When you begin dating someone new, there are untold areas to explore as you get to know each other. Some things matter a lot, and others not so much – it all depends on your personal scale of what's important in life. If he loves football but you're a baseball nut, you can easily balance your passions, but the issue of kids can have far more serious implications if the two of you are on opposite sides of the fence.
Is It a Deal Breaker?
If the guy you're dating doesn't like kids, it may not be a big issue if you don't want children yourself, or even if you're undecided. If you can't imagine never having a family, however, the issue takes on a lot more importance. Dating coach and author Rachel Greenwald cautions against sweeping your own desires under the carpet or hiding them in order to keep your new relationship running smoothly. This wouldn't be fair to either of you in the long run. Ask yourself if you're honestly OK with never having kids. If the answer is no, you might want to keep dating others until you meet someone with whom you're more compatible.
Is It Just Your Kids?
Does your guy dislike kids in general, or has he taken an aversion to yours? If you're already a mom, this may be a painful question to ask yourself, but it's one you might want to address. Observe him around other kids and try to gauge if he disapproves of them as much as he does your own children. Be alert for criticism – even if it's just vague or mild – of your parenting style. Nobody has to tell you that your kids come first. If you're facing a relationship with someone where you'll always be standing between him and your kids, protecting them from his displeasure, ask yourself how happy you – and your children – will be in the long term.
Will He Come Around?
You owe it to yourself to find out how deeply rooted your guy's feelings are. His reaction to kids might be just a kneejerk reaction because he just hasn't had much experience with them. He may be at a point in his life – either building his career or finally enjoying the fruits of his labors – where he just doesn't want to be tied down to a child. You won't know until you ask, and you can't make a decision about your relationship until you understand why he feels the way he does. If his feelings are deeply rooted, take care with your expectations. You may not be able to change him or his position, and even if he does relent, Greenwald cautions that you might be forcing him to accept something he really doesn't want. This could have a negative effect on a long-term relationship.
Timing Is Everything
The issue of kids can be more or less pivotal depending on how old you are and whether you already have children of your own. If you're in your twenties, you may not think you want kids now, but that could change in 10 years or so. If you're in your thirties and you already have kids, the fact that your new guy doesn't want more might not be such a deal breaker – provided it's not your kids he dislikes. If your biological clock is ticking, you may not want to spend a lot of time on someone if it means closing such an important door that you might not ever be able to open again. In the end, only you can say. Try to shake off the bloom of new love long enough to be as honest with yourself as possible, even if it means talking to a therapist to fully explore your feelings.
Beverly Bird has been writing professionally since 1983. She is the author of several novels including the bestselling "Comes the Rain" and "With Every Breath." Bird also has extensive experience as a paralegal, primarily in the areas of divorce and family law, bankruptcy and estate law. She covers many legal topics in her articles.