Becoming a parent is a colossal decision. It is choosing to put yourself second for the foreseeable future. Many people realize this after the first child is already in the picture.
Unfortunately, this can change their view on building a bigger family. If your boyfriend or husband has a child but doesn’t want anymore, how do you navigate this conversation and come to a fair decision together?
Take A Step Back And Consider The Reason
When you approach your significant other with the idea of kids and he says no, he is not saying this to hurt you. Many people assume that if you have one kid, you will be open to more, but that is not always the case.
That is why it is extremely important to have this conversation before your relationship progresses. However, if your spouse suddenly changes his mind on the idea, try to remain calm and consider the reason for the change of heart.
Having another child is not only a major time commitment, but it is also a monetary one. It is possible that your husband is worried about how you two will support this baby financially, especially in situations where you may step away from work. That is a lot of pressure to place on one person.
Moreover, space is another factor that can sway his decision. Do you have room in your home and in your car for another person? How are you going to accommodate this change? Will it require more money being spent?
Furthermore, there is the worry that a new baby will put strain on the relationship that you have with your husband. Babies take all of your attention away. They limit your ability to travel, go on date nights and enjoy intimate moments.
Have An Open Discussion About Why He Does Not Want Anymore Children
It is important to remember that this is not just your decision to make. This is a life-changing choice that will impact both of you for the rest of your lives. Sit down and have an open and honest conversation about your feelings on this topic.
Consider his point of view and be understanding towards his concerns or misgivings about this choice.
Implement Active Listening
One of the best ways to get the most out of this exchange is to implement active listening. When engaging in this discussion, remove distractions, sit together at eye level and focus on what he is saying.
Additionally, use nonverbal communication throughout the exchange. Nod, smile, gesture, and lean into him as he expresses his feelings. Most importantly, let him speak without interruption.
Researchers at Harvard University have found that “speakers paired with good listeners (versus those paired with distracted listeners) felt less anxious, more self-aware, and reported higher clarity about their attitudes on the topics. […] Another benefit of high-quality listening is that it helps speakers see both sides of an argument (what we called “attitude complexity”).
Remember that one of the main purposes of active listening is to allow the speaker to build perspective and draw their own conclusions.
Once he has said his peace, have a constructive and reflective retort. This is best done in the form of a question. Remember that judgment, anger, and manipulation will only be detrimental to your cause.
Ask Beneficial Questions To Invoke Thought
“Listeners shape conversations by asking questions that benefit the speaker. Good listening requires being thoughtful about what the speaker needs help with most and crafting a question that would lead the speaker to search for an answer. Ask questions to help someone delve deeper into their thoughts and experiences.”
After the two of you discuss your reasons for wanting and not wanting another child, give the conversation time to stew. After a few weeks, revisit the topic with potential solutions to the issues that were discussed.
For all you know, the answer is not never, but just not right now. Patience is a virtue for a reason. Also, keep in mind that this may be a topic that requires a handful of discussions over time. It is not something that should be decided on lightly.
Talk To An Outside Party
Perspective is paramount in this discussion. If you don’t understand where the other person is coming from, it can be hard to come to an agreement. Sometimes this cannot be achieved alone. If you have tried talking out this issue with no avail, consider talking to a professional. This could be a church leader, an unbiased family friend, or a licensed therapist.
An outside take on this emotional issue can help to uncover underlying concerns that he may not even realize he is feeling. It may also give you the opportunity to really see things from a different angle. It is important to remember that this is a two-way street and marriage is a promise to compromise with one another.
One person’s happiness should never supersede the others. If you did not take the time to discuss this big decision prior to marriage, then it is not fair to be angry with him for his feelings on the topic. However, if his sentiments have changed over time, then they deserve to be discussed and reevaluated.
Make Hard Decisions
Even though he has a child that you are taking on as your own, there is something truly special about creating a life and sharing a bond with your own flesh and blood. This person is a piece of you and there is nothing quite like becoming a mother. Some people cannot live happily without this experience. If you are one of these people, it can lead to the need for a difficult choice.
However, before you make any rash decisions, let your partner know that without this child, you do not feel that you will ever truly be happy. Then let him know that you want to revisit this conversation in six months. If he still doesn’t want any more children, then consider other ways that you could fulfill this void. Moreover, think about if you can truly let this go and move on from the idea.
If this is something that you cannot live without and he is not willing to change his mind on, then you might have to make the tough choice to part ways.
Living in resentment will only put a strain on your marriage that will likely lead to this inevitable decision anyways. However, it is imperative that you give him fair and ample time to ponder the decision to have more children before ripping off this bandaid.
Women have a clock that is constantly ticking. Unlike men, the decision to have a child cannot wait forever. Make a point to openly communicate your feelings on this choice regularly.
People are allowed to be nervous, fearful, and worried. They are also allowed to change their mind. Be open to his thoughts and emotions and reach out to others who have gone through similar scenarios.