I’m a Man Who Doesn’t Want to Have Kids. Who Is Left To Date?

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Hi Evan,

You frequently advise singles to reevaluate their list of deal breakers and to shorten that list where they can to increase their options.

How do you feel about applying that advice to parenting preferences?

I’m interested in dating women in their 30’s through early 40’s. I like children, but I am sure that I don’t want to be a parent. It seems likely that women who list exactly how many children they want on Match.com are pretty set on their preferences too.

I don’t want to date someone, grow attached to her and then feel hurt when the parenthood issue sends us off on our separate ways. The option of least risk would be to filter my searches to only return profiles of women who are sure they don’t want to be parents. My problem with that option is that it also returns a greatly reduced number of profiles.

I know you don’t have a magic wand, so I just have to play the hand I’ve been dealt. I’m willing to take a risk by contacting women who list that they are “not sure” about wanting children. I’m wondering if there are other types of women worth taking a risk on. Maybe women who may have listed a less than accurate preference about having children to not scare people away?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts,

Steve

Steve,

I’m running your email, not only because you’re a regular commenter, but because it follows last week’s question so neatly.

Steve’s a perfect example of a kind, relationship-oriented guy, who is extremely conscientious about the potential damage of two partners having different long-term goals. Of course, he’s more worried about getting hurt than he is about hurting the woman, but we’ll leave that aside. The point is that he is, as he pointed out, in a position of scarcity. Act with integrity and his pool of dateable women diminishes considerably.

Expecting your partner to share your rare passion cuts your dating pool by 99%.

This brings up a larger point that I’ve wanted to make for a long time:

People who are not “mainstream” have some very tough choices to make in dating. These choices mainly apply to two sets of people:

1) People who are in a minority in their preferences and insist that others share their preferences.

You’re in a minority in your preferences if you were into BDSM, or were an animal activist, or gave half your earnings to the Pentecostal Church.

There’s no judgment against minorities, but we must acknowledge that if you insist that your partner also have your non-mainstream preference, there are going to be far fewer singles from which to choose.

Simple exercise: Ask yourself what percent of people are ALSO (hardcore bikers, jobless backpackers, Buddhists who don’t believe in possessions)? Expecting your partner to share your rare passion cuts your dating pool by 99%.

My advice: find someone who is open to/tolerates your passion. Otherwise, accept the fact that it’s going to be a rare day, indeed, when you find the cute, kind, stable, age-appropriate, emotionally available person who ALSO eats only green foods.

2) People who are in a minority of OTHER people’s preferences.

An Asian man who will only date Caucasian women.

A sixty-year-old widow who will only date men 5-10 years younger.

A Jewish rocker with dreadlocks who wants to be with a Jewish woman.

A man who doesn’t want to have children. Let’s call him Steve.

My advice to you is the same as my advice to anyone who restricts their own choices: open up or quit complaining how hard you’ve made it on yourself.

Again, there’s nothing wrong with these choices, except to point out that they are choices that are self-restricting.

You can probably add other things to this list, including  overweight women, older women, short men, and poor men. These are not choices, but they are groups that face longer odds because they don’t fit into many people’s preferences.

So if you’re in one of the above minorities and you’re faced with a frustrating situation, you have a choice: Keep doing what you’re doing, or change. I don’t judge you either way. I just have to point out the obvious:

If you’re only open to dating 5% of the population – you’re going to have a harder time finding love.

So what changes can be made?

An overweight woman could lose weight. The Jewish rocker could cut his hair to appeal to his demographic. The vegan could tolerate a man who eats chicken and eggs. The shorter man could be open to heavier women, the older woman to older men.

The problem is when we refuse to budge and then complain how hard it is to find anyone. It would be like me saying that I want to drive a car, but I’ll only drive a hot pink Lamborghini that I see being driven down my street. Guess I’m not going to be doing too much driving.

I don’t blame you, Steve, for not wanting to have kids. It’s a huge decision, a life-altering decision, and you shouldn’t do it if it makes you feel profoundly uncomfortable. Just know that the only options you have are to date women in their 30’s who state that they don’t want kids, to date women who are in their 40’s who may be cool with the idea of not having kids, or wait for women in their 50’s whose kids are already grown.

