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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

SL Letter of the Day: Not Wanting Kids—Your Own, Someone Else's—Doesn't Make Someone an Asshole

Posted by on Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 2:17 PM

Stop being so hard on people who don't want to partners that have children. (You tore into someone in this week's podcast, you've made the same point in other podcasts.) I have chosen not to have children, I don't want to date people with children. That doesn't make me an asshole, that makes me aware of who I am and what I want.

I was a stepmom in my twenties, and I could tell you stories that would make your hair curl. Do you know how hard it is being a step parent? That fine line you have to constantly walk between being an authority and not being parent. Dealing with the ex or exes who will be a part of your relationship forever (just pray that are sane and rational). People expecting you to be responsible for the kids and then dismissing you because you aren't their parent.

It can fray your nerves Dan, I know from experience, I vowed never to do that again.

Those of us who don't want to date people with kids are not all douchebags, assholes and bitches. Isn't it better that I don't get involved with a man who has kids knowing it would make and everyone else unhappy? How is that a douchebag move? Dating someone with a kid IS NOT EASY, it comes with an entire hotel of baggage. Some people can handle it, some I can't. Stop judging the people who don't want that.

I apologize for the vehemence in this email. For my entire adult life I have dealt with people calling me every name under the sun and accusing me of all sorts of evils because I decided to commit the horrendous of crime of not wanting children. To hear this come from you was disappointing.

Tired Ex Stepmom Tellin' You


Comments (190) RSS

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Foghorn Leghorn 1
Less coffee. More therapy.
Posted by Foghorn Leghorn on February 29, 2012 at 2:27 PM · Report this
Don't I know it. The culture is filled with people who bought into the whole media-reinforced suburban dream of a beautiful house full of happy babies on a quiet street, then discovered the chaos, conflict, pressure, and stunted dreams of the reality. Rather than admit that they were taken, they double down, so people who DIDN'T make the choice all their friends, relatives, and cultural icons urged them to make become the "self-centered," "anti-family" enemy. Not that anyone who defies cultural norms necessarily has an easy time of it. But if you're happy surrendering your own life to the needs, dreams, and future of kids that YOU chose to have, I don't see why it's necessary to condemn people who chose differently--unless it makes you feel superior, of course.
Posted by maddogm13 on February 29, 2012 at 2:31 PM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 3

I didn't hear the podcast, so I only have her side of this, but she's absolutely correct. She knows she doesn't want to date or get involved with people who have kids. That doesn't make her evil or an ass, it makes her responsible and wise.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on February 29, 2012 at 2:32 PM · Report this
But haven't you heard? WE'RE RUNNING OUT OF BABIES!!!
Posted by catsnbanjos on February 29, 2012 at 2:33 PM · Report this
Dougsf 5
Her defensiveness tells me it's likely her social circle consists mostly of people with children.
Posted by Dougsf on February 29, 2012 at 2:34 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 6
It's always the same with these devil worshipers, isn't it?
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on February 29, 2012 at 2:35 PM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 7
Meh, kids. I think not wanting them means you're sane.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty on February 29, 2012 at 2:35 PM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 8
I hate children and am honest about it and very upfront with that little tid bit about myself. The first time a guy I date mentions wanting kids it's a deal breaker for me.

Though I don't hate people who have children I certianly don't want anything to do with their kids. So apparently that makes me a monster in "white middle class suburbia".
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on February 29, 2012 at 2:37 PM · Report this
Collin 9
Posted by Collin on February 29, 2012 at 2:41 PM · Report this
sirkowski 10
Posted by sirkowski on February 29, 2012 at 2:43 PM · Report this
It's sort of like not wanting to date someone with a disabled sibling. Or a sickly parent. Because hey, who the fuck wants to confront the reality that part of life is a shared responsibility for the dependent people around us? I mean, it's totally healthy and well-adjusted to just sort of skirt that shit as long as possible.
Posted by hedo-mania on February 29, 2012 at 2:43 PM · Report this
The only thing more annoying than people who talk about their kids too much is people who talk about not having kids too much.
Posted by giffy on February 29, 2012 at 2:46 PM · Report this
Thank you.
Posted by uhh... on February 29, 2012 at 2:46 PM · Report this
Hernandez 14
Anything dealing with children is a matter of attitude. If you've convinced yourself that kids are the worst thing in the world, you shouldn't have them. If you meet someone you really hit it off with and you find out they have kids, you may want to consider being open-minded about it. And if you had lofty ideals for parenting that have since been shattered by reality, don't take it out on your childless friends.

But come on, let's be honest. If you don't want kids it's because you don't want to have to be responsible for anyone but yourself. There's nothing inherently wrong with that. Instead of getting defensive, why not just own it?
Posted by Hernandez on February 29, 2012 at 2:47 PM · Report this
Kids are great. I enjoy working with them.

But I liken them to coffee: Too much you you get headachey, irritable, unable to sleep, and they turn your floor into a sticky mess. They're best in limited doses.
Posted by mubhappy on February 29, 2012 at 2:47 PM · Report this
Vince 16
I think children deserve loving and nurturing homes. If somebody knows they can't provide that, they shouldn't be forced. There are ways for adults to provide care for needy children. Try or because we all have a stake in our children's futures. We should never stop caring.
Posted by Vince on February 29, 2012 at 2:51 PM · Report this
jjm84 17
This is a thing that really happens?
When I was single I totally expected having kids could be a deal breaker. Having kids is difficult and I sure as hell didn't want someone who didn't want kids having that big of a role in their lives.
Posted by jjm84 on February 29, 2012 at 2:52 PM · Report this
#14 So there is only one reason that a person might not want to have kids? That's about as stupid as saying there is only one reason a person would want to have kids. Which is pretty fucking stupid.
Posted by avocado on February 29, 2012 at 2:53 PM · Report this
Another Amen. Also, same rant but instead of "have children" insert "get married".

Childfree and single at 47. Not weird, wise.
Posted by TheOtherWoman on February 29, 2012 at 2:54 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 20
The world would be a better place with fewer resentful stepparents in it.

My father was married five times and had children with two of his wives. His other three wives hated children, and specifically hated his children. My life and my sisters' lives (hell, even my father's life) would have been significantly better if those fucking bitches had owned up to what they were and sought childless husbands.
Posted by keshmeshi on February 29, 2012 at 2:57 PM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 21
@19, good for you!!! Single GM here and 40 years old...LOVIN' being single!!!!
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on February 29, 2012 at 3:00 PM · Report this
Soupytwist 22
I like children. I just don't want to be a parent. In this society, that's almost worse than just hating kids, because people assume that I am some kind of molester... because all adults who like being around children are pervs?!
Posted by Soupytwist on February 29, 2012 at 3:00 PM · Report this
@14, lovely troll at the end there.
Posted by gloomy gus on February 29, 2012 at 3:03 PM · Report this
Zebes 24

What is gained by cajolling the would-be childless into owing up the reason you gave them? Why should anybody have to explain or defend themselves on the matter?
Posted by Zebes on February 29, 2012 at 3:04 PM · Report this
Hernandez 25
@23 Thanks, Gus. It only took four comments to get flamed for it. That's a personal best for me.
Posted by Hernandez on February 29, 2012 at 3:05 PM · Report this
Allyn 26
You know, it’s not just about having kids. What she said about step-parenting is spot-on.

Step-parenting is so much harder than bio-parenting. I love kids and have three of my own, but I do not feel capable at this stage in my life to step-parent. I would totally not date a guy with kids without seriously thinking it through and hope a guy would do some serious thinking himself about a step-father role for my kids.
Posted by Allyn on February 29, 2012 at 3:07 PM · Report this
I also like children, my friends' children. However, I have no desire to have any of my own. And isn't it better to recognize that, and NOT have any, than to try to fool oneself into thinking that you will want children, once you have them?

I know more than one person whose mother let slip the "I wish I'd never had any children" at some point. What a terrible thing to hear.
Posted by MLM on February 29, 2012 at 3:12 PM · Report this
Janell8me 28
Maybe people wouldn't refer to others not wanting kids as douchebags etc. If the vehemently child opposed stopped referring to the children and the needs that arise with kids as "baggage" I've had more than one love interest say that to my face.. Yes it's douchey to refer to my child as my baggage, it's your baggage own it.
And for this single parent, don't agree to date me and constantly remind me how I would be perfect, except you aren't sure about my child. Remind me how temporary our relationship is and somewhere in the future I'll have to chose between you and my child.
You'll lose every time and I reserve the right to refer to you as an asshole.
Posted by Janell8me on February 29, 2012 at 3:14 PM · Report this
Unregistered User 29
Sure I agree, but do you have to sound so damned shrill about it?
Posted by Unregistered User on February 29, 2012 at 3:16 PM · Report this
ScrawnyKayaker 30
Can't remember previous episodes, but this week's was not "tearing into someone." Caller was a young gay man who has a kid due to the youthful screw-up of fucking a girl, apparently as a closeting strategy. The worst Dan said was roughly "if you invite a guy over and he runs screaming when he finds out you have a kid, he's not the right guy for you, so fuck him." The last bit clearly meaning "good riddance," not "condemn him in all ways!"
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on February 29, 2012 at 3:20 PM · Report this
I guess I'll have to listen to the podcast for some context.

It certainly seems self-evident that people who don't like kids or don't want to raise kids not only shouldn't have kids, but they shouldn't date people that have (non-adult) kids.

Is this really a controversial idea? I guess I live in some kind of a utopian bubble of sanity or something, because I can't think of a person I know that would disagree.
Posted by SLCamper on February 29, 2012 at 3:22 PM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 32
Some people should NEVER have children, and unfortunately they usually end up abusing about 4.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on February 29, 2012 at 3:25 PM · Report this
aureolaborealis 33
@12: Hell yeah. New parent, and it seems like every childless woman I know between the ages of, say 27 and 45 -- many of whom are pet-obsessed grad students -- now include a monologue about being childless by choice in every conversation I have with them -- awesome!

Posted by aureolaborealis on February 29, 2012 at 3:25 PM · Report this
TVDinner 34
You know what's tiresome? People who loudly proclaim that they hate children. Fine, don't have them, don't date people who have them, but quit thinking you're special. Get over yourselves, already. This society is hostile enough to children without you spewing such bile.
Posted by TVDinner http:// on February 29, 2012 at 3:27 PM · Report this
kim in portland 35
Haven't heard the podcast to understand the context.

I personally can't see how choosing to not marry, not be a step-parent, not be a parent, etc., could be anything but a good decision. Maybe I trust people to know themselves and to make their own choices accordingly.

I am sorry to read that the LW is being called names and feels judged. No-one should feel pushed against a wall to defend such personal choices.
Posted by kim in portland on February 29, 2012 at 3:36 PM · Report this
I was surprised by how much I liked kids. I thought I wouldn't, I thought I'd be a bad daddy, and now here I am, actually quite happy that I have daughter. Who'd have thunk ten, twenty years ago?

And yet I agree entirely with the LW that not wanting kids does not an asshole make.

But in all fairness, I don't think that was the point Dan made in the podcast the LW is reacting against. I think Dan was saying that people who wouldn't date that specific advice seeker because he had a son -- people like this LW -- were probably not the kind of people he should want to have in his life, because they wouldn't fit in it. They would be unhappy like the LW is, and that would make him also unhappy.

Dan was basically saying that incompatible people shouldn't be together. As in sexual compatibility, also kid compatibility. It doesn't mean that your specific sexual orientation, or desire to have / not to have children, makes you a douchebag.
Posted by ankylosaur on February 29, 2012 at 3:39 PM · Report this
loe 37
I recently started dating a man with 2 kids and yeah it's a lot to adjust to, but the scariest part is knowing their psychotic, vindictive mother will always be a part of their lives
Posted by loe on February 29, 2012 at 3:41 PM · Report this
Lol, people who think having kids or NOT having them (or how to have them) is a choice. Fund Planned Parenthood!
Posted by Queerfemme on February 29, 2012 at 3:43 PM · Report this
A reliable dating strategy to avoiding people's baggage: get drunk in a bar, make out with someone, go home.
Posted by beccoid on February 29, 2012 at 3:52 PM · Report this
J-Haxx 40
@33, I am 44, married/no kids, and I NEVER bring it up. Never. You know who brings it up? Those with kids who ask about my kids and then look all awkward when I explain that I don't have any. They are probably assuming that I had one that died or am me saying, "no, that's okay, didn't want kids" is me being nice and letting off the socially awkward hook they placed themselves on.

