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psychlady, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 6893
Experience:  Psychotherapist specializing in the treatment of a variety of mental health issues.
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I've been in a great relationship for 10 years. My

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Hello, I've been in a great relationship for 10 years. My girlfriend and I have been living together for the past 6 years. She is 31 and I'm 30 years old. We love each other very much and neither of us can imagine living without each other. It just recently occurred to us that we don't want the same thing when it comes to the topic of children. In March, my girlfriend essentially gave me an ultimatum. Either guarantee that we will have kids by the time she is 35 or we break up. I battled with the decision but I couldn't imagine living without her, so I said yes. Kids are the last thing I want now, but I figured perhaps in 4-5 years, I'll be ok with it. Fast forward 6 months and we're back to where we were. On Monday I told my girlfriend that ever since March I've been having extreme anxiety about having children. So much anxiety that I feel more uncertain about changing my mind in 4 years. I should note that I think I do want to have had kids at some point in my life, I just can't imagine starting in 4-5 years as I can't deal with the stress, responsibility, etc.  I still can't imagine living without her and I can't bare the thought of making her upset or sad. She's offered to raise the child literally by herself and take all responsibility so that I'm not overwhelmed. This is not something I necessarily want as I want to be a good father. I'm considering saying "yes" to the ultimatum again and hoping that I change my mind in 4 years. The problem is, if I feel the same way I cannot say "no" to children and ruin my girlfriends chance at family. Of course, if I were to say "yes" we would get married. I'm really at a loss as to what to do. I'm trying to figure out a way to make myself want children but I can't. Any help is appreciated. Thank you, Todd

If you don't want children you have to first be honest with yourself. If you don't want children than you don't want children. People who know this about themselves often feel this way for the rest of their lives. There is no crime in not wanting children. This could change as you grow older. You wouldn't be the first person who changed their mind. However if you feel strongly now you should not guarantee anything that you are not willing to do. It is not fair to you or her. Taking care of a child is not the issue. You may simply not have the paternal instinct that needs to be satisified that others have. I understand your situation but you shouldn't do anything you don't want to do. If she loves you enough she will find a solution that works for both of you even if it means that one of you gives more than the other. I would tell her that you don't wish to have children and that may or may not change. Let her make her decision but don't make empty promises. Be true to yourself.

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Thank you for your reply. I can tell that you put a great deal of thought into it. This may seem like an "odd" question...but I'm having trouble figuring out if I "do" want kids. How does one know when they want kids? Is there any sort of a test that will help me figure this out?



Nothing about this is odd. People struggle with this everyday. There is no test but use your patience to write down what pros and cons you find in having children. These are different for everyone but give you the ability to see where your emotions lie. Cons can be lack of sleep, finances, colleges, babysitters, lack of intimacy versus unconditional love, a legacy, etc. You have to decide what bothers you on either side and where your emotions fall.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Right, makes sense. Sorry for using up your time, just one more question before I call it a day. I moved to Miami for my girlfriend and I really don't like the city. I wake up every day wishing I could move to California. I'm starting to think that perhaps I can't envision a life with children because I'm in Miami. I wonder if my dislike for my living scenario has some how influenced my desire to have children. I'm thinking of heading to California for a month to think things over, but I'm worried that a) this will not help and b) the long distance will strain our relationship even further.

What is your opinion?


Never using up my time but glad to help. There is a possibility that you don't want children but also possible that you hate where you live and this is really about being unhappy overall. Your ability to see yourself with children can be influenced by other parts of your life. Long distance often does strain a relationship but a strong relationship is not going to be destroyed within a month. It would give you a chance to get a fresh perspective. Just let her know you this is going to be brief. It may not solve your huge decision about children but it would give you a chance to think without other stressors. You may instead have a few sessions with a relationship counselor and use this on a minimal level to really decide what you want. You may find this helpful because you can both go together.
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