We often hear stories about women who find themselves in relationships with men who don’t want children; however, we rarely hear of situations where it’s the other way around. Recently, a Reddit member turned to the popular message board to let off some steam about his impending divorce. Two months ago, the poster, who we’ll call “Jim,” learned that his 28-year-old wife of four years isn’t interested in having children anymore because she believes that pregnancy and caring for a child will take away from her career, and she’s no longer sure if she’s willing to make that sacrifice.
Apparently, when the two tied the knot four years ago, they were both up for having children after 2 years of marriage, but somewhere around their 2 year anniversary and his 30th birthday, Jim began to notice that his wife was second guessing the whole kids thing.
I was starting to get worried. I expected to have had at least one child by now. I don’t know why I never talked to her about her; we had always been candid about having children together, and I couldn’t possibly think of why she would change her mind. All her excuses seemed perfectly reasonable, but now I was getting the inkling that they were just excuses. So we talked about it. I sat her down and told her that I was 30, and I felt I really wanted to have kids before a certain age had passed. We would both be perfect parents: we’re happy together, we have a spacious home, both she and I have very high-paying jobs and could be considered wealthy, and her parents live 20 minutes away so they can always help out. That’s when she told me she wasn’t sure she wanted kids anymore. She said she felt a pregnancy and then giving birth and caring for a baby would take too much away from the career she was building. I was crushed.
Jim offered to be a stay-at-home dad to prevent his wife from missing too much work, but she remained on the fence. The couple eventually decided to file for divorce. And apparently, they’re both pretty broken up about it. But what’s a couple to do when the both parties realize that they’re envisioning two completely different lives?
After about a month of a lot of talking, we came to a conclusion: there was no getting around the issue. Our relationship was, essentially, over. I still think she’s attractive, amazing, intelligent, funny, and one of the most interesting people in the world, which is why I told her that, for the sake of any future relationships, it’s best we avoid contact as much as possible. Because we didn’t break up over a fight or infidelity but for a rational reason, it would be too easy for us to fall in love again or something and continue the cycle.
I can’t blame her for anything more than I can blame myself, and she’s handled it all very well. We’re truly having a “velvet divorce,” if you could call it that. Splitting everything we’ve saved together as evenly as we can, selling the apartment and each of us moving somewhere else. All of mine will remain mine, and hers will remain hers. She doesn’t want it to be any harder than I do. Both of us have our lawyers, of course, but it’s being handled with transparency and fairness as much as we can.
And yet it still hurts inside. When we finally agreed to file, I sat down and cried, thinking that I had just pushed away the most wonderful person in my life–the person closest to me and most sincere to me–over my life goal. And then the next day I realized she had ceased to be that person to me not on the day we divorced, but on the day she changed her mind on something that affected both of us and didn’t even try to tell me. Our relationship was already dying since it lacked the trust and communication a step like that required. I think that’s what’s actually hurting me the most.
Have you ever found yourself in a position where you had to choose between your partner and your long-term happiness? What did you decide to do?