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Wedding Woes

Neither of you are wrong, but it may be the end.

Dear Prudence,

A year and a half ago, my wife and I quit our jobs after saving to travel the world. It had been our dream since we met, but in the lead-up to travel, her biological clock went off. Six months into our travels, her brother got his girlfriend pregnant, and my wife suddenly realized she wanted children desperately. We bought a house with plenty of room to grow and resettled down. We got pregnant on our first try but lost the pregnancy at eight weeks. It was heartbreaking for us and especially hard on her. It took until that moment for me to realize that this isn’t what I want. Not even a little. It wasn’t part of the deal.

I hadn’t misled her on this point either. We had both agreed that children weren’t a priority for us. I still want to see the world, and she wants to have a family now. I don’t want a life without her, but I know I’m not enough for her anymore. I feel, at bare minimum, a duty to give her what she wants. I don’t know if I have it in me to stick around in this middle-class suburban life long enough to raise children, but at our age I don’t know that she will ever get a family without me. The way I see it I have two choices: her being a shattered person without children, or me living for the day our kids leave when we are in our 50s. I think there is a very real possibility that this will end our marriage either way. It isn’t what either of us want, but we can’t find a compromise in this scenario. Is it wrong for me to give her what she wants, knowing that our marriage will probably dissolve before the children are out of diapers?

—A Fork in the Cul-de-sac

Re: Neither of you are wrong, but it may be the end.

  • What the hell does "Children weren't a priority" mean?  Cleaning isn't a priority of mine but I do it.   Were kids a "never ever" or were they a "let's talk about that after X time."

    LW needs to be honest with his spouse and then they need to figure out where to go from there.   He absolutely should NOT continue to stay in a relationship and father children if he has no interest in being a father at all.   But he paints a dark picture here and I think he needs to do some thinking.   You can travel with kids.   Some places with kids are terrible and some aren't.   But you need to determine what your life is doing and then make some choices.   None of them are easy but living a resentful life sounds like it's a recipe to end the marriage. 
    mrsconn23charlotte989875eileenrobInLoveInQueens
  • There are people out there who act like having kids is 'so hard' and they limit themselves to the things they are willing to do 'with kids' vs. things they could do 'with kids'.  My BIL is like this.  He's getting better, but they still act sometimes like they're so limited because of the kids. 

    DH and I have always been much more flexible and very, "have kids, will travel" about it all.  Both our kids are great road-trippers.  We've had some bad trips, but never let anything scare us off from continuing to travel with them.  (Even the great puke-a-thon of 2014, where it was 6 hours of horrendous traffic with a puking toddler who ended up sharing the bug with me and DH). 

    But I think LW's issue is much deeper than all of the above.  He should definitely tell his wife ASAP, because god forbid they get pregnant again.  He's being cruel every second he's not honest with her about how he feels regarding their future and that he does not see children as part of that for him. 
    ShesSoColdcharlotte989875eileenrobahoywedding
  • mrsconn23 said:
    There are people out there who act like having kids is 'so hard' and they limit themselves to the things they are willing to do 'with kids' vs. things they could do 'with kids'.  My BIL is like this.  He's getting better, but they still act sometimes like they're so limited because of the kids. 

    DH and I have always been much more flexible and very, "have kids, will travel" about it all.  Both our kids are great road-trippers.  We've had some bad trips, but never let anything scare us off from continuing to travel with them.  (Even the great puke-a-thon of 2014, where it was 6 hours of horrendous traffic with a puking toddler who ended up sharing the bug with me and DH). 

    But I think LW's issue is much deeper than all of the above.  He should definitely tell his wife ASAP, because god forbid they get pregnant again.  He's being cruel every second he's not honest with her about how he feels regarding their future and that he does not see children as part of that for him. 
    Completely agree.

    Kids were always on the table for us.   The only question was how many.   If the LW refuses to see kids in his life in any enjoyable way he needs to end this all now.   
    mrsconn23eileenrobahoywedding
  • It sounds like they have already discussed this problem and, unfortunately, are at a point where they both want a very different life.

    They should at least try marriage counseling.  "Not a priority" is not the same thing as "never wanting kids".  I can't help but wonder if they'd already completed the world travel extravaganza they'd originally planned, if he'd feel ready to have children.  Or if the miscarriage was truly an epiphany of him realizing "whoa, uh oh, I don't want children ever."

