Of all the conversations you and your partner will have, the one about having kids may be the most important. Not only is the decision to have kids life-changing, but it's also pretty personal. Even though you both may say it's not a good idea right now, there is chance that your partner really means it's not a good idea ever. If you know you'll want kids someday, then you may want to bee on the lookout for the signs your partner may never be ready to have kids.
Not everyone feels they're cut out for parenting, and not everyone wishes to have children of their own. And although you may not agree, that doesn't give you the right to argue with them. As psychologist and author Dr. Kevin Gillibrand tells Romper, this is a carefully considered decision that should be respected rather than criticized. Of course, not everyone who wants to lead a childless life exhibits all of these personality traits. But if your partner does have some of these characteristics, it could be an indication that you really do need to have an honest, sincere, and sensitive conversation. After all, any decision regarding having kids should, for the good of you both, be made together.
1. They Just Don't Seem To Really Like Kids
Rosalind Sedacca, a divorce coach and the creator of support network, Child-Centered Divorce, tells Romper that if your partner avoids spending time with your sister's kids or their best friend's baby, that's likely a giveaway that they might never want to have kids of their own. Of course, not all people who don't want to have children are this way with them, but if your partner wants nothing to do with them, they probably don't see them in their own future.
2. They Have Some Neurotic Tendencies
Marriage and family therapist Shadeen Francis tells Romper that adults who have some neurotic tendencies may never be quite ready for kids. "Folks with high levels of anxiety may feel a degree of panic about parenting that prevents them from ever being ready, as they would find themselves in a perpetual state of preparation," she says. "But there may always be a new crisis, scenario, or risk that needs to be addressed first, from their finances to global warming. With anxiety, there could be infinite reason why now may not be a good time." It doesn't mean, necessarily, that they wouldn't make a good parent because of that, it just means that they might never feel like now is the optimal time.
3. They're Weird Around Kids Or Animals
"If you want kids and your partner cannot stand being near a well behaved dog, it does not bode well for a future healthy co-parenting relationship," psychologist Dr. Jennifer Rhodes tells Romper via e-mail. True, not everyone is a dog person, but an experience like this one might prompt you to ask some open and understanding questions about why they don't seem to connect with kids or the family dog. You never know what they might reveal.
4. They're Self-Oriented
Many people go through periods when they're all about their own lives: furthering their education, getting established in their career, or settling down in a new city. That being said, clinical psychologist Dr. Carla Marie Manly tells Romper by email that, "a partner who does not want children will tend to have life goals that are focused on the self or, at times, the partner." That doesn't mean that they're terrible people, it simply means they're focused on other things.
5. They're Immature
Although people mature at different speeds, a partner who has always been relatively immature may never reach the maturity required to raise a child. "Are they barely taking care of themselves, perhaps still being funded by their own parents? Do they lack self awareness and lack direction? These are signs that they may never want kids because they like being one themselves," psychologist Dr. Sanam Hafeez tells Romper viae-mail.
6. They're A Bit Of A Perfectionist
People who revel in perfection, with everything just so all the time, might not be so keen on introducing kids into that world. According to Hafeez, perfectionists might love kids and enjoy spending time with them outside of their own home, but may not have the desire to have kids around all the time.
7. They Struggle With Expressing Emotions
Christie Tcharkhoutian, a marriage and family therapist and matchmaker at Three Day Rule, tells Romper by email that "the inability to express and tolerate difficult emotions is a primary indicator a man may not be future father material." If your partner similarly struggles with emotions, it could potentially indicate that they won't ever be ready for kids of their own.
8. They Never Bring Up The Kids Conversation
When the two of you talk about kids, is it always you who broaches the subject? As marriage and family therapist Dr. Gary Brown tells Romper by email, if they never choose to initiate the conversation, it could mean that kids just aren't on their horizon. What your partner doesn't say can sometimes be just as important as what they do.
9. They Don't Like To Share
According to Sedacca, if your partner doesn't like to share — beit possessions, time, or skills — that could be a sign that they don't want to have kids. Kids require time and attention, as well as the sharing of finances, support, possessions, and the like So if your partner's not into sharing, having kids might not be right.
10. They Like Their Independence
There's nothing wrong with enjoying and appreciating all that life without kids allows and there's little doubt that one of those things is the independence to do what you want when you want to do it. According to Gillibrand, if your partner really thoroughly enjoys a child-free life, it could indicate that their goals and priorities are elsewhere. It's not necessarily that they don't like kids, it's just that they don't want them for themselves.