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I want a baby, my partner doesn’t

If you want children and your long-term boyfriend doesn't, where does that leave you? Should you leave him and take a chance on meeting someone new? Or stay and hope he might change his mind? Psychologist Linda Papadopoulos has some questions to ask when you stand at a crossroads

by Psychologies

Reasons to stay

 

  • You have a strong bond. If you can still see reasons to stay despite wanting a different path in life, you must have a strong bond. It may not be rational, but it must be considered.
  • Children in the family. Being an aunt, uncle or godparent can offer a great deal of fulfilment and, while it doesn’t replace the wish to have a child of your own, it might help you deal with the sacrifice while maintaining your relationship.
  • People can change their minds. Perhaps this isn’t the right time for your partner to make such a big choice. It is fair to keep the discussion open, but patience is crucial. Ask your partner why they don’t want children; maybe they have issues about parenthood and need to seek help. Also, think about why you want children and consider the impact they will have on your life.

Reasons to go

  • Resentment. Conceding ground on such an important issue may leave one or both of you resentful – feeling as though your partner deems your lifelong happiness less important than their own. If it is non-negotiable, have the strength to stick to it.
  • Your child’s wellbeing. If your partner agrees to have a child with you, then maybe feels unable to cope with being a parent, it could be detrimental to your child’s wellbeing. Plus, every time your child causes difficulty or tension in the household, the feeling that you are responsible could exacerbate it.
  • Fertility issues. See a fertility doctor who can advise you. You may also not be able to wait psychologically – being ready to have a child is a powerful emotion and can manifest itself in feelings of emptiness should it be frustrated.

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Photograph: iStock