Otherwise, buddy, my advice to you is the same as my advice to anyone who restricts their own choices: open up or quit complaining how hard you’ve made it on yourself.

By the way, thanks for putting yourself on the line with this one – a lot of readers can identify with you.

Evan

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Comments:

  1. 41
    Mmmmarie

    God, I wish that the guys like you, who don’t want kids, were more visible in the dating world. I’m 30, female, and really don’t want kids. I suspect that I don’t have a biological clock…
      

  2. 42
    Kelly

    Hi Steve,
      
    I’m 28 years old and know for a fact I do NOT want children.   I’m very happy to hear that there is still “hope” and there are men out there who feel the same way I do.     If I were to enter into a relationship with someone I would also prefer to date someone who does NOT have children as well.  

  3. 43
    Andrew

    “Otherwise, buddy, my advice to you is the same as my advice to anyone who restricts their own choices: open up or quit complaining how hard you’ve made it on yourself.”  
    That’s like telling a homosexual either open up to women or quit complaining how hard it is to find a partner. Just like someone’s sexual orientation isn’t a choice, neither is their belief system. We all have different preferences, and it doesn’t make any sense whatsoever to tolerate a relationship with someone who you clearly can’t connect with.  

  4. 44
    marymary

    Andrew
    yes, if the homosexual person insists that their partner has to be a certain age range, especially if it,s is not their own age range, certain height, well dressed, a certain race, hair colour, with good income, minimal relationship history and shares the same religion, diet and interests etc, etc, ETC
    these people aren’t looking for a relationship. They,re looking for a cardboard cut out who meets their needs.

  5. 45
    Sarah

    Hi,
    When I met my husband almost 10 yr ago he openly stated that he didn’t want kids. I loved him so much that I wanted to be with him with or without kids. He is an amazing men who loves me and supports me all the time. I love him more than our potential kids and we are still so much in love with each other. Not having kids also gave us some advantage as we traveled the world together, I will be graduating this year without loans, we can do wherever we want on the weekends and we got a dog 🙂 We enjoy each other company and we are passionate about helping others.
    Sarah

  6. 46
    Cielo

    Hi
    i’m a mother of four great kids, i’m 38, i recently separate, my husband was a very difficult person and finally I’m FREE,   my kids are wonderful and Im a great mom i have a good job and am Happy finally after so many year of bad marriage….so now I go to the point (sorry) Something is missing, every time I go some place I know that man look at me, I know Im good looking and I look very young to have four kids. Will I ever find love, the real love…maybe kind of the love that Steve was or is looking for

  7. 47
    Nissa

    Steve,
    Why don’t you try meetup? I just googled it, and there are 5 childfree groups in the Washington, DC area (the Washington Area Childfree Singles group has 197 members). There is also DINKlife (Double Income No Kids) blog and  the NoKidding clubs. IMO, this is a good compromise to Evan’s rule about people who are in a minority of some kind – put yourself in a position where your minority is in the majority!
    Also, as a childfree woman also on match (but in the Southern CA area), it says clearly on my profile that I don’t want kids. So, fyi, some of us are sure, and have marked such clearly. I might be open to dating someone with children, so I date men that have marked either wanting no kids, not sure, or have kids but don’t want more. However, this is also clearly spelled out in my profile.
    Best of luck to you, and you are not alone in your choice :-).

  8. 48
    Bree

    Am I the only nonkidswanting female here that was looking for something more like a website recommendation or something that hooked up adults trying to click on that point?
    Also, comparing not wanting kids to sexual fetishes or lifestyle quirks seems a little inappropriate and offensive to me. Not to mention the accusation of “complaining” or “making it hard on myself”. I came upon this page simply looking for ways to meet like-minded singles and help myself in a proactive way, not to be reprimanded. I think it takes maturity and courage to stick to what you feel in your heart instead of succumbing to the risk of ruining the lives of a whole family by consenting to kids just to avoid being single. I think it’s hard enough for those of us to do the responsible thing and we should be encouraged instead of guilted or made to feel like misfits. The world has enough people having kids who shouldn’t be having kids already.
      

