June 30, 2006

Childfree Dating

by Guest Contributor
Gloria MacDonald
Perfect Partners – the personal relationship executive search firm

The desire and decision to have children or not have children is a huge issue in the dating and relationship world. I speak from a very significant amount of experience on this from two points of view: first, as a woman who is childfree, and who made a conscious decision to be childfree, and has been through the mid-life dating experience. And second, as the owner of a dating service that caters to 40+ professionals, who has interviewed literally hundreds of single men and women, both with and without children; some wanting to have children and some not wanting to have children.

I’m amazed at the number of divorced people with children, who don’t want to meet someone because they haven’t had children. I often meet single parents, who are looking for a new partner, who tell me that they feel someone who hasn’t had children just couldn’t relate to their lifestyle and wouldn’t be able to relate to their children. Fortunately, I have plenty of personal experience, and experience with clients, to know this doesn’t have to be the case.

I’m thrilled to be in a relationship with a wonderful husband and an 18 year old step-son. My husband’s son was 15 when we first met and we’ve had a fantastic relationship from day one. We’re good “buds”. Sometimes we even gang up on his dad together. I’ve always loved kids and related to them really well. I’ve also had a very successful, demanding career, which I’ve loved, and I’ve never had that burning desire to have my own children. In fact, I’ve always known that I really didn’t want to have my own children. Being a step-mom to a teenager, who spends every weekend with us, is absolutely the best of all worlds to me!

I have a couple who got married just four months ago. I probably spent at least 20 minutes on the phone with him, talking him into meeting her. He was terribly concerned that she would never be able to understand him and his lifestyle because he had two teenage daughters, and she didn’t have any children. Here they are two years later very happily married.

Obviously, not every situation is the same. I also have plenty of childfree clients who feel that they really don’t want to meet someone with children, or at least with children who are not grown and out of the house. In these cases the childfree person usually feels that they wouldn’t relate that well to kids, and/or their lifestyle is such that it would have to change too dramatically to accommodate a family with children.

There’s no right or wrong answer to the question of to have children, or not to have children. Whatever the person’s desire and decision is, it’s critical to take this into account in the dating and relationship process.

At Perfect Partners we take these personal preferences into account in our matching process. Our service is patterned after the model of an executive search firm. Each client is unique. Therefore we offer a personalized service and take a proactive approach to finding your Perfect Partner. Instead of just relying on clients in our own database, we search through a wide web of contacts, referrals and resources, including specific advertising for individual clients. We’re committed to finding your "perfect partner".

The desire for companionship and love are basic to our natures and fundamental to our well being. I believe that the "perfect partner" is out there for anyone who has a sincere desire to find him/her.

I do believe that the "perfect partner" is out there for you - that unique match that feels like your favorite pair of old slippers, that special someone who fits like the piece of a puzzle. My goal is to help you find your special someone to share your laughter, joy, adventure and special moments with.

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twiga92 said...

This is definitely an issue that needs to be discussed prior to marriage. My husband and I were quite pleased to discover when we were engaged that neither of us wanted children. At that time, I was of the mindset that I would probably have children because my husband would want them. When the discussion came up and we discovered that neither of us really wanted children, the light came on that we didn't have to have kids after all. It was a choice we could make and a choice we both wanted. After 8 years of marriage, we are still confident of our decision and our marriage is solid.

NikkiJ said...

When I met my husband, I was very relieved he did not want children. In fact I was the one thinking, at that time, that I might have children. He'd been married before and they had both agreed they didn't want kids. She changed her mind over time, but was very passive-aggressive about it, never really coming out and saying so.

When he started dating again, before we met, he mentioned the number of women he met who seemed only to be searching for a father for their children, which of course sent him in completely the opposite direction. I was very relieved he didn't have any children, and think it would probably have made a difference as to whether we became a couple of not. I did not want to take on step children - of any age. For the record, he would have had them if I had really wanted to and this was clear when we discussed the subject. I find that many men actually don't want to have children deep down, but will do so if their spouse really wants one. I didn't want my husband to do anything unless he really wanted to - particularly when the consequences were so great.

We've been married three wonderful fun years and we are very happy with our decision not to have children. We met through match.com in 1999 - A real Internet success story. In that way and others, we're a fairly non-typical couple.

nomadshan said...

twiga92 - Dave + I had almost the same experience! We each assumed the other would want kids, and were willing to have them, then discovered after we were married (embarrassing) that neither of us really wanted or needed them. Ding!

nikkij - Congrats on a great match!

Gloria - If I were in a position to use your service today (I'm not - sorry!), I would definitely be in the group of people who don't even want to meet someone with children. Selfish? I suppose. I'd be looking for a partner, though, not an Insta-Family.

Anonymous said...

Twiga - You go girl -- Tom and I have been married 8 years too!

Nikki - Thanks for sharing about how you and your husband met on Match.com. Hearing other people's personal relationship success stories after meeting online really helps normalize it.

Nomad - One of the women I have met through my local No Kidding chapter is adamant that single childfree women should steer clear of becoming a step-parent. Would you care to elaborate - perhaps in a front page post?

VictoriaM said...

I remember going on speed dates and specifically mentioning I was not interested in children, only to be matched to men who had their own children! I don't know if they thought I just didn't want to have my own and that I would be okay with theirs, but that isn't the case. I totally agree with nomadshan, I was looking for a partner and not wanting children at all definitely made it a challenge. Fortunately I found one through No Kidding so the issue of children became a complete non-issue! How lucky was that?!

