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5 Tips For Dating When You're Childfree
You’re not alone. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, more women are opting out of motherhood than ever! You can find someone who accepts your decision to refrain from having children. You can still enjoy any kind of relationships you want while living the childfree life.
People used to think of my lack of desire for children as a positive feature. Most were relieved to know kids will never come into my personal life’s equation. Now that I’m 26 years old, I’m noticing a huge shift in the way my peers date. I remember the days when nobody was “looking for something serious” and mainly dated in the context of hookup culture. It wasn’t until recently I began to notice everyone’s romantic pursuits taking our half-baked futures into consideration. The change didn’t come blundering down like the rest of adulthood had. Suddenly, at the magical age of 25, the people I want to date need to know where I’m going with my life not for the sake of having fun, but because if our relationship thrives, they’ll be spending lots of time immersed in my lifestyle. This is why I make sure my partners understand that, in the context of my life, any passing pregnancy test is a future abortion.
How can you be sure you're getting your message across properly? How can you be certain you're choosing partners who are compatible with your interests and goals in life? No matter what conclusions I've arrived at, doing the following has helped me immensely:
1.) Stop apologizing for wanting to remain childfree.
First thing's first: Kick your shame to the curb! Feeling hesitant about having children? That’s fine. After all, it’s one of the few situations in life there’s truly no chance of turning back from. You won’t be the first person to regret having kids and quite frankly, you won’t be the last person to reject parenthood, either.
Like many people, I simply assumed I’d have kids until I saw wreckage arise from underaged pregnancies and dysfunctional marriages. In both situations, I couldn’t help but look on as my loved ones were forced into uncomfortable situations. I understood early on that there was no turning back from domesticity, so I approach child-rearing and the institution of marriage with suspicion. I wouldn’t dream of getting married if I were to be financially inconvenienced by it.
For me, the decision to remain childfree is just as influenced by the little things as it is the more major changes. Not only do I value having my free time, but I also have no desire to limit my personal freedom by having a baby. I can hardly handle menstrual cramps; how on Earth could I withstand child birth without combusting into flames? I wasn’t cut out for motherhood on that basis alone.
In the end, I just don't want to have kids. Period. I love and respect children, especially those being raised by my loved ones. But I wouldn't even consider having children - even if I could afford them easily! I'm not sorry for being selfish. You're better off living without your shame as opposed to letting it consume parts of your life that would otherwise be happy. Besides, it's way more selfish to become a parent when you would rather not do so.
2.) Determine how childfree you’d like to be.
In your ideal situation, how many children would you have? Do you mind being around other people’s kids or do you delight in the presence of children? Personally, I am comfortable with dating parents. I just have zero desire to actually be the parent. I’ve never dated with children who made me feel obligated to their parenthood in any way. I enjoy being involved in the lives of other people’s children, but I never want any of my own. I totally understand that I must be a positive influence in my the lives of any partner’s children. Other people, however, simply don’t want any children involved in their daily agendas. Being in touch with your desires will allow you to understand the kind of life you're striving to create.
3.) Be confident about your decision.
Being confident about being childfree is about more than simply not apologizing for your preference. It’s about embracing your decision for the sake of living a fuller life. I accept that I do not want to have children. I am content with about my desire to remain free from parenthood. That's why someone else's opinion about what I should do with my body/life doesn't phase me. Thus, nobody else's paternal interests will ever factor into the equation of my lifestyle.
People gawk when I express my views about family and marriage to them. But their looks fail to shame me. The environment will thank you for not having children and so will your wallet. There’s no shame in not wanting children. I’ve found it especially useful to have answers ready to questions before they ask. Whenever friends and family inquire, tell them kids simply aren’t in the cards for you. I’ve seen parents pressure their kids into reproducing and it’s not pretty. Any time you give into someone else’s guilt, your surrender your destiny to someone else’s whim. No matter, what, just know that anyone who begrudges you for not wanting to have kids is failing your autonomy or well-being.
You're going to have to 'fess up to your non-casual partners about your decision at some point. Be prepared to state your reasons in case they ask, but never feel pressured to justify your choice to anyone. Remember: Nobody’s desire for children overrides your desire to not have children. Don’t let anyone’s wishes - not even those of your partners, your parents, your possum, etc. - take precedence over your boundaries and self-fulfillment. Parenthood is one of the few paths you can't really turn back from once you've started travelling it. If your heart is telling you “no,” listen closely and the reasons behind your not-so-ambiguous feelings will eventually surface.
4.) Break the news (when it’s appropriate).
It’s best to let your love interest know about your long-term goals for yourself as well as the relationship as early as possible. Based on my own experience, I casually slip my childfree preference into the conversation during the 3rd or 4th date the earliest - and that’s if I’m really into the person.
Whenever anyone pokes and prods at me when I let them know about my decision, I (unapologetically) tell them that I have no desire to have children. I get more poking and prodding from people who are older than me. It comes from my peers who aren't that many years out of my range along with those who've already committed to child-rearing. As far as your family is concerned, you might find yourself coming out of the childfree closet many times. I've noticed that relatives are especially inclined to assume you're up for parenthood. Be as firm as you can and note of any attempts to shame or manipulate you. It's your life, your body, and your business. It's your life. You shouldn't carry the burden of fulfilling someone else's domestic desires with a life that's supposed to belong to you.
5.) Pay attention to how your love interest responds.
Be wary of anyone who tells you that you’ll “change your mind some day.” This answer points to a lack of respect for your life decisions. Whenever someone does this to me, I make a mental note of it along with how they react to me pointing out their error. Obviously, it becomes necessary to specify your preferences after a certain point. After all, some people hinge their entire lives on having children while others, like myself, choose to do the same: making a choice about our preferred paternity status and sticking to it. With people like me, however, the matter at hand is our choice to not have children.
It’s not the contrary desire that’s most concerning. After all, it’s not like you can’t prove them wrong by living according to your wishes. If your partner doubts or erases your desires in any way, it’s their way of slapping you in the face with a red flag. It’s a way of assuming your words are empty and have no grip on the future they envision for you.
#Real #GhiaVitale #FreeLove #ChildFree #Respect #Boundaries #Romance #Lifestyle #Decisions #ParentingProblems
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