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Thursday, 20 February 2014

A pattern I've noticed  is that a signification proportion of  partners who are reluctant to have children with women who do want children appear to display narcissistic  characteristics or signs they have avoidant attachment style.  I want to stress here however that many,many men and women who decide to be childfree have valid reasons and are often clear and fair and adult in explaining this to potential partners and current partners.  As I have said many times, it's a perfectly good and valid choice to make

However, I have noticed that  when a good percentage of the women clients who do want children talk about their relationship and their partners, certain themes emerge again and again.  The biggest theme is that in addition to not wanting children, the partner doesn't often compromise in the relationship or is reluctant to show signs they are willing to commit long term to a relationship.  I am planning on doing some research around this for an updated version of my book.  In the meantime, here is a link outlining some of the basic characteristics of narcissism.   I also highly recommend the book 'Attached' by Amir Levine which discusses adult attachment styles.


3 comments:

Tangled said...

But is that not a bit harsh, Beth? Although you do qualify your statement with a "not all", it seems very judgemental. Would you make the same statement if it is the woman who did not want a child and the partner wanted one? Curious to know what you think.

Beth said...

have edited this post slightly (there were also some terrible typos - result of writing a blog post on my phone!) in light of your comment. Certainly, many men and women who decide to be childfree have valid reasons and are often clear and fair and adult in explaining this to potential partners and current partners.

However, I have noticed that when a good percentage of the women who do want childen talk about their relationship and their partners, certain traits that are associated with either narcissistic or avoidant attachment style get talked about again and again.

For example, when partners also are reluctant to commit or make compromises in other ways (i.e. other than the baby decision) in the relationship. Or they are reluctant to discuss the long term future of the relationship. Or to sometimes hint that children and a family might be on the cards but when this is followed up, the partner says they have changed their mind or they want to delay he decision.

There is a very good book called 'Attached' which looks at different attachment styles - people who have an avoidant attachment style can struggle with the the decision to have children and be in long-term relationships. http://www.attachedthebook.com/

In terms of gender, I do not see many of women who do not want children showing many the characteristics that some of the male partners who don't want kids do. The woman who come to see me who don't want children but their partners do are very concerned about their partners needs and want to really examine their decision so they can tell their partner with confidence that they don't want children but they do want the relationship. To me, this is an adult and not narcissistic attitude at all!

I have very few men who don't want children but their partners do - when I do, they are contacting me because their female partners have asked them to.

I think it would be an interesting line of inquiry if I were doing a PHd perhaps - I believe that there have been studies on gender and these traits/attachment styles

Sue Fagalde Lick said...

Beth,
I see a lot of women in exactly this situation at my blog (www.childlessbymarriage.blogspot.com). I am going to suggest they read your post and check out the Attachments book. Thanks for all of your support.