    And, while I don't think either person is wrong, he isn't being honest with himself when he says he "hasn't misled her".  No, he didn't purposely mislead her.  But, reading between the lines, it sounds like children had always been at least a "definite maybe".  They were literally TRYING to have a child when she got pregnant.  And it was only after that, he realized he doesn't want to have children. 

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    mrsconn23eileenrobSTARMOON44ahoywedding
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    If he really doesn't want to be a father, then he owes his wife the courtesy of speaking up and saying so honestly. And then he needs to either leave the marriage or stay and accept that fatherhood is on the horizon and be an involved, caring father.

    But no half-baked BS excuses like "I want to see the world" instead of "I don't want to be a father."
    eileenrob
  • “but at our age I don’t know that she will ever get a family without me.”

    if she wants kids, there are plenty of ways to have them that don’t involve this guy. 
    There's such an arrogance in his statement too.   How old are they that if it's not with him it's just not possible?
    mrsconn23STARMOON44charlotte989875eileenrob
  • banana468 said:
    “but at our age I don’t know that she will ever get a family without me.”

    if she wants kids, there are plenty of ways to have them that don’t involve this guy. 
    There's such an arrogance in his statement too.   How old are they that if it's not with him it's just not possible?
    Took the words out of my mouth.  It's almost as if he's like, "Maayybbbee if I string her along for enough time, she'll 'age' out of fertility or the desire to have kids."  Ugh.  The more I think about this and read y'alls perspectives, the more I want to tell the wife to DTMFA.   Split assets, LW can liquidate his share and travel to his heart's content. 

    He references being in their '50's' before life can 'begin' again for them...so I'm assuming they are in their mid to late 30's. 
    charlotte989875eileenroblevioosaahoywedding
  • banana468 said:
    “but at our age I don’t know that she will ever get a family without me.”

    if she wants kids, there are plenty of ways to have them that don’t involve this guy. 
    There's such an arrogance in his statement too.   How old are they that if it's not with him it's just not possible?
    It’s so patronizing. No, you’re not that special, you don’t get bonus points for staying with her when you don’t want to. 
    levioosaahoywedding
  • But did they really agree on it?  It sounds like the baby discussion was ambiguous at best. 

    And maybe he's not patronizing but it's short sighted.   

    Then again, I roll my eyes at letters like this to Prudie.   Clearly what you need to do when in a major conundrum is to write a letter you can only hope makes it to major publication.   Talking about it with your spouse is crazypants.
  • banana468 said:
    “but at our age I don’t know that she will ever get a family without me.”

    if she wants kids, there are plenty of ways to have them that don’t involve this guy. 
    There's such an arrogance in his statement too.   How old are they that if it's not with him it's just not possible?
    It’s so patronizing. No, you’re not that special, you don’t get bonus points for staying with her when you don’t want to. 

    That also struck me as a weird thing to say and rubbed me the wrong way.  And now you're all's comments are making me think about it more.

    Now I'm rooting for the wife to DTMFA and show him just how fast she can get over him!  Then grab the life she wants with a great guy who is on her same page.

    Or do it on her own.  That sounds like a much better life than dragging along her H, who would be a reluctant father and resent her for it.

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • banana468 said:
    But did they really agree on it?  It sounds like the baby discussion was ambiguous at best. 

    And maybe he's not patronizing but it's short sighted.   

    Then again, I roll my eyes at letters like this to Prudie.   Clearly what you need to do when in a major conundrum is to write a letter you can only hope makes it to major publication.   Talking about it with your spouse is crazypants.
    But if it was ambiguous then he’s not “wrong” for not wanting a baby. It sounds like they both, initially, had grand plans for seeing the world and she suddenly decided she wanted kids. 

    I get that he said yes to the kids and the house in the suburbs, but seems like they both changed their minds about the vision they had for their lives, but he’s the only one getting flack for it. 
    VarunaTTCasadenaMyNameIsNotPrettyGirlLost
  • I think y'all are being far too nice to the woman in this situation.  She's the one who changed her mind.  "Children weren't a priority" to "children are a must" is a swing. He doesn't deserve lambasting b/c he's had the carpet ripped out from under him and isn't totally mature, wise, and sound dealing with it.
    charlotte989875cupcait927MyNameIsNotPrettyGirlLost
  • VarunaTT said:
    I think y'all are being far too nice to the woman in this situation.  She's the one who changed her mind.  "Children weren't a priority" to "children are a must" is a swing. He doesn't deserve lambasting b/c he's had the carpet ripped out from under him and isn't totally mature, wise, and sound dealing with it.
    We must have posted this same feeling at the same time.  ;)

    i think society writ large is far more accepting of the switch from no kids to kids than it is the other way around. Or if people who say no kids from the beginning. 
    VarunaTTMyNameIsNotPrettyGirlLost
  • I do agree that they both need to be more honest with each other and it does sound like she's the one who made the shift in priority.