Oh, and I have a version of this conversation at least once a month....more often at professional conferences and such where I am required to make small talk with a bunch of people who don't know me.
Posted by J-Haxx on February 29, 2012 at 3:55 PM · Report this
Stiny 41
Kid haters are entitled to their opinions, of course, but they should remember whose paychecks are going to be funding their social security checks one day.
Posted by Stiny on February 29, 2012 at 3:59 PM · Report this
reverend dr dj riz 42
my grandmother objected to my marriage because i was way to old to have children. and i thought she would be upset because i was marrying a man.
Posted by reverend dr dj riz on February 29, 2012 at 4:04 PM · Report this
scary tyler moore 43
you never can tell with grandmothers, riz. from the wedding pics, it looked like she was very much enjoying your nuptials.
Posted by scary tyler moore on February 29, 2012 at 4:10 PM · Report this
@34 are you fucking serious? This society is hostile to children? If that's so, explain to me why I can't see nudity on broadcast TV at 8:00 in the evening.
Posted by rudedog on February 29, 2012 at 4:18 PM · Report this
Eva Hopkins 45
@ 41 - but why does it have to be that way? Kid haters? Someone who doesn't wanna have kids or parent is a kid hater? Maybe they themselves had a crappy childhood & can't get past it. Maybe they can't afford to have a child. Maybe they doubt their ability to parent.

If the point of the podcast was, to have kids or not is one of those issues upon which there isn't a "meet in the middle" option, then I agree. But try being a childless person & justifying it to someone. Bleah.

Posted by Eva Hopkins on February 29, 2012 at 4:19 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 46
stepfathering: all of the responsibility & none of the power!
Posted by Max Solomon on February 29, 2012 at 4:28 PM · Report this
I, too, agree with the LW, but also agree she sounds quite shrill and defensive about it. I didn't hear the podcast, so I'm not sure exactly what Dan said, but just from the tone of the letter, it sounds like the LW is bitter about a previous experience and/or the people in her circle who may be pressuring her to either be with somebody who has kids or to have them herself.

The question of kids is a basic form of polite conversation, similar to "What do you do for a living", and, "Are you married?" Unfortunately for many of us this simple question can touch a very sensitive nerve.

I always wanted kids, but can't due to a serious health issue which also makes it difficult for me to care for myself, so even adoption is out. Sometimes when I am asked if I have children, it is difficult to not go into how hard it is to want them but not be able to have them. Instead, I simply say, "I can't due to health issues." I realize that may be awkward for the person asking, but is it the truth.

We just need to be more accepting of our own decisions and limitations while simultaneously not being defensive if somebody asks, or says, something that might touch a nerve within us. The LW sounds a bit too sensitive about the situation and may wish to do some introspection, or see a therapist, about that.
Posted by SherBee on February 29, 2012 at 4:32 PM · Report this
@44: The Man(tm) is oppressing your TV choices! I suggest you start a revolution immediately.
Posted by SLCamper on February 29, 2012 at 4:34 PM · Report this
Why have so many people who haven't listened to the podcast chimed in already? What she was responding to was not what he said. Ankylosaur, @36, has it right; his advice was to not date incompatible people. It's so funny because one of the things the LW said was almost exactly what he said:
Isn't it better that I don't get involved with a man who has kids knowing it would make and everyone else unhappy?

Yes! And Dan completely agrees, which is why he told the caller to be upfront about his kid and write off those who were scared off by it; they're not a good match.
Posted by dhawk on February 29, 2012 at 4:48 PM · Report this
@40 Ditto. In-laws and professional situations mean I regularly encounter this as well. I have no dog in this fight, but it was disarming to hear from @34 that being honest about the desire to be childless-by-choice is sufficient to be considered bile-spewing. And it's also insulting to hear it being called a "selfish" decision when there are a million non-selfish reasons why that decision was made.

@41 Since when did not wanting to raise children equate to "kid hater"? Or anti-civic? There are many other ways to contribute to an economic, cultural, and environmentally sustainable future aside from semen and eggs. Future generations may be writing the cheques but there are other ways to participate in caring for that generation aside from individual parenting.
Posted by more than one way to have family values on February 29, 2012 at 4:57 PM · Report this
@44 is right, our society seems to be completely centered around the kids. Someone plops their kid into my window seat on a plane and I'm stuck in a middle for 4 hours. You can't protest because everyone looks at you like you're a heartless bastard because the kid wants to look out the window.

And don't get me started about the shreiking kids get away with just about every public place. If I make that kind of noise in public, I'd be arrested.
Posted by WestSeven on February 29, 2012 at 4:58 PM · Report this
@8 - Saying you hate children is like saying that you hate disabled people, or people who speak another language, or straight people or whatever. Saying that you don't like being around ill-mannered children, or that you have no desire having children, or you don't want to spend your time making small talk about the Wiggles is more than reasonable. But don't start with the blanket statement that you "hate children." They might all be small, but it's just dumb to hate a whole group of people who really have wildly different behaviors from one another.

Again - don't have children. I think that's a great choice for a lot of people. Don't date someone with children. Cool with that too. But if you don't want to be treated like a bigot (or in your words "a monster") don't act like one.
Posted by other coast on February 29, 2012 at 5:01 PM · Report this
seandr 53
@34: Word.

Back in the day my wife was at Cap Hill Trader Joe's with the kids, 1 and 4 years old at the time. As she finished checking out, the 4 year old started a Code Red tantrum.

Two options - 1) wait it out or 2) carry the squirming, screaming, kicking, hitting kid out of the building. She's not strong enough to pull off option 2 while also holding a 1 year old, so there she sat, doing her best to sooth and praying it would end quickly.

Then a man approached her, she assumed to offer some help. Instead, he got in her face and hissed "Get your kids under control!", at which point she started crying herself.

What a fucking asshole. Makes my blood boil to think about it.
Posted by seandr on February 29, 2012 at 5:10 PM · Report this
Mark in Colorado 54
"Kids are cunts!"--Leah (character from the 1996 film Beautiful Thing.

Couldn't say it any better.
Posted by Mark in Colorado on February 29, 2012 at 5:11 PM · Report this
I always appreciated the child catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Still think it is an excellent idea.
Posted by Senor Guy on February 29, 2012 at 5:13 PM · Report this
Reminded me of this blog post:…
Posted by OlyMom on February 29, 2012 at 5:15 PM · Report this
@51 Did you try telling the parent to sit next to their own kid?
Posted by EricaP on February 29, 2012 at 5:17 PM · Report this
I agree! I don't want children (but an SO's already raised children are fine with me). I don't like children. I didn't like children when I was a child. It is not my dream to be a doting mother. Amen for TESTY for knowing her limits and being honest about them!
Posted by SarasWhimsy on February 29, 2012 at 5:22 PM · Report this
Thank you for this! I have felt so "outside" because I never wanted kids. Everyone just assumes that everyone wants kids. I've found it hard to make friends because I don't have kids: everyone my age has them, and so they are usually tied up doing kid-related things. I don't want to do kid things. I want to do adult things.

I wish there was a support group just for people who don't have kids, so we'd have a place to go and find each other - other adults who just want to play with adults! :-)
Posted by islandGirlE on February 29, 2012 at 5:24 PM · Report this
I'm surprised nobody, including Dan, has defended his statement on the podcast. The guy had a kid, and Dan said to tell the guys he dates and be well rid of anyone who isn't okay with that. That doesn't imply that theyre assholes, it just means that the existence of his kid can't be changed, but who he chooses to date can be.
Posted by Why so angry? on February 29, 2012 at 5:25 PM · Report this
Thank you for this! I have felt so "outside" because I never wanted kids. Everyone just assumes that everyone wants kids. I've found it hard to make friends because I don't have kids: everyone my age has them, and so they are usually tied up doing kid-related things. I don't want to do kid things. I want to do adult things.

I wish there was a support group just for people who don't have kids, so we'd have a place to go and find each other - other adults who just want to play with adults! :-)
Posted by islandGirlE on February 29, 2012 at 5:27 PM · Report this
seandr 62
To those who simply don't want kids, more power to you.

To those who hate them, I think it's great that you won't be passing on your genes.
Posted by seandr on February 29, 2012 at 5:32 PM · Report this
Neither side is "right." I love kids, I teach, I have one. My brother and sister-in-law don't have kids and don't want them. Fine with me. They are happy and fulfilled with their lives; my husband and I are happy and fulfilled with ours.

If something happens to my husband and I, our kid goes to my wonderful brother. (He's gay.) My only worry is that we live in ass-backward state of Virginia and I want to make sure my brother actually GETS custody via our will not being contested by the state.

I love my friends with kids, I love my friends without. And I really don't want to extol the wonderful virtues of my kid when I see EITHER type of friend. I want to talk about politics, art, and "Doctor Who."

Yeah, know who you are and how you want to live your life. You are not a selfish dick if you don't want kids and don't want to date people with kids. Your life is as fulfilling as you make it; not more or less than people with kids.

Oh, and people with kids aren't always wrapped up in the kid-world. It goes both ways.

Life isn't a contest to see who can "do it better, be wiser." Be sure you know what you what, be kind, be healthy (if possible), be happy. The rest is petty shit that wastes time and emotional energy. Meh.
Posted by AShrew on February 29, 2012 at 5:32 PM · Report this
Noadi 64
Thankfully I'm in a stable relationship with someone who wants children maybe even less than I do and has made sure it won't happen permanently. This is something I'm incredibly happy about. I had a rule before him that I would not date anyone who wanted children or who had kids who weren't grown and moved out (and seeing as I'm in my 20s I didn't see myself dating someone that much older than me to start with).

I don't dislike children, I have a nephew and he's incredibly important to me, but I don't want to raise any children. In fact the only child I would ever be willing to raise would be my nephew and I hope that never happens because it would mean something bad happened to my brother and sister-in-law.

This does not make me a bad person, it makes me someone who knows what I want and need out of life.
Posted by Noadi on February 29, 2012 at 5:34 PM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 65
Children come in handy when you're old. They save you taxi and bus fare, and can pay attention at the doctor's office.

Since I don't lan on getting old, i don't need children.
Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay on February 29, 2012 at 5:38 PM · Report this
@52 - absolutely agree with you, but I also think that people shouldn't say that they "love children", because that's as absurd as saying you "love people". some children are wonderful and some are dicks. just because they're children does not mean they're by-default delightful.
Posted by amalkoff on February 29, 2012 at 5:38 PM · Report this
Me too. I have never wanted kids and never will, and I made the mistake of allowing myself to be bullied into being a stepmom of a 16 year old boy. His father, who seemed sane when I met him, worshiped this boy, and the kid knew it. No matter what happened, it was my fault.

I'd do laundry, fold the kid's laundry and put it on his bed, since I didn't want to go through his drawers. He'd go in his room and kick the clothes off the bed. His father would yell at me because the kid's clothes were wrinkled. A few rounds of this and I just put the clothes away, and that night the kid screamed at me because I dared go through his drawers. Guess who dad sided with.

Eventually the little charmer dropped out of high school and got himself fired from his first job in a grocery store, and damned if it wasn't all my fault.

I bailed. Never again.
Posted by Marley on February 29, 2012 at 5:46 PM · Report this
I haven't listened to the podcast yet, but I agree with this sentiment. Not wanting to date someone with kids is perfectly reasonable. We are all entitled to our deal-breakers, and if you know you don't want kids, it's better for single parents and their kids to not be with one. Not everyone should sign up for it. There's no reason everyone should want to.
Posted by Daniel_NY on February 29, 2012 at 5:48 PM · Report this
Noadi 69
@66 I used to substitute teach. Working in a school quickly disabuses you of any notion of loving all children. Specific kids sure, not all kids.

@44 Out society being unfocussed around kids and also being hostile to kids are not mutually exclusive. In fact the first is a big contributing factor of the second, in the rush to "protect" kids we make things much worse for them. I was in highschool when Columbine happened, if you were already out of school at that point you have no idea how hostile schools got towards students after that. Metal detectors, police searching lockers with dogs, zero tolerance policies that turned kids into criminals for having OTC medications with them. My schools weren't as bad as some but they were bad enough, it's hard to have a good learning environment when kids feel constantly under suspicion and not trusted.
Posted by Noadi on February 29, 2012 at 5:48 PM · Report this
As I parent, I can say that having kids is not for everyone. I love mine but I can't say I love many that aren't mine. It is sooo much better to be honest and upfront about it not wanting the kids from the get-go. The worst thing is dating someone who you know is hoping you'll come around to the idea of having kids. Stick to your guns!
Posted by vivalaviv on February 29, 2012 at 5:48 PM · Report this
I like kids, particularly well-behaved kids. I like my kid. But I am under no illusion about how much effort goes into being a good parent. If someone else doesn't want to take on that project, fine by me. It's also okay with me if you're not into distance running, or amateur magic, or ballroom dancing, or sleeping with men. Or women. It's also hunky dory with me if you are into any of those things. Why are so many people so anxious to make sure other folks make exactly the same choices?
Posted by MN on February 29, 2012 at 5:50 PM · Report this
Keekee 72
As a health professional, with a lot of geriactric experience, I have never met a single senior citizen that felt like not having children was a good idea. Those I've met that didn't have offspring, lament it as the worst decision of their lives.

