06/20/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Ask Maddisen: How to Get Off the Fence about Your Relationship

Dear Maddisen:
My boyfriend and I have been together for 5 years and I love him very much. We are very compatible, but there's one issue that won't go away, and that is I want children and he does not. I'm so confused. How can we make this work?
Signed, MC

Dear MC,

Thank you for your question, which speaks to an issue that can be quite difficult to resolve. My job in this case is to provide support and to assist you in "getting off the fence", so that you may both move forward into clarity, resolution, and fulfillment.

If you haven't already done so, the first thing you might explore is your desire for children. Where does this desire come from? For example, is it something you think you must do, or is it a strong instinct or heartfelt desire that beckons from deep within? I'm not suggesting you over-analyze it, but rather tune into the origin of the desire and the desire itself, to help you understand and be clear about its importance in your life, which will ultimately help you in making decisions about your relationship for your highest good and highest joy.

Next, I recommend that you and your boyfriend practice the four steps of communication together:

Step 1: Observe
What are you observing? Describe the issue.

Step 2: Feel
What are you feeling? Express the feelings you are experiencing as a result of this issue.

Step 3: Need
What do you need? Share how you would prefer to feel and what you sense is necessary to feel resolved with this issue.

Step 4: Request
What resolve do you seek? Describe the action or solution you are seeking, and respectfully request this of your partner.

This process is outlined in my earlier column: Ask Maddisen: How to Resolve Communication Blocks.

All of this should help to clarify your needs and requests in a loving and respectful way, and make the next steps easier. Let's say you have both done this and know what is true and necessary for you -- that you want children and your boyfriend does not.

Now, here's the critical part:

It's important for you to realize, that in any partnership, there are most likely some areas in which you are both in full alignment and agreement. For example, you both subscribe to the same spiritual practice, or you both have the same political affiliation, etc.

Partial Overlap
And there are some areas where you have partial overlap, but not enough to make or break the relationship. For example, you love sci-fi, and your boyfriend doesn't, but he has no issue with you watching your favorite sci-fi shows. Or, for example, he loves watching football, and you do not, but you actually enjoy his excitement about the games.

No Overlap - Deal Breaker
And finally, there may be some areas where you have no overlap and no agreement. These are deal-breakers. For example, you are decidedly certain that you want children and he is decidedly certain he does not. If this is the case, dear MC, you can see for yourself that "getting off the fence" may mean that you and your boyfriend must separate in order for your both to have what you want. And if you stay together, you must realize that you are forfeiting your truth and heartfelt desire to have children. Is it worth it? Only you can decide.

But I can tell you this with certainty, based on my life experience and the experiences of my clients, that if you follow your heart and take action to support your highest joy, it will indeed turn out to be the highest good for your boyfriend and all concerned.

Honor your heartfelt desire. Make a choice. Get off the fence. And let providence, or divine intervention, take it from there. You have my support and best wishes.

Your Coach, Maddisen

You may submit your questions for ASK MADDISEN at

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