Husband wants kids, I don't
my husband and I have been together for nearly ten years. Before we got married, we had several conversations to clarify two major questions in life - a) kids and b) living and working overseas. I was always clear that I would never want kids (unless my biological clock would magically start ticking which I always highly doubted). Also, I always wanted to move overseas to live for a while. I do not come from here and have always been a bit of a nomad, so it was possible that I would eventually like to get closer to home again, yet not necessarily to my home country. When we had these discussions, my husband was happy not having kids and was interested in moving overseas as he saw it as a career growth opportunity. Fast forward, we have been married for nearly five years and since July last year, he all of a sudden has a very strong desire to have kids. Although, at the same time, he is not sure about it. He also said that the thought of moving overseas and all the risks that may entail terrify him and he is no longer sure whether he wants to go. We have had a really hard couple of months for several reasons and my husband is currently very depressed. He is depression-prone but usually he could find a way out after a while. At the moment, that seems impossible. I try my best to be positive but we have had a lot of sad conversations. I suggested to separate so he can explore kids with another person but he says he cannot imagine his life without me and he is all hung up on the risks of separating from me and in the end it will turn out for the worse. I feel we are in limbo and he is not getting out of the rut. He is seeing a psychologist but he doesn't want to tell her that he is sometimes thinking of killing himself. I am not sure how serious he is but he says he doesn't want to discuss these dark thoughts with anyone because he doesn't want to be reminded of them but rather become happy again. I don't know how to help him and it's tearing me apart. I feel I have nothing left to give, empty. We are going to counselling together for our marriage but I wonder if there is any hope or if I should just leave, hence making the tough decision for him. It's obvious that kids are a huge desire for him that hurts him deeply. He is so torn because he constantly wonders what to do. I told him to focus on getting better first but he cannot let go of the circle of thought. What should I do? Should I go so he can get better? What if he harms himself if I do?
Life is certainly causing you anxiety, especially with your hubby's depression and thoughts of taking his own life. How extremely stressful for you. Your husband must be feeling very low to have those thoughts. My heart goes out to you. I've not had any similar situations as this, however, will talk and listen to you if you like.
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You say you both go to relationship counselling and hubby is going to a psychologist. It doesn't sound though as you've made progress. I'm not a counsellor or psychologist, all I can give you is my own experience.
I've been married for over 30 years. It has had its ups and downs as many relationships. What I've found is - we are both 2 different people and while we may have had some agreement at the beginning of our relationship, we both changed. One or the other of us has had to compromise because we don't always want the same thing. Talking about going overseas - my hubby and I went overseas a long time ago for 12 months.
When I first broached the subject - he was all for it (never any hint of anxiety or distress). Then about a week or two into our trip, he became overly anxious, we were continually fighting (something we never did). About 3 months in, we finally got to the bottom of things - he needed a 'PLAN', I didn't.
So I compromised and started planning our trips around - i.e. where we were going, how we were getting there, where we were staying. If it was up to me, I'd just rock up at the train or bus station, look at the destinations and say 'Let's go there'.
What I found to be the best way of managing the conflict, or the opposing views is to talk about it. I mean really talk - i.e. what you want, why you want it, how you see your trip overseas (do you have a plan?) Get your hubby to talk about - why he is terrified, what would help him get over that. Maybe also broach the subject - is he just wanting kids so he doesn't have to travel overseas (seems a little drastic), also, has he discussed the management of his depression. It is worrying that he is thinking such thoughts. I know a couple of people on the forum who have developed - suicide safety plans.
Have a look at the suicide prevention resource material on BB home page under the facts tab. There is a lot of information, particularly if 'you are worried' about someone.
Hope this helps.
Your post really resonated with me as I don’t want to have my own children either. I think Pamela very kindly offered her insight and suggestions on your marriage counselling and working overseas plans so I might touch on the kids aspect instead. I hope that’s okay with you...
I feel there are many things couples can compromise on but having children is not one of those. This is because a couple either has a child or they don’t.
I think it doesn’t matter whether it’s biologically or through adoption or foster care, my point is a couple either has a child(ren) or they don’t. E.g. a child is either adopted or not, you either foster a child or you don’t, etc, etc. I feel there isn’t really a place for a couple to meet in the middle on this decision.