It's one thang, to boast about not wanting children when you are young. I assure you that no one is boasting about it when they are 65 or older.
Posted by Keekee on February 29, 2012 at 5:58 PM · Report this
You haven't experienced Hell until you've been trapped on the Red Eye from Seattle to Orlando!
Posted by Senor Guy on February 29, 2012 at 5:59 PM · Report this
I grew up dirt poor. I have only been able to get two degrees - including a law degree - because I didn't have kids. Instead of working hard to give my kids the things I didn't have, I decided to give those things to myself. I started so far behind that I couldn't have it all. I'm happy with my choice. Not having kids is not selfish - I've done more for the environment by not reproducing than I ever could by recycling.
Posted by Helen on February 29, 2012 at 5:59 PM · Report this
Hi, Dan -

I decided as a teenager I didn't want kids; I'm in my 40s now and never regretted that decision.

I'm good for a couple or three hours of interaction with youngsters (even late teens), but after that I'm ready for them to go. If I was to date a woman with kids, I know that sooner or later (probably sooner), I would come to resent the time and attention they had to devote to those children. And that would be completely unfair on my part. After all, a parent's No. 1 priority has to be their child; that's how my parents were, and it's how my friends with kids are, and I admire that.

I've met any number of single moms over the years who are smart, fun, and sexy; I've gone on the odd date with a couple. But the way I see it, there are plenty of guys out there who do want (or already have) kids that would be interested in a real relationship with them. I'd rather be Mom's goofy friend then Mom's jerk of a boyfriend. Sure, it's harder to find childless women around my age, but that's a price of admission I'm willing to pay.


A Southern Gentleman
Posted by A Southern Gentleman on February 29, 2012 at 6:04 PM · Report this
I think Dan's advice was more along the lines of "if someone doesn't want to be involved with someone who has kids, it is better for a parent to know that right off the bat" than "those who don't want partners with kids are eeeeeevil."

Part of being a real grown up adult is figuring out what you want and like, and what you don't want and don't like. Knowing your own strengths, weaknesses, and preferences is quite liberating. I haven't gotten any shit for not having kids--those of you who have, I'm sorry, but it sounds like you're hanging out with assholes if you're being judged for making such a legitimate, and personal, choice.

Granted, my journey was made easier when my brother and sister each had three kids while young adults--I had no burden of carrying on the name, or passing on the genes, and I've thanked my siblings for removing those pressures from me.
Posted by Functional Atheist on February 29, 2012 at 6:04 PM · Report this
@75 So, how YOU doin'?
Posted by Marley on February 29, 2012 at 6:08 PM · Report this
I think it's kind of tacky some of you are saying this LW "acts like a monster" and "needs therapy". Do you know her? Yes, the letter is sounds, er, reads kinda harsh, but that doesn't mean the writer is off-balance. I am not going to believe not one of you have ever had a "nerve touched" and have never written something with similar feeling.

I was married for the first time at age 31 to an older man who was child free. We are happy to remain child free. When I was 19, young and dumb, I dated a man (at the ripe old age of 21, they were teen parents) with an ex wife and a toddler kid. The ex was as horrible as one might expect a jealous ex wife to be. I hated every time we had to take the toddler because it was some major ordeal just to go to dinner. This was back when I actually liked kids, so I didn't really have a problem with the toddler. However, had I married him, it would have been a situation I resented in the end.

After we broke up, I vowed to never date a man with a child again. I wanted to be number one in my partner's life. I didn't want his loyalty to be divided between me, kids and an ex. As I got older, I liked being around kids less and less. Working with the public for the last two decades, and having friends with kids they don't discipline cemented in my mind they are NOT for me.

I've been "bingoed" many times about my childfree choice. I'm not one of those obnoxious persons who goes around blatantly proclaiming this choice, but being a woman it has come up countless times, and I have no desire to lie to be politically correct. I can understand the LW's anger in regard to that - people act like you're some kind of freak that you don't want children, and they shouldn't be concerned and should've just minded their own business in the first place.
Posted by rudegubmintworker on February 29, 2012 at 6:09 PM · Report this
@57, the parents DID sit next to their kid. I ended up one row in front of the kids, where one of the adults was assigned. For the duration of the four hour flight, I got to listen to the kids. They did not stop making noise once.
Posted by WestSeven on February 29, 2012 at 6:09 PM · Report this
@30 - agree, he wasn't condemning, never mind "tearing into", just a preemptive DTMFA because they wouldn't have worked together. I think this woman needs new friends if they're calling her names for not wanting kids
Posted by Jareth Cutestory on February 29, 2012 at 6:10 PM · Report this
I have a baby now and I can't unhave him. I know everyone is entitled to their relationship boundaries. Still, it's awfully nice that kid-friendly people exist so I don't feel totally written off as a person.

I would encourage anyone to consider being kid friendly if they can manage it.
Posted by MichelleZB on February 29, 2012 at 6:15 PM · Report this
@72, I think those seniors who lament not having kids are lamenting the romaticized ideas that the kids would be there to take care of them and that they would be perpetuating their genes. Yes they would have perpetuated their genes, but one cannot always depend on their children being there for them when they get old. There are plenty of adult children who have nothing to do with their aging parents.
Posted by WestSeven on February 29, 2012 at 6:16 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 83
Not wanting kids is okay. But hating them is an indication that someone had a bad childhood and has never gotten over it - and those people always prove to be childish. Interesting.
Posted by Matt from Denver on February 29, 2012 at 6:19 PM · Report this
@79, Sorry, I can't help but think you were too nice. Among the two parents and two kids you mention, someone must have had a more appropriate seat than the one you got. No one is obligated to trade a window for a middle, unless the flight attendant is asking, and even then she better sweeten the deal with a drink coupon or something.
Posted by EricaP on February 29, 2012 at 6:23 PM · Report this
@52,66,71, yes indeed. Kids aren't a different species, they're just us, not grown up yet (but they will be, very soon). Anyways I hate it (haha) when people use the word "hate" to describe their feelings about a whole group of living creatures that way, it always sounds a little eery (I also occasionally get annoyed when people use the word "love" indiscriminately to refer to a group of people, as in "I LOVE gay people!!")
Obviously most people who don't have children don't "hate" them. They just don't have them for all of the reasons mentioned above, or for the same reason I haven't yet: it just hasn't happened, and at this point, likely never will. I work with kids, I care about all of them and have a special affection for some of the ones I really like. I love my nieces and nephews. I've been pretty career-oriented, but I haven't been adamantly for or against the idea of having kids at any point, but it was something I knew I would only do if I met the right partner and if that partner happened to really want kids. It hasn't happened, so that's that. I have to admit I've thought about doing it for the reasons stated by #72, and because the pressure described by the letter-writer, but of course feeling insecure is the LAST reason one should have for taking on the responsibility of raising a child.
Posted by secretchord on February 29, 2012 at 6:36 PM · Report this
@84, the parents insisted that I take the middle - after all they already had posession of my seat with the "people with small children" preboarding. The flight attendant did nothing and the passengers around me gave me a "you are a heartless bastard" look. My reward for taking the middle seat - the woman seated in the aisle seat next to me, who was the same age as my grandmother, stroked my biceps as she talked to me for much of the flight.

Unfortunately, this is not the only time I had someone put their kid in my pre-assigned window seat on a flight.

I really don't have a problem with kids, as long as they're not continually shreiking at the top of their lungs or otherwise being obnoxious. It seems like in the stone age when I was a kid, kids didn't get away with as much and were not as catered to as they are today.
Posted by WestSeven on February 29, 2012 at 6:38 PM · Report this
It's neither wise or stupid to want children, not want children, get married or not get married. There are happy parents and happy married people, and there are happy childfree single people. There's no such thing as "a" right decision.

The only unwise choice is to do something that won't make you happy because of outside pressure.
Posted by Seltzer on February 29, 2012 at 6:42 PM · Report this
Confluence 88

That's certainly one of the benefits. Don't worry, there's more. Like traveling the world, spontaneous travel, attending cultural events, developing intellectually, lots of extra spending money, sleeping in, being able to *choose* your friends (rather than default ones like other daycare moms), spontaneous sex, better sex, better relationship with spouse (see research by Harvard's Dan Gilbert, PhD for more), eating out, going out on the town, reading books (yeh, like actual grown-up ones), better figure (have you *seen* mom bodies? They don't call 'em "mom jeans" for nothing), uninterrupted meals, peace and quiet when you want it... oh wait, sorry, is this list getting too long for you? Maybe I should stop.

Anyways, have fun in the Romper Room with your tots! Just keep telling yourself: they'll take care of me when I'm older, they'll take care of me when I'm older, they'll take care of me when I'm older.... can't tell you the number of old people I've seen dumped by their kids into "homes" when they're old, but I'm sure *yours* will be different. Totally. If not, what an awesome 18+ years having *none* of what I've just described above. Have fun!
Posted by Confluence on February 29, 2012 at 6:56 PM · Report this
@86, sorry the flight attendant was no help with the assholes. That does suck.
Posted by EricaP on February 29, 2012 at 6:57 PM · Report this
I don't spread myself around too much so for quite a while the only use for my vasectomy was to make me very, very smug. I still love watching strollers from my motorcycle.

One of the most rude things anyone ever said to me about it was along the lines of "Of course: you don't want the responsibility." Don't most kids get here as a result of irresponsibility? The skank who said it to me is raising two accidents in poverty right now, or so I'd bet if I were a gambling person (I worked with her, trust me).
Posted by Sifu on February 29, 2012 at 6:58 PM · Report this
For me one risk of dating someone with children has been that I would find that the kids were more interesting to talk to than the parent.
Posted by notfahfrombahston on February 29, 2012 at 7:05 PM · Report this
@88 - um... I've always traveled the world with my kids (handing out chocolate to keep my seat neighbors happy :-), with sitters we've managed plenty of culture and restaurant meals; and it didn't take too long before the kids were old enough to get their own breakfast (so I can sleep in), comprehend a locked door (so we can have spontaneous sex), and enjoy going out to meals, plays and concerts with us.

It's true we have less money than otherwise, and it's true there were ten years where we couldn't go out without a sitter, and, oh my god, you are certainly right that I miss uninterrupted meals, and peace and quiet ... But it's not as bad as all that :-)
Posted by EricaP on February 29, 2012 at 7:07 PM · Report this
@41--Social security is going to be bankrupt long before most of us retire anyway; it's a moot point.
Posted by Nom de Plume on February 29, 2012 at 7:10 PM · Report this
@88 You've described a nightmare life that is nowhere near close to the real picture.

I'm 2 months postpartum and am back to my regular size 2 shape except with bigger boobs. My husband and i have sex still, though it's true we're too tired to do it every day so it's more like once or twice a week. We assume it'll get better as the baby gets older.

It's not all roses. It's tiring and stressful. But it's not like I can't do ANYTHING anymore.
Posted by MichelleZB on February 29, 2012 at 7:14 PM · Report this
It's not an all or none proposition ya know. My boyfriend and I have been together for eight years. We each have children, and for a variety of reasons (his previous experience step-parenting, my lack of desire to co-parent with his crazy ex) we have chosen to conduct our relationship outside of our time with our children. Granted this only works because we each have shared custody, and it's not ideal, but it is doable, and a way for kids not to be a deal breaker.
Posted by workaround on February 29, 2012 at 7:18 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 96
Oh god, I've blocked Confluence. Please don't make me read her inane drivel - two responses is enough.
Posted by Matt from Denver on February 29, 2012 at 7:23 PM · Report this
If anyone here finds themselves in a stepmother situation, you might want to have a look at this book, written by an old college friend of mine and one of the smartest people I've ever known:…
Posted by j-lon on February 29, 2012 at 7:23 PM · Report this
snoozn 98
@8 Cato,
There's one of my pet peeves! People who say "I hate kids." Do people who say this really not understand that it is no different from saying "I hate black people" or "I hate handicapped people" or "I hate old people?" NEWS FLASH: kids are people! Really! They're smaller and younger than adults, but they are actual people with a full range of personalities.

Now I have no problem with TESTY being open that she doesn't want to date people with kids. People have all kinds of deal-breakers about who they'll date and there's nothing wrong with this one. Being a step-parent is a huge responsibility.

