorce him and destroy the family I do have in the off chance I could have another, especially not at my age. This is so frustrating!!!
 

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Unfortunately, you have to decide if it's still a deal-breaker. If it's not, the best you can hope for is some sort of mediation on it, to come up with ways that you can cope more easily. For instance, if you can earn that much, why don't you hire a nanny so it won't be so hard on him? Be creative.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I don't want to divorce him but I also don't want to be miserable for the rest of my life. A nanny would be a good idea but one he would probably be resistant to. Still, it's worth a try. I am also going to ask him to go to marriage counselling with me. I wrote him a long long letter this afternoon, which has helped me feel a bit better. I haven't given it to him yet, because I want to sit on it for a few days and reread it to make sure I still want to say everything that's in there. I find when I try to talk to him about this I get so choked up I can't even speak, I just cry. That is frustrating for both of us, so hopefully a letter will work better.

Anyone else in this situation? How have things turned out for you? Regrets? More suggestions?
 

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Well, first, speaking as an only child, it's really not that bad. Yes, a sister or brother would have been nice, but I did get spoiled in ways that my friends with larger families did not, and got to do and have things they did not. I got more attention from my parents than some of my friends did. Of course, I now have 2 kids, so... :)

With that said, I can understand some of his concerns. Mainly with regard to him being older and fearing dying and leaving you and the kids alone, it's not unreasonable that he would think about that, worry about that, and maybe decide that it's not the best thing to do.

I do understand, too, that you feel he's broken a promise to you. In a sense, I agree he has. But I'd like to ask you to look at it differently: instead of thinking that he's broken a promise to you and he's just a horrible guy, think instead that although he's breaking a promise, he is truly doing it out of love and concern for you and your family.

Turnera has a point, as well. You need to decide if having another child is truly that important to you. Is it worth breaking up your family, destroying your existing daughter's home and life, for a baby that even if you left may never happen? Consider the risks of having a baby at your age, and research any additional complications you may face because of your previous fertility issues.

Decide if all that is worth it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'm not willing to destroy the family I do have in the chance I may be able to start a new one - I'm realistic enough to know that it's not likely at my age. I also don't want my daughter to grow up without a father, and I don't want to hurt my husband by leaving him.

Having said all that, I've been trying to bury these feelings of anger and resentment for 2 years now and it's not working. In fact, I feel worse now than before. Every month I get my hopes up that I might get pregnant (we're not using BC and we do have sex though not a lot) but every month I'm bitterly disappointed. As I get older, I've been feeling more and more desperate and have been losing hope. I don't want to be unhappy and resentful and regretful the rest of my life but every time someone asks me when I'm having another child it's like a knife through my heart.

This is similar to the way I felt while going through the infertility ordeal - a monthly roller coaster of hope and despair and a feeling of desperation. Plus some plain old ugly jealousy at all those people who could get pregnant 2 weeks after going off the pill. It's hard to describe but anyone who's been in that situation knows exactly what I'm talking about. Unless you shut yourself up in your house and never read a newspaper or book or watch TV or turn on your computer, there are constant reminders of what you couldn't have, which is really painful.

I'm healthy and had no problems with my first pregnancy and I have no worries about the medical aspects of a second one. I have no fertility problems, but my husband has a low sperm count.

I'm looking for ways to reconcile these feelings I have or to hopefully change his mind again. He can be a really stubborn SOB but so can I.
 

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I don't want to divorce him but I also don't want to be miserable for the rest of my life. A nanny would be a good idea but one he would probably be resistant to.
So what? Marriage is about finding solutions that you both are ok with. You are not ok with this, so find a solution. CHANGE something.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
So I reread and revised my heartfelt 4 page letter to my hubby and I plan to give it to him tonight. I have butterflies in my stomach. It asks him at the end to go to counselling with me. An objective third party may be just what we need as we are (at least I am) so emotionally vested in this. I wish I could just talk to him face to face about it but I get so choked up and start crying, then can't get more than a few words out.

Wish me luck. I know he will brood and grump around after reading this, but at least I'll be going to work this weekend which will give him some time alone in his "man-cave".
 

