When a frustrated and heartbroken young man turned to Reddit for advice, Reddit was more than happy to deliver. Here's his saga with updates:
I’m 28 with no kids. My girlfriend is 26 and has an 8 year old son from her previous relationship. She was with the guy since they were kids but when she got pregnant, he dropped the ball. She had it pretty hard during the early years and it was a huge struggle for her to balance work, school and her son. She made it work and is now in law school.
(The kid’s dad made a change about three years back when his own father died and has since been helping.) We’ve been together for a year and two months and I really do love her.
However when we first got together she did mention that she doesn’t see herself having other kids because it was incredibly hard, she values her time alone when her kid is away, and she wants to travel with her son being that he’s bigger now.
Also that she has a school-age kid and doesn’t want to start over with an infant. We were too early for me to complain about it or try to change her mind. It wasn’t bought up again for some time.
Fast forward to last night, we were watching something and I mentioned that my coworker has left work to have her fourth kid. She said that she couldn’t imagine having that many kids. I got a little offended being that my parents had 5. She told me that that’s what worked for my parents, but it wouldn’t work for her.
I asked why and she listed the reasons above and that 4 kids is “just excessive.” I tried to reason it down to 3 or even 2. She said she doesn’t want any children but her son.
The way I see it, the only reason it was so hard was because of her age when she first had him. My logic is that any future children we produce will be secure and she won’t be alone or have to struggle.
For background, I have 4 siblings while she has one sister who lives in another state. She doesn’t understand how important siblings are. I told her if she’s unwilling to have even one child for me in the future then we’re done.
She agreed and said we’re done then and I’m incredibly hurt. This is a hill she’s willing to die on.
She’s super smart, but so hard headed. No matter what I said all night, she wouldn’t hear it or budge her views at all. I’m hurt because I made the empty threat and she very easily went through with it. I’m not feeling valued at all.
I love this woman and the thought of us having an expiration date kills me. I want to marry her and have kids with her and she’s just uninterested.
She also said I was being an a-hole and not taking her experiences into account when I totally am! I acknowledge how hard it was for her which is why I think she would have a totally different experience if she tried again. She’s not 18 anymore and will have me by her side.
I want her back but don’t know what to say. She seemed very certain when she agreed to the breakup. Please tell me AITA?
YTA. If someone doesn't want kids you can't make them. The sibling thing isn't really an argument at the moment you are looking at a 10 year gap and it's very rare to get a sibling relationship with that kind of gap.
As you say this is her hill to die on, you have to decide what to do with that, she's not changing her mind any time soon. Also don't make empty threats it comes off as super manipulative.
dollbeb points out:
YTA for knowing she didn't want more kids and assuming she would just change her mind. If you hadn't been aware, this would be a no a-holes situation, but the fact that it seems like you thought you'd be able to pressure her into it is a bad look, dude.
There's also the fact you seem to be assuming that the reason her pregnancy was bad/rough was because of her age rather than asking her if she had health issues/if it was really hard on her. Being pregnant isn't easy, and it's super possible she was in a lot of pain and discomfort the first time around that she isn't interested in going through again.
To which OP actually responds:
I am a f*^$ing a-hole. She has a condition, I unfortunately do not remember what’s it called, but during her pregnancy she used to have like mini-strokes that would make her face and hands go completely numb. I didn’t even think about that.
Thank you for your judgement. I know she doesn’t want me back, but I am going to profusely apologize anyway. The other commenters said this, and I’m putting value over a baby that isn’t real over her life.
Here is OP's official update, and though it may not be surprising - it sure is satisfying.
Well, it’s been about three weeks since my post and my breakup. And it took almost that full time to let it sink in what I’ve really done. I self wallowed for some time and attempted to guilt trip her and get my siblings to talk to her for me. What a mistake that was.
She called and ripped me a new one worse than you guys did. She told me that she was thrilled we’re not together and that I’m manipulative and “disgusting.”
That left me really shocked and I had to review my behavior over the time we had been together. I think over my life I always had an idea that with enough perseverance anyone’s mind can be changed. I don’t know where I got this from. I guess I thought it was a sign of being a strong person. Like taking what you want from life even when the chances are slim. It sounds stupid because it is.
I reread my post just now and cringed the whole way through. Even the language I used showed that she was right and I am manipulative. She’s a human being and I didn’t treat her with respect. I played with our relationship to get her to change her mind about something very important to her. I deserve what happened.
I also have realized that our views on the relationship were a little different. She had never brought up marriage or anything while it had crossed my mind almost daily because I really was so enamored. So I probably looked insane going on about having three children. It sounds so stupid to me now.
Among the things she said on the phone, one was that she found my lack of respect for her body and choices appalling. I wasn’t asking her to be forgiven, but I wanted to express how much her and her son meant to me.
And as most dumped people tend to do, I couldn’t even give a sh*t about what I was bitching about in the first place. I miss going to the park with her and her son. Those days were nice and calm and I didn’t appreciate them.
I let some fictional children and my bad habits ruin something good. I have a lot of self reflecting to do, and while I’m still sad, I know now that her dumping me was really for the best. Thanks guys for being honest.
But that won't stop the internet from dragging them anyway.
As a rule of thumb, if you're throwing around ultimatums in a relationship you're probably past the point of no return on it anyway.
In this case, his ultimatum benefited both parties. She got this manipulative tool out of her life, and he got a much-needed reality check.
It's perfectly acceptable to break up with people who want different things in life, but, man, trying to argue someone into submitting is an AH move even without involving pregnancy! I mean, I'd think he was the AH for acting like this over vacation plans. And then he forgot that she was super high risk if she got pregnant! I hope he's really learned from this.