Boxing Tomboy said...

Hooking up with an insta-family? No thanks. Not only is there the problem of having to adjust to kids, there's the problem of dealing with the other parent of those kids. I'm not interested with dealing with someone's ex-wife or baby's mama drama.

Logical guy said...

As a man (42) who has no children, and has had a vasectomy, dating is the number one issue for me in terms of difficulty being childfree. Basically, I choose to not date mothers, and it makes no difference whether she has young children or even adult children.

So given that about 3/4 of women my age have or want children, that means that I have had to be more active in the singles scene (whatever that is defined to be) with lots of disappointment when I find that they have or want children.

Online dating is easier, since most profiles provide details of how many children a person has, but online dating presents other problems. It is difficult to judge a person when given a profile.

I am fortunate that I recently met a woman who is "childless by circumstance" so I am hoping my single days are over.

www.SheDumpedMe.net said...

I do NOT want kids . com !! (100% FREE)

The world's only 100% FREE dating site for the select few that do NOT have or want kids:


Instant full membership. No games.

( Just my way of trying to find, and helping others like me, find someone on this planet that does NOT have or want kids. )

www.SheDumpedMe.net said...

I do NOT want kids . com !! (100% FREE)

The world's only 100% FREE dating site for the select few that do NOT have or want kids:


Instant full membership. No games.

( Just my way of trying to find, and helping others like me, find someone on this planet that does NOT have or want kids. )

Ms Dee said...

Okay, here's my story.

I am a woman, I have just turned 27 and I'm in the middle of a though break up. Some of the arguments my (now ex-)boyfriend uses to validate the abrupt ending of our relationship, are related to his desire to have children. Or rather, the fact I desire NOT to have children!

According to him, we are 'too different' to have a succesful relationship. I know that's not entirely true. I didn't have a chance to ask him what he meant by that, but I have no doubts his behavior is strongly related to his desire to become a dad and my general dislike for children and motherhood.

I realized more than ever you have to be on the same page when it comes to your expectations of 'family life'. My expectations of 'family life' were a nice relationship with an attractive and intelligent guy, two nice fluffy cats and a nice, big dog. Things always become complicated when one wants to pass their genes on and the other, doesn't. Strangely enough I have been considering having children with him- I just wasn't ready yet and wasn't sure I was ever going to be. To people dead-set on giving birth or fathering children, THAT'S the sign to move on.
I learned my lesson the hard way.

In the future I will date men who aren't desperate to become a dad, ONLY. I really, honestly don't want to end up in this situation again, EVER.

This is a warning to whomever may read it: even if you love someone, do not carry on if you're not on the same page- it's not worth the stress and the drama. It's not worth getting dumped over. I feel like SUCH a stupid little cow for ever dating him at all right now. I have many regrets.

To give you an idea what a conflict between two people who are NOT on the same page when it comes to children looks like: my ex couldn't deal with any sort of critism towards little children AT ALL. When I said I hated little children in waiting rooms screaming and moaning for hours, I was the evil one. I was inconsiderate, rude and heartless. It was awful watching a grown man throwing a fit over children that weren't even his own! He made me feel like a mean and evil-spirited childhater during those fights and although I did not feel guilty at all, I did feel hurt. I am not a monster for saying I don't like small children!Trust me: you don't HAVE, WANT or NEED to deal with that, ever.

And that, my friends, are my two pence. ;)

Anonymous said...

Dear Ms. Dee,
Thank you for sharing your story here. I have let this blog go, just had to move on. I wish I had the readership to do this comment justice. It could help so many.

I will forward your comment to Gloria who contributed this post. She is a professional match-maker.

Thank you for perusing this blog for a topic that you can relate to. It was my hope that the two years we spent on this collaborative team blog would bring value that was timeless.

My heart goes out to you. Thank you for sharing your life lesson here.

I am blogging over at "Childfree by Choice" with my friend Laura Scott. She is about to publish her book. She was a contributing blogger here on this site. Check out the link in my Blogger profile. I think the right category for me is "Childless by Circumstance", but I really feel that I had some choice in my circumstances!

Anonymous said...

The world's only 100% free CHILDFREE dating site for the select few that do NOT have or want kids:


Child free dating. Instant full membership. No games.

( Just my way of trying to find, and helping others like me, find someone on this planet that does NOT have or want kids. )

Anonymous said...

The world's only 100% free CHILDFREE dating site for the select few that do NOT have or want kids:


Child free dating. Instant full membership. No games.

( Just my way of trying to find, and helping others like me, find someone on this planet that does NOT have or want kids. )

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me said...

It is indeed a thing to talk about before hand. But I have very bad experiences with that too. My ex-husband agreed on the childfree thing, but changed more and more over the years, like some kind of hormonal surge kicked in.
At the other hand I suspect he always wanted kids (he came from a baby-hungry culture) but was just in love and agreed too easily because he didn't want to loose me.
And that is a thing that happens too often. People think the other will change over time, or worse: that they can change them. The same with him, he thought he could change me.
So that was a waste of 8 years!

But another thing: when you're really young, lets say, early 20's it's something you don't even think of yet. Some people know from early on, but not everybody. Mostly at that age you're studying, working, trying to build up a life. Not thinking about kids. Maybe you don't even have a partner yet.
But the problem is, if you do, you still change so much, how can you know what you really want a few years later.

me said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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