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when 2 people grow apart?


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My friend called me in tears last night and I (I'm not a relationship expert didn't know what to tell her)...... So what do you do when you change your views and values in a relationship and are essentially growing as a person? Do you try to find things you have in common ? or remember why you got together in the first place? For example, my friend said she no longer believes in God, but when she first got together with her partner she was an avid church goer and pretty religious but 5 years later, she says she doesn't believe in God...which she says her partner understands but the one that her partner is having trouble with is the fact that she no longer wants children, but before they got married they talked about having 3 to 4 ....Uh, had no advice for her....They still love each other, she says, but just have grown apart on some major issues, is this relationship just meant to end after 5 years of marriage???----- So all advice you have give it!

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To suddenly not want to have children is not simply a change of views and values. I'm putting myself in the shoes of her husband: if my wife told me that she didn't want to have children anymore, I'd be devastated! It's not something you can just easily accept and adapt to. I guess it's up to her husband to decide whether his love for her can overcome his desire to have a family.


Very tough situation.

Perhaps she would still like to have 3 or 4 children but just not with her current husband.  What has changed her mind?  What does she want next?  Does she want her husband to change with her?  Is she testing him?  I don't think there is any advice that you can offer.

This is a major issue.  Is it that she doesn't want children ever or not for a few years?  If it's ever, then she has made a major change.  Are there reasons why she doesn't want children?  Given that she's changed her view point I would think there would be a reason for it.  She no longer believes in God...does she believe in anything?  Is there a reason for her change in beliefs?  Does she just have no interest in attending the current church with the current preacher?

Basically I would have a very hard time with a spouse or significant other changing two basic issues of compatibility.  Perhaps she can tell you about these changes and use you as a sounding board so that she can calmy discuss them with her husband.

If they do still love each other (sounds like they do), then perhaps a marriage counselor would help.

lol, ok I didn't want to go into that much detail....But she says she doesn't ever want children..just says she has no desire after working with kids all day, she doesn't want to come home to kids--she's a teacher .....she also realizes how much a sacrifice kids are and didn't realize it before...If it helps any..she got married really young, when she was 20....and now is 25.....um and as far as religion goes, she had to go to church when she was little because of her parents but now says she doesn't believe after spending time outside of the church and her & her spouse just go to church randomly, no set church....... So maybe I should recommend they go to a counselor according to  sm?

Gosh, she has changed a lot in the past five years...my advice would be for her husband to hang in there with her and see what happens over the next five.  Who knows, she may believe in God again and want to have children by the time she is 30. 

i would definitely suggest counselling.  that's the thing with gettnig married before 25, in my opinion.  in many cases it works out great, but i've noticed from my own observations is that doesn't, in most cases, tend to last beucase people between the ages of 18-25 go through so much change in their life/lifestyle and their personality.  their beliefs come even mroe into question with university, new friends, new influences.  so it's natural for people to change during this time.  which can lead to a couple growing apart.  can they still make it work.  possibly.  but i think counselling is in order.

let me make myself clear: i am nto saying it is impossible to stay married when you get married young so don't knock me down, i'm just reporting what i've observed for myself.  and i'm nto a counsellor so if you don'T want to agree, you don't have to.

hope this helps though. Smile

C T cassrd05
Oct 08 2008 13:23
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#5  

Gosh, she has changed a lot in the past five years...my advice would be for her husband to hang in there with her and see what happens over the next five.  Who knows, she may believe in God again and want to have children by the time she is 30. 

 

LOL, thats kinda funny!

I agree with #6 - not only counseling for them as a couple, but counseling for her as well.  Is it possible that she could be depressed or have some other psychological problem she is dealing with?  To give up on God and decide not to have children (two major changes in life) really signals to me that something else, something bigger is going on.

Hmmm...tough phone call to get.

It sounds to me like there is lot of stuff going on in her life.  A person's belief in God and the desire to have or not have children are about the two biggest decisions a person makes.  What's up with that?

What if you talk to your friend about the importance of keeping promises?  She is responsible for keeping the promise she made on her wedding day, even if she doesn't feel like it right now.

When it was time for hubby and me to have children, I didn't want any.  We had talked about having children and I always assumed I would want children when the time was right.  The years ticked by and I knew that if I kept my mouth shut, he would eventually ask about it and I could say, "Sorry, dear, I'm too old for that now."  But that wouldn't be right.  I promised to marry him for better or for worse, so I had to keep my promise about having children. 