  9. 49
    Ann

    I am one of those “rare” women who decided to have a kids-free life before I reached 30 but I found it very difficult to find suitable guys who also don’t want kids. Most awesome guys who said they “might” want kids actually “do” want kids, especially when they approach 30 something. I started to wonder whether I would be forever dating until I am 50, then nobody expects me to have kids, lol.  

  10. 50
    LOL

    I’m in my mid-30s   and want no more children. The irony in this is when I had my first child at 17 and second by the age of 21, men had no interest in dating. Now, since in a good career and the oldest out of the house and second one entering HS, I am almost done!  

    I feel no sympathy for men who are unable to find someone due to the kid factor.

    Luckily for me, now with a great man 10 years older with an 8 year old child. He even admitted how difficult the dating scene was with women wanting children and he was done. Said I was a rarity and even more rare, able to contribute financially without adding a burden.  

  11. 51
    MarTaja

    I’m not understanding.   How is Steve complaining?   Who wants to change for some one else?   

  12. 52
    Jen

    I am a woman who has never wanted children. I dated relentlessly from 18-26 looking for a life partner who was compatible and wanted the same things out of life (yes, this means I racked up a large partner count – don’t care.) In addition, I am a black woman who only dates Caucasian men. Well, at 26 I met a man who was my physical type, liked the same music and had many of the same hobbies, and who was “not sure” he wanted kids. Fast forward two years, we live together, are very happy and compatible, and he is sure that he doesn’t.

    My opinion is that if a woman didn’t want kids badly enough to prioritize finding a mate and having them in her 20’s and early 30’s, she doesn’t want them all that badly and can do without. Don’t forget that we get more set in our ways with age.

  13. 53
    Jen

    Before I forget Steve, relocate to a large liberal metro area if you’re not already living in one. Lots to choose from.

  14. 54
    Rachel

    I’m a 26yr old woman who definitely doesn’t want kids. I find dating hard since I also have a preference for older guys (20yrs + older) so it’s very hard to find a guy who doesn’t already have kids. I will date younger guys, the only thing I won’t compromise on is the kids thing, and I don’t even want the guy to have grown-up kids. Once someone has kids their whole life revolves around them and not only have I absolutely no interest in children, I want to be no 1 in a guys life and I wouldn’t be if a guy had kids-his kid’s would always come first no matter how old they are.

    I don’t care at all if people think it’s weird for me not to want kids, in fact I welcome the questions so I can roll off the million reasons I don’t want them. People who do things just because other people do are weak-willed.

    Seems the only way to get a man these days is to be a fat single mother of four, they’re the ones getting all the men, they especially like to take the single childfree men and have them raise their massive broods. I think it’s a conspiracy by most women to get knocked up by as many men as possible (most women these days have kids by different fathers), and/or take the only single kid-free men left and  just make their way round as many as possible ruining it for the few women who want a man who doesn’t have any kids.

    I did get loads of responses on a dating site where I stated “didn’t want kids” and “looking for an older man” also stating I didn’t want the man to have or want kids, so there are a fair few men left that the mothers haven’t got to yet, definitely harder for a guy to find a woman who doesn’t want kids though, my sympathies! We live in a  baby obsessed world, all I hear all day long is “so and so is pregnant” “so and so just had another one” “my kids this”, my kids that”  
    “my 20 grandkids this, my 20 grandkids that”  as if it’s so interesting, boooriiing!

    1. 54.1
      Mark2012

      My dream woman! LOL

      I wish more women had this attitude!

      1. 54.1.1
        starthrower68

        Well it’s a good thing people still want kids or there won’t be enough working adults to one day pay into FICA, or Medicare for you.   We’re already seeing that trend.  

      2. 54.1.2
        SpinySeaStar

        Yeah well it’s probably actually your dream man cause it talks all misogynistic and nasty like one.

