Author Topic: Older Childless Mustachians - what do you regret?  (Read 13105 times)

RusticBohemian

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Older Childless Mustachians - what do you regret?
« on: April 16, 2018, 11:44:59 PM »
I've noticed a number of people on this forum say they don't have kids. Perhaps financial considerations played a role, or it's that simply not having kids makes early retirement easier.

I'm 33 and childless, and am looking for some reflection from those who have decided to not have kids and are now decades into that decision.

Why did you decide not to have kids, and do you regret the decision? Has it made socializing much harder? Do you ever feel like you missed out on a major part of what it is to be human by not experiencing parenthood?

I don't hate kids, and have even liked several of them enough to make me think that perhaps I wouldn't mind having one (the right one) of my own if it came down to it. But most of the kids I've spent time with have just been unappealing. I'm hesitant to have one because I've never once had a strong desire to be a father, and don't really, "get the appeal."

Given this lack of desire, it seems stupid of me to have one and hope that the desire will just kick in. I see it as a moral issue as much as anything else. It would have been very easy for me to give in to a girlfriend I loved very much who did strongly want to be a mother, but I instead decided to end the relationship, as extremely painful as that was to me.

I did this because I not only figured that my own happiness would likely be diminished by being a father, but that child would have to go through life with a father who - however dutiful he would attempt to be - wouldn't really want the child. I had a father who wanted me and loved me, and I can't imagine not being able to give that to a child of my own because I just never developed whatever it is that normal people who want kids do that makes them want them.

But at the same time, I am getting older, and my hopes, in years past, of finding a woman I loved who didn't want to have kids seems like it may have been unrealistic.

I wonder how much happiness I sacrificed with my my past girlfriend, who I was very compatible with in almost every other way.  and who I would have been happy to spend my life with.

So...yeah. tell me about your experience. How did you come to your decision, and what have the ramifications been?

Malkynn

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Re: Older Childless Mustachians - what do you regret?
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2018, 05:53:34 AM »
I’m about your age, so I can’t speak to how I’ll feel decades down the road, but I don’t believe that anyone actually decides not to have kids based on finances.
When people really know that they want kids, they will have kids, even if they are completely broke, you can’t stop that kind of biological drive, it’s instinct.

The people who say that finance played a role are people who don’t have strong instincts to have children. If they had the strong instinct, it wouldn’t matter. If you had the instinct, you would know.
I don’t have any reasons for not wanting kids, I simply lack the instinct to do so. I don’t need a reason.

As for if you will regret not having kids because you found a compatible spouse who wanted them and you are worried about finding a woman who doesn’t want them, well let me clarify something for you.
There was NO WAY to maintain that relationship the way it was. Had you had a child with her, your entire relationship and life would have changed. No matter what, you would have had to give up what you had. You only had two options
-Break up with her and lose what you had and possibly find someone who doesn’t need you to have kids for them to be happy
-Stay with her and lose what you had anyway and try to be happy with your new life and the fatherhood that you signed up for FOREVER.

Consider this too, your kid may have not been what you expected. They may have been severely disabled, requiring intensive constant care from both parents. You don’t get to pick what kind of kid you get, and you have to be okay with that reality.

Lastly, it might seem impossible to find a woman who doesn’t want babies with you, but that’s a function of your stage of life. Very soon you will meet countless single moms with cool premade perfect little kids or funky teens, and you might find yourself okay with the less intensive and non-obligatory-lifelong demands of part-time step parenthood or you may find a fabulous child free woman. Who knows. But certainly, the pool of women who don’t need you to have a baby of your own for their happiness is just going to get bigger and bigger. Don’t worry about that part.

My step dad met me when I was 13 and we were immediately best friends. We bonded over nerd humour,  comic books, and sci fi (things my mom cared nothing about). We’ve been best friends ever since. He wasn’t sure he wanted to date a single mom, but he quickly considered me a benefit to dating my mom, not a challenge. We’re still best friends decades later.

You never know what life will bring you, but I doubt you made a mistake not having a baby that you weren't excited to have. You may have regrets along the way, but those regrets could have been much much worse.



Basenji

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Re: Older Childless Mustachians - what do you regret?
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2018, 06:10:26 AM »
49, woman, no kids, never wanted them, no regrets. Have dogs.

The choice never had anything to do with money, it was all about free time and just not wanting to raise children. It never made socializing harder. I have lots of friends with kids. But the friends with kids that we enjoyed also enjoyed a little time away from the kids, or they had well-behaved kids. And we have a lot of kid-free friends.

I never ever imagined I wanted kids, even when I was young. My ideas of my future life were more about travel and having time to do all the things I wanted to do. I would try the idea on and it just seemed off. DH and I agreed on this before we were married but (because we married youngish) agreed to revisit the idea every few years. We'd throw the idea out there, "Still ok with no kids?" "Yep, you?" "Yep" and move on.

When I was in my 20s I read a lot of books about being childless by choice because I was concerned there was something "wrong" with me; I wanted to see if I was alone in this feeling of not wanting kids. The answer was nope, not alone and not so unusual at all. Now I don't think about it much. Some people say they are reassured that their kids will take care of them in old age. I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

ETA: I feel for you and your tough decision. +1 to the stepfather advocacy. I have a marvelous stepfather who came into my life at age 11. Maybe there's a woman for you who doesn't want any more children.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2018, 06:23:09 AM by Basenji »

Mezzie

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Re: Older Childless Mustachians - what do you regret?
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2018, 06:41:47 AM »
I'm only 40, so this isn't decades down the road, but I am at the age where having children would come with added risks.

I love kids, but I have never felt the desire to have any of my own. I didn't even play with dolls! I told my mom when I was 4 or 5 that I didn't want to have kids. She told me I'd meet the right person and want them. Instead, I met my husband who also didn't want kids, and I had a tubal ligation. By then, my mother was not surprised.

I am a dedicated aunt. I adore my nieces and nephews and can spend hours with my newest little niece in absolute joy, but when I come home, I have zero desire to have a baby of my own. As a teacher, I've dedicated my life to caring for other people's children. I love it. I also love coming home to just my husband and our pets.

No regrets here. Most of my friends and family have kids; that's never been a problem.

I strongly believe children should be wanted.
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jlcnuke

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Re: Older Childless Mustachians - what do you regret?
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2018, 06:45:37 AM »
41, male, no kids. Never had a desire to have kids. When people tell me I'm "missing out" because I don't have kids I just ignore it. It's not financial though, it's just not something I want. I had a friend that didn't like ice cream. Sure, most people find ice cream to be very enjoyable and would "miss" it if they couldn't have it ever again, but he wasn't going to miss it because it wasn't something he wanted. I'm the same way with kids, I just don't want them. I have no regrets regarding my lack of desire to have kids though.
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2Cent

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Re: Older Childless Mustachians - what do you regret?
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2018, 06:53:16 AM »
From what I see it is not such an issue for men. Maybe because having children is traditionally a woman's thing and society expects it of them more. Or maybe because men don't really lose their ability to have kids as they age so there is no specific end point. As a guy I think you can get by without much regret. The risk for men is more to get themselves isolated outside work as their kids having friends grow apart and their hobbies are flooded with younger people who they don't connect with. Especially after their parents die they regret being alone in their house. But it is quite possible to mitigate these risks and regrets.

