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How early should I bring up my childfree by choice lifestyle when dating?

How early should I bring up my childfree by choice lifestyle when dating?

Ah, dating. Dating can be exciting and fun, and at the same time complicated and confusing. The beginning of any new relationship is full of playful fact-finding: their favorite restaurant, their unique hobbies, their dream vacation destinations ... but when’s the right time to start asking the tough questions, like if they want to have kids when you definitely don’t? What if you fall for someone who wants kids? Here are some answers to common questions about dating while childfree by choice.

Where can I meet others who are childfree by choice? Is there an app for childfree dating?

You’re lucky to be dating in the age when there’s a dating app for pretty much everyone and everything! It’s easy to find a dating site for people who don’t want kids. Even standard dating apps and sites allow you to set preferences for what you’re looking for in terms of kids, which can be an easy way to help curate your potential matches.

If you’re more of a meeting IRL person, consider trying something new in your city: a ceramics or cooking class, a casual sports league with friends, whatever it may be! Most major cities have speed dating or other singles events that may be worth trying out. The nice thing about being childfree by choice is that you can try all kinds of new activities without having to worry about being home for the kiddo’s bedtime!

When should I bring up my childfree lifestyle while on a date?

There’s no right or wrong time to bring up your voluntary childlessness, it’s entirely dependent on your comfort level and dating goals. If you’re just looking for casual fun or short-term relationships, it may not feel as important to bring up your stance on kids as early on. Hey, it may never come up at all! Not everyone is looking for “the one” while dating, and that’s OK!

If you are looking for someone to settle down with or you have hopes of something longer term, it may serve you and your future partner to be more upfront. Discussing being childfree by choice on a first or second date can be a great way to find common ground or a connection with a new person.

How do I deal with invasive questions from dates about being childfree by choice?

We’ve got an entire article dedicated to how to deal with prying questions about being childfree by choice, but what happens when these questions come up during a date?

Like any topic of conversation, the line between curiosity and overstepping can be blurry. Here’s how to handle two of the most common questions that may come up.

“How do you know you don’t want kids?”

This could be genuine curiosity from someone who’s on the fence, at best. In this case, you might try, “How do you know you WANT kids?” or, “I’ve never felt the need to have kids of my own, but I love my dog!” or, “I’ve thought long and hard about what I want out of life, and I don’t see kids in the picture.” If you get the sense that someone is less curious and more doubting your decision-making, you could try something like, “I don’t need to justify my decision. Why don’t we talk about something else?” or better yet, just leave!

“What if you change your mind?”

Again, this could be curiosity or ... not. You could try something like, “Haven't changed my mind yet!” or, “There are more options than just biological children; in the off chance that I ever change my mind.” You could also always say, “I guess we’ll cross that bridge if/when we get there!” and move on to another topic of conversation. Or, again, just leave! If someone is making you feel uncomfortable or pressured about your choices, they’re certainly not entitled to your time or energy.

I found someone I really like, but they’re unsure about kids. How do I handle this?

Not everyone sees the decision to have children as a simple yes or no — some folks are unsure. Maybe they’d be satisfied never having kids, or maybe with the right partner they could be convinced. So where does that leave you, as someone who is confident that you’ll never want children?

The best thing you can do is be honest with your boundaries. Saying something like, “I think it’s great that you’re open to different possibilities. I just want to reiterate that I won’t be having kids, so if you decide that's something you want, I won’t be the partner for you.”

My partner initially said they don’t want kids, but now they’re leaning toward wanting them. How do I handle this?

Remember that just like your decision to be childfree by choice was made entirely by you, your partner will need to do the same. Believing you can convince or persuade someone into your choice could lead to resentment or anger. There are lots of parts and pieces to consider: How long have you been together? Why is your partner reconsidering their stance now? Are they feeling pressure from friends and family, or did this come up for them organically?

If you’re in the early days of the relationship, you may consider saying goodbye. If you’ve been together for some time or feel strongly about your partner, consider making a pros and cons list of having kids vs. the childfree lifestyle (you can use our article as a conversation starter) or seeking the counsel of a therapist to help you work through this change.

Dating while childfree by choice can feel tricky sometimes, but remember that it’s also a fun, exciting opportunity to meet new people and potentially find a great partner to live your best, most fulfilled childfree life with.

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