While most couples will survive a disagreement about what groceries to buy or which friends are allowed to crash on the couch for a couple of days (they swear), marriage and kids are pretty well-established as some of the biggest decisions of your life. If you haven’t made up your mind, that’s completely fine, but a partner isn’t going to put their life on hold forever waiting for you to figure it out.

It’s one of the most common and understandable reasons behind break-ups, as the longer the disagreements hold, the more time your future spends up in the air and lacking in focus. It doesn’t have to be a deal breaker, and as with most life situations, clear and honest communication is going to help you both navigate that uncertainty a lot better.

Establish how set your positions are

This is not a competition, nobody wins if it turns into an argument, so you need stronger reasons than “sticking to your guns” to reach a middle ground with your partner. The two of you might have quite specific ideas about kids and marriage, or even definitions, that can change a little and still seem as emotionally fulfilling.

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Sit down and talk about the things you want, the things you may have wanted at one point, and the kind of things you may be open to wanting in the future. Again, you don’t have to know with absolute certainty. It might be the number of kids or the kind of marriage, but one of you might be more open to some details of the other’s ideas than you realized.

Consult family and friends

While this is a deeply personal matter at the end of the day, planning a family and future involves other people. They will be guests at the wedding, should it happen, and they will be the ones who help you when any hypothetical kids get a bit hypothetically too much. Your child deserves parents and a community who would sacrifice anything for their well-being.

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You’re not asking for permission here, you’re looking for advice and guidance. Parents, siblings who have families and a more settled life path, or close friends will know you well enough to recognize the gravity of the issue and be honest in their reflection. Regardless of their personal thoughts on what you should do, they should care enough to support you.

Seek therapy

That may sound blunt, but it’s pretty solid advice because therapy is great and useful for all kinds of things. Unfortunately, the barriers depend on where you live and what your financial means are, but if the option is there do not let any pre-conceived biases stop you from taking it. It’s not going to fix you into wanting or not wanting kids, so don’t worry.

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Treat it like what it is, a discussion with somebody who’s incentivized to pay attention to what you say. They won’t get mad at you, even if they think you’re being foolish or irrational, and they keep notes so the conversation has to run its course, which is going to help you keep track of how you feel and what makes you feel it. That’s useful for most people, particularly those in relationships.

Be ready to walk away

Depending on your age and life experience, by the time children and marriage are on the table, you have both committed a lot of time and energy to the relationship. That sense of investment is easy to cling to when you’re in a desperate spot, and you might end up convincing yourself of something purely for the sake of staying with somebody.

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Rarely does this pan out well. It’s the equivalent of extracting information through duress, you can’t really trust that a decision made in desperation was the correct one, because people will do anything to make pain stop. Sometimes, it is the best thing for you both to separate on good terms, rather than hoping a child will magically fix things.