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Unsure where to go with my relationship?

Community Member

My partner and I have been together since Oct 2016. In my option, it’s a very casual relationship: we still don’t live together and we only see each other every other day. He understands what I want in life: to settle down, start a family and this is something he has understood since very early days. However he doesn’t want to start a family.

About a year ago - I sat down with him and said point blank that if he doesn’t want to start a family then what’s the point of being in a long term relationship? I gave him an ultimatum - if by our fifth anniversary, he still feels as though he doesn’t want to settle down and start a family then I need to walk away from this relationship as it isn’t doing in the direction I need it to go (at the end of the day, I feel as though I’m wasting my time).

We have had a conversation about this again this morning and he is still feeling the way of he doesn’t want to start a family, he never wants to. It’s been this way since we first started talking about it - I don’t want children and to settle down right this very second however I want to make sure the person I’m spending my time with wants what I want or why am I still here? We still have over a years time before we reach our fifth anniversary however I just feel like I’m wasting time in a relationship where we don’t want the same thing.

He did mention it is something he is thinning another regularly so leads me to think that he may not change his mind?

Has anyone been in the same situation that can provide some advice or just in general provide some advice? I just don’t know what to do anymore with my relationship?

3 Replies 3

Community Member

Good morning al_stuck

I hope we can provide you with some useful guidance today. You don’t say how old you are and I believe age is a key point in this discussion. If your boyfriend is say, only 23, it is understandable that he may not yet have formed his views properly on marriage, children and the future in general. In my experience men are usually 3 to 5 years behind women in emotional maturity at this age. If this is the case, you may have to cut him some slack, especially if everything else is satisfactory.

On the other hand, if you are both in your early to mid thirties, then I think you may have to make a tough decision. One of the worst things you can do is persist in a relationship believing the partner might or will change, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

I admire and respect your boyfriends’s honesty and clarity on this sensitive matter. You are fortunate to have someone who is not wishy washy and leading you onwards. Although you want more, it’s better that you cut your losses before marriage when the stakes are a lot higher.

Community Member
Hi al_stuck,

This same situation is a factor that ended my past relationship of 2 years. I believe my ex was of the same view as you.

“About a year ago - I sat down with him and said point blank that if he doesn’t want to start a family then what’s the point of being in a long term relationship?”

I reckon this should be a red flag for both of you. The value and stated goal of the relationship is going to look very different to someone who wants to start a family compared to someone that doesn’t. You don’t have each others interests at heart if there’s no understanding on that.

Another red flag to me is that you state “it’s a very casual relationship”. I’m reading that perhaps there’s nothing growing or pushing the relationship forward in your mind and that’s something you’re looking for. It’s worth communicating that and what it would entail to move forward. Have you asked him what he sees/wants for the relationship going forward?

If the discussion is being deferred because of things going on then maturity may be a factor. It’s possible that he’s happy in the arrangement and truly cares for you so far as that goes. In my mind it was hard to shift my thinking simply because it felt like a hostage situation. Are you guys able to hypothetically discuss what having children would look like for your relationship? Everybody’s different, but this is certainly why I found it so hard to let go. Push too hard and he might cave just to save the relationship. With deepest shame I can say that was me, I eventually said I did, but I still really didn’t, I thought I could force change, but love doesn’t conquer everything. What we are left feeling is that people do change, but also why take the risk.

I think Betternow’s advice is solid.


Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi al_stuck,

That sounds very challenging. It can be very hard in a relationship when you know what you want and your partner wants something different. Something I have found to be helpful is to think of pros and cons and even it take it a bit further by thinking what are the benefits/negatives of staying and what are the benefits/negatives of leaving.

Here for you during this tricky time! You're not alone 🙂