I want kids but he is not sure

-- Question for John --

I am 28 years old and have been in a 3 year relationship with a man. He has 2 children from a former marriage. We are very much in love and happy with each other. The problem is I want to have children and after all he has been through with his divorce is not sure if he wants to have more kids.

I have agreed to have only one but I would like to experience being a mother, especially with him. We are continuously at a crossroads because we don’t want to lose each other but know we may not want the same future. I don’t know to pray for an ending or a beginning! Please help…

-- Answer from John --

This is a tough issue, since you either will or will not have kids together and there really is no “compromise” in between. This is a traditional deal breaker for relationships.

You appear certain that you want kids. If so, it would be foolish to think you could ever put that aside, no matter how much you might love this man.

On his side of the question, the way YOU phrase it, he does not seem to have clear and absolute certainty one way or the other, but it sounds like he is mostly not in favor of kids. Ultimately, he might change his mind if it came down to it. I have seen that happen more than once.

But it won’t happen by itself. You will have to initiate the choice. There is risk involved, obviously, because it might not turn out that he will choose to have kids. Nevertheless, your job is to be true to your own convictions and to know that if you want to have kids, and if it turns out he is clear that he doesn’t, then the best course for both of you is to let go of an unworkable relationship.

The quicker you get to that clarity, the better for both of you, actually. And, ultimately, I would suspect you would not really want to have kids with a man who isn’t committed to having them himself.

So I advise you get to clarity as soon as possible, with the intent to assess each person’s genuine intentions rather than to force either of you to change your minds. If he clearly knows the relationship is on the line, right now, it will highlight the importance of choosing.

The alternative strategy is to wait and hope he changes his mind because he feels more and more in love with you and cannot live without you. At 3 years I wouldn’t think much more waiting is in order, however. I’d get on with it. Now, if he comes back with “give me one more year and I’ll probably be ready” that would be a shift worth waiting for, I believe.