    My gripe isn't with his change of mind but in his phrasing about it.  
    mrsconn23short+sassyeileenrobahoywedding
  • Neither one of them are wrong for their feelings.  I also believe they love each other deeply.  

    She has been up front with him about her feelings and that her goals for her life have changed.  She wants kids. 

    I do think that he needs to lay his cards on the table now.  He cannot hope she'll change her mind or that she'll age out of being able to have her own babies.  He is misleading her if he continues to stay married to her, knowing he doesn't want kids to the point where he was relieved she miscarried, and doesn't say anything.  

    IDK their sex life, but if she's wanting to get pregnant, she's likely not on any birth control.  If they aren't using any barrier, he's taking a risk by being intimate with her since she was able to conceive. 

    I don't doubt this is hard for him, but I really think he needs to share what he's feeling ASAP.   The chips are going to fall where they may. 

    charlotte989875banana468eileenrob
  • VarunaTT said:
    I think y'all are being far too nice to the woman in this situation.  She's the one who changed her mind.  "Children weren't a priority" to "children are a must" is a swing. He doesn't deserve lambasting b/c he's had the carpet ripped out from under him and isn't totally mature, wise, and sound dealing with it.
    We must have posted this same feeling at the same time.  ;)

    i think society writ large is far more accepting of the switch from no kids to kids than it is the other way around. Or if people who say no kids from the beginning. 
    I think that she'd be just as wrong for tying to pressure him into having kids if she knew it wasn't what he wants in his heart of hearts.   From his letter, it sounds like he's gone along with changed plans, while not really wanting that and he was essentially 'scared straight' with the miscarriage.  

    This isn't about what's socially acceptable or the excuses he's used to this point because he felt external pressure from his wife or the world at large.  This about him coming to terms with the fact that he no longer has shared life goals with his wife, but hasn't told her this. 

    He needs to stop this now, regardless of how much they love each other.  It's going to blow up on him in one way or another if he continues to stuff it down and 'play' along with the life he doesn't want. 
  • banana468 said:
    I do agree that they both need to be more honest with each other and it does sound like she's the one who made the shift in priority.

    My gripe isn't with his change of mind but in his phrasing about it.  


    Exactly!  I meant to be more snarky than serious in my last post.  I feel bad for both people.  It's always a terrible situation when people love each other and want to stay together, but there typically isn't a compromise between children/no children.

    I didn't like the way he assumed that he's her only chance (gag).  And I didn't like the way he's now trying to imply that he's always had a "no kids" stance, when I think it's always been a "maybe" for him, until recently.  I'm not side-eyeing him for realizing it is a "no".  I'm side-eyeing him for acting like it was always that way.

    I also agree the wife made major changes to their plans.  That had to have really pulled the rug out from under him.  Though I can't blame her for changing her mind either.  Which takes me back to my original comment.  I can't help but wonder if that exacerbated his feelings.  His "traveling the world" was cut shorter then they'd planned and expected because she changed her mind about wanting a child.  Maybe if he'd had that need satiated more, his "maybe" about kids might have turned into a "yes" instead of a "no".  A good chance it still would have been a "no", but you never know.  Different experiences can lead to different feelings/decisions. 

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    mrsconn23
  • mrsconn23 said:
    VarunaTT said:
    I think y'all are being far too nice to the woman in this situation.  She's the one who changed her mind.  "Children weren't a priority" to "children are a must" is a swing. He doesn't deserve lambasting b/c he's had the carpet ripped out from under him and isn't totally mature, wise, and sound dealing with it.
    We must have posted this same feeling at the same time.  ;)

    i think society writ large is far more accepting of the switch from no kids to kids than it is the other way around. Or if people who say no kids from the beginning. 
    I think that she'd be just as wrong for tying to pressure him into having kids if she knew it wasn't what he wants in his heart of hearts.   From his letter, it sounds like he's gone along with changed plans, while not really wanting that and he was essentially 'scared straight' with the miscarriage.  

