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Gutted because he's had a vasectomy.
September 28, 2009 1:29 PM   Subscribe

How do I cope with the guilt and heartbreak of snuffing out love because we'll never have kids?

I recently started seeing someone that I adore. I've known him for a few months through a couple of special interest groups, so we have quite a bit in common. We finally hooked up a few weeks ago and the chemistry just took off. There was the instant bonding of someone I could spend years with, if not the rest of my life. He feels the same way.

The kicker... I want kids and he has had a vasectomy. I told him almost immediately that this was a dealbreaker for me, because we were already starting to fall for each other and I didn't want to get too far in without disclosing this. I told him that I respect his decision to not have more kids, but that I am not the person for him because of this.

Now he has started broaching subjects like reversal, donor sperm and IVF. I have never, ever suggested these as options - it's purely him who has brought them up. If anything, I've tried to discourage him because he's saying this in desperation to keep me. None of these seem like reasonable measures for someone who previous to me, did not want any more kids. Even the best case scenario - reversal - seems far fetched. It'd be a couple of years before even trying, allowing time for the relationship to develop and to get money/immigration issues out of the way.

Details: He is 38, been married twice. Has a late-teens kid that he is not involved with except for child support. Got the vasectomy about 10 years ago. I'm 32 (almost 33), been in a few LTR's, never married, no kids. I want one or two biological kids and a partner to raise them with (marriage optional).

Even more details: The immigration factor is irrelevant except that it's an additional setback in terms of time and cost. If it wasn't for the vasectomy thing I wouldn't hesitate to immigrate permanently to his country (I am here temporarily). We're from different countries but the cultures are similar. I don't think I give off a desperate-for-baby vibe... just looking at things rationally I have a small window of time to have kids. Donor sperm would be a last resort for me if I hit my late 30s and I'm still single.

Am I being selfish in trying to protect us both from the inevitable? Is there a point of view that I'm missing? Maybe it would help if I could see this from his perspective, so if anyone has been in his shoes before, please share. I'm absolutely heartbroken to let him go. :(
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (31 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
There are plenty of guys without a vasectomy who think they don't want kids either and change their minds when they meet the right woman. You might just have to take a chance on this guy to get to a desired endpoint.
posted by teg4rvn at 1:34 PM on September 28, 2009


BTW, the fact that he's not involved in his current kid's life is a huge red flag.
posted by teg4rvn at 1:35 PM on September 28, 2009 [49 favorites]


Has a late-teens kid that he is not involved with except for child support

If this is HIS choice, and not mom's/kid's, you should think extra long and hard about having a kid with this man.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:39 PM on September 28, 2009 [18 favorites]


If this really, truly is a deal breaker for you, you should stop seeing him now. It's just leading him on and making it harder for both of you when the inevitable problems arise because you either find a way to have kids when he really doesn't want them, or when you don't have kids. You can find someone you love just as much who is willing to have kids if that is the decision you make.

If, on the other hand, you want to stay with him more than you want kids then own that decision and really think about the impact of that on your plans. Will you be able to move on and not regret that decision in a few years when biology really impacts how you feel about this?

I think the third option--staying with him and hoping he'll come around is cruel to both of you. I am related to a couple who went through a similar problem when she was about your age. They had a baby and he doesn't do a whole lot to take care of it. He considers it her job since she was the one who wanted the baby in the first place and he compromised to keep her. (See: your guy not being involved in the life of the kid he has.)

Bottom line, this is not deciding what color you want to paint the walls or even asking someone to move with you. This is about creating a life that you both will be responsible for the rest of yours. You're in the honeymoon phase of the relationship right now. Cold, hard reality will set in if you do end up having a baby. It's wonderful, rewarding, amazing work to raise a child but it will be painful for everyone involved if someone is not totally on board.
posted by Kimberly at 1:39 PM on September 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


Well he is talking about changes to overcome this obstacle but you seem to want nothing to do with this so I'd say there is more things you are questioning about a relationship than just some tied up tubes here. Just move on My 2 cents.
posted by jade east at 1:40 PM on September 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Two divorces? I would pass on this guy. It looks like that is what your gut is telling you, and you should stick with that. Sorry hun.
posted by dragonette1 at 1:41 PM on September 28, 2009 [6 favorites]


I've known him for a few months ... We finally hooked up a few weeks ago ...

