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Desperate to save my marriage

PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2016 1:11 am
by lottiebird
Hi folks, this is my first post. I'm desperate for advice please.

I have been with my wonderful husband for almost 10 years. We both adamantly never wanted children, even before we met, but then out of the blue a year ago, broodiness hit me like a bolt out of the blue. My husband still feels how he always has, children are not an option. I respect that.

It has caused me so much confusion, should I stay or go, what really matters to me etc. We split up briefly around 4 months ago, I still love him to pieces and I couldn't be without him so we got back together. In the time since then, things have been really good... Until about 2 weeks ago when this all started playing on my mind again.

I made the decision to leave. Thing is, I love my husband dearly, and I want to stop feeling conflicted about staying with him. Life with him is truly the life I want. But when the broodiness strikes, it's very powerful, and I keep hurting him and making rash decisions that I regret almost immediately.

Is there a way we can move past this and work it out? Most of the time, the concept of a child is dreadful to me. Is this my body clock or hormones tricking me? How can I pacify them? And how can I deal with those strong emotions in a productive way?

I've actually booked in for some private counselling to explore some of this, but would love to hear any thoughts in the meantime.

I really want to save my marriage. This is the first issue we have ever had, we get on brilliantly.

Re: Desperate to save my marriage

PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2016 11:48 am
by snail
I've been in this situation myself; I remember I likened it to to the medieval torture where your arms and legs are tied to the rack and you are torn apart slowly, molecule by molecule, over weeks and months.

Obviously there are no easy answers, but there are a few things I would say.

Firstly, I understand that you respect your husband's feelings on this because you feel that you took him on those terms and are now in a sense breaking your agreement. But in fact, wanting children as part of a loving and committed relationship is utterly normal, indeed, typical. This is actually his issue, not yours. You are the normal one. I think it's important to keep this in mind so that you are not too apologetic about dealing with all of this - I get the sense that you feel very guilty. People often don't want children when they are young (or believe that they ever will), and almost all of them change their mind as they mature, or as they deal with emotional issues that made them reluctant or afraid to be a parent. People mature and deal with things at different rates, and it's this that causes problems. I have one close friend who didn't realise he wanted children until he was in his fifties.

Secondly, if you have these feelings now, they are not going to go away, and there is no satisfactory substitute for being a parent. Nieces and nephews aren't the same, helping out with children in your job or in a volunteer role isn't the same. The role that your children, and their own children, play in your life and the importance they have, increases over time rather than decreases, as other things in your life (such as your career or your physical fitness) decline.

Thirdly, it's also normal to not feel enthused about having children 100% of the time. There will be days when you feel that you wouldn't mind that much if you didn't have them or you're glad you don't have to worry about them, just as there are days when you wish you had chosen another job or you find your husband really irritating and wouldn't mind being with that bloke from work instead. It's the overall desire that's important, and you will know in your gut what that is. Body clocks and hormones don't affect this.

I get the feeling from the way you talk about the counselling that you are going on your own, to sort out what you perceive to be your own problem. While any counselling will be helpful, I really really think that your husband should be coming to the counselling with you. This is very much a marital issue, not your issue. I think you need to be in couples' counselling.

If your husband is not willing to discuss the issue in counselling, then that is a red flag. When someone is reluctant to have children with their partner, it's sometimes because they are subconsciously not really committed to the relationship - in their minds it's long term but they can't really believe it's forever. Given that you are married, I think this is unlikely, but you don't mention in your post any actions that your husband has taken to try and sort this problem out, even when you left him. I'm not saying that he should agree to compromise and have children, but he should be willing to discuss the issue.

Re: Desperate to save my marriage

PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 8:18 am
by David020549
I think this is a fairly rare situation because most women getting broody would get pregnant first and sort out any consequences later and also not many husbands would refuse kids point blank. He is being cruel and unreasonable because it is bad enough being infertile and childless but wanting kids and not " getting permission " is much worse.

As you have tried a separation and still want him you must be very emotionally dependant on him, were you very young when you met him without an independant life beforehand, has he organised everything and you have always followed, if that is the case I understand your dilemma, you feel lost without him

Your title is " Desperate to save my marriage" , the question you must ask yourself is , can I continue to love this man who has denied me the children I want, or will I resent him day after day, year after year. This is regardless of any past objectives, marriage is a partnership where both of you need to feel fulfilled.

Re: Desperate to save my marriage

PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 5:28 pm
by Mrconfused74
I'm sorry but I disagree with you both! The husband went into a relationship with a woman that was adamant she didn't want children. As that is clearly what he wanted too the relationship was able to continue normally with both enjoying each other and the things you can do without children.
If the OP had said that she may want children in the future then yes you could say the husband is denying her what se wants. What's happened is that she has decided that there may well be a chance she does want children. That's not his fault, he's always said he never wanted them, and has built the relationship on that basis. So if the OP feels that he now wants children she will need to deal with her feelings. Counselling is a good start as it may well open up to her why she has now changed her mind? Ultimately you need to decide which is more important! Children or your husband. You could well become pregnant and initially things might be fine, but he could well start to miss the freedom to do what you did as just a couple! Will your husband feel pushed out?

Ultimately the decision is yours, he has as you said always been against having kids, and unless he's ever said anything to suggest otherwise he is living the relationship the way you had both planned.
If he won't give you what you want then a choice has to be made.

Re: Desperate to save my marriage

PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 10:25 pm
by rufio89
I agree 100% with Mr Confused

Re: Desperate to save my marriage

PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 5:24 pm
by David020549
Wow, this will be a very quick reply.

You guys are saying that a girl of 18 or 20 should have no chance to change her mind about having kids.

