Your Call: He Doesn't Want Marriage or Kids. Should I Move On?

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We feel just awful that we can’t answer every single advice question we get, but we figure that any answer is better than no answer at all. Which is why, once a week, we’ll let you guys decide how to advise a reader. Make your call by filling out the poll after the jump:

Hi Em & Lo!
My question is, how do you know if and when it’s time to move on from a relationship you feel is going nowhere? By nowhere, I mean, he doesn’t want kids or marriage and he’s 50 years old. I’m 38 and although I don’t know if I want either, I still would at least like the OPTION of having both with someone I’m with BUT if he’s not thinking of having either in his future then I have no option at all if I stay with him. I know for some people this is a deal breaker but I’m not adamant that I want either right now so…what would you do? Oh, we’ve been together a year and a half. Thanks for your help and stay fabulous!
–Deal or No Deal

What should D.O.N.D. do? Make your call after the jump.

Can’t see the poll? Click here to take it.


  1. I am also in a similar situation now. I have known this guy for 4 years, and cheated on me before. I was the only gal who got to really know his family well and he once told his friends that I am of wife-material to him.

    We broke up for about a year and he came back. He did not mention anything about getting back together but each time we hang out, we ended up cuddling and such. When i finally asked him again where this is leading to, as I always wanted to get married, he says he don’t see himself getting married. Which of course, many people starts telling me that what he meant is he did not see himself marrying ME!

    So now here I am, alone again, though many of my friends says he will definitely look for me again when he gets bored out there. I am already 30 years old, I know I should not waste my time on him, but I just could not move on. Help!!!

  2. i am kind of stuck in the same situation. i am 23 yrs old and he is 30, we have been dating for 5 years and recently got engaged. now when i mention the wedding, he doesnt want to talk about it, always tells me how much it costs etc, and he tells me not to talk about it! whats the point then? i know i am young but i gave everything to this guy, i love him dearly and want to get married, its every girls dream to wear a wedding dress. why do guys have to be like that? i mean he says we can have a wedding with only family, but thats not what i want at all, i want my friends there…what should i do?

  3. I am going thru the same stuff. I’m 28 years old and my bf is 31. He told me recently he never wants to get married or have kids. I guess what everyone is saying is that he doesn’t want it with me…He comes from a great family with several siblings. We moved to a new state together and started a new exciting life together. Im just not getting any younger and my career is with children, so I have always wanted a family. Im so sad to think after all the money and energy and love for this relationship and now I have to move on?! Im devastated.

  4. If a guy is 50 and he says he doesn’t want marriage and kids, I think that’s what he means. I also think he’s not going to change. Either he already has his kids or he’s just not cut out for that lifestyle.

    So I guess you have to look in your own heart and ask yourself why you want to keep the option open? Are you secretly hoping to have kids but saying you don’t care because you are afraid you might never have them? Or are you just upset at the idea of shutting off a choice?

  5. Lela said “Guys don’t see more than 3 days in the future.” Not true for all guys. My Man (we’ve been together for several decades, married, have a house, kids etc) and I have been together since we were teens. As a TEENAGER he didn’t want to get married,(then, but he knew he WOULD want to) neither did I. We had school to finish, jobs to worry about, parents to leave, other people to date etc. But, by the time he was about 21 or so, we started talking about houses, and kids and the future together (Hell, he wanted EIGHT kids back then.) Lots of men DO know what they want, and the time they either get close to finishing college or get a decent adult job, they have a clearly gelled idea of what they want for the future……at least the ones who are capable of FORMING plans and carrying them out.

    As for pressure, there was NO reason to apply any. He wanted to get married, and have kids, at first more than I did. He’s a little older, but only a few years. He’s always thought more than “3 days” in the future, and many many young men do the same.

    Not all men are the same, some actually DO mature. But, from what I know, if they aren’t mature by about 21 or so, they never will be. (let it not be said my Man is THAT mature, sure, fart jokes, and remarks about “tits” etc are still part of his daily repertoire, but he KNEW what a Grown Man needed to do by the time he was 18 or so, and knew how to plan for that.)

  6. Nicola, honey, you want him to be the “One” and he obviously isn’t. Men don’t usually change their minds about things like this.

    Look at it this way, IF you DO have kids, he will be resentful of “your” kids and resentful of you, and the relationship will most likely fail, leaving you with the kids alone. IF you DON’T have kids with this man, then YOU will be resentful, who knows if you will leave him, but as you get closer to your end of your reproductive life, you WILL start to become more and more resentful, “I have no babies to love and it’s your fault!” Do you want that to be your continuing future fight? Even if he DOESN’T leave first?

    What DOES this boy/man want? Not kids with you. Not marriage with you. Not a home with you. He wants to fuck. OK, if that’s ALL you want, then stay with him. But, he sees your relationship as a Booty Call, and sees NO future in it. Like someone else said to the OP, in a year or two, this guy will most likely have a house, kids, be married and a maybe even good job…….with someone else.

    I don’t want to be mean, but, hell, it’s easy to understand, he’s just not THAT into you. Not for a long term partner. He KNOWS that people don’t get married just to “prove” something. He’s making an excuse. He doesn’t WANT to marry you. I know that is a hard reality. BUT YOU WON’T CHANGE HIM. EVER.

    You want him to be someone he isn’t. When you “love” someone, but want them to change radically, you don’t love THEM, you love the idea of someone being SOMEONE DIFFERENT (who you made up in your head) who you DO want. But, he won’t ever turn into that guy who wants all the things you want, not now, not with you. I’m sorry. He’s old enough to know what he wants with you, and he means what he says.

    So, if you DO stay together (and my guess is he will move on soon) ONE or both of you will be very resentful of the way things are. So, you can remain childless, pay rent, stay shacked up, OR find a real MAN who wants the things you want. You won’t find those things with this guy.

