Thursday, June 10, 2010

Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place

I thought this conversation from the comments section was worth moving to the front-

Rock/HardPlace said...

My tragedy is in finding out that I didn't want kids after I became happily married. I'm thinking of procreating with my wife instead of losing her. I'm trying hard to be unselfish here, but the suffering I'd experience post-divorce makes me horrified.

metamorphhh said...

Rock/Hard Place:

Wow, I know that feeling. In my case, my forebodings hadn't really concretized into a genuine philosophical position yet, and I caved under the universal but utterly false aphorism, 'Everything will work out, honey'. I tell myself these days that things would've been different if only I'd been exposed to the ideas I and others are now espousing. But that's water under the bridge, and I love my children.

However, because I love my children you can be damned sure that, had I the chance to do it over again, I would NEVER bring them into existence- to labor, to 'do their duties', to suffer, and to die. And even though I might miss their presence in my life, they wouldn't miss anything, and would never know what it's like to miss anything, or to lose anyone, or to become disenchanted with a life filled with pain, and loss, and meaningless toil. They would never inhabit bodies that would sooner or later turn on them via disease, or accident, or simply through the aging process. And they wouldn't ever be forced to tell themselves lies to avoid the reality of the ever encroaching doom that's creeping up on each one of us out of the mist of an unsure future, where the only certainties are dissolution and death in some shape or form.

Rock, if you choose to have children, knowing the stakes, you will hate yourself for the rest of your life. Even if you learn to sublimate, the hatred will be there, buried. Personally, I'd rather lose 1,000 wives than go through what I've gone through, even acknowledging the great joy my children have brought me. Because it's not about me, after all. It's about them, and the fact that in bringing new life into the world, I have in the same breath condemned them to some degree of misery (possibly a LOT), and death. Back to where they came from in the first place.

I'll finish this with an excerpt from my book-

What is so crucial about our particular existence that we feel compelled to roll children out of their eternal slumber, slap them around for awhile, feed them, fuck them, pull them through knotholes, blindfold them, turn them round and round, then send them back off to find their beds? It makes no sense!


Rock/HardPlace said...

Thanks for the in-depth response to my disguised (or maybe not so disguised) plea for help. The "Everything will work out, honey" aphorism hits quite close to home, as my wife has used every variation of it that exists under the sun. It's a very tempting attitude to take, as she's generally less inclined to despair over life because of it. But I'm coming to terms that I'll never be able to embrace that mode of existence as long as my eyes are open and my intellect functioning. Thanks, again. I will be reflecting on this post as I figure out the next crucial steps I'll be taking.

metamorphhh said...


I feel you, man. Hang in there, but stick to your guns. It won't win you any prizes, might cost you a marriage, but at least you'll be able to live with yourself.

Shadow said...

Please, don´t do it.

I know it might not seem like it,now, but having kids to save a marriage it´s like trying to quench your thirst by drinking salt water.

It just doesn´t work like that.

Sister Y said...

I feel for you, Mister Rock - and I think it's righteous of you to hold your ground for what you know is right. It's not just about you and her - it's about an innocent third person.

One of my lovers sometimes tries to convince me that having kids should be on my agenda, generally using flattery a la "your genes are so great, you have a duty to spread them." I just try to be open about the fact that I will never have children, and that if that's what he wants, he doesn't belong with me.

The worst-case scenario here in the common situation where one partner (usually the female) wants children, and the other partner (usually the male) does not, is that the female "accidentally" conceives. Sadly, men have very little recourse in this situation.

Shadow said...

Yeah, you may also want to be careful about what Curator said.

CM said...

Rock, I'm going to fourth Jim, Curator and Shadow on this one. Incidentally, Curator did a great post. on men being forced to pay child support for unwanted children recently. You could be doubly punished here - and the financial responsibility would be nothing compared to the feeling that you made their suffering and death possible. I got my pets from a breeder because I was thinking only about how to get the best "quality" young animals, and now I feel so guilty. Now imagine a child.

Please consider a vasectomy. Hopefully, your wife wouldn't stoop to BC sabotage, but if I were a man, I don't think I could enjoy sex if there was a possibility of having paternity forced on me. It may be hypocritical of me to say this since I still haven't mustered up enough courage to get metal implants shoved up my fallopian tubes, but then a vasectomy is less invasive than that and I could always have an abortion if my other BC methods failed, whereas you simply do not have that option. And my husband is as far from wanting children as me.

If your wife is unconcerned about the fate of your potential children and does not want to adopt (or you don't), you could always let her know that having children makes marital satisfaction decline more rapidly. And I don't know if she has actually made it clear that she would leave if you are unwilling to sire children, but you could tell her that you are worried that she primarily views you as a potential sperm donor as opposed to a partner. If she really does view you that way, then your situation really does suck. I really hope she comes around.

Rock/HardPlace said...

I appreciate all the advice and helpful perspectives.

I've told my wife my reasons for not wanting to procreate, but I've mainly focused on the more practical side such as marital satisfaction and financial freedom. She's never really had much patience with the philosophical arguments. After all, she enjoys life and is convinced that she would be a happy mother and the kid would lead a happy life ("you just focus too much on the negative").

The pain of divorce probably awaits me, but I'll save that discussion for another message board. :)

metamorphhh said...

Good luck and best wishes, Rock. None of this is easy.

Garrett said...


Welcome, good to see you here. I know I'm basically parroting the other voices here (hey, it kind of goes with the territory) but, I'm begging you, stand firm in your position. Two people get together to enjoy the others company, not to force death into this world. If she's going to play the "It will be OK, the universe has a plan, etc..." routine, then you should ask yourself if she is really focused on you... or if she just wants "something" from you. Please don't take this the wrong way. I'm not trying to be insensitive. I'm not calling your personal relationship with your spouse into question. Like Jim said, I just don't want a new life to fall into the meat grinder and for you to end up kicking yourself for the rest of your life.

My younger brother was just recently married, moved out, and I just found out two nights ago... that his wife is pregnant. I stayed awake all night. Just stared at the ceiling in the darkness, hoping to whatever, that she will miscarry. I am fairly certain that she sabotaged the prophylactics and so she is acting like she didn't see it coming. She calls my mother during the evening, in tears mind you, going on about how careful they have been by using two forms of birth control, how she can't afford a baby, and has to stay in school. Now everyone in my house is talking non-stop about how happy they are for them and what a "blessing" it is that she was able to get pregnant despite her having lupus (remember that life itself shows all the symptoms of being a sexually transmitted terminal disease anyway). It's tearing me apart right now. Mostly because I saw it coming, and I doubted the value that David Benatar's book (I considered sending him your book Jim, but I figured he would be instantly turned off by something he might view as a "satanic" attack on his faith. Benatar, played it pretty safe when it came to the whole God subject) may have had in swaying his views. I never want to open my mouth for fear of making bad situations worse. After all, he's one of those types that would tackle a porcupine if someone told him it's not a good idea. He's also a Christian. Not that I have a problem with his beliefs... I just can't stomach the hypocritical stance that so many Christians take. They want the world to fundamentally change, but they won't take the obvious first step. Change starts with each and every one of us. Please, don't have children.

Best wishes