One Man's Mindset

Living along the U.S. East Coast, one man writes about those beliefs, hobbies and ideas that mean to most to him. This is not a daily blog - new posts usually only appear when inspiration hits.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Single + Childfree = Still Normal

Just because I’m single at 38 doesn’t mean I’m weird. True, I don’t want to be single forever – I would like to share my life with a great woman and be a family of two…or possibly more if we get pets – but in the meantime I’m doing just fine as is. I have a job, I go out with friends, engage in hobbies, and basically function in society just like any married couple, except that I’m one person.

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.)

Tunnel Ahead

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.

Caution

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.

Merge

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!

15 Comments:

Blogger Teri said...

Being single and 38 makes you eligible.

7/20/2006 5:40 AM  
Blogger kT said...

Hmm. I've been wondering how things would change as I got a little older. Will people stop assuming that I'm too picky and start assuming that I'm socially inept? That would be unpleasantly interesting.

I know my approach to relationships is unusual. I am happy with a lot of space and low-key coupledom, which doesn't suit everyone. I'd rather be alone than unhappily coupled. Apparently, that makes me odd.

I think that knowing what you want out of life, yourself, and a relationship, makes you attractive, even if the "you" in question and I are not compatible. It's living life on your own terms.

Carpe diem and all.

7/28/2006 5:32 PM  
Blogger CarpeWritem said...

kt,

Thanks for the comment.

As I'm sure you are aware, there's nothing wrong with plenty of space and "low-key coupledom". And being picky? Well, people just have to learn that some of us have higher relationship standards than most of the huddled masses.

I've learned (through trial and error) that knowing what you want and taking steps to get it generally gets better results than just floating through life.

Thanks again for the support.

7/29/2006 4:37 PM  
Anonymous Sudiegirl said...

Dude - good post and WHERE DID YOU GET THAT PHOTO DONE????? It rocks - I want one done of myself but I'm afraid I'd break the camera.

12/18/2006 7:38 AM  
Blogger Teri said...

Dude - still "normal"? How is that kitty cat?

I agree, that is a great photo of you.

2/01/2007 2:11 PM  
Blogger Teri said...

Man, that's one long blogging hiatus! Dude, put up a new post.

Love that profile picture.

Grins,
T

5/27/2007 1:52 PM  
Anonymous erica said...

I just wanted to say thanks for the post - I'm a woman who just broke up with a wonderful man over the issue of children, and I had been starting to think that the only men out there who don't want kids are the "perpetual playboy" types. I'm 33, so after many years of just not wanting kids the same way I don't happen to want a horse or to move to Australia, it is suddenly becoming an issue and I am suddenly feeling like a tiny, weird minority who has no way to recognize others of her tribe.

Despite the annoying, all-pervasive "women's biological clock" meme, men who want marriage but not children seem to be very, very rare.

10/09/2007 3:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post. I got married (first time!) when I turned 46--and neither my husband nor I want children.

I come from a family where single + childless = LOSER in their eyes. Will never forget the time (I was in my early 30s) when a younger cousin approached my at my grandmother's funeral, put his arm around me, and said, "So, Renee, I see you STILL can't find yourself a man". Tone of his voice, and expression of his face indicated that this was not light-hearted bantering. My aunt and uncle within earshot just snickered.

Needless to say, I don't have much use for that part of the family.

11/25/2007 11:31 AM  
Blogger Kerry said...

Are we normal human beings? Yes. Are we "normal" in the sense of being and thinking like the majority in our society? No, I don't think so.

This doesn't mean we are strange, it just means that we happen to feel differntly about the issue of children than the majority of people in our society. Let's face it, the majority of people want (or at least think they want) kids, and just go a head and do it without thinking about it too much. I really believe that most people think that being "ready" to have a kid means buying the furniture, carseat, and painting the nursery.

In the sense that I don't have any desire to have children, no, I am not "normal" when compared to other women my age in the Eastern United States. I also don't have a strong need/desire to get married. Maybe it's because I feel my SO and I are already strongly committed to each other. Also, I'm finding out that I'm really not very traditional at all. I don't like the idea of a wedding. I like the idea of eloping or having a courthouse ceremony, but my family and his family would not go for that. But neither of really even think about it. Maybe it's also skepticism - my parents divorced when I was very young, and divorce is so common today - marriage is certainly not a "sure thing", goodness knows we've all seen plenty of marriages end.

But we're doing what works for us and makes us happy, and that's what really matters.

I do agree that CF men don't take as much flak as CF women. For some reason it's not that big of a deal for a man to say he doesn't have a strong desire to have kids. I think many people today still think (maybe even without being aware of it) that the man's duty is to bring home the bacon and support his wife and kids.

But when a woman states that she does not want to have children, people gasp and recoil. It's as if by not wanting children, a woman is denying her biological destiny. Which is ridiculous. Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.

11/27/2007 11:06 AM  
Blogger Alison said...

Great post, thank you. I agree with so much of what you said. I am a single woman living in NYC, who chooses to live as a CF single person, until I meet someone who not only also chooses a CF life, but who also shares so many other important views, beliefs, etc.. that will make us compatible. I was engaged to a wonderful man, who actually was ok with the CF stuff, it was just that we were not compatible in a few other *key* areas, which made it not work out. Sadly so, too. He was (is) a wonderful person. I think it takes a whole lot for 2 people to truly be the right match/soul mate, if you believe in that stuff. I think I still do!! LOL....I think it takes a strong person to stay sinlge and be honest about his/her CF status. I work with kids, so I, too, get a lot of slack from some of the people I work with. I now mention it less so to certain people and only to those who will respect my decision. Thanks again for your post, its so great to know we are not alone!!!!

