Resolving Differences in Family Aspirations | Advice

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I'm in a bit of a tough spot and could really use some advice.

My partner and I have been together for a few years now, and we're both women. Recently, we've started discussing the future and the topic of having children came up. It turns out, I'm really keen on the idea of starting a family, but my partner is quite hesitant and doesn't feel the same way. This revelation has been quite difficult for both of us, as we're trying to understand each other's perspectives without causing any resentment. I'm struggling with how to balance my desire for a child with my partner's reluctance, and I'm worried about what this might mean for our relationship. How can we navigate this conversation in a way that respects both of our feelings and potentially finds a middle ground, if there is one?

This question delves into the complexities of relationship dynamics when partners have differing desires regarding starting a family, it's all about communication and compromise. This often happens in relationships, and it takes a great deal of care and trust to have these difficult conversations. Firstly, it's important to acknowledge the feelings and desires of both you and your partner. It's clear you both care deeply for each other and your relationship, given your willingness to seek advice on this matter. Differing desires about starting a family are not uncommon in relationships, including those within the LGBTQ community, and navigating these differences is a delicate process.

These conversations can be tense and may even result in arguments which can be difficult to navigate. Especially if you are worried about the relationship ending due to the differing desires. Begin with creating a safe space for each of you to express your feelings, fears, and desires regarding having children. It's crucial that both of you feel heard and understood. This conversation might uncover underlying concerns or misconceptions that can be addressed together. Creating a safe space looks like having conversations without judgment and maybe even in a neutral location. 

It is really important that you understand the root of your partner's hesitation. Be curious and seek to understand before you seek to be understood. Is her hesitation about concerns of changing dynamics, financial stability, personal freedom, or perhaps unresolved fears? Approach these questions with care and compassion. Show her that you are invested in hearing about her concerns, not just trying to get her to hear you. Similarly, explore why starting a family is important to you. What values or experiences are driving this desire? Look for ways to communicate those values and experiences to your partner without invalidating their point of view. 

Decisions about starting a family are significant and life-changing. It’s okay to take the time you both need to explore your feelings, do your research, and consider all your options. Rushing into a decision under pressure can lead to resentment and regret.

In these conversations, look for areas where your desires align. This might not necessarily mean making an immediate decision about having children but finding shared values and goals for your future together. This process can help in identifying potential compromises or alternative paths that might satisfy both of your needs to some extent. But, sometimes these conversations come to a standstill and having a neutral third party can facilitate these discussions more effectively. Couples counseling, especially with a therapist experienced in LGBTQ relationships, can provide a supportive environment to explore these issues further.

It’s possible that, even after discussions and exploration, one partner may still not want to pursue parenthood. It’s crucial to respect each other’s boundaries and decisions, even if it means making difficult choices about the future of your relationship. Remember, your relationship is a partnership, and working through challenges together can ultimately strengthen your bond. Whatever the outcome, it's important that it's a decision made with love, respect, and understanding for each other's needs and dreams.

Queerly Beloved is an expertly curated column dedicated to the world of LGBTQ sex, intimacy and relationships that provides education, insights and actionable tips for the reader to enhance their pleasure journey. This column from Kelly Ghweinem, LCSW, will answer questions and provide advice to readers to deepen intimate connections, elevate pleasurable experiences, and empower people. Ghweinem is an established queer-affirming therapist and business owner who champions the LGBTQ+ community through activism and advocacy utilizing a queer, feminist, anti-racist lens. A University at Buffalo graduate, Kelly came to Fort Lauderdale from Manhattan in 2022.

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The advice offered in this column is intended for informational purposes only. Use of this column is not intended to replace or substitute any financial, medical, legal, or other professional advice.


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