Fellow Child-free folk - Let's Chat: Do you feel it is risky being "out" these days?

Just finished reading this thread, and as a new breeder, I do want to offer a big "Good on ya" to all the CF folks. It's been mentioned here a few times, so I'll just quickly reiterate that we have enough damn people in the world. The CF choice should be downright lauded, if not at least accepted.

More immigration, less procreation, I would argue is a pretty defensible motto for the First World.

(Okay, but we had a girl—but ecologically speaking we've only replaced her mother, so we're not adding to the population! )

Anyway, we're going to Hawaii next month... I suppose I should steel myself and read the Babies-on-a-plane thread...

Edit: Uff da, just got through the part on the Plane Babiez thread where this post would have slotted right in.

I have the double pleasure of being spouse free and child free.

Commiserate with me please.

Why don't you get a wife?

Because I don't want to. So get off my case.

But you will get old and be alone.

So what?

But you need children to take care of you

Whoever guaranteed you that your offspring will take care of you?

The list goes on.

And I am damned tired of repeating the same answers for 19 years.

jeffsceu wrote:

I have the double pleasure of being spouse free and child free.

Commiserate with me please.

Why don't you get a wife?

Because I don't want to. So get off my case.

But you will get old and be alone.

So what?

But you need children to take care of you

Whoever guaranteed you that your offspring will take care of you?

The list goes on.

And I am damned tired of repeating the same answers for 19 years.

The funny thing is that in America I think that would be considered more acceptable than married and childfree. Married and childfree they wonder what the point of you getting married was. They question why you'd even be married in the first place if not to reproduce.

Hmmm, I'm not sure. Members of my social group all share birthdays from the late '70s and early '80s, and literally all but one of us are married or in a long term relationship. Probably half of us have kids (and about half of us have been divorced)... But it is far and away the single guy who gets the most questions and prying comments about when he's gonna stop being single.

Seth wrote:

Hmmm, I'm not sure. Members of my social group all share birthdays from the late '70s and early '80s, and literally all but one of us are married or in a long term relationship. Probably half of us have kids (and about half of us have been divorced)... But it is far and away the single guy who gets the most questions and prying comments about when he's gonna stop being single.

Yup. That's my experience.

jeffsceu wrote:
Seth wrote:

Hmmm, I'm not sure. Members of my social group all share birthdays from the late '70s and early '80s, and literally all but one of us are married or in a long term relationship. Probably half of us have kids (and about half of us have been divorced)... But it is far and away the single guy who gets the most questions and prying comments about when he's gonna stop being single.

Yup. That's my experience.

Getting prying questions is one thing. Living 50% of the societal ideal and being told there's no point to your marriage is more painful, I would argue. I love my wife dearly. 17 years together and she's still the best thing that's ever happened to me. Having someone tell you that taking care of and loving another person when it's the best thing about your life is really hurtful.

That's a fair argument, DSGamer; and as a child free, married person I share probably more of your experience here than jeffsceu's.

This thread has been around awhile so we may have gone over it already, but I've been told that the decision not to have children can be read as a direct and vicious insult to one's parents. That by not having kids, one has judged the job one's parents did lacking, to the point of not wanting to make those same mistakes.

Has anyone experienced that? I'm getting hints of it as we enter our seventh year of marriage without kids. If I'm skimming, let me know.

My own parents see any rejection of a life path similar to their own as a direct judgment of their own choices. They took it as an insult when my sister left the Catholic Church. They took it as an insult when she moved away from the town where she grew up (there is really very little in the way of fulfilling work in that town for anyone anymore, it's a wasteland of failed industry). They took it as an insult when she moved to Texas. I don't need to cover what they think of my life here. I am bitterly amused that the lament I hear from them is that what they gave us wasn’t good enough for us, when in reality, our choices and lives simply aren't good enough for them. It should be no surprise that we don’t want to stick around that kind of attitude.

DSGamer wrote:

Living 50% of the societal ideal and being told there's no point to your marriage is more painful, I would argue.

You're still living 50% of the societal ideal. Being older and unmarried means you're living 0% of the societal ideal. The instant assumption is that there must be something terribly wrong with the person otherwise they'd be married.