Well, my two kids are teens now and they are two of my favorite people.  I wouldn't trade them for anything.  I don't want any more...and if for some reason we couldn't have had kids, I would have been ok with that, too.  I don't get all gushy over babies---I would adopt a teen over a baby any day.

So, maybe she feels like she's not the stereotype mom.  That's ok.  They tend to be really boring (IMO).

I don't think she's simply growing.  Something has happened that has caused her to completely rethink what she wants out of life. 

Original Post by alle0299:

I agree with #6 - not only counseling for them as a couple, but counseling for her as well.  Is it possible that she could be depressed or have some other psychological problem she is dealing with?  To give up on God and decide not to have children (two major changes in life) really signals to me that something else, something bigger is going on.

 I don't think that just because she no longer believes in God and no longer wants children that there's somthing bigger going on.  It sounds like she needs 'help' because she doesn't believe and doesn't want kids... Would you say an Athiest would need psychological help if all the sudden they started to believe in God and want children? No.. you would probably congratulate her.

I think couple's couseling is a great idea though. 

I would say that major changes usually have a reason.  Most of the people that I know who believe in god may or may not attend church, but their belief in god doesn't tend to change without something happening.  I am admittedly confused on any given day whether I'm agnostic or aetheist, but that's me.  Going from a devout believer and a regular church goer to a non-believer may be nothing more than a change in life style and influences and experiences beyond her parents...it's still worth discussing.

One major life decision changing I probably wouldn't be as concerned about, but two or more might be indicative of something or nothing.  Regardless, counseling is probably the way to go.  Counseling doesn't mean that there's something wrong with you.  It's a method for exploring why you have reached decisions and whether or not you're willing to compromise and how to communicate those decisions with other people who are important to you.

I've known quite a few people who came from very religious backgrounds who changed completely in their mid 20's. They got away from parental influences. They began to think for themselves instead of just doing what they were told was right. I can also understand someone who is around kids all day every day being overwhelmed and not wanting kids of their own. They may not always feel this way though, so to make permanent decisions based on this might backfire on them later in life.

I agree that I think your friend should go to counselling. She probably needs to talk to a neutral party to sort out how/why she's come to these decisions. If these decisions have come through careful consideration and are a true change in how she feels, then she and her husband need to discuss whether their marriage can survive such a radical change. This would take a great compromise and acceptance on her husband's part.

I disagree that she must keep a promise she made about having children if she truly doesn't want children. That would not be a healthy situation for her, her husband or the children. What a terrible reason to have children as well.

Original Post by smwhipple:

I would say that major changes usually have a reason.  Most of the people that I know who believe in god may or may not attend church, but their belief in god doesn't tend to change without something happening.  I am admittedly confused on any given day whether I'm agnostic or aetheist, but that's me.  Going from a devout believer and a regular church goer to a non-believer may be nothing more than a change in life style and influences and experiences beyond her parents...it's still worth discussing.

One major life decision changing I probably wouldn't be as concerned about, but two or more might be indicative of something or nothing.  Regardless, counseling is probably the way to go.  Counseling doesn't mean that there's something wrong with you.  It's a method for exploring why you have reached decisions and whether or not you're willing to compromise and how to communicate those decisions with other people who are important to you.

 From the people I've know including myself, nothing ever happend that made them unbelievers.. it just came gradually the older they became. For me, I had doubts but still clung on and then decided I really needed to understand the Bible more as an adult.. and the more I read, the more I was like 'wait a minute.. this can't be true'.. and one day, like the flip of a switch I woke up and said it outloud.. you know, I don't believe in God! :o (I waited for lighting to strike but it didn't come!)

This woman might decide that she needs someone to talk to her about her new beliefs but then again, maybe not. I didn't.  Once I realized what I beieved I knew it was right for me and I felt a ton of weight/guilt/paranoia lifted off of my shoulders. 

I just think couple couseling would be ideal.. as for her as an individual.. that's up to her and I couldn't answer or speculate on that.

Original Post by jenniferthepennifer:

 From the people I've know including myself, nothing ever happend that made them unbelievers.. it just came gradually the older they became. For me, I had doubts but still clung on and then decided I really needed to understand the Bible more as an adult.. and the more I read, the more I was like 'wait a minute.. this can't be true'.. and one day, like the flip of a switch I woke up and said it outloud.. you know, I don't believe in God! :o (I waited for lighting to strike but it didn't come!)

