The Sex Column: 'Why doesn’t he want kids?'

The Sex Column: 'Why doesn’t he want kids?'

I’ve been with my partner for four years and he’s the stepfather to my little boy who is eight years old.

I want another child and he knew this when we met. He’s always said he wants our own child and we agreed we would start trying after we got married.

We have been married for nearly two years now and there is always an excuse, such as wanting to wait until he’s earning a certain amount of money.

In our last conversation, he said he is not ready. He’s such a great father to my son.

As much as I love him, this could be a deal-breaker.

Do I tell him that?

A good rule of negotiation is to never make a threat you don’t intend to see through.

‘Is this truly a deal-breaker for you?’ asks James McConnachie. ‘Because if it is — and I suspect it is — then you absolutely need to have a conversation with your husband.’

You deserve to have your feelings heard and your husband deserves to know how you feel.

‘You cannot put something so important aside — even if you do, it will only fester and all kinds of nasty things will grow from it,’ he adds.

But rather than entering into your husband’s avoidant way of being — ultimatums are rarely a successful negotiation tactic — encourage him to open up so that you can understand what is so anxiety-provoking for him.

‘Make clear how important it is that you know how he really feels because only if you know what he thinks, can you know what you will do,’ says McConnachie.

‘It may be that he’s scared. Some men find that hard to admit. Some find it hard to even realise. So you could start there by saying, “Do you find the thought of having our own children scary? I know I do sometimes.”’

You are both already parents so you’re not in uncharted territory. You describe him as a great father, does he know?

‘Perhaps a lack of confidence around his parenting skills could be contributing to this procrastination,’ says Dr Anghard Rudkin. ‘Perhaps being a father brings back difficult issues from his own childhood. Or is he concerned that if you have children together, you will eventually separate as you have with your father’s son?’

He could also be worried about whether he can give another child the same amount of love he has given your son.

‘While I hear your frustration, it’s important to remind yourself that parents are there to meet children’s needs, not vice versa,’ say Rupert Smith. Honesty is needed, maybe with a relationship counsellor. ‘You’ve waited long enough to have your desires respected and your feelings heard,’ says McConnachie.

The experts

Rupert Smith is an author and counsellor

James McConnachie is the author of Sex (Rough Guides)

Dr Angharad Rudkin is a clinical psychologist

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