    2. 54.2
      starthrower68

      You don’t like kids, don’t have kids. But you’re quite judgemental of people who have them.   You are also making a lot of blanket generalizations about single mothers.   Yeah, I am fat. But I have not been attempting to steal all of the men from you.   I’ve been focused on raising decent human beings that will contribute to society so they can work and pay into your Social Security.   I certainly don’t believe that people who don’t want kids should have kids but I believe mine are a blessing and a gift instead of a burden.   Oh, and btw, I also finished my education with an MPA and have been working my way up the career ranks. I pay for them.   So does their father and even though I am not married to their dad, he’s hands on with them.   So fear not. My children aren’t stealing men from you either.

    3. 54.3
      twinkle

      “Seems the only way to get a man these days is to be a fat single mother of four, they’re the ones getting all the men, they especially like to take the single childfree men and have them raise their massive broods. I think it’s a conspiracy by most women to get knocked up by as many men as possible (most women these days have kids by different fathers)”
        
      There is so much BS in what u wrote. And you don’t have a very nice attitude. Why do some women get Sooo angry at other women like this?? Most single men would, ceteris paribus, prefer a woman without children compared to a woman who had children from prior rships. So if u find u can’t have a suitable man for a rship, don’t blame the ‘fat single moms’ but work on whatever negative traits u have which are a turnoff, because u may have some major ones. Perhaps buy Evan’s book. 🙂
        
      There are plenty of wonderful men out there to date, so I don’t get why women get so competitive and hostile towards each other, as if good men are in such limited supply.

      1. 54.3.1
        Kimberley

        Good men are plentiful?!?! What planet do YOU live on?!!!!!?!!!!!?

    4. 54.4
      Kimberley

      Amen, Rachel! I felt the same as you at your age- and still do at 44. You’re right, these women do seem to act like predators (Sorry if I’m twisting your words) but I think that’s how you’re feeling. I don’t think women with kids should be allowed to snatch up all the childless men to add to their breeding experiment. I realize I will get a lot of backlash for this statement but I don’t care. I wish the U.S. Would get a clue like China, for instance, and exercise population control. We would ALL be better off for a variety of reasons.

      1. 54.4.1
        Stacy

        @Kimberley,

        As I said to Rachel and would now say to you, if all the childless men don’t want to date you, then you’re the one with the  problem. Stop blaming other women for your lack.

        1. Kimberley

          Stacy…there are not many men in my age group (40’s) who don’t have children. If I were in my 20’s, I’d agree with you for the most part. But at least in MY experience with the people I’VE known, it seems like men WITH children aren’t interested in women WITHOUT children. Also, over the years, I’ve actually heard a couple women I’ve known admit they consider it some kind of trophy to “get a man without kids to give them a baby”. Yes, I’ve actually heard that. And so what they do is manipulate the guys and turn on the charm to such an extreme level, that those of us women who DO NOT play games have no chance. To me, that’s sick. But regardless, adding that BS to my age, it DOES cut my dating/relationship pool drastically, which pisses me off.

    5. 54.5
      Stacy

      @Rachel,

      I have had two kids (with my ex husband, so no multiple daddies) and still have a 25/26 inch waist so far from fat    so sorry to disappoint.

      But if you can’t find a man, that’s a personal issue and has nothing to do with single mothers ‘taking all the men’. How ridiculous that you would even think that.

      Nothing wrong with having or not having kids and it’s a wonderful choice either way if it works for you but you need to figure out why you can’t find a man without having the ‘burden’ of kids which I find quite strange since I would think you would have more options.

  15. 55
    Natasja

    I am 40 years old and am very clear I do not want to be a parent, nor do I want to co-parent anyone else’s children.

    My biggest frustration is an observation I see all the time on match on the kids question for men when they answer DEFINITELY.   
    How lovely for you that you definitely want children in your late 30’s or 40’s – I feel like asking them who’s uterus is having that kid(s).

    I’m blown away by the gap in the dating site market for the no kids criteria.  

