“We Broke Up Because He Wanted Kids, But Now He Says He Can Live Without Them”

From the forums:

My ex-boyfriend and I broke up two months ago. We were together for nine years, and by year five I had grown more uncomfortable with our situation. He has always wanted children and I have been more ambivalent around having kids due to the fact that I enjoy my freedom, and I also knew that we had different parenting styles. He assured me not to worry and that he was devoted to our relationship.

Fast forward to last August: He brought up wanting children, but not with me. Up until this point things were going really well, so I had imagined that if an accident were to ever happen, or if we were to even plan it out, it’s something we could make work. We started discussing our different parenting styles: his being more traditional and wanting a very sacrificing mother for his kids and my wanting to make sure my emotional needs would be met by having some self-care around having children. I suggested therapy and he said he understood my needs, but this parenting style wouldn’t work for him.

He seemed like he was ready to leave the relationship at this point. I had a lot of family issues going on around this time with a sister who was diagnosed with cancer and another one with a mental health disorder, so I was very fragile. He said we could give it some time to see if this was a decision that he really wanted as he always said I was the love of his life and that he would have a hard time moving on from me so we agreed to give it a year for him to come to his decision.

As time passed, I realized I was struggling and unhappy in the relationship because I felt like I was just waiting to be chosen by him. He saw that I was starting to back away, so he proceeded to say things that gave me a lot of hope that he was choosing me. A couple months later he brought up the fact of wanting children again. I had told him I thought he had made a choice (me) and he said he hadn’t fully made that choice yet.

I knew I could no longer be in the relationship anymore and told him that it was best that we end things and he moves out. He was caught off guard, and he started backtracking around wanting kids. He went and got fertility tested because he knew he always had low testosterone, and his results indicated he would most likely need IVF to conceive a child. He told me that he wouldn’t want to go down the IVF route and that he doesn’t want to lose me. I told him that I believe that he’s speaking more from heartbreak of losing the relationship than actually not wanting kids, and in order for me to ever trust that he doesn’t want kids I would need time.

We agreed to go our separate ways and not speak for six months, and I told him by next year we could reconnect and see where each of us was at that point in our lives. The more time that passes I see that it is harder for me to trust putting myself back in that situation. I’m also afraid that in six months time I may hear everything that I want to hear, such as he really knows he doesn’t want kids and he wants to be with me. I just don’t know if I can ever trust it again and would love some advice. — Should I Move On?

Ooh, boy, it’s time to cut the cord on this relationship and move on already. Nine years is a really long time to be with someone and it might take a while before you feel totally disentangled; it’s a wise move to go no-contact as you re-establish your independence and learn who you are outside of being this guy’s girlfriend.

I give you a lot of credit for being clear about what you want and what you don’t want, including what kind of parenting style you’d embrace. So many people who *want* to have kids don’t even have that part figured out, much less have communicated their ideals with their partner. You and your ex were able to be clear with each other about how you pictured a family dynamic with kids should you have them, and your pictures are wildly different. And that’s IF you were even on the same page of wanting kids in the first place and you aren’t.

It’s time to move on and take the lessons you learned from this relationship and let them inform the dynamics you create with other people in your life going forward. You know that waiting for someone else to choose you isn’t what you want – and why would it be? – and good for you for stepping outside that dynamic. Because of that courage, you won’t be just an option; you’ll be the person someone actively chooses. And the first person choosing you is… YOU.

Give yourself credit for getting out of a very long relationship because you knew it was no longer serving you. So many stay where they’re no longer fulfilled because they’re scared of the unknown or they’re scared of being alone. Being in an unfulfilling relationship is much worse than being alone. You know that already, so this is just a reminder. You did the right thing. Going back now, or going back a year from now, would undo the decision you summoned the courage to make. So don’t do that. Just keep on living, same as you are now. Enjoy your freedom and the thrill of knowing that the possibilities for a fulfilling life are endless.


  1. LisforLeslie says:

    I said in the forums that it’s really sus for a young man who is with a woman who doesn’t want children to get a fertility test. The more I think about it, the more I think about baby-trapping.

    You need to move forward, and find someone who appreciates all that you are and all that you bring to the relationship, instead of someone who will likely resent “settling” for a life without children.

  2. Not on the same page and never will be. Move on. You are already unhappy with the relationship. Way past time to cut the cord.

  3. Anonymous says:

    He is being manipulative. Don’t fall into his trap.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *