Once upon a time (or so the story goes) there was never any need to bring up the issue of kids or no kids. You met, dated and it was assumed that kids would come along (assuming of course that you both stayed together and got married). For many people that's still the way the story goes. There were few, if any childfee questions or considerations coming into play.
These days not only does it seem harder than ever to meet the right person (by which I mean the right person for you) there is also the question of children. But, you may say, you don't bring up the kid question when you're just dating!. True. In fact one of the best ways to send a guy running in the opposite direction is to ask one of the following questions when you're 3 months into the relationship:
- “How many children do you see yourself having…?” or
- “Where do you see us in 6 months?” or
- Both of the above
Note I said send the guy running in the opposite direction… because it's almost always the woman who starts this particular ball rolling.
On a more serious note though, should the childfree be raising the no-kid question sooner rather than later? After the initial dating but when you're going steady? Unless you meet on an online site (where you've stated clearly that you are childfree and you're not changing your mind) at what point do you bring up the childfree topic? Or should you not bring it up at all and hope for the best until you get to know each other (it can be a relationship killer).
While some of these questions may seem obvious, from what I've read and heard, this is a tricky area for childfree men and women. Either the man has every intention of having kids and assumes (as many people still do) that the woman's going to want kids, or the guy doesn't want kids but the woman's most certainly does.
In my own case I was very fortunate to meet someone who didn't want kids. I'd just assumed I would always have them, then gave it some more thought and decided I didn't want them that much. It was simply a matter of being sure we didn't want them, than trying to convince the other they did want kids.
We've heard heartbreaking stories on this blog of relationships that disintegrated because one party agreed, then changed their mind about being childfree – with devastating consequences. So one might say bring it up sooner rather than later – launch the childfree f-bomb and see what happens… and at least you don't need to waste each other's time.
However – is it that simple? I don't think so. Although we know there are many men and women who are childfree and want to stay that way, somehow they seem to be elusive and hard to meet. (Case in point, my husband's from Toronto and I'm from England. I made the move to Toronto after he'd come over to England but it just worked out better that way).
No-one particularly wants to start off by saying “Oh by the way I am childfree what about you, 'cause if you're not let's not even waste each other's time.” That doesn't give any time for the chemistry to develop does it?
What do you think? Is dating more difficult because you're childfree? How easy is it to meet childfree people to date? And after dating and you're serious, where does being childfree come in? Share your thoughts. And if you've been through the dating/relationship minefield, what tips do you have to share?
I think it's a huge area however I don't see much written about it from a childfree perspective. Maybe that's just me, so if you know of useful resources feel free to share as well.