But that's much different from HATING an entire class of human beings.
Posted by snoozn on February 29, 2012 at 7:29 PM · Report this
@41 You gotta be kidding, the childless in the US massively subsidize families with children. If a meager portion of my retirement is provided by your kids they can consider it thanks for paying for a portion of their education, safety and feeding for twenty years.
Posted by drjones on February 29, 2012 at 7:34 PM · Report this
& @59 Google the site in your area. There are plenty of single childless adults looking for people to hang out with, and there are group activities you can join in any day of the week. A few groups are "dating" oriented, but most are focused on an activity, a special interest, and/or a desire to meet other single friends in your demographic.
Posted by secretchord on February 29, 2012 at 7:35 PM · Report this
She wrote the letter so I didn't have to! I've never been a step-parent though, because kids have always been a deal breaker for me. I get what it was Savage was saying in that call, but man, he said it in a pretty shitty way.
Posted by shefightslikeagirl on February 29, 2012 at 7:38 PM · Report this
@93 No, Social Security might be raped and murdered by the time you retire, but its death won't be because "it went bankrupt." Its Trust Fund is holding a good few trillion bucks in surplus, invested in long-term Treasuries. Most of the "conservatives" and others declaring it bankrupt in public are actually salivating over ways to get their hands on that huge nestegg. Otherwise, they're going to have to, *GASP*, pay back the money the gov't borrowed from it, and you know what that means: raising taxes back to what they were under Reagan, especially for the upper-income crowd.

The burden really won't be on our children, it'll probably be on us. Benefits might have to be trimmed for 10 or 15 years worth of retirees, that's all.
Posted by Brooklyn Reader on February 29, 2012 at 7:42 PM · Report this
BedlamBabe 103
I don't hate children. I love some people's children. I love that I can given them back when they stop being entertaining. I don't have -time- for children of my own right now, nor anyone else's. This does mean, generally, that I would shy away from dating someone with kids. There's nothing wrong with that and I definitely agree that it is best you know such things about yourself than that you make people [and yourself] miserable.
Posted by BedlamBabe on February 29, 2012 at 7:48 PM · Report this
If you've chosen not to have any kids, AWESOME! Enjoy other people's if you like to, don't if you don't. Being honest ain't a crime and will best serve everyone involved.

If you've chosen to have some, GREAT! Be a good parent, do your best to raise a good human being.

But to all the people who hate flying with other people's children: tough shit. To all the people who hate to hear children scream: tough shit. Maybe if Newt Gingrich gets his moon base going, you can go there, where I'm sure there won't be any children at all.

While certainly there are well- and ill-behaved children everywhere, the fact is children are not defective adults, they are incomplete, undeveloped beings, and ALL OF YOU WERE ONE ONCE! And other people had to put up with you. So shut up about it already! I assure you, as much as you hate hearing the screaming baby or tantrum-throwing toddler, the parents hate being "the lady with the screaming baby" or the "father of that freaking brat" even more.

Parents shouldn't be blamed for children behaving like children (though every parent should do their best to civilize their wee beasties to the best of their abilities and the child's).
Posted by jinjaninjaminj on February 29, 2012 at 7:48 PM · Report this
kim in portland 105

Another parent who has traveled all over the world as a family. Books keep ours quiet. I get to sleep in and have all the spontaneous sex I want as well. You install a lock on your door, and teach them to make breakfast and to cook. Cultural events, the ballet, plays, etc., yes. Of course it helps that the "wee" ones play in the youth philharmonic. And, yes, I have my figure as well. Same size as I wore on my 20th birthday. I can thank years of dance training for that. And I never forget that neither gravity or time will show any human mercy. Indeed the 401K could be larger if it were not for those college savings plans. And we do live in a small sized home, and do without some of the latest technology. Parenthood needen't be your nightmare. ;-)

Anyway... If you don't want children then please know that I support your decision. :-)
Posted by kim in portland on February 29, 2012 at 8:03 PM · Report this
@81, I am not kid-friendly and I would never write you off as a person. I would write you off as a potential partner, but that's as much because I'd be bad for you and your baby as that fact that your baby would be bad for me. It's not just a matter of "eh, don't like kids." Eh, I don't like kids, I've *never* wanted kids, I know nothing about raising kids, I've failed terribly at being a stepmom already, and quite honestly I get sick at the thought of trying it again. Many people should not be brain surgeons. And plenty of people should not be parents or step-parents. I fall into both categories. That's not a reflection on you, that's all me.
Posted by Marley on February 29, 2012 at 8:09 PM · Report this
Matt @96, it was sorely tempting. I will agree not to respond to the drivel if you'll tell me how to block it....please?

I have kids, 3 of them to be exact. They have always understood that there is a certain standard of bahavior that is expected at all times--not just when we're out in public. I love my kids, I wouldn't not have my girls for anything in the world. However, other people's kids piss me off, not because of the child him or herself, but because of the way in which they are allowed to behave. There are exceptions, but not very many. As a collective, parents stopped parenting. No idea why, and we will pay for it in the long run. People who choose not to have children are entitled to that choice--without anyone judging them for that choice. But all of the vociferous "I hate kids of all shapes, sizes, and flavors' come across a whole lot like the smug bastard who drives a Prius, a bit too I'm a trendy hipster, where I'm waiting for the sentiment to be followed by "get off my lawn".
Posted by catballou on February 29, 2012 at 9:01 PM · Report this
Y.F. Redux 108
I started off wanting kids years ago but now I do not. I can't afford to raise them well and the current trend of parents thinking any sort of discipline is child abuse is a major turn off. I don't really have much patience. I doubt I'd be a very good parent and I don't think most kids are cute or funny. I've always found the statement "I love kids" odd even when I was a child. It's like saying "I love all 40 year olds" or "I love all Senior Citizens". How can you like an entire age group of people? They're not all the same. I like and respect some people but I do not love all of them. Saying you love all of x age group seems weird and false or really naïve.

It's quite annoying for nosy people to constantly pry into your life choices and then disrespect them because they aren't "normal".
Posted by Y.F. Redux on February 29, 2012 at 9:06 PM · Report this
@ Keekee As an older NON_BREEDER pushing 50 YOA, I am absolutely happy I chose not to reproduce. 7 billion freaking people on the planet, a planet groaning with the multitude of humans, and, should other older people sit around bemoaning their lack of sprog... then they are missing the big picture. Form some connections in your community. My most relied upon are neighbors and friends. People I could call and who would run over to help... none of them blood relations. Community, community, community. Apparently you deal with people so ignorant they think that shitting out more humans is the only way to find someone who loves them. Sad... I will help my neighbors with their children, but shall never regret my decision to refrain from having my own.
Posted by Scathach on February 29, 2012 at 9:11 PM · Report this
Depending on my mood and the child(ren) involved, I range from active dislike to mere indifference, up until the kid is about 10-11 and capable of some kind of intelligent thought and a reasonable level of in, not having a down on the floor screaming hissy fit. Once they hit that age, it's tolerance to occasional indulgence. I'm not at all interested in being a parent or a step-parent, ever. I like adults. I like being around adults.

Finding out that a guy wants to have children is a break-up level condition for me, because if he wants bio-kids and plans to have them with me, I'm the one doing the hard and dirty labour, putting my health and my financial independence in jeopardy.....AND most of them expect, at least at some point, that they can be The Fun Dad while I'm stuck with the shitty bottoms and the mud and the blood and the endless piles of dirty laundry. One even told me he wanted kids, but point-blank refused to change any diapers. Another told me it was fine, I could have my career and he'd stay home with the kids, plural, completely oblivious to the fact that the physical act of me having kids, plural, would be enough to destroy my career progression entirely (my profession involves a huge amount of travel, and I really love what I do).

That said, I do go out of my way to make sure that the children of my adult friends are well-treated and included, because they ARE going to be adults some day, and if they're well-treated, the likelihood that they'll be well-adjusted adults is a lot higher than if they're neglected or outright treated like crap.

Posted by slinky on February 29, 2012 at 9:36 PM · Report this
@52 I do hate certain people. And I hate that with the rampant over population on this earth people like you should think the norm of having more is a good idea. Do you know what would happen if all the humans disappeared off this planet? Planet would immediately be better off. If all the bees disappear, we're done. Bye-bye. Hurry, have more kids... quick, quick!! There's like a postage stamp of earth without human poo on it in the now thawing arctic.
Posted by Scathach on February 29, 2012 at 9:43 PM · Report this
Being upfront off the bat is the difference between being and not being a douche. I was in a seven year relationship that ended, in part, because taking on the responsibility of my child was too much. Yeah. It took seven years to say that out loud, I guess. I had no idea. So by all means, I support those who make it a deal-breaker from the get go.
Posted by snapdragon on February 29, 2012 at 10:04 PM · Report this
Badger 113
I don't have a problem with kids, its the parents who infuriate me. If your kid is having a tantrum, take the little fucker OUTSIDE until he or she calms down.
Posted by Badger on February 29, 2012 at 10:08 PM · Report this
watchout5 114
I hate kids (at least in that when I'm responsible for their actions), but I think it's important to understand that at a certain point in my dad's life he hated kids, his dad hated kids and shockingly enough there was even a time when his dad hated kids, yet they all decided to have kids eventually and not a single fucking one of them regretted any moment of it. I'd like to point out to the kind of people who think the only way to have a meaningful impact on society is to have 1 or 2 of their own DNA running around are kidding themselves. I believe very strongly that even someone like myself, who at this moment in time can't imagine having kids, could make a more positive and meaningful impact than the majority of children if I really wanted. Something like becoming a teacher can, in many very real ways, have a much larger impact on the kind of child that person becomes. It takes a village, even the people who wouldn't ever dream of owning another set of their own DNA, and to deny that and act as if the kid you raised was 100% your doing just because it came from your DNA is denying what humanity is. There's a really big difference between treating your kid as property and treating them as global citizens. It's not to deny the bond of family but DNA doesn't make you kin, it really bothers me that people think that just because you came from a set of humans it means you did good, it's this religious idea that if you make everything on the outside look ok you must be doing ok. Anyone can fire sperm at an egg, nurture it for 9 months and have it live past it's 18th birthday, most people want something more, but a hell of a lot of people settle for it.
Posted by watchout5 on February 29, 2012 at 10:42 PM · Report this
I find it interesting that people with children feel ostracized for having them, just as those who don't have kids feel left out or misunderstood. Here are two groups of people on opposite sides of the fence and they feel exactly the same! The truth is, it is hard for Everybody. Nobody has it easy. It sucks that we let ourselves feel bad for the choices we have made.

My husband and I have kids. We also had a brief relationship with a third person. When it ended, I felt like one of the big reasons was that for him, our children were a deal breaker. As someone who struggled with becoming a parent in the first place, this was a bitter pill to swallow.

But one of the things I learned is that it is a waste of my life to let anybody make me feel bad about the choices I have made if I am proud of them. And I Am proud of my kids.

It's easy to infer someone is insulting a decision you feel badly about. But your inference isn't the speaker's fault. Own it.
Posted by birdgurhl on February 29, 2012 at 10:49 PM · Report this
seandr 116
@88: Sounds like the kind of list you might recite over and over to yourself to quell the fear that you've missed out on something.
Posted by seandr on February 29, 2012 at 10:50 PM · Report this
Someone may have already said this, but the original writer is mis-charaterizeing Dan's comment on this week's podcast. He told a 20 year old gay guy that he needed to be with someone who wanted to have children because he had had a kid with a girl before he came out. He wasn't bashing people who don't want kids, he just was saying "you need someone who wants kids, not someone who doesn't because you HAVE a kid."

Lady, calm down.
Posted by Mike Friedman on February 29, 2012 at 11:03 PM · Report this
#116 seandr, no, it's more like a list made by a person like myself - constantly beset by societal and individual suggestions that by not having/wanting children, I've made a regrettable decision. It's the kind of list made by someone constantly under pressure to explain his/her decision to a "family-oriented", mommy-centric society which routinely condemns it both tacitly and overtly. The pressure is relentless, not only be thoughtless assholes, but also by people who mean well.

Here's the deal: I and several other people who have posted here don't want children. We're adults and presumably have made that choice of our own free will. It's not your place to suggest that we'll change our minds any more than it's my place to tell a parent he/she has made the wrong decision and will change his/her mind one day. To each his own.

Those of us who are child-free by choice do it for ourselves. It has nothing to do with you. It's not an attack on your choice of lifestyle, it's not going to result in the decimation of our species, and it's not your cue to judge us or to force your condemnation upon us. To each his own. Respect our decision, or STFU. The choice is yours.
Posted by Twominuteplank on February 29, 2012 at 11:10 PM · Report this
PS it's also a list made by someone with the time and resources to do whatever the hell she wants. Not having children affords that kind of freedom.
Posted by Twominuteplank on February 29, 2012 at 11:15 PM · Report this
Registered European 120
@98 said:
There's one of my pet peeves! People who say "I hate kids."

