Everyone is bound to have at least two major talks in their life, both of which go by "The Talk". The first when a preteen's parent sits them down to have the classic, usually mortifying, "birds and bees" discussion. The second comes at a (hopefully) much later stage when partners sit down and discuss the actual event of said "birds and bees". Barring being a couple who would rather adopt animals over having kids, it will inevitably be a long, detailed discussion full of important points and ultimate decision. Unless, of course, one of the partners just simply isn't ready.
They say timing is everything when having a child, but sometimes the timing isn't always what parents need to worry about. Considering a partner's feelings and emotions is huge in the way of having an open and honest relationship and it's not always an easy talk. Guys are weird and "The Talk" with them can be even weirder, but when it comes to having kids, it's not something people should avoid or fear to bring up. Everyone is different when it comes to having kids, but there are certain signs a woman can look for to avoid a painful situation later on. These aren't all-inclusive and by no means always mean that a man isn't ready to have children, but they are a good starting point to help gauge where he's at in his life...As well as hers.
15 While Your Biological Clock Ticks, He's Elsewhere
This is meant metaphorically and quite literally as well. It's not uncommon by any means for guys to zone out while you're trying to talk to them, especially if the game is on or they're getting ESPN updates on their phone at the same time. What you should be wary of his how often it happens and how his demeanor is when he eventually comes back down to planet earth.
It's normal for guys to be semi-distracted, but there's a difference between being at a normal level of distraction (sports, video games, work, his friends, etc.) and being overtly distracted to the point where he becomes uncomfortable and shifty.
The key to approaching the very sensitive subject of having kids is finding the right time and place to do it, even if that means being a little more patient (we know, it sucks). It's important to be considerate of him as well and not just treat the subject like you're about to say, "what do you want for dinner?" If he zones out almost immediately or gets shifty-eyed or becomes closed-up, it's probably a neon blinking light of a sign to slow down. Avoiding eye contact, making light of the situation via jokes, not communicating at all, or just plain staring at you are probably all indicative of how trapped he's feeling on the inside.
14 Watch His Interactions
You can tell a lot about someone by their interactions with their own family and friends, especially when there are kids involved. As with the other tell-tale signs, this is by no means a guide on how to run your personal life or interact with your partner, these are just little tips and things to note.
Your partner could absolutely love being around kids, but potentially never want his own. On the other hand, if he seems distant and uninterested when it comes to interacting with kids whether they're his family or his friends', that's probably a pretty solid indicator as well.
Age can definitely impact this as well; if you're a younger couple and he has tons of energy, playing with someone else's kids may just be part of his overall personality. If you're an older couple, he may be uninterested simply because maturity has kicked in and he'd rather chat it up with the adults. The problem area comes into play when his demeanor drastically changes and he becomes awkward and visibly uncomfortable around kids... That can be a sign that he's just not into them. To be certain, you can always lightly address it later with something like, "hey, I noticed you seemed kind of off around so-and-so's kids, is everything okay?" Asking in the form of a question and putting his well-being first is a good step to open communication.
13 He's Not Excited And Doesn't Think About The Future
Some guys are really into their future.
Whether it comes in the form of them working towards a promotion, going back to school for a Bachelor's or Master's degree, or even putting a significant amount of money away in a Savings account.
This is a great sign if you do want to start a family because it means that he's always (and will probably continue to) looking towards the future of the two of you. It's attributes like determination, motivation, and hard-working that lead to a solid future for you and your potential family.
If your partner doesn't do any of these things it does not, by any means, make him a poor choice for a partner. It just means that where he's at in life doesn't yet include his future plans.
This also doesn't mean that he doesn't care about you -- Planning for children takes a lot of hard work and careful planning, and it may not necessarily be where he's at in life right now. It may be initially disappointing to realize that neither of you is on the same page yet, but give it some time and then re-approach the subject. It may just be a classic case of him not knowing what you want, in which case the two of you might be able to plan for the future together. If he begins to shut down (as in the previously stated point) and show signs of being uncomfortable and uninterested, that's pretty telling of how he's feeling towards the subject of kids. Making the decision to have them should be exciting and joyful, not downtrodden and stressful.