I have to say though that your own kid is very different than other people's kids. And especially if your wife/girlfriend is doing most of the work it can be very nice also for non-kid lovers. I think the most important obstacle would be you maintaining a relationship with a woman who is pre-occupied with the child. There will be a lot of unmet expectations on both sides to do more with the kids on the one hand and to do more fun stuff on the other.

OtherJen

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Re: Older Childless Mustachians - what do you regret?
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2018, 07:37:37 AM »
I'm only 40, so this isn't decades down the road, but I am at the age where having children would come with added risks.

I love kids, but I have never felt the desire to have any of my own. I didn't even play with dolls! I told my mom when I was 4 or 5 that I didn't want to have kids. She told me I'd meet the right person and want them. Instead, I met my husband who also didn't want kids, and I had a tubal ligation. By then, my mother was not surprised.

I am a dedicated aunt. I adore my nieces and nephews and can spend hours with my newest little niece in absolute joy, but when I come home, I have zero desire to have a baby of my own. As a teacher, I've dedicated my life to caring for other people's children. I love it. I also love coming home to just my husband and our pets.

No regrets here. Most of my friends and family have kids; that's never been a problem.

I strongly believe children should be wanted.

This. I adore my nieces and nephew and my friends’ kids, but the more time I spend with them, the more certain I am that I don’t want one of my own. Husband and I married when I was 25 and at that time he claimed to want kids. I would have had one to make him and our parents happy (and it would have been a mistake), but fertility was going to be a problem and as it turned out, neither of us had a strong enough parental drive to want to explore our options. Extended time with the nieces and nephew was also a major eye opener for husband. We’re much happier with our peaceful house and pets.

Brother Esau

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Re: Older Childless Mustachians - what do you regret?
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2018, 07:56:22 AM »
I'm 51 and DW is 46. No kids for us and couldn't be happier about it. We get our kid fix through our nieces and nephews. Then....we get to go back to our clean, quiet home ;-).

Sibley

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Re: Older Childless Mustachians - what do you regret?
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2018, 08:17:18 AM »
32, female, single and childfree. I like kids in small doses and really like giving them back to their parents. There are whole age groups that I have absolutely no patience for. I also like my life as it is currently. I'm quite happy with my house and cats and friends. Adding a spouse is not really appealing, much less a baby.

2cent - while having and raising children was traditionally the women's job, that is changing. There are PLENTY of women who absolutely will not accept anything less than full and equitable participation from the father. Society is changing as well. Fathers who are not involved in their children's daily lives are beginning to be looked at as bad fathers. While it's not universal, it is headed that direction. If a man fundamentally isn't interested in being a father, he would be wise to skip that role.


If you don't have children, there are ways to be involved with children if you wish. Friends and family may have kids. You can volunteer, be a mentor, etc.

Gyosho

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Re: Older Childless Mustachians - what do you regret?
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2018, 08:33:32 AM »
I never had kids, never wanted kids, have NO regrets. It was not a financial decision at all, but now that I am retiring this year, my friends with kids are looking on with incredulity and jealousy.

My friends with kids can actually be a bit boring. They need to do kid things and talk about kid events (Disneyland, kids sports, etc.)

There are so many interesting things to do in life that do not involve having kids.

Not to mention the whole overpopulation issue.

Mtngrl

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Re: Older Childless Mustachians - what do you regret?
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2018, 08:36:19 AM »
57,happily married for 38 years. My husband and I never had children because we never felt any big desire for children. Raising children is a huge commitment and I think every child should be wanted deeply. As a woman, I felt a lot of pressure to have children when I was younger, but it was never something I felt was right for me.

My only regret is, now that I'm older, I do sometimes think it would be nice to have grown children -- I see the relationship friends have with their grown children and I think that would be nice. Also, as we are now taking care of my husband's parents, i think it would be nice to have that kind of safety net for our old age. But those are just vague, wistful feelings, and if I had a time machine to go back and have the opportunity to change my mind about kids, I wouldn't. It just wasn't the right choice for us.

J Boogie

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Re: Older Childless Mustachians - what do you regret?
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2018, 08:39:46 AM »
I have a two year old son, I'm 32. I plan on having 1 or 2 more.

My view is that a happy and truly joyful life well lived is lived in serving others. Having children guarantees you'll spend a significant amount of time serving others (it's either that or live with the guilt of being a terrible parent).

Many people have already found a passion that benefits others in some way. Science, medicine, technology, business, charity, cooking, etc. Or maybe they have a spouse or family member who is sick or has special needs, and they already spend their days selflessly.

Parenthood also offers you the ability to shape a young person to a certain extent, so it can be a tremendous source of pride and joy - in potentially both healthy and unhealthy ways.


I wouldn't write off parenthood because of how you feel about humans between the ages of 0-16. That's only a fifth or so of their life, and a fifth or so of yours (that really might not be as bad as you might think).

I also wouldn't default into parenthood, which it sounds like you're not in danger of doing. No matter what it's good to be intentional. But if you're intentional about not having kids, I would make sure to be intentional about what it is that you'll be doing to benefit others - because no one can be happy if they can serve others in some way but choose not to. That's my view anyways.




RookieStache

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Re: Older Childless Mustachians - what do you regret?
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2018, 08:52:36 AM »
I never had kids, never wanted kids, have NO regrets. It was not a financial decision at all, but now that I am retiring this year, my friends with kids are looking on with incredulity and jealousy.

My friends with kids can actually be a bit boring. They need to do kid things and talk about kid events (Disneyland, kids sports, etc.)

There are so many interesting things to do in life that do not involve having kids.

Not to mention the whole overpopulation issue.

Reaching just a bit on the overpopulation issue to further your point as well as your friends "looking on with jealousy". My wife and I have an 18 month old and It's amazing to see the joy she brings to both sets of our parents. There is no greater gift one could give their parents than a child. They have stated multiple times how bored they would have been at this age if they didn't have children. It's an amazing thing to see your parents faces light up each and every time they see or mention their grandchildren.

You also state that parents with kids tend to be "boring". I'd counter that argument with friends I have who are in their early 30's and only talk about women, drinking and sports. I'd argue that their conversations are, in fact, boring.

The majority of the posts in this thread were insightful and helpful, but this one seemed to be a bit self serving...


GU

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Re: Older Childless Mustachians - what do you regret?
« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2018, 09:05:04 AM »
Just know that you'll feel a lot different about YOUR kids than you will about other people's kids.

As a 33-year old man, you have plenty of time to sire children. My advice is find a younger woman to have kids with. This will pay dividends in many ways. If you start dating 25-year olds, you might eventually find one you'd like to marry, and then she'll still have plenty of fertility and youthful vigor. I would avoid dating women your own age at this point (at least seriously, casual is fine).

profnot

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Re: Older Childless Mustachians - what do you regret?
« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2018, 09:24:11 AM »
I've never wanted to have kids but was happy to be a mentor to girls through my alma mater. 