Let's be honest, though. Kids under the age of, say, 10 years, are pretty awful as human beings. No empathy whatsoever. No conscience to speak of. Only interested in themselves. Prone to agression and throwing tantrums if they don't get their way. If an adult behaved like that they would be classified as as sociopath. Yes, I was one myself. I'm glad that I'm not anymore.
Posted by Registered European on February 29, 2012 at 11:19 PM · Report this
To the poster who said that people on planes need to suck it up when there are screaming children--Yes and no. Certainly we were all children once, and certainly it is rough on children to fly, however, it is also the parents' responsibility to do whatever it takes to shut up their shrieking child.
If you are fly with your child regularly, you have a good idea of when the best times to fly are. I have friends who never flew anywhere as a family because their son flew best at night and their daughter couldn't sleep on the plane and needed to fly during the day. It was an inconvenience for them, but a huge convenience for everyone else on the plane.

And you better be prepared to walk up and down that aisle for three hours if that is what it takes to keep your baby quiet. I think that parents become immune to the sound of their children's crying and don't realize how grating and annoying it is to the rest of us, so bring toys, electronics, snacks, movies, whatever it takes to keep your child entertained and not annoying.

Posted by lucybelle on March 1, 2012 at 12:07 AM · Report this
seandr@62, Amen! Sometimes I feel like telling those people who claim that they "hate kids" 'right back at ya.'

I was once in exactly the same situation as your wife, except that the place was a supermarket and that the person who told me to 'get my child under control' was an old lady. Gee, with such nice people around, who needs terrorists?
Posted by ankylosaur on March 1, 2012 at 12:10 AM · Report this
@86, even though I understand you were in a difficult situation and I sympathize with your feelings (and I agree with EricaP in saying that it would be all right if you had decided to keep your seat -- screw the other passangers' look, if they're so nice let them give the kids their seats).

Still, talking about "shrieking kids" and "what they can get away with these days" reminds me of those people who protest against gays because "they're too loud" and "they're everywhere today, shouting their lifestyle" and "the world has to cater to their every whim" and whatnot. Doesn't that sound to you like an overgeneralization, and one that misses the point in a borderline bigotted way?

Most kids are OK, and even those who aren't don't throw tantrums all the time, and even those who do are usually kept under control by their parents. Claiming they aren't because of a few experiences disregards all those other people and situations.
Posted by ankylosaur on March 1, 2012 at 12:16 AM · Report this
@88 Confluence - you sound a wee bit insecure there!! But hey, that's cool ;) But yeah, like others have said on here, I too have managed to (gasp) keep up my intellectual development (having a job in research and continuing post-grad studies during school hrs helps), climb mountains, ride our horses, travel...and oh the good spontaneous orgasms with their STEP-DAD! Yuss, I have a child-free, v sexy, YOUNGER man. Been together some years now. He's the bomb. They do exist ;)
Posted by SexEd on March 1, 2012 at 12:17 AM · Report this
Twominuteplanck@118, here's the deal. You acknowledge the number of people here (go count them!) who've already said you're of course entitled to decide not to have kids (did you miss seandr's "more power to you" way upthread?) and who support your decision (did you miss kim in portland's support above).

And we acknowledge your right to be angry at those people who do despise your decision.

Because, you know, if you don't have kids, you DO miss on something. But you do miss on it because you've DECIDED to miss on it; because you've thought about it, you did your cost-benefit analysis, and you came to a conclusion. Wonderful!

Now, PLEASE don't confuse those who want to make you suffer (and yes, they are out there) with the rest of us, who simply did also make the same cost-benefit analysis that you did but came to the opposite conclusion. And who, like you, are very happy with the decision they took.

Look at @115 about and think a little about what it means.

We are not trying to make you feel bad. And if you try to make US feel bad about OUR decision, then how are you different from the very assholes you complain about?
Posted by ankylosaur on March 1, 2012 at 12:29 AM · Report this
@120, it seems you haven't spent much time around kids under 10 if that's all you have to say about them -- and you're downplaying the amazing capacity of adults over 20 to also hurt others while feeling self-entitled, selfish, and boring.

Kids under 10 can also be sweet, give you hugs, care about you when you're sad, smile and sing just to see you smile and sing, give you profuse thanks for your help, discuss things with you with an open mind you rarely find among adults, make surprisingly sharp observations about life and others, help you out in ways you didn't know were possible, and even play chess with you.

Yes, all of that happens, too. Please broaden your experience basis.
Posted by ankylosaur on March 1, 2012 at 12:36 AM · Report this
@119, another word that often corresponds to that is "self-entitled" and "arrogant", as in: what I like others also must like.
Posted by ankylosaur on March 1, 2012 at 12:38 AM · Report this
I would also like to state the obvious here to any single parents; never ever settle for someone who sees your kids as a burden or hindrance. I made a deal early on with my partner that he would have minimal input in 'parenting' - that's my job. We do heaps of cool stuff as a family, like tramping, camping, horse riding, mountain biking. He helps them with their home work sometimes, that kinda stuff. But ultimately, I think it's best to not expect a step parent to actually parent. And set clear boundaries around that, and respect (between both kids and step parent). And also, another obvious (hopefully) point here - screen them (partner) first, get to know them really well until the crazy chemical lust stage has passed enough so you can see them flaws and all; you don't want to put your kids at risk. I dated a few nightmares as a single parent, so glad I didn't introduce them to my kids! You gotta be extra careful in the sex and dating scene when you have kids to consider. and you certainly don't want to waste time and energy on someone who sees them as 2nd class citizens. And remember folks, you ALL started out as kids, with parents. Duh. Weird making a blanket thing of 'hating' them in light of that.
Posted by SexEd on March 1, 2012 at 1:11 AM · Report this
I'm 25 and gay. I don't want children, and thank goodness I don't have to worry about an accidental pregnancy. I don't hate children, but I will not have any of my own. Looking back, I was such a pill in middle school (and probably at other times too), and I'm really embarrassed and ashamed of who I used to be, and I would never wish for myself or any other adult to be on the 'parent' side of that scenario. Plus, I'd be worried about being disappointed in my child. What if he's not as intelligent as I am? What if I don't have the heart to pick him up when he fails? What if I don't love my child?

There's also a selfish justification for my position. I've waited long enough to get the things I want in life. I don't want a child getting in the way of my hard-earned freedom (i.e. time and money). I have enough stress in my life. And if my parents had chosen not to have children? I'd be fine with that (not that I'd be around to care one way or the other).
Posted by brendan on March 1, 2012 at 1:54 AM · Report this
I agree fully 82. And 72 I find it hard to believe that you never ran into a senior citizen with asshole kids, or kids who won't contact them for numerous reasons.
Posted by msanonymous on March 1, 2012 at 2:07 AM · Report this
sissoucat 131
@128 SexEd : I'm right with you.

I've just spent some years with an awesome man (and amazing lover) who just can't understand what childhood is about. I would never have let him move in with us, had he been as honest as the LW about his distate for kids.

But he was, and still is, locked in denial. "He had had partners with children, but alas all of them happened to be insufferable brats, and it didn't work out on the long run" - that was the only sign there could be a problem with kids. Mine were not insufferable brats by my other friends' advice, so I thought it could work out. He was very gentle and kind to animals. We dated for several months before I let him meet them, he was nice and gentle with them, I let him move in.

Fast forward one year and we're having daily arguments about my kids. Whenever one wouldn't finish his plate, he'd become exasperated, already yelling "how can you be so stupid and brainless, when are you gonna act sensible" - yeah, like that approach is likely to work on a 4-year-old... I spent most of my time separately appeasing him, and them - being yelled at for the tinyest reason got on the nerves of the eldest.

And then, he shifted to berating me, as in "would you only listen to me and spank them or slap them anytime they disobey, but no, you listen only to them !". Yes, well, I'm raising human beings not training dogs, and I have other means than mere physical violence to get what I want from them.

He usually added that he had been raised that way and it had never hurt him one bit. But of his own admission he didn't remember any detail from his childhood, except his mother's frequent saying that children were more work than chicken, and her obvious preference of chicken. His sister's memories were not much more enticing : she only remembers "being cold and needing to pee". Neither of them wound up having kids, and no wonder. Well I'm not raising my children your way, thank you very much.

The cup was already filling fast, when one of his friends, a shrink, thought it would be useful to lecture me about how my "being too soft on my children" would only hurt them on the long run. Of course, the well-meaning friend didn't get that "being too soft" is his codeword for "not hitting them constantly", but how could she guess that from her longtime, known for his gentleness, friend ? Next day I told him to move out. Of course he blames the failure of the relationship on "the brats".

Well, there are real decent adults out there who don't understand and don't like childhood, for whatever reason they have, not limited to my lover's example of having been raised by someone who hated kids. Nice for the LW to be open about it ; it saves everybody's time.
Posted by sissoucat on March 1, 2012 at 2:30 AM · Report this
Registered European 132
@126, we all have our unique experiences from which we draw our conclusions about how to live our life. Your experiences with kids led you to different conclusions than my experiences with kids did. As was said earlier, more power to you.
Please broaden your experience basis.

I wasn't planning to, I plan to avoid being around kids as much as possible and to never have my own.
Posted by Registered European on March 1, 2012 at 2:35 AM · Report this
My thoughts entirely. Been there, done that. Never again.
Posted by stanton73 on March 1, 2012 at 4:17 AM · Report this
samanthaf63 134
Amen, sister. I'm tired of getting flak because I don't want to reproduce. I'm tired of spending years and years (I'm 48 now) of listening to "you'll change your mind." I don't like kids and I don't like to be near them. Isn't it better to be honest and up-front about it instead of constantly having to defend myself?
Posted by samanthaf63 on March 1, 2012 at 5:29 AM · Report this
Offspring of parents with the "if you won't indulge Junior doing whatever he wants to do, wherever he wants to do it, then you can fuck off" attitude are no doubt many of the kids people hate.

In my neighborhood, there is an ~12 yr old girl who rides her bike across everyone's front yards. With today's attidudes around children, as a single man, I cannot (however nicely) tell her to avoid my yard because I would probably have Dad beating down my door to tell me to stay the hell away from his kid. I just hope one of the women in the neighborhood has a talk with her mother.

That a child can get away with this kind of behavior gets reinforced at an early age when (in my previous example) elementary school aged Junior is allowed take someone else's assigned seat without asking and sing songs and kick seats for the duration of his Seattle to Dallas flight with no regards to the 150+ strangers locked in the aluminum tube with him.
Posted by WestSeven on March 1, 2012 at 5:38 AM · Report this
Registered European 136
Perhaps many people react so strongly to statements like "I hate kids" because they feel that their own kids are being attacked and a deep-seated animal urge to "defend my offspring against enemies and predators" takes over.

I don't actually "hate" any kids and I would never phrase it like that myself. I also don't personally know the kids of any of you here, so this is not about them. It's just that my observations of young kids led me to conclude that most of them are rather annoying, so I prefer to avoid their company until they are older.

If you feel that makes me an asshole, that is your prerogative. Nobody is required to like me.
Posted by Registered European on March 1, 2012 at 5:56 AM · Report this
I think I'd be OK with step-parenting, so long as the kids and I got on and they respected me as an adult. And their father didn't hinder my responsibility and authority with them.

Yeah, I'm in that odd group of Too Young To Have Kids and Don't Intend To Breed, But Will Probably Be A Parent Someday Via Adoption, But Not Anytime Soon.

I like kids for about an hour, hate screaming spoiled brats, and won't be altering MY health and body just to keep my DNA in the gene pool. Blood ties don't mean much outside of hereditary health issues and physical characteristics.
Posted by blah on March 1, 2012 at 6:09 AM · Report this
@41: Childless people are more likely to be able to fund their own retirements, so give that Social Security line a rest.
Posted by My Name Here on March 1, 2012 at 7:50 AM · Report this
There's a big difference between hating kids, and not wanting to parent them. Someone who doesn't want any kids may be a good friend to other people's children.
Posted by My Name Here on March 1, 2012 at 7:53 AM · Report this
I get it...surprised that so many of you who are childless have never been on the receiving end of the hate, yes, hate. Many years ago in a land far away, when I was like 25 or something, I did some online dating. I put prominently on my profile that I didn't like children and did not want to be a parent. Men with kids still contacted me. When I politely said to them that I didn't date people with children, I got all manner of nasty screeds thrown at me. I was being open about my preferences in a forum where that's important, and was bashed as a bitch for not giving these guys a "chance."

