I've been with my GF for 3 years, we have been living together for a year now. We've both just got our MS titles and started to slowly discuss marriage and I'm thinking of "popping the question" sometime next year (once our lives are stabilized financially-wise). However, one big issue came up that is making me doubt the bright future ahead of us. I have a strong parental instinct, and find it obvious that I will want to have children in the future (preferably sometime in the next 5-10 years). I have always been the "responsible and caring older brother" for my sister, numerous cousins, and even for my friends. I feel it is natural for me to expect to be a good father sometime. She on the other hand definitely objects to the subject of kids and says she will never want to be a mother, and that I have to respect her decision (and I do, but I don't know what things will look like in the future).
She justifies her decision by explaining she feels no maternal instinct whatsoever (babies and small children annoy her). Additionally she had terrible parents, in the meaning that they were extremely old-fashioned , strict, showed little emotion and had an unhealthy relationship (father runs the family business, mother has to agree to everything as she is completely financialy dependant of the guy). Whenever I try to discuss having kids with her, she keeps saying that she is affraid that all the bad parenting she experienced made her completely unfit to become a mother.
I know I have a positive influence on her. She used to detest the concept of marriage; mostly because of growing up while watching her mother totally dependant of her father. My parents have a very healthy balanced relationship, and interacting with them and with me, she finally got convinced that a loving partnership is a real possible thing (hence the discussions of marriage).
The question is whether things can change concerning the "kids issue"? How much should I worry that we wonít work things out? Is it possible that my parental instincts will fade, or that hers will develop? I have similar worries about our sex drives (mine is high, hers is low) but that has been discussed on another forum.
As hard as it may be to do, I think it's never a good thing to enter into a serious relationship with someone hoping one of you will change. Loving her for who you hope she'll be one day is not the rock solid foundation on which to build a long lasting marriage. You need to decide just how important having kids is to you. If you marry this woman, you must be prepared for the very real possibility that she will hold true to her word and never have kids. could you be happy and satisfied with never having kids? You're going to need to do a lot of soul searching on this issue, looking at it realistically as it is, not as you hope it will become later on.
My ex didn't want to have kids. I didn't either, but accidents do happen. When the first "accident" happened she wanted an abortion. We fought many, many times over that. I won in the end and had a son. Nine months later she became pregnant again. This time the fighting over an abortion was extreme to say the least. I won out again and had another son. I ended up raising the kids alone. If she doesn't want them, she will either kill them before they are born, or be a very, very bad mother. Neither result is good for you or the kids. I'd say find another woman who does want kids. Even if you convinced her, she would never be happy after having them.
100% agreed w Hiya. if having children is something you really want and she is strictly opposed to it, then this could strain a marriage...big time. given her background, i can clearly see her reasons are what she really feels in her heart through her own experiences. have you talked about marriage yet? you said she used to detest it so i'm wondering if youve talked about it or youve changed her mind to that. theres nothing wrong w discussing w her the importance that you want a family some day and reassure her that it is not until youre both financially stable and have some married time together first. do you think its maybe because she thinks you want kids too soon? how big of a problem is your difference in sex drives to your relationship? i think her parental instincts are more likely to change for the positive than yours are going to fade. 3 yrs is a long time to be together so my question is, is when did the topic of a future w children come up and when did her sex drive diminish? i think this would be a touchy subject w any woman so handle it in the most non pressuring way you can. i would hold off on the proposal for sure unless you guys can compromise to something. good luck xoxo
I know what you fell mainly because my life was basically like your girl friend's. The only difference was I was with a single mother who was basically crazy. She was abusive, irrational, strict, possessive,over protective and harsh. I cant even remember what happened to my dad - I think she just took me and left!!!!!
I despised my mom - she treated me so bad! she was so suspicious of my actions and she used to beat me when i was a little girl - im talking grabbing your hair and bashing your head against the bathroom faucet - she was not a very nice lady. She used to say the most horrible things too - and even though you hate them... since you are around them, its like they are the only role model you have.
Yes little kids annoy the heck out of me - why? because i had to raise my brother and sister and i had no control over them whatsoever - its so hard to be in charge of raising them but not being able to actually discipline them the way a parent would/shoud.