My neighbor always wanted kids but never met the right guy.  When she was around 40, she saw an ad from the local school system asking for a volunteer for a special needs child.  She responded and started when the girl was age 3.  Just last weekend, neighbor gave a party for the girl's 12th birthday.

Like others, I think people should only have children if they deeply want them.  If you see having children as a way of service but don't want to have kids, there are thousands of ways to contribute to society in other ways.

Linda_Norway

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Re: Older Childless Mustachians - what do you regret?
« Reply #15 on: April 17, 2018, 09:24:37 AM »
I am a 44 year old women and my husband is 47. When we were pretty young (early twenties), we were both convinced that we didn't want to have children. For me the reason was that there are enough people on this planet already and we don't need more children for environmental reasons. I have always had the impression that the world will not become a better place in the future. I might be terribly wrong, of course. But if I now look at global warming, robots taking over jobs, multiresistant bacteria becoming a thread, plastic in the seas, having world leaders who are pretty unstable and could start a war any time, I think we might have taken a good decision not to have children. I just think we are living in a golden age and it could rapidly go downward from here. But I have been thinking this for decades and so far, it is still going well in my part of the world.

The other reason was that children limit your freedom and immensely increase your responsibility. We both were pretty afraid of that.

When I was in my thirties, I had a flash of "now or never". I pretty much felt an urge to get a baby. But not on my own. I thought about the alternatives:
- Deliberately get pregnant from my husband without his permission. Easy to do, but I think it would ruin the relationship.
- Divorce and find a new life partner that I love. This is a risky business.
- Divorce and get inserted with donor semen and become a single mother.
- Divorce and ask a friend to be biological father, but raise the child as a single mother. My cousin did this.
- Stay with my husband and not get children.

I think being a single mother is a very tough job and I didn't want to do that. I also didn't want to fool my husband into becoming pregnant, after agreeing on not getting children. But I did want to stay with him. So I asked my husband if he still thought about it the same way. He needed some time to think about it, but concluded in the end that he still didn't want children.

Currently I am pretty stressed in my working situation. I think my life would have been a LOT more stressful if we would have had a child as well.

I am also very aware that we save lots of money by not having children. This was never an argument for not getting them. But I do think it helped us to be very close to FIRE. Although I see that my BIL and his GF are raising their child in a very cheap manner, buying lots of stuff second hand.

I once asked an elderly female colleague (60+) without children whether she missed them. She said she didn't.

I sometimes miss not having a child if we are joining an event where lots of people bring children, like celebrating the constitution day on the streets. But generally we do other stuff, instead of going to such events. However, we do notice that it is a bit difficult finding friends who are in their thirties-forties and don't have children. Even the ones who don't, suddenly get pregnant. I hope this will improve when we get older. Then most people of our age should have children who flew the nest.
In general: no I don't regret not having children.

Edit:
My brother and BIL now both have children. It is nice to meet them, but is also very nice to see them leave. I get really exhausted by them. Maybe it is my age. Or maybe it is the way the children are raised, as I think I would have raised them a bit stricter.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2018, 09:42:09 AM by Linda_Norway »

wenchsenior

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Re: Older Childless Mustachians - what do you regret?
« Reply #16 on: April 17, 2018, 09:33:26 AM »
I've noticed a number of people on this forum say they don't have kids. Perhaps financial considerations played a role, or it's that simply not having kids makes early retirement easier.

I'm 33 and childless, and am looking for some reflection from those who have decided to not have kids and are now decades into that decision.

Why did you decide not to have kids, and do you regret the decision? Has it made socializing much harder? Do you ever feel like you missed out on a major part of what it is to be human by not experiencing parenthood?



But at the same time, I am getting older, and my hopes, in years past, of finding a woman I loved who didn't want to have kids seems like it may have been unrealistic.


I wonder how much happiness I sacrificed with my my past girlfriend, who I was very compatible with in almost every other way.  and who I would have been happy to spend my life with.

So...yeah. tell me about your experience. How did you come to your decision, and what have the ramifications been?

I'm 47/DH is 56.  We're been together since I was 20 and he was 29.  It wasn't so much that we 'decided not to have kids'.  Having children always struck  us as one of the hugest opt-in decisions of life there was, just like choosing a spouse, deciding to move to another country, we had to actively WANT it and commit to it. Just 'stumbling' into such a life choice b/c it was the next 'step' wasn't how we approached it.  Both of us had been around babies and helped care for infant siblings as teenagers, and that was fine.  DH was ok with school age kids, I was ok with teenagers in certain settings, but neither of us had much interest in kids in general.  Also, human population numbers/ecological impacts of child-bearing, especially beyond replacement rate, we viewed as extremely morally problematic. So it was a default 'no' unless something happened to turn it to a strong 'yes'.

I was told by many that my bio clock would kick in at some point, and did see this happen with some friends, but for me...never.  DH and I revisited the topic every few years through our 20s and 30s, and it was always a huge 'meh'.  When DH turned 40, he said he did not want to be an 'old dad' and we should make a final decision.  He got a vasectomy. At the same time, during all those years, we were confident that if an 'accident' had happened (and we had one serious scare)  we'd have taken on parenthood with as much grace as possible, and we suspect it would have been fine. 

Is it harder socializing? It's hard to tell...we aren't hugely extroverted to begin with, and our social crowd rapidly became very diverse across age categories b/c of academia and research opportunities.  A very large chunk of our friends and family also don't have kids for various reasons; in fact, being childfree/less is so common in our social context as to be unremarkable.  We never socialized much with people with young kids, but that was mostly happenstance b/c our close friends of that age range lived mostly in other cities.  And now the oldest of THEIR kids are starting college :boggles:  One local couple in our circle had twins, but we had never been 'hang out weekly' type friends.  So we saw the mother less for a few years as she found other friends with babies and small kids.  Makes sense.  We see her a bit more now as the kids get older.  A number of our friends had high school age kids when we met them, so they were past that time-intensive stage.  To sum up: my sense is there is a 5-10-year window when kids are very young, where your friendship with their parents will be affected  by their 1) limited time and energy; and 2) their natural desire to seek out people in a similar situation; 3) your intrinsic interest in being around/helping directly with very small kids.

Do we feel we've missed out on a major part of the human experience?  Yes, technically speaking, a major experience but certainly NOT an essential one.  We don't really experience it as a lack.  It would have been a profound experience, for sure, and probably but not necessarily a good one.  We're likely slightly different people than we would have been had we parented, but then EVERY life experience alters you a bit.  It isn't something we think about much :shrug:.  There's a million 'roads not taken' in every life, after all.

There are two elements related to 'no-kids' that I sort of regret: one selfish, one not.  The selfish one is simply practical:  Aging is going to be somewhat more difficult without kids to call on.  However, I watched both sides of my family severely damage formerly close relationships during the 'kids caring for aging parents' phase.  I would have hated to put that kind of burden and possible inter-sibling etc. conflict onto kids of mine.