3/03/2008 8:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just saw this forum (9 July 2008 22:50 London BST). I'm a single man, just turned 40. It felt like a judgement milestone for me, a serious point of reflection on my life, still single and childless.

In my case, there were several factors leading my current situation as a singleton. I feel that describing them all would sound like an apology for my being. I won't do that.

I would like to point out however that a big factor was my mental health. I had peculiar trouble with my mood since I was young and I was diagnosed as having severe bipolar condition when I was 29. I have been receiving treatment for it ever since, and now I realise that, for a long time, it has been affect ing my life drastically and has hindered my ability to form friendships and/or relationships.

Family members used to go on at me about going to Africa to find a wife and bring here back to London, as if it were like picking sweets in a sweet shop. Overall I think it is naive but I occasionally considered it when I have felt so lonely (even suicidal) at times.

Just over a couple of years ago, my father passed away, and my youngest brother (4 years younger than me) got married, and I have been critically reflecting on my life ever since.

Nowadays I realise I have always been a somewhat unconventional person whether it is religion, relationships, men, women, health, employment, whatever. I have been up against so much stigma which takes it's toll. To be honest, I feel I am on the wrong side of the fence in many ways, which is very isolating. I have tried to "tow the line" socially but with great difficulty, often leading to depression. It seems evey effort to 'fit in' proves otherwise.

7/09/2008 6:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a thirty year old man, single and childfree, I don't dislike children but I certainly don't feel any need to have my own. I'd love to meet a woman who wanted to share her life with me but there seems to be no hope. Every woman I meet and talk to has one agenda - Kids. Dealbreaker for me. It's very depressing, with the human population of the planet approaching three times what is sustainable, is it necessarily important to spend twenty years of our lives plus all of our disposable income on adding to the throng when we could be spending the time and money on loving what we already have? If I come across as bitter then I apologise, recently and for the third time in the last decade, yet again I've just lost a serious relationship because she went from being happy to being "KIDSNOWKIDSNOWKIDSNOW"!

Women tell me that I'll struggle to find a woman who's not desparate to have kids, given that my country (UK) has just had a bumper kiddy crop with more births in the last year than there've been since 1973, I acknowledge that they're probably right...

8/28/2009 12:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a 42 year old woman in the US who has always felt rather ambivalent about having kids. I didn't think I wanted any, but for a long time everyone said you'l change your mind when you get older. Well, I'm older now and know for a fact that I don't want kids. Love my nieces and nephews to pieces but don't feel the need to have a mini-me. I'm still getting the "you'll regret it it just like so-and-so regrets it now". I broke up with a truly wonderful guy over wanting to be CF. He initially agreed to it then changed his mind. Now I've decided I won't even date any one who hasn't already made up their minds. It is hard to find a great male who does not want kids and is not a perpetual playboy. I think people should spend some time thinking about procreating before they decide to, then this population explosion might slow down. But it all comes down to choices; if you're free to choose to have kids, why am I treated as a leper of some sort because I choose not to?
Christy

1/03/2010 4:43 PM  
Blogger CarpeWritem said...

It's definitely worth finding out a potential mate's stance on children before dating them seriously. Yes, that limits the pool, but you'll feel so much more confident when you find him.

Just don't give up in the meantime. I didn't, and I've been dating a special child-free woman for more than two years now. She has assured me many times that she will remain child-free, and I was not shy about asking. Such couplings can and do happen!

And yes, more folks should learn to make a conscious decision about having kids, instead of assuming it as a necessity.

1/07/2010 12:28 AM  
Anonymous J said...

It's a new year. I've been thinking about this A LOT over the past week or so.

I'm 38 and I'm single. I haven't been married. I haven't had children. I even have green eyes. Ha! I am 38 and single, not by choice, not because I've been driven by my (well, hey somewhat successful) career or wanderlust (although I have travelled) or because I've been too picky ... but because I literally haven't found the right man. The man that is not perfect, but perfect for me. I've been in one serious relationship. Before that, there were lots of opportunities - some taken, some not. On the other side - one, really close friendship with a guy who made me understand the type of mental 'click' I know I've been looking for. But, sadly, that's only one half of the whole.

I'm not bitter and twisted about it, but sometimes being with friends and their husbands/wives and their kids is a huge reminder of the things that I feel are 'missing' from my otherwise full and happy life. Sometimes, just sometimes, it reduces me to tears.

Why I haven't found that someone/that someone hasn't found me remains the single greatest mystery to me.

If it's right, then I am open to being married and I am open to having a child or even children. I wholeheartedly believe that that's something for 'us' to decide - together.

I have no pre-conceived notion of what HE is going to be like, but I know that there are some things that are non-negotiables.

I've been told time and time again by my female and male friends that there is nothing wrong with me. Heck! One of my male friends even said that he can understand why other women he knows are single, but not me. Not me!!

Regardless, the first 120 days of 2012 are going to be spent trying to see what it is that might be holding me back - subconsciously or consciously.

I'm glad I stumbled across your blog. It's refreshing to hear it from a man's perspective.

1/06/2012 1:18 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home