Ask Kirsten: What if my boyfriend doesn’t want kids?

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My boyfriend has never been much a kid person, but I absolutely love kids. I’ve asked him a ton of times if he wants kids and he says he will in a few years, but not now. I totally get that — I don’t want kids for a few years either — but it seems like he’s just saying that to appease me. He’s never shown interest in kids and actually thinks they’re pretty annoying. What should I do about it?

Take care, Future Mom

Hi Future Mom,

Good for you for delving a little deeper into this issue with your boyfriend. Many people sweep their compatibility concerns under the rug because they are in such a hurry to reach the promised land of white picket fences and marital bliss.  They often think, Oh, we’ll work this stuff out later, or He’ll get on track with my plans somewhere down the line.

Not necessarily. In her book, Lies at the Altar: The Truth About Great Marriages, Dr. Robin L. Smith explains that a large percentage of women (and probably just as many men) lose touch with their own identity and desires because they are in such a hurry to find a life partner. People often ignore major red flags –  they’re focused on how hot their fiancé is or what color they are going to paint the dining room walls in their new home. In Dr. Smith’s book, she provides 276 questions that you and your partner really should ask each other before tying the knot. She recommends that couples sit down and have deep, intimate discussions about their wants, desires and plans in order to make sure they are headed down the same yellow brick road. It’s also wise to talk about your beliefs and philosophies on everything from religion to pets to end-of-life care.

OK, I’m getting a little morbid here, and you asked about babies. My point is that you should definitely talk to your man about your deep desire to be a mother and explore this topic in more depth. Let him know that this is a subject you feel strongly about and that you really need to know where he stands. You might be surprised. Just because he isn’t a big fan of kids now, doesn’t mean that he doesn’t want to be a dad later. I see this quite a bit – men and women who find other people’s offspring annoying or intimidating but suddenly become kid-whisperers when they have children of their own. If your mate insists that babies are part of his master plan, believe him. He will most likely morph into an amazing father and co-parent when he holds his baby for the first time.

Sincerely, Kirsten

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Ask Kirsten on As One Loves is published as a community service with the intention of addressing reader-submitted questions about relationship issues. Written by Kirsten Brunner, MA, LPC, a licensed professional counselor, this column is not a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, medical treatment, or actual psychotherapy. Always seek the advice of a licensed mental health professional, without delay and in person, regarding questions you may have about any mental health symptom or medical condition. Never disregard other professional advice because of something you have read on Reader-submitted questions are anonymous to protect the questioner’s identity, chosen by the As One Loves team, and may be edited for spelling, grammar, clarity, and length.

Is this a discussion in your relationship? Have you talked about future kids? Or do you have kids and want to share your experience deciding to have them with your partner?

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Author: Kirsten Brunner

Kirsten Brunner is a Licensed Professional Counselor who has provided couples therapy and life coaching for 19 years. On her website, Baby Proofed Parents, Kirsten delivers relationship and emotional health advice to expectant and new parents. Kirsten is a regular contributor to Huffington Post, Scary Mommy and TODAY Parents. Her writing has also been featured in The Atlantic, Real Simple Magazine and Mamalode. She works with clients, in person and over Skype, with a specific focus on strengthening communication between couples. Kirsten lives in Austin, TX with her husband, two sons and her dog, Jake (Yup, she is definitely outnumbered.)

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  • You provided very good advice to the young person wanting children. Everything should be discussed in depth before making a final commitment. Prior to every discussion, each individual should also consider wants versus needs. Maybe I should say, moderate wants versus very important wants. I always knew I wanted children and would have felt terribly cheated with a mate who did not share this value. Another way to consider wants is to ask, “What am I willing to negotiate and what will be a deal-breaker.”

    • Great advice from an amazing women who has observed a lot of relationships in her life! Thanks so much for your input!