The second element is not selfish, but just general regret that we haven't had much opportunity to been around people of that stage of life  (see above), and thus have not experienced being a 'fun aunt/uncle' or a 'auxiliary adult' to a young generation parented by close friends or family...perhaps that would have been to our liking!  DH has a lot of nieces and nephews, but he isn't at all close to his family so he doesn't know most of them.  Whereas, I'm very close to my siblings, but they are also child free (one of them still has a possible child bearing window...but it's not likely). And as stated above, we were never in proximity to our other close friends with young kids.  So that's been kind of sad, though it won't necessarily be YOUR experience. 

Finally, you are worried about partnering as a CF person, but remember you are currently in that deadly 'middle window' after the first round of marriages but before the first round of divorces, to put it somewhat jokingly.  I know quite a few people in this position. But in a few more years more people will be coming back onto the market, many with alternative views of life paths, past ideal childbearing years, or with older kids from previous marriages.  If you are flexible in those terms, and aggressive in putting yourself out there, I would not give up hope of finding a good partner.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2018, 09:41:55 AM by wenchsenior »

use2betrix

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Re: Older Childless Mustachians - what do you regret?
« Reply #17 on: April 17, 2018, 09:42:37 AM »
I am 30 and my wife 24. When we first started dating 6 years ago, I saw how she was around children and in a sense, it was nothing I had ever appreciated in that sense. Children flocked to her. She was one of the most amazing young women I have ever seen with children. Being a young 20’s male, it’s nothing you really think of at the time.. “would she be amazing mother?” You just kind of think most women would at least be “good.”

That was such a huge turn on that I never expected til I met her. Fast forward 6 years and our lives have changed drastically. We took nearly 8-9 months off in 2015/2017 and spent months in Asia, motorcycled 3 weeks though Baja then an 8000 mile 2 month road trip through US and Canada, camping every night.

Looking at our very “seat of the pants” life, I would be more and more Ok not having kids. That being said, I know how my wife has always been, and I love her too much to rob her of that. I know I’ll be a great dad and will still enjoy it, despite feeling more indifferent. I’m glad we have waited, but I’ll still be ok to have a kid(s). Not to mention, my wife doesn’t work, so no childcare and all the other conveniences of her staying at home. She’s a machine around the house already getting stuff done, and I know when we have a kid she will still hold her own weight.

NewPerspective

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Re: Older Childless Mustachians - what do you regret?
« Reply #18 on: April 17, 2018, 09:47:28 AM »
I'm 41 and my husband is 46.  We have been married for 15 years this year.  Before getting married I told him I had never felt I wanted kids and I didn't think it would change.  I don't think he had ever given much thought to having kids or not (I also think he would have had them had he of married someone that wanted them).  He was fine with not having them. 

In my early 30s I ended up reading every single child free by choice book I could get my hands on.  I didn't understand why I didn't want children and I was really afraid of regretting my decision not to have them.  I found some comfort in the reading the books and knowing I wasn't alone in some of my thoughts.

With that said, yes I think there will be some regret.  But it is like that with any decision you make, there is always a road not taken, experiences you won't have, etc.  I recognize that by not having children I am giving up the thing that most women feel is the most important thing in their lives.  I sometimes wonder how I might be different if I had children. Maybe I would be a better person or less anxious or less stressed.  Or maybe just the opposite would be true, maybe I would be MORE anxious and stressed (this is more likely true).

As far as socializing, we actually have several friends that don't have children and we are friends with a few people that have older kids.  In general it is probably easier to have more acquaintances if you have kids but I don't think it really makes much of a difference for deep real friendships.  In fact, it might be the opposite, I feel like I have more deep/true friendships than people I know that have children (I have more time and energy to devote to friendships maybe).  But, I think I would have a better sense of community if I had children. 

I do think about the fact that we will be alone in our old age. However, my husband is the youngest of three kids.  None of the kids live in the same state as their elderly parents.  This isn't because they don't love them or have bad relationships it is just a function of their jobs and life circumstances. Having kids doesn't guarantee that you won't be alone (and aren't we all alone anyway really?).   I do plan to save more money than what most MMM followers are saving because I think money will give us more options and choices for old age care.

At the end of the day, in order for me to have a baby, I knew I would have to wake up one day with the feeling of I absolutely want to do this.  No question, no doubt.  I've never felt like that so I wouldn't do anything different. 
 
« Last Edit: April 17, 2018, 09:55:03 AM by NewPerspective »

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Re: Older Childless Mustachians - what do you regret?
« Reply #19 on: April 17, 2018, 10:07:49 AM »
40, female, no kids and no regrets. My parents made it clear that having kids was a burden, so I knew from a young age that I didn't want kids. Now, having seen other families actually enjoy their children, I can see how some people find it to be satisfying enough to give up everything that they once enjoyed doing, but I would find that self-negation to be exhausting.

Since it's not something that I ever wanted, and I have enjoyed my adult life, it's not something that I've missed or regretted not doing. While regret in general isn't particularly useful, I can say that there are things that I regret doing and not doing, and they mostly relate to decisions that have kept me from being the best version of myself. Having kids isn't part of what I envision that to be, so regret doesn't factor in.

How do I deal with friends and family who see me as incomplete without kids? I accept that they're narrow-minded, lament that they choose to see me for what I am not rather than for what I am, and try to minimize my relationship with them.
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Re: Older Childless Mustachians - what do you regret?
« Reply #20 on: April 17, 2018, 10:19:28 AM »
My personal opinion is that most people are going to maintain roughly the same baseline level of happiness with or without kids.

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Re: Older Childless Mustachians - what do you regret?
« Reply #21 on: April 17, 2018, 10:22:51 AM »
PTF - 2 kids and I'm happy about it.

It's interesting to see the comments from older people especially. While I have the desire for kids, others feel the opposite. No point comparing camps, its not really a choice. While I know with certainty I'd be retired already without kids (numbers are available to back this statement up), it would be the same as telling someone they could FIRE if they only stay at home the rest of their lives; in other words, life would be incomplete. Hopefully no one is so Cheap that they would cut off kids to achieve that goal.

The other way I could have FIRE'd sooner would be to remain single, if I could have ignored my desire for companionship. I wonder if anyone remains deliberately single for the reduced expenses? Not everyone incurs additional cost, but some people do; as seen in couples with wide salary differences in particular.

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Re: Older Childless Mustachians - what do you regret?
« Reply #22 on: April 17, 2018, 10:28:43 AM »
41, male, no kids. Never had a desire to have kids. When people tell me I'm "missing out" because I don't have kids I just ignore it. It's not financial though, it's just not something I want. I had a friend that didn't like ice cream. Sure, most people find ice cream to be very enjoyable and would "miss" it if they couldn't have it ever again, but he wasn't going to miss it because it wasn't something he wanted. I'm the same way with kids, I just don't want them. I have no regrets regarding my lack of desire to have kids though.

You are missing out.  At a minimum, on months (years?) of crappy sleep.