A few weeks into the real part of the relationship, after having known him for a few months, and you're already having the baby talk?

Give it some more time. Six more months is not going to make anything significantly worse, biologically or emotionally.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:41 PM on September 28, 2009


A few weeks into the real part of the relationship, after having known him for a few months, and you're already having the baby talk?

She already knows what she wants and he doesn't have it, so why waste any more time?
posted by dragonette1 at 1:44 PM on September 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


I've known him for a few months ... We finally hooked up a few weeks ago ...

A few weeks into the real part of the relationship, after having known him for a few months, and you're already having the baby talk?


Oh, I totally missed that part. You've only been dating a few weeks, and you don't even live in the same country? I don't see baby-making as an important issue.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:45 PM on September 28, 2009


He's not involved in his teen kid's life, but he's ready to talk about vasectomy reversal as soon as you talk about breaking up after a few weeks when you don't even live in the same country. There are so many red flags going up over this one, it's a matador convention. Pass on this guy. You'll find someone else.
posted by katillathehun at 1:49 PM on September 28, 2009 [38 favorites]


About two months into a relationship back in 2000, the gal I was seeing brought up the children discussion. I want none, she wanted five, like her mom had. She broke up with me because of this.

And every day I thank the stars. I met my now-wife a few years later, and we match up a whole lot better - and she doesn't want kids, either.

Point being, take a pass on this one.
posted by notsnot at 1:49 PM on September 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


Oh, I totally missed that part. You've only been dating a few weeks, and you don't even live in the same country? I don't see baby-making as an important issue.

For me and many of the people I know who are the same age, I can understand the idea of not wanting to waste time with someone who has radically different priorities. That was fine for our 20s, but at a certain point it's time to get down to business.

The trick is actually evaluating and living with those priorities -- 2 weeks or 6 months, if having children is a deal-breaker for Anon, there's no point continuing the relationship with someone who has been through 2 divorces and doesn't spend time with the kid he already has.
posted by Kimberly at 1:52 PM on September 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


Kimberly, I agree with you. I was just saying the baby discrepancy is the least of their problems.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:54 PM on September 28, 2009


Even leaving aside your desire for children: this guys track record (2 wives, children he doesn't see) is very worrying. People do change as they mature, but he hasn't made the best decisions previously.
posted by selton at 1:55 PM on September 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


he's saying this in desperation to keep me.

This is how you know that you should not pay any attention, not feel guilty, and not feel too heartbroken. You don't want a guy who would say these things lightly, just to keep you in a relationship.
posted by Houstonian at 1:55 PM on September 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


He doesn't see his own offspring?

Run away.
posted by dzaz at 1:56 PM on September 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


An estranged child and previous divorces are yellow flags at best, not red ones. Wait until details are filled in.
As for the vasectomy...this just means he didn't want kids in the relationship he was in at the time he had it done. If he says he wants kids with you (in due time, of course) there's no reason not to take him at his word.
posted by rocket88 at 2:00 PM on September 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


To stay with someone for the rest of your life means actually building a life with them. You can be otherwise so, so compatible with someone, but ultimately you can either share a life or you can't and at some point that will become a crucial issue.

You want that life to include kids, he very clearly doesn't want this. I would not count on him changing his mind on this, especially given his relationship with the child he does have.

There are red flags here, and I think you know that.

Good for you for being upfront with him about what you want. There is no shame or guilt or selfishness in knowing what you want and being straightforward about it.
posted by KAS at 2:02 PM on September 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


What you absolutely must not do is waver on your dealbreakers. You want kids that badly? He is not able to fill the father figure role right now. If he wants to, he is going to have to make major changes physically, emotionally, mentally.