12 Can He Take Care Of Himself?
This is a common-sense point but worthy of being noted because sometimes when you're in a relationship with someone, especially if it's a long-term relationship, it's difficult to step back and see the whole picture. A person's habits can very easily just be absorbed into your own life with no way of realizing it unless someone else points them out to you -- That's why it's so important to look at things from an outside perspective. Being able to see your partner for who they are on their own can sometimes be crucial in figuring out what kind of parent they'll be. That's not to say that people don't change once their child is born; plenty of times people have proven themselves over and over as amazing parents when previously assumed to be otherwise.
However, if your partner just simply can't get a handle on taking care of himself with the simplest of tasks like doing his laundry on the regular, helping out around the house, cleaning up, folding clothes, remembering bill due dates, waking up on time, etc., that's probably not a good sign for the immediate introduction of a baby to your relationship.
It could be that he'll want to change his ways at the thought of a child, but unless you're secure and certain of his capability to do that, it just may not be the right time for him.
11 You Can Tell A Lot By Those Around Him
They say you are the company you keep. We would love to find a way to debate this fact, however, it's proven on more than one occasion to be true. If it's not, then that's also a bad sign...It means that your partner is being someone they're not just to hang out with people who are nothing like their true person.
If his friends are loud, rambunctious, not exactly honest, and just overall shady characters, chances are that he shares something in common or at least doesn't mind those characteristics.
Having kids forces you to consider your environment as well which means taking into consideration those your child will often be around. If immaturity is any indicator of who your partner enjoys spending time with, then it might be time for a serious sit-down and discussion about the future of the two of you. In addition, if his friends or even his family, are not responsible and you've noticed those same traits in him, that's also not a great sign. It may just be that your partner needs a reevaluation or some reassurance that he can do better and is a better person, but until that happens, bringing a child into an environment such as that might not be the best thing.
10 Sometimes Narcissism Is Hard To Catch
Ah, the days of our Millennial youth when we found conceited guys to be attractive because their arrogance was charming. And kudos to you if you got out of that vicious cycle and said "no" to guys who enjoyed getting shape-ups and going to the gym more than opening the car door for you. If your guy still does these things, that's a pretty obvious sign that neither of you is in the right mindset. Just like their habits become absorbed into your everyday routine, their narcissism can be as well...Leading to one somewhat messy situation. Simply put, it's perfectly fine to love yourself when you don't have a child to take care of. Becoming a parent means that at some point you've learned to love your child over yourself, and really more than anything in the world, which means you, yourself, have officially come second.
When narcissism rears its ugly head, however, it can lead to one parent being more focused and be working harder for the child than the other. Parenting is a practice of balance and the point is to go into it together, not have it come out to an 80/20 split-workload.
Being a mother is one of the toughest jobs in the world and she not only needs but deserves, amazing support throughout the entire process. If your partner is too focused on themselves and wants they want and need, chances are that they'll be even worse after the baby comes. Until they can vote for diaper changes over going to the bar with some buddies, they're just simply not ready.
9 A Relationship Needs To Be Solid
Speaking to the point of a happy and healthy relationship, one needs to exist before either partner can be there for someone else. Babies are so intuitive and will pick up on their environments, which is why coming together and showing support as a team is so important. This is not to say that the two of you will never fight or get into disagreements, but if that's something your partner favors over trying to work things out rationally and peacefully, then maybe he's just not ready to be a dad.
The ability to solve a problem is the first step in having a successful relationship because problems will definitely arise after a baby comes, and if your partner can't seem to bring himself down or up to your level to find a solution or compromise, then how do you think life with a child will be?