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Re: Older Childless Mustachians - what do you regret?
« Reply #23 on: April 17, 2018, 10:34:50 AM »
I didn't really want kids while I was growing up, and married a man who did.  We probably should have talked about it more - but honestly, we are both stubborn, so we both probably thought we could sway the other one.  In the end, we "compromised" between 0 and 2 at one child.  (Then #1 talked us in to #2 - they are 6.5 years apart.)

I have many friends my age and older (late 40s and up) who do not have children.  Having spent much of my 20's and 30's not wanting them, I totally get it. 

Some friends didn't want children, some were ambivalent  - could have gone either way but married someone who didn't want them.

They are all living happy, fulfilled lives.  They travel, volunteer, hang out with family and nieces and nephews, work.

Sometimes you want kids and the timing just never works out.  I've got a few friends like that, who just didn't marry until late 40's (or ever) and didn't want to be single parents.

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Re: Older Childless Mustachians - what do you regret?
« Reply #24 on: April 17, 2018, 10:35:50 AM »
I cannot provide the perspective you asked for because I'm younger than you, but I feel almost identically to what you typed out.  I knew people in high school who simply knew that they wanted kids.  It want even a question for them.   I didn't have those inclinations but thought as I got older and put my life together that wanting kids would come. 

It hasn't.  I have absolutely no desire.  I'm also cynical enough from seeing many of my peers have unexpected kids or marry because of unplanned pregnancy that I think the "kids are the best" attitude comes by default.  Either decide the kid is the best part of your life, or have a really shitty life. Not much of a choice there if you didn't know you wanted a kid beforehand. 

That, of course, doesn't apply to someone who wants them.  More power to them.  I'm not going to have a kid for fear of regretting it later, though.  I'll cross that bridge if I ever get there.
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Re: Older Childless Mustachians - what do you regret?
« Reply #25 on: April 17, 2018, 11:09:54 AM »
I'm a 44 yr old single female.  I never wanted kids, like knew as a child that I didn't want to be a mother.  This also plays a part in the fact that I have never sought out marriage either, always expecting to marry late in life if at all (still hasn't happened, and now although I would be open to the idea of marriage, I am for the most part indifferent).  Primarily, I knew I would be able to support myself to a middle class lifestyle on my own, and didn't want to have to defer to anyone else in my decision making.  it is a generational thing, and something I might think differently on if I was a millennial instead of gen X.  Most of my social circle either doesn't have children, or have grown children. 

When I think of regrets of not having kids, it is usually in the context of not feeling or being considered "normal" for not having them, and that only crops up when I am around my numerous siblings and their children. Also of course, there is the fear of aging alone, but again, even with kids there are not guarantees there at all.  My recently widowed mother has 6 children, none of them live within a 10 hr drive of her home. 

When I live in my day to day, quiet child free life, I don't have any regrets at all. 
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Re: Older Childless Mustachians - what do you regret?
« Reply #26 on: April 17, 2018, 11:24:06 AM »

The other way I could have FIRE'd sooner would be to remain single, if I could have ignored my desire for companionship. I wonder if anyone remains deliberately single for the reduced expenses? Not everyone incurs additional cost, but some people do; as seen in couples with wide salary differences in particular.

I would think that the experience of most singles is that it is more expensive for them to live a middle class lifestyle when compared to a normal two income couple, even if there is income disparity.  DINKs seem to be able to retire earlier than SINKs for the same lifestyle choices.  Kids can change the balance, but that tends to depend on choices made regarding lifestyle spending.  Half of my housing expenses should easily cover the costs associated with a child.  From observation, people tend to make kids way more expensive than they need to be (from fancy strollers and diaper bags right up to expensive private travelling sports clubs). 
“Those who put the moustache on Mona Lisa are not attacking it, or art, but Leonardo da Vinci the man. What irritates them is that a man with half a dozen pictures has this great name in history, whereas they, with their large oeuvre, aren’t sure.”  Barnett Newman

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Re: Older Childless Mustachians - what do you regret?
« Reply #27 on: April 17, 2018, 11:30:18 AM »
Older female. No kids. No regrets. As a matter of fact I sometimes get giddily happy about my childfree choice and thank the powers that be that I chose to be childless.

I knew as a kid that I didn't want kids or a traditional 9 to 5, M - F, white picket fence kind of life. I knew that I wouldn't be able to live the kind of life I wanted if I had kids (and maybe married too although I met and married a like-minded guy) so that was the biggest motivator for me to remain childless. I also never had any desire to have kids. I also am not the caretaker type and knew that care taking kids wasn't something I'd find joy or fulfillment in. Just the opposite.  Finances had nothing to do with my decision but of course being childless definitely help me get to FI at age 38 and RE at 42.

Hello my doppelganger!  Not only the same facts, but I would have typed those exact same words.  The feeling of joy I have at being childfree is sometimes so enormous, when I take a mindful moment to appreciate my situation, that I feel like it is, at least, ONE good decision I have made in my life. I definitely did that RIGHT, if nothing else. And my gosh, that feels so good to appreciate and take a moment of gratitude for.

So, as to your situation, OP, like you will and have been told, I was often told I'd feel different about my own children.  As a way of inducing me to "give it a try" I suppose.  This seems way too risky and terribly unfair (potentially) to the child - like they are just an experiment and what happens if it doesn't work out?  Not worth the risk for me.  And it doesn't *always* work out.  I have definitely read/heard many a story of people that...don't "regret" having children, but it's pretty clear they would make a different choice if given the chance.  TBH, my own grandmother probably would have had less than her 8 if she had had access to reliable birth control (and my mom was the last of the 8, so I wouldn't exist) and my mom probably would have made different choices as well.  I've never doubted how much my mom actually loves me and her support for me is strong both emotionally and practically, but I can also accept that she has real curiosity and some wistfulness about a life lived with different choices, that probably would not have ended up with kids.  So yeah, feel free to be reticent to do an "experiment" to see if it will be different with your own kids. 

Here are options that worked well for me:  sign up on a dating site and say you are looking for someone childfree that never wants children.  I put this (and nontheism) as deal-breakers on my OKCupid profile 5 years ago and it worked awesome.  I went on dates with about 9 men in just a few weeks, that all "checked the boxes".  I just celebrated my 5th anniversary with one of them. Ok, you are saying, yeah but you're a woman!!  Actually, I read a study a few years ago that actually showed men are more likely to want children.  I know, I was shocked too.  So theoretically it is easier to find a woman that doesn't want children.  In any case, I strongly encourage you to maintain some optimism about finding women like that.  There are lots of them and you might not even have to look very hard to find them.

I'll also just end with a minor plug not to sort of rest on your laurels assuming you have a lot more time to decide than a woman your age.  There are increasing studies on this question and some evidence that increased paternal age can correlate with problems for the child, like autism, etc.  Not that I'm trying to lend a sense of urgency to your decision.  You can, after all, always adopt or pursue any of various other options if you get older and change your mind.  But, just want to remind folks that even men may need to take age into consideration.

