Single + Childfree = Still Normal
I’ve been relatively lucky in that I don’t hear much negativity from others when marriage or children comes up in conversation. However, I have recently made a point of watching the other person’s reactions when they learn that I’m still single and in my 30s, especially if I’m talking to a stranger. (Many of my friends, I’m happy to report, are quite open-minded about my singleness and, for those who know about it, my decision to be childfree.)
Here’s the funny part: Now and then I’ll get a badly hidden smirk from someone I just met. If s/he’s one of the societal “sheep” and believes the incessant, narrow-minded assumption (usually from the media and most industries) that life is always about families, then I have to assume that the smirk is silently telling me, “You’re 38 and not in a relationship? Geeze, you must be pretty bad at finding women / hooking up / relationships!” (Then there’s always, “You’re probably a swinger or a hipster-doofus like Kramer!” but I really don’t think I’m that bad.)
Any way you slice it, it shouldn’t really matter. Their reaction should not matter to me, and certainly my situation should not matter to them. I’m not Kramer, and I’m definitely not a swinger, but I’d also like to point out that “single” does not automatically equal “sexual/social incompetence,” m’kay? Not all of us singles are “40-year-old virgin” types. It is not for anyone else to judge why we are outside of the alleged “social norm”, especially when it concerns our personal lives.
Men at Work
I’m willing to bet that there are almost as many single men as there are single women who end up remaining single longer than most, not because of any great urge to go through life alone, but because they opted to not have kids. It’s true that some people don’t want to get married or be in a relationship, and if that suits them, fine. But me? Even though I am well aware that my childfree decision places me in the minority, I’m still searching, still firm in the belief that one day I’ll meet and fall madly for an educated, insightful, healthy, fun-loving, sensual, green-eyed, wonderful, childfree woman, and she’ll feel the same about me. (Okay, I’ll let the green eyes go, but you get my point.)
We’ll be able to sleep in on weekends; we’ll have time during the week for the occasional four-star dinner, concert, movie, or even a quiet night at home; we’ll have the energy for a mountain hike or beach weekend or a trip to a Broadway show; but most importantly, my lovely future wife will not give one iota about the “beauty of pregnancy” or the rigors of childbirth, and she won’t need to produce her own children to feel complete.
Another important point that I was recently reminded of is this: If, after all of your searching and dating, you do find another childfree someone who shows great “spouse potential”, please remember that your childfreedom is only one aspect of your life that you have in common. Life-changing though it is, being childfree does not guarantee that you will both agree on everything, as much as you’d really like it to. Be smart. (i.e. If I met a great woman who was well-traveled, musical, highly educated and looks fantastic – but smokes – I’d have to think twice, or at least ask her if she plans on quitting any time soon.)
Hmm…I guess it all depends on your priorities.
I know you’re out there, my fellow childfree singles, and if you’re searching for someone to share your great life with, don’t give up! I know how you feel. Let’s find each other already and show the world that childfree couples and singles can donate to the betterment of global issues and enjoy life just as much as any parent, if not more so. Never forget that we’re normal like everyone else!