Crying children - i seriously cannot stand. it irritates me... and i was mortified with the idea of having kids... why? because i do not want to be like my mother and im afraid that since she is the main role model ive had..im going to end up being like her! that really scares me... i do not want to be a horrible mother...
My views about parenting changed when i dated this guy who was single dad. He was just incredible!!! I could give you the long list... but you know what i mean. One of the things i loved about the way he raised his boy was that when the baby would do something wrong he'd say stop. however his boy keeps insisting and starts having a bad fit - he smacks him in the bum. Not painful but just to stop him - then the boy asks for a cuddle and they both cuddle each other. He then explains why he did that and that his behavior is unacceptable. - Now being around a man like that has seriously changed my views. I think when you are around the influence of positive people... or when you are around wonderful parents - it changes how you feel about things.
Now i dont know if your gf would change her mind. she may or may not - but forcing her wont do. She needs to see it for herself and feel it.
Thank you all for your replies. The advice is a bit more extreme than what I have expected. But not knowing what to expext is what caused me to post. Let me clarify some things, and maybe you'll input some more advice.
I managed to change her mind about marriage, and it wasn't that difficult a task. Like I said, she initially detested the idea of marrying anyone and openly spoke her views. But after over 2 years into our relationship, after we lived together happily for a few months, she started to change her views. She realized how foolish it was to reject the whole concept just because bad experiences at home. The other factor were her friends, who started giving her weird looks every time she threw an anti-marriage speech. She said that she realized how insulting her fierce opposition to marriage was to me. I never said anything on that lines to her, so she explained this is how she began to feel when her friends kept asking her "How can you have views like this with such a wonderful boyfriend?" We had a few conversations about marriage, and she agreed that "it wouldn't be such a bad thing to get married, but only after achieving some financial independance and stability".
I would never force her into having kids. I can see how spending time with me and my family is constantly positively affecting her. So there is a chance of changing her mind. However, I would like to know if it is possible to change her instincts? Currently she is one of the people who hate babies or very young children (you know, 'cause they're ugly, smelly and loud). Is there a chance of maternal instincts kickin' in later in life, or is that something I won't change despite my best attempts to make her feel happy and secure in our relationship?
The issue isn't very urgent. We're both fresh out of university, with pretty good job perspectives. We both agreed marriage is at least 2 years away, so the question of having kids is still even further. However, it adds to the feeling of uncertainty of how things will work out. We love each other for sure, get along quite well living together (although she does boss me around a bit), but there are some issues that cast a shadow on our relationship in a longer perspective.
The more current issue is the difference in sex drive. If it was possible, I would love to have sex daily, but I'm happy with every 2-3 days or so. She on the other hand can go on for weeks without it. Now, don't get me wrong. She's not cold, at least not all the time. It is simply that after good sex she gets satisfied for a long time, and the her needs build up very very slowly again, until reaching a high point in about 1-2 weeks, after which we do have sex. This "crazy heat for a day, cold as ice for a week" routine does frustrate me some. We've talked about this a lot (seems the only thing we argue about lately) and keep agreeing to compromise, but it seems things don't change too much (I still have to masturbate regularly to keep from getting moody due to the lack of sex). Still, I consider her enjoying sex as a big improvement (she had very bad experiences with a previous boyfriend). Please look into my other posts if you want to read more about this (they were in the Woman's Sexual Health forum in august).
I know you don't want to hear this but I would think you both should attend marriage counseling even though you are not yet married. They will bring up issues that relate to the way you and her are. We do not know you so we can not judge. I just know from experience that you can not make someone change and even if you think you have she could come to resent you for it later. IF you go to a church your pastor may be able to counsel you for free. Good luck
one way i could see a change in her maternal instincts is, does she have any nieces or nephews? any friends w babies? i think if there was a baby in these situations, her views would be a lot differents. its different when the child is someone's close to you or your own. maybe that is an experience she needs to deal w/. just an opinion. as for the sex topic, i read your other post and i pretty much agree w soulcatcher about the counseling advice. they can dig deeper into the topics without making either of you feel foolish or overwhelmed. good luck
Try this from another perspective.
Can you imagaine ever changing YOUR mind about having children?
Granted, either one of you could be infertile.
