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. 141
    Vox

    I am a little surprised at the number of women who are saying that a man can be amazing even if he doesn’t want kids.

    Newsflash- men who don’t want kids are inherently selfish.   These are the kind of men who want you to “add to their lifestyle” without reciprocating.    These men are as undatable to me as broke men.   No bueno!

    1. 141.1
      Daniel

      I feel your response is definitely catered more toward yourself you want to have children you want to raise a family and that’s amazing. For you a man who wants to focus only on the woman he loves as opposed to spreading that Focus love and affection to a family AKA Wife and Kids would definitely unsatisfactory for YOU!!! As a man in this lifestyle I will say there are those that make the choice mainly for selfish reasons I don’t think that’s the majority. But I also think there are way too many men and women out there who shouldn’t be parents who don’t have it their psychological makeup those people I don’t think it’s selfishness it’s more a selfless Act. Part of me wishes I was in the majority who wanted all those things just to be normal and to make it easier to find a soulmate but I know in my heart he’s not me. To avoid all the criticism and hateful comments from people like yourself just don’t understand and so because you don’t understand you criticize. I’m a good guy have a great job lots of love and affection to give to that special woman but because of my child free choice I struggle to find love.

  2. 142
    ss

    I am an attractive, loving women. Still, I never wanted children. There was never even a day where it crossed my mind. I found a man in my late 30s who was without children and did not want them either. There are plenty of us!My advice? Hold out for what you want. Be honest about it too. Dont say what you think people want to hear. Having a position on something makes it easier to weed people out and find who is a good match.  Every moment you spend compromising your wants with someone “pretty good” is a moment you lose with meeting the right one. Let your true self shine through.

    1. 142.1
      Judy

      thanks for giving me hope. I’m 27 and I have guys literally cancel on plans to get coffee after they find out I don’t want kids. I know it’s for the best since it is a huge deal breaker for me, but sometimes I feel men see me as a baby factory and I’m doomed to be alone

      1. 142.1.1
        Daniel

        Goodluck Judy send some of those happy thoughts to me as well I’m going through the same struggle with you

    2. 142.2
      MilkyMae

      Yes. Some want kids and some don’t . Honesty is the best policy. The scary people are the ones who know what they want but don’t reveal their true wishes to potential partners.

  3. 143
    Bret

    I am a 36 year old man who absolutely refuses to even date, since I am totally against ever having any children, no matter what. Good luck finding a woman who doesnt want kids, so any man out there who feels like I do, and will never compromise on that anti kid stance, resign yourself to being alone and bitter forever. Thats the way it is. Life sucks, its totally unfair, and there is not a damn thing you can do about it. I live life in a substance using haze, devoid of any and all meaningful relationships, because to me, no such thing exists. Not without kids. and I hate kids. Period. I love meth and beer and weed. I hate women and kids. But most of all myself….

    1. 143.1
      Anna

      Why do you want to find a woman if you hate them ? I don’t get it .

  4. 144
    toolate

    wishing now that i HAD wanted kids. maybe i’d be in a loving marriage and fitting in with my family instead of alone and lonely and too old to attract the kind of man i wanted.  

  5. 145
    Tommica

    Why have kids and can’t support them? Why keep having kids for everyone else to support,all because that suppose to be the thing to do, or just to increase your chances in finding a mate. Now to me thats selfish!!!

  6. 146
    Judy

    The struggle is out there for women too. I’ve come to this site literally through google search because even though I specify in dating apps I DON’T want kids, and I bring up my decision pretty much on the first date, it seems like men in their 30s are either looking specifically for the “right” womb or they thing I don’t really mean it and I’ll change my mind in the future. I want companionship, a travel partner… maybe a dog. I didn’t think it would be so hard to find

    1. 146.1
      Nissa

      Check out Childfree and Dating on Facebook….plenty of people there from all over. FB has several groups for the Childfree.

  7. 147
    Sharni

    I’m 33 years old. No children. Had my tubes tied at 21. Spent 2 years convincing medical practitioners to let that happen. I also have no intention of adopting or being a step-mother. I have been told my many people over the course of my life that I’m selfish for not wanting children. I have been broken up with because I dont want children. I have had family members tell me I’ll never receive the “true love” of a child and will grow old and lonely and full of regret. In past relationships, I have had strangers express concerns for the happiness of my boyfriend although I have always been upfront about it and any man who dated me, did so knowing I wouldn’t have children.

    In all honesty, not having children was the best thing I’ve ever done. I dont care what anyone thinks and I dont care if I end up alone. You know why? Because I did what was right for me. I have no problems with being alone, if that is what happens, because I dont rely on other people for my source of happiness.

    Every man and woman deserves to be able to freely make choices that are right for them. Anyone who has an opposing opinion on the matter should keep their noses out of other people’s business.

    My father told me some crude but very true advice when I was a young adult. He said, “Kiddo, If they’re not financing you, feeding you or f*king you then they’re opinions do not matter. And when it comes to your own body, no one’s opinions matter”.

    There will be a romantic partner out there who you click with and shares your feelings regarding children and would never dream of making you feel belittled because of your choices.

  8. 148
    Amber

    There are plenty of women who don’t have children and who don’t want children. I’m hesitant to date a man with kids because baby mama will never go away and she’s made sure he will never have anything real with anyone else by forcing him into parenthood and taking all of his money. I don’t have children because I wasn’t ready or able to be a good mother when I was drinking every weekend, when I was broke and in debt, when I didn’t have a stable home situation, when I was busy getting my life together, etc. Now that I am ready, I’m having a hard time meeting men I’m attracted to that didn’t get suckered into taking responsibility for another woman’s children, some of which are not his biologically. I may like these men, they may be great matches for me otherwise, but I refuse to come in third place (baby mama first, kids second, me third). Nobody who values themselves or believes they have options would deliberately put themselves in third place.

