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I resent my partner for changing his mind about having children

The issue: I have never wanted children and have always made a point of being honest about it in my relationships. I have been with my partner for 3 years and we moved in together about a year ago. At the time he said he was ok with not having children. Now suddenly, out of the blue, he says that he has changed his mind and that he hopes he can convince me to change mine too. I feel betrayed and my love for him has turned into resentment. Why do I have to continue justifying my choice of not wanting children? I see no future for us unless he changes his mind, as I am not going to change mine. Help!

Nina’s answer: You are justified in feeling betrayed and I also understand your resentment, since you have been honest from the start and now you are faced with a dilemma that you hoped would never come. As much as we all wish for life to be straightforward and trouble free, the reality is that we constantly have to deal with situations that have the potential to either make us stronger and wiser or wound us irretrievably. One thing I have learnt through the years is never try to be something that you aren’t in order to please others. It is not only inauthentic but inevitably, you will end up being unhappy as a result. You have to know what you want and stick to it. Yes sometimes we all have to compromise, particularly in relationships, as no matter how similar you and your partner are in terms of your outlook on life, there will always be something that sets you apart as individuals. Equally, compromise is the key to a healthy and loving relationship, as both parties feel valued.

Unfortunately, asking you to change your mind about having children when you have made it clear from the start that you have never wanted any, is to me a compromise too far. No one should be forced to change their mind on something so important. Having children is one of the most important decisions a couple will make and it is crucial for both parties to be in agreement. A child is for life, it is not something that you try and then give back and so it is paramount that you both agree to have children and you don’t.

It will be a mistake in my view to succumb to pressure and give in. Sometimes, adults make the mistake of believing that difficult issues in a relationship will resolve themselves once a child arrives, only to be faced with the opposite reality later on. If your relationship was not going well before the arrival of a child, chances are that it will remain the same if not get worse due to the challenges that raising children bring.

At some point in our lives, we all have to make difficult decisions and you are now faced with one. My advice to you is to be true to yourself otherwise you will end up miserable and the resentment you feel now will only get worse.

Nina Steele is nonparents.com agony aunt. Send any dilemma you may have to: [email protected]

Childless couple

Comments

  1. Some people just don’t understand that having children is a decision that should not be taken lightly. If you don’t want children then your wishes should be respected. If he really cares about you, he will back off.

  2. I agree that this is a fundamental difference of opinion between you. I would encourage a very frank and open conversation to fully understand why you and he feel the way he does. Perhaps there is a way forward for your relationship. Good luck! 🙂

  3. moonaj10 says

    I will hate to find myself in a situation like this. It is a bit unfair to expect you to change your mind just like that, considering that you have never wanted children in the first place. Like Nina said, you have to be true to yourself. If you have a child to please your partner, you might end up resenting him for the rest of your life and what about the poor child in all of this?

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