Values, hopes and desires not aligning?
Hi all, I have been with my boyfriend (we'll call him B for the sake of the story) for not a long time - coming up to six months now. But it has been an amazing six months. We live together most of the year in college and have pretty much given up having our own rooms. As a result, we have become close very quickly. We've since been travelling together to a location that meant our company was isolated to each other and the restaurant staff at our dinners out and it was the most beautiful experience, one I didn't want to end. He is so amazing - he supports me 100% and is my best friend and favourite person. In my head I feel like this could be a longer-term thing. I've never had a relationship last beyond like 3 or 4 months and this one is showing no signs of stopping. We're doing long distance over the holiday and are both just counting the days until we reunite. We speak at least twice a day for hours on end. My point is he is an amazing person and I love him so much and really want this to (and can see it) work.
Here is my issue (and it may seem dumb but it's in my head and I can't come to a conclusion): we want different things in the future. We have some goals in alignment. We both want to travel and see the world, we want to get jobs that we love and that give us the opportunity and time to do the other things we envisage for ourselves. But, he doesn't want a family. My entire life, all I have ever been certain about, is the fact that I want to have children - at least one, ideally two. B is convinced that he will never have kids. He considers them a financial weight that he can't bear and is ultimately not a huge fan of kids. At the moment we are both 20 and have shitty part-time jobs that barely constitute a living. He is on government support and I am still largely living off my parents. But at some point in the future I imagine we will both come to a point where we are able to support a family.
I know we are young, and early in our relationship. But I am scared. What if I ignore this difference and years down the track we're still together and he still doesn't want kids? At what point can a value-based difference like this be enough to cause concern? I don't want to break up with him at all. Even thinking about it makes me cry. I don't know what I would do without him but I can't tell how long it is reasonable to let that kind of difference sit, without confronting it or discussing?
I know this might sound mad but any advice is valued.
It is so great you have come to get what is a really tricky situation off your chest and to discuss how you are feeling and how scared and worried you are about what the future holds.
I can hear how much you love him and that you are both having the time of your lives, and you should be while you are young and have so much to experience in life, that is so wonderful. You are right in that 6 months is not a long time to be together, however sometimes we just know when we have found our other person. In saying that too, time has a wonderful way of answering your questions. What do I mean by that....well I think that this most certainly needs a conversation, that if children is something he most definitely does not want you have to take that as his answer. Might he change his mind, sure, but you cannot go into a relationship hoping he will or trying to change him, that just never works and nor is it fair, to you or him. Perhaps give this conversation some time though, like put 8 months or 12 months on it and see how you are going and if the relationship is still looking like it has a strong future, then at this time, you have to address the situation.
It is so very difficult when you can see a road block but it is so wonderful that you have seen it and can address it so as 5 years down the road you are married and then the baby chat comes up....that is then a real issue.
I can hear how sad you are and it really is a shame that you have found someone so wonderful but your futures don't align, just as you would not want him to talk you out of having kids, you can't make him have them either. It is as horribly simple as that.
I am so sorry that you are going through this Guest_294, but my only advice is to have that conversation and see how you feel afterwards and see what he says and how he feels too. Life is so tricky and throws all sorts of curve balls at us, you are not mad and you are not being dumb by reaching out here for some support.
We are here to chat to you and to give you some support.
I really for your situation. I can definitely empathise with how truly painful it is to feel a deep connection with someone, yet justifiably (& wisely) worry about the different visions that you envision...
I think AS has written such an eloquent, insightful and sincere reply that I really don’t have much else to add. I felt the following that AS said is sadly very true:
I can hear how sad you are and it really is a shame that you have found someone so wonderful but your futures don't align, just as you would not want him to talk you out of having kids, you can't make him have them either...
...my only advice is to have that conversation and see how you feel afterwards and see what he says and how he feels too. Life is so tricky and throws all sorts of curve balls at us, you are not mad and you are not being dumb by reaching out here for some support.
AS said it beautifully...
I feel for you. I really do.
Even though I’m the opposite to you, as I’m someone who does not want to have my own children, I empathise with how painful it is if you feel a deep connection, but have long-term goals that don’t align...those situations are never easy...
I don’t have anything particularly helpful to share, other than to say that I get where you’re coming from.
From the “other side”, I know just how painful this truly is...
Kind thoughts to you,
I was once in a similar situation with a man I was deeply in love with but I knew our values for the future did not align. I always knew it inside but I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving him so I stayed with him for a few years until ultimately I decided that I couldn’t do it anymore. I suspect that something similar will happen to you, that you will ignore it for as long as you can until you can’t anymore. Our mind has a way of prioritizing those things that are most important to us, and the desire for children is not an easy thing to suppress. He may decide when he gets older that this is something that he wants to do, or he could compromise and agree to 1 child. But he also seems to be fairly firm in his convictions. You don’t have to make any decisions yet, but it’s just a quiet fact that you must come to terms with.
Thank you everyone for your honest responses, not trying to sugarcoat or get my hopes up in an unreasonable manner - I really do appreciate it. We actually ended up having a bit of a conversation about it. It came up, the prospect of having children, and he asked how many kids I wanted, to which I said one or two for sure. I said “you don’t want kids, do you?” And he told me that he would love to have kids, just only when he is sure he can support them and give them a good life. This is very different to his earlier comments about never wanting children!! I think bits of conversations come together to form an incorrect picture sometimes and I can get a little in my head about these things!! I don’t want to get to lax on it but when I told him that kids for me is important enough to be a dealbreaker, he told me he understood and that it wasn’t a never, it was a, when he’s ready. I guess that’s a good sign? I at least feel more comfortable proceeding in the relationship - not fearful that it will necessarily end in disaster or conflict.
Good Morning Guest_294
I am so happy to hear from you and so very very proud of you for having the conversation, I understand how anxious you were feeling and that you really did not want to do that, so well done.
As you can see it was not that scary and you were able to not only get the answer that you really did not expect but a better one. This is the danger of overthinking and letting situations run through our brain without fact and without asking the other person. I hope you can take this new found tool into you relationship and see how very important communication is.
I am so happy for you and that the prospect of having children with this wonderful man is a possibility. That is so wonderful.
All the very best and we are here whenever you want to drop in and chat. Well done to you Guest_294.
Best wishes and huge hugs
I am a man that has led a full life and forty years ago I was in a similar situation to you, except vice versa of course.
Men and women don't perfectly align in certain matters of the heart and emotions. We're not that different, but different enough to make things awkward occasionally.
When a young man hears a question about children coming from his equally young girlfriend, he may go into fright mode. Despite the fact that women now have more economic power than in my day, most decent young men think, "Children, am I ready? Can I get a decent job to provide for my children? and so on".
Men tend to emotionally mature a little later than females and you have probably unintentionally spooked him. he sounds like a decent fellow and if he continues to treat you kindly, and things work out, the children idea will feel natural as night follows day.
I think it was so brave of you to have that conversation with him 🙂
Your post actually made me smile but feel teary at the same time. Good on you for communicating with each other; I think that’s a beautiful skill in a relationship.
It sounds like you’re on the same page to a large extent, and that’s pretty special. It must have been such a relief, as I know how much this has been weighing heavily on your heart 🙂
A warm hug from me and here’s to you both enjoying your relationship and the beauty, wonder and conversation it will bring...