Home > Emotional Health > Depression & Anxiety > How to Cope With Your Husband’s Secret Vasectomy

How to Cope With Your Husband’s Secret Vasectomy

When your husband has a vasectomy without telling you, you’ll feel a variety of painful emotions. Here’s how to cope with your emotions, and tips for responding to your husband’s decision. I wrote this article in response to a reader’s question…

“I’m 35, married to my 52 yr. old husband who had a vasectomy after having three children in a previous marriage,” says K. on 6 Signs Your Marriage is Over – and How to Cope With the Future. “I didn’t know about his vasectomy and was on contraception for three years when we were living together. His eldest daughter told me about his vasectomy by accident when we were engaged, nearly married. I feel shocked and betrayed, especially because I was taking birth control pills! How do I cope with his secret vasectomy?”

There are no easy answers – especially if you want to have children with your husband. Rebuilding trust in your marriage takes time and effort, but you can save your relationship if you both are willing to do the work. It’s important to remember that learning how to trust your husband after he has a vasectomy without your knowledge depends on several different relationship and personal factors. And, you may need to talk to a counselor or marriage coach to get your feelings sorted out. Here are a few tips to get you started…

Coping with fertility problems that were caused by a secret vasectomy involves two big things:

  1. Grief
  2. Forgiveness

If your husband isn’t willing or able to reverse his vasectomy, you have to grieve the end of your dreams of having children. You might find How to Recover From Loss and Survive Grief helpful – but you also have to give yourself time.

husband had vasectomy without telling meAnd, you need to learn how to forgive your husband. Read How Can I Forgive You?: The Courage to Forgive, the Freedom Not To by Janis Spring. It’s a bold and healing book offers step-by-step, concrete instructions that help us make peace with others and with ourselves.

Normally, forgiveness would be my first tip on rebuilding trust. But in K’s case, it seems like working out her marriage, reconnecting with her fiance, and coping with the possibility of living without her own biological children is first on the agenda.

How to Cope With Your Husband’s Secret Vasectomy

Here’s more of K’s story:

“I nearly fainted, I was so shocked and hurt by the news. I am committed to my husband but am left feeling empty and jealous that my husband gets to be a father to his three (teenage) children. IVF is too expensive for us to even start. Why I can’t live my dream of being a parent? Although I respect his time with his kids, it’s so hard to constantly watch him with them at birthdays and holidays. I’m scared I’m going to feel worse as I get older and as his kids have kids of their own! Any tips on how to survive this? And, I’d be interested to hear of anyone else’s similar circumstances.”

K. is facing a double whammy: 1) her husband kept his vasectomy secret from her, and deliberately set her up to live a lie (not to mention letting her take unnecessary birth control for three years); and 2) she has to cope with the prospect of not having children.

If you’re in the same situation – or a similar one – here are a few things to think about. If your husband is willing to have his vasectomy reversed, read 5 Natural and Healthy Foods That Will Boost His Sperm Count.

Allow yourself to consider all your options…even divorce

K. chose to marry her husband even after she found out he had a vasectomy. She loves him and wants to build a life together, so she went through with the wedding. If she wants to stay married to him, she needs to learn how to live with the things that make her unhappy.

Or, she could choose to leave him and find a man who does want a family – and who wouldn’t lie to her about his vasectomy. This option requires a great deal of strength and courage…but it is possible. Read Is it Time to Break Up? How to Know for Sure for help.

Forgive your husband for having the vasectomy

It doesn’t sound like K. resents or is angry at her husband for lying to her about the vasectomy…it sounds like she’s more focused on mourning her shattered dreams of having children. Resentment and bitterness may come later. As she said, she may feel worse after his children have kids of their own. If she feels and holds on to anger, bitterness, or resentment that he lied about his vasectomy, she’ll set herself up for physical and emotional health problems.

So, whether she stays with him or not, she needs to forgive him for lying to her. Again, books like How to Forgive When You Can’t can change how you see your husband, yourself, and your marriage.

Take responsibility for your life – stop being a passive observer

K is young enough to have children. If I were talking to her, I would say, “You were betrayed and lied to. You deserve to be treated better than that. Why did you marry a man who lied to you, who kept his vasectomy a secret? What is it about you that keeps you tied to this man?”

Why are you letting yourself be the victim, the passive observer of your own life?

Stop wondering why you can’t live your dream of being a mother, of being scared about feeling worse about your life and childlessness as time goes by, of watching your husband interact with his kids, and letting the fact that he lied to you eat you from the inside out. Stop swallowing your pain and heartache.

Start digging into who you are as a strong, independent, courageous, smart, healthy woman! If you don’t feel strong or courageous, get help. Go for counseling, read books like This Is Not the Life I Ordered: 50 Ways to Keep Your Head Above Water When Life Keeps Dragging You Down (one of my all-time favorite books for getting strong, motivated, and healthy).

