From a recent Dear Prudence column:
You can read Prudie’s reply here (which I mostly disagree with). Keep reading for my advice.
No, it’s not “fair” to end a marriage simply because you want kids when you and your husband married in part with the mutual understanding that you DIDN’T want kids. It’s not fair in the same way it’s not fair some people get sick and some people don’t or some women can get pregnant really easily and some can’t or some people were born into privilege and never have to worry about money while others work really hard and still can’t pay their bills. Life isn’t fair. It’s full of bad decisions and changed minds and mistakes that can’t be taken back. But just because it wouldn’t be fair to end a marriage because you might want a baby doesn’t mean you should stay in a union that can’t make you as happy as you might be outside of it.
But that’s the thing, isn’t it? You can’t really know if you’d be happier ending your marriage or not. You don’t even know for sure that you DO want kids. Maybe you do and maybe you don’t. Maybe what you really need is a dog. Or maybe you do truly want a child, but do you want a child more than you want your husband? It seems like an unfair (there’s that word again) comparison, but, essentially, it’s what you need to decide. Is your hypothetical baby more important to you than your very real husband and marriage? And if you left your husband and never found someone else you loved as much or wanted to have a baby with, are you prepared to be a single parent? Is having a baby that important to you?
My advice: go to a therapist to help you process these feelings and questions; consider getting a dog; re-visit the idea of ending your marriage in six months and see how you feel. If the baby-wanting is still as strong, start talking divorce with your husband. But if the desire is waning, think about what a wonderful life and marriage you can have without having children. Yes, children are wonderful. As a mom, I can say that my son has added more to my life than I imagined. But it’s not always fun and it’s not always great, and I do believe my husband and I would have been perfectly happy and content just the two of us if we hadn’t been lucky enough to have Jackson, and maybe the same could be said for you and your spouse.
What I would absolutely NOT do is blame your husband or somehow try to coerce him into becoming a father. THAT is not only unfair, it’s wrong. Your husband was honest with you about what he wanted and he hasn’t wavered. YOU are the one who has maybe changed her mind. Your husband will have to pay for that if you decide to end the marriage, but he shouldn’t have to pay by having a child he doesn’t want to have.
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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].