18 votes

What if you don't know if you want a child?

Sorry for the huge train of thought, but I prefer it raw like this.

We are dating for 3.5 years and the subject came up a couple of times. We both didn't want, but it was not set in stone. We just didn't want at that time.

Three days ago she said she want one in the future. I don't, but I'm not sure.

I asked jokingly if this is where we have to let each other go.

What now?

I have three nieces and I know the hard work and problems my two brothers are dealing with (two are teenagers).

I don't want that, but at the same time i look at my youngest niece and she is so amazing.

I can't figure out if i want this or not.

I don't think we should have kids because she is obese and dealing with food and anxiety issues, and I deal with anxiety and alcohol issues.

I would teach them a good relationship with food. I'm active, eat clean, i'm slim, fit, lift weights, but have the problem with alcohol which i try to manage, but not at all. I drink too much at least once every one or two weeks.

My SO eats junk food, soda, sugar, everything. She is obese now. She wasn't when we started dating. Overweight, but not obese.
She is now at risk of diabetes. I hate it and i'm resenting this to the point I lost attraction.

It got to the point were i feel ashamed when I see her family eating a lot, which is all they do. Her brother was ok, now he is obese. His girlfriend turned obese.

I know people say you need to break up because we are incompatible, but it doesn't work like this. We are good together in every other aspect. We treat each other with respect, we have hobbies in common, we are a good couple on the surface.

If I break up, what reason I could give? It's not a matter of just telling "we are incompatible" after almost 4 years.

I have no health issues when i checked with the doctor last year.

We both made promises of solving these issues, but it's not happening.

If we have a child, who teaches him about food, what to eat or not? What should we buy? And about alcohol?

Gym and fitness. I adore. She does not. What example should we give to our kid?

Alcohol. I drink a lot. She drinks, but only enough.

How does this work?

This is eating me alive...

Edit: we don't live together and have jobs at different cities. In this pandemic we are at our homes, which is the same city, but once this pass we will live apart until one of us can transfer to live together.

15 comments

  1. tomf
    Link
    This sounds like you've hit a point where you have different values and important desires. Never be afraid to call it and walk away. Better that you end things now before bringing a child into the...

    This sounds like you've hit a point where you have different values and important desires. Never be afraid to call it and walk away. Better that you end things now before bringing a child into the picture.

    When I divorced, it ultimately came down to the fact that our values had progressed in different directions over the years. It's not a bad thing, but you can't just 'fix' core values with therapy, conversation, etc.

    My view is that you can either suffer long-term or you can minimize the damage with a lot of short term hurt. Everybody deserves to be happy, and if you're not on the same track, you're both better off without.

    19 votes
  2. [2]
    spit-evil-olive-tips
    Link
    No relationship is perfect, and there's never a perfect time to have kids. So on the one hand, don't let "our lives currently have problems" be a reason not to have kids. What I would look at...

    I don't think we should have kids because she is obese and dealing with food and anxiety issues, and I deal with anxiety and alcohol issues.

    No relationship is perfect, and there's never a perfect time to have kids. So on the one hand, don't let "our lives currently have problems" be a reason not to have kids.

    What I would look at instead is, are these problems you perceive on a trajectory to get better or worse? And how are you and your partner communicating about them?

    Is she losing weight, or gaining weight? Are you drinking more, or less? Is she supporting you in your efforts to drink less, are you supporting her in her efforts to lose weight and live healthier? Are you supporting each other in your struggles with anxiety?

    Edit: we don't live together and have jobs at different cities. In this pandemic we are at our homes, which is the same city, but once this pass we will live apart until one of us can transfer to live together.

    I would strongly suggest living together for at least a year before making any commitments to have children together.

    Raising a child together will magnify any pre-existing issues or disagreements in your relationship. Living with a partner will do the same, but on a smaller scale.

    15 votes
    1. vord
      Link Parent
      100%. Living together for a year+ should be mandatory before making any long term commitment, and raising a child is 18 years minimum. You can bail on most other commitments, but bailing on...

