How to Tell Your Boyfriend You Can’t Have Children

When is the right time to have “the talk” about having kids with someone you’re dating? Even more importantly, how do you say “I can’t have children” if you’ve been diagnosed with infertility? These tips for telling someone you’re in love with – and perhaps even considering marrying – will give you the support and confidence you need.

A reader inspired me to write this article. “How and when do I tell someone I’m dating that I am infertile?” asked Amanda on 9 Tips for a Happy Marriage for Couples Who Can’t Conceive. “I tend to think that I should tell a new guy early on about my condition. I’m an honest person and do not want to trick anyone or make them feel lied to. But I don’t know how to say I can’t have children without feeling weird about bringing it up too soon. What if he isn’t even thinking about marrying me? Then I’d feel foolish. When is the right time to tell someone you love – or even just like – that you can’t get pregnant?”

First, learn how to be comfortable talking about infertility. If you’re awkward and uncomfortable talking about the fact that you can’t have kids, your boyfriend or husband will follow your lead. He’ll feel awkward and uncomfortable, too – and that sets the wrong tone for a topic that isn’t something you should feel weird, embarrassed, or ashamed of.

Second, make friends with your infertility. Call it a condition if you like, or even a dark passenger. Call it Betty or the Big F. I named the huge bunion on my left foot “Bumpy.” I call my ulcerative colitis my “Pooper” and am currently searching for a name for the big mole that is growing on my face. Molesome!

You don’t have to love the part of your body that seems to be the reason you can’t get pregnant. But, if you make peace with it at least – or even make friends with it – you will enjoy your own body a lot more. And the more you enjoy your body, the more your partner will. If you love your body, your partner will too!

How to Tell Your Boyfriend You Can't Have Children Telling Your Boyfriend You Can’t Have Children 5 Things to Remember When You Tell Him You Can’t Get Pregnant

It’s so important that I have to say it again: If you can’t accept and love yourself, you can’t expect your boyfriend or husband to.

Also, notice what you’re telling yourself about your own inability to have children. How do you feel about your body? Your future? Your life? If you allow other people’s reactions to influence how you think and feel about yourself, you are always under their control. What do you think about not being able to get pregnant? Get clear on how you feel about your body and yourself. Find self-acceptance, self-compassion, and self-love.

The more you love yourself, the less it’ll matter how your boyfriend or husband reacts to infertility issues. If you’re scared and upset about not being able to have children, read How to Stop Anxiety From Ruining Your Relationship.

1. Know and love who you are – infertility and all

Female infertility, no matter how it was caused, isn’t a sign of a less valuable, less beautiful, or less desirable woman. The ability to get pregnant isn’t something women have control over — it’s a health issue that has nothing to do with how smart, lovable, beautiful, or worthy you are. If you can’t have children, don’t fall into the trap of feeling “less than” other women.

2. Tell your partner that you can’t have children as early as possible

There’s no set rule for talking about infertility; you really have to trust your gut. Further, different men may need to be told at different times. For instance, some guys may start talking about having a big family on the first date (!), in which case it’d be wise to tell him you can’t have children then. In contrast, other men may want to date but not commit to a relationship for years, which may mean you don’t need to talk about having kids for ages. Your relationship and partner will help you figure out when to discuss fertility and families.

3. Discuss different ways to get pregnant or start a family

If you’re dating a guy who cares deeply about having children, be prepared to discuss different options for having children. Conceiving your own biological baby may be your first choice, but we don’t always get what we want! So, learn about adoption, fertility treatments, surrogate motherhood, and other ways to get pregnant. The more you know about in vitro fertilization, intrauterine insemination, sperm donors, and different ways to have a family, the better off you’ll be.

Don’t lose someone you love because of a problem that does not have to be a deal breaker! How to Stop Infertility From Ruining Your Relationship.

4. Remember that your partner will follow your lead

If you call infertility a horrible condition – or even a curse – your partner may see you as horrible or cursed. If you present your inability to get pregnant as the most depressing, sad, horrible, terrible thing that’s ever happened to you, he may feel the same way. On the other hand, if your health and fertility profile is simply part of who you are as a woman, your boyfriend or husband will likely feel the same way.

See why it’s important to make friends with infertility? If you resist and fight it, you will feed the negativity…and that negativity will spread to through your relationship.

5. Assume nothing about your boyfriend or husband

My husband and I can’t have children because my husband has azoospermia (his body doesn’t make sperm). Even if we knew this when we first met, before we got married, I still would have married him. He is more important to me than children – even though we were both disappointed to learn we can’t get pregnant. You can’t get pregnant, and it may be difficult to tell your partner that children aren’t in your future. But don’t let your assumptions about his reaction control you. Don’t assume he’ll break up with you or think less of you just because you can’t conceive a baby naturally. People fall in love and stay in love for many reasons, few of which involve having children together.

One final tip for relationships and infertility: be open to different possibilities and options for starting a family. Maybe right now you don’t want to have children through fertility treatments or adoption. Perhaps you’ll feel differently in a few years. Allow your life – and your relationship – to unfold naturally.

If you’re struggling with your own feelings about infertility – or you feel guilt or shame – read Do You Feel Guilty Because You Can’t Get Pregnant?

What do you think of these tips for talking about infertility and telling your boyfriend or husband that you can’t have children? I welcome your comments – big and little.


Tags: Health, Emotional Health, Infertility, Don, Amanda, Betty, Can't Get Pregnant, Why Cant I Have A Baby, Couples Coping With Infertility, Infertility And Marriage, Infertility Stress, Coping With Infertility, Hope & Acceptance, Infertile Women, Unable To Conceive


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