She said she didn't want kids. Now she does.

Steph & Dom solve your sex, love & life troubles: She said she didn’t want kids. Now she does…

  • An anonymous reader asked for advice on his wife, 40, wanting to have kids
  • The 49-year-old said his wife has started to regret agreeing not to have children
  • Steph advised that neither should relent their ideal just to keep the other happy 

TV’s Steph and Dom Parker, 52 and 54, draw on their 21 years of marriage to solve your relationship problems . . . 

Q: I am about to turn 50 and have been married to my wife for a year. We met when she was 36 — she is now 40 — and we both agreed from the outset that we didn’t want to have children.

But since we got married, she has started to have regrets, and now tells me she has changed her mind. It got worse after one of her friends had a baby recently, and she has become quite depressed. This is horrible for me to watch, knowing I am to blame.

But I’m also angry, because this was never part of the plan.

An anonymous reader who is about to turn 50, asked for advice because his wife has changed her mind about not having children (file image) 

We both decided that our lives would be better without children — we travel all the time and do what pleases us — or so I thought.

So I’m angry, but also worried that, if we don’t at least try, she will never forgive me.

I don’t want to lose her. What should I do?

STEPH SAYS: Firstly, I’d like to say thank you for having the courage to share your problem. I’m sure a lot of men have been in your shoes, and I think you have every right to feel as you do. Changing the goal posts on this important issue feels deceitful.

Both of you did the right thing by discussing it at length before walking down the aisle, as I think every couple should, especially those in their 30s and 40s.

The reality is that, at this stage in a woman’s reproductive life, there isn’t time to waste. And just as it’s wrong for a man to string along a woman who wants children with a vague promise of ‘maybe’, equally it is unacceptable for a woman to say she wants to remain child-free, only to announce suddenly she needs to become a mother.

Of course, everyone has the right to change their mind. But it doesn’t mean you don’t have the right to feel angry and a little lost within the relationship.

You shouldn’t feel guilty about this — in fact, I think it’s fair if you feel a little resentful about being cast as the villain.

I am certain, however, that you will have some compassion towards your wife. I suspect that more than a little of what she’s feeling is hormonal.

Steph (pictured left, with Dom) told the reader that neither of them should relent on their personal ideal just to keep the other happy 

At 40, her body will be telling her in no uncertain terms that her childbearing window is closing fast.

The uncomfortable question is: had she always secretly felt this way and hoped you would ‘come round’, or is she also surprised by her change of heart?

Do you feel that she has waited until you’re married and she’s more secure in the relationship before unburdening her truth? Explain to her how important it is for you to fully understand how this has happened.

Otherwise you will start to question everything about your relationship.

In turn, you must be honest with her — tell her you do not want to be bullied into changing your mind on something so fundamental. Be brave.

This will be an awkward and frightening conversation for you both — and be clear that this will determine the rest of your lives together, if indeed you stay together. I know that sounds dramatic, but this is one area where there can be no compromise: you either go ahead and have a child willingly and joyfully, or you do not — you can’t suck it and see!

That said, no one wants to live with regret, and in this case someone may well end up doing so. You need to decide if that will be you, or your wife.

Neither of you should relent on your personal ideal just to keep the other happy, because it will never make you both happy.

DOM SAYS: Well, this is a tricky one. I’m so sorry for you that your wife has totally changed her mind about something so fundamental — a volte-face of this magnitude is really rather against the rules.

But, having said that, the decision on whether or not to have children is a huge one. It’s completely life-changing and not one to be taken lightly.

Dom (pictured) advised the reader to find out how serious his wife is, if she really needs to become a mother, then she must be set free to find someone to do it with 

You are 50 and 40 respectively, so no spring chickens. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, of course, but just that you should really know your minds at this point. And you should be really sure that you have the energy and wherewithal to properly care for, and to enjoy caring for, a baby.

If you’re not convinced you want to be kicking a football around a field in five years’ time, then you need to think again.

The same, of course, goes for your wife. You mention that her friend has had a baby and that has made your wife’s broodiness peak. Might you suggest she goes and stays with her friend for a week or so to help out? It could well be that the reality of being woken up constantly and the stress of caring for a tiny child might put her off.

It may not, but she should be really sure she truly wants a child and is not just dazzled by the upsides she sees.

The problem, really, is that this is rather binary. One can’t be a bit pregnant, after all.

On the face of it, it seems that if you say yes, you’ll be miserable for the rest of your life, and if you say no, your wife will be miserable for the rest of her life. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

So I think what you must first do is to find out just how serious your wife is — and just how deep your antipathy to becoming a father runs. If you are really dead set against it, and she feels that she really needs to become a mother, then you must set her free to find someone else to have a baby with.

This won’t be easy, but if she really believes she will never be happy without a child, then you must let her try to fulfil that dream.

If she isn’t sure about her decision, then encourage her to go to counselling. There are professionals with decades of experience of dealing with this problem. I suspect it’s more common than one might think.

If you decide you can’t bear to lose her and cave in, then do so with good grace. Make your peace with it, because a child will always come first and Daddy second (in Daddy’s eyes as much as Mummy’s!).

And quite right, too. Don’t do it if you think that’s not for you.

If you have a question you’d like Steph and Dom to tackle, write to: [email protected] 

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