The decision to remain childless is often a contentious one, even more so when in a relationship where one partner wants to have children and the other doesn’t. Relationship counselling with the guidance of a therapist would help partners to see each other’s points of view and help them to come to a conclusion about the future of their relationship as well as about the decision to have children. Although this relationship hurdle seems unsolvable, there are a few tips for coping in this situation. However, if you find that this is an on-going issue in your relationship, it is important to seek professional advice in the form of relationship counselling.

Things to consider when one partner wants children and the other doesn’t

As with any major relationship hurdle, it very important to communicate effectively with your partner when one of you wants children and the other doesn’t. Make sure that your partner knows exactly how you feel about children and why you have made the decision that you have, and likewise that your partner does the same. Once you have both expressed your views and have been open and honest with each other you can start to move forward toward a resolution.

When discussing the childfree choice, think long term. If you agree not to have children how will you feel when your friends are all raising their families? Similarly, if you decide to have children, will this make you happy and will it be the best choice for the well-being of your relationship? However, make sure that whatever choice you make, it is the best choice for you. Making the choice to either have, or not to have, a child based on what your partner wants is likely to further strain your relationship.

If you are unable to reach a resolution, it may be time to make a difficult decision. Together you will need to decide if your feelings about having a baby or your relationship are more important to you long term. This is a difficult choice to be made with many factors to consider. Relationship counselling would help you to see more clearly with regards to your relationship and feelings about having a child, so that you can make this difficult choice.

It is also important to discuss whether you or your partner doesn’t ever want to have children, or if this is just a short-term decision. If the partner who doesn’t want to have children says that it is just a decision for the moment, the other partner can work with children through babysitting or volunteering at a children’s hospital or care facility for example. Whenever possible, look to see if there is a compromise like this that can be made when discussing important relationship hurdles with your partner. Relationship counselling can help couples move toward compromise for the wellbeing of their relationship.

How can relationship counselling help?

Relationship counselling is a form of therapy that seeks to resolve issues and improve communication within an intimate relationship. Relationship counselling can help you to reflect on your past as individuals and as a couple and how this impacts your present feelings about children; communicate constructively about your choice to have a child or not; understand how culture, religion and family values may have impacted your feelings about children; and finally, relationship counselling can help you to negotiate and resolve the conflict.

Contact Louw Alberts for expert counselling on relationships and marriage