Probably not fantastic. It might seem time-consuming and frustrating to have to take some steps back to improve your relationship, but in the end, it'll be worth it if it encourages your partner to be a bit more mature and adult. Just because he needs to work on his behavior doesn't mean he isn't capable of being a dad, it just means that no one is perfect and some of us need a little extra time and patience.
8 Age Does Matter
There is nothing, we repeat, absolutely nothing, wrong with having an age gap between two people in a relationship. In fact, it can often be a sign of a healthy acknowledgment that one of you shows more maturity at a young age and vice versa. Every relationship is personal to you and your partner and shouldn't be judged by anyone else (barring something being significantly wrong) and if it works, then it works, end of story.
When it comes to having children, for people with large age gaps, it might prove to be a bit more complicated than for others who arrive at the same point, at the same time.
If he's the younger of the two of you it can definitely cause a lot more stress as your biological clock starts ticking and he's feeling like he's still in the prime of his youth. This is a case where it's not unusual to open other doors and explore the options, whether that includes fostering, adopting, or just simply laying out what needs to be done in order for the two of you to arrive at the same decision. If he's older, there's a chance that he may not even want kids -- Especially if he has his own. These are all thing to consider when you first begin dating someone and the relationship gets serious because age can make a huge impact further down the line. If age is a factor in your relationship, be prepared to come to the realization that he may not want anything to do with reproducing...At least not right away.
7 Acknowledge His Anxiety, Don't Ignore It
Guys are great at cycling through facades when it comes to not showing how they truly feel. This is great for compartmentalizing and dealing with things that require logical thought first, emotion later...But for having a child, all the cards should always be on the table, ace-face showing first. Anxiety comes in many forms and isn't just sweaty palms and darting eyes.
You partner may be experiencing overwhelming silence on his end not because he has nothing to say, but because he has too much to say and has no idea how to actually say it.
What might be exciting for you can be terrifying for him and we often like to think that our partners are the strongest people on earth with no fear. That assumption can weight heavily on him and cause him to close up for your sake, without telling you how he feels or what he's thinking. If he starts to look nervous or has deer-in-headlights eyes, these are more obvious signs of anxiety -- But if he's saying "yes" and "okay" a lot and not communicating much more than that, there may be something deeper going on. He may even put up a smile but if you pay close enough attention, you'll notice that it's slightly different from his normal, effortless smile. These are the small signs of internal anxiety that make all the difference when picked up on.
6 Past Behavior Is Indicative Of Future Behavior
Does he have a history of picking something up and dropping it to run to the next thing? Ambition is an amazing quality to have in a partner but can be a bit too full-on when it comes to figuring out if he's ready to be a dad.
Being ambitious at work is great, being overly ambitious at home, never finishing projects, and having the shortest attention span known to man can make for stressful child-rearing.
This is especially indicative if he's left large projects unfinished and unattended to...Granted, a car isn't anything close to a baby. But if he's piled tons of his own money and effort into fixing up a classic without ever finishing the task at hand, that's not a good sign for being a steady parent. This isn't to say that he'll abandon you or your baby, but lack of attention and the constant desire to always do so much more can interfere with the stability a child needs. Babies take commitment and repeated unwavering attention, and if your partner is busy jumping from project to project to keep him both mentally and physically stimulated, then maybe it's just not the right time for him to become a dad.
5 How Does He Deal With Sacrifice?
No one knows how to throw a baby (no pun intended) fit and display drama like a man who's forced to give up something they enjoy. If your partner loses his mind over a request to take a break from sports, the gym, or bar-hopping to spend more time with you and work on your relationship, then that's a serious red flag.
Even if it's something as simple as taking an extra hour to not stare at his phone and take a walk with you or do something fun, and he gets visibly upset, that tells you just about everything you need to know.
Good dads don't always want to make sacrifices, but they should be fully prepared to do so if the need arises, which, in all likelihood, it will. It takes two to make a pair of great parents (with the exception of the incredible single moms and dads out there) and takes sacrifices on both ends to make that possible. Your guy doesn't have to give up something easily in order to be a good dad, but if he can't seem to give up anything without causing stress and making you feel as though you were wrong for even requesting it, then "The Talk" is something that probably shouldn't take place right away.
