By sheer coincidence I chose the following letter from a 31-year-old man who does not want children, and then the very next letter I read was from a happy-sounding woman in her 20s who, along with her fiancé, does not want kids. So why not run them back to back? What a fun thing to talk about! I'll answer the second one next week.
I'm a 31-year-old man who does not want children. I spent my childhood raising my two younger siblings (brother and sister) as well as half of my 20s. I know what it's like, and I don't want to do it anymore. I also couldn't handle it if something happened to my child. My little sister died tragically when I was 22, and I can't go through that again.
I have a good job now and I have my own time, and while I like most children, I like it even more if I play with them and then they go back to their parents. This is causing and has caused me problems with relationships. Since at least 95 percent of women want children (and 90 percent of men), and I'm of the age when everyone is either getting married or wanting to get married and start a family, I am having trouble having a relationship. At some point, that question comes up and as soon as I express my opinion, the woman leaves. This can be a first date, or second date, but even if she doesn't bring it up, I have to bring it up within the first two to three weeks or it appears that I'm a jerk and she could get mad at me for wasting her time.
I fully expect the ladies to leave, and I don't blame them. I certainly don't wish to pursue a relationship with a woman who wants children, either. I've only had one serious relationship (lasted a year and a half) with a woman, and she didn't want children, either. However, that is just one aspect of a person, and it didn't work out. In fact, I've only met two women in my entire life who didn't want children, so now I've dated one half of that population.
I haven't been on a date in a year (and haven't had sex in almost two), because as soon as I flirt with a woman or think about getting her number or even think about going out to meet women, I just think it'll end in a few dates anyway, so I think, "Why bother?" I really would like a relationship and not just sex; my male friends think that it's great because they tell me to just have sex with the woman, use that as an excuse, and move on to the next one. But I don't want that. I want a long-term relationship and maybe some pets, and that's enough for me.
My female friends keep saying that it'll change and that I'd be a great dad, but that they don't know any of their friends that don't want children or they'd set me up. But it most likely won't change, and I don't want it to change. I hate everyone's insistence that I'm just going through a "phase," and I sometimes feel like there's something wrong with me for not wanting children.
I don't know what to do; I'm really depressed about it, and I think I'll have to wait until I'm 40 until I can date again. I tried Internet dating and I clicked the option I didn't want children and one woman wrote to me, but she was a 40-something divorced woman that I wasn't attracted to.
I don't want to get to the point of constant angry resentment (which I can feel from time to time) or be a hermit. But I don't know what to do or how to find women my age or a little older that don't want children. I see all these couples and I get envious of them and I feel like I'll never be in a relationship again. I don't know what to do. Thank you for any advice you can give me.
No Children and Perpetually Single
Dear No Children,
The good news for you is that "the percentage of women of childbearing age who define themselves as voluntarily childless is on the rise." It was on the rise when that article was published in 2001 and is still on the rise. You just have to find some of these women. I'll bet they can be found in places hospitable to socially dissident urban clusters.
Sure enough, in searching around for places where you might find such women, I ran across this. It's not exactly exhaustive but gives you an idea of what people are thinking. And here it is again, updated.
So I'd say buck up, be proud, know there are plenty of women out there who don't want kids.
It would be smart to move to an area where you are likely to find the most suitable mates. If moving is not practical, then reach out to childfree women through such forums as No Kidding! It bills itself as "an international social club for adult couples and singles who have never had children." You can find a chapter or start a chapter.
So the main thing for you personally seems to be that you have a perfectly logical set of reasons for not wanting kids, and you need to be proud of it. And find some women who see things your way. They are out there. You just have to look in the right places.
I'll say more about this in the next column.
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