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What is it like being a child free couple?

(160 Posts)
slowhoneybee Mon 17-Oct-16 15:49:24

My partner and I have just bought house and are starting a life together. We have been together 5 years and are both now 40. Due to medical reasons and also a general mutual ambivalence about having kids it seems most likely that we won't have kids ever.

I'm not sad about this at all but I don't know any other child free couples I wonder how it is over the long term? It seems most couples date, move in marry, then at some point have children which gives a sort of structure to your life together for at least 20 years.

I'm curious what happens when you take kids out of the equation?

TheNaze73 Mon 17-Oct-16 16:42:57

Posted on a similar subject here the other day. The happiest couple I know are child free (through choice) Both were able to afford to retire at 50, moved a year ago to the South of France and have never regretted it.

MrsBertBibby Mon 17-Oct-16 16:45:43

I imagine you get to go out a lot. And have amazing holidays to places you really want to see. And have time for fitness and beauty or whatever else floats your boat.

Why did we have these damn kids?!

DiegeticMuch Mon 17-Oct-16 16:57:39

I tend to think that child free couples must be genuinely committed to each other because there's no artificial glue (ie kids!) holding them together. They can split without potentially hurting anyone else. I often wonder how many of my mates are "together because of the kids". I can think of three marriages that are definitely moribund, but they won't divorce until the youngest DC goes to university, if they divorce at all.

happystory Mon 17-Oct-16 17:02:24

I think the key is that you are saying you are not sad about it. I know two child free couples that, although they are in middle age now, would really have loved children but couldn't. They still feel sad occasionally not being able to experience the milestones of older children (uni, work, engagements, weddings etc) But I know another couple in their late thirties who have chosen not to have children and have a busy and full life, fulfilling jobs, hobbies, time for friends, lots of holidays.

whattheseithakasmean Mon 17-Oct-16 17:06:50

The child free through choice couple I know have jobs that involve international travel, often to dangerous trouble spots - they decided early on that their international lifestyle wasn't compatible with having children. So they have a life that looks pretty glamorous to me - lots of travel & disposable income. While we have moody teens, ho hum grin

SweetChickadee Mon 17-Oct-16 17:08:31

It's great grin

In reality nothing really changes - you are very much focused on each other and your relationship, just like you are in those first few years.

Life for us is quite relaxed and spontaneous. We do what we want, when we want to.

Costacoffeeplease Mon 17-Oct-16 17:17:01

We're happily child-free, early/mid fifties, married 30 years

We've worked hard, started our own business, had some great holidays, sold it and moved to a European country and now have a completely different life with lots of rescued animals. A lot of what we've done wouldn't have been compatible with a young family

I would guess we've had more disposable income, more sleep, more time for work/hobbies, fewer worries than if we'd had children

SwearyGodmother Mon 17-Oct-16 17:23:42

We've been together for 10 years and married for 8 and aside from a minor blip when I hit 30/we got married which lasted around 6 months neither of us have ever wanted children. We're content in that decision and DH had a vasectomy 3 years ago so it's not something we think about anymore.

Our lives are just normal tbh. There's less structure and more opportunity to be spontaneous than many of our friends but as most people we know raise families we tend to have to plan things if we want to include others. We are, like Sweet says pretty relaxed and spontaneous. Our relationship is settled and we're pretty content. Nothing super exciting like jet-setting or massive travel, though probably a few more holidays and nights out than most.

It's nice just being the two of us and being able to be focussed on ourselves and our wants and needs.

SweetChickadee Mon 17-Oct-16 17:27:28

Oh yeah, and we emigrated, forgot that bit. Quite possibly wouldn't have if we'd had kids.

user1471550453 Mon 17-Oct-16 18:58:13

I have been with my partner for close to 17 years. We got together young but neither of us have wanted to be parents. We enjoy the company of children in the family, but it's not something we have so far ever wanted to do.

We both take part in an extreme sport, which we have committed a lot of time to and isn't something we would choose to do if we have children. We enjoy spontaneous weekends away, and are able to spend time enjoying each other's company.

There are times I worry that the future may be pinkies without children but not so much that I think it would be fair to start a family for those reasons, when every other part of me doesn't want to be a parent.

