The last few months have been … eventful … to say the least. Recently, my long-term girlfriend and I ended our nearly seven-year-long relationship. We may not have been married legally, but emotionally, it has taken its toll much the same way. It’s been entirely amicable, but that only makes it hurt a little less. While I think most snags that relationships hit can be ironed out, there’s one that can’t be: when one of you decides you want kids and the other one knows they don’t. That’s the snag we hit — she wants kids, and I don’t. And before you admonish me that these are the kinds of things you’re supposed to talk about with one another, we did. Sometimes, people change their minds. She did. A big part of me wanted to ask her to stay, to use my powers of persuasion (whatever ones I may have) to talk her out of it. But in the end, it’s not the kind of thing you can ask someone to give up for you if you have any kind of respect for them. It just isn’t fair, and in the long run, someone who wants kids and gives that up for someone else isn’t going to be happy and will end up resenting that someone else.
And certainly, I had fleeting thoughts of giving in and having (maybe just one) kid to keep her around. But then I know I wouldn’t be happy, and that wouldn’t be fair to either of us (or, frankly, to the kid, who nobody bothered to consult about any of this).