Discuss your options for having kids with your husband

The good news is that vasectomies are reversible…and the bad news is that a 52 year old man who has grown children and who kept his vasectomy a secret for years probably doesn’t want to reverse the operation.

But, it’s still worth talking about! Why doesn’t he want kids? Is he willing to reconsider? What about adoption, sperm donation, fostering? If he absolutely refuses to have children and you really want them, then you need to re-read the last tip: stop being a passive observer in your own life. You have to choose between him and your dreams…it won’t be easy, but it will be the most fulfilling, empowering thing you ever do.

If your husband refuses to have kids and you’re determined to stay married, read How to Be Happy as a Childless Woman – Single or Married.

Help Coping With Your Husband’s Secret Vasectomy

husband had secret vasectomy In Marriage: The Secret To Rebuilding Trust, Intimacy, and Connection in Your Marriage, Karen Johnson guides readers on the path toward a harmonious and long-lasting relationship.

This book isn’t just about what marriage is – and how to rebuild trust after a secret has been shared. You’ll learn the honest truths behind the beautiful façade of a wedding of two seemingly happy people. Being a spouse is not an easy job – especially after you learn that your husband had a vasectomy without you knowing! But if you want to stay married, your job as a wife is to stay in love and rebuild trust.

You might also want to read 6 Ways to Deal With Your Husband’s Past Secrets and Relationships. I wrote it for one of the readers who shared her story of her husband’s vasectomy in the comments section below.

I welcome your thoughts on coping with broken trust in a marriage, caused by a husband’s secret vasectomy. I can’t offer advice or counseling, but you may find that writing helps you work through your pain and even start the healing process.

Are you trying to get pregnant? Fairhaven Health's Hormone Balance Bundle improves egg quality, encourages cycle regularity, and helps your body ovulate regularly.

Need encouragement? Sign up for my weekly "Echoes of Joy" email - it's free, short, and energizing. Like me!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

6 thoughts on “How to Cope With Your Husband’s Secret Vasectomy”

  1. Dear Bethany,

    It’s so difficult and devastating to find out that the man you love betrayed you – especially with something that directly affects your life. You dreamed of having children, you wanted to have kids your whole life….and then not only do you find out your husband had a vasectomy without your knowledge, you discover that he doesn’t really want to have more children.

    Give yourself time to grieve this loss. This is a huge blow to your relationship, life, and even your self-perception. Take time to work through your feelings and process your grief.

    I think you’re super smart for trying to accept the idea that you may not have children. Even if your husband reverses his vasectomy, he’s not as as excited about having kids as you are…and maybe you’ll decide it’s not a great idea to pursue your plan to have a family with him.

    Whatever the future holds, I encourage you not to think of yourself as “barren.” Having biological children is a gift and a blessing…but not having children doesn’t mean you are less valuable, lovable, or worthwhile. Barren means dry, lifeless, dead. Are you dry, lifeless, and dead? No!

    Finally, I wouldn’t push your husband to have the vasectomy reversed. If he really doesn’t want children, then give him space not to have children. This isn’t one of those “I’ll do it but I don’t really wanna” decisions that don’t matter, such as which type of car or house to buy. This decision involves real life babies who might suffer if they are born into a family that isn’t united and ready to welcome them wholeheartedly.

    Talk to a counselor. Work through your pain and grief, and decide if you can forgive your husband and let go of any expectations of having children together. If you can love him and be with him even without the vasectomy reversal, then anything else that happens in your future is a bonus!

    I’ll keep you in my thoughts and prayers. May you heal and become stronger through this experience, and may your marriage be blessed with peace, joy, and love.


  2. I’m 27, my husband is 33. When we were dating he talked about giving me babies, knowing that I have wanted kids for my whole life…. when he proposed he promised me a future of love and children. I found out about his vasectomy from his previous marriage on our honeymoon. I was absolutely devastated, still am. He was married before and has 3 children a boy and two younger girls. Girls are both difficult for him (he still loves them and adores hem, but doesn’t want more, he is proud of his son ah he is easy going).

    He says he is willing to get a reversal, but is taking his time in doing so. I have attempted to discuss other options but he gets upset and the conversation ends. I can understand his fear in having a child, his ex was AWFUL and he was basically left to raise the kids and work, and take care of the home while she was a couch potato and a party animal every chance she got. Plus he is afraid of another girl. So I am trying to be understanding but I feel betrayed. He says he will get the reversal in Feb when work slows down a little, but I’m nervous he won’t. I don’t want a divorce, I made the vow until death do we part…. but he lied straight out of the gate. I absolutely adore my husband so I am trying to see life barren. It burns my soul a little, I have miscarried, and since then I have wanted to give life. He knew that. Any advice of how to cope or how to talk to him would be appreciated.

