You like kids—if they're someone else's. But when it comes to your own life, you've chosen to go child-free. And now, you have to tell your partner. Here's why: "The decision to have or not have children is one of the most crucial topics every couple must discuss," says Alisa Ruby Bash, Psy.D., MFT, who adds that if you keep your decision a secret, you risk inviting serious conflict into your relationship.
That's why—tough as it may be—it's important to talk about whether or not you want kids as soon as it makes sense in your relationship. In other words, Bash says, this isn't something you should wait until your honeymoon to discuss.
Within the first few months of your monogamous relationship, broach the topic in a pressure-free way. For example, on your next date night, ask the question, "Do you see yourself having kids one day?" Bash suggests. Depending on your partner's answer, you'll know where to take the conversation from there. No matter what, be transparent and honest, and don't hide how you really feel in the hopes of endearing your S.O. to yourself. "This really isn't a topic to skirt around," Bash says "The more information both partners have, the better."
"If you're on opposite ends of the spectrum, the implications could potentially end the relationship," Bash warns. But that doesn't mean it will. Whether your decisions about children are the nail in your relationship's proverbial coffin comes down to this: Can either of you open your minds to another possibility?
"There are no compromises or middle ground when it comes to having children," Bash points out. "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. Otherwise, if you're on opposite ends of the spectrum and stubbornly attached to your convictions, the relationship will surely implode."