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The Baby Argument


SDAL

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Hi Everyone. This is a really long story, but I'll do my best to keep it short. My boyfriend and I have been together 3 years and for the whole relationship, he has told me that if we ever have kids that would be great, but if we don't that's okay because he loves me and above all wants us to spend our lives together. Then last weekend, out of the blue, he did a 180 and said that he definitely wants to have kids in the next 10 years and if I don't, that's a big problem for him. It felt like I was thrown into the deep end of the pool.

 

I'm working full time and going to school at night for a second bachelor's degree in engineering and possibly a master's degree after that. That's what I've been focusing on for the future, so I haven't given much thought to wanting children. And right now, I don't think I do want kids.

 

So after we talked more, he went back to his decision that he still wants to be in a relationship with me and if that means we may not have children, he's okay with that. Then he went on, a few days later, to say that he wanted to get married, and he had a plan to propose to me, but wanted it to be a surprise. The marriage thing is partly because HE (not me) wants me to quit my job and go to school full time and let him support me financially. I've told him that while I appreciate his intentions, I'm not comfortable with that scenario unless we were married, which I think is fair on my part. Anyway, I thought that because of all this talk from him, we had worked everything out. I was wrong.

 

Last night he said that the idea of marriage stresses him out and he feels pressured into it and that if I don't agree to have a baby with him in the next ten years, he isn't moving forward in the relationship, but he also won't say he wants to break up. We had a pretty big fight over this because I feel like he's jerking me around emotionally. One day he wants a baby, the next he's okay not having one, the next he wants a baby again. One day he has a plan to propose, the next day he says marriage stresses him out, but then he says he wants to be married to me.

 

I've been clear that if he really does want a baby, and he wants a commitment right now agreeing to it, we should end the relationship so he can be free to find someone who really wants to have kids. Which sucks, but I don't want to stop him from having a kid if he really wants one. I know it's better to talk about this now, but it's just so confusing for me. I thought maybe some outside input would held give me some insight. Any thoughts?

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Well, I can understand his dilemma - on the one hand he loves you and doesn't want to lose you and on the other he has come to realise that having children is very important to him.

 

I think you need to tell him that he has to make a decision one way or the other soon because this back and forth is serving neither of you.

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Agreed, DN. I understand that he wants a baby, and I think he should be able to have one if that's what he wants. But I also feel like he's trying to, for lack of a better way of puting it, bully me into saying I'll definitely have a kid with him. And I'm not going to do that because I don't know that I definitely do want to have a baby.

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I completely agree with DN - and it's great that you're being honest with him about your feelings about having children. Also it's interesting that he assumes that he would be able to father a child with you, and that you would be able to have a child - have you ever been pregnant before? How would he feel about adoption? I think you both need to discuss that too because it sounds like he's put a lot of thought into the "baby" thing and he should also think about whether that means he must have a biological child and how far he would want you to go as far as fertility treatments and other invasive procedures if it came down to that.

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Agreed, DN. I understand that he wants a baby, and I think he should be able to have one if that's what he wants. But I also feel like he's trying to, for lack of a better way of puting it, bully me into saying I'll definitely have a kid with him. And I'm not going to do that because I don't know that I definitely do want to have a baby.
Hmm, well only you can really know the difference between bullying and wanting to know if you really mean what you say. Since he doesn't want to lose you because of this he may want to know for sure that you are prepared to lose him.

 

Neither of you is wrong in this situation as far as what you want is concerned - and it may be this is a dealbreaker.

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Hmm, well only you can really know the difference between bullying and wanting to know if you really mean what you say. Since he doesn't want to lose you because of this he may want to know for sure that you are prepared to lose him.

 

Neither of you is wrong in this situation as far as what you want is concerned - and it may be this is a dealbreaker.

 

The thing is that my stance has never changed during any of these talks, but it definitely feels like he's trying too hard to change my mind. I actually told him that if he just backed off a little and quit pressuring me, I may have a different view on things. But I guess that is a confusing thing for me to say to him.

 

He has said that he's okay with fertility treatments or adoption. I'm 29 now, so by the time 10 years rolls around, I may be too old to have kids naturally. He told me he doesn't care how we have them, he just wants to have kids with me. Which is really sweet, but I'm just not ready.

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I agree with the others. He realizes how important you are to him and he's beginning to find that having kids is important to him and he doesn't want to lose you. I think he's frustrated probably because he knows that your stance has never changed. So he's trying to figure out if he's important enough to you to change your mind since you won't otherwise.

 

If he insists on having kids, you have to figure out would you be willing to lose him? Try not to let his pressuring make you resent him or resist even harder. Really think about it and if you still don't want kids, then as DN said, it may be a dealbreaker.

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The thing is that my stance has never changed during any of these talks, but it definitely feels like he's trying too hard to change my mind. I actually told him that if he just backed off a little and quit pressuring me, I may have a different view on things. But I guess that is a confusing thing for me to say to him.

 

Yes, very confusing. And also very unfair if you really do have no intention of changing your mind.

 

And it also leads me to question how firm your determination not have children really is. I think you do need to make up your mind for your sake as well as for his.

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Yes, very confusing. And also very unfair if you really do have no intention of changing your mind.

 

And it also leads me to question how firm your determination not have children really is. I think you do need to make up your mind for your sake as well as for his.

 

I know that right now I don't want children. Like I said earlier, the only thing that I've been thinking about for my future is finishing school. I haven't put much, if any, time into thinking about having kids. I suppose I need to really think about it.

 

But that brings up another question I have. Isn't having kids something you're supposed to know you want? I've never had the feeling, at any point in my life, that know I want kids.

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I can't answer that for you. My sister decided when she was in her twenties that she did not want children and does not regret that decision.

 

But it is important that you do not mislead him even with a faint hope implication.

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