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It's a very dangerous road to take, to start adjusting what you do and don't tell your husband, out of fear of his reaction. Trust me; 30 years of doing that has practically ruined my marriage, and all I had to do was keep telling him what I felt. The more you tiptoe around his feelings, the more entitled he feels to brood and grump around.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Sound advice. I know I really need to be more assertive, I'm one of those conflict-avoiders who simmers under the surface. DH has also said he has a hard time bringing up tough subjects with me because he knows I'll likely start crying. I need to get a thicker skin and grow a set.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thank you for your thoughtful replies.

We are very careful to never argue in front of our daughter, and only have serious discussions once she is in bed. I definitely do not want her to feel insecure or inadequate - she's the light of my life. Am I just being selfish and immature, here? You can be brutally honest with me.

You have certainly given me a lot to think about. I have talked more with my husband and asked him to attend counselling with me, as I think if nothing else, maybe it would help me be more at peace with it all. I don't think that is too much to ask of him.

Right now he's in the brooding phase. He disappeared into his cave/home office all evening and came to bed late. I know I didn't sleep much and I'm sure he didn't either. He's quieter and more subdued this morning. I'm still waiting for him to answer me about the counselling.

I hate conflict!
 

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Dear AllTornUp!

I am in the same boat as you are...My husband is 20 years older than me...Before we got married I specifically asked my then fiance (I knew he was not interested in starting a family and at the time- I was 23!!! I did not think about having kids- I was happy with my life and didn't "NEED" kids in my life)- "what if I REALLY want to have kids in the future, what is going to happen then?" His response was- "it depends on how much you want them". We left it at that and that same week (!!!) I got pregnant- I found out 4 weeks later when my period was 6 days late... I freaked out because I didn't want this and I KNEW he did not either... We were going to get married 2 months later and the idea of having a baby this soon freaked me out!!! We warmed up to the idea and were excited eventually! When my son was born I knew I wanted another one, but knew it would not be easy to talk to my husband about this, so I kept quiet for a year!!!! I was studying myself to see how much of it was just hormones, how much jealousy from seeing my firends getting pregnant one after another!!! It took me a whole year to be sure that this desire is truly in my heart and taking over my soul and that this is my basic human right (at least that is how I feel about it now, after asking myself questions over and over). It is as natural (that is what I mean by basic) as the need to be loved and cuddled, right after that comes the maternal desire to nurture. It is a woman's nature to want this! I have read some books about man's behaviour- basically I fell in love with "Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus" and in one of the books by the same author there is a statement that "marriage(commitment) is to women as sex is to men". Well...I feel like in my case having a child to me is as essential as sex is for my husband. He keeps telling me that we are not going to have another child and I have to get over it... I asked him- "what if I told you that I don't want to have sex with you ever again, because I really don't need it to feel fulfilled in my life", he said "I would try to work it out". I used sex to illustrate something I knew he could not live without, to help him understsand how I feel when he takes away from me something I cannot live without.
I don't know where you are with the way you feel about your marriage. I know that this can destroy mine. Altough this whole issue made me realize that I love my husband (it may not seem that way from the way I talk about our relationship right now- but I am angry) and I will do EVERYTHING in my power to help him change his mind. I believe he will change his mind because I guess this is the only way I will stay sane.

One more thing I can tell you is that you are not being selfish because having children is the least selfish thing you ever do in life... You bring a human being to this world to nurture them and spend every minute of "me" time, day and night! You teach them values, you bring them up, give them all your heart and give up everything that is just about "you"... How selfish can that be??????????????? My husbands reasons for not wanting another child turned out to be (after several discussions he finally admitted...) " I want to smell the roses and play golf with my friends several times a week and if we have another kid you are going to want me to stay home more"....
That is the most selfish thing I have ever heard out fo his mouth! He wants to smell the roses.... Well... he will no matter how many kids we have, and I will be sittingat home and waiting for him to get back getting more and more angry that he is smelling the roses and I never got to nurture another baby... He wins I lose. We both lose.
We went to counselling about a month ago. The counsellor basically stated "tough situation, I will tell you this is no easy situation"....
This week we have had more discussions about it and hubby went to play golf with one of his buddies. He basically told him "you should do it" and that made him think more... I think he is very slowly coming around... I don't know how much longer I have to wait but I believe that staying assertive is the key. Stay firm in saying what you want. I make sure I mention a baby every time it seems appropriate- In a very cute way though... Yesterday we went to the store to pick up some pumpkins and hubby said: lets get a mommy pumpkin, a daddy pumpkin and a toddler pumpkin... We did and at another stand they had the apple size pumpkins and I picked one up and said- "and I will add a baby pumpkin to complete the family" poked him in the shoulder and said "just another hint...".
I am sure this doesn't help... At least I had a chance to vent...
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Dear AllTornUp!
I am sure this doesn't help... At least I had a chance to vent...
It helps to know there are others out there suffering through the same nightmare as me! I look at other families with 2 or 3 or more kids and wonder why I couldn't have the same thing without possibly losing everything trying to obtain it. Same feeling I had when going through the infertility period and seeing moms and multiple kids everywhere.

