My wonderful husband has become a shell of his former self, and I feel both conflicted and responsible. We discussed the possibility of children before marrying. He always wanted them, and I was very unsure. I told him I have deep-rooted abandonment issues and PTSD from violent past relationships, and he’s been very patient and kind with me. After some soul-searching, I realized I was ready to have a child. But I really only want one. He was devastated. “Only one? That’s almost as bad as not having any!” Now he won’t look at me, he won’t touch me, and he doesn’t smile anymore. It’s been a month, and I’m walking on eggshells.
He says he still loves me and that it’s not a deal-breaker, but my decision has left him unmotivated at work, at home, and everywhere else. I make significantly more money than him. I purchased the house we live in and could carry our mortgage if he lost his income. However, if I let go of my demanding career, we would not be able to make ends meet. Because he’s a small business owner, I hardly see him. He recently revealed that he dreams of making enough money to “allow” me to stay at home and raise multiple children, while also paying for his parents’ and relatives’ retirement. Although I applaud his selflessness, this isn’t what I envision for myself. And if I do think of being a full-time caretaker, my thoughts selfishly drift into business concepts I could pursue in my “free time.”
He blurted out last night that he feels like he’s a failure. He said he failed to sell me on his vision and that if he had done a better job of “painting a picture of our future” that I would be open to it. Am I being too practical or cold? I feel absolutely horrible seeing him so down. I also feel guilty, knowing that if I would just say yes to his dream, he would be over the moon. What next steps can I take to improve his morale and outlook?
—Out of Alignment