This situation has been weighing heavily on my mind for the past few weeks and I'm not sure what to do or where else to turn. I have been with my boyfriend of four years now but have noticed a change in his attitude and thought process recently. He keeps hinting or implying he doesn't want children and I am feeling incredibly lost at the moment.
When I first met him, we never discussed this in detail, he'd always said he wasn't sure but that he was still young and he would wait and see how he felt down the road. In the last few months there's been an abrupt change and he's been talking continuously of why having kids would be a bad idea. He claims he just can't handle the thought of taking on such responsibility and I internalized it as some kind of judgment against me.
I'm scared that having kids is something I want and I can't push him into doing something he isn't sure he wants and it's made me really anxious. We've talked about it multiple times and I haven't been able to get any solid answers from him. Our conversations end in him avoiding further discussion or saying things like "let's just wait and see" or "in time, things will work out" and I'm left still unsure of where his head is at and it's making me feel helpless.
I understand that when it comes to matters such as children it's sometimes difficult to discuss and make a final decision, but at the same time, I think we owe it to each other to have an honest, open conversation about it and seeing as how it's been four years, I feel like we should be at least on the same page if not come to a clear answer. I'm afraid of bringing up the topic again because I'm scared that it might push him away, I'm also afraid of staying longer without a resolution to this topic as it might become a deal breaker in the future.
Do you have any advice or ideas of how I can approach this topic and come to a mutual understanding with my partner about what our future could look like?
Confused and Perplexed
Dear Confused and Perplexed,
It sounds like it can be difficult to know how to bring up the topic of having children with your partner without feeling like you're pushing them away. We understand you can be worried about staying in a relationship for too long without discussing this important topic and coming to a resolution.
We recommend starting by having an honest conversation about your wants and needs in regards to children and hear your partner's. It may help to start by asking your partner some questions such as " What thoughts do you have about having kids/starting a family?" or "What would make you feel comfortable discussing a long-term plan for children?"
It can be important to have conversations around what having a family means to you both in a way which allows space for each of you to express your wants and needs so you both feel heard. By listening to your partner's views and feelings, you can gain a better understanding of their position and can create the opportunity to come to a new understanding.
Getting curious rather than judgmental can help create a non-threatening atmosphere to have a constructive dialogue. Also by telling them what you are feeling, without blame or criticism, this can also help create a better understanding between each other.
It may also be useful to ask yourself if this is something you feel truly willing to compromise on, as well as being honest with your partner and communicating your boundaries if they are not willing to have a family. Ultimately it is your decision what is best for your future and your relationship.
We hope we have provided you with some help on how to start a conversation about this sensitive topic.
Best of Luck