She Wants Children/He Doesn’t: Can The Relationship Work?

By Angela W. McShan

Updated March 02, 2020

Reviewer Laura Angers

Relationships are filled with highs and lows. One of the most tangible aspects of any relationship is communication. It's not tangible in the physical sense but in an emotional one.

What happens in a relationship when partners have different expectations? It's simple: they compromise and attempt to make it work, right? Unfortunately, it's not always that simple. There are many instances where partners strive for different things in a relationship. Differences are a part of what makes many relationships work, but not all of them succeed at doing so.


For instance, consider a relationship where she wants children/he doesn't. Can the relationship work with this magnitude of differences in desires? There are a variety of perceptions regarding the idea of bringing children into a relationship. Some couples prefer or plan to have children once they're married or, others believe that having children will make the relationship stronger. There are a few that prefer to not have kids at all. In a few cases, a partner that wants children will sometimes fall for someone who doesn't want any.

The approach to the conversation about kids is a fragile one that some couples avoid for as long as possible. It's an important talk to have and should be addressed before the relationship advances too far. Regardless of its importance, many people skate around the topic, and it's usually because they're uncertain that their partner feels the same as they do about bringing children into the relationship. This is a topic that should be discussed, as it reveals what each partner wants from the relationship regarding children.

It's possible that one partner may be unsure if children are something they want in the future. Many factors may influence whether a person does or doesn't want kids. Children are a big responsibility, one that may require a lifetime commitment. It's normal for a person to be unsure if they want children or not.

It can be antagonizing to realize that there is a major disagreement in such a huge life decision. However, what happens if you eventually see that you simply can't reach a mutual agreement about having children?She wants children/he doesn't but can the relationship work?

Consider the following:

If It's an Immediate Plan


If she wants children sooner than later, it may be best for him to be up front and honest with his timeline. If one partner wants kids immediately and it's not in the immediate plans of the other partner, then it may be best to dissolve the relationship. This is the time to ask those important questions. For the partner that wants children immediately, ask yourself if waiting is something you're emotionally and physically prepared to do. For the partner that prefers waiting a few years, ask yourself if starting a family now will prevent you from achieving other things or if you feel you can be a good parent if you had kids now. Both partners should ask themselves if changing their mind about when to have children will be something they can accept moving forward.

If It's an "in the future" Plan

Consider the talks you've had with your partner and at what point in the relationship they wish to have kids. Can you make it work? This depends largely on the tone of the conversations and how forthcoming having kids is in the future of the relationship. If both partners want kids but not immediately, a couple may be able to make the relationship work. They may work to continue to build and strengthen the relationship, which may bring them closer and put them in a position to make kids a part of their future plans. If both parties are young, planning for kids in the future may not be a bad idea.

Consider Various Options

There are various options regarding bringing children into the relationship. If it's the fear of taking care of a baby, adopting an older child may be a better option. It allows you to avoid the first few years of the child's life, which may be something you're uncomfortable with doing. The most important approach is to consider the primary reason that is preventing you from wanting kids and determine if there is an agreeable compromise.

This May Not Be the Person for You

Sometimes, it's not the fact that one partner doesn't want kids. It could be that they don't see having children with the person they're seeing. In this case, it's not that kids aren't in their future. Instead, the partner isn't someone they see having a long-term relationship with, which also means they wouldn't consider having kids with them either.

After Taking the Considerations into Account

Once you've considered the above as they apply to your specific situation, it's time to move forward. The desire to have kids is strongly embedded in the hearts and minds of some; it makes it difficult for them to understand why anyone wouldn't want to do so. Those who fall in the category of not wanting kids may find it hard to understand why others jump at the opportunity to assume such massive responsibility.

If you're in a situation where you and your partner face challenges in the relationship, such as whether or not to have kids, it may help to see a relationship counselor. In addition to talking to a professional, you should also do the following.

