There are many disparities in a marriage that seem insurmountable but can often be fixed with honest communication. Sadly, child-rearing isn’t one of them. Is it wrong to get a divorce if your partner doesn’t want a child?
If you want children and your partner does not, it’s time to sit down and give some serious thought to your desires. The decision to have children is a two yes, one no situation, which means that both parties must be on board. Your partner has every right not to want children, and if this is their stance, you have to respect that.
Honestly, this is one of those all-important things that should be discussed before tying the knot, but you’re not alone in assuming your life would take a certain course when the time was right, only to find that your partner disagrees. However, an off-the-cuff comment about not wanting kids shouldn’t be taken at face value. There’s a careful balance to finding out for sure, of course, so let’s walk through it.
What to do If your partner does not want a child? Get Divorced?
First, you need to be absolutely certain this is insurmountable before you consider divorce. That said, there shouldn’t be any coercion or ultimatums put on the table. You need to sit down and talk with your partner without laying any blame or bringing emotions into it.
Make sure by the end that you are clear on how they feel and why. Some people are just scared they’ll be bad parents. Some people aren’t ready for children at the moment but are willing to consider them in the future.
Some people are 100% sure they never want children. It’s a very personal decision, and the feelings around it are often subconscious. Let’s break those three scenarios down.
If Your Partner is Scared to have children
During your discussion, if it comes to light that your partner is simply scared of their ability to parent, this is something you might be able to work through. First of all, it’s completely normal to be scared of parenting.
Many of us grew up in less than ideal family situations, and no one knows how to parent until they get hands-on experience. Those two situations coupled together can create an automatic “no” that might change.
Similarly, the unknown can be terrifying, as can the knowledge that children completely upend life as you know it. Your partner may be struggling with childhood trauma that can be addressed in therapy. However, you cannot demand they seek professional help.
If they are interested in getting professional help, there are some great online therapy options.
They must do so on their own, or it can become a chasm in your relationship. You can ask if they’re willing to go to marriage counseling, though. If your alternative is divorce, it’s a good idea to speak together with a professional that can help both of you sort the emotions surrounding the issue of becoming parents.
Ready to Wait
If you’ve spoken with your partner and they’ve expressed a future desire might be possible, you need to discuss what waiting entails. If you’re young and just starting on the path of marriage, you can talk about putting a time frame that you both agree to in effect.
Yes, this seems like a clinical approach, but it allows you to make plans and set up expectations without pressuring your partner.
That said, some people might agree to wait simply to avoid a confrontation at the moment. If your partner seems reluctant to agree to this, take note. As I said before, you both must be on board and have only the usual reservations.
Again, waiting is fine for a younger couple, but at some point, waiting isn’t an option anymore. The offer to wait is simply a stalling mechanism with empty meaning.
This point is different for everyone, but if you’re in your late thirties and they want to wait ten years, that’s a pretty clear sign. If this is the case, you have three choices. Either you get divorced and start over with someone else, you part ways and have a child on your own, or you don’t have children and fulfill your desire in some other way.
Regardless of your age, it’s possible that you might not be willing to wait. That’s okay. You have every right to be ready for children; you just have to come to terms with the fact it won’t be with your current partner. In this case, divorce is your only option. Still, before you put things in motion, be sure this is what you want.
100% Against Having Children
If the discussion results in a clear message that they do not want children, ever, you need to accept that. I know it might seem like your world is ending, but this is life, and not everything goes to plan.
This is when you really need to do some soul searching. For one, you don’t want to regret not having children, but for two, you don’t want to regret leaving your partner. It’s time to decide if this is a deal-breaker for you.
It’s called “a hill to die on.” If this is your hill, if you absolutely cannot see yourself growing old without children, then you have your answer.
Your happiness matters just as much as your partner’s does. Many people are willing to sacrifice their happiness for the sake of others, but in today’s world, it’s okay to find your resolve and stick to it. It won’t be easy or painless, but it will be okay.
Still, you need to consider what this means for your future. Are you willing to start over? Do you want to try parenting alone? Both are viable options, but neither one will happen overnight or come without its trials.
The Other Side
Much of this article is focused on finding out whether or not your partner is willing to change their minds, and if not, what you can do. However, it’s entirely possible to live a fulfilling life without children.
Many couples choose not to have children for various reasons. If you are willing to consider the possibility of not having kids of your own, you can begin looking into ways to meet that need you feel inside.
There are tons of volunteering opportunities and professions that will help you shape the lives of children and make connections with the new generations being born. True, it’s not quite the same, but if you’re secure in your relationship, then it’s a possibility you shouldn’t discount immediately.
The Bottom Line on Divorce and children
If you are struggling with this decision, you can seek professional help, just as I previously suggested for your partner.
A lot of these emotions and arguments will swirl in your head and pull you in different directions, and gathering clarity on your reasoning and having absolute resolve is imperative before you make a choice one way or the other. Getting divorced is a huge decision that should never be taken lightly.
You can also confide in a few trusted friends or family members and see what they think. If you have a go-to person, speak with them about your desires, worries, and fears.
You’ll need them for support regardless of your choice, and having someone in your corner can make a huge difference when it comes to the mental health struggle of choosing to live childless or getting divorced. There will be many highs and many lows in either case, and it’s best to prepare.
As always, thank you for coming here for advice. Please understand that you are not alone in these struggles. We wish you the best moving forward and hope you find happiness one way or the other.