I think life takes all sorts and I do admire people who make the commitment to have children. I just know it isn't for me.

user1471550453 Mon 17-Oct-16 18:59:04

Pinkies??? Lonely. Bloody autocorrect!!

Millionreasons Mon 17-Oct-16 19:09:36

I know four child free couples in their 40s and 50s. They are all still together (!) and have the freedom to travel a lot. They do home improvements a lot, more than me. They seem to genuinely like each other and have an active and relatively stress free life.

museumum Mon 17-Oct-16 19:11:51

I do a sport that can involve long days out or weekends or weeks away- loads of couples without kids do it. I'm often envious of their freedom to spend a weekend doing it when I get 3-4hrs at a time at most.

Olddear Mon 17-Oct-16 19:56:57

It's great!

KeepCoolCalmAndCollected Mon 17-Oct-16 21:51:29

A very good friend of mine and her DH don't have children through choice, and have an amazing life which includes a lot of travel and all sorts of interesting/fun outings and activities.
I am often VERY envious (not jealous), but would never swap my life with my DC with theirs for all the tea in China.

RestlessTraveller Mon 17-Oct-16 22:34:06

Bliss. Abosolute, total and unfettered bliss.

Pixie5439 Mon 17-Oct-16 23:10:57

My experience has been the opposite. You don't want to look back when you are now in a position where u can't and really wish u had. I have met people, couples who have and have always regretted it. Some of them broke up in the end and the men went on to have children in their 50s. Just make sure if u decide it's for you and not him because he always can turn back the clock but you can't (biologically that is)

Dieu Mon 17-Oct-16 23:16:13

Fucking heavenly, I would imagine!

BadLad Tue 18-Oct-16 04:12:09

It probably has a lot in common with the lives of people with children. We go to work, do the shopping etc. No school runs or childcare to worry about, and we can plan weekends, holidays and nights out around what we want to do, without having to think of whether kids will enjoy it.

RawPrawn Tue 18-Oct-16 04:45:45

It's fantastic. We have a lot of fun. Together 24 years. As pp have said, the best thing is not feeling trapped: knowing that you are together because you want to be. Oh, and of course it's much easier to have an equal relationship with regard to work/housework etc. Much less scope for resentment.

Marilynsbigsister Tue 18-Oct-16 08:45:21

For some reason I know lots of (About 8) child free by choice couples. it seems extremely prevalent in my field of work.
Without exception they are all extremely happy. Interestingly they are also all married.
I think people just don't understand the level of conflict that having a child introduces in to a relationship. From early sleepless nights and a woman's natural instinct to remove focus from her partner to a baby - all the way through to 18 years ( and more) of possible conflict over parenting styles. It's no surprise that most couples split when children come along.
The reason this didn't happen until comparatively recently was purely down to societal pressure to stay married. Affairs still happened but marriages remained 'in tact'.
No such pressure now exists. It's simply 'ok' to leave ones children with your spouse and move on to another relationship.

In a childfree relationship partners are completely focussed on each other, they also tend to have more money, which is another huge area of relationship breakdown.

Costacoffeeplease Tue 18-Oct-16 09:24:24

Apart from us, I know another 7 child free couples, our ages or older. All been together forever, happily, no affairs (that I know of)

RawPrawn Tue 18-Oct-16 09:25:58

I'm the only person in my team without children. A goodly chunk of team meetings is taken up with colleagues sharing horror stories about their stressful home lives, and how they come to work for a rest.

I just sit there like this: confused

My weekends are (usually) pretty blissful and tend to involve lots of sleep - certainly lots of rest/pleasure. I couldn't handle doing a stressful job AND having stress at home.

NapQueen Tue 18-Oct-16 09:33:14

Out of our friendship group one couple haven't had kids. I'm not 100% sure it's because they don't want any or if it's because they don't want any yet

They do more work on their house, have plenty weekends away, spend their evenings playing pc games or doing sports. The one thing she manages to do is a Day of Fun with a friend of hers which she and her friend do once a year - great breakfast, shopping, boozy lunch then cocktails all afternoon and a late steak dinner with champagne. None of us other couples have the funds or the time (or the patience for a hangover with kids the next day).

I'm hoping we had our kids early enough to make the most of our days once the kids grow up. Dh and I will be under 50 still when our youngest is 20. Roll on those days!

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