Ask Sahaj: He wants children, but I don’t. Should we break up?

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Dear Sahaj: I am a 40 year old woman with two children aged 7 and 12. I started dating recently and had a relationship with a 32 year old man. Initially, when we started dating, I asked him if he wanted to have kids because I’m not interested in having any more. At the time, he said he thought he had kids but didn’t want any more.

It’s been about five months now and he told me recently that he thinks he might want kids in two or three years and that he would especially like to have kids with me. He is a marvelous man for whom I have feelings; I don’t want to lose him, but now I wonder if we should keep seeing each other.

Wondering: Everyone has non-negotiables in relationships. For some, it might be about sharing religious values. For others, it may be how the money is spent or saved. To you, it looks like there are no more children.

Since you are still in the early stages of this relationship, think about what you want and agree, then have an honest conversation with the man you’re dating (again). It can be frustrating that you try to avoid this exact situation by having a direct conversation when you first meet, but that doesn’t change the fact that a decision still needs to be made – and the sooner the better.

Chemistry and a wonderful personality are definitely important factors in making a relationship work, but so are shared values, goals, and deadlines. Be honest with yourself about what you want of a relationship. Are you looking to take it to the next level (living together or getting married)? Or are you content to keep things casual and separate between the two of you?

Either you change your mind, he changes his mind, or you want different things. You can’t compromise and have half a child. Denial won’t make the problem go away, it will temporarily save you from having the inevitable conversation about it. At some point, the problem resurfaces – and it may be even more difficult or painful.

If you delay making a decision about it, you risk becoming even more invested in the relationship and more hurt than you would be if you were talking about it now. Since you’re wondering if you should keep seeing it, it seems like it’s already a real concern for you.

Have a question for Sahad? Ask him here.

I also wonder where your existing children factor in this conversation. The fact that he wants to have children with you does not erase the children you already have, who will be part of his life if you stay together. Have you discussed them or the role he will play in the lives of your current children if you continue seeing each other?

If he really wants to have his own kids and you don’t want them anymore, then the nicest choice is to let you go. It will always hurt and be upsetting, but you have had the experience of having children and he deserves this opportunity too. I know you don’t want to lose it, but if the two of you aren’t freely living your honest, authentic lives together, then do you really have each other?

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