It's Complicated Advice Q&A: My Husband Doesn't Want More Kids and I Do


My husband of three years doesn't want any more kids. I have never led him to believe that I didn't want children. He, on the other hand, has always maintained, with 99 percent certainty, that he never wanted kids. (Yes, I know we are both at fault for this - getting married when we knew this about each other.) In that 1 percent, he said that if he had kids, he wanted two. I agreed. Long and frustrating story short, my husband "let" me have a baby, gave me hell through the pregnancy, and for the first six months of the baby's being home was always saying, "What? I never wanted kids!" Now he is finally starting to take a liking to our beautiful, happy son, who is just under a year old. However, he has flat-out refused to have any more kids and, hence, does not touch me. I love him to death, but I have always wanted more than one child. Should I feel bad for wanting children more than wanting to stay married? I hesitate to wait and see with him only to find out in a few years that his opinion is still the same.
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I read a statistic recently that said 72 percent of women consider divorce at one time or another, so for you to consider it would be fairly normal. Indeed, pretty much everyone thinks about bailing on the spouse at some point, which is a completely different thing than doing it.
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As I've said before in this column, there's no "should" when it comes to feelings. You long for more children, and if you stay with your husband, you might not get them. That's powerfully disappointing. But leaving a husband you "love to death" in the hopes that you'll land another guy who will desire the same number of children is a pretty terrible idea.

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First, you're assuming a better match is out there, just waiting to meet you. What if he is, but he's married to someone else? Or what if you don't meet him until you're 50? Or what if you meet him next year, but for some reason you can't get pregnant? On and on the what-ifs go. And in the meantime, what about your son? Could you imagine saying to him, "I left your father because I wanted more kids. You just weren't enough"?

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Forget all the percentages (1 percent of your husband wanted two kids? How do you even measure such a thing?) and quit pressuring your husband. The bond between the two of you needs to be reestablished before you can move forward, so focus on that and see what happens. (You might be surprised!)

If you feel you need something else to nurture right now, consider a trip to the pound for a puppy or kitten (seriously!). But in any case, concentrate on enjoying your family, channel that old Doris Day song ("Que sera, sera, whatever will be, will be"), and, while you're at it, top off all that you do have - a beautiful son and a husband you love - with a big dollop of gratitude.
Karen Karbo is an award-winning writer and author of The Gospel According to Coco Chanel: Life Lessons from the World's Most Elegant Woman. She's also a mom, a writing teacher, and a horse owner. Check out more advice from Karen.

Need smart advice?
Whatever's bugging or perplexing you - about your friends, brother, sister, parents, in-laws, husband, you name it - REDBOOK's Karen Karbo has the smart advice you need. Email your questions, rants, and worries to her at karenkarbo@redbookmag.com and please include your initials, age, city and state. Letters may be edited for clarity and length.

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