You can take a couple more months if you want to figure out whether his petitions are true or not, to see if he's as dedicated to you as you seem to be to him. But if it turns out that he's talking the talk but not walking the walk, then you should stand firm in your decision that he has to go. Sever the ties to the romantic relationship. You will be heartbroken. You will deal with it. You will live.

You can't go around vacillating about whether or not to stay with him. You will do more damage to yourself than he ever could. I say this from personal experience.
posted by sarahnade at 2:10 PM on September 28, 2009


Full disclosure: I've had several relationships with women in their late 20s/early 30s that have failed because I wasn't ready for kids when the biological clock started ticking. I'm in my mid-late 20s.

Three points I want to make:

1. Take some responsibility for waiting until the last minute. I know that life has twists and turns and you didn't plan on being in this position at this age, but women who are mothers in their 20s sacrificed a lot of life experiences to do so. You didn't make that sacrifice, for whatever reason, so you don't necessarily have a moral leg to stand on when a guy doesn't want to go from new-relationship to lets-have-babies in 3.2 seconds. These things take years. Leaving someone for this reason? Understandable but still a crappy move.

2. New relationships always have that glow. It will fade with time. If it's replaced by something you can build on, no one can say. You can only ride it out for a couple months and see how it feels then. Don't make a rash decision either way.

3. A guy who is willing to get his balls worked on to have kids with you after he swore he would never again? Either disturbed or in love, but certainly not ambivalent either way. Something to think about.
posted by milinar at 2:52 PM on September 28, 2009 [6 favorites]


Now he has started broaching subjects like reversal, donor sperm and IVF.
You only "hooked up" a few weeks ago and already he's considering expensive/invasive medical procedures? You mentioned that the two of you are from different countries; I hate to be the voice of doom, but could it possibly be that he's looking to have a child with you in order to get citizenship of some sort? I mean, getting a vasectomy is not a spur-of-the moment decision, and now after knowing you in person for only a few weeks he's considering having it reversed? It seems very strange to me that after such a short amount of time a man would be that in love with a woman that he'd start offering to undergo medical procedures to give her the biological children she's always dreamed of? To my mind, a man who has already considered his options enough to have undergone a vasectomy and who has virtually no contact with his existing child would not, in a matter of months, suddenly start considering reversal surgery, etc, unless there was some sort of ulterior motive.
posted by Oriole Adams at 3:14 PM on September 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Am I being selfish in trying to protect us both from the inevitable?

You probably mean the worst case scenario, not the inevitable.

I don't know what this guy is like, despite your description, but I would stay away from anything that makes you leave your country for someone who doesn't share the same cultural roots.

Also, men who marry multiple times are sort of a red flag, in my opinion. Once married and divorced is okay. Twice? Probably not the kind of person you should leave your home country for.
posted by anniecat at 3:57 PM on September 28, 2009


He's been divorced twice? He isn't at all involved in his own children's lives? You've only known each other a few months? You don't live in the same country?

No, no, no, no, no. Please seriously evaluate whether you're not just getting caught up in your infatuation for this man and consider moving on.
posted by pecanpies at 4:23 PM on September 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think your instincts are quite accurate. He does not want more children, and is not involved with the ones he has. You really want children.
posted by theora55 at 5:06 PM on September 28, 2009


1. Take some responsibility for waiting until the last minute. I know that life has twists and turns and you didn't plan on being in this position at this age, but women who are mothers in their 20s sacrificed a lot of life experiences to do so. You didn't make that sacrifice, for whatever reason, so you don't necessarily have a moral leg to stand on when a guy doesn't want to go from new-relationship to lets-have-babies in 3.2 seconds. These things take years. Leaving someone for this reason? Understandable but still a crappy move.

