I’ve been dating a fantastic guy for the past six months. We’re just now starting to have the “state of the relationship” talks where we discuss our potential future together. During one of our recent conversations, I found out that he doesn’t want to have kids. I’m crushed. I’ve always wanted kids, but this guy is incredible; he has every quality I want in a partner (except the desire for a family) and I’ve never had such a solid, loving relationship with anyone else I’ve dated. I hate to keep moving forward if having a family is out of the question, but I’m devastated at the thought of not being with him. What should I do? —CH, Dallas, TX
The gay woman’s perspective: Jody Fischer
Congratulations on finding and co-creating a solid and loving relationship. It takes two, my dear, to make it work, so give yourself credit here too.
I’m not sure how in-depth your conversation was when you were discussing children, but here are some questions I hope you covered. Are you sure this is a firm 100 percent NO on his part? Did he say that having children is a deal breaker for him? Have you told him that having children is a big part of your heart? Does he get how essential this is for you? Is he open to adoption or foster children? What goals and dreams does he have? Do they fall in line with your own visions for yourself and your partner?
You say that you would be devastated to lose him. Would feelings that are equally intense come up for you if you made the choice to not have/raise children? Which one of these scenarios creates a bigger ache in your gut?
I’m glad you feel on solid and loving ground with him, but how long will you be on solid and loving ground with yourself if you don’t fulfill your strong desire to have a family? And you certainly can’t do that with a guy who is not supportive or involved in that dream.
I haven’t been in your situation, but I would imagine that if having kids was my burning desire, then I don’t think I could let that go, even for the right partner. And that’s the question I’m posing to you, CH. Live in the questions for a while and you will find what you need.
The straight man’s perspective: Chris Kennedy
The questions that start, “He’s perfect in every way but this one thing …” are always troublesome. That’s a pretty big but. That’s a J. Lo butt-but.
Can you change that one thing? I don’t think so. If family is important to you as you say, then this guy is not your future husband. He can still be fantastic, but he can’t be your husband. That’s hard to hear because you’ve built him up during these six months to be everything you’ve ever imagined. But now reality is rearing its he-doesn’t-want-to-have-kids head.
You can stay with this fantastic guy and continue to progress your relationship to the point where you get married, but only if you’re willing to not have kids. That’s what you have to decide. Can you deal with not having kids with this man?
Will he change his mind once he’s married and he gets older? Maybe. Should you stake the rest of your life and marriage on that maybe? I wouldn’t. Do you want to talk him into something he doesn’t really want to do? I wouldn’t. Do you want to raise kids in that environment? I wouldn’t.
You say you’ve always wanted kids. Now that you’ve told him that, he may start acting not so “fantastic” since he knows that you two may not be compatible. And you may start to feel less affinity for him knowing where he stands on this. Such is the process of relationships.
Since you’ve never really had a solid, loving relationship, I know that you may start to feel a bit hopeless here. I’m an optimist and believe you can have a solid, loving relationship with someone who wants kids. Most likely with someone other than this guy. You need to find a man who wants to be a Mr. Fantastic Husband and Father.
The straight girl’s perspective: Rebecca Brown
Everybody has their deal breakers. Bridget Jones tried to weed out alcoholics, workoholics, sexaholics, commitment-phobes, peeping toms, megalomaniacs, emotional fuckwits, and perverts, just to name a few. But sometimes it’s not that easy. Sometimes you find a genuine non-fuckwit, dreamboat Mark Darcy-type that you just can’t find common ground with on something that means absolutely everything to you. And then what?
You don’t say whether not having kids is a deal breaker for you. Is it? Have you ever sat down and really thought about the path your life would take if you didn’t have a family? Will you be able to handle it when your friends called to tell you they’re pregnant? Will you be jealous? Resentful? Or will you be able to find enough joy in spending time with other people’s children that you can move past all that? Is your relationship with this man fulfilling enough to make you give up that dream of having a family?
If not, you should end it with him. The sooner the better, because the longer this relationship goes on, the deeper your ties to him will be, making it harder and harder to end. But more importantly, the longer you’re with him, the longer you delay getting back into the dating world to find someone who does want a family.
As much as we sometimes want to, we can’t change other people. We’re only in control of our lives and our actions. Think hard about what you can’t live without and take control of your life accordingly. There’s someone out there who wants all the same things as you; I’m just not sure it’s the man you’re with now.
The gay man’s perspective: Darren Maddox
We always hear that relationships are hard work and they require compromise.
Sometimes it all comes down to how much we’re willing to actually compromise to make it work. We all have our ideal world in our heads involving the perfect house, the perfect car, or the perfect family. Sometimes we get those things and sometimes we don’t.
The four of us can type all day long to answer your question, but in reality, only you know the real answer. If you want to be with this person, then be with this person. If having a family is more important to you than being with this person, then you have to move on to search for Mr. Right who can give you what you are looking for. Just remember it’s only been six months. People change their minds about many issues over time. I know I have and I’ll guess you have as well. Be honest with your boyfriend. Instead of thinking you’re the one who has to do all the compromising for the sake of your relationship, remember there are two of you going through this, so do it together.