Additionally, being single makes it even more difficult to maintain relationships with married friends, something that goes well beyond just being the fifth wheel. I've lost several friends because their wives viewed me as a corrupting influence on their husbands solely because I was single.

Seth wrote:

That's a fair argument, DSGamer; and as a child free, married person I share probably more of your experience here than jeffsceu's.

This thread has been around awhile so we may have gone over it already, but I've been told that the decision not to have children can be read as a direct and vicious insult to one's parents. That by not having kids, one has judged the job one's parents did lacking, to the point of not wanting to make those same mistakes.

Has anyone experienced that? I'm getting hints of it as we enter our seventh year of marriage without kids. If I'm skimming, let me know.

Actually we were never asked by either set of parents if they did something wrong. That was the one line of questioning we were spared. But I've heard of that before, though, so others might have experienced that.

jeffsceu wrote:
Seth wrote:

Hmmm, I'm not sure. Members of my social group all share birthdays from the late '70s and early '80s, and literally all but one of us are married or in a long term relationship. Probably half of us have kids (and about half of us have been divorced)... But it is far and away the single guy who gets the most questions and prying comments about when he's gonna stop being single.

Yup. That's my experience.

So long as you are not knocking up every other woman you pick up or date for awhile, I am cool with it. Being cavalier with your seed can lead to numerous personal issues for you, and your several dozen children.

Other than that, I know many of us are unique in that we do not give a single holy hell what other people do with their lives. We adhere that as OW Holmes Jr. stated "The right to swing my fist begins at another man's nose." Swing away so long as I do not get hit.

KingGorilla wrote:

Other than that, I know many of us are unique in that we do not give a single holy hell what other people do with their lives. We adhere that as OW Holmes Jr. stated "The right to swing my fist ends at another man's nose." Swing away so long as I do not get hit.

ftfy

Whoops, to be fair I love nose punching fools.

OG_slinger wrote:
DSGamer wrote:

Living 50% of the societal ideal and being told there's no point to your marriage is more painful, I would argue.

You're still living 50% of the societal ideal. Being older and unmarried means you're living 0% of the societal ideal.

Not necessarily...

IMAGE(http://i1094.photobucket.com/albums/i453/czpv/hef_zps91e30377.jpg)

This might only be available to guys, but I think a lot of it depends on how you come off. Sometimes the assumption is that there something wrong with you; but sometimes the assumption is that you just enjoy the bachelor lifestyle too much?

As a singleton het cis male CF, I don't know--I could see how being married is harder.

CheezePavilion wrote:

Not necessarily...

[Hef pic]

And the assumption behind that pic is exactly why I wrote this:

OG_slinger wrote:

Additionally, being single makes it even more difficult to maintain relationships with married friends, something that goes well beyond just being the fifth wheel. I've lost several friends because their wives viewed me as a corrupting influence on their husbands solely because I was single.

OG_slinger wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:

Not necessarily...

[Hef pic]

And the assumption behind that pic is exactly why I wrote this:

OG_slinger wrote:

Additionally, being single makes it even more difficult to maintain relationships with married friends, something that goes well beyond just being the fifth wheel. I've lost several friends because their wives viewed me as a corrupting influence on their husbands solely because I was single.

But that's not about the societal ideal. Sure both suck, but I think there's a difference between being told "you have too much fun for us to hang around with you" and "that human relationship that's really important to you? Yeah...there's no point to it"

As a side note, even people who get married and procreate can still get the pressure/disapproval thing from family. A close friend comes from a large, religious family. She and her husband had a single (absolutely wonderful) daughter in their late twenties, and are satisfied there. Her parents are resentful that she didn't go the same route that they and most of her siblings have, popping out kids on the regular starting before their 20th birthdays.

Oh, totally. I forgot to mention that my parents disapprove of my sister's decision to only have one child.

In other words, a parent's choices are the best (even the ones they lament) and any deviation is an insult.

Honestly when it's generalized like that, it makes it more palatable to me than when it's focused solely on the childbirth thing. It makes it a tribalism issue.

Next time you get asked why you decided not to have kids, why not reply with science!