4 Priorities Are Key
Taking responsibility for things that fall on your to-do list is something that's practiced and learned. Not everyone is born with the natural inclination to do things in the perfect order or at all (and serious points to your house if you are). Any girl knows that men can be a little bit slow in that department and might not necessarily know how to distinguish putting laundry away versus taking a three-hour lunch break to couch-surf.
If your partner's priority is always themselves or doing things other than that which is productive, give "The Talk" a second thought...Because he may not be ready at all to take on a baby.
Starting a family should be a priority after everything else in you and your partner's life is in place and should never be rushed, so even if your partner appears to be on-board, it may be because he thinks his life is in order. Having your life in order mentally is completely different from literally having it in order, and if he's a complete mess with no sense of urgency or what needs to be done around him, chances are that he'll be entering fatherhood with the same mindset. Practice little things, make a honey-do list, and encourage him to help you out around the house. You can find little ways to make things like this fun, and once he falls into a solid routine with you, it may be the perfect opportunity to approach the baby question.
3 His Bad Habits
We're not just talking about leaving some dirty dishes on the table or throwing his awful-smelling gym clothes on the floor next to the laundry basket (we've all been there, ladies).
A guy will do what guys do and if he has bad habits like coming home late from the pub with his friends, waking up late for work, or blowing off plans with your or his family (intentionally or unintentionally), having a baby isn't going to make him more responsible.
It sucks to come to that realization, but guys are notorious for maturing at a rate much slower than women. In a relationship that's long-term, you should be his first priority (in addition to his family, job, etc.), and if he can't respect you enough to listen when you express concern for the state of his affairs, then it's probably not baby-time. This also means that you have an even bigger problem that needs to under control: Respect and common decency. You are worth more than a guy who comes home late every other night from being out with his friends, especially if you weren't invited in the first place. Your future is more important than him hitting the "snooze" on his alarm six times in a row before finally stumbling into work fifteen minutes late. Your future child is worthy of more than that, too.
2 Communication Isn't His Thing
Oof, the big "C" word. You'll hear it on repeat with nearly every couples therapy session, you'll hear it from your friends, and you'll hear it from your closest family: Communication is necessary. When you're living in close quarters with someone and essentially living your life with them, communication needs to happen except in the rare instance that your partner is a mind-reader. Psychic abilities aside, your partner should always be open and accepting of how you're feeling. It's not uncommon for guys to need a little push in this department, especially if they're not used to talking as much or are not great listeners. Good relationships have a lot in common with good parenting, though, and communicating is what makes both become progressive and long-lasting.
Having a child together pretty much forces communication from the day your baby is born, and if you've never established solid grounds for talking prior, then you might be in trouble.
If all efforts have failed and your partner is just not opening up, you might need to re-think your approach to "The Talk" or just realize that it's not the right time for him at all. Everyone moves at a different pace, and that's all part of accepting and understanding the person you love.
1 It Sounds Silly, But Pets Are Telling
Get a cat or dog, or even a fish. Seriously, we're not kidding! Regardless of how your partner is reacting to your being ready for kids, a pet is an amazing thing to start out with to get the two of you actively thinking of what things will be like after you bring a child into this world.
Many couples have started with a puppy because it not only gets you into the mindset of taking care of something else that's living and breathing, but it gives you practice for being woken up in the middle of the night, finding a feeding routine that works and even cleaning up various bodily functions. We're definitely NOT saying to get a pet just for those reasons.
If you're an animal lover and want to be sure that you and your partner are strong enough to raise someone together, getting a pet is a good place to start. A pet is not something to get rid of if you find that you hate having one, so keep that in mind if you do decide that a puppy or kitten is the route you want to go. A pet can also be wholesome and bring some serious ever-loving joy to a family, so consider it a long-term investment in your future family's happiness!