Talk Openly About the Issue


It's easy to avoid the topic about kids in a relationship. It's most often avoided because children can be a complicated subject, and most prefer to avoid the debate that may take place. Relationships can flourish from simple debates or disagreements, but complicated ones such as to have or not to have kids aren't as easy to approach or overcome.

The fact is, women are usually more eager to approach the topic because their biological clock isn't forever in their favor. They don't have the option or the luxury of waiting until they're older to have kids. The she wants children/he doesn't scenario is most commonly because of biology. After the age of 35, a woman's fertility drops and the probability for genetic disorders among other issues rise. Women who are nearing that age aren't always in a position to wait a little longer to start a family.

In this scenario, the couple should talk about the issue at hand immediately. If you're a woman who desires to start a family but is involved with someone that expresses they don't want children, you should address it soon. If you've been dating for a few years, there is a chance that your mate may have changed their mind about having kids by now.

Discuss Alternatives

If you want to avoid dissolving the relationship, there are other alternatives to consider. For instance, it may be an option to become foster parents before embarking upon the parental journey. It may help the reluctant partner to realize what being a parent entails and help them to change their mind. It's a great way to get an up close view of parenting, without making a permanent commitment.

Becoming a foster parent is a complicated process, as it involves authorities taking the necessary precautions to ensure that both prospects are fit to become fosters. You may also consider talking with other parents or spending time with them and their kids. Doing so offers another perspective of parenting. It shouldn't be the isolated indicator as to whether or not parenting is right for a person, but it can help with the decision making process.

Social media and television sensationalizes parenting. It provides various perspectives of raising kids, and viewers tend to attach themselves to the parents that remind them mostly of themselves. Most parents are sure they want children, but are scared to death once it becomes a reality. The fear doesn't set in because they think they'll be bad at parenting. It's the fear of not knowing what each second, minute, or the next years will bring.

Do What's Best for You

Love is a big word that requires a big commitment. Loving your mate doesn't mean that you'll agree on everything in life. It also doesn't mean that you'll be able to overcome every obstacle you overcome. When it comes to having kids, you must make a conscious decision to do what's best for you.

If your partner has decided that they will never want kids, that's fair. It's not fair for you to make the decision to spend your life childless because of his or her decision, unless it's what you really want. Be sure that changing your mind and not having kids is something that you will be able to spend the rest of your life with that decision. Sometimes, love for a mate can cause a person to give up things that are most important in life, such as having a family. In the end, the only thing that matters is doing what's right for you.

Men and Women View the Family Spectrum Differently


In addition to biology, there are other differences in men and women, especially when it involves having children. Children bring a variety of changes to a relationship. Sometimes, it's difficult to address or understand the changes that may occur.

Following are a few of the most common differences that may impact the difference in a couple's opinion about when and if starting a family is right.

  • Men are usually ready to have children when they feel they've met their life partner, and are stable enough to provide a comfortable life for the family.
  • Women have an urge to have kids that is not easily calmed. When they're ready to become a mom, it's hard for them to shake that feeling.

Men and women view readiness to start a family differently. Men have been viewed as the primary provider for their family for years. It's normal that they would only want to have children when they feel financially secure enough to support children. It may be that he wants to go further in his career or pursue higher education before making the commitment.

Women usually have an emotional motivation to start a family. They see multiple reasons to start a family and feel strongly that supporting the child can be done with the effort of both parents. In a sense, their emotional urge convinces them that the love they have for each other will help them care for the child properly.


People who choose not to have kids are easily seen as selfish or uncaring. There are many misconceptions surrounding people who choose not to have kids. It's important to understand that not everyone will become a parent. It's an important decision that should be approached with caution. Children are precious and deserve to have parents that will give them the attention and love they deserve. Sometimes, a person has to deal with personal emotions or overcome other issues before committing to care for a child. It's a decision that should be respected because of its personal nature. Couples can agree or disagree to have kids, but most importantly, they must do what's best for them and the child in question.

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