10 reasons a man might want a baby but not marriage

It’s an age-old question: why would a man want a baby but not marriage? 

The answer is complicated and can vary from case to case, but often it boils down to wanting a child without giving up personal, emotional, and romantic freedom.

Read on to discover the 10 reasons a man might want a baby but not marriage, and what you can do about it:

1) He wants financial stability before committing fully 

Let’s be honest here, weddings cost. Honeymoons cost. Getting a place together if you haven’t already, costs. 

It might be that he wants marriage, but is afraid to commit fully before establishing financial stability.

Weddings, depending on the size, can cost upwards of $30,000, so he may ask himself, why not just have a child instead of an expensive ceremony? 

This same amount of money could provide a child with daycare, healthcare, and education.

But while financial stability is an important aspect of responsible parenting, it’s important to remember that it isn’t the only factor in successful parenting. 

And, you don’t need to spend all that money on a wedding ceremony. Many people prefer smaller, intimate gatherings (especially since the pandemic) where the focus is on their union rather than how lavish the reception party is.

So what can you do about it?

Talk to him about his concerns. If it’s only financial worries holding him back from marrying you, create a plan together so you can achieve both – kids and a wedding. 

If you both work toward a common goal, he’ll feel less pressure to be the “sole provider” which unfortunately is still seen as a “man’s role” in many societies. 

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Budget and set a financial goal. Be willing to compromise. You might not get the fairytale wedding you’ve always dreamt of, but you could get a great marriage and happy children instead. 

2) He already has kids from a previous marriage

If a man has children from previous relationships or marriages, he may be wary about the effect a new marriage could have on his existing children. 

Not to mention:

The mother of his previous children may continue to play a major role in his life and this could lead to complications when a new marriage enters the picture.

But with that being said, if he wants a baby with you, his family dynamics with his kids are naturally going to change anyway. Marriage is nothing more than a confirmation of your union – having a child is a much bigger life change to make.

So what can you do about it?

Drawing on that last point, it’s definitely worth having a conversation about this with your partner. 

He might just need reminding that either way, his children will be affected by a new step-mum or step-siblings entering the mix, but you’ll work together to create a harmonious blended family. 

3) He’s not ready for marriage on an emotional level

Some men have a difficult time emotionally embracing the challenges and complexities of marriage. 

Emotionally unavailable men may feel like they’re not ready to take on the needs of a partner and possibly never committed fully in past relationships due to this shortcoming.

What leads to a man being emotionally unavailable? 

  • He’s been through a traumatic experience in previous relationships/marriage 
  • Childhood trauma (the effects of his parents’ marriage or divorce may have put him off)
  • He has a fear of being hurt, or of being officially committed to one person

So what can you do about it?

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Your partner will need your support if he’s ever to move past this. But for you to help him, he needs to want to help himself first. Dating a man who’s been hurt in the past will require a lot of patience and understanding. 

Some couples find counseling helps as it’ll help resolve any past traumas.

On the other hand, if he’s simply emotionally immature, you need to consider whether this person is right to enter into marriage with, let alone raise a child with. Sometimes, it’s time and growth that’s needed more than anything else! 

4) He has a history of divorce

This one isn’t surprising. 

If a man has been married multiple times before, there’s a good chance he’s not going to rush into the next one. 

For one, divorces are expensive. And the emotional turmoil and stress are enough to put anyone off from having to go through it again. It could be that he fears your marriage breaking down and wants to avoid that situation happening again. 

This shouldn’t be a tricky one for you to work out (so long as he’s been honest about his past). The question here is: 

Does he have children from his previous marriages? If not, it could be the reason he wants a baby but not a marriage with you. 

So what can you do about it?

You can talk to your partner about this, but ultimately if he doesn’t want to get married again that’s his choice. 

There’s no reason he can’t be a loving, committed partner and father without the ring on the finger. But that’s a compromise you’ve got to be willing to make if you’re set on being with him.

If not, it may be a case of encouraging him to work through those fears. Who’s to say that this time around it’ll end in divorce?

QUIZ: Does he really love you? My fun new Zodiac quiz can help you figure it out, based on his Zodiac sign. Check it out here.

5) He wants to have the freedom to date other people

This is the one you probably didn’t want to hear, but it’s a sad truth. 

Your man may care for you, enjoy being with you, even love you, but if he doesn’t see you as his life partner, he won’t want to settle down. 

And unfortunately, he may have the mentality that someone better might come along, and if he’s committed to you, he’ll miss out. 

Having a child together might be his way of keeping you around – he knows you probably wouldn’t stay otherwise. 

We often hear about women having children to “keep” their partner, but men have been known to do this too. Unfortunately, it’s usually the child who ends up suffering the most in this situation. 

So what can you do about it?

This isn’t a good situation for anyone, and bringing a baby into the mix isn’t going to end well. Be upfront with your partner if you suspect this is the reason. 

If it is, you need to seriously consider your future with this guy. Does he value you and see your worth?

If not, better to wait for someone who does! 

6) He disagrees with the conventions of marriage

Today’s world is very different from that of our grandparents when marriage was expected of couples. Nowadays, people are free to make their choices and lead lifestyles that suit them.

Take my relationship; I always wanted the wedding, the kids, the “normal life”. My partner doesn’t. I was happy to compromise

He wants us to be a family, he loves children, but he doesn’t agree with marriage. He simply doesn’t see how signing a piece of paper changes anything in our commitment to each other. 