PoutineLover

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Re: Older Childless Mustachians - what do you regret?
« Reply #28 on: April 17, 2018, 11:32:38 AM »
PTF because this discussion is interesting to me. I've always wanted to have kids, but I'm still thinking not yet. I still have stuff I want to do while I'm relatively unencumbered, but I do plan on having them at some point in the near-ish future. The main questions for me are how many, and when to start. I think everyone who is ambivalent or doesn't want them should be free to make that choice without judgement, there are already enough people on this planet that we don't need to add any more unwanted ones. There seems to be a lot of pressure on women to procreate, and a whole lot of "you will change your mind later" that doesn't seem to be directed to men to anywhere near the same extent (yay sexism!).
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Catbert

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Re: Older Childless Mustachians - what do you regret?
« Reply #29 on: April 17, 2018, 11:43:31 AM »
I'm a woman in my 60s.  Never had kids.  Never wanted them.  I had my tubes tied in my mid-20s.  Never regretted my decision.  Money had nothing to do with it. 
n
My DH has two sons.  They were grown and out by the time we married.  DH is in-charge of social contact with his children and grandchildren so it doesn't happen on a frequent basis.  (Stereotypical male behavior with none of them able/willing to organize even a pizza get together.)  I don't count of them being any assistance when we get older.     
« Last Edit: April 17, 2018, 11:50:08 AM by Catbert »

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Re: Older Childless Mustachians - what do you regret?
« Reply #30 on: April 17, 2018, 11:47:28 AM »
I'm only 25, got the snip when I was 23. I've been CF since I realized children are optional, probably around 10 or 11. My husband got a vasectomy at 25 as a wedding gift to me, and because it aligns with his values.
We'd rather regret not having children than regret having them. It mostly comes down to us not wanting to be parents in any way shape or form.
I only regret the way other peoples' words have affected me in the past, making me feel bad for my choices.
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jlcnuke

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Re: Older Childless Mustachians - what do you regret?
« Reply #31 on: April 17, 2018, 11:57:31 AM »
41, male, no kids. Never had a desire to have kids. When people tell me I'm "missing out" because I don't have kids I just ignore it. It's not financial though, it's just not something I want. I had a friend that didn't like ice cream. Sure, most people find ice cream to be very enjoyable and would "miss" it if they couldn't have it ever again, but he wasn't going to miss it because it wasn't something he wanted. I'm the same way with kids, I just don't want them. I have no regrets regarding my lack of desire to have kids though.

You are missing out.  At a minimum, on months (years?) of crappy sleep.
I had years of crappy/no sleep in the Navy, I'm good lol

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wenchsenior

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Re: Older Childless Mustachians - what do you regret?
« Reply #32 on: April 17, 2018, 11:58:50 AM »
I never had kids, never wanted kids, have NO regrets. It was not a financial decision at all, but now that I am retiring this year, my friends with kids are looking on with incredulity and jealousy.

My friends with kids can actually be a bit boring. They need to do kid things and talk about kid events (Disneyland, kids sports, etc.)

There are so many interesting things to do in life that do not involve having kids.

Not to mention the whole overpopulation issue.

Reaching just a bit on the overpopulation issue to further your point as well as your friends "looking on with jealousy". My wife and I have an 18 month old and It's amazing to see the joy she brings to both sets of our parents. There is no greater gift one could give their parents than a child. They have stated multiple times how bored they would have been at this age if they didn't have children. It's an amazing thing to see your parents faces light up each and every time they see or mention their grandchildren.

You also state that parents with kids tend to be "boring". I'd counter that argument with friends I have who are in their early 30's and only talk about women, drinking and sports. I'd argue that their conversations are, in fact, boring.

The majority of the posts in this thread were insightful and helpful, but this one seemed to be a bit self serving...

Totally depends on the parents.  My parents could not care less.

NewPerspective

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Re: Older Childless Mustachians - what do you regret?
« Reply #33 on: April 17, 2018, 12:00:16 PM »
I never had kids, never wanted kids, have NO regrets. It was not a financial decision at all, but now that I am retiring this year, my friends with kids are looking on with incredulity and jealousy.

My friends with kids can actually be a bit boring. They need to do kid things and talk about kid events (Disneyland, kids sports, etc.)

There are so many interesting things to do in life that do not involve having kids.

Not to mention the whole overpopulation issue.

Reaching just a bit on the overpopulation issue to further your point as well as your friends "looking on with jealousy". My wife and I have an 18 month old and It's amazing to see the joy she brings to both sets of our parents. There is no greater gift one could give their parents than a child. They have stated multiple times how bored they would have been at this age if they didn't have children. It's an amazing thing to see your parents faces light up each and every time they see or mention their grandchildren.

You also state that parents with kids tend to be "boring". I'd counter that argument with friends I have who are in their early 30's and only talk about women, drinking and sports. I'd argue that their conversations are, in fact, boring.

The majority of the posts in this thread were insightful and helpful, but this one seemed to be a bit self serving...

Totally depends on the parents.  My parents could not care less.


Same here and I'm an only child. 

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Re: Older Childless Mustachians - what do you regret?
« Reply #34 on: April 17, 2018, 12:03:46 PM »
I'm only 25, got the snip when I was 23. I've been CF since I realized children are optional, probably around 10 or 11. My husband got a vasectomy at 25 as a wedding gift to me, and because it aligns with his values.
We'd rather regret not having children than regret having them. It mostly comes down to us not wanting to be parents in any way shape or form.
I only regret the way other peoples' words have affected me in the past, making me feel bad for my choices.
+100!

Where do you live that you were "allowed" to get snipped at 23?  I've always heard women (and even men at your husband's age) are basically told no if they want this before having any children and/or younger than like 35 or something.  ETA:  whoops, sorry now see that you live in WA.  Did you not get push-back?  How hard did you have to fight to get this?

wenchsenior

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Re: Older Childless Mustachians - what do you regret?
« Reply #35 on: April 17, 2018, 12:05:43 PM »
I never had kids, never wanted kids, have NO regrets. It was not a financial decision at all, but now that I am retiring this year, my friends with kids are looking on with incredulity and jealousy.

My friends with kids can actually be a bit boring. They need to do kid things and talk about kid events (Disneyland, kids sports, etc.)

There are so many interesting things to do in life that do not involve having kids.

Not to mention the whole overpopulation issue.

Reaching just a bit on the overpopulation issue to further your point as well as your friends "looking on with jealousy". My wife and I have an 18 month old and It's amazing to see the joy she brings to both sets of our parents. There is no greater gift one could give their parents than a child. They have stated multiple times how bored they would have been at this age if they didn't have children. It's an amazing thing to see your parents faces light up each and every time they see or mention their grandchildren.

You also state that parents with kids tend to be "boring". I'd counter that argument with friends I have who are in their early 30's and only talk about women, drinking and sports. I'd argue that their conversations are, in fact, boring.

The majority of the posts in this thread were insightful and helpful, but this one seemed to be a bit self serving...

Totally depends on the parents.  My parents could not care less.


Same here and I'm an only child.