This is pretty much what happened to me as well. I wanted to believe. Looking back I can now see that I always questioned and never felt comfortable with the answers I got. It never felt right or true. Once I was able to verbalize that I didn't believe it was a huge weight off my shoulders.

On the other hand, I swore I'd never have any children. I didn't want to mess them up the way my parents had messed me and my brother up. It felt such a huge burden and responsibility. I did end up wanting a child and had one. So, it is completely possible to change this as well.

i agree with moon

Sounds like what she did is grow up.  Nothing wrong with that.  But it can cause those around her to no longer see her the same way.  Human brains are not fully "formed" until the mid-twenties.  Especially when there is such a limited variety of experiences prior to that time.

Let's face it - how many of us are still best friends with the same best friend from High School?  Not many.  Why?  Because our lives changed and moved in totally different directions.  Can it work?  Sure, if both people remain stagnant (exactly the same), or move forward together in similar patterns.  But that is asking a lot of a relationship if one person is growing at a different rate or in a different direction.

Some things are negotiable (what you eat, wear, where you live).  Others are not (what you believe and feel).  But just the way that someone can stop believing in God one day, or wanting children, they could change again (as they get closer to 30 or 40).  I'm sure her husband has changed too.  We all do.  So I think the question (for your friend and her husband) would be: are they willing to accept each other as they are NOW, and willing to work out compromises on important issues?  If he REALLY wants children, and she doesn't, he will have to make a choice.  Either he stays and waits it out to see if she will change her mind (without pressure), or he will move on to find someone who can give him what he wants.  She will need to accept that decision.  Ditto if he REALLY wants someone to share his religious beliefs.

I got married at 20.  By the time I was 23, I realized my husband was never going to do the things I had hoped.  He was not going to pursue higher education; he was not interested in moving up in his job; he wanted to live in the same small house we'd bought as a "starter" for the next 50 years; his religion became more and more important to him.  He wanted me to stay home after I got my degree and just have children.  That was NOT what I wanted, so we parted amicably.  It hurt like hell for a while, but it's probably the best choice I ever made - I just can't imagine what my life would have been like had I stayed and tried to be who he wanted me to be (and who I WAS, when I first married him - I thought "love" woud conquer all and that I could bury my needs just to be with him).  I hear he's still living in the same house, 20+ years later, so more power to him.  I got a Masters degree, moved a gazillion times, have no religion, and had no kids.  More power to me.  We would have driven each other mad, or one of us would have been extremely unhappy for all this time.

zar: I agree with you too...i think this is a hard topic, caught my interest since I got married young too ......

Original Post by jenniferthepennifer:

Original Post by alle0299:

I agree with #6 - not only counseling for them as a couple, but counseling for her as well.  Is it possible that she could be depressed or have some other psychological problem she is dealing with?  To give up on God and decide not to have children (two major changes in life) really signals to me that something else, something bigger is going on.

 I don't think that just because she no longer believes in God and no longer wants children that there's somthing bigger going on.  It sounds like she needs 'help' because she doesn't believe and doesn't want kids... Would you say an Athiest would need psychological help if all the sudden they started to believe in God and want children? No.. you would probably congratulate her.

I think couple's couseling is a great idea though. 

I'm sorry you feel this way.  I didn't mean any harm by anything I said (especially when I am wary on wanting children and my own beliefs) and no I wouldn't jump to congratulations.  I would wonder if she is trying to fill a hole in her life.  All I am saying is that sudden life changes like that are often symptoms of something larger AND even if they are not, counseling to adjust to these new values is a good idea.

i belive  shes just tired ,overwhelmed.going to throw a bad fase.it's OK to change your mind about having kids,or anything in life.maybe she needs a break or shes just scared of not being a good parent and thinks its best not to have any kids at all.maybe she will change her mind again in a couple of years,she-is only 25,no need to hurry or even worry about it.unless her husband is pressuring her and making it difficultfor her .why was she crying?is she questioning her feelings for him too?sounds like there is more to it.

I'm sure these changes are things that have been coming for a while. You don't just overnight decide you don't believe in God and don't want kids. She has just now decided to tell her husband.

I think they need couple's counseling and then can go from there on if they want to stay together or end their marriage. If there's no chance of compromise I think it's stupid to stay together for another 5 years as someone suggested. They're both still young... maybe they just got this one wrong.

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