Deciding to not have children was a big deal, especially when I reached the age when many of my friends were marrying and starting families. Nowhere is this decision more significant than in dating. Here’s why.
I look for different things in a partner.
If I wanted kids, I’d be looking for a man who had all the hallmarks of a good father and stable partner. Because I don’t, I look for men who have a similar sense of adventure to mine and who push me to accomplish my goals. When breaking up has fewer consequences, stability and long term compatibility are less important than attraction and excitement.
I have to convince people I’m serious.
A lot of people think that all women want babies, which is both sexist and demonstrably untrue. Some of the men I’ve gone out with have shown no surprise when I tell them I don’t want children, only to be taken aback when they realize I actually mean it. For some reason, a lot of them assume that any woman who says she doesn’t want children is just trying not to scare men away.
Some people think I’m damaged.
A lot of men have implied that not wanting kids is fundamentally “un-feminine.” A few have even suggested that I must have had a traumatic childhood or that I don’t really know what I want. Deciding not to have children shouldn’t be considered deviant. If anything, the reasons for not becoming a parent outnumber the reasons for becoming a parent.
It rules out a lot of people.
I always thought my lack of interest in having kids would be a huge turn-on for a lot of guys, but I was horribly mistaken. It turns out that pretty much every guy I’ve been interested in wanted kids, and by the time I got to my thirties, none of them were willing to be flexible. In fact, it’s a pretty quick deal breaker, which in the end is probably a good thing. Why date someone who wants fundamentally different things out of a partnership when you don’t have to?
You don’t have to worry about genetic anomalies.
One of the main criteria for choosing a partner, whether consciously or subconsciously, is whether or not you want to give birth to a child who has their genes. This can be very difficult if you or the person you’re dating has a family history of genetically passed down illnesses, and it’s not uncommon for couples to part ways because of this. Because I don’t want children, I don’t have to worry about genetics. I can just focus on whether or not I’m attracted to the person in front of me.
It forces a deeper connection.
It may sound counter-intuitive, but when you don’t want kids, you’re forced to be closer to the person you’re dating than you otherwise would. Wanting children is an easy thing to connect on, and it’s something my potential partners and I can’t fall back on. Instead, we’re forced to look deeper to find other areas in which we are compatible.
I get called “selfish” a lot.
Why is it that men who don’t want children are considered normal while women who don’t want kids are considered narcissistic? I’ve been on dates with guys who tell me they don’t want kids, then accuse me of being selfish when I tell them that I don’t want them either. The insinuation is that men are admired for being completely independent and chasing their dreams while women are chastised for it. It had never occurred to me that such a double standard could exist so blatantly.
Most guys are totally fine with it… until things get serious.
A lot of people are committed to childlessness until they meet someone they want to be with forever. I’ve been in several relationships with men who have been just as opposed to having children as I am, only to change their minds once we fell in love and became a serious couple.
It’s a lot harder now that I’m in my thirties than it was in my twenties.
A few years ago, no one batted an eye when I said I didn’t want kids. Now that I’m in my thirties, however, my dating options have drastically diminished. When you’re young, it’s easy to assume that you won’t be with your current partner forever, and big questions like whether you want to get married or where you want to live or whether or not you want children aren’t as urgent. Everything changes once you start seeing every new relationship as a potential lifelong commitment.
In-laws are less important.
Obviously, your in-laws are important. But it’s much easier to distance yourself from them if you don’t have kids. Giving someone a grandchild or niece or cousin is a much bigger deal than simply marrying into the family. If you’re not planning on having kids, you’ll be under a lot less pressure to spend time with your partner’s family.
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