I should add that my parents loved me and my siblings, and don't regret having kids.  And if any of us HAD grandkids, they would have loved the grandkids, most likely.  But they really don't care one way or the other.  I do definitely know grandparents who obsessed over grandkids, but I know plenty others for whom it really is not of concern.

GU

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Re: Older Childless Mustachians - what do you regret?
« Reply #36 on: April 17, 2018, 12:27:30 PM »
There seems to be a lot of pressure on women to procreate, and a whole lot of "you will change your mind later" that doesn't seem to be directed to men to anywhere near the same extent (yay sexism!).

Women have a much shorter fertility window than men, and their physical attractiveness—their primary way of attaining mates—also declines much faster (but not necessarily in a linear fashion).  If anything is sexist it's biology. If you wait too long, you may find your choices are involuntarily foreclosed. I don't think politically correct pablum helps anyone in these situations.

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Re: Older Childless Mustachians - what do you regret?
« Reply #37 on: April 17, 2018, 12:28:24 PM »
64 and never wanted kids. Ever. I knew it by the time I hit college, and probably before that. Just can't stand being around them, for any number of reasons (same with older people who exhibit kid-like behaviors). So I don't have any regrets, other than waiting until I was close to 30 before getting snipped.

Certainly made the trip to FIRE a whole lot easier.

Larry
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Re: Older Childless Mustachians - what do you regret?
« Reply #38 on: April 17, 2018, 12:30:52 PM »
I would guess that the number of people who regret having children is quite low, especially for people in stereotypical MMM financial situations. I'm too lazy to research this—perhaps someone else is more interested.

gettingtoyes

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Re: Older Childless Mustachians - what do you regret?
« Reply #39 on: April 17, 2018, 12:33:12 PM »
I knew I always wanted kids, DH not quite so sure and probably would not have had one without me, although he loves our child. In his words though, he says, "I like children okay, and I love my own child, but he is a lot of work and this isn't something I particularly enjoy." FWIW, I think he will enjoy the experience a lot more when our child can communicate and he can teach him more complex things. He did go into our relationship with eyes wide open, though, as I told him on our first date that I wanted kids (long story, lol, but we were friends before this, so not quite the shocker).

I do really like what someone wrote above that as parents we focus on the the 0-16 age, but there is a lot more to it than that as you spend hopefully another 20-40 years with them. DH also liked this perspective.

I applaud you greatly for ending your relationship with a woman who really wanted kids- please do the same courtesy to anyone else that you might date because there is the unfortunate ticking biological clock and it's not fair for someone to spend months to years of their life with someone if the end result is already fated.

gettingtoyes

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Re: Older Childless Mustachians - what do you regret?
« Reply #40 on: April 17, 2018, 12:37:31 PM »
I'm only 25, got the snip when I was 23. I've been CF since I realized children are optional, probably around 10 or 11. My husband got a vasectomy at 25 as a wedding gift to me, and because it aligns with his values.
We'd rather regret not having children than regret having them. It mostly comes down to us not wanting to be parents in any way shape or form.
I only regret the way other peoples' words have affected me in the past, making me feel bad for my choices.
+100!

Where do you live that you were "allowed" to get snipped at 23?  I've always heard women (and even men at your husband's age) are basically told no if they want this before having any children and/or younger than like 35 or something.  ETA:  whoops, sorry now see that you live in WA.  Did you not get push-back?  How hard did you have to fight to get this?

+2, I'd be curious to hear your experience. I've never heard of that so young. It's not wrong of course, although I don't think health care providers have an obligation to do it when asked at such a young age. They do have an obligation not to be a jerk about it.

PoutineLover

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Re: Older Childless Mustachians - what do you regret?
« Reply #41 on: April 17, 2018, 12:38:25 PM »
There seems to be a lot of pressure on women to procreate, and a whole lot of "you will change your mind later" that doesn't seem to be directed to men to anywhere near the same extent (yay sexism!).

Women have a much shorter fertility window than men, and their physical attractiveness—their primary way of attaining mates—also declines much faster (but not necessarily in a linear fashion).  If anything is sexist it's biology. If you wait too long, you may find your choices are involuntarily foreclosed. I don't think politically correct pablum helps anyone in these situations.
Well it is much easier for men to get vasectomies than for women to get their tubes tied, just ask anyone who asks for those operations in their twenties. In general, men not wanting children is unremarkable, while if women say they don't want them it's like there's something wrong with them. That's the sort of sexism I meant, and I don't think it's just because of fertility windows.
Re: bolded. I'm sorry you feel that way. I have much more to offer than my looks and I would never choose a partner who thought that was my most important characteristic.
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RedmondStash

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Re: Older Childless Mustachians - what do you regret?
« Reply #42 on: April 17, 2018, 12:48:57 PM »
Spouse & I have been together for 30 years. No kids, no desire for kids, no regrets.

I'm aware that we're on our own as we grow old, but that might be true even if we'd had kids; you never really know who's going to pop out. It's sobering but not a regret.

We are both grateful that we made this decision, despite the enormous societal pressures on both of us to have kids. We love our quiet, peaceful lives.

I know lots of women who are childless by choice and never want kids. It's hard finding a partner period, so adding in a limitation like "no kids" might reduce the pool of options somewhat, but not as much as you think, OP. There are plenty of women who share your mindset.

Plus, as time goes by, women who had kids young end up with kids out of the house, in college, etc., so you could end up with a female partner who has adult children, so you never actually end up doing the parenting thing.

ElizaStache

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Re: Older Childless Mustachians - what do you regret?
« Reply #43 on: April 17, 2018, 01:41:52 PM »
I'm only 25, got the snip when I was 23. I've been CF since I realized children are optional, probably around 10 or 11. My husband got a vasectomy at 25 as a wedding gift to me, and because it aligns with his values.
We'd rather regret not having children than regret having them. It mostly comes down to us not wanting to be parents in any way shape or form.
I only regret the way other peoples' words have affected me in the past, making me feel bad for my choices.
+100!

Where do you live that you were "allowed" to get snipped at 23?  I've always heard women (and even men at your husband's age) are basically told no if they want this before having any children and/or younger than like 35 or something.  ETA:  whoops, sorry now see that you live in WA.  Did you not get push-back?  How hard did you have to fight to get this?

+2, I'd be curious to hear your experience. I've never heard of that so young. It's not wrong of course, although I don't think health care providers have an obligation to do it when asked at such a young age. They do have an obligation not to be a jerk about it.

@sui generis and @gettingtoyes I had a relatively easy time getting this done, compared to many horror stories I've read. To be clear, "snip" means the Essure method, coils inserted into the Fallopian tubes to create a barrier: sperms doesn't go up, eggs don't go down. It's the only sterilization method PP does in my state other than vasectomies (that DH got at PP).