    Blessings to you. But, it’s time to grow up, be a big girl, face reality and SEE who this guy is. He’s NOT your dream man.

  7. Wow, Nicola that is hilarious! I’m 20 years old too & my boyfriend is 26 too! lmao! whoa! i thought I was alone. See my boyfriend used to live with his ex-girlfriend for like 5 years but she was a bitch so he left her. Anyway I told him that I’m not his ex I am myself & no one could ever compare to me. You need to be confident & he needs to know that you don’t need him. If you keep pressuring him he’ll just pull away but the less you talk about it the better. When you do talk about it (which should be once in a blue moon) is when you see a wedding, a married couple doing something cute (preferably a couple without kids) and point it out and say “Wow, I hope one day I can find a great guy who will . . . .

    Guys HATE pressure, trust me I learned this the hard way because I was literally always talking about it & at one point we broke up for 2 months then got back together because I’ve realized that guys don’t see farther than 3 days from today (not all guys but it seems like your bf & my bf have this in common). So don’t rush it! Just talk about what you dream of with him without really mentioning him/his name etc.. let him think .
    Let him say it to YOU!

    e-mail me [email protected] so we can talk about it more! it’s just soo weird that we are exactly the same age & so are our bfs!

  8. I’m 20 and have been living with my partner for nearly years and have known him for 3.
    He is 26 and is saying he never wants kids or a mortgage and probably not get married.
    Right now at this age it isn’t a big deal, but I won’t be 20 forever and that’s worrying me.
    I don’t want to die old and alone with no family and not even a house to call my own.
    I want to be married and have kids and a stable relationship, I thought I would have this with him as I love him and he loves me.
    But what he has said has thrown me for a loop, we both want completey different things and I don’t know what to do and who to talk to.
    I don’t want generic kids, I want kids with him some day, and I don’t want to get married for the sake of being married, I want to get married to him because I know I want to be with him for the rest of my life.
    My parents met when they were 16 and are still together now.
    We both work and have good paid jobs so money isn’t an issue.
    He says he loves me and that he shouldn’t have to prove anything by getting married, but it’s not about proving anything.
    It’s about having a future and knowing that you are not going to be drifting about in life like some bum.
    He was engaged a few years back but she cheated on him and they broke up so it’s not because he doesn’t believe in marriage.
    He just doesn’t seem to want a commited future with me.
    I really need someone to talk to please.
    I can’t talk to my family as I don’t want them thinking badly of him.

  9. If he isn’t interested in the same things you are, ESPECIALLY regarding life changing instances such as marriage or children. That shouldn’t be something a couple should have to “compromise” on. A pet, or maybe living arraingements, but MARRIAGE? CHILDREN? Having something so precious forced upon someone can only ultimately end disastrously, or with one or both parties regretful. Move on to someone who will be on the same page that you are.

  10. I’m a man. My partner and I had been together for twelve years and she started to start talking about havbing children and getting married, cos otherwise the relationship was going nowhere. I didn’t want children or marriage and had always said that, but I wanted to stay with my partner (who did – and who many times assured me that all “normal” people do) and backed down on my principles. Six years later (we’re now both in our late thirties) we have two children – each beautfiul in their own way – but y’know, I feel like I’m helping babysit my wife’s kids, and I feel like I got railroaded into something I really hadn’t wanted to do. Go figure.

  11. The man is 50 years old… of course he doesn’t want to have children right now! I mean, the marriage part notwithstanding… Like helixbill said, assuming you got pregnant tomorrow, he would be almost 70 before the kid graduated highschool. Don’t you think that’s a bit much to ask of a man nearing retirement age?

    And aside from that, maybe you should figure out what you want. At least he knows what he wants. You should decide if he is worth more to you than a (rather unrealistic) option of having a husband and children… or not, then you know what you have to do. Engage in some soul searching yourself, figure out what you want, and make your decision. Honestly, you’re keeping him hanging out there way more than he is keeping you that way. You make your decision – independent of what he wants – and then decide what to do. Don’t base that decision on him, but on what you honestly want.

  12. At 50 he may be looking toward future retirement and a child wouldn’t be 18 and ready to start college until he is 69 or 70 years old!

    My stepdaughter had a friend whose father was 70 when she graduated from high school. He had to give up any thought of retiring and keep working to put her through college.

    And at 38 you are nearing the point where pregnancy can be hard for you and the baby. You would be 39 or 40 before the child is born.

    It is your decision whether to stay in the relationship or not but have you asked him why he doesn’t want to get married? Sounds like he has had some bad experience in the past that he is not over.

    It took my wife 3 years to talk me into marriage after my last divorce. I waited that long because I wanted to be absolutely sure I was able to believe we could stay together for the rest of out lives.

    BTW, if he has not had a vasectomy he might be in for a surprise some day. When I had definitely ruled out any more children I went to my doctor and had it taken care of permanently so there would not be any ‘accidents’ later on.

  13. I agree with AlanK, but it doesn’t even matter what he may or may not be trying to tell you. What matters is that you keep all options for your own future wide open. I don’t care whether it’s “I never want kids” or “I’ll never eat sushi” — allowing someone else to place limits on your life IS a complete dealbreaker. Marriage is about making a conscious decision to face your future together and someone dictating parameters before you even take the vows is giving you more than a red flag, a NEON SIGN that he’s not right for you

  14. This isn’t something I say casually and I wish we weren’t dealing with real people here, but… what he’s said in mantalk is not that he doesn’t want to be married and have children but that he doesn’t want to be married and have children with you.

    Break up with him. In six months he’ll be married and in two years he’ll be showing baby pictures.

    I’m sorry. But that’s what’s happening.

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