The Topic You Should Bring Up With Your Partner Sooner Than You Think
This conversation needs to happen on the earlier side of your relationship.
When you begin dating a new person, there are so many topics of conversation you want to cover—everything about this person is fresh and exciting. And once you settle into a relationship, and all of the preliminary subjects have been explored, you'll start having deeper conversations about a future together. The discussion of if and when to have children is one of the most important talks you'll have with your significant other, and you should probably have it sooner than you think. Whether you plan to have kids now, in 10 years, or never, you need to make sure you're on the same page with your partner. That's why experts say the sooner, the better to start discussing having children. Read on to find out how to broach the topic, and for more heavy subjects, This Is Exactly When You and Your Partner Should Combine Finances.
Although the first date is a bit too soon to start mapping out your future with a virtual stranger, experts suggest you don't wait too much longer after that. Divergent opinions on children could break up an otherwise happy relationship, so it's best to be honest upfront.
Rachel Wright, MA, told Insider that baby talk should happen once a couple is confident they are serious about a long-term commitment. "Having kids can be a dealbreaker, and it's important to talk about dealbreakers as soon as possible—when you know you'd like to date this person consistently," she said.
It's important to avoid completely springing a conversation of such gravity on your partner, says therapist Dan Sneider-Cotter, LCSW. "The best time to have any conversation with your partner is when they know what is coming and have time to mentally, emotionally, and physically prepare," he suggests.
Additionally, Sneider-Cotter recommends setting a time limit on the conversation and then scheduling another one once each person has had some time to reflect. "Don't expect to have a final answer after only one conversation," he says.
To broach the topic, Sneider-Cotter says you should "use 'I' statements like, 'I love spending time with kids and am excited to have my own' rather than something like, 'you don't want kids, do you?' That kind of 'you' statement will create defensiveness in your partner and will probably not lead to a good outcome."
As Wright told Insider, it's OK to change your mind about how, when, and if you want children over time, as long as you communicate your feelings proactively. "It's really important to remember that things change all the time and what you want when you first start dating someone is not necessarily what you will want three years from then," she said. This is why it's essential to make the baby conversation an ongoing one.
Discussing the future of your relationship and how children may or may not come into play is integral to the foundation of your life together. Having this conversation early and often might feel daunting, but it will hopefully prevent more painful heartbreak down the line. And if you're looking to make your relationship better now, Doing This on Your Own Can Strengthen Your Relationship, Study Says.