Things have changed a bit since I posted first - I wrote my hubby a letter expressing my feelings and providing possible solutions to his concerns. I didn't think it sounded really harsh - just how I felt.

He read it and took 2 days to answer me - he was so upset. He said I had basically accused him of being a liar and had threatened him with divorce if he didn't give in (neither of which I even hinted at). He takes things WAY too personally and I was afraid this was the sort of reaction I would get. Anyway, at the end of the letter I asked him to go to counselling with me and he said, "Why bother? What good would that do?" so I guess that's a "No" then.

He did say that if I felt so strongly about it, we could have another child even though he doesn't want one. He said he'd love it anyway, but didn't want to be blamed every time something went wrong or our daughter acted in a way I interpreted as due to being an only child.

Now I have a different dilemma - will he blame ME every time the baby wakes us up at night or every time the two kids fight? AND, to make it all so much more interesting, there's a much greater chance of having twins if we go through in vitro again. I really don't want 3 kids, just 2.

I'm much less stressed since unburdening myself, anyways. Kind of cathartic. I'm going to try not to bottle things up anymore, and damn his over-reactions. He'll just have to suck it up and be a man. Every time I talk to him about someting that bothers me he sees it as a personal attack and goes off to sulk about it.

Sigh. Men.
 

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I can't believe it's been a year. And I still don't feel like anything has been resolved. DH did finally relent about the second child but has been making it very difficult. What a roller coaster this last year has been. I talked to him about embryo transfer last December and finally went for the first try in June. It was unsuccessful. I tried again in September and got pregnant. Then I had a miscarriage. Throughout it all, DH has been angry each time I asked him to sign the consent forms or watch DD while I went for an ultrasound or bloodwork. In June I made the mistake of asking him to come with me to the transfer. I thought it would be weird for me to go and get pregnant with his child without him, but he was barely civil to the nurses and doctors and didn't speak to me at all. I was so stressed out I'm sure it negatively affected the outcome. I told him he didn't have to come the second time and it was much more relaxed.

When my preg test came back positive, he cried (not in front of me) and slept on the couch that night and didn't speak to me for a couple of days. Then I had the MC and he was decent and told me he was sorry and let me cry on his shoulder.

We went away for a family vacation right after that and we seemed to reconnect somewhat. I want to try again but am afraid to bring it up because I know what is going to happen - I will get the silent treatment and he'll be angry again. He seemed to think in all of this, that I had said I would try twice. I said, No - we have 8 embryos and if we use them all up and don't have success, I will drop it and try my best to move on. I certainly didn't say I'd only try twice. Not in a million years. So now I want to try a third time I'm afraid he'll dig in his heels and refuse to sign the consent form. We have 5 embryos left now because they had to thaw 2 last time to get one viable one.

My feelings as described in previous posts have not changed. There are days I'm totally ready to throw in the towel, then times like our vacation that we seemed to do pretty well.

Unfortunately this isn't a "Happily Ever After" update...yet. I am not going to give up hope of a second child. I'm sure it won't fix our marriage but at least I would be at peace with a huge issue that has torn our relationship apart these last 3 years of hell. Besides that, most of the other stuff is little things that I can live with. He doesn't drink, smoke or do drugs, he's not abusive or careless with our money and he has a job. He's also a good father to our DD.

