Solved Challenge: 5 questions to ask yourself when your Ex wants to have a kid with you

Challenge Description:

My relationship with my ex-girlfriend did not end that well but we have a little son together.Although it was a heavy unroll, she accepted we were not going to be together.

But now she wants to have another child with me as a dad, as she thinks our son deserves a little brother or a sister.

I could see her point –  children would have only 1 father and it is easier to share the kids as we now are ok.

But I really don’t know if it is a good idea, you know. There are so many issues with it…

Could you advise something?

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We have to admit, this is the most unusual challenge we have received so far. The good news is – we like challenges as well and solving it, was not only a pleasure but also a journey.

 

The “perfect” Family set-up

Before we started brainstorming regarding your five options, we have also discussed how important it is to raise a child in “a full, traditional family”. There is this common perception that the optimal model for having a baby is a couple (in some cultures – married couple) and it seems that many of us still hold this conviction.

However, once we started to dig deeper, we’ve come to a quite surprising conclusion that it may not be as crucial as we initially thought. In the end of the day, it doesn’t seem to matter much if you were raised by a couple, co-parents or a single parent – you can become a happy, fulfilled and successful adult, regardless of the type of family you came from. In other words, you can be totally happy and emotionally balanced even if you were raised in rather unusual conditions, and you can have a lot of issues and problems though you were raised by a married couple.

So instead of focusing on how the family set up should look like “on a paper”, we would like to recommend you Robert (and anyone who’s considering becoming a parent in a future) to shift an attention from the family model itself to one very important question:

Do I truly want to become a parent and do I have the love to share?

If we were to give you “just” some options it would come down to a simple “yes, do it” or “no, don’t do it” (with some slight alterations) but we’ve decided this week to do it differently and to ask you 5 important questions instead. You can read them below and you can also listen to our podcast where we discuss each question in detail

 

Ready for Your 5 Questions?

We would recommend you to find a bit of a time where you can be only with yourself, prepare a notebook or a piece of paper and answer the following 5 questions. If you could convince your ex-partner to do the same, the exercise would be even more powerful, as she may come to some new conclusions as well.

Question 1: Do I want to become a parent again and am I ready for it?
Question 2: What are my reasons to become a parent?
Question 3: What are the advantages of having a second child with my ex?
Question 4: What are the disadvantages of having a second child with my ex?
Question 5: What about your future and love lives?

 

Question 1: Do I want to become a parent again and am I ready for it?

newbaby.jpg

Robert, it is extremely important to spend some time on this question as the answer to it may solve your entire challenge:

Do you want to become a father again and do you have the love to share?

Because if you don’t, there is absolutely no point and reason to even consider this proposal. If you consciously decide to have a baby, you should be damn sure you really want it.

From your challenge description, we couldn’t really guess what are your feelings towards the fatherhood. Do you actually want to have another child? If yes, are you ready for it now? And how important the mother and your relationship with her is?

 

How should I know?

Well, there is no golden formula for figuring out if you want to be a father or not… you just feel it. If in your heart, you know that you have more love to share and spending time and taking care of children brings you (mostly) joy and fulfillment then you are most probably natural – born parent.

If however, you feel uncertain, doubtful or even slightly repulsed by the idea it’s a sign that the fatherhood may not be for you – at least not at this point in your life.

 

And am I really ready?

Even if you know that you would love to have more children, the timing is very important as well.You need to make sure that this is a right time in your life to have more kids and you can handle it.

Ok, now you may think, “come on girls, I have a kid already, I know the drill” but you need to realize that having two children is not the same as having one. It is double love and joy, but also double effort, double time, and double money. Or sometimes even triple, if your second kid turns out way more demanding than the first one.

In simple words, are you up for it right now? Are you financially ready to have another child? Do you have enough space in your house for two kids? Do you have enough energy and time to handle two children? How will you make it work on a daily basis? How about your job? Can you have a more flexible schedule in case you need it? Can you count on some help/support from your family or friends in case you need it (it is especially important for single parents and co-parents as most of your parenting you do by yourself)?

Try to answer all of these questions and if you are absolutely certain that you want to have another child now, you can go directly to the Question 3.

If however you are still in doubt and you are not quite sure if you want it or not, prepare a new piece of paper – we have another important question for you – Question Number 2

 

Question 2: What are my reasons to become a parent?

reasons for becoming a father

From the challenge description, we could read that your ex-girlfriend has a reason for having another child – she thinks that your little son deserves a sibling; regardless if it’s a valid motivation or not, she knows her “why”. If you consider agreeing to her proposal, do you know yours?

 

Any hidden (subconscious) motives?

First of all, you would need to make it clear that there is no additional agenda behind this idea. And here, both of you should be extremely honest – with each other but mostly with yourselves – and think if there are any hidden/subconscious reasons behind this proposal.

Your ex-partner would have to think if somewhere deep down inside she hopes that having another child with you could restart your relationship again (as you’ve explained it was you who has ended it and she wasn’t very happy about it). Maybe subconsciously she wants to build an even stronger bond between the two of you in hopes of getting back together?