But otherwise, what if she marrys you thinking that SHE can change YOU?
Would I marry a man who didn't want children, or insist on children with a man who had basically grown up emotionally abused? Probably not...
Did my husband marry me knowing that I wouldn't have children?
Yes - the choice was his - in plenty of time to back out - and he's never made a big deal of it thank heavens...
At this point I would agree with the couple's counseling - this is too big an issue to not decide ahead of the marriage.
Asking if she will change or if you can change her is like asking what the winning lottery numbers for tomorrows drawing.
She might change. Many people do. To marry a person on the expectation they will change about a such a fundamentaly significant issue like kids and sex is like playing Russian roulette and hoping it doesn't go off when you are holding it..odds are in your favor, but do you really want to risk the potential consequences.
The question for you is, can you remain loyal, steadfast, and more importantly fully accepting if the odds go against you and she does not changer her position. You cannot end up saying, "what did I do - I always expected she would change". It is too late then.
Understand, I am not saying I don't think you and your family won't be an influence on her or that she won't modify her thoughts on the subjects, I am just saying you should not factor that in in deciding to marry her, as that would be a huge gamble and unfair to her.
Thanks for more advice. I especially like the Russian Roulette analogy - the odds that things will change seem good, but what if I guessed wrong...
I probably won't follow on the counseling advice (First of all its expensive, second I don't believe our priest can have much experience concerning marriage, thirdly I'm a strong believer in that when two people want to work things out they are able to do it themselves with enough patience and a reasonable approach), but I'm sure to get things straight about this during the next more serious discussions about marriage.
I do think that my parental drive will decrease with time, it lately seems to lean more towards teaching (I plan to stay at the university as a lecturer, possibly work part time as a high-school teacher) than actual bringing up of children.
well dont change your ways just to make her happy. make sure you think about what YOU want. otherwise im sure down the road you will regret having kids....i understand your reasons for no counseling...if you both want to make it work you can do it through your own desires.
My (ex)husband married me knowing that I had no desire to have children, even though he very much wanted them someday. I didn't dislike kids, I actually had 6 nieces and nephews at that stage that I loved dearly. But he made that choice, knowing that I might never change my feelings. 15 years later and a new relationship, and nearly 40, I very much want children. What changed my mind, nothing really in particular, just time, age, growing up. Nothing about being around other children, babies etc made any difference. Even now I am not one of these women who go all gaa gaa when a baby is around, and don't much feel like holding other peoples babies (family is differnt). I don't really feel maternal, but then what is that. I guess what I am saying is yes, she may change her mind as time goes on, never say never, but as most other people have replied, you cannot continue a relationship with the expectation that she will change her feelings or views. If my current partner had said that he didn't want children (or any more children) I would not have continued the relationship. But I tend to get everything out in the open early on. I know what I want, where I want to go, and want to be with someone that wants the same things. Don't lose what you really want, you can have everything. Good luck.
Hi there, I just wanted to let you know that I have exactly the same quandry.
Namely that i'm in a long term committed relationship with a woman I love very much.
We've talked about future plans, etc, but there are two big stumbling blocks.
One is that I definitely want to have at least 1 kid before, it doesn't even have to be soon, just sometime in the next 10 years. She was leaning towards not having them and as time goes on seems more and more determined that they aren't for her. She likes kids, but never wants to have one.
The difference here is that my girlfriend and I don't live together, in fact she hasn't even lived on her own for a very long time.
I love this woman, in every way I can see spending the rest of my life with her, but this always seems to rear it's ugly head.
Hmm, perhaps the love for this woman is more important than having kids?? What do you think? I can't blame you if your desire to have them is strong. In that case, I think you might have to look for another woman...I understand your dilemma. I used to think I wanted to get married and have kids. I lost a couple of men I truly loved because of it. THe end result? I"m still single, no kids, and no man I love. There are other men intersted in me who potentially want to have kids, but I can't fall in love with them, and frankly, I think I don't even care so much about kids anymore. It's so important to be with someone you "click" with. So, it's all relative and dependent on how much you're willing to compromise on. I personally could probably compromise on not ever having kids for the right man that I felt real connection with. It's so much more important to me now, but you might have different priorities, and that's OK too!