You’re asking very important questions. Unfortunately, being a psychologist is no guarantee that someone like your wife will be able to see her own issues clearly.
You were smart to negotiate this issue before you married. My guess is that your wife loved you enough to try to get herself to a place where she could see herself mothering a child. But now that all conditions are met, she seems to be in a panic. What looks like manipulative behavior is a scramble to find a way out of the agreement without taking responsibility for doing so. Of course, that misses the point entirely. . Arguments and hostility to kids on her part are only cover-ups. She doesn’t want children but she also doesn’t want to break a promise she made with real sincerity at the time. Your efforts to hold her to her original agreement put her more deeply in the bind.
To parent or not to parent. That is the question It’s time that the two of you stopped dancing around the issue and dealt with it directly. If she absolutely can’t see herself as a mother, she probably shouldn’t be one. If you absolutely can’t make peace with the idea of never having a family, you’ll end up bitter and resentful. If neither one of you can budge, you’ll both have a very, very hard decision to make about whether you should stay together. It’s hard to leave a good loving relationship. But it’s even harder to live your whole life feeling bitter about being in a lifestyle you never wanted.
I wish you well.
This article has been updated from the original version, which was originally published here on December 23, 2006.