  3. It’s good and yet heartbreaking to know that there are others out there in similar situations to my own. My partner did not lie to me like K’s, but he too had a vasectomy 20 years ago after having 2 kids with his first wife. I think it was because of their unhappy relationship that he didn’t want to risk having further kids. He is now 55 and i have just hit 40. He has had 2 failed reversals and we’ve tried ivf 3 times without success. I’m now praying that he will agree to ne last attempt at ivf before we give up on this road. Sometimes i just get so depressed, even angry at what life has dealt me. I know that having kid is not the only thing in life and that others have much bigger problems than i do, but still it seems so unfair that i am denied the one thing that we humans are supposed to do – reproduce.

    Also i feel very alone, as i’ not comfortable sharing our story with anyone. Sometimes i want to blame him for what he has done, eve though i know that is totally unfair. Amd sometimes i think of his ex wife with loathing. She has 2 kids from my partner and had another with her hew husband immediately after the divorce. She even walked out on my partner and couldn’t be bothered keeping in touch with her 2 sons. Where is the fairness in that?

    I’m having trouble coming to terms with my situation. Soon i will be too old to conceive anywa, so nature will leave me no choice but to live with things. How can i stop feeling so bitter and resentful?

    For anyone who is reading this, thanks. And for others, i hope you have better luck and find a way of coping.

  4. I discovered this blog site while looking for a way to deal with a type of grief that I am learning to cope with. I’m a 21 year old who is engaged to a 50+ gentleman. We have been together for some time now. My story is Very similar to K’s story. Except, he told me about his vasectomy from the very beginning, so I knew full well what I was getting into once I made the choice to move in with him a few years ago. He realizes my deepest heartbreak and understands the importance children hold for women and men. In his earlier years with his first marriage, he had four children of his own, after the fourth one came, he made the choice to get himself fixed because he and his first wife were positive about not wanting anymore kids. Anyway… 20 + years later, I come into the picture and I know that he and I can’t have any children. For the most part I can forget about this Loss, but it seems to flare up especially during my monthly period, due to extra hormones etc. Sometimes I can’t help but admit my feelings to him and he listens to them with love and care; meanwhile feeling guilty himself. Which is not my intent, to make him feel guilty, I just wish I didn’t unintentionally make him suffer along with me because of my own grief.
    Before I met him, and fell deeply in love with him… I honestly had had no thoughts as to having kids. But Love has invisibly changed my mind, while at the same time realizing that I knew that this would become an issue. He has adult children, who have children of their own. My grief bites me in the butt, when I least expect it, fortunately these times, I have been alone without anyone else around me to notice.
    Go figure huh… the first man that I truly fall in love with (to marry, to honor, to cherish.) is the one man that I can never have children with.

  5. I can’t believe there’s evena question of what to do. These men are dishonest and self-serving. No point in discussing or debating further. If you deliberatly continue a relationship with a dishonest, self-serving man, then do not get upset when he lies to you and puts his own interests before yours or anyone else’s. If he is doing these things as an adult, do not expect him to change his ways. he won’t- your love isn’t that strong, and he doesn’t love anyone more than himself.

  6. Thank you so much for this article. I am going through a similar situation. The only difference between my situation and K’s story is that I am not married. I am not happy in my relationship with him. I feel betrayed, and I no longer have confidence in him. He has since apologised to me for what he has done, and I try to forgive him, but I still cannot get past what he did. Two years ago, I was pregnant and he forced me to get an abortion. I have tremendous anger, frustration…. all of it is bottled up inside. And yet I feel very guilty that I am not giving him another chance by wanting to leave. Should I give him another chance??? I don’t know what to do. This experience is taking a physical and emotional toll on me.

    I did not come into this relationship for the sake of having children. I thought that the option was there such that if we were ever to have a child, this child would be a testament to the love and commitment we have to each other. After my abortion, he kept saying to me he would think about it, that he would not rule out the possibility of having another child. However, when he told me in the summer that he made up his mind not have any more children, I started to unravel. He had broached the possibility of having a vasectomy, but he did not give me the impression that he would get one. It was only two months after we had this conversation when I accidentally kneed him only lightly in the groin in bed when he groaned terribly. He then told me that he had a vasectomy 10 days before.

    I guess the real issue for me is that he made the decision for us. I thought our relationship was based on sharing common values which we held in high esteem. While I have anger still towards him for doing this, I have even more anger towards myself for having ever wasted three years of my life with this person.

    Again, thank you so much for sharing this. It has made me think more seriously of what I need to do.