The moment you feel yourself falling in love, you might start thinking about whether or not your partner would make a good parent. And that's a good thing. If you'd like to have kids someday, then you definitely want to keep an eye out for an SO who's kind, patient, and mature — as well as someone who sees their life going in the same family-oriented direction.
If it seems like they aren't interested, however, it can truly throw your life through a loop. "If kids are important to you but your partner doesn't want them, this may be a deal breaker making it nearly impossible to continue in a relationship together," NYC-based therapist Kimberly Hershenson tells Bustle. Same goes for a partner who isn't showing any of those positive traits I listed above.
If your SO is argumentative, or self-absorbed, or wildly unpredictable, then it may be they just aren't cut out for this whole parenting thing — whether they say they want kids or not. The only thing you can do in this situation is sit down and have a chat. "As a counselor, I have the utmost faith in peoples' ability to change," says relationship therapist Julienne B. Derichs. If you two really want to make it work, and want to figure out how to have a family, there is hope in the form of therapy. Read on for some things you might want to talk about.
Check out Bustle's 'Save The Date' and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.
1. Your Partner Is Incredibly Self-Centered
While there's nothing wrong with looking out for yourself and focusing on what you need in life, do know that pure self-centeredness doesn't always mix well with kids. "Having children requires you to put others needs before your own a lot," Hershenson says. "Your life can no longer revolve around your needs." If this seems like it'd be difficult for your SO, take note.
2. They Truly Can't Handle Change
Life becomes pretty unpredictable post-baby, so make sure your partner is the type who can handle the ups and downs of life. "Plans get changed or cancelled often when you have children," Hershenson says. "Your sleep schedule will be different and your relationship will also be different. Sex likely will not be as frequent and date nights or alone time may be few and far between."
3. Your Partner Wants And Needs Independence
Since having a family will take away a significant chunk of your independence, think twice about having a baby with a someone who can't let go of total and complete independence. "Everyone needs some alone time, but if your partner thinks they can continue having nights out with friends, work out everyday no matter what, or spend weekends relaxing they may not be ready for kids," Hershenson says.
4. They Have A Short Fuse
Another thing that doesn't mix well with kids? Anger problems. "Children need a safe and predictable environment in order to thrive," says Derichs. "If you [or your partner] have unresolved anger issues, putting children in the mix is not a good idea."
5. Their Life Is Super Unpredictable
While it's possible to make family life work in a variety of situations, unpredictable jobs and lifestyles can make things mighty difficult. For example, Derichs tells me you might want to think twice if your partner travels a lot for work — lest you end up feeling like you're raising a child on your own.
6. Your Partner Has Jealousy Issues
It might sound weird, but it's possible for people to feel jealous of their own kids. That's why, if your SO has jealousy issues, you might want to think about how they'll react once all the attention is permanently on your baby. "Children require a tremendous amount of time and energy," Derichs says. If your SO is jealous of the other people in your life because of the attention you give them, they may not be cut out for children."
7. They Always Make Things Toxic
If your partner has a knack for creating toxic situations, then they're probably going to do the same thing around your children. And that's not OK. If they are addicted to drugs, or can't seem to argue with screaming, Derichs tells me these are signs they're just too toxic to have kids.
8. They're Incredibly Impulsive
Since children need stability, your partner may not make a great parent if they can't help provide that. "Children demand what sometimes feels like an endless supply of patience, and a lack of patience can ultimately result in harsh or even abusive behavior towards children," says licensed professional counselor Michele Moore, MA. "Parents must also be able to delay their own needs or gratification at times to focus on the needs of their children." And that can be tricky for someone who's all over the place.
9. You're Sure They Care More About Their Career
While it's 100 percent possible to have a career and kids (and travel, and a life), it definitely won't be easy those first few years. That's why, if your partner would rather focus on their career, Moore tells me it may not be time for kids just yet.
10. They Say They'll Change But Haven't Yet
If your SO has a few unsavory characteristics (and we all do) it's definitely possible for them to turn it all around and improve. But don't put all your hopes on someone who says things like "I'll change once the baby arrives." As Moore tells me, having a baby doesn't guarantee they will change their ways. And, in many cases, the stresses of parenthood often makes things worse.
11. They Can't Handle Any Sort Of Responsibility
If your partner can't seem to keep a houseplant alive, Derichs tells me you definitely shouldn't move on to kids just yet. While that's mostly a joke, the idea is that irresponsible people don't make the best parents.
And if that describes your SO, it may mean you should think twice before having kids with them. Or, at the very least, you need to get on board with working these issues out first.
Images: Unsplash, London Scout; Pexels (11)