Re: Desperate to save my marriage

PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 5:34 pm
by Tarantula
18 or 20? Spot the assumption, not that it matters.

The lady is perfectly entitled to change her mind, but not entitled to think less of him if he doesn't. The terms were clear, it's as simple as that. He doesn't owe it to her to change his mind.

I'm also not sure I agree with the implication that he's immature if he doesn't want kids. Not everyone wants kids, even though we're all programmed to want kids by biology and by society - especially women.

I think OP has a hard decision to make. He's been clear, upfront and consistent from the start. It would be nice if he changed his mind, but it sounds like he won't, and he shouldn't have to.

Re: Desperate to save my marriage

PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 7:30 pm
by Mrconfused74
David020549 wrote:Wow, this will be a very quick reply.

You guys are saying that a girl of 18 or 20 should have no chance to change her mind about having kids.

Does she mention her age?? She could be in her 30's !

Re: Desperate to save my marriage

PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 8:54 pm
by johnay
It really doesn't matter what her age is..She's been married for ten years and must be realising that time is passing and if she wants children then she's probably at an age when she needs to get going. Many folks get to that point and it can be now or never especially for a woman whose fertility is not as long as a man's.
I think that she is married and a marriage is a partnership and most change and evolve and if they don't then they can fail. What we felt in our 20s can be so different in our 30s and 40s. My wife said she didn't want children when we got together but we ended up with 4. We as a couple are very different now compared to what we were like 45 years ago. Marriage has to be based around compromise and adaptability and folks being completely dogmatic will cause problems. I think she has every right to ask him to reconsider this issue and to seriously expect some compromise from her husband. If he is that dogmatic then I would think it's best to call a day on the marriage as I doubt that her feelings and need for children will disappear. The other thing she could do is to let him impregnate her without his knowledge and then let him decide whether HE wants to leave her and end it all. That sounds unfair but he's also being completely reluctant to meet her needs either. Another poster seems right to me in that they need couples counseling not individual my mind a strong marriage that is being described by the OP should be able to cope with the arrival of a child.

Re: Desperate to save my marriage

PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2016 12:15 pm
by Tarantula
I am shocked at the suggestion to deceptively cause a pregnancy to reverse the burden of decision-making.

Yo! This isn't a choice about where to go for dinner; it's bringing a CHILD into the world! It's the biggest decision one can make in life. He isn't being unfair towards her; he's being clear, honest and consistent. Whereas if she gets herself knocked up to try and pressure him into doing what she wants.... no no no.

Compromise is one thing. Being pressured into changing an absolute, crucial decision thaqt you've made clear from day one, that completely changes the trajectory of your life, is another. Have kids because you want to be a parent; NOT to appease your partner.

Deciding that you don't want kids isn't dogma. It's a mature, totally fair conclusion to arrive at, and it's no one's place to try and coerce him into it or make him a villain for not budging on what has been clear from the start.

Re: Desperate to save my marriage

PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2016 1:10 pm
by Mrconfused74
Tarantula =D> =D> =D> =D>

Re: Desperate to save my marriage

PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2016 1:45 pm
by David020549
Nice to hear from Tarantula as strident as ever. I think it is reasonable to assume after 10 years of marriage she is running out of time to have a first child, the dilemma is that if she dumps her husband she probably has not got time to form another relationship and have kids anyway.
Getting pregnant accidentally is used by legions of women every year to get their man, their kids are no less loved, unmarried mums probably number half of births each year

Re: Desperate to save my marriage

PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2016 4:16 pm
by reckoner
I too didn't want kids until late - I was 35 when I started to realise for the first time I wanted to be a mother. The situation was easier for me because the relationship I was in was going tits up anyway and neither of us wanted him to be the father of my children.

Lottie, you are clearly in a better relationship than I was, but I think you have to be sure that your perspective on the marriage won't change once the chance to have children has passed because you decided to stay in it.

I agree with Snail that these maternal feelings are unlikely to go away. I don't think you can pacify the desire for kids, or at least you're not managing it successfully. And if you pacify them, you might regret doing so if it means you deprive yourself of the chance.

I agree with you that this is your own issue to understand first. If you know that everything is in working order for you to have kids, I think you need to decide whether these feelings are a real desire for kids and not, perhaps, a reaction to experiencing the first unresolvable difference between the two of you, something you can get over, being at peace with the idea that you would rather be with him than have children.

On the one hand you have the regret of losing your husband and the life you've loved for so long, but on the other you'd have the regret of the life you'll never have the chance to know and a type of love you can only have for children. I know as many people who are happy without kids as people who don't remember life without them. I guess you have to decide what you'd regret most.

If you find that you really want kids, then I think you have to give it every chance. If your husband's position won't change, then I think this is a situation the marriage can't recover from.

I say all this from the position of being 40 and having my first child due in May. I've had a brilliant life but nothing in it has been any kind of preparation for what I'm feeling and preparing to go through now, and I can tell you that our concerns about having kids are fully justified! And yet somehow, life has never seemed clearer to me. It's the only thing that ever successfully made me stop smoking. The miracle of life!! I know it isn't like that for everyone and it may well not be like that for you. But if there's a chance that you'd want to feel what I'm feeling, then I wouldn't want you to miss it.

Very best wishes.

Re: Desperate to save my marriage

PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2016 4:43 pm
by reckoner
Also just to say that having kids is such a momentous thing to do that I think we only realise we want to do it when we're psychologically capable of handling the upheaval and turmoil. I have huge respect for those who decide it's not for them because they are treating the matter with the seriousness that it deserves. Very best wishes to both partners in this marriage.