How Childlessness Affects Your Relationship

December 5, 2018  |  
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childless by choice

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There’s nothing wrong with not having children. Plenty of couples opt not to have kids. Some people may say that not having kids is selfish, but I’d argue that the truly selfish thing would be to have kids if you don’t want them—then you may not make the greatest parents. Parenthood is a massive responsibility—the largest one a person can face in a lifetime. It shouldn’t be taken lightly. Nobody should have kids just because it’s “what everyone does” or because their family is pressuring them to do so. Procreation is a personal decision, and it shouldn’t be influenced by anyone outside of the couple. With that in mind, after much discussion, some couples decide that parenthood is not for them. This, of course, affects the marriage. But, for the record, having kids also greatly affects a marriage. Neither lifestyle is right or wrong—they’re just quite different. Here are ways not having kids affects a marriage.

childless by choice

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Couples friends change

A lot of your friends do have kids. That means their sleep schedules change, their priorities change, and truly their whole lives change. It seems as if they’re living in a different world from you and your partner. You do, ultimately, seek out couples’ friends who don’t have kids, just so you have more things in common in conversation.

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But you love your friends’ kids

The truth is, though, that you and your partner do love the children of your good friends who have children. You become sort of aunts and uncles to those kids. You do have plenty of little ones about whom you care plenty—they just aren’t your kids.

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No college funds or similar savings

You don’t have something like a college tuition fund to funnel your savings into. You’re fortunate enough to be gainfully employed and have more than you need, but you don’t have a next generation to pass it onto.

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So you donate elsewhere

You ultimately find other ways to make use of your excess funds. You have charitable instincts and you can express them in other ways—without a child. You may find a non-profit organization to which you donate, and with which you become quite involved.

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You have your mortality scare

It’s only natural, as you get a bit older, to have that mortality scare. You don’t have the comfort of knowing that you will live on through your kids. You didn’t even know that was comforting, until you didn’t have it.

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So you find a passion project

You and your partner find another way to live on. You take on a passion project. This could be the aforementioned charity. It could be through writing books or blogs, or creating art. Maybe you accept that having children is just a distraction from mortality, and that there is maturity in facing that reality without that distraction.

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Dealing with parent disapproval

Your parents may not take kindly to the news that they won’t get grandkids. They may inappropriately direct their disappointment at your partner. His parents, likewise, may be upset with you for not making them grandkids.

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Your parents get over it

Both of your parents get over it, I promise. Honestly, you made them sense mortality a bit, by not passing on the bloodline. That was hard for them. But they learn to cope in other ways, without grandkids.

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You can travel whenever

Work and finances allowing, you can sort of travel whenever you want. People with kids simply don’t have that luxury. Travel for them involves finding and paying babysitters.

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Friends with kids judge you for it

You can feel that your friends with kids judge you and your partner for your adventures. It may be their jealousy creeping up in odd ways. Either way, you feel odd sharing stories and photos from your trip, with a friend who has three toddlers hanging onto her.

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You have financial wiggle room

You ultimately have the funds to have more fun that your friends with kids. You can go out to dinner, go to more concerts, and so on.

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Not all friends have financial wiggle room

Out of necessity, you make some new couples friends who also have the financial wiggle room to do things with you. You don’t mean to leave your friends with kids behind but, they just always say no to your invitations.

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Your home is quiet and clean

Your home is just the way you want it. It’s clean and quiet. It has just the décor you like and no pink or plastic castles. Your home is your sanctuary.

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So you want to stay home

Because your home is so peaceful, you have very little tolerance for homes that aren’t peaceful. So, as a couple, you sort of agree you don’t want to visit the homes of friends with kids too often. When they invite you over, you pitch the idea of having them over instead.

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If it’s a joint decision, you’ll be fine

If you don’t have children because you both don’t want them, your marriage should remain pretty solid. You will see your friendships with other couples and your relationship with your family go through some changes but, remember that kids grow up, parents get older, and one day, everyone has an empty nest again—one way or another.

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