Um. Wait. What? The OP waited to have children for reasons we don't know, and now it's a 'crappy move' to decide to end a relationship due to incompatible viewpoints on the children question? This comment seems to imply that women who don't make the 'necessary sacrifices' to have children in their 20s are somehow immoral, and that any 30-something woman who wants children and hasn't had them yet should be held responsible for her failure to procreate while she was the correct age, and thus has no right to ask potential partners whether they want children or not before investing, and possibly wasting, years in a relationship. This is such a weird thing to say that I have to believe it isn't what you actually meant, milinar. What's more, I don't see how telling the OP 'it's your own fault' is helpful in the context of this question.

To address the OPs question, I have to agree with most of the people above. Your intuition is telling you he doesn't want kids, and you do. It's possible he really has changed his mind - but it doesn't sound like you think this is the case. Letting him go will hurt, but recognize that there are men out there with whom you can have an emotional connection and children, too.
posted by rosethorn at 7:12 PM on September 28, 2009 [13 favorites]


I totally meant it, I just think we're coming at it from two different viewpoints. It's not cool to submit a casual relationship to that kind of scrutiny. And ultimately, you're not going to get a good answer either way - he might say yes just to placate you, or no because not willing to verbally commit to something that huge. Putting someone in that position isn't cool. To end a relationship based on that is a bad move, plain and simple.

The OP's question:

Am I being selfish in trying to protect us both from the inevitable? Is there a point of view that I'm missing? Maybe it would help if I could see this from his perspective, so if anyone has been in his shoes before, please share. I'm absolutely heartbroken to let him go. :(


She's not looking for validation, she's looking for his point of view. I've been there, and it sucks.

Date casually for a few months, then go with your gut. Give him some space to make a decision.
posted by milinar at 10:28 PM on September 28, 2009


Geeze man. I can hardly see the OP's question for all the baggage piled up in these answers.

1) You and this man appear to be mutually smitten and very happy together.
2) You want to have kids in the not too distant future
3) He wants to work with you to make that happen

What, exactly, is the problem here?

Relationships change people's perspectives on things all the time. I can imagine that after having kids in a bad marriage in your early 20s, you would not want them ever again, but that your perspective could very well change by the time you near 40. That just doesn't seem outlandish to me at all.

Your relationship may or may not work out based on completely unrelated, normal relationship issues, but if it does, reversal and/or donor sperm do not seem like unreasonable options to me. They seem like workable solutions to a problem.

And FWIW, my stepfather had been married twice before he met my mother. They've been together for 25 years. Not only are they very happy together, he is the best father and family man I could have asked for. I couldn't have picked a better one out of a catalogue.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:57 PM on September 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


You want a partner to raise your kids with. This guy did not do that for his babymomma. Even if he "changes his mind" and makes a baby with you, odds are not great he will actually do more than pay child support for you too.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:33 PM on September 29, 2009


As a father who is just now repairing a broken relationship with a daughter who was estranged due to the actions and vindictiveness of her mother, let me assure the OP that sometimes these things happen through no fault of the man in question.
The previous comment about personal baggage clouding some of these offensive answers is spot-on.
posted by rocket88 at 8:53 PM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


"I'm 32 (almost 33)" ... "I have a small window of time to have kids"

If you want to be a mother you cannot afford to waste any more time with a guy who does not want to be a father.

Guys lie to get laid and to continue getting laid. Judge him by his actions, not his words:

1) He doesn't even want to spend time with the kids he already has.

2) He was SO AGAINST the idea of having more kids that he paid someone to CUT INTO HIS PENIS WITH A SCALPEL to ensure that he wouldn't have any more. Most men don't do that lightly.

End it now. As long as you are busy with Mr. Wrong you are missing out on opportunities to meet Mr. Right.
posted by Jacqueline at 9:15 PM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


You're very lucky. I was dating someone earlier this year who doesn't want children and it was a deal breaker for me. I wish you the absolute best.
posted by VC Drake at 11:29 AM on October 1, 2009


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