My husband told me he wanted kids – now he’s changed his mind. I feel betrayed, does this mean the end of my marriage?

Dear Evie, my husband of 3 years has changed his mind about having children. For context, we’ve been together for 8 years in total, and I’m now in my mid-30s. I was under the assumption that once we got on the property ladder, we’d think about having children. He always said he wanted to have them, and he’s well aware that I really want children one day. Last week, we got home from our niece’s birthday party, and I started talking about how nice it’ll be for her when we have children she can play with. I thought it was a good time since we moved into our new house a year ago and I thought we were both feeling pretty settled. But his reaction completely shocked me. He said that he’s been having doubts about whether he wants kids for the last year or so but didn’t want to say anything in case it was just cold feet, but now he’s pretty sure that he doesn’t want them. He said life is good as it is, so why would we want to change it? I feel utterly heartbroken. I thought we were on the same page, but now I have no idea what to do. I love him but I can’t see my life without kids in it. – Lilliane, CA. 

Dear Lilliane, 

I feel your heartbreak over this situation. It’s horrible to have a dream in mind, only for it to be shattered by someone else. You’re absolutely right to feel this way, but before we get into the details, it’s worth mentioning that your husband did the right thing by being honest (albeit, a bit late into the conversation). This shows he trusts you and feels secure enough to reveal his true feelings. 

Here’s the thing – people make plans, but over time, we change and evolve. While it’s completely fair that you want children, it’s equally fair for your husband to change his mind about them. You shouldn’t try to convince him or change his mind – the same way you wouldn’t want him to do the same to you. 

So the real question is – can you live a fulfilled life without children? Or, conversely, can he find fulfillment in becoming a parent? 

To determine this, you’ll need to have some tough conversations. As I mentioned before, stay away from trying to convince each other, but rather have open discussions where you’re both able to put forward your feelings. In a safe space, you can talk about your fears, desires, and how you see your lives in the future. 

Remember, in every relationship, you have three choices – accept it, change it, or leave it. If you decide to stay together, knowing fully well that children may not be in your shared future, that’s your choice to make. If you decide that your desire to have children is non-negotiable, that too is a valid choice. It’s about taking responsibility for your happiness and understanding that staying in a situation where your core needs aren’t met is also a choice.

But based on your email, it’s clear you’re set on the idea of having kids. If this is the case and there’s no room for movement on either side, I’m afraid there’s only one path to take. But before leaving your marriage, I’d suggest seeking the help of a counselor or therapist. It’s a huge life decision to make, and one you shouldn’t have to go through alone. 

Wishing you clarity and strength during this tough time, 

Evie 

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Ask Evie

Ask Evie

Evie is on a mission to revolutionize relationships and help you sort through your emotional woes. Her popular column helps readers break free from societal restraints and create empowering relationships - both with their inner selves and with those around them. With a wealth of experience in relationship counseling, backed by several professional certifications, she’s open-minded, big-hearted, and extremely compassionate… But she’ll also be completely honest in telling you the (sometimes) brutal truth, so you can get straight to the heart of the matter. Maybe you’re trying to save a marriage that currently feels like a sinking ship? Or worrying that your new friend isn’t quite as nice as they seem? Perhaps you’ve accidentally killed your partner’s goldfish and are weighing up the pros and cons of going to the pet store and finding a doppelganger, or fessing up? Whatever the dilemma, Evie’s at the ready to help sort through the emotional turmoil and guide you towards the next best step. To get in touch with Evie, click here.

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