    At this point, I am open to not having children of my own. Too many parents have ruined their partners, their children, society, and anybody who is foolish enough to date them and their kids. Parenthood is used as a means to manipulate, to extort men, to play the victim card, to collect government cheese and to have little people to boss around so mom feels important. No thanks. If I get a hair up my ass to have a family, I can become a foster mom down the road. And that won’t be hard to do since most children are in desperate need of a good home, whether or not they live with their parents.

  9. 149
    sylvana

    I just saw this post because someone commented on it. Am I missing part of this post? There were two types of people mentioned, but only one type listed.

    If I’m not missing anything… I’m a bit shocked by this one.

    Did we seriously just throw CHILDREN into the same category as a rare passion, a PREFERENCE?

    A rare passion, a preference can be compromised on. There is no such thing as compromising about being a parent.

    True, those green foods won’t have their feelings hurt if someone doesn’t care to eat them or care to have them around all that much. But children?

    While I agree with the advise for a rare passion or preference, basically telling people that they will have to compromise and tolerate children/being a parent or accept the fact that they’re not likely to find a partner is rather cruel toward the children.

    Children are NOT vegetables, hobbies, sports, causes, etc. This advise, if taken to heart, is likely to cause a bunch of people who have no business being parents into a situation where they end up in such a role. The children are the ones who’ll suffer. Tofu won’t.

    While reality remains that these people will have a small chance of finding partners, a strong caution to truly think this through should have been advised, since children ARE involved. And maybe a bit of compassion for people in this situation, instead of the usual “well, you’re the idiot ruining your chances of having a good relationship, because you insist that others share your rare passion/preference for not wanting children”.

    As I said, if I’m missing part of the response, I’m sorry. But if this was the complete advise, it was way off the mark.

  10. 150
    Jamie

    I’m 48 and dating a woman with a teenager. I never wanted kids and it would have been way easier dating a woman without them. Can’t speak for all teenagers obviously but her son is a nice kid deep down. But too often he’s disrespectful, has a dirty mouth, and has some unfounded sense of entitlement, and is lazy.   As a result, peace and quiet is a rare commodity when he’s around.   I personally can’t even fathom wanting kids. But that’s me.

  11. 151
    Lynn Petronella

    Not having children is a choice two people make, in a world that still underpays women and expects men to be loyal we have burdened society with expectations that seem impossible to meet. Your website while insightful is impractical having one child is over $200K if you are being cheap. Most salaires do not allow for even one child to be born. We are allowing everyone from other countries to get free everything here while hard working people who want kids have to pay for them your myopic view of this huge decision is impractical. Marriage is hard, children are non refundable. There are so many orphans and homeless kids in America today if you want a family, then you really have to be aware of the social and financial dynamics which more often are not in favor of marriage or kids we need political action that helps families and children in our own country. Housing cars, health care and education are astronomical I dontknow what planet you live on but not having children can be a practical decision there are plenty of great things you can do with your life think about that and helping the children in this country who are in desperate need who are legal Americans is something that needs addressing. A voice from the crowd

  12. 152
    Daniel

    I definitely agree I’m 34 and have been single for 8 years it’s definitely not a choice you take lightly. I had my only child in my early twenties though I love her to death part of me wishes I would have been more careful. It took having a child to realize I just wasn’t psychologically built to be a parent. Me and my daughter’s relationship is more a close relative and and friend . Though I’m very much a part of my daughter’s life pay child support and enjoy the time I have with her. We live in different states so I get her several times a year.   I know she’ll be my only child. I know I’m not your normal child-free person. I have so much respect for those you made that choice early in life. It’s definitely not an easy choice it brings upon you criticism and definitely limits your dating pool. Part of me wishes I was a part of the majority it’s so hard to find someone I’m attracted to and is child-free it’s a very lonely choice I don’t think anybody would make lightly. My daughter on a regular basis ask me what I’m going to get married I think mainly because my mother just got remarried. My response is always the same I hope so someday!!!

  13. 153
    Christian

    Everyone is always entitled to there own opinion but if a person chooses to not want kids, man or woman, why does it matter to anyone else? Do you also get upset and have your day ruined if a gay couple in California gets married? From a man’s perspective, if you truly don’t want kids, then get a vasectomy, I did in my early 30s. Is it more challenging to find woman to date or potentially a long term relationship, yup, sure is. We all make choices and simply have to own up to the choices we made/make. This should be talked about very early, like day one, and only then should one move forward. Does then someone who adopts still get labeled selfish if it’s not there own? If a person knows they are not the parent type; then they are doing the right thing.

  14. 154
    Laura

    I guess you can say I’m a rare bird, I’m 31 independent female and I’ve never wanted children. I adore kids, I have a niece and god daughters I care deeply for but I have no desire to have children. I started dating a man with a child a few months ago, I’ve always stayed away from men with children. But I gave it chance. I’ve always dated older men, and at this age bracket I am finding it difficult to find men without children or that do not want children. Things are going okay, I still have not come to terms with the fact he has a 4 year old and he’s 40. I don’t know if I can settle down with him. Not sure what to do at this point .

  15. 155
    JJMovedToParis

    I’m blessedly single, in my late 30s and child free by choice:) Kudos to everyone in the comments that is living life on their own terms! I don’t want children and never have. The greatest love that you can experience is Love for yourself. Sacrificing your happiness because you assume that what someone else wants will make you happy is very self depricating. Alone does not equal loneliness. Seek to build an existence that brings you joy, purpose, fulfillment and peace; whether that includes a spouse, children or not is up to you. Lets stop trying to make those that do not want children feel bad about it. I think its worse to have kids and not have the ability to properly raise them..hence a main reason why the foster care/adoption system exists.

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