Incidently, back in June after I had taken DD to visit my parents for a couple of weeks, I discovered some pills he had hidden away in a closet, unopened from the doctor for about a month. I put them on the bed and he saw them there so he knew I knew about them but he didn't say a word about it. I didn't want to ask him at that point because he wasn't really talking to me again at that particular time. The pills were Ritalin. I looked up adult ADHD on the web and by God, he totally fits the bill. He started taking the pills shortly after that and it seemed like a cloud lifted around the house. His mood was brighter and I wasn't constantly walking around on egg shells wondering what innocent comment I might make would set him off and offend him. Then he finished the bottle and didn't renew it and things went back to "normal", unfortunately.

That's it for now. I'm stressing daily on when and how I should bring up the subject of another try at ET. We celebrated our 8th Anniversary while we were on holiday and got each other the exact same card, by chance. In the one I gave him I wrote "I am so grateful you are giving me the chance to fulfill my greatest desire, to have a second child. Words cannot express how much that means to me." He read it and grimaced and quickly put the card back in the envelope, then no further comments about it. I had wanted to hint at him that I wasn't done and would be broaching the subject again soon. Men don't seem to get subtle hints though.
 

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Maybe I'm not the right person to respond to your post... I'm afraid that I am more "sympathetic" to your husband's point of view, and while that might be helpful, it might not be easy to read. I feel for you and I hope you find peace and happiness in your life, of course!

Your husband does not want to have another child. Nothing you say or do is going to change that. You may succeed in having the child with him, but he will be doing it against his will, and he will ALWAYS resent you (and most likely the child).

I don't know if you still feel the same way as a year ago when you wrote:

AND, to make it all so much more interesting, there's a much greater chance of having twins if we go through in vitro again. I really don't want 3 kids, just 2.
If so, a spouse with this kind of specific "I must have exactly THIS and nothing else will make me happy" can be very difficult to live with. (Are you planning on selective abortion if you do get pregnant with twins?)

From your husband's perspective, you have a child together. You're not childless. You have more than zero and fewer than the three that you "really don't want." Do you also "have to have" one sex over another? Blue eyes? Brown hair?

I'm assuming you'll be shocked and offended that I'm even asking that. But it's not irrelevant. You are holding on very strongly to the idea that "I told him that I wanted 2 children, and I will not accept 1 or 3. I absolutely REQUIRE TWO."

But the reality is, neither of you are young. You're using embryo transfer to get pregnant, and it's not easy - you've already had a miscarriage. So your husband is being very realistic in seeing this as a perhaps unrealistic goal.

It's NOT shallow or silly of him to be worried about dying and leaving you and your exactly two children alone - this is a very real fear that the older spouse has in a marriage with a big age difference.

Just yesterday I was talking to a 73 year old woman who lives in my building. Her husband died when her kids were 4 and 7 years old. She had an extremely difficult life, raising them alone. She did it, of course. You aren't going to starve or end up on the street. But her life was extremely difficult. He wants to protect you from that. As your husband, IT'S HIS JOB to protect you from that.

It's pretty likely that your child's babyhood was just too much for your 50 y/o husband. There's a reason that we're fertile in our teens, twenties, and early thirties: babies are exhausting and require are most energetic years. When he agreed to have children with you, he may not have understood just HOW big of a difference there is between 20 and 50 in terms of energy!

He may have been being honest with you when he agreed to have two children, but after the first, he realized that he simply isn't "up for" having a second.

In a marriage, each spouse gets "veto power" over having a child. So if you want one and he doesnt, you don't have one. If he wants one and you don't, you don't have one. BOTH spouses must want a child.

I think you are doing a lot of damage to your marriage, which is only going to hurt you and the child you already have. He doesn't want a child, and it doesn't look like it's going to change. It ruined your anniversary. Maybe it's time to stop going down this road, make peace with the fact that you are a parent, but of one and not of two, and focus on all the great things in your life (like your marriage and your child).

Good luck to the three of you.
 

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How could you POSSIBLY think a child could fix your marriage when your husband freakin' CRIES when he finds out you're pregnant?

AllTornUp, I'm sorry but you are being EXTREMELY selfish and are HARMING your marriage.

If you want a child so bad, just divorce the poor man and get on with it.

OH, and btw, if you DO get pregnant, he is going to divorce you ANYWAY. Because you are putting yourself above him. In a HUGE way. We're not talking about getting a puppy here. You basically browbeat him into going along and now you complain that he doesn't 'get it?'
 

