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Relationships, Romance and Reality

Discuss Expectations of Relationship Beforehand

By Malcolm Leal, PsyD

Rossetti, Dante Gabriel
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“…I have been living with a woman for one year and I like her very much. I don’t want to have any children but she keeps talking about it. I don’t know how to say it without hurting her feeling or distorting her dreams..” 

Difficult as life may be, we have an obligation to tell the truth about our feelings and intentions when the future of the couple is at stake. Reality may be harsh, and indeed, you will probably shatter her dreams but you have to be honest about your desires and hopes. She may be spending valuable time and attention with certain expectations of the future. You, in the other hand, are continuing in a relationship under false pretenses. You know that she has dreams about marriage and having a family. This is something that you already decided is not what you want. I think is only fair that she is informed of your dissenting opinions and plans so she can make a decision about whether she wants to continue with the relationship or not.

 Granted that the issue is very difficult to approach. But disappointment never killed anybody. Of greater concern is the fact that you remain in a relationship that has no future, specially for her. You are going in one direction and she seems to heading in exactly the opposite way. The notion of “not hurting her feelings” sounds noble if it wasn’t for the fact that it is often an excuse to avoid dealing with important and relevant issues and not losing your current level of comfort. You are getting what you need while preventing her from obtaining what she wants. You may be actually more afraid of losing the readily available sex, the shared expenses and the free maid service than anything else. She has been shortsighted and perhaps inexperienced, but that’s another issue all together. 

Fairness and integrity should govern all transactions between human beings. There must be a meeting of the minds in order to satisfy all parties involved. You most likely realized that the relationship had significantly different meanings for you than it did for her perhaps months ago. One minute after that insight it became a lie. Everything you said and did to keep the relationship became a premeditated act of manipulation. If you promised to talk about it later, to think about it or whatever stereotypical phrase you used, it was all part of plan to buy time so you could continue to get out of the relationship what you needed. The rest became unimportant to you and that was not honorable.

 She will cry, ask why, be in shock for few weeks but she will survive. She is still young and very much likely to find a suitable companion with whom to have a family. If this is what she wants she has the right to know that you never had any such intentions and that your relationship will never lead to that point. Let her decide about her future unencumbered by lies and manipulations.

 For future reference, deal your cards openly and with all honesty. If you are not interested in a family you should say so from the beginning. What emotional needs compel you to relinquish the ancient and natural calling to create posterity may be a very good question to explore for the next few years.

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