Not everyone wants to be a parent.
People have many reasons for not wanting a child: they may worry that they won’t be able to provide for a child financially, they may have moral or ethical reasons, or maybe they’re simply happy with their current lifestyle.
If you want to have a child, but your partner doesn’t, you may worry about what the future holds for you as a couple.
Many of us dream of starting a family with the one we love. When that person doesn’t have the same ambition, we sometimes wonder whether it would be best to end the relationship so we can find someone who shares the same goal.
According to research published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, when deciding whether to remain voluntarily childless, there are three stages:
- Coming to an agreement
Coming to an agreement as a ‘non-mutual couple’ (a couple with differing views on having children) is not always simple. Reaching an agreement may take time, especially if you both have strong views on the topic.
Couples will need to discuss and gain a better understanding of each other’s reasons for wanting/not wanting a child.
The research found that couples who remain childless do so because the partner who wants a child has a stronger wish to remain in the couple relationship than desire a child.
Agreement isn’t necessarily the same as acceptance, couples can agree not to have children but may still secretly hope the other will change their mind. Acceptance is when the person actually decided that they won’t have children and is ok with this fact. It can be a gradual process which for some happens naturally and they hardly notice whilst for others it may be a sudden shift, maybe prompted by an event such as abortion.
You may still wonder from time to time what it would be like to have a child, or you may feel broody now and then. However, the frequency of these feelings will decrease over time.
- Closing of the door
This stage only comes once you are physically no longer able to have children. Researchers have found that when they reach this phase, many couples are happy and content and some even feel ‘liberated’ after the door has closed.