Parenthood and Marital Satisfaction: A Meta-analytic review wrote:

This meta-analysis finds that parents report lower marital satisfaction compared with nonparents (d=−.19, r=−.10). There is also a significant negative correlation between marital satisfaction and number of children (d=−.13, r=−.06). The difference in marital satisfaction is most pronounced among mothers of infants (38% of mothers of infants have high marital satisfaction, compared with 62% of childless women). For men, the effect remains similar across ages of children. The effect of parenthood on marital satisfaction is more negative among high socioeconomic groups, younger birth cohorts, and in more recent years. The data suggest that marital satisfaction decreases after the birth of a child due to role conflicts and restriction of freedom.

Source. (Need a JSTOR Account for the full article)

Jeff Simmermon, who writes funny essays and does funny standup, has a great new piece up on his blog.

Five of my friends have had babies in the last two weeks. The birth of a baby is supposed to be a happy thing, but it can also be a funeral for a friendship. It’s great that everyone I know is immediately, rapturously in love with their child, and I wouldn’t wish anything else for them. I see the joy and happiness that my sister and her husband feel now that my nephew is here, and I genuinely want everyone I care about to feel that, too. But it’s not like I stopped needing someone to hang out with, talk to, commiserate with about the crushing grind that is art and performance in NYC, get super baked on pot cookies and watch sci-fi flicks together.

Read the rest: Doin’ It All For A Baby That Can’t Love Me Back [andiamnotlying.com].

Edwin wrote:

Jeff Simmermon, who writes funny essays and does funny standup, has a great new piece up on his blog.

Five of my friends have had babies in the last two weeks. The birth of a baby is supposed to be a happy thing, but it can also be a funeral for a friendship. It’s great that everyone I know is immediately, rapturously in love with their child, and I wouldn’t wish anything else for them. I see the joy and happiness that my sister and her husband feel now that my nephew is here, and I genuinely want everyone I care about to feel that, too. But it’s not like I stopped needing someone to hang out with, talk to, commiserate with about the crushing grind that is art and performance in NYC, get super baked on pot cookies and watch sci-fi flicks together.

Read the rest: Doin’ It All For A Baby That Can’t Love Me Back [andiamnotlying.com].

Truth. It's rare that you ever return to having the same friendship you did np before the baby. And that's assuming they don't move on or get too busy anyway.

DSGamer wrote:
Edwin wrote:

Jeff Simmermon, who writes funny essays and does funny standup, has a great new piece up on his blog.

Five of my friends have had babies in the last two weeks. The birth of a baby is supposed to be a happy thing, but it can also be a funeral for a friendship. It’s great that everyone I know is immediately, rapturously in love with their child, and I wouldn’t wish anything else for them. I see the joy and happiness that my sister and her husband feel now that my nephew is here, and I genuinely want everyone I care about to feel that, too. But it’s not like I stopped needing someone to hang out with, talk to, commiserate with about the crushing grind that is art and performance in NYC, get super baked on pot cookies and watch sci-fi flicks together.

Read the rest: Doin’ It All For A Baby That Can’t Love Me Back [andiamnotlying.com].

Truth. It's rare that you ever return to having the same friendship you did np before the baby. And that's assuming they don't move on or get too busy anyway.

True. But how many of your friendships with childless folk remained static and unchanging, and how many have evolved or ebbed and flowed with time/distance/non-child-related life-events?

I'm guessing the answer is "All of them have changed, and none of them have remained the same". It is for me.

Jonman wrote:

True. But how many of your friendships with childless folk remained static and unchanging, and how many have evolved or ebbed and flowed with time/distance/non-child-related life-events?

I'm guessing the answer is "All of them have changed, and none of them have remained the same". It is for me.

This. All of my friendships have evolved, babies or no babies, there's been lots of change. In me. In them.

I think when it comes to babies it's a faster and more obvious change. Your friends go from 'no baby' to 'sweet jeebus, we have a baby' in what seems like no time at all. That's a fast change. And even that friendship was evolving and changing before the baby came along.

Some of my friends with babies are still the very cool and awesome people they always were, and I still see them - just a bit less than usual. Other of my newly babied friends have changed a lot and/or disappeared into parenthood (and may return at some point praying for sleep and an uninterrupted bathroom break).