    1. 55.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Why get frustrated at reality? So 40 year old men want kids. As do many 40 year old women. How about instead of getting angry that people want different things than you, you invest your energy searching for the smaller percentage of men, who, like you, don’t want to be parents. Seems more productive, doesn’t it?

      1. 55.1.1
        starthrower68

        I would never begrudge an older guy the chance to have kids.   If he’s been a swinging bachelor lo these many years, it certainly is an exercise in maturity.   If he thinks the women he’s dated are full of drama, he should be the parent of a teenage girl.   ðŸ˜œ  

  16. 56
    Shley

    Hi Evan,

    I’ve followed your site before but I actually found this article after Googling “Dating Sites for people who don’t want children.” As a woman, it makes things even harder sometimes- I long to find a good man who doesn’t have or want kids- but it’s tough because most men assume I would have to want babies, as I’m young and Christian and “look like I should.” I’ve been questioned a lot by people but it’s a position I stand by.   But it does make meeting people difficult.   Who knows?   Maybe this thread could bring some of us together.   Cheers!  

  17. 57
    Leanne

    I am 24. I used to think I wanted children, because that is what society expects you to think you want. Around 20 I started having doubts and realizing kids do not solve problems. It wasn’t until recently I realized I really have a choice here. It saddens me the social stigma is so strong. I love people, I love children in small doses, and we do have a a choice here. Motherhood should not be something done by mistake or on a whim, or out of fear you will regret not doing it later in life, motherhood should be chosen not imposed upon. I feel it will be very difficult to find a man who loves me for me, not only my ability to procreate. The pool I am assuming is teeny tiny because I haven’t met ONE man who told me doesn’t want children. In any case I enjoy the quiet, free time 🙂 I know exactly what I want and I won’t make apologies for it. It is refreshing to see here, we are not alone. Few and far between, but not alone.

  18. 58
    Melody001

    Me! Date me! Lol jk. But I swear I was born with the ‘biological clock’. Everyone tells me “Oh it will happen” I HIGHLY doubt that. I’ll be 30 soon and the thought of ever having kids makes me sick. I would soon rather slit my wrists or murder Smurfs. “You’d made such a good mother” “Why don’t you want kids.” “Do you hate kids?!” No I like kids. I love my nephews and my friend’s kids. I’m great with kids. I was a well respected nanny for 11 years. But I would rather drink a gallon of bleach than push one out of my downstairs mix up and raise it for 18+ years. And I couldn’t half ass parenting. It’s either all or nothing. There is so much I want to accomplish in my life and having a kid would mean I’ll never get to do that.   

  19. 59
    Olivia

    I am a 32 year old woman and am 100% undecided on kids. I am in a relationship with a man who is “pretty sure” he does not want kids. What I am sure of is that I would not let go of an amazing relationship with a man I love in order to have kids. I would put “undecided” on my dating profile, however, because I would be open to dating a man who has kids. I think when women or men put a hard “no,” that would turn off a lot of parents who translate that to mean, “I hate kids.”

  20. 60
    Mary

    Hi Steve & Evan –

    I am a 37yr old woman who does not want children so I understand the struggle!

    Evan, I don’t mean this as a personal jab… your response to this is so off base. You can’t tell someone to change their values and settle just to open up their dating pool. It’s not like Steve is saying he doesn’t want to date someone who has a dog. Dating someone with children – when you don’t want them – will cause more problems than you can imagine. You will never treat your partners children they way they want you to and that will wear on them and the relationship. ALSO, if Steve dates someone with children and realizes it really is not for him he not only hurts himself and the woman – but her children too! You DO NOT enter a single woman’s life unless you are 100% sure about it and ready to take on the responsibility.

    I didn’t take Steve’s email as complaining that his pool was small. I took his email as he was looking for advice on how to meet like-minded women and you tell him to compromise?! Yikes.

    I agree that you need to be flexible with things like dating someone over weight because, as you said, a person can lose the weight. A mother can’t lose her kids and undo having giving birth! Huge difference here in compromises.

    Steve, stay strong and hold out for what you truly want. We are out there and worth waiting for.

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