 

How about you, Robert?

It looks like you consider the proposition but you are not sure at all if it’s a good idea. But there must be something that makes you consider, right? If it’s not a deep need of having another child, can it be that you feel somehow guilty for the break up with your ex? And in this why you subconsciously feel like you would compensate for it, by giving her another child? Or maybe you are afraid that if you say “no”, she may get upset with you and your relationship will go sour (you’ve mentioned that now you are both “ok”)?

It is extremely important to look deep into the heart – for both of you – and answer those questions. Many times we are not aware or we simply don’t want to see why we do the things we do

Please remember that having another child in order to fix or restart a relationship or to compensate for something to someone is never a good idea. We are talking here about bringing another human being into this world… a decision like that should be conscious and made for the right reasons – and those reasons are: I truly want to have a child and I have the love to share.

 

Question 3: What are the advantages of having a second child with my ex?

pro and contra

Let’s say that at this point you are rather convinced that you would like to have another child and you have good reasons to go for it. Now it’s time to answer another very important question: Is my ex-partner the best candidate to become a mother of my new kid?

 

The advantages

In order to answer this pretty complex question, we would like you to approach it by breaking it down into three simple stages. Please take another piece of paper and divide it into two columns.

In the first column, write down all the advantages of having a second child together with her.

You have mentioned some of them already; children would have the same dad, which could positively contribute to their family identity. Additionally, both of you are already co-parenting, so “you know the drill” – you have a routine, you know how to communicate and handle some topics regarding raising a baby.

 

Can you come up with more points on your lists?

All of these arguments are pretty good incentives to go for it but it may not be enough. As we haven’t received more details from you, we don’t know what is your age. It could be that your biological clocks are ticking and as none of you are in any relationship, having a baby together could be a solution.

Or maybe, even if your romantic relationship didn’t work out well, you are a great parenting duo? It could be that you trust each other with the baby, share the same values and have the same parenting styles. These are really important factors to consider, especially that being on the same page regarding parenting is extremely important and saves a lot of stress and unnecessary arguments

Don’t hold yourself back and be creative with all the advantages – you may discover that the idea is actually suitable – both for you and for her.

 

Question 4: What are the disadvantages of having a second child with my ex?

cons

Now when you have listed down all the advantages of having another child with your ex, it’s time to go to “the dark side”: What would be the cons of this situations?

 

“There are so many issues to it”

You have mentioned by yourself, that “that there are so many issues to it”. You didn’t really go into details, so we can only imagine what those issues are… and as we are pretty imaginative, we could come up with at least a couple.

Here are some things that we would like you to consider, before closing down your final “pros & cons” list:

How are you planning to make this baby? Would you go for the natural way, or are you considering insemination? If you decide to start having sex again, you will have to take into consideration that one of you may get emotionally attached again. How would you solve that?

What about the emotional load that comes with the pregnancy? Pregnant women are many times acting like hormonal ticking bombs and there is nothing you can do about it; it is the time when a future mom can suddenly become over-sensitive and needy – can you handle that? Are you ready to go through it even if you are not together anymore?

And of course, what will happen if any of you meet someone new in the meantime and fall in love?

 

Question 5: What about your future and love lives?

imagine yourself in future

Many times we make decisions without considering the impact it will have on the future, or more precisely – on our future self. That’s why we would like you to make this one last exercise before you decide what to do – it’s simple yet powerful and it may be a defining moment in your entire decision-making process

 

Imagine yourself in 5 years

When you imagine yourself in 5 years, Robert, what do you see? What is your dream life?

What do you strive for professionally? What is your career path? Do you have a passion you want to follow? Or a business you want to establish?
How about family? Are you married? Do you see more kids in that vision? And if yes, who is their mother?
Or maybe in your future life, you are living in a different country? Traveling? Exploring? Engaging in new experiences?

When you create that vision of yourself, the next step is to check, how having another child with your ex-partner right now fits into your dream life in 5 years.

It’s a good question for your ex-girlfriend as well: Does she see herself in five years as a single mom with two young kids? Or are her dreams and goals different?

 

What about your love life?

Another extremely important topic that you would both need to discuss is the rules regarding your love life. Let’s say you agree to her proposition and you are both in a process of making a baby (regardless if you go for “the natural way” or any another method); how would you handle a situation where one of you meets someone and falls in love?

Is it ok to enter a new relationship while you are expecting a baby? Are both of you ok with that or is there a potential for an emotional drama? How about the “third person”? Have you though how would you explain this entire set up to your new girlfriend and incorporate her into your family set up? One thing is to have a child with someone with whom you’ve split, another – to decide to do it again even if you are not together anymore.

If you decide to go for it and have another child, you would need to agree on every single aspect of your set up and take into consideration all these questions. Something like a “contract” or a deal would be necessary – otherwise, you may put yourself in a very messy situation, especially if your expectations are very different.

Hope this helps you to make you your mind, Robert! Good Luck in making the best decision for you.

Much Love,

Anna & Marta