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My husband and I have been married for five years. We discussed having kids before we were married and were both in agreement that a family would be in our future. Shortly after we got engaged, I was diagnosed with severe thyroid problems (both Graves’ and Hashimoto’s) and I had to have my thyroid surgically removed. This brought about a roller coaster ride of unwanted ups and downs for several years, as we worked with a variety of physicians to get me back to normal. During those years, my husband’s relationship with his parents collapsed, along with his dreams of taking over the family business. Long story short, the three most important people in his life broke him down. He wasn’t able to give me the support that I needed with my diagnosis and recovery; and I wasn’t able to give him the support the needed to cope with his parents and career. Having said that, we made it through the storm and have had the most wonderful last year together.
Our relationship is stronger than ever and I am completely back to myself. Now his parents are trying to get back in the picture and offered him an opportunity to buy the family business. (The business is in Cleveland and we’ve been in Chicago for three years now.) At the same time, I have been brought up my desire to start a family with him. (I’m 35 and he’s 40). He told me that he has changed his mind, and that having kids is not worth the risk. (He defined risk as having a child that may have something wrong with their mentality.) He said I want you to be happy and I know that I could never find another woman like you, but, you have to choose a life with me or a life with someone else to have your baby.
I now find myself caught between a rock and a hard place. I am faced with these questions: I know we’ve both been through a lot these last >five years, but how does one change their mind on wanting to have kids to the extent that he would rather have a life without me than one with me and a baby? How do I make a decision about uprooting my career (again) to another city, if we decide that purchasing his parents company is the right career move for him, when I now know he doesn’t want a family with me? I realize it may be hard to provide advice with such little perspective on this issue, but I’ll take anything at this point. My head is spinning in circles.
We can see what a difficult spot you’re in. We are sorry.
We do have some thoughts on your situation but we also have lots of questions. And you’re right, your question deserves more of an in-depth discussion, but we’ll do our best.
Let’s start with our questions.
Is it possible that your husband feels so unmoored at the moment that he’s not even able to consider having a child or having a discussion about it? Meaning, once the decision whether to buy his family business is behind you both, is it possible that he might reconsider having kids? Or do you feel he’s not going to change his mind? (He already changed his mind once, so isn’t possible he might change his mind again?)
Are you feeling under the gun since you’re 35? By when do you feel you need to make a final decision? By what age?
Have you thought at all about adoption? Would he consider that? Would that be enough for you if he doesn’t change his mind about trying to have kids?
What do you think you’ll do if he doesn’t change his mind?
Are you feeling as if he’s rejecting you on some level?
Okay, now to your question. How does someone change his mind, to the extent where he would consider having a life without you?
Well, two things come to mind. 1. He’s either saying that he’s not sure how he feels at the moment, so he’s kind of leaving it up to you to decide your future together. (We don’t think this is what he’s saying, but it’s important to consider.) 2. He’s so scared and overwhelmed about his own life that he doesn’t want to drag you down and then disappoint you. To the extent where he’s willing to let you go so you can be happy. (We get the sense that he’s handing over the power to you and saying, “Nichole, do what you will. I can’t think about this right now.”)
We ask you: What DO YOU think he’s feeling? Why do you think he’s changed his mind?
Honestly, he may seem cavalier with his response to you, but we think that’s just his way of dealing with it. Or NOT dealing with it. We just get the sense that he can’t handle anything more on his plate so he’s using an excuse about your child having issues as a way of ignoring the topic. That said, this needs to be resolved BEFORE you move, however that might look. (As long as you feel comfortable with the solution.)
However, we also think that maybe you need to have a heart-to-heart with him about your relationship. You say things have never been stronger, but if that’s the case, we’re a bit surprised at how easily he’s willing to discard the relationship. Like we said, we think this is a defense mechanism, and that he’s scared and overwhelmed, but we still think it might be important to sit him down and hear what he has to say about how he’s feeling.
We also think that you might consult the help of a professional counselor or therapist to try and work through these issues. What do you think?
We know our note just gets the conversation started so feel free to respond using the comments below or ask foll0w-up questions.
You take care,