Partner Doesn’t Want Children After Eight Years Together

Dr. Frankie,

My partner doesn’t want children. After 8 years of being together. We had a commitment ceremony seven years ago, and she is the only person I have ever even kissed. As long as we have been together, she has said she wanted children “someday.” Now that the time has come to have children, she has decided she does not want to be a parent. We are both heartbroken, and though we decided to break up, we still live together because my attempts to conceive have been unsuccessful so far. I do feel a bit betrayed that she waited until now to tell me she did not want children. I have always been completely honest about the fact that I definitely want children whether biological or adopted. After we separated, we both tried looking at online dating sites to see what else was out there. We are both “different” in our ways of thinking from everyone we have seen on these sites. When I read posts on these sites I feel like none of them are anything like me. I want to find someone with whom I can raise empathetic, compassionate, happy children, and I am now terrified that it is too late, and I will have to be a single parent. I also don’t know whether to wait it out and see if she will decide she loves my children after they are born. I know in my heart that she won’t, but it is so hard to let her go when that is the only reason we are separating. I live in Tennessee, and it is so hard to meet quality women here. What should I do?

Dear Heartbroken,

What a difficult and overwhelming experience. Bringing children into this world is one of life’s most amazing, rewarding, life-changing and demanding experiences.

Your gut is already telling you not to count on your ex coming around and wanting to be a parent after your kids are born. I have friends who made the conscious decision to become single parents, and they have loved the journey and fully embrace the experience. The difference is that they did not take the plunge with hopes that it would keep their partnership together. Wanting or not wanting children is one of the most important decisions in a long-term relationship; it’s not a side-note or something to be taken lightly.

If your partner doesn’t want children, it is a 100% legitimate reason for ending a relationship.

As terrifying as it must feel, you need to decide if you’re:

  1. Willing and able to be a single parent and prioritize your child above your hopes of winning back your ex; or
  2. Want to wait to meet someone to share the experience with, understanding that this might not come to fruition.

I understand this is a very difficult decision, but the only way you can truly move forward is with a clear understanding of what you’re capable of.

Best of luck to you.

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