Had lunch with two old friends yesterday. Two of us started our careers together, the third was our mentor. Neither has changed in over 20 years! Definitely a treasured friendship!
One of them mentioned that he and his wife recently separated, after almost 5 years of marriage. Sad because of the reason behind the split. She decided she wanted to have children, he has staunchly maintained from their first date that he did not want to have kids. She had a change of heart recently, and the rest was predictable.
It is such a huge decision — to have or not have children. I have seen many people over the years struggle with it. More times than not, however, there is a disturbing trend that emerges — women who think they can persuade/coax/change their boyfriend/husband/partners’ mind one way or the other. And it is usually women, though I’m sure many men have tried.
I really believe you either want to have kids or you don’t. Period. There is no convincing, coercing, conniving required. And if you have to use any means of manipulation, there is a problem. That is a red flag. Do not ignore it because it will come back to haunt you. And if it does, it will likely be messy.
It should be one of the first conversations people who are dating have because it is so huge with so many ramifications. If one person in the couple wants kids, why would they waste a second of their time with someone who doesn’t. Of course that is a difficult decision, if you feel you’ve found your soulmate, however, the alternative — not having children — is far worse.
Over the years I’ve had friends live through this pain. It is so sad to watch. In one case, the man desperately wanted children but was willing to sacrifice that for his wife. Then one day, after 25+ years together she got up and left the union. She had found someone else. The former partner was devastated. So sad because he would have been an outstanding father — just one of those things you could tell every time he was in the presence of a child.
Pretending, one way or the other, ends up causing pain.
As for my friend, he was honest with his feelings from the get-go. Never changed them. She clearly was not honest, hence the heartache. He’s left reeling asking “what could I have done differently.” The answer is nothing.