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I feel bad for your husband. If my husband was in his 50's and didn't want any more kids because he was afraid he'd die and leave me with kids and he could nothing to help, I would understand and love him more than anything (for a man, it isn't about the money, it's about physically being there for his wife and kids). Your husband is a true man who puts his wife and family ahead of everything else. How sad that you don't see that. And, he's still helping you make another baby against his wishes because he truly loves you. That just tears at my heart. I am with omega and turnera, you are very selfish.

Just be glad you have one child. I wanted 4. I have two because I started late but I'm happy. I would have been happy with one too.
 

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Reactivating this post from the depths. May I ask what ended up happening, two years later? I am very curious.

I am in a similar position although we are younger - I'm 38 and he's turning 37, and we have a 18 month old. No other children from previous relationships. When we first started dating, I had stated very clearly that I wanted to start a family and he was willing to go for it, and I thought that if we could have them, I'd be up to 3 children, at which he balked, so we compromised at 2. We were happy and action oriented so within the first year of our relationship, we bought a house and I got pregnant, luckily, quite fast. Now I am aching for the second child. He isn't. It's been rocky since the baby arrived. We've gotten out of the honeymoon period at the same time as the baby arrived so I feel like it's a double whammy. Deep in my heart I know I love him, but it's clear to me that I want more children, either biological or adopted, sooner rather than later. And he doesn't. Maybe never. Which means we're stuck.

His reasons for not having the second are mostly the messiness, the change in schedule, the noise etc... And the fear of not doing a good job as a parent, and the fear that something might happen to the child, either a handicap or what not. He has an anxious personality with some OCD traits and wants the house always clean and tidy, which is a point of friction in our relationship. The other main reason why he does not want a second child at this time is that he was not feeling happy in the relationship, he stated that he was not feeling validated or listened to lately, because I became a supermom and spent all my energy on the baby. I breastfed until age 17 months, co-slept with the baby until almost 12 months because DH refused to sleep with me when I snored because of the fluid retention etc etc... As usual, the arrival of the first baby put the relationship in upheaval. I am currently working on the relationship with him now as much as I can, not just to try to see if he changes his mind, but for our sake, too. I honestly would prefer that we stay together and have a second child, that would be the ideal scenario - unfortunately I'm not getting any younger, I will turn 39 next summer.

We both have good stable jobs. If we were to separate, I could easily buy back his part of the house and continue living in it, hire some help at home, and have more children. At this moment, I am willing to work on the relationship for a few months to see if he changes his mind, but if it comes down to it, I would be willing to separate and have a child on my own. Artificial insemination is allowed here for single women. I just feel terrible to break our son's family, however, deep inside me, I feel like I was put on earth to build a family and relationships and have some noise and joy in the house, whereas all he talks about in the future is material things (sports car, second house in Europe, etc...) which I don't see myself in. So in a way, I see that this conflict about the second child is more a reflection of our very different views of the future and of life in general. At which point I tell myself, well, we might divorce one day anyways, second child or not, because we don't see life the same way. Aside from that, he is an excellent father, and if his reluctance to have a second child is overcome, I am completely sure that he will love him/her as much and be as involved.

I know many of you will think that I am being selfish, but the desire for more children runs deeper than that. I am in the healthcare profession and have volunteered in developing countries and it's a part of my mission in life to take care of others. Spiritually and at this point in my life, I feel the deep seated need to have more children and raise them into good citizens as a contribution to this Earth. And I can afford it even as a single mother.

Thoughts?
 

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Tough situation. However he agreed to two kids, which is completely reasonable. You re at the end of the point in which you can deliver this so for him it has to be put up or show up. Don't cut yourself short.
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His reasons for not having the second are mostly the messiness, the change in schedule, the noise etc... And the fear of not doing a good job as a parent, and the fear that something might happen to the child, either a handicap or what not. He has an anxious personality with some OCD traits and wants the house always clean and tidy, which is a point of friction in our relationship. The other main reason why he does not want a second child at this time is that he was not feeling happy in the relationship, he stated that he was not feeling validated or listened to lately, because I became a supermom and spent all my energy on the baby.
One of the main things that happens when a baby comes is the man feels ignored. It's YOUR job to stop that from happening. You have to save the marriage first; then the kids factor in.
 
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