Is Not Wanting Children a Deal Breaker? (Part 2)

The three topics that cause the most conflict in relationships are money management, where to live, and whether a couple should have children.

Guy with a baby

(Image credit: Future)

A friend of mine told me something she learned in college: The three topics that cause the most conflict in relationships are money management, where to live, and whether a couple should have children.

After my weekend adventures with my nieces that I outlined in my first post, I was left to ponder if I want to have children.

I'm afraid that not wanting children makes me less desirable in the dating world. I haven't made up my mind, but I think it's unfair for me to go into something serious with a woman who wants kids when I'm unsure.

Here are the things that scare me away from having kids:

The World Is a Bad Place

It's not a place I'd like to bring a child into.

I Can't Be a Good Parent

My parents and older sister set an amazing example. The idea of being a "good parent" is daunting. I'm afraid I'm too self-centered; parenting is an infinitely selfless endeavor.

I Always Feel Guilty

My niece declared, "I love you, Uncle Rich" at the beach. It was sweet and heartbreaking. I wondered what would happen if I ever died or either of her parents ever died. I also wracked myself with guilt for those moments I wished the girls would just go to sleep so I could lie on the couch in peace.

Someday They Will Grow Up

Once the kids are grown up and no longer dependent on you I'm sure it's a relief, but it's also sad when they leave the house and it's empty again.

I Enjoy Peace

Every day, I strive for peace and quiet — the chance to sit and relax and think about whatever I want whenever I want. I love kids, but it's not easy to do that with kids around.

I'm Lazy

As an extension in my quest for peace, my laziness and drive to do nothing doesn't make me a prime candidate to be a parent, which is an endeavor that requires relentless and focused energy.

I Can't Say No

I'm the worst disciplinarian. Maybe I'd be better with my own kids, but so far I can't say no to anyone else's kids. I don't want to be mean, and I want to be considered cool (at least by someone).

I Worry Too Much

If I worry about every little thing in my life, imagine how much I'll worry about every little thing in my children's lives. It will range from wondering if they are getting along OK with other students at school to safety issues to ruminating on something I said that may have hurt their feelings or been taken the wrong way.

I Don't Wanna Grow Up

When I was at the beach, we drove past the Starboard, that ridiculous bar my buddies and I visit every Labor Day. My parents pointed at the front deck, where hot girls spilled over the railing. "Is that where you and your friends go?" they asked. "Yes," I said from my spot between the baby seats. It was an interesting place to be: between the kid seats watching the shenanigans on the deck of the bar where I like to act like a fool.


It's always a possibility, and exponentially more painful with children involved.

I don't think it's right to have kids with my wife just to make her happy. There are better reasons to have kids. I'm just not sure if I'm there yet.

So, does either of these stances on kids make a guy less attractive to you?

—Does not want to have kids

—May want to have kids, but not sure

What is the right reason to have kids? Is it legitimate if I get motivated because I meet an amazing woman and get married? Or is it healthier when two people who have always wanted kids procreate?

Is it jumping the gun to dump someone because he doesn't want kids early on, or do you think it's something that might change over time? And, what if you've fallen in love and you're close to marriage and you find out he doesn't want kids? If you wanted kids, would you end it then?

And when is the best time to bring up kids? You don't want to scare someone off talking about it too soon, but it's also something that might drive you away if you find out too late that they don't want kids. Isn't it dangerous to stay with someone who doesn't want kids, hoping they will change? What's the best way and time to approach the subject?