I have been asking for sterilization by my primary doctor since I was 18 and have recorded their "no" responses each year. I expected much more push back, but they essentially asked me why I was doing it, what happens if I change my mind, and are you really sure. I had prepared a 5 page document on why this was my preferred procedure, why I wanted it, the risks associated with pregnancy, and basically any answer to any question I could have been asked. I didn't really need to bust it out, since they were nice to me. About a month later, I got the procedure done. There's a follow-up test that needs to be done too, absolutely don't skip that part. I send the office a Christmas card every year thanking them for helping me out and it's given me great peace of mind since then. That year I had several medical issues that hit my out of pocket maximum so everything was free.

DH had an even easier time than me, they asked him pretty much the same questions and it was done also about a month later.

I realize my experience was not super typical, but r/childfree has excellent resources and has a list of doctors who have helped them on the sidebar.
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GU

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Re: Older Childless Mustachians - what do you regret?
« Reply #44 on: April 17, 2018, 01:46:40 PM »
There seems to be a lot of pressure on women to procreate, and a whole lot of "you will change your mind later" that doesn't seem to be directed to men to anywhere near the same extent (yay sexism!).

Women have a much shorter fertility window than men, and their physical attractiveness—their primary way of attaining mates—also declines much faster (but not necessarily in a linear fashion).  If anything is sexist it's biology. If you wait too long, you may find your choices are involuntarily foreclosed. I don't think politically correct pablum helps anyone in these situations.
Well it is much easier for men to get vasectomies than for women to get their tubes tied, just ask anyone who asks for those operations in their twenties. In general, men not wanting children is unremarkable, while if women say they don't want them it's like there's something wrong with them. That's the sort of sexism I meant, and I don't think it's just because of fertility windows.
Re: bolded. I'm sorry you feel that way. I have much more to offer than my looks and I would never choose a partner who thought that was my most important characteristic.

I agree that looks aren't everything, especially in the context of a long-term relationship. But without any physical attraction, there's not a romantic relationship in the first place. Men judge the attractiveness of women based almost entirely on looks.

Hula Hoop

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Re: Older Childless Mustachians - what do you regret?
« Reply #45 on: April 17, 2018, 02:09:57 PM »
There seems to be a lot of pressure on women to procreate, and a whole lot of "you will change your mind later" that doesn't seem to be directed to men to anywhere near the same extent (yay sexism!).

Women have a much shorter fertility window than men, and their physical attractiveness—their primary way of attaining mates—also declines much faster (but not necessarily in a linear fashion).  If anything is sexist it's biology. If you wait too long, you may find your choices are involuntarily foreclosed. I don't think politically correct pablum helps anyone in these situations.
Well it is much easier for men to get vasectomies than for women to get their tubes tied, just ask anyone who asks for those operations in their twenties. In general, men not wanting children is unremarkable, while if women say they don't want them it's like there's something wrong with them. That's the sort of sexism I meant, and I don't think it's just because of fertility windows.
Re: bolded. I'm sorry you feel that way. I have much more to offer than my looks and I would never choose a partner who thought that was my most important characteristic.

I agree that looks aren't everything, especially in the context of a long-term relationship. But without any physical attraction, there's not a romantic relationship in the first place. Men judge the attractiveness of women based almost entirely on looks.

That may be true (or not) but there is no one 'look' that men find more attractive.  If all hetero men were only attracted to young supermodels then the species would not continue.  My husband thinks I'm hot stuff but I'm 100% average in the looks department. I've never had a shortage of boyfriends despite being normal looking - and same with my female friends who run the gamut in looks and are all different ages.

And I've never believed that myth that men only like younger women.  When I was 20 something my then 20 something boyfriend left me for a 46 year old woman (who looked 46).  As far as I know, they're still together 20 years later.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2018, 02:12:26 PM by Hula Hoop »

netskyblue

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Re: Older Childless Mustachians - what do you regret?
« Reply #46 on: April 17, 2018, 02:29:46 PM »
I'm a soon to be 35 year old woman, and I've never had a strong desire to parent a child (or multiples of them).  I LIKE kids, but there's a big difference between enjoying the company of little ones (I have nieces and nephews for that), and wanting to be the little one's primary caregiver, role model, disciplinarian, etc, for a minimum of 18 years.  I just...don't really want to do that.

I would like to know the sort of people my hypothetical offspring would turn out to become, but at no point thus far have I ever thought that enough of a trade for 18+ years of parenting.

That said, I have always stood by the decision that if I should ever become pregnant despite use of birth control, I will keep the child.  It's not that I 100% don't want to parent a child, it's that I don't want to parent a child.  (See the difference there?)  I don't want to do anything permanent though, like have my tubes tied, because there's always some small wondering of what if I change my mind?  Though at some point in the not too distant future, that won't be a concern.

I think if you deliberately seek to get pregnant, impregnate someone else, or adopt, you should actively want and plan to parent that child, regardless of whether you're its mother, father, or whatever gender neutral term you prefer (maybe just plain "parent.") Basically, I'm saying dads shouldn't get a "free pass" and it not matter so much if they aren't interested in parenting.  If YOU, whoever and whatever you are, don't want to parent a child, you probably shouldn't try to create one.  If I ever did decide I wanted to parent a child, its father had better want to do so just as badly.


okits

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Re: Older Childless Mustachians - what do you regret?
« Reply #47 on: April 17, 2018, 02:32:56 PM »
I'm heartened to read all these responses from people who are happy with their choice.  It's a big decision, either way.

@RusticBohemian , have the responses helped you?  Were you specifically looking for childfree people 50+, 60+, etc?  (You said "decades into the decision".)

I have children so can't give a firsthand answer to your question but am reading on with interest and am hoping this has been helpful to you. 

Hula Hoop

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Re: Older Childless Mustachians - what do you regret?
« Reply #48 on: April 17, 2018, 02:41:17 PM »
Netsky - that's interesting.  I'm friends with a couple who were childfree by choice into their late 30s but then had an oops pregnancy despite using an IUD.  Their daughter is 10 now and they both say that it's the best thing that ever happened to them.  In fact, they wanted to have a second child but had fertility issues.   The husband told me that just "had no idea how amazing parenting would be" when he decided to never have children.  So, never say never.

At the same, time, as a parent, I recognize that I've had to become quite stable for my kids.  When I was younger I used to move on a whim and lived around the world.  It's not quite that easy when you're uprooting two kids.  I can see the appeal of the childfree life despite being a happy parent.

use2betrix

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Re: Older Childless Mustachians - what do you regret?
« Reply #49 on: April 17, 2018, 03:29:02 PM »
I would guess that the number of people who regret having children is quite low, especially for people in stereotypical MMM financial situations. I'm too lazy to research this—perhaps someone else is more interested.

I’m sure it is quite low. However, I have a brief story I’ll never forget regarding that.

My wife and I were snow skiing for our honeymoon. The big room to eat/warmup was all packed, but we found a table with 5 middle aged women and two open chairs, so we sat. We got to talking to a lady, and omgggggg she bitched about her kids for like 15 minutes. I’d never seen anything like it - a mom so adamantly telling us how much kids has ruined her life and so many things she loved. It was very odd seeing this suburbanite soccer mom have so much strong feelings in that regard, especially to total strangers. Maybe she felt it was the only venue to really get it out.