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Health & Wellness

30-second therapist: I want kids, but my husband doesn't


Need a quick answer to a relationship dilemma? Relationship expert Dr. Gilda Carle cuts through the fluff with her relationship advice in TODAY.com’s “30-second therapist” series.

Q: My husband and I have been together for nearly six years. Neither of us wanted kids. However, now for me, that’s changed. I told him, and he adamantly insisted “No!” I felt like I lost the child I never had. We've talked about my getting counseling, but I know it isn't right for me at this time. I cry, look at baby pictures, and read blogs by expectant moms to get this out of my system. Now when I bring it up, it’s in jest because I know it’s hard for him to empathize with me. I’m prepared to sacrifice my desires, learn to move on, and never leave him. How long will it take until I’m over my strong urge? I've wanted to lose weight, yet I don't mind seeing a falsely pregnant tummy in the mirror. Am I crazy? —Longing for Baby

Dear Longing,

"Baby fever" is real for both women and men!  So you’re not crazy.  But you are violating your personal needs and your marital vows. You re-wrote your original promise, but your new needs are your now needs!

Honestly share your feelings with your guy, without the phony humor. Also discover why you’re secretly playing that self-destructive game with the baby images as triggers.  And why you’re playing martyr. Yes, you DO need counseling.

One of my clients left the husband she adored over this issue, quickly married a “sperm donor,” had two kids, and ended up divorced.  She won the kiddie battle, but lost the love war—and was miserable.  There is no right answer here. Grow up, handle your dilemma as a team, and then see what evolves! —Dr. Gilda

Q: I always felt like my husband and I had a strong relationship. We've been married for 17 years and 16 of those were great, but a year ago, he started training like crazy for triathlons.  Despite my feelings, he trained with a single female partner. After she moved, unbeknownst to me, he started training with her friend. I was hurt when I found out. After an argument, he filed for divorce. I begged for counseling but he's not willing to go. He's in his 40s and I think this is a midlife thing. I still love him, and he says he loves me.  At times, he thinks he made a mistake, but he's trying to be strong; I think he’s being stubborn. We had such a good relationship for so many years, I don't understand how he’s not willing to work it out or try counseling. What is your advice for dealing with someone going through a midlife crisis? —Watching My Marriage Crumble

Dear Watching,

Suddenly, in his 40s, hubby becomes a gym rat and pumps iron with single chicas. Darling, he might be pumping them as well!  The portrait you paint suggests a dude terrified of aging.  You symbolize the life he wants to dump for another that appears younger, freer, and more fit. During rational moments, he knows better, and professes his love.  But becoming too rational in therapy would fizzle Fantasia! 

This is his passage, and one on which you’re not invited. Your healthiest move is to get on with your life. Take courses, get counseling alone, and patronize another gym.  Hubby may eventually wake up and want you.  But if that happens, it will be on his schedule—and you may no longer want him!  Girlfriend, don’t hold your breath! —Dr. Gilda

Do you agree with Dr. Gilda’s advice? Do you have your own? Share it in the comments below.

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Dr. Gilda Carle  is the relationship expert to the stars. She is a professor at New York’s Mercy College and has written 15 books; her latest is “Don’t Bet on the Prince!”