I expect change as a matter of course.

Not sure if it has been mentioned or not, but we were able to find other Child Free couples using Meetup. We've joined two different DINK (Dual Income No Kids) groups when we lived in OC, CA and now that we live in the Cincinnati area. It's nice to do activities with other grown ups who don't have children. I love my friends who do have children, but it's also nice to have the alternative.

As a parent of two boys let me weigh in a bit.

I have some single friends I love like brothers and sisters, I have relationships with other members of my family. The minute my son was placed into my arms, I realized that I would push any one of those people in front of a moving bus if it would save my son. It's a deeply intense and deeply personal reaction that if you haven't experienced it can not be described.

I try really hard to maintain my single friend friendships, but there's just not enough hours in the day. Assuming 8 hours of sleep I get 16 hours to play with. Weekdays 10 of them are spent at work. Then you know I actually want to spend some time with my kids, so of the 6 hours remaining I try to give them at least 2 on a weekday. Now I have 4 hours where I have to eat, shower, and dammit, I want to do my own thing for a while like read a book or play a game, not counting any house maintenance that needs to be done.

I want to spend time with you, my single friends, but I basically have to slot you into a 2-3 hour block on the weekend, and if you're not available, well... that's how it goes. The funny thing is that I would have no problem with any of my friends coming over and just hanging out. We could chat or whatever while I clean the kitchen. But they aren't interested in that for obvious reasons, so I don't know what to tell you.

ProTip for single folks maintaining relationship with married/kids folk: Put something on the calendar. I'm serious, arrange a freaking meeting with me. Call me, sass me, email me, force me to block space. It won't happen on its own because I'm juggling a dozen more things than you are.

bandit, I don't know what your intent was in posting, but your expressed perspective reinforces just about every negative view that I have of people with children. I hope the rest of that precious free time of yours is spent doing constructive things, because this just smacks of superlative jerk-assness. You're one step short of saying, "All you folks talking about that thing you have in common? Well, you're wrong!"

Really dude. If you want to discuss anything to improve your understanding of the perspective of folks different from you, start doing it. Otherwise, I'll be the first to step up here and say that I don't welcome your perspective on this topic and its inherent churlishness.

ianunderhill wrote:

bandit, I don't know what your intent was in posting, but your expressed perspective reinforces just about every negative view that I have of people with children. I hope the rest of that precious free time of yours is spent doing constructive things, because this just smacks of superlative jerk-assness. You're one step short of saying, "All you folks talking about that thing you have in common? Well, you're wrong!"

Really dude. If you want to discuss anything to improve your understanding of the perspective of folks different from you, start doing it. Otherwise, I'll be the first to step up here and say that I don't welcome your perspective on this topic and its inherent churlishness.

While I on the other hand thought it was great. It was direct and honest, but I found nothing jerk-assness about it at all. I didn't think he said anything about anyone being wrong. He just laid out how things are for him. The only spot where he could be telling us we're wrong is in the 'you don't want to come over and hang out while I clean the kitchen' and I don't think he's wrong about that. That's how friends who are both parents hang out a lot of the time from what I see, when they can get together while doing something with the kids.

IMAGE(http://i1094.photobucket.com/albums/i453/czpv/TMPD_zps54f5843a.jpg)

I think his message is that if you want to stay in the life of someone with a family, it's a lot easier to do that if you act like you're part of their family than if you wait around for them to have a chance to act like they don't have a family.

I am deeply sorry that my suggestion that when you want to maintain a friendship with an adult who is responsible for the lives of others who cannot care for themselves that you may have to take more Initiative in reaching out to them then you would with other people. My comment was a response to people that feel left out when their friends get married and have children. Don't think that we aren't aware that we aren't spending time with you and that we don't feel bad about it

If you feel the need to make comments about churlishness in reading into my motives in the future please feel free to private message. This is the second or third thread where I've had to have you come in and question my motives instead of actually trying to talk about the point I'm attempting to make.

I apologize the churlish comment just really rubbed me the wrong way because I wasn't trying to be a jerk I was trying to explain how to approach me successfully and how to be successful in maintaining friendships