August 10, 2011

Child-Free Dating

There was once a time when a woman who was staunchly against having children, drank beer, and actually knew the rules to college hockey would have had a hard time finding herself alone on a Friday night.  Once upon a time this post wouldn't have begun with a fairy tale opening.  Times, they are a changing.

The childfree woman, once the mythical unicorn, is now finding herself a little harder to date. Maybe it’s just the ladies I run with, but as I look around, more and more of us are choosing to remain childless late into their 30s.  Certainly, there are those who still chase the American dream of a house, a dog, a minivan, and 2.5 kids.  But, for those who want to focus on their own lives, and the lives of their partners, they’re finding resistance in their paths.  Take, for instance, 4 or 5 years ago when the local news here in town ran a story about the phenomenon.  Many women chose to speak up only under the condition of anonymity.  They were afraid that those around them would judge them for their opinions; call them selfish or maybe even *gasp* fire them from their jobs.  If this is their fear at work, I can only imagine their trials and tribulations in dating.

For the record, I’m one of those women.  Well, not the fearful ones.  My reproductive habits and ambitions are my own, and no employer is privy to them thankyouverymuch.  But, I am part of the growing population of women who are not driven by their biological clock and have no desire to have children.  I’ve gone so far as to be medically sterilized.

Believe me, I’m not regretting the decision.  What I am is frustrated that this immediately takes women like myself off the table for a good number of men.  I’ve had friends tell me that the moment they said to a suitor that they don’t plan on starting a family, suddenly he had something he forgot about, had to cut things short, and was never heard from again.Whoa!  Since when did Nature start equipping those of mixed chromosomes with a Biological Clock too?  And whatever happened to dating the person, not their future spawn?  Why on earth is it so common to talk about kids over your first in person sip of coffee?  Guys, really.  Cool it.  You’re scaring... well, me, I guess.

Maybe we’re (those friends mentioned previously)  just fish out of water when it comes to the dating pool here.  The Midwest doesn’t exactly have a reputation for being progressive like that.  So, in an effort to get some perspective, I ran this by my roommate.  He offered some interesting insight in that he says despite knowing he’s not in a place where he could support another kid, he still has a compulsion to find a fertile woman “just in case”.  I wish I understood that more than knowing that it was English he was speaking.

I don’t now, nor have I ever understood or felt the need to reproduce.  I have some opinions that are met with revulsion or confusion, and a back and pelvis that aren’t suited for the job.  Add on top of that, the fact that I have no family medical history (Mom was adopted in Germany, I was adopted myself, and she never told the father he was a dad.) and my genetic line ends with me.

What makes me both chuckle and shake my head at the same time is the fact that, in all the stereotypes, it’s the man who doesn’t want kids, and will run at the first hint that a woman does.  In this case, it seems to be the other way around; that the men, upon hearing I’m fixed (but not declawed!) are no longer interested.  I suppose this is going to severely limit my dating pool, and I know this.  Thing is, it’s one of those very few things that I’m not willing to compromise on because it involves more than just *my* life.  It would impact the life of another human being, one who didn’t ask to be a bargaining chip.  I’m pretty up front with my preferences, abilities, and conditions.  I’m not going to lie to someone about it.  Heck, since it’s been on the Internet, there’s no denying it, it’s there forever.  If it means I have to wait a little longer, or snuggle with my fat dog and skinny horse at night instead of some intellectual Adonis a little while longer, I guess that’s how it’s going to be.


  1. I can certainly understand your frustration, but the following part goes a bit far:

    "Since when did Nature start equipping those of mixed chromosomes with a Biological Clock too? And whatever happened to dating the person, not their future spawn?"

    Every person has a list of "deal breakers" that range anywhere from smoking to drug use to anger issues to religion/politics to distance to even, by your own admission, bad first-kiss chemistry. It's kind of presumptuous to expect people who don't yet know you all that well to let you make such a major decision for the both of you (which is what you're doing, and that's fine if the other person is okay with that, but portraying people who want input into the major decisions of their lives, whatever those might be, as shallow takes it too far, and opens you up to all sorts of lines of criticism about your own "shallowness" for the reasons you choose not to date specific people).

    I don't like pets and I wouldn't be able to live with them. I'm up front about that. And if someone I've met isn't cool with that, that's unfortunate for me, but a result of my choices. It certainly wouldn't be fair to vent about how the other person wouldn't permanently give up her pets for me after the second date.

  2. Also, just to play devil's advocate, say you met someone that you really hit it off with and had a good couple of dates. And then he mentioned that he has sole custody of his three small children and is expecting that if things work out you'll become their stepmother. Would that be a deal breaker? In this case, he's already made the choice about children for the two of you.


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