(Starting a family versus remaining childfree)
H and I have both in the no kids camp (but all know life happens too, someone could change their minds, surprises happen, etc.) and we maybe talked about this after dating 1 month?
My very good friend mentioned her desire to have kids on the very first date. As in if you know you don’t want kids, we should not go on a second date. Gutsy woman! They went on to get married (and have two kids!). She is 5 years older than her H.
My other friend is newly single and reentering the dating world at 34 (soon to be 35 this week). She really wants kids at some point, as in can’t imagine her life without them. She’s just started to see a guy now and they are hitting it off so incredibly well. I’m so very happy for her! She feels she should bring it up at some point as this relationship to be going in a very good direction.
Totally curious and just starting a conversation… when seems like a good time to bring this up? Because a 100% no-kid person should not be dating an 100% kid person, as it would lead to heartbreak if it is unknown for too long. I guess it could also depend on how serious the relationship was when it started. Like a FWB or something really casual, a talk like this may come much later when the couple really gets feelings for each other.
I think it comes up within the first month of dating usually. Especially if you are both looking for something serious. That could be a deal breaker. I think in the first month I was dating my SO we talked about wanting marriage and kids. It’s part of getting to know someone.
Granted it wasn’t a talk that went “I want to marry you and have your babies.” That would be too much for a new couple. It’s just a casual conversation of “Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?”
My FI and I casually talked about it after a few year of dating, not too long before we got engaged. Since we got engaged though, we have talked much more seriously about how many we want (2) and when (1-2 years after we get married). I was only 23 when we met and he wasn’t necessarily looking for marriage or kids at the time, so we were in no rush to discuss. Worked out for us, but everyone’s different.
I think it came up within a year or two, definitely not when we first started dating as it was like the farthest thing from our minds. I guess if it is important to you, you should talk about it within the first few dates?? Of course, everyone is different!
@sienna76: It was pretty early on in our relationship. He wanted kids like yesterday. We of course did talk about a plan of action after getting engaged, about how things would go. We would like to pay off as much debt as possible (a couple of credit cards and car loans), then we would like to at least start looking at homes before TTC.
He didn’t like the idea at first but he can understand why we need to do it this way.
In your 30′s, it should come up as soon as possible. I think my SO and I talked about it on our second date maybe? That’s dealbreaker number one for me (I want kids). It’s therefore important for me to know ASAP, before anything develops. When I was dating, no matter how much I liked a guy, if he didn’t want kids we couldn’t be together.
That said, I dated a guy who strung me along on the marriage and kids bit for a while saying he wanted that when in actuality he wanted no part of it. He knew it was important to me and wanted to keep me around, just on his terms.
The moral of that story is to bring it up in as neutral of a way as possible!
I think your friend should feel comfortable bringing it up sooner because she is older, and would not want to devote a longer amount of time to the relationship without knowing if it is so important. I respect that. And if he’s the right person, he would as well.
Personally, I really don’t remember exactly when it was brought up in my own relationship. I know SO had nieces/nephews and he made comments rather early on that he never thought he wanted kids until his siblings had them. So I kind of knew from that. And I was open that I wanted kids as well. It was never a larger conversation until later.
Not to hack the thread, but another point that many people don’t bring up (and perhaps should) is if the person would be okay with adoption if they couldn’t have kids themselves. That was something I was sure to bring up with SO when we did talk (probably 5-6 months in, when we were serious, but not yet talking marriage exactly).
My mother had me fifteen years into her marriage when she had trouble conceiving – I was a surprise as my parents had already explored adoption and were on a waiting list. I wanted SO to know that while I want to/hope to have a child of my own, there is always a possibility it may be difficult, and I would want kids either way. He agreed and supported adoption, so I know that as well. It is important to know if raising kids is important to someone.
Ah yes, I forgot my friends and myself are probably 10 year older than the average age of posters on the Bee! I can see it being the furthest thing from your minds at 23, as it was probably mine too.
