Dating as a Woman Who Doesn’t Want Kids
Please note: I am a cisgender heterosexual woman, and that is the perspective I am writing from.
Since I started dating, I’ve thought a lot about how to approach the subject of having kids with potential partners. Recently, when talking with a friend I won’t name here, I brought up that I didn’t want to have kids. She and I weren’t especially close, but I considered her someone I could be transparent with without fearing judgment.
Unfortunately, her reaction of frantically shouting “WHAT? WHY NOT?” made it evident that I couldn’t have been more wrong.
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Once I quickly realized the conversation was going downhill, I braced myself to hear what I always hear when I say this: That I’m selfish, and I should give my parents grandkids. That I shouldn’t worry about the financial burden a child would bring because they’re “worth it in the end.” That “the right man” is all I needed to change my mind.
She said all of this standard stuff, then threw in something that threw me for a loop.
“But don’t you wanna get married?”
Up until this conversation, I never for a second considered that not wanting kids could mean that marriage is out of the question.
When I told my friend as much, she replied, “Dee Dee, guys don’t want someone that doesn’t want kids. What are you gonna do, become a lesbian or something? You’re definitely gonna have to become a lesbian.”
Again… and louder this time… HUH???
For one, there are worse things I could “become” than a lesbian… for instance, I could become a dumbass like this woman I considered a friend… but she clearly didn’t see an issue with what she said. By that point in the conversation, I was too exhausted from defending her other arguments to remind her that lesbians can (and do) have kids and that their sexuality isn’t some kind of last resort for finding love because they couldn’t find a man.
So I shut down, kept mum, and decided to never speak to her again. Her questions were insulting, and I have enough questions I’m constantly asking myself:
Will I Be Single Forever?
After distilling some of the ignorance from that convo, I’m still left with the question, “will I have a harder time dating because I don’t want kids?”
I honestly don’t know. Since my dating life is very casual right now, I’ve yet to have the “family talk.” And with datings apps like Bumble allowing you to add your “child status,” it’s easier to avoid matching with someone whose ideas for family planning don’t align with yours.
What I do know is that child-free couples are becoming more common. Birth rates in the U.S. are declining, and yet still, society holds on to the idea that it is our (particularly a woman’s) duty to have kids.
What I do know is that even the best dads don’t shoulder their fair share of the burden of child-rearing compared to moms. Dads get praised for changing a diaper or two while the mom is chastised for expressing her need for a break.
None of this answers the question of whether dating will be harder for me, but it does shed some light on why more men may want children than women. Traditionally, they have it easier when it comes to parenting!
Should I Suck It Up And Have A Kid For Love?
Women internalize a lot of pressure from family, friends, churches, and society to avoid single-ness like a plague. We’re often taught that being single is almost as wrong as being childless and from my observations, some women will bend over backward to compromise their lifestyle, beliefs, and standards to avoid such a fate.
With that in mind, I wonder how many women that don’t want kids eventually do it to appease partners that will leave them if they don’t? When I did some Googling, I read stories from many women who had found themselves in this predicament. Almost all the women who had kids regretted it, while those that didn’t were heartbroken but regret-free.
Needless to say, I would rather be the latter of the two.
Do I Even Want To Find Love?
Sure, just not today.
Despite what people like my dumbass acquaintance from above think, my life decisions aren’t motivated by my relationship status. I won’t be pressured to do something that doesn’t feel right for the sake of not being single. Instead, I will keep dating the way I am now, no-strings-attached experiences filled with free dinners, pleasant conversation, and lots of attention! And if I come across “the one” only to learn that he wants kids… then he’s simply not the one.