    This isn't about what's socially acceptable or the excuses he's used to this point because he felt external pressure from his wife or the world at large.  This about him coming to terms with the fact that he no longer has shared life goals with his wife, but hasn't told her this. 

    He needs to stop this now, regardless of how much they love each other.  It's going to blow up on him in one way or another if he continues to stuff it down and 'play' along with the life he doesn't want. 
    I think we (both “we” here and “we” as society) are more critical of people who say they don’t want kids. And I  think it’s because there’s a lot of internalized ideas that having kids is “natural”/“normal” and so we generally understand the desire to have kids. I don’t even think it’s intentional most of the time. 

    So in the case of LW when the woman makes the huge change from quitting jobs/traveling to a child is a must-have we see that as generally okay. But he went along with the plan but wants to stick to the original plan of no kids and we’re all thinking he’s the one with the problem. 

    I reread the letter and I don’t think his language is as bad as everyone is saying. He’s saying he wants to give her want she wants (a baby) and bc of their age it might be the only/easiest way is if he does. I didn’t read it as “she’s getting old so it’s now or never”, but rather “age is a real thing and I love her/want her to be happy so I can give her a baby”. 

    I totally agree he needs to lay this all our for her, rather than Prudie, but I think the tone of this letter is actually a lot different than other “kids or no kids” letters we’ve read. 
    VarunaTTcupcait927MyNameIsNotclimbingwife
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    VarunaTT said:
    I don't think he's trying to be patronizing or selfish.  It sounds like he's trying to foretell the future.  If he's really in love with his wife, he probably sees it as "we have to make a decision, possibly divorce, her find a new man that she loves", etc.  He's also seeing that they created a life together and that's still his lens to view things in, is functioning as a unit.  He's now trying to see the lens of not a unit and it can be hard.  I think he sounds like he's in love with his wife, loved their life as agreed on, and there's suddenly a big change and a possibility of no compromise available.
    All of which is great, but if there is truly no possibility of a compromise here, then he has two options: 1) accept that now his life will include fatherhood and make a fair effort at being a good loving father as well as a loving husband or 2) leave his wife so they can each live the lives that will make them happy.

    But whichever choice he makes, he owes his wife honesty and transparency and not BS excuses. If he chooses not to be a father, he should say so instead of "I want to see the world" because as a PP notes, it's possible to see the world even when you have kids.
    mrsconn23
  • VarunaTT said:
    Why can't the woman just give up her dreams of motherhood for her husband?

    ETA:   I lay this out here, b/c I think there's some sexism at play here, and raising the needs of one person over the other one wants b/c kids.  This man is not being an asshole, he's obviously struggling.  And while I think he absolutely needs to be honest, belittling his emotions or taking him to task for phrasing, really doesn't help at all.  And not wanting kids IS a stigma in this society.
    I actually agree with you here. Why isn’t the marriage enough for her, especially when having kids was an open ended question?

    DH and I went through a period where we explored not having any more kids beyond the kiddo. We actually had DefConn ‘late’ into our marriage (4 years....😒). If he had been adamant that he didn’t want any more kids, I can’t say I would have left him. I love DefConn to the ends of the earth and cannot imagine my life without him, but at the same time...the kiddo does turn 18 in a little over a week and graduates in 6 months, so...I have thought about that angle too.

    My entire issue with this guy is that he’s not communicating honestly with his wife. Maybe he needs to lay it all out or at the very least, suggest counseling. He can request that they do individual sessions so that he can tell the counselor openly how he feels and find some guidance in telling his wife. 
    charlotte989875cupcait927VarunaTTJen4948
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    VarunaTT said:
    Why can't the woman just give up her dreams of motherhood for her husband?

    ETA:   I lay this out here, b/c I think there's some sexism at play here, and raising the needs of one person over the other one wants b/c kids.  This man is not being an asshole, he's obviously struggling.  And while I think he absolutely needs to be honest, belittling his emotions or taking him to task for phrasing, really doesn't help at all.  And not wanting kids IS a stigma in this society.
    100% This! 

  • People kept telling my that I'd end up like LW's wife and my biological clock would suddenly go off and I would magically want kids ... 

    For LW, maybe they had a communication problem when they were discussing the future.  It isn't anyone's fault per se, but maybe he meant to be adamant about not wanting kids but came off as a maybe, and his spouse misconstrued it.  Hard to say, but they are in this situation now, and they really need to be honest with each other but also be very clear about what they need versus want from the relationship.  Maybe it turns out that there is a possible compromise somewhere.
    imageimage
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