Relationship coach and author of Embracing Conflict (Amazon) Paula Quinsee advises couples on how they can go about dealing with a situation of this nature.
She says that this can be one of the biggest challenges of any relationship, but it is one that doesn’t necessarily have to spell the end of it.
“It’s about the couple first sitting down and having an honest conversation on a number of levels. They should discuss if they can afford to have another child, which will speak to the type of lifestyle that they would like to offer their children, the quality of education and the future they want to provide,” Quinsee says.
“If the answer is ‘yes, we can afford it’, then the couple needs to work around that – and the real conversation about the issue of having more children needs to begin.”
Quinsee says that if one partner feels really strongly about not wanting to have children, that partner needs to make their other half understand why. Is it because they just don’t feel that they can cope with it emotionally, or because of the time that it takes to raise a child, or is it just because they lack the desire?
The same goes for the partner who wants more children. He/she should also be given an opportunity to make the other partner understand why: Is it because they grew up as an only child and have always dreamt of having a huge family?
“The couple must find a middle ground where they can meet each other’s needs in a different way that won’t necessarily involve children – but unfortunately, the risk with this is that if the one partner feels strongly that they do or don’t want children, it could lead to the end of the relationship,” Quinsee says.
“If it does get to a point where there’s a stalemate and no agreement or compromise can be made, then the couple should seek professional help so that it doesn’t ultimately lead to the breakdown of the relationship.”
It’s important to have conversation like these right at the beginning of a relationship so that one knows exactly what it is they are getting into and so that one can manage his/her expectations better throughout the tenure of the relationship.
“You need to give each other the opportunity to decide right from the beginning if you are both willing to pursue the relationship, knowing full well that your partner does or doesn’t want children,” Quinsee says.
“If you’re maybe hoping that down the line, your partner will change her mind or that you can convince her otherwise, you can’t be angry with her if she maintains her stance because she told you upfront about her feelings on the issue.”