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And your partner might feel the same way.

So what can you do about it?

I chose to give up the dream of a big wedding in return for a lifetime with a good man who’ll make a great father one day. What will it be for you? 

If marriage is important to you, a non-negotiable, you need to tell your man this. If you’re only doing it because it’s what everyone else does, maybe you should have a second think about whether it’s worth it or not. 

Ultimately, this is a personal choice, and you’ve got to make the right decision for your life. 

7) He wants to remain independent

Sometimes it comes down to mentality and upbringing. If he’s been raised to see marriage as some sort of trap, where he’ll lose all his freedom, he may be putting it off for that reason.

He may see it as an obligation rather than a decision made out of love. 

He might feel that as a husband, he can’t go on meeting up with friends or spending his evenings at the gym. 

If that’s the case, he probably hasn’t stopped to consider that having a child will take up much more of his time than a wife. 

So what can you do about it?

Explain to your partner that marriage doesn’t, or shouldn’t, change your relationship. Especially if you’re already living together and have an established life. 

Marriage shouldn’t be a prison sentence, you both remain your individuals, free to make your own choices. The only difference is checking in with your partner and showing consideration toward one another. 

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8) He’s worried he won’t be able to keep his commitment to the marriage 

A very honest friend once said he was afraid of getting married because he wasn’t sure he could stay faithful to one person for the rest of his life. 

For some, there’s a lot of pressure to get it right.

Whether that means never straying from the marriage, or financially supporting you, or being the perfect husband, you name it, there’s a lot that men need to consider. 

So whilst he might want a baby but not marriage, it could just be that he’s afraid he won’t live up to the husband you deserve to have. 

So what can you do about it?

Essentially, this stems from his self-esteem. If you’re in a loving, committed relationship, why would a ring change that? 

If his fears lie in other areas, like when it comes to providing the life you’ve always dreamt of, it’s a good idea to talk to him about these expectations and come to an agreement together. 

Because ultimately, he could be making the idea of marriage sound much worse in his head than it would be in reality. 

9) He doesn’t want to be an “old dad”

Women’s biological clocks tick a little faster than men’s, but some guys are conscious of the fact that they want to be young when they have kids

The same doesn’t always apply to marriage though. Your partner might be in the mindset that he can get married anytime in the future, but he wants to have kids now. 

It could be that his parents were older when they had him, and maybe weren’t as hands-on as he’d have liked? Or, he’s always loved children and can’t wait to have them?

And again, this could come down to his beliefs around marriage. If it’s not a big deal to him, but having children and a family is, then this would explain his behavior. 

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So what can you do about it?

Take an understanding approach. He wants to be with you, he wants your children, but he just doesn’t want or feel ready for marriage.

Consider these questions:

  • Is there a way for you to compromise? 
  • Does he have solid reasons for wanting one and not the other? 
  • Is he even “old” enough to be thinking that way? 
  • Is the desire just for children or is he searching for meaning and purpose in his life? 

Only once you have this information will you be able to talk things through and come to a decision. 

10) He wants to test drive before buying 

Excuse the crude way of putting it, but some guys just want to make sure they’re signing up for the right thing before they make the full investment. 

Going back to the original question:

Why would a man want a baby but not a marriage?

Because he wants to know whether 1) you can have children and 2) what your family life would look like, before he commits and settles down.

I guess some would say just living together is one way of testing that. Why bring a baby into the mix? 

If things don’t work out, there’s an innocent life there being put in the middle of two unhappy parents. 

So what can you do about it?

This is a big accusation to make, so it’s probably best to approach your partner calmly and try to get the truth out of him first. If this does turn out to be the reason, it’s not a very logical one. 

QUIZ: Does he really love you? My fun new Zodiac quiz can help you figure it out, based on his Zodiac sign. Check it out here.

Getting married and potentially divorced is much better than having a child “just to see how things work out”. The child is for life, the marriage can be annulled. 

If your partner can’t recognize that, you’ve got some thinking to do about whether this is someone who’ll make rational, responsible choices, especially if a child enters the scene. 

Plus, it shows he’s not 100% sure about spending the rest of his life with you. Just a point to remember – a man who values and loves you as you are wouldn’t need to test drive first. 

Summary

The reasons why a man would want a baby but not marriage can be complex and psychologically rooted. 

The only way you’ll find out for sure is to sit down and have this conversation with your partner. But before you do so, here are a few things to consider:

  • How do you feel about marriage? Is it a must, or are you not too bothered about it deep down?
  • What are your thoughts on having a child outside of wedlock? Would you receive the support of your family/friends? 
  • Is your partner worth it? Will he be a good father? Having a child is a huge responsibility, married or not. 
  • Is this something you’re willing to compromise on?

Get these thoughts clear in your head first and it’ll make the conversation easier to have. Be clear on what your vision for the future is, and don’t be afraid to share this with him. 

We each have our own needs and wants, and coming to terms with why he wants a baby but doesn’t want to marry can be difficult. 

You can choose to stay unmarried if that’s what makes sense for you. 

Or you may strongly believe in marriage before kids, in which case that’s fine too. 

The most important thing is to have a stable, loving environment when you do decide to bring life to the world. That, and a partner who’ll be by your side, with or without a ring.

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