      I would strongly suggest living together for at least a year before making any commitments to have children together.

      100%. Living together for a year+ should be mandatory before making any long term commitment, and raising a child is 18 years minimum. You can bail on most other commitments, but bailing on parenting will scar your kid.

      6 votes
  3. [2]
    Staross
    Link
    You could tell her that you're not comfortable to have kids with all your current issues (which I think is reasonable), maybe that would "motivate" her to fix her problems and make her push you to...

    You could tell her that you're not comfortable to have kids with all your current issues (which I think is reasonable), maybe that would "motivate" her to fix her problems and make her push you to fix yours. Or maybe that's a deal-breaker for her.

    13 votes
    1. zonk
      Link Parent
      I'd suggest the same. He can tell her he's not sure whether he wants them or not but definitely not with the current issues. Talk it out with her and set goals where you would reconsider (keep in...

      I'd suggest the same. He can tell her he's not sure whether he wants them or not but definitely not with the current issues.

      Talk it out with her and set goals where you would reconsider (keep in mind of making it clear that it's not a guarantee but just a point of reconsideration). Make yourself earn a sobriety coin or a one for the first anniversary and she can set herself some weight goal (which also encourages couple sports activities for both of you, btw).

      This approach would have multiple advantages: you both get your issues under control and you both get healthier, it gives both of you time to reconsider everything. And if you both work hard and make it through all of this, I'm fairly sure it'll be much easier for you to make a decision about the child. If it doesn't work out, the problem is also solved.

      6 votes
  4. [2]
    crdpa
    (edited )
    Link
    Thanks for all the answers and sorry for the rambling and turning this into /r/relationships You guys gave me a lot to think about. I think the first step is fixing my issues with alcohol. I can't...

    Thanks for all the answers and sorry for the rambling and turning this into /r/relationships

    You guys gave me a lot to think about.

    I think the first step is fixing my issues with alcohol. I can't ask other people to do something I'm not doing myself. I'm not throwing the towel.

    If we can't fix our issues, we will have to split, but i'll think about this when we get there.

    7 votes
    1. vord
      Link Parent
      Proud of you! Nobody can force anybody to change, that change must come from within. Recognition of a problem for oneself is the first step. My wife struggled with weight issues until she stepped...

      I think the first step is fixing my issues with alcohol. I can't ask other people to do something I'm not doing myself. I'm not throwing the towel.

      Proud of you! Nobody can force anybody to change, that change must come from within. Recognition of a problem for oneself is the first step.

      My wife struggled with weight issues until she stepped on a scale one day and decided that was her breaking point. I denied a bipolar diagnosis for many years, not staying on meds, until I accepted it was a part of who I am.

      There will be failures along the way, but do not give up hope.

      5 votes
  5. ohyran
    Link
    I’m heading to bed right now but I just wanted to say something because you sound so sad and beat up. I only got platitudes though and this seems bigger than any “more fish in the sea” thing can...

    I’m heading to bed right now but I just wanted to say something because you sound so sad and beat up. I only got platitudes though and this seems bigger than any “more fish in the sea” thing can cover.

    So before I go to sleep I can only go “this will work out in the end, whatever that looks like” knowing it’s a lame reply

    I hope, wish in fact that you have IRL friends to talk to about this over beers. People you feel comfortable unloading on, and cry next to.

    Finally I think this isn’t something you can purely logic your way out of, I will reply properly tomorrow, but I had to just do the pathetic thing and send you a virtual hug of sorts <3

    8 votes
  6. skybrian
    Link
    In the abstract, a disagreement about whether to have children, if it can't be resolved, seems important enough to be an understandable reason why a breakup might happen. But you know better than...

    In the abstract, a disagreement about whether to have children, if it can't be resolved, seems important enough to be an understandable reason why a breakup might happen. But you know better than us what you are giving up.

    Regarding fitness, I think it's worth exploring if there are different forms of exercise she might enjoy better.