Nowadays, I have cut off contact with a few friends because EVERY time I talk to them, they require me to explain to them YET AGAIN why I don't want kids (and a few require me to explain why I won't just get legally married, already...their phone calls get ignored, too). By and large they were fine with my choice, until they had kids. Now "you're missing out," "it's a wonderful experience!" blah, blah, blah. I'm sorry, am I supposed to change my mind about this to justify YOUR having a kid? Yes, by and large these folks are deeply unhappy with their lives. Also cut off are the idiots who ask me if I've changed my mind about having kids, and when I say no, laugh at me and tell me that it'll happen some day. I'm not a four-year-old who's decided I don't like pink. The attitude is unbelievable.
Posted by Ms. D on March 1, 2012 at 7:59 AM · Report this
AFinch 141
A-Effing-MEN!!!! I cannot agree enough. I am not exactly the same - I want kids - OF MY OWN - not someone else's. Sorry. I BTDT and you know what? You, as johnny-come-lately, almost inevitably take a back seat to the kids. I was a step-dad to a "kid" barely younger than I. He had a father, and so I got no respect as a parent, though I supported his sorry ass for nearly fifteen years of boomerang child, and still his mother put him ahead of me in the relationship. Fuck that. That was one of the principal reasons we divorced.

Kids are serious, serious baggage. They're nice, but you better be prepared to marry the kids as the parent - you are, in fact, going to be living with them.
Posted by AFinch on March 1, 2012 at 8:01 AM · Report this
Didn't want kids as a teenager. Was "pretty sure" I didn't want them in my 20's. Met my (future) wife in my 30's when I was back to "unless something really dramatic changes" I don't want kids. She's got neices and nephews and didn't want them. Snip-job at 40 made it final.

Some pangs occasioanlly, but overall a great decision for us. As my (now) wife says - "We have parties, not kids."
Posted by SnipSnip on March 1, 2012 at 8:02 AM · Report this
AFinch 143
Offspring of parents with the "if you won't indulge Junior doing whatever he wants to do, wherever he wants to do it, then you can fuck off" attitude are no doubt many of the kids people hate.

That pretty well gets to the nub of it, IMHO. The thing is, if you are one of the parents, you at least have a chance at having some input or control over how the child-rearing will be conducted.

The anger is not, actually (at least for me), directed at the kids - it's directed at the asshole parents who expect me to live with the consequences of their crappy parenting and yet not have any say whatever in how it plays out. That often takes the form of...

they feel that their own kids are being attacked and a deep-seated animal urge to "defend my offspring against enemies and predators" takes over.

Bingo! And generally, once that emotion takes over, everything else is just fuzzy pink noise. I've just used up my own lifetime supply of patience, understanding and tolerance for dealing with that.

I actually really like kids, enjoy spending time with them (though I need alone- and adult-only time as well), and want to reproduce (though in my 20s and early 30s I did not want to). I will not become a step-parent, period, so no, I don't date people with children.
Posted by AFinch on March 1, 2012 at 8:29 AM · Report this
BEG 144
I like children just fine (I spoil my niblings unmercifully) but I have never wanted children of my own nor anyone else's. Thankfully I'm at an age where most people I'm involved with have grown children which is much more workable.

I don't make a big deal of it, though [I'm not saying TESTY does, necessarily] and I've rarely gotten too much shit for it. I just quietly move along if the children situation isn't going to be workable.
Posted by BEG!/browneyedgirl65 on March 1, 2012 at 8:35 AM · Report this
My partner has 3 children. He said when we met he couldn't believe how I just seemed to take it all in my stride and not be horrified about it or anything. That's because I had never dated anyone with kids before and did not know what I was getting myself into. 3 years later I am still with him. But if I ever broke up with him, I would never again date someone with small kids, or even worse, teenagers! I would really run the other way, knowing what I know now. A completely thankless task. I do not want to live with these kids whom I have no authority over. They put up with me and all that, but there is no lost love between us. I am always, always, always, number 4... And when I end up in a nursing home, they will not come to visit much. I have tried and tried... And this coming from someone who worked as a nanny for years and had plenty of very fulfilling experiences as one! If it happened again, I'd put the whole thing in the too hard basket. The dynamic is just too much for everyone involved when you are the step-parent, no matter how much you love kids.
Posted by latingem on March 1, 2012 at 8:49 AM · Report this
@88 Yeeikes.

If you truly are happy with your choices and your life, you wouldn't feel the need to characterize "the other side" in such caricatured and mean-spirited terms.

And I mean this both for sanctimonious parents who look down on single people as selfish/failed and the equally righteous childless who declare "hating" children and see the process of life as some kind of burden to their social schedule or ever-important "personal journey."

Or worse, a person so fucking shallow that they think the shape of an aging woman's ass has more value than growing and giving birth to a child. Mom jeans, indeed. Like your shit won't sag too, honey.

As someone who IS taking care of her own aging mother with Parkinson's, I think #88 is projecting his/her own callousness onto the children he/she presumes will just idly "dump" their aging parents into homes. Those are heart-wrenching decisions usually made from medical or financial necessity, not callous disregard or lack of love for the parent in question. If you need to believe people are at foundation that wretched, that says more about you than these rotten children you've imagined to justify your bitterness. You're no different than the single person who points to all failed romances as "proof" that love isn't real or meaningful. Pathetic.

As for the broader issue, of course a single parent, if looking for a long-term partner and co-parent, shouldn't waste his or her time dating people that never want any involvement in raising children. I think that it's really selfish and damaging to children to bring said people into their lives. But to demonize either side strikes me as overblown. As others noted, Dan was speaking to compatibility and common-sense parenting, not denigrating those who choose to remain childless.
Posted by maddy811 on March 1, 2012 at 9:04 AM · Report this
HellboundAlleee 147
The good point she never made is that it is an entirely ETHICAL CHOICE to not get with someone who has a kid. It's the ethical choice FOR THE KID'S SAKE. She would be miserable, and the kid would be miserable. Who needs that?

Hell, most people SHOULDN'T have kids. Most people have this incredibly STUPID idea in their heads that doing their "best" as a parent is "good enough." No it's not. Kids should have the fucking BEST, not your half-assery. That's why I support gay parents who work their damndest to plan children, not accidentally WHOOPS them like most slobs do.

I don't know if I'd want to inherit a kid. But not everyone SHOULD!
Posted by HellboundAlleee on March 1, 2012 at 9:11 AM · Report this
Yeah, I'm with those who listened to the podcast and heard no ill-wishing against child-free people. Yes, Dan said something like, "And if he freaks out because you have a kid and ditches, well fuck him," but I really think that's his profane way of saying that Caller didn't need someone in his life who can't deal with kids, so it's best to know that right away. We've had several posters here who regretted being in a step-parent situation, either as the step-parent and felt 'all the responsibility and none of the authority' AND as the bio-parent whose partner never wanted kids and reacted badly when having to deal with them regularly.

I'm child-free and I like my life. I adore my nephew and I love working with kids. I also like giving them all back to their parents.
Posted by clashfan on March 1, 2012 at 9:11 AM · Report this
I'm a little surprised by the letter writer's vehemence to the podcast, I think she misheard the advice. I imagine she heard Dan say "Good Riddance" and added the culture's disdain for childless people into the message, and got offended. And the prejudice is strong, and she shouldn't have to feel bad, but she should really think about what's really being said. When, really, I don't think that's what Dan intended at all.

Being an advice columnist, he's focusing on a person's problems in a way that might relate to a general pattern in some relationships, but is tailored to what that person is asking. Rarely does he make a blanket judgement about what to do in every situation that might possibly resemble this one. Every relationship is different, so everybody should develop the tools to negotiate with somebody who they want to fool around or get old and fat with, for maximum happiness of both parties.

It's a formula that's been repeated in varying ways, on varying podcasts, for individuals of different sexual identities, but I think it's a good one. One should make no assumptions about what the other person wants, and be open about your own desires.

If you're a voluntarily childless person, be open about it to your potential romantic partners and seek out people who are cool with dating voluntarily childless people/ other voluntarily childless people.
If you're asexual, be open about it to your potential romantic partners and seek out people who are cool with dating asexuals/other asexuals.
If you're bisexual, be open about it to your potential romantic partners and seek out people who are cool with dating bisexuals/other bisexuals.
If you're kinky, be open about it to your potential romantic partners and seek out people who are cool with dating kinksters/other kinky people.
If you're poly, be open about it to your potential romantic partners and seek out people who are cool with dating polyamourously/other poly people.

Personally, I don't know why this is considered hard or controversial, or some sort of political stance. Or why Dan gets attacked by bi/trans/ace/fat activists for being whateverphobic. (Plus, IMO, their letters are usually overwritten and full of special pleading). I've had to defend my fangirlism of Dan Savage to some of my bi/ace/trans friends who just read snippets of his columns on blogs, and it's tiiiiiresome, especially when those people are consistently in dysfunctional relationships. You can believe what you believe about sexual morality and be an activist for whatever cause you want, but when selecting romantic partners, you should be open about it for your own personal happiness, as well as that of the other person.

It is difficult, it's true, to be open to somebody you really like about the deviant, weird shit that you want, especially knowing that if you are, then that special person that you really like might walk. But wouldn't that be better, if in the long term you cast about and find somebody who clicks with you 80% of the time instead of 45%? And if you have the stones to be open about what you want, you can nut up enough to tell that to your lover(s). The fact that this manifesto of mine (a long time coming!) is so long is probably why Dan Savage doesn't go into it every single week with every single person.

TL:DR; Go after what you want, and disregard the people who don't want it too.
Posted by loquatiouslassie on March 1, 2012 at 9:26 AM · Report this
I never dated anyone with children because I remember how much I despised the people my own parents dated, as well as four stepmothers and two stepfathers. I would never willingly subject my adult self to my child self. (Shudder.)
Posted by mitten on March 1, 2012 at 9:27 AM · Report this
Fortunate 151
I don't hate kids either, but I do not enjoy their company. It's that simple. I have a whole gaggle of nieces and nephews and I have always loved, but never truly enjoyed hanging out with until they got older and interesting.

My sister and her two kids lived with me for two years. I have a much younger brother and sister that I was tasked with watching when I was younger. I've probably changed just as many diapers, prepared just as many kids meals, read just as many bedtime stories as many parents. I have a pretty good idea what I am missing and I do not, in fact, miss it.

My life suits me. If I had kids, no matter what I could do, I would have to give up far too much of what I enjoy doing to be happy with it. I have never had any itch to have a kid, and as I get closer to 50 I have no regrets about not having kids.

I'm glad for those people who have kids and love it. But two things. The smug "you don't know what you are missing" thing is just annoying. Just because you would have missed it if you didn't have it doesn't mean every one does.

The other is that not every parent enjoys being a parent when they actually get there. One thing about not having kids and not making any bones about not wanting them is that people with kids will sometimes tell you things they would never tell other parents. Things like, "I love my kids, but if I could go back and do it again I would never have had children." I have heard that or similar things more than a few times.

I think a lot of people don't realize just how pervasive the negativity directed at people who chose not to have kids is. I don't typically go around making a point of not wanting kids. But it comes up all the time because other people always bring it up. "Why don't you have kids, don't you want kids? Do you hate children or something?"

I get that all the time.

The other thing I get all the time is that I just don't want to have kids because I am selfish. Two problems with that. Being selfish is when you don't want to give to another who needs or deserves it so that you can keep for yourself. I am not denying anything to anyone. My kids don't exist. Not creating people who don't exist isn't selfish, it is just a choice. Bringing a kid into existence and then neglecting them is selfish. Not having kids in the first place isn't.

At least no more than having kids is selfish. Because we all make those decisions, to have kids or not, because we feel that decision is what will make us happy. People who have kids do it because they want kids. People who chose not to make that choice because they don't want kids. Each is making the choice because it is what they want and what will make them happy, and both choices are equally selfish if that word can even be put on such a decision.

Yet I get called selfish or immature for choosing not to create another human being that I have no inherent desire to have in my life and would find no satisfaction of pleasure in devoting my life to. So yes, some of us non-childrened people may come off as a bit bitter or harsh at times, but it is a sensitivity developed due to being poked with the condemnation stick all the time for simply making what is the right choice for us.

As for the tone of the original poster, I just listened to the podcast and honestly, while she may be coming on strong the fact is that Dan was very negative about people who wouldn't want to date someone with kids.

Now I may have been willing to write it off as Dan being Dan and saying the most neutral of things in an acerbic manner. He basically said that if a guy wasn't in to it than "good fucking riddance", and "fuck him". Now it may be possible for someone who is very familiar with Dan's style to interpret that as "He just isn't right for you", but lets get real, when 99% of people use those terms they are basically saying the person in question is an asshole. So that the Letter Writer interpreted it that way shouldn't be surprising.

