Can a relationship succeed if one partner wants children and the other does not?

Gone are the days when we simply assumed that someone would have children. It is a personal choice. So how do you deal with this when you are with someone who thinks differently about children than you do?

Start the conversation

If you are in your the twenties you do not necessarily have to think about whether to start a family or not. There is still time. It is only difficult if you are in a relationship with someone who wants to have children while you do not want them. Or vice versa, of course. When you are young, it is tempting to postpone the conversation. Maybe one of them will change his mind? Although it’s not something you can count on.

If one partner does not want children and the other wants, it can put a lot of pressure on the relationship, writes psychologist Elisabeth Shaw in an article regarding Body and soul. “Not having children (when you want them well, ed.) Can feel like a huge sacrifice. If this is not talked about properly, it can lead to envy. ”

Problems that may arise

It is not known how great the chance is that two people will separate if one wants children and the other does not. In addition, a relationship may also fail for other reasons. And it can create an extra sense of loss for the person who saw himself as a ‘victim’ if, for example, a woman has not fulfilled her desire to have children. “If the couple breaks up and the woman has passed her fertile years, she may feel like she’s lost a lot more than just a partner.”

On the other hand, it is also possible that someone decides to have children while he or she does not want them at all. Is not that well spoken of? This can have negative consequences for all children. “We assume that a parent immediately falls in love with a child when it is born and takes care and responsibility, but that is an uncertain assumption,” Shaw said. If the relationship breaks down – for whatever reason – a ‘sacrificial’ person can blame the child.


It’s hard to say if a relationship is doomed to fail if one of you wants children and the other does not. One thing is for sure: it will not be easy. Therefore, Shaw shares 5 tips for turning the topic into a topic of discussion. This is to prevent false expectations from arising or the relationship from falling due to poor communication. But also: how do you move on if you continue together and one of the two has to add water to the wine?

1. Listen carefully

Does your loved one say he or she does not want children? Take this seriously, even if you are just starting out dating. So do not think: he or she will change his or her mind. Yes, that is possible. But there is also a possibility that this is not the case. Avoid disappointments and do not make assumptions about this. And also ask yourself if you want to wait for something that is unlikely to come.

2. Be honest

Do not want children and your friend? Be clear and honest about this. In the beginning of a relationship, you may not want to talk too much about it because you do not want to pressure the other person, but it’s about your future. It is important for both parties to be aware of this. Also, take the time to talk about this. Is not it happening? Then you run the risk of the other person making assumptions.

3. Take responsibility when your partner brings the ‘victim’

Are you and your partner very clear that you both have different desires when it comes to starting a family? Then ask yourself what it means for your long-term relationship, Shaw advises. “You can not spend the rest of your life trying to compensate for the loss of your partner,” she says. “It might be better then to end the relationship instead of staying together.”

4. Take responsibility when bringing ‘The Sacrifice’

Is it you who still does what your partner wants within a family fund while it is not your desire? Then ask yourself in advance if you can fully accept that sacrifice, because it is paramount if you want the relationship to work. “If you know this is going to be a big burden and you start to see your partner as the one you sacrificed for, this can quickly escalate.”

5. Talk about the decision and make plans

The biggest thing that can make the relationship fail is the feeling of inequality in the relationship. One of them may feel unequal in the relationship because his or her wish may not come true and the other’s will will be heard. If you agree to perform that achievement, identify what other things you want. What other goals do you have in your relationship? And can your partner give you what you want in it? It’s hard, but it’s important to talk about it with your loved one. Only then is there a chance that a relationship can survive this.

Source: Body and Soul | Photo: Vân Thân

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