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To not think of a couple without kids as a 'family'?

(75 Posts)
FedupofbeingtoldIcantusemyname Wed 19-Oct-16 13:33:57

I know this might be seen as a strange question.

Almost 2 years ago I found out I can't have kids. Dp has one DC from a previous relationship but does not want any more.

Since realising that I can't have children, it has made me think about all those ideas of 'family life' I had growing up. I grew up in a family with multiple siblings and with both my biological parents, so typical 'nuclear' family. I was married before DP but it didn't work out and I kind of feel like my 'dream' of having my own family unit died with that marriage, especially since I now know I won't have my own children.

So, aibu for feeling like Dp and I are a 'couple' and that a 'family' is only the correct description if you have kids? I don't mean to offend anyone else who doesn't have kids, either by choice or not, its just that since DP and I are now engaged there's a lot of talk about joining two people together to make a family and I kind of feel like a little bit of a fraud using that description and I'm not sure why sad

SallyR0se Wed 19-Oct-16 13:39:12

I consider me & him to be a family, but perhaps wouldn't use the word in conversation. So, I'd say "my husband". But we say "our little family" at home. We are already a family, whether we multiply or not. But, I come from a secure background, he does not. That's why like to think that we are a new family, since marrying.

SleepFreeZone Wed 19-Oct-16 13:41:07

I think I know what you mean. I suppose you are a couple and if you marry you are then family.

Velvetdarkness Wed 19-Oct-16 13:41:23

I tend to agree op but I can see it might offend people.

LifeLong13 Wed 19-Oct-16 13:41:25

I'd call you a family whether you have children or not.

TwentyCups Wed 19-Oct-16 13:42:02

My DP is my family.
I'm not offended when people use the term 'starting a family' about having a child, but I would be very put out for someone to tell me he wasn't my family.
Lots of people have children with an ex, and re marry. Do they consider their ex to be more of a family member to them than their husband? I would think not.

Artandco Wed 19-Oct-16 13:44:09

I think it's family also

A couple is someone who has been dating a few years.

A family includes your life partner regardless of children. Most adults if they stay with same partner will live far longer with them than they ever did with their parents

backonitonmonday Wed 19-Oct-16 13:46:20

When I think of a family, it includes a unit of 3 or more.
2, as in a couple without children is just that -a couple I'm afraid.

It doesn't make it any less important, but I think most people would think of you as a couple.

SnotGoblin Wed 19-Oct-16 13:48:21

The two of you are definitely family but I see your reasoning and agree that there is some nuance missing and if it was me, I'd consider myself a couple rather than a family (whether you were married or not).

Strange creatures us humans.

imisschocolate Wed 19-Oct-16 13:48:50

Of course you are a family! I consider couples who aren't married and don't have children a family.

NoncommittalToSparkleMotion Wed 19-Oct-16 13:54:24

I can understand your feelings but I'd say there's no "right" answer as to what is a family.

A single parent with one child would be a family. So two people.

A couple who lives together wouldn't be different.

captainproton Wed 19-Oct-16 13:55:22

Your DH has a child, you will become at stepmother, if that child has children you will more than likely be known as a grandma. I think you are a family. Plenty of stepdads who don't have biological children are still members of a family. Just as there are 4 children in my family even though one is not mine. Even though my stepson only comes over fortnightly he is family.

HeadDreamer Wed 19-Oct-16 14:00:50

I think a life long committed couple as a family, regardless of marriage status, or if they have children. Family is what you make of it. In the same token, I think of a single mother and her child as a family, despite them not in a unit of more than 2. A couple of siblings are also a family, if they choose to. And so is me and my elderly parents.

HeadDreamer Wed 19-Oct-16 14:02:36

This is an example I'm thinking of when I say siblings can be family.

Take the example of Margaret and Kathryn who are siblings in their 70s who have lived together for 20 years. Their joint estate, including the property which they bought together, is worth in the region of £800,000, divided equally between them.

HeadDreamer Wed 19-Oct-16 14:03:52

Or this

You can't say they aren't family, just because they are not married. Or that they don't have children together.

Floggingmolly Wed 19-Oct-16 14:05:36

Of course you're a family. Mind you; I had someone say "now you're a real family" when dc2 arrived. hmm

GinIsIn Wed 19-Oct-16 14:06:18

DH & the dog are my family. Always have been, always will be. A hairy, smelly, greedy family, but my family nonetheless. Always have been.

ftw Wed 19-Oct-16 14:12:07

It's all context-driven isn't it?

It's a bit like when you're out and you decide to go home, 'home' is where you live now. But when you're at home, you might talk about going home, meaning to wherever you grew up. Or if you're on holiday, going home might mean back to your hotel or back to your own house, depending on context.

It'd have been a brave soul that told childless DH and I that we weren't a family!

Branleuse Wed 19-Oct-16 14:15:08

i dont think of childfree couples as a family. I think of them as a couple, but I guess its up to them what they want to call themselves in private I guess. But if you say I have a family, then youre usually talking about your children, or your wider family with yourself as the child

backonitonmonday Wed 19-Oct-16 14:16:04

Children make it a family.
I think of a single parent with a child as a 'family'.

backonitonmonday Wed 19-Oct-16 14:17:27

There's an elderly couple who live up the road.

I describe them as 'that elderly couple up the road'
I don't say 'that elderly family'.

MidnightAura Wed 19-Oct-16 14:18:42

DH and I are a family. We don't have children yet but we are ttc. Families come in all kinds of combinations.

RomanticWalksToTheFridge Wed 19-Oct-16 14:18:53

Oh, I think of childfree couples as a family. DH and I used to talk about us as being a family.

Siblings are only family if you don't dislike them intensely. [narrows eyes in general direction ofBIL and SIL who are most definitely NOT our family.]

Areyoufree Wed 19-Oct-16 14:22:40

You define what family means to you. My immediate family are extremely dysfunctional, but, over the years, I have incorporated other people into my family, such as very close friends. I call them family, and I think of them as family. Being a blood relation doesn't make someone part of my family. Anyway, my point is, this works for me and makes me happy, and helps me come to terms with the slightly less than useful blood relations. As far as I am concerned, setting up a home and life together makes you family.

Lazyafternoon Wed 19-Oct-16 14:24:47

I think you are still a little family. It's your household, not kids that make a family. So if it's just two of you, you and a cat, two of you and 4 cats, 2 dog, a shoal of fish and donkey... whatever, your household (regardless of how many adults, children or pets) is still a family. If you want to be!

Although using the term family to refer to you and your pets can sound a bit twee, it doesn't matter, it's your choice. Of the couples I know without kids some of them seem to be very settled and homey and have lots of pets, they refer to themselves as a family. Others seem to be two adults without commitments never staying still, always here there and everywhere more two people exploring the world together, I probably wouldn't think of them as a 'family'.

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