The decision to have children is something all couples in a serious relationship eventually broach. Waiting too long to have that discussion is not a good idea.
What do you do if you’re married and discover you and your partner are not on the same page about kids? It’s best to address that topic before the relationship goes too far.
So one couple had that talk after being together for 3 and a half years. The results left one partner angry and the other questioning what—if anything—they did wrong.
Redditor throwaway_AITAjobs asked:
“AITA for not wanting to quit my job to look after a baby”
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
“My boyfriend (23, M[ale]) and I (23, M) met at university about 4 years ago and have been together for about 3.5 years. After university, I moved back to my home city to get a job whereas he stayed in the city we met as he had a placement that offered him a job once he graduated.”
“We live about an hour apart. We make it work because we see each other on weekends, and I take time off in the school holidays etc.”
“I work as a PA for one of the partners in a pretty decent sized law firm and have been here since I graduated about 2.5 years ago and he works in a primary school. I love my job—I get to travel, great benefits and bonuses and it’s a workplace where everyone knows each other and gets along great. I would consider my boss a friend outside of work since we often go out in groups together.”
The discussion about the future finally came up.
“So then, we were talking about what we wanted our future together to look like—when and where we’d move in, a pet—things like that. He mentioned children at some point (not necessarily now but before he turned 30).”
“I have never been too bothered about kids and he knows this. I would have children, but it’s never been a must (for lack of better wording). Maybe it’s because I’m the youngest in my family so I never grew up with babies or younger children around me or maybe it’s because I’m only in my 20s and haven’t really thought about it in that much detail.”
While OP isn’t ruling out children, it is clearly a bigger priority for his boyfriend.
So his boyfriend’s next words were a bit surprising…
“He then said that (not word for word) ‘You would have to start getting used to being around a baby since you’re going to be the one looking after it throughout the day’. I was taken aback, never had I said I wanted to be a stay at home parent or shown any interest in doing that.”
“So, I told him that. I said I wasn’t going to give up my job to be a stay at home parent. I said if it ever came to children, I would take the allowed paternity time off to bond etc with the baby, but I wouldn’t be quitting my job.”
…but the reaction to the word “no” was even more shocking.
“He went off on [me] saying how I was only a PA (who makes more than him WITHOUT the bonuses) whereas he was a teacher, shaping the minds of young children and furthering their education. How I was unloving and a monster for not willing to put a baby first and how it would feel unloved if we just had our parents look after it.”
“I asked why he wouldn’t do it and he couldn’t answer so went back to shouting and name-calling.”
“My argument was that children were never a be-all-or-end-all part of my life and while I would love the baby, I would not put my career on hold. My life (to me) is pretty fulfilled as it is as I have a great family, I’ve got nieces and nephews who I love and spend time with but it’s nice I get to hand them back to my cousins at the end of the day/weekend.”
“Another point I made was how willing would he be to come and take over from me on an evening when he had been around 30 young children all day and then coming home to one.”
OP asked the big question:
“So AITA for not wanting to give up my job for a baby that doesn’t even exist yet?”
Then it was time for Redditors to weigh in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Redditor Hrududu147 summarized the conversation for the OP.
- “Him: You’ll be taking care of this baby all day, that you’re not really interested in having”
- “You: But I don’t want to quit my job, and besides I make more money”
- “Him: You’re a MONSTER!”
- “You: But if you want the baby so badly, couldn’t you be the stay at home parent?”
- “Him: SHOUTING AND NAME CALLING!”
“Now I get that we’re only hearing your side of things. But he sounds deranged.”
friendlily concurred with Hrududu147 and added the judgment they left out.
“Lol ‘SHOUTING AND NAME CALLING is my new favorite way to sum up an unhealthy disagreement.”
“NTA, OP, but your bf sure is.”
Others also agreed that OP was Not The A**hole.
“NTA—you have zero obligation to be a stay-at-home-dad, especially if he is the one so keen on having a child. Frankly, that’s a huge red flag and you should talk about that. If he doesn’t change his mind or tries to pressure you more about it, please dump him.”
“I know that it sounds harsh but this is a big red flag and it shows what he prioritizes and that he wants a child without being a father.” ~ lilya-s
“NTA ~ This would have gotten a “no a$$holes” except your boyfriend’s response is definite a$$holery.”
“At 23, children are a priority for him and not for you. It’s unreasonable to demand you give up your career sometime in the next 5-6 years—so he can have a child by age 30—to make him happy. And his disregard for your career and your happiness is troubling. It’s utter a$$holery to yell at you because you didn’t immediately acquiesce to his demands.”
“Sometimes you end a relationship with someone you love because you’re not heading in the same direction. This may well be one of those times. Sometimes you end a relationship because they don’t respect your wants, needs or future ambitions. This may well be one of those times.”
“Good luck!” ~ LakotaGrl
Many saw the boyfriend’s reaction as something the OP really needed to examine carefully.
“This is big.”
“First off, you are under no obligation to become a dad. This is the absolute most important thing you should agree on if you’re getting married (or committing long term). The decision to have or not have children is really something you HAVE to be on the same page about. There’s no judgment, I think there are great arguments on both sides and it comes down to how you want to live your life.”
“And it’s also okay to change your mind. You may feel differently at 28 than how you felt at 23. But you are under NO obligation to change your mind either. I’ve heard a lot of stories where a couple gets married—one partner desperately wants kids. The other doesn’t, or is indifferent. Kid-wanting partner assumes that the other will change their mind when they’re older, or that they can persuade them. This is fundamentally unfair.”
“When I got married, my husband and I did a bit of pre-marital counseling. No issues, just thought it was a good idea to talk through some things in a guided environment before we made this huge decision. The very first thing we were asked to do was to write down the number of kids we wanted without the other seeing and give it to the counselor. We did and we were on the same page (we both said 2).”
“You should respect his desire to have children, but more importantly, he needs to respect where you’re at. You say you’re indifferent (and that’s okay! especially at 23!)—but this may be a natural point for you to say to him, that you can’t enthusiastically say ‘yes’ to children at this point, and you don’t know if you ever will.”
“And on top of that, the responsibilities of childcare should be talked about (before the kid arrives). There’s a lot of situations that can be worked out that don’t require either parent to quit their job.” ~ Librarinox
And the top response from Uncommondiscipline even advised that the OP needed to examine if this reaction was a repeated behavior or would be in the future.
“Woah!! THIS is the type of conversation that you need to look at when deciding if you want to even continue being with this person. He resorted to shouting and name-calling when he was backed into a corner.”
“This will not change if you have kids, it will be in front of the kids, even TO the kids, possibly. This is more about how he treats you when you disagree. It’s not you two against the problem, it’s him battling you for the win. Get out while you’re baby-free. NTA”
In the end, almost 300 Redditors said the OP was Not The A**hole, no one told the OP You’re The A**hole (YTA) or the Everyone Suck Here. But three people did think that there were No A**holes Here.
Those three Redditors all said something similar to LadyBearJenna:
“NAH—it’s come to the point in your relationship where you’re having serious discussions about your future and you both see different futures. It’s ok. This is what dating is for. Just be lucky yall can’t have an accidental pregnancy! Good luck ❤️”
Whatever the OP ultimately decides to do, he can be assured that people felt he was not the a**hole in this situation.