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how to: deal with issues

Every marriage is bound to encounter a few bumps along the road, especially when you're first starting out. We're here to help you out with solutions to couples issues and common newlywed arguments. First, find out about the tried-and-true stuff your parents probably wish they'd known. We've sorted out the newlywed "rules" you can ignore from the relationship mistakes you need to avoid. Learn the right way to handle a fight and the solutions to the most common newlywed arguments. We've also got help for couples issues that are specific to the modern marriage. For example, the four rules of Facebook for couples, how to deal when you're married to a metrosexual, and handling coworker crushes. You can also read our expert Q&A for dealing with all kinds of couples issues. Find tips on making friends as a couple, managing work stress as a pair, and avoiding common newlywed arguments about stuff like cleaning and entertaining. We'll help you solve issues with everyone -- your honey, your couple friends, your in-laws -- and find solutions that work in every part of your life, from the bedroom to the office. From whether it's okay to tell friends about your issues to breaking out of a sex rut, we've got you covered. And don't forget your fellow Nesties! We've pulled together lists of real couple gripes and likes, Nesties' marriage secrets, and their most ridiculous fights -- you're sure to relate to something! Or find even more sympathetic ears with our relationships message board.

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How to Admit You Don't Want Children

You should never feel bad about your decision whether or not to grow your family. Kids aren’t for everyone. Not wanting a house full of rugrats doesn’t make you a bad person or less of a woman (or a man) -- or anything else you’ve been told or are afraid people will think.

Still, finding the right way to spill the “I don’t want kids -- ever” beans can be awkward and tricky, especially if your audience includes a baby-crazy partner, grandkid-hungry parents, or friends or relatives with kids of their own (or plans to start a family). Unfortunately, most people still assume that once you’re nesting, babies are next. So if you haven’t gotten them already, the “When are you going to start trying?” will likely be thrown your way soon. But don’t be caught unprepared. Read on for advice on breaking the no-baby-for-me news to your partner and your friends and family.

How to tell your partner (if you haven’t already)

If you’re dead-set on remaining kid-free and don’t foresee yourself changing your mind after marriage, you need to be up front with any potential long-term partners -- as soon as things start to get serious. Sure, bringing up babies a few months into a relationship is a recipe for disaster. But it’s probably best to fess up before you agree to move in together or put in a few years. Sure, it’s awkward and it could be a deal breaker, but it’s only fair to you and your partner. Do you really want to build a future together with someone who will be miserable without children while you know you’ll be miserable with them? But if this is a recent change of heart or you just haven’t found a way to say it yet, it’s time to come clean. Luckily, the idea of kids usually comes up naturally as your relationship progresses, but you can also use a convo about someone else’s kids as a nice segue into your own stance. If you’re not yet sure how your partner will react, don’t start off with absolutes. Instead, try something like this: “It’s always been hard for me to imagine myself with kids. What about you?” Feel him out and see what he has to say, but be clear about how you really feel. If you are 100 percent convinced (or pretty close to it) that you never want children, your partner deserves to know. This may have been something he’s already sensed about you and he’s on the same page. If not, you’ll have to consider whether you’d be willing to change your mind in the future, but if not, make sure that’s clear too. Be honest, but brace yourself for what could happen if your mate doesn’t feel the same way.

How to tell friends and fam

If your friends and family members know you well enough, they’ve probably heard something along these lines from you before -- or better yet, sensed it themselves. But if Aunt Sally or his work friends don’t already know how you feel, just wait. If you and your partner are starting to get serious, it’s only a matter of time until you start getting the “When are you two planning on having kids?” questions. A brief but polite response should do the trick for most of the busy bees: “We definitely both love kids, but we’re not planning on having any ourselves.” For anyone with babies on the brain or who’s convinced we’re put on this planet to procreate, chances are the bomb you just dropped might leave a little tension hanging in the room, so a light joke can lighten the mood. But if this is the first time you’re telling his mom her dreams of becoming a granny are dead, prepare for the waterworks and even potential pleading. And you may want to save the news for a private conversation rather than in the middle of Christmas dinner. Whatever you do, don’t apologize for your choice to exclude kids from your life plan. It’s your life, right? Don’t lose sight of that just because someone else thinks kids are the end all and be all.

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-- Kristin Koch

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