He Doesn't Want Kids. Should I Stay With Him?

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arguing couple
What to do when your partner doesn't want kids and you do.

I began seeing a great guy about five months ago. I'm 23 and he's 34, but the age difference has never been a big deal as we have a lot in common. We recently went on a weekend trip where he told me nonchalantly over dinner that he did not want children. When he asked me what I wanted, I replied that I did want children. The rest of the night wore on and I didn't think much of it because I'm so young and I don't see myself having kids for a while. But this morning, I began thinking about the situation some more, and now I'm very troubled. I will want kids some day, and if he doesn't, eventually we will have to break up. Does it make sense to do it now, before we have invested time and emotions, or should I wait? Again, I don't want to get married and have children soon, but I will one day, and if he doesn't...what's the point? —Sad at Work

If you don't want to get married and have children soon, I'm assuming that you're dating for companionship and the experience as opposed to searching for your life partner. If that's the case, continue dating your boyfriend who doesn't want to have children. So many things can change in the time before you're ready to settle down. Your boyfriend may change his mind about kids; you may change your mind about kids. Or, what's perhaps more likely, you may break up for totally unrelated reasons. The Frisky: Childless Is The New Motherhood

It's true—most relationships end at some point. Knowing that, do we avoid ever dating to save ourselves from the potential pain of breaking up? Do we avoid investing time and emotions into someone for fear it won't work out? No, we accept that by getting close to someone, we risk getting hurt. We take the risk because doing so means a more enriched life. At the very least, it gives us a more layered personal history from which to learn and grow. If you were 15 years older and feeling the weight of your biological clock, my advice to you would be different. I'd tell you not to waste time with someone who doesn't want the same thing you do. But that's because what you'd want in 15 years is different than what you want right now. You aren't interested in getting married and having children soon, and neither is your boyfriend. There may be a problem one day if you stay together and your wants change—if you decide you're ready for marriage and babies and he still isn't. But, why worry now about what could happen? Why not enjoy what you have with him and see where your adventure together leads you?

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