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He Does Not Want Children and I Do

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From the U.S.: I’m 36 and have been living with my 46 y/o bf for almost 2 years with his 12 and 13 y/o from previous marriage (full time). For the last 9 months we’ve been talking about the possibility of having a child.

Since day 1 I told him I’ve always wanted to be a mom while he wasn’t sure if he wanted any more, but he would think about it for me. I told him I would love 2-3 kids (but because our relationship is so harmonious and wonderful and he already has 2) I would compromise to having only 1.

In all conversations he never opened up much about the reasons why, he just says he doesn’t want any more children and storms off. He wont even propose because he says “we need to be on the same page about the child issue”, meaning: “I will only propose to you if you tell me you gave up on the baby”.

I’ve never considered having children with anyone else or marrying anyone else (I’ve been proposed to a couple of times before), we have a very deep connection, he is a great partner,such a great father, all of which just arouses my maternal instincts more and more. He says if he would ever have a child with someone it would be me.

I know he had a terrible experience in his previous marriage and that his children are a lot of work because of that, but I also feel that my feelings and happiness are not taken in consideration. I am about to leave him as it seems to be “his way or the highway”. I feel powerless, with no say in the relationship, and that he really doesn’t want any bonds with me, making me feel rejected.

We’ve considered couples therapy to work on this issue, but after some online research I was afraid the therapist would advise us to go our different ways since we wanted different things. He wakes me up sobbing in the middle of the night saying he doesn’t want me to leave. Please help.

He Does Not Want Children and I Do

Answered by on -


Your boyfriend doesn’t want to lose you but doesn’t want to start over as a parent. You don’t want to lose him but do want a biological child. That’s an impasse that is very, very hard to get past.

I do think you are overstating the problem. He hasn’t said he doesn’t want any bonds with you or that he is rejecting you. He seems to be as upset about the impasse as you are. To characterize it as if he is saying “my way or the highway” is unfair since you are essentially saying the same thing. That’s what impasses are about.

There’s no getting around how painful such an impasse can be. From what you report, he really doesn’t want to add another child to his life. On your side, you can’t accept that your full time stepchildren are the children you have.

I don’t have any easy answer for you. I would only ask you to consider this: No child should come into the world unwanted. From my point of view, you should only go forward with having a child with this man if he fully embraces being the child’s parent. Otherwise, it’s a set up for problems in your relationship with your partner and among all the relationships in the family in the future.

I do think you should consider seeing a couples therapist. I only have the barest outline of the issues to go on. A therapist can hear your whole story and perhaps offer new perspective. It may be that a therapist can help your boyfriend resolve the pain he has felt about his first experiences as a parent. It may be that a therapist can help you turn your maternal instincts to the children you have.

I don’t know how it will turn out. But I do know that any responsible therapist won’t jump to a conclusion about what you should or shouldn’t do. Instead, the therapist will help the two of you decide.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

He Does Not Want Children and I Do

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). He Does Not Want Children and I Do. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 25, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 20 Oct 2015)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.