But to take it a step further I don't think she was all that off because Dan also clearly stated his opinion that the guys who wouldn't be interested were "threatened". And I have to agree with the LW that characterization is total bullshit. Not wanting to get involved with someone who has kids because you know you don't want to be a parent is not being threatened. It is called making a rational choice. Interpreting someone basically saying, "fuck him for being threatened by you having a kid" as a negative characterization really isn't wrong.
Posted by Fortunate on March 1, 2012 at 9:32 AM · Report this
Yeah, 88's an idiot. Moving on ...

I think the whole "have fun with your little shit machines" attitude a lot of childless-by-choice people seem to possess is what really irks parents, since it's a reductive view of thier lives. The thing about kids? They grow up, and pretty quickly too.

@52 -- Agreed. Not wanting kids doesn't make you a bad person. Hating kids or people who have them does.
Posted by Amanda on March 1, 2012 at 9:48 AM · Report this
John Horstman 153
@30: Yeah, there's some serious projection going on in this letter. I've never gotten the impression that Dan does or has condemned people for not wanting children (in fact, as an advocate for sexual and reproductive choice that extends beyond what the mainstream culture finds acceptable, Dan's frequently an advocate for people who don't want to reproduce). I heard the same thing you did in this week's podcast.

TESTY: Those people giving you shit are assholes. In fact, by my reasoning, nothing is more selfish and ethically problematic than reproducing. One makes the single most important decision of someone else's life - their existence - without any possibility for that person's input, and universally in cultural contexts that deny that person agency for a solid decade at least, while simultaneously adding to the strain placed on the resources of the planet by the 7 billion+ people who already exist. Nothing could possibly be more selfish (could be far worse in terms of impact, but I wouldn't call things like genocide "selfish"), which is why I feel that anyone choosing to reproduce owes their offspring and their communities every effort possible to ensure the safe, healthy, responsible maturation of said offspring. I myself do want children at some point, but I have no illusions about the personal strain (physical and psychological) that this will place on another person (my reproductive partner), the violation of agency that this constitutes on the part of my offspring, and the imposition that it will be on the wider world by creating yet another human life, a person who will by necessity impact others, for better or worse. I will spend the rest of my life attempting to make up for these violations and impositions if/when I reproduce, doing everything I can to ensure they have a net positive impact. This is the only approach to reproduction/parenting that I see as anything close to ethical, and I think anyone who simply wishes to avoid the issues by not reproducing is making a responsible, pro-social decision (or anyone who is not reproducing for other reasons - I look at ethics as a matter of impact, not intent).

(NOTE: I don't think everyone who decides to parent is automatically a Bad Person; I think that all parents are making ethically-problematic choices and therefore have a responsibility to both their children and the rest of the human population to do whatever they can to ensure a good life for their children and to mitigate or eliminate the imposition on others that their reproduction entails. I DO think many, many parents fail to live up to or even recognize these ethical responsibilities, and I think they are behaving very badly when they do so. This is also an ethical perspective bounded to a specific historical-cultural context: people reproducing in cultural contexts where children are seen as and raised as part of/by the entire community, not, in most cases in my culture, a single genetic family, will have different ethical responsibilities related to reproduction because of the difference in context. Also, if population strain were not a factor, some of the problems raised by creating another person who needs sustenance would not be issues.)

That said, I've never gotten he impression that Dan is shaming people who don't want children (he's actively affirmed the right of people to make that decision on any number of occasions), and I think you're projecting pretty heavily here, though your reasons for doing so are entirely understandable.
Posted by John Horstman on March 1, 2012 at 10:17 AM · Report this
Not wanting a kid? I'd find that sad, but it's your choice to make, not mine.

Actively HATING kids? I'm sorry, but there's something wrong with you.

That amount of negative emotional energy hurled at an entire demographic of humanity just because they are who they are is just as bad as homophobia.
Posted by Common.Sense.FTW on March 1, 2012 at 10:53 AM · Report this
There's something I find irresistibly attractive about a woman that eschews default choices. There's so much pressure: biological and social to squirt out a kid or two. It's a life-imperative to extend yourself, and having children is the default way to do that.

I have high standards for the women I like to be with, therefore I prefer women who openly state that they don't want kids.
Posted by Doot on March 1, 2012 at 11:33 AM · Report this
Listened to the podcast and I think the letter writer is totally out to lunch. Dan wasn't hard on people who don't have kids and never has been. What he said on the podcast was to tell potential partners up front about kids. If you have a kid and they like kids, great, if not too fucking bad, don't waste your time because you're not compatible. That's called being realistic and open from the get go, not being hard. Instead of jumping to the 'OMG, this fag hates kid haters' why not actually try and listen to what he's saying.
Posted by eddence on March 1, 2012 at 11:56 AM · Report this
@Registered European, who wrote:
I wasn't planning to, I plan to avoid being around kids as much as possible and to never have my own.

Which is entirely your right. By all means, and again quoting seandr, more power to you. You may also be planning to do things that I also want to avoid at all costs, and you are similarly entitled to them. And since you do accept that those who have the exact opposite opinion to yours about kids are also entitled to it, then everything is OK. I wish you happiness in your plans.
Posted by ankylosaur on March 1, 2012 at 12:31 PM · Report this
@155 - See, now you're implying that women who want kids are of a lower standard. That's the kind of condescending attitude that makes a lot of childless-by-choice people look terrible. Not everyone who wants kids is relenting to social pressure. As difficult as it might be for you to believe, some people just genuinely want a different kind of life than you, one that includes having kids.
Posted by Amanda on March 1, 2012 at 12:33 PM · Report this
@ 44, check out the discrepancy between how much we spend on benefits for seniors and benefits for children. That shows how much we value chidren.
Posted by ML77 on March 1, 2012 at 12:37 PM · Report this
Geni 160
I've managed to neatly straddle both camps. I said, starting when I was five years old, that I would never have kids. Every single person told me, "oh, you'll change your mind when you're older!" Well, I'm 52 now. Still don't have kids. Still don't WANT to have kids. When I was younger, I heard every single line that has been quoted above. "You're selfish" "you don't want kids because you're self-absorbed and irresponsible" "you'll be sorry when you're old" "don't you LIKE children?" "you must be some kind of child-hater" "you don't know what you're missing!" etc., etc., etc. It was CONSTANT. When I was married to my first husband, his family and friends were the worst; they were so inquisitive about WHY WHY WHY and WHEN WHEN WHEN that I finally developed the technique of sniffling and saying "I can't" when they asked, which shut them up completely. Yes, it was disingenuous - I couldn't because I'd had my tubes tied when I was 31, but that really is not the business of anyone one is not in a relationship with, now, is it?

I was up front with every man I had a relationship that kids were not an option. If they wanted children, the relationship had a time limit on it.

Then I fell in love with a man with two children. I became a stepmother. I did my goddamnest never to be a stepmonster: I had stepmonsters myself and did not want to play out that game. I was about as hands-off as a stepparent can be. If the boys needed to be chastised, asked to do something or not do something, given permission for something, etc., that was my HUSBAND's job. He's the one who chose to have children. They were his responsibility, not mine. They had a perfectly good mother (who hated - still hates - me, but that's beside the point).

Some 20 years later, the boys and I are pretty good friends. They now appreciate that I did not try to take over from their mother and interfere in how they were brought up. But given the choice, I wouldn't have fallen in love with a man with kids. That being said, I would never have had the slightest respect for him had he been the sort of man who would abandon his kids for a new woman; my own father did that, and I will have nothing to do with deadbeat dads. They are scum. I don't care what a PITA it is to deal with your ex or pay child support; you married him or her, you chose to reproduce with him or her, and dealing with that person until the kids are functional adults is your job.

I prefer adult company for the most part. Many kids are joys to be around. Many are quite awful. That's true of adults, too, but it's easier to totally ostracize an adult one cannot stand without being apostrophized as a monster of some sort. There are places and venues that I wish were adults-only, just so concessions do not have to be made; we seem to have this mania in our society with making everything family-friendly that sometimes it's hard to just enjoy adult society and entertainment without being snarled at (or told one needs therapy).

The point is, someone else's choice to reproduce or not reproduce is not your business. Yes, there are those who are so bad at it that society has to take a hand, and I think it's a shame we can't prevent those people from reproducing in the future. But that's a slippery slope to all kinds of horrors, so for the most part, seek the company of those who feel as you do and MYOFB. And quit calling people who disagree with your choice names.
Posted by Geni on March 1, 2012 at 12:39 PM · Report this
gueralinda 161
@104 You win! Couldn't have said it better myself. And I haven't heard this perspective yet, so I'll just throw this out there - if any single moms are wondering if there are ANY men out there willing to date them, try looking into men with other cultural backgrounds. Not to overgeneralize, but in my experience there is a much higher percentage of kid-haters among white American men Then in other demographic groups. Date Latinos! Date Africans! Date people from other parts of the world. You'll find that in many places men are much more accepting if women with children.
Posted by gueralinda on March 1, 2012 at 2:23 PM · Report this
@14, others have already said it, but you are wrong. There are many reasons people don't have kids other than a lack of desire to be responsible for others (which is a totally legitimate reason). Lack of financial stability, lack of energy to give for work/ medical/ whatever reasons. Personally I have never wanted my own children, but I have worked w/ special needs children (developmental disabilities and mental health issues) for over 7 years. I'm also about to start grad school to go into teaching. I don't think I would be able to successfully teach or do the social work jobs I've done in the past if I came home to a caretaker role. Just fyi, there's rarely only one reason for a decision like that. Also, there's too many people in the world, not having children is just more sustainable.
Posted by muffin on March 1, 2012 at 2:25 PM · Report this
Part of the problem is that most people who have children have gone through a phase where they they did not want children, so they dismiss people who say they don't want children as immature. It is the same reason some don't think asexuals or bisexuals exist.

Personally I think having children will eventually no longer be a societal norm and that is a good thing. I have met too many people who were raised by shitty parents that are not invested in parenting at all. Often they are rich kids who have parents that give them money rather than attention. This type of bad parent does not get the public scrutiny it deserves, because on a superficial level they provide for all of the child's needs. Kids like this can also appear to be spoiled brats which makes people even less sympathetic to the emotional damage they have suffered. I have no problem with children but I have a problem with thoughtless parents.
Posted by TheLastComment on March 1, 2012 at 3:25 PM · Report this
No-one else finds your inbred hellspawn endearing. It's insane to actually like children; it's a sign of great patience merely to tolerate one's own. No-one else should be forced to enjoy your moron children, merely endure them enough not to cause them severe physical harm.

Be happy you get even that. Were we all bears, your children caught unattended could very well be eaten by other bears, fully within their rights.
Posted by Central Scrutinizer on March 1, 2012 at 4:17 PM · Report this
"Kids under 10 can also be sweet, give you hugs, care about you when you're sad, smile and sing just to see you smile and sing, give you profuse thanks for your help, discuss things with you with an open mind you rarely find among adults, make surprisingly sharp observations about life and others, help you out in ways you didn't know were possible, and even play chess with you."

@126 That's because most kids under 10 want attention and everything you mentioned are ploys to get it.

Posted by Second Grade Teacher on March 1, 2012 at 4:28 PM · Report this
Reading all these comments makes me appreciate the people I've been around in my life. When I was in my 20s and said I didn't want kids I too would get some of the "you'll change your mind" comments. I knew I wouldn't, but I was in my 20s, so it was a logical thing for them to say. But those comments stopped by the time I was in my 30s. I've never been around people who grilled me about not having kids/not being married/not dating. If I did have someone in my life like that, I'd end my relationship with them.

Another trick to dealing w/these interrogators is to agree w/them, whatever they say, however negative. "You don't have kids because you're selfish." "Yes, that's probably true." I've seen people stopped in their tracks by that one.
Posted by Little Brown Hen on March 1, 2012 at 4:55 PM · Report this
Ichneumons are fond of little ichneumons.
And lions of little lions.
But I am not fond of little humans;
I do not believe in scions.