Since my friend is 35 soon, and does want kids, she does agree she should probably get her new guy’s feel on kids before they are totally in love with each other – which sounds like just around the corner! I hope he does because so far they are really good together.
My husband knew I didn’t want kids before we even started dating. We were friends for 7 months before we officially dated.
Before our first date.
Before we met LOL.
We met on eHarmony, both were out of carppy relationships, and neither of us wanted to pussyfoot around! We talked about the tough stuff right away.
We both talked about it either the first date or within the first handful of dates. He asked me about it. I was quite the ambivalent procrastinator/fence sitter at the time but I still thought I would have them one day. He did too. I was pretty clear I was not in a rush though and if it did not happen, I was not too worried about it. He was similar in that respect.
I actually jumped off the fence on to the childfree side about a year after we married so that initial conversation did not really apply, though I guess it was pretty clearly established in that convo neither of us were raring to have babies right away. And being decidedly childfree has worked out just fine for us.
I think it is important to talk about it early on, whether you really want them, really don’t, or are pretty undecided.
In my experience, usually people who are a bit older and pretty sure of themselves and so on are more likely to talk about this (and other big things) sooner. My husband and I were 29 & 34 when we met and talked about everything and anything right off the bat (and still do!). We were not prepared to get involved with someone who did not share similar values, compatabilities and so on (and of course who we did not have a fantastic and healthy relationship with, including great communication).
When I was much younger, I can recall being worried about “scaring someone off” if I talked about things like marriage or anything serious. I got over that as I got older (if they got scared off, they were not for me anyway) and things worked out much better as well since those dealbreaker issues or expectations and boundaries were established pretty early on and if it was not going to work out, well that was known early too. I mean, not talking about it is not going to change anything (like any incompatabilities) so why not get it out there in the open and deal with it?
For us, it came up within a month or two. He definitely wants kids, so he brought it up. I was on the fence, but now I want kids. He doesn’t want to be an “old dad” so he brought it up soon as a dealbreaker thing. BTW he was about 23 when he brought it up. I was 19.
@MrsHart2Bee: Your conversation with your SO sounds EXACTLY like mine. I’m pretty sure that if I said I wanted to start TTC today, he would be totally on board with it, but I want to have at least half of our student loan debt paid off, be established in my job, and either have a good apartment or a house.
I actually don’t remember when it came up, but we spent time de facto having a relationship without really dating in an official way so probably during then since I thought I was never going to see him again and didn’t really have a lot of nerves about talking about whatever.
I was “mostly childfree” at the time and he was “meh” about kids. Said that if miss right really, seriously, desperately wanted them and was willing to commit to doing a majority of the dirty work, he would probably get on board with being a dad, but it wasn’t a goal.
Fast forward, I am SERIOUSLY childfree (I get the occasional pang about babies and then I remember the thousands of reasons I don’t want them, and as a teacher, I get my kid fix 300 times over) and he is just about as seriously childfree as I am.
We have an action plan in the event of unwanted pregnancy (abort that sucker immediately by any means necessary despite it being illegal where we live, share the cost, he will do oodles of aftercare, whatever I want and need as long as necessary) and are considering sterilization for me when we have more money.
I’d rather it be him but he’s honestly TERRIFIED of it. He gets really upset every time I bring it up, it’s phobia-level. He gets anxious even about shaving down there.
Either way it’s an incredible relief to know we agree and are both steadfast and happy with our choice. I’d bring it up as soon as I thought things might be getting serious or I potentially saw a future with someone…
I’d be bringing it up especially early in my case since I have such an unusual position on the matter and it’s an understandable dealbreaker for many. Last thing I’d want if I were still dating would be to fall in love with someone (or for them to fall for me) and find out they’d only settle for someone who wanted to give them children.
We actually discussed on our first date. It came up because I was working as a nanny at the time, and he asked me about it, I then spent the next half hour gushing about the kids, and then he showed me pictures of his newborn nephew and gushed how he can’t wait to have kids.
It came up pretty early on because him wanting kids would have been a deal breaker for me. And as it turned out it would have been a deal breaker for him too. Yahoo!