    7 votes
  7. envy
    Link
    This isn't about having a child. Children make existing issues worse.

    This isn't about having a child.

    Children make existing issues worse.

    6 votes
  8. [2]
    mrbig
    Link
    This is not a matter of contract law, simply not wanting to be with someone is reason enough. Stay if you want. If you must end the relationship use best the words you can, provide affection and...

    If I break up, what reason I could give?

    This is not a matter of contract law, simply not wanting to be with someone is reason enough. Stay if you want. If you must end the relationship use best the words you can, provide affection and respect to minimize her pain. But also understand that you’re free to do as you wish.

    6 votes
    1. vord
      Link Parent
      Staying with someone out a misplaced sense of obligation (especially before children are in the picture) almost always will do more harm than good. If there is an irreconcilable difference, a...

      Staying with someone out a misplaced sense of obligation (especially before children are in the picture) almost always will do more harm than good. If there is an irreconcilable difference, a clean break will be better for both people long term.

      5 votes
  9. Tygrak
    Link
    That sounds like a hard place to be in. I think you should really have a serious talk with her and somehow tell her basically everything you told us. Explain what you don't like about her, and...

    That sounds like a hard place to be in. I think you should really have a serious talk with her and somehow tell her basically everything you told us. Explain what you don't like about her, and even about yourself, and try to figure out together if you guys can fix this stuff.

    I hope everything will turn out fine for you. Good luck.

    5 votes
  10. entangledamplitude
    Link
    Since nobody seems to have mentioned this... have you considered the possibility that wanting a child could be a motivating/driving force to help you and your SO put in the effort to improve? The...

    Since nobody seems to have mentioned this... have you considered the possibility that wanting a child could be a motivating/driving force to help you and your SO put in the effort to improve?

    The emotional biochemistry is complicated, but biology definitely plays a role in these desires. Further, we’ve evolved to handle these situations, so it’s definitely possible, if you choose to. A defeatist attitude to the basest off human nature would be a depressing life in its own way. It’s a question of how you both choose to construct/discover meaning in your lives, together. That is something you both could talk about.

    2 votes
  11. Kuromantis
    (edited )
    Link
    (2 cents warning, this does not come from someone with any romantic experience. ) It seems you have become incompatible due to vast differences in nutritional habits which have: Made raising a...

    (2 cents warning, this does not come from someone with any romantic experience. )

    I know people say you need to break up because we are incompatible, but it doesn't work like this. We are good together in every other aspect. We treat each other with respect, we have hobbies in common, we are a good couple on the surface.

    I would teach them a good relationship with food. I'm active, eat clean, i'm slim, fit, lift weights, but have the problem with alcohol which i try to manage, but not at all. I drink too much at least once every one or two weeks.

    My SO eats junk food, soda, sugar, everything. She is obese now. She wasn't when we started dating. Overweight, but not obese.
    She is now at risk of diabetes. I hate it and I'm resenting this to the point that I've lost attraction.

    If I break up, what reason I could give? It's not a matter of just telling "we are incompatible" after almost 4 years.

    It seems you have become incompatible due to vast differences in nutritional habits which have:

    • Made raising a child odd due to you 2 having vastly different nutritional habits to teach to a child

    • Made her go above an acceptable amount of weight to you while you stay healthy

    I'd imagine a simple solution (reread the disclaimer) would be saying that her eating habits have made her too heavy/fat and that is breaking your relationship and making you resent/hate her despite everything else being perfect and making parenthood impossible/really clumsy.

    If she already had this diet when you met her, this was

    • Inevitable.

    • Her fault/problem.

    You've said you're undecided when it comes to having a child, so the problem isn't that you don't want to have a child, it's that you don't want to have a child to an obese mother, so the obese mother is the actual problem.

    The main problem is getting her to lose weight, especially if she has anxiety, which could cause/contribute to her eating habit, and making it harder to stop it, which admittedly is way harder to do and where my 2 cents end. Most of this also applies to your alcohol habit, where it seems to be a roadblock to you being a parent.

    1 vote