But I doubt that I’m telling you something you don’t already know. I feel any woman who knows she does not want her own kids probably understands what I’m saying...
So my gentle suggestion to you is really think about this relationship and what you want in life. I noticed you sound really burnt out and exhausted (“I feel I have nothing left to give...”) so perhaps really consider your own mental health before taking on more than you can cope with...
Yes, it’s beautiful that you care about him and want the absolute best for him. But I also feel you need to look out for yourself too...
See this is not your first post, but welcome and know that you are in a safe community space.
My heart goes out for you and for your situation. I cannot imagine what it would be like, having been married for close to 20 years and 2 teens. And like Pamela, I am not a counsellor and can ask questions or share my own story.
You mentioned the issue of kids and of going overseas. Can I ask are these the only things which he is worried about? ie Is there some underlying thing that is causing this depression. Also concerned that is unable to bring up the issues of the "dark thoughts" with anyone. This was something my psych addressed with me in the very first sessions. Did I have a choice? Possibly. Did I answer the questions? Indirectly! (I told my psych that if I could not answer a question, it would generally be in the affirmative.) The thought of killing oneself was a result of the depression as opposed to the depression being the results of wanting the kill self - at least that is how it was for me - I could not see a way out. I hope that made sense. On the impact of telling vs not telling in relation to getting better, that I cannot say.
There are also resources on the Beyond Blue web site for partners. You might want to have a look at those also?
On kids... I assume this is something that you would have spoken with the marriage counsellor about so won't try to add anything there. Do you think that you (couple) are making progress with the counselling sessions? Or not? (Is the question around having kids a 'deal breaker'?)
Finally, I would assume that your partner has a safety plan? If not, there are also resources for this on the Beyond Blue web site.
Apologies I could not be of more help to your situation. However I will follow your story and if there is anything I can add to help I will.
Thank you so much for your help and kind thoughts, I very much appreciate it. This is such a painful situation and has been for months now. I love my husband dearly and he loves me. That is the key problem, there is no key animosity or lack of love but the depression and the diverging life goals seem to destroy every chance of happiness. We have talked A LOT about what we want and what our options are. Although I think I am much clearer on what I want and he unfortunately struggles very much with the kids question. I am not sure why he suddenly wants them so badly,I guess all our friends are having kids now and he is surrounded by young mothers at work. I don't think a wish for children just magically disappears the older you get. I think he will suffer with it as long as he does not try to have them and for me that is out of the question. i cannot compromise on that, everything else I think could be manageable somehow but not kids. So I wonder whether he woulf forever be miserable.if he decides to stay childless and with me. At the same time, it seems that he cannot make a decision so it will once again be on me to be the strong one. All I know is that we cannot continue living with this painful sadness but it seems like we both simply cannot give up because there is a lot of love. But what is it all worth if every day is miserable? We both don't deserve that. We have only started counselling,but I cannot even put my hopes in that anymore because I cannot see a way for the counsellor to help us with this specific problem. You either want kids or you don't and you either decide that you can be happy without them or you need to go. But that doesn't seem to be a decision my husband can make. Instead he spirals deeper ito depression. In the past,he used to be quite mean to me during his depressive phases and it always culminated in him wanting to separate. But as soon as I gave up or he became better,he retracted the statement and now he regrets that he did that to me for nine years. It caused a lot of anxiety in me that got so bad this year that we are seing a counsellor again. I know it is an illness but I cannot live my next 40 or 50 years like that. But how can I finally get clarity on what the right step is. I'm scared of leaving a person I love deeply but I'm also scared of living a life that will always have episodes of such extreme sadness and struggle. I'm so incredibly unhappy and so is he,because we desperately want this to work and it just isn't.
I just found your post and it really resonated with me. I am going through a very similar thing at the moment. My husband of 4 years latter for 8 suddenly has a burning desire for a baby and I don’t, I have always said I don’t think I want kids unless some weird instinct kicks in and who knows it may still kick in one day I am only 30. A lot of our friends have started to have babies so I think that is what sparked this. My husband also has depression which he has suffered with for many years and refuses to seek help. He also is emotionally abusive towards me and tries to isolate me and when I do go out with friends he won’t talk to me for an entire day after or gets verbally abusive towards me. I just wanted to reach out to you to see how you are as I feel our situations are similar. Hope to hear back from you.