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Husband wants kids, wife does not

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My wife and I have been married for 7 years, together for 9, and we are having increasing problems about our different desires for starting a family. When we started dating, she wanted a baby, claiming that it was a physical and hormonal desire that she could not explain. I was not ready, but I knew that I would want children some day, and we discussed plans to have 3 or 4 children some day.


For the last few years, I have very much wanted to start a family, and I have talked to my wife about this. She has not felt the same desire to have children since that date, and though she previously said she might eventually want children, she has recently been saying that she has decided never to have them. I have explained that it is very important to me, I would be happy to adopt, and I had been waiting in hopes that she might change her mind. I fear that will not happen, as I am 38 and she is 36.


When I raise the issue so we can talk about it, she feels pressured, and either tries to avoid it or tells me to find someone else. I love my wife, and I cannot imagine finding anyone that I love as much as I love her, but this conversation is becoming increasingly hurtful. It is clear to me that our relationship will not be healthy if this remains a source of resentment. Suggestions, prior experience, or observations are welcome.

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There are a few threads on this subject, if you search.


What I imagine anyone who knows you (or who doesn't) would say is: Get help. ASAP.


From what you say about the timing, it almost sounds as though she has some resentment and is determined not to let you have what you want. Or it could just be coincidence.


Apart from this (not that there can BE an 'apart from this') how is your relationship?

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This is a major life decision here, and it's hard to make something work when a couple doesn't agree on this.


She seems steady on what she wants, and being 36 years old, she is less likely to change. You also seem steady on what you want, so you need to make a decision.


Do you spend your life with the woman you love, but be devoid of a life filled with children? Or do you move on and find a woman who is on par with such a major life decision? What do you think would make you happiest in the long run?

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This can truly be a breaking point in a marriage, so tread carefully. I had the same (kind of) situation with my ex and we got divorced over this (other reasons also, but this was a biggie). I had been told at a young age I could never carry to term due to cancerous cells in my cervix, this was fine with the ex as he had 2 kids form a previous marriage and was steadfast in not wanting anymore. After 7 years, I was told I had about a 85 to 90% chance of carrying to term, my body had "repaired itself", so to speak. The ex wouldn't hear a word I said about wanting children of my own. It was a flat NO! No discussion, no understanding, nothing. On top of the emotional abuse and controlling, this was the last straw for me. I could not see spending the rest of my life giving up something that was so important to me for someone else. That is not fair to me, nor to my potential future children.

Needless to say, I'm remarried now with a gorgeous 18 month old daughter that I love more than life itself, a husband I adore from head to toe, around the world and back again... the ex is still alone, his own kids won't even come visit him. Sad really.

I'm not saying ditch the relationship because you don't see eye to eye, there could be something else going on that is swaying your wife's opinion. Couples therapy may help her to see how important it is to you, and let you see why she is so stand-offish about it now. This is a huge part of a relationship, and I see resentment building in the future if it is not resolved.

Best of luck!

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You've all been very helpful. This was my first post on this or any site, and I appreciate your thoughtful comments. I am not sure if any more information is necessary to stimulate additional ideas or if they change the overall story, but I thought I'd post a few other potentially relevant details. I have a job which has meant we move around a bit; and while this has been good for my career, it has not been good for hers. She always gets involved with interesting and important work wherever we land, but I know that she has resentment over not having much in control of our movements. This complicates what might otherwise seem a difficult, but clear, choice of her or children, as I feel guilt for having put her in the position of being insecure in her career. This is part of why I have tried to be extra-patient, but the resentment is building up, and it is causing serious problems. Thanks again for your thoughts.

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I am sure she might be feeling lots of resentment as well. Your career came first at the expense of hers....now you want children and I bet she realizes that she will likely be the primary caregiver of the children while you still continue to make your career even better and better while she will have to sacrifice her career aspirations even further. She sacrificed a lot for you, and now you expect her to sacrifice even more. If the marriage doesn't work out, she could end up majorly burned as far as trying to support herself as a single mother. Also, what about the fact that you move around a lot. That will mean the child will keep getting uprooted in order to follow your career. This is not just about having children, this is also about taking your wife and potential child's interests into consideration. What sacrifices are you prepared to make with regards to your career in order to be a husband and father who will be around and doing things with the family.

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I wonder if your husband had been a loving partner and you had an amazing marriage if your decision would have been different. It is much easier to walk out of an abusive, unhappy marriage over disagreement about children than it is to walk out of a happy, loving marriage.


I honestly can't say, Crazy... the ex was NEVER a "happy, loving" kind of guy. The marriage was essentially over first, then I got the news of being able to carry to term, and he shot me down without even a blink of an eye. Added info: he forced me to terminate two pregnancies over the course of our marriage. So yeah, there was no saving that one. Waaaay too much resentment on my part by the time I decided I couldn't "fix him with love".


To the OP:

First off, welcome to ENA! (forgot that last reply!) Wonderful group of people here! Yes, the work situation does add another aspect to the situation. I can see how that adds a concern to her side. I do think Crazy's reply brings up some very good points, and some issues your wife may be thinking about.

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There isn't much room here at all for compromise. It's not like you can have kids "a little bit". Regardless of the reasons she changed her mind, she doesn't want them now & you are faced with the choice of either staying in a happy, childless marriage or leave it for your shot at having children. I suppose counseling would be a good idea. If she decided not to have them, the least she could do is tell you what precipitated this change.


This is the sort of thing that would probably be classified as "irreconcilable differences". You have every right to leave this marriage for children, if that will be your choice. You entered the marriage under different terms, and it isn't fair to you that you had no say in this. At the same time, people do change their minds. I doubt she was purposefully attempting to deceive you.


First I'd try counseling. If that doesn't resolve anything, you will have a choice to make.

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Normally, I'd tell you to dump your wife and find another you can have children with. There are lots of women out there, most want children, and your window to have them is rapidly closing since you want your kids to have a father, not a grandpa.


However, it sounds like you've sidelined your wife's career to the benefit of yours. Not fair of you to leave her now, and if you do, she's in a position to take you to the cleaners in a divorce. Her best career-making years have been sacrificed on the altar of your professional advancement, after all, so it's only logical that you use the proceeds from that advancement to pay her alimony for a long, long time.


Where is the fun of having succeeded financially if your ex sucks up a large chunk of the money?


I really don't know what to say. What about adopting? Is she averse to the pregnancy, or to the entire idea of having little dependents running around? Is it possible to compromise and only have one kid rather than 3 or 4?

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