Almost every week, someone writes to me at Married No Kids asking me for advice on where they can meet men and women who don’t want children.
I decided to poll our MNK Newsletter subscribers and see how they met their husbands and wives. I was hoping patterns would emerge that would provide a neat little package of advice for our child free singles.
As expected, people meet their soul mates in all kinds of ways. Some met in “traditional” ways, and some met in more “unconventional” forums. Many of those who wrote in had some advice to share about finding The One. A synopsis of their thoughts follows.
Upfront, you must be aware that people who don’t want kids ARE a minority, and we can be a bit more difficult to find because the pool of people is smaller than other types of groups. But that doesn’t mean that we are impossible to find! And if finding a child free partner is important to you, then you must persevere until you find one.
Several people met their significant other using an online dating service, like eHarmony.com. Some of the more thorough services use detailed biographical information and personality profiles to match people. And they often ask whether or not you want to have a family, and how important that issue is to you. One person said that the most pragmatic way to meet someone is to “spell out exactly what you’re looking for to the biggest data base possible.” Some of the dating services are scams, so be careful when giving out personal information and paying for the service.
People have met, fallen in love, and gotten married through No Kidding!, the social group for non-parents (see the link above for a previous article on the group). If there isn’t a chapter near you, start one. If you’re looking for child free people, chances are there are others in your community who are looking for the same thing. As Jerry Steinberg, Founding Non-Father of No Kidding!, says, “If you want to meet others who are interested in books, join a book club. If you want to make friends who enjoy hiking, join a hiking club. If you want some child free friends, join or start a No Kidding! chapter.”
One person suggested taking courses in a subject that interests you. You can try anything ranging from photography to cooking to college classes. Many child free people are “intellectuals,” who are interested in “the finer things” in life, such as travel, art, and the like. Joining clubs that focus on these kinds of things may put you in contact with child free people.
Someone else said she is an avid believer in meeting people while doing what interests you, and then letting go of all expectations about the results at the same time. She met her husband at a “barefoot boogie” with members of a large dance community. She wasn’t looking for love, but that’s what she found.
Another person said most of the couples she knows met in some kind of higher education situation. She believes the choice to remain child free requires forethought, consideration, self knowledge, and strength. “Ongoing education is a haven for individuals possessing such characteristics,” she said.
Professional groups are another place to meet people. Many child free people are career oriented, and can be found at corporate events. Why not go to a reception at a museum, ballet, or symphony and see who you meet?
Believe it or not, you can meet child free singles at religious institutions, But the more conservative your religion, the more family and child centered it will be. You might want to consider hanging out with Pagans, Atheists, Agnostics, Deists, Unitarians, or Liberal Christians to find other child free people. You might ultimately disagree on some of the finer points of the aforementioned belief systems, but as a rule people who subscribe to those types of spirituality tend to be more open-minded about how individuals choose to live their lives.
On the flip side, one person who wrote in said she met her husband at a Catholic singles club! Another met someone on a liberal faith-based message board. Someone started a discussion about whether or not it is “ok” for Christians not to want kids. She and another man posted that they thought it was fine. They started a long distance relationship shortly after that.
Chat rooms and email lists based on specific topics are also a place to meet people. One woman met her husband through a list for scholars of Victorian literature. But she warns that many mainstream chat rooms are frequented by people who are only looking to have a good time. There can also be a lot of jerks in chat rooms, so you need to be careful. Also, remember common sense when you meet someone for the first time. Always arrange to meet in a public place. Tell someone else where you are going. Leave instructions with a friend to contact police if you aren’t back by a certain time. Always bring your own transportation so you can get away quickly if you have to. Don’t put yourself in a dangerous position, and always trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, get away from the situation.
For some of our older singles, oftentimes divorced people with grown children are the next best thing to being child free, if you don’t mind being a step-parent. Also, once you reach a certain age, people who don’t have children yet are not likely to want them. So if you are in the 40+ crowd, you actually have an advantage over the Twentysomethings.
Many suggested being honest and upfront with the people you date, so they know your feelings about having children right away. If you make your feelings known early on, you will save yourself the heartache of disentanglement when you discover you aren’t truly compatible because one of you wants kids and the other does not.
Of course there were some high school sweethearts, those that met at work, and some were “friends of a friend.” Some weren’t looking for love when they found it. Others weren’t specifically looking for someone who was “child free,” but it happened to work out that way for them. That just goes to show you that Fate is out there controlling all of us, and you just need to believe that your soul mate is out there, wondering when the heck you’re going to come find them!