Don't Want Kids? Here's How to Tell Your Partner, According to Experts

Although it's a tough conversation, it's important to discuss your stance on having children with your partner.

couple discussing having kids

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The question of whether or not you want to have children is a personal one—and it has no right or wrong answer. But if you have ultimately decided that having kids isn't the right path for you, you may be grappling with how to tell your significant other. Whether you just started dating, are in a long-term relationship, or are married, the conversation is an important one to have with your partner. To help guide you through this process, we asked a psychologist and relationship expert about the best way to broach the subject of having kids with your significant other. 

Tell Them as Soon as Possible

While this may be a newfound realization, it’s important to tell your partner you don't want kids soon after coming to the decision. "This really isn't a topic to skirt around," says Alisa Ruby Bash, Psy.D., MFT. "The more information both partners have, the better." Within the first few months of your monogamous relationship, approach the topic in a pressure-free way. For example, on your next date night, Bash says to ask the question: "Do you see yourself having kids one day?" Depending on your partner's answer, you'll know where to take the conversation from there. 

Be Honest

No matter what, be transparent and honest—and don't hide how you really feel in the hopes of protecting your significant other. "If you're on opposite ends of the spectrum, the implications could potentially end the relationship," Bash says. But that doesn't mean it will: It ultimately comes down to if either of you can open your minds to another possibility. 

"There are no compromises or middle ground when it comes to having children," Bash says. "It really depends on how strongly both partners feel about their decision to become parents or not. Someone has to be willing to open up to a different idea—someone has to be willing to give.” 

Explain Your Decision

Help your partner understand how you arrived at your conclusion not to have children by giving them some insight into your reasoning. "Provide the reasons for not seeing children in your future,” says relationship strategist Elizabeth Overstreet. "Past or current family dynamics, financial concerns, lifestyle changes, etc. may influence their decision. Talking it through provides clarity and understanding, so your partner can see precisely where you're coming from and where you stand."

Give Them Time

Giving your partner time to process your decision is important, especially if you're in a long-term relationship or even married. "Allow space for your partner or significant other to express how they see this situation," says Overstreet. "It gives both of you an understanding and perspective of how one another feels about the scenario."

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