Ogden Nash, 1936
(Some of my best friends are children)
Posted by codairem on March 1, 2012 at 6:02 PM · Report this
I think we need to distinguish from those who say they don't want kids and those who say they hate kids. Before I had kids I used to say I hated them. More truthfully I should have said that I hated other peoples children. But having kids changes you, not from who you are but where your priorities lie. And this has cost me dearly in friends when that shift happened for me. Mainly because sitting on the phone for hours and psychoanalising ourselves to death became a luxury. And also not being able to drop by or go away for the weekend at the drop of a hat. And after having kids my appreciation for the situation when I'm in a restaurant and a kid is crying increased tenfold. No I don't like it either. But now I find myself offering to open a door or hold a shoe while another parent is in a crisis. And I think the non-kidders need think about how they treat other people children who will grow up to either be judgmental bigot douchbags like their parents or self respecting, caring, participating members of society. I'd even go so far as suggest to those that have it in them to go to their local elementary school an give a small amount of time sharing their time or talent. Not on the subject of the caller, but I hope relevant to the discussion. To me it's just about having maturity to remember the golden rule.
Posted by Urania8 on March 1, 2012 at 7:08 PM · Report this
Aurora Erratic 169
Posted by Aurora Erratic on March 2, 2012 at 4:01 AM · Report this
geoz 170
I must have missed Dan's pro-child, anti-anti-child rants. Yet another demographic with whom I have been insensitive. everyone.
Posted by geoz on March 2, 2012 at 8:19 AM · Report this
@28: You're the one who bred the kid, it's your baggage to deal with, not the childless person's.
Posted by suddenlyorcas on March 2, 2012 at 9:25 AM · Report this
@34 "This society is hostile enough to children"

How so?
Posted by suddenlyorcas on March 2, 2012 at 9:27 AM · Report this
@52: It's not bigotry. Being a child is not the same as being part of a protected class, as many protections as we offer kids as a society...
Posted by suddenlyorcas on March 2, 2012 at 9:30 AM · Report this
@72: So about the ones with kids, how often did they visit? Or were the older folks who chose to have kids dumped off there too?
Posted by suddenlyorcas on March 2, 2012 at 9:36 AM · Report this
@98: Once again, being a child is not the same as being a member of a protected class. One can grow out of being a child. One cannot grow out of being gay or black.
Posted by suddenlyorcas on March 2, 2012 at 9:41 AM · Report this
@116: You mean a bucket list? Here's a clue-by-four: people with kids keep bucket lists too, retard.
Posted by suddenlyorcas on March 2, 2012 at 9:47 AM · Report this
@175 -- Yes, the nature of age is different from that of sexual orientation or race. That doesn't make it right to hate children or seniors.
Posted by Amanda on March 2, 2012 at 2:11 PM · Report this
xjuan 178
I wouldn't want to be with someone who didn't want to have kids around them. I am a parent, therefore, it'd be a deal breaker for me as well. I wouldn't impose on them that responsibility because it's mine, but if I chose to share my life with someone else, I expect to be able to share ALL the main responsibilities, including those of helping me rise my child. I am glad I found someone whom I truly love, who also have children and wants to share the joys and pains of rising them together. Is it for everyone? Not at all.

You are not evil for not liking kids. You would be evil if you hurt them, though.

You are right: Better not get involved whith someone with kids. I hope your heart doesn't trick you and make you fall in love with such a person.
Posted by xjuan on March 2, 2012 at 3:32 PM · Report this
not everyone who doesn't want kids had bad childhoods either. my parents were wonderful and completely focused on us, but when i look back at what that entailed, i know i would rather slit my throat than live through those things. they moved us to a boring town because it had the right mix of being affordable enough for us to have a nice yard, but still had good schools. they took us on kids' vacations--disney, theme parks, etc, and not places that adults can enjoy. they endured years of behaving like our pointless, vapid, child-prattling was interesting. my mother gave up her career to raise us; my father allowed his to atrophy for stability over real career advancement or challenge. they mortgaged their lives into oblivion to pay for mulitple kids' worth of clothes and toys and bikes and glasses and braces and speech therapy and music lessons and eventually colleges. yeah, no thanks. my parents made our childhoods wonderful, and having us was their choice, but they paid a high price for it. they were smart, interesting, lively people who could have had really exciting lives if they hadn't been so tied down by us.
Posted by happily free on March 2, 2012 at 3:55 PM · Report this
Hernandez #14 is really wrong here. "But come on, let's be honest. If you don't want kids it's because you don't want to have to be responsible for anyone but yourself. There's nothing inherently wrong with that. Instead of getting defensive, why not just own it?"

I'm a twin. And I pretty much believe my sister got all of my 'mom' genes. Even as a kid, when we played house, she was a mom with tons of dollies. I was a lawyer. We've had a pact since we were ten that she would have my kids and raise them and I would pay for their college education. (I've got funds for both her kids right now.) So Hernandez, having raised two step kids a dog and two cats, I've been responsible for more than myself. I've just NEVER felt the desire to pop one out of me. I know my sister has that mom thing. I don't. Never had, never will (43 now, it's never changed).
Posted by KathyinMN on March 3, 2012 at 5:03 AM · Report this
GymGoth 181
Pretty lame in at least not apologizing to the woman Dan. You seem to have a problem with people not fulfulling their partners every sexual appetite, however unique, but then damn this woman for not wanting kids in her relationship.
Posted by GymGoth on March 3, 2012 at 8:35 AM · Report this
GymGoth 182
#41: Thank you for saying what needs to be said everywhere and often. Parents not only get the free education, school lunches, and such for children, but get both tax deductions AND tax credits per child. Yet they keep harping they need more.

The childless in this country are footing the bill locally through property taxes and federally through income taxes.
Posted by GymGoth on March 3, 2012 at 8:40 AM · Report this
seandr 183
@182: The childless in this country are footing the bill

By the time you retire, our kids will be footing the bill for your social security. And your medical benefits - whether private insurance or medicare, the young and healthy pay for the old and sick. They'll also be protecting the country in the armed forces, and generally keeping the economy afloat.

See how it works?
Posted by seandr on March 3, 2012 at 10:39 AM · Report this
In my current state (Utah), the men seem to fall into one of two very extreme camps: "Make babies NOW NOW NOW!" or "Hells to the no: I don't belieeeeve in your bourgeois concepts of 'marriage' or 'reproduction.' How quaint."

I feel like I'd like to raise a child or two someday: I'd be very open to adopting older children from foster care, etc. Quite frankly, I feel like the religious nutjobs are outbreeding the areligious, sane, scientifically-minded among us, but "let's create a genetic/cultural legacy together since there's no afterlife anyway!" doesn't seem to be working as a pickup line. ;)

I work with kids aged 9 to 18 every day and they are uniformly charming, funny, and eager to learn (and never yell at you, act like a demanding diva-bitch, or whine about museum tour audio guides the way the more advanced in years have at past jobs of mine). However, neither I nor my mother have ever been that big on infants, and I totally get a "meh" reaction.
Posted by Portia27 on March 5, 2012 at 12:34 AM · Report this
@120 " Let's be honest, though. Kids under the age of, say, 10 years, are pretty awful as human beings. No empathy whatsoever. No conscience to speak of. Only interested in themselves. Prone to agression and throwing tantrums if they don't get their way. If an adult behaved like that they would be classified as as sociopath. Yes, I was one myself. I'm glad that I'm not anymore."

Ummm, no. You clearly don't know much about child development and have had very little experience with children under ten if this is actually what you think. By age three, children are developing empathetic skills- learning to recognize, care about, and understand their own role in impacting others' emotions. A five year old who was without empathy would be considered developmentally behind and possibly suffering from a developmental disorder. The static concept of right/wrong (I'm not allowed to do this, it's bad, there are consequences; I'm supposed to do this, it's good, doing it will get me treated with approval) starts developing in toddlerhood and most kids have a more refined and value-based concept of right/wrong by age 6-7 (These outcomes/attributes/goals are good because they benefit other people, it's good to help others and make them happy, I should engage in these behaviors for that reason; These outcomes/attributes/goals are bad because they make other people sad/upset/inconvenienced, it's bad to upset or hurt other people, I should try not to behave this way even if I want to for that reason.) and we see prosocial behavior in very young children.

Your assertion that children under ten are only interested in themselves is patently ridiculous. Children at that age are much more interested in other people and the world around them than they ever are in themselves, and indeed, those on the youngest end of your spectrum do not even have a developed sense of themselves as separate beings. Kids under ten are constantly exploring, questioning, and engaging with their environment. Their curiosity (as a group) is unmatched by any other age group.

As far as tantrums go, they occur when kids aren't having their needs met, don't have the ability to express their emotions fluently, or are regularly ignored/neglected until they make a scene that can't be ignored. Tantrums, for the most part, are over with by age four, and often do not even make a sustained appearance in development if the child in question is blessed with parents who encourage introspection, self-soothing, verbal expressions of emotions (and verbal development through real conversation with their children, reading to them, and modeling appropriate communication in their other relationships), guessed it, the development of empathy by promoting questioning and thinking about other people's (but especially other kids') feelings! A child who is regularly having tantrums, or one who is often having tantrums past age five, has been subjected to poor modeling, insufficient linguistic development, neglect, or some other major disadvantage (such as a developmental disability).

I am SO sick of adults who think it's clever or interesting to talk about how "stupid," "irritating," or "obnoxious" children are. It reveals a profound lack of both understanding and empathy which frankly rivals the supposedly unpleasant characteristics of children which they intend to deride. I have no children of my own, but I spend my days working with other people's, and I can tell you that 9/10 times, a child who is really being difficult calms almost immediately when encouraged to express his distress and given the support of an adult saying, "I'm sorry that upset you. What should we do about it?" And 9/10 times, a child acting inappropriately changes her behavior when given a calm and clear explanation of why it's not okay and how, exactly, it needs to change. Kids aren't stupid. When you treat them with disrespect and condescension, they tend to react much like an offended adult, only with less sophistication. When you treat them like people and respect their feelings and agency, they tend to return the favor.
Posted by Sphinx on March 7, 2012 at 12:43 AM · Report this
Wow, there's a lot of hostility on here! I'm not surprised, it is a powder-keg discussion....

I'm 42, straight female, never married, no kids. I am exactly where I want to be. I don't hate children, just never had any interest in having them. Also no interest in getting married. I date. I'm sexually active. I'm selective. I'm perfectly happy with my unmarried, child-free status.

I had my tubes tied at 23 (not one moment of regret), and I choose to date men that don't have children. This does not make me a monster, or a child hater, selfish, or anti child in any way. I really don't understand how my choices affect anyone but myself, or how my choices are anyone's business.

What I would love though, is to be able to say "never married, no kids, prefer to stay that way", and not have the first reaction be "What's wrong with you??".

There is nothing wrong with me. The things that make me happy in life are just different from what fulfills happy parents.
Posted by child-free on March 11, 2012 at 3:25 PM · Report this
This is just part of the widespread problem of people dividers. Religious/non-religious, foodies/vegans, Democrat/Republican, Mall-shoppers/online shoppers. You get my drift. Share your views with only those who, regardless of their side of a particular fence, don't have paradigms so thick they can't roll with the other side. Unfortunately, the vast majority of people do not take the time to conjure what it might be like to live other than they do. It's not lack of respect, more lack of imagination.
Posted by MyNameHere on March 11, 2012 at 10:38 PM · Report this
@ 178 Better not get involved whith someone with kids. I hope your heart doesn't trick you and make you fall in love with such a person.

You have to spend time with someone to fall in love with them. Like the LW I am not interested in parenting, stepparenting, adopting, Big Brother/sistering, etc. I find out early if a man has or wants kids. If so, game over. No time invested, no risk of falling in love with a parent/potential parent. I have not dated a man with with kids, not even grown ones, that has its own set of issues, since 1982.

Sign me 57 Childfree and Happy
Posted by DeAnn on March 14, 2012 at 12:34 PM · Report this
I don't like people, so obviously not too crazy about kids either.
Posted by Swee on April 15, 2012 at 7:51 PM · Report this
@Janell8me, do you lack curiosity about why you seem "perfect" but prospective partners are iffy about your child? If you're turning a blind eye to behavior issues, that is a turn-off and doesn't necessarily mean your partner is a bad person. I notice that parents who have divorced sometimes go from being pretty good parents to really crappy parents. They spoil their kids to make up for the guilt, and then of course spoiled kids are never happy (that just gets added to all the uncertainty and lack of structure that goes with living in two homes, etc.)...and no one wants to hang out with a miserable child no matter how "perfect" their parent may be otherwise. That's miserable!

And you're a bit over the top about being asked to "choose" between a partner and your child. If your child is competing for the kind of companionship and intimacy you should be enjoying with another adult, that's a real problem. I can't believe any loving partner would ask you to totally give up custody just to be with them. Unless, as mentioned...the problem is the child with behavior problems that the parent is choosing to ignore. Don't make the person who tells you the truth the villain! They are maybe trying to help you out.

Comparing a parent-child relationship to the one between lovers is a little creepy in my book. Understand the difference and give each relationship its due, and you won't end up alone and hurt so much.
Posted by Anise Blue on May 22, 2012 at 9:41 AM · Report this

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