You want a baby, but your partner doesn’t…April 17, 2018
If life was well planned, you and your partner would be on the same page in terms of whether you will have children or not, how many you will have and exactly when.
But life isn’t.
We don’t plan who we are going to fall in love with – and most relationships grow organically slipping from one stage to the next in terms of commitment and trust. And of course, things change. Someone who has never wanted children may suddenly want them. Someone who definitely only wanted one or two children may now desire more.
It’s not uncommon for couples to find themselves in a committed relationship with mismatched desires for children.
We see it often at the Sydney Couple and Family Specialists for Couples Counselling. We support couples negotiating this mismatch by helping them have safe, respectful conversations. They’re encouraged to look at all the short and long term consequences of each possible scenario, while ensuring the crux of the matter is resolved.
Here are some of the common issues that I guide couples through:
- Potential loss – It is common for partners to fear the loss of what is currently shared.It is important couples discuss ways they can remain connected if they do decide to proceed with having children.
- Injuries from a first child – The dynamics of a relationship can shift wildly with the first child. If that change caused one partner in particular to feel hurt, ignored, or unsupported it is likely that discussion about additional children will be loaded.It is essential that this experience is understood by the couple and behaviours are modified so that both parents feel confident moving ahead with a second or third child, if that is what is decided.
- Finances – The most common issue I see in couples who are debating a decision about starting or adding to a family are finances.Fears around lost career opportunities, not enough money either now or in the future can weigh heavily. It is important to discuss with your partner your expectations of wealth and lifestyle.
- Missed opportunity – The decision not to have children while partners are biologically and otherwise able to has the potential to cause resentment to arise over the long term. Once the opportunity to have childre is missed, it is missed for ever, and the resentment and long term grief that can arise from that can be difficult to overcome for any relationship.
- Children from previous marriages – Children from previous marriages have the potential to amplify each of the challenges raised above. For example, it can make finances more stressful, and the fears of loss, hurt or resentment more extreme. The life circumstances each partner brings to the relationship needs to be acknowledged and accepted within the decision-making process about having children.It is also common for a partner who has already had a family previously to either not want any more children or to stipulate that they are only willing to have one child with the new partner.This of course can be a loss for the new partner.
Having children when one partner is not committed to the decision is dangerous for the relationship. The committed partner may over-function in order to protect the other from having a negative experience of the child rearing process. They may also experience high levels of anxiety about their partner distancing at this vulnerable time. Your partner’s commitment to the decision is crucial.
If you and your partner are currently mismatched in your desire to have children, a Couples Counsellor can help you both reach a decision that is the right one for your relationship going forward.
If you would like see a Counsellor to discuss these issues, contact Sydney Couples and Family Specialists on 02 8968 9397.
Alex is an accessible and compassionate therapist. His clients appreciate that Alex listens with the intention of genuinely understanding them. He’s lovely with adolescents, who seem to warm to him
immediately, and he creates a space in sessions for any or all participants to have their say and feel heard.
Alex’s particular strengths are in the area of working with couples and he has extensive experience and training in this area. He is both Gottman and Systemically trained and draws on practical ideas that clients can immediately make use of to enhance their relationships.
Alex comes to Sydney Couple and Family Therapy Specialists from backgrounds as a Lifeline Crisis Line Counsellor and Trainer and Therapist at the highly-respected Jansen Newman Institute. He has supported individuals and couples through trauma, anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation and adolescent struggles.
Alex has helped many people through intensely frightening and painful life events – and to a place where they have the skills and confidence to carry themselves forward.
Alex is married with a young family and therefore easily relates to the stress and struggles that many couples and young families face today.
“It takes a lot of courage to share a moment of crisis with someone you don’t yet know. Even more so, to entrust your intimate relationship over to them.
I have been in the fortunate position to be trusted with that responsibility many times and have helped people – through their own bravery, honesty and effort – to transcend their suffering and improve their key relationships.”
Alex also runs the pre-marriage counselling course at the Sydney Couple and Family Specialists https://sydneycoupleandfamily.com/couples-pre-marriage-pre-commitment-course/
Qualifications and Professional Membership
Alex holds a Masters of Counselling and Psychotherapy from Jansen Newman Institute Sydney, and a Bachelor degree from the University of Sydney. Alex also holds a Gottman training certificate.
He is a member of the Australian Association of Family Therapy, the Counsellors and Psychotherapist Association of Australia, and the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia.
Why see a Couples Counselor?
Are you wondering if couples counselling is for you? In this interview Alex Ryder answers common questions we hear from people who want to understand more about this process.
And remember, if you are a new client you can book a free 15 minute telephone session with Alex.
“We really like your approach. The other couples counsellor we saw left us stuck in negativity. Right from the start we felt hopeful with you. Your positive approach helped us out of the slump, so we could address the real issues.” – Murry (36) married to Tasha (39); One Child (3) – Clients who saw Alex Ryder for Relationship counselling.
“I’ve wanted to refer you to so many people. Obviously I haven’t given the circumstances, but we are huge fans and are so grateful for your help.” – Tom (49) married to Sarah (43). Two children; 15 & 13 – Clients who saw Alex Ryder for Relationship counselling following an affair.
“I think we told you in our first session that you were the last couples therapist we were going to try. Everything was on the line. So thank you for… well everything.” – James (55) married to Philippa (53) – Clients who saw Alex Ryder for Relationship Counselling