I read a yahoo news article recently and a comment by Susan Sarandon really bothered me and was an example of one of many reasons why I do not want to have children.
After so many years together, she suggested they had reached their limit: "You bring people into your life at certain times. Maybe you have a relationship to have children and you realize that it's fulfilled after that point."
Comments like this and women's general baby rabies behavior that eventually comes to dominate all things in a relationship always make me question whether a woman is really into her partner and really loves him or is he merely a means-to-an-end. The end being children and oftentimes the financial ties that bind a man once he has children. The majority of relationships with children resemble this comment in that once the children enter the picture the woman stops caring about her boyfriend or husband and focuses on the children and whatever else she is into (anything except her partner). The sex stops, the affection stops, the honey-dos list become unending, fun non-business type conversations disappear, etc. He basically becomes a worker-bee/butler for the most part and is only there to serve the children and his now unattentive woman's needs.
I have seen it myself and heard about it in numerous confessions from men who are "happily married with children" too many times over for it to be a coincidence. This is a behavior very unique to having children. I never seen it in the few child free relationships that I have encountered or heard about. I don't think a woman can take a man for granted as much when the legal and financial ties that children create do not exist. Neither party, man or woman, can bind the other with children in a childfree relationship. I think that leads to a healthier relationship because both participants have to actually like the other person and demonstrate it on a regular basis since the person doesn't have to "stay together for the kids" or "the child support will kill me". Laziness has no place in an intimate relationship and not having children helps reduce the chances of either party becoming lazy or taking the other for granted.
I think it is a topic that a lot of child-free people and men in general never discuss and to me is a huge elephant in the room. The fact that a lot of women enter relationships just to have children and there are a lot of unsuspecting guys on the other end of that who suffer, emotionally, mentally, and financially. The man doesn't really matter other than if he meets a profile good enough to her standards to have a child with. He is replaceable and unimportant. He only needs to feel special or loved up to the point that the baby pops out (sometimes not even that long). Once the baby is there he is stuck and you can ignore him.
Does a woman really love you if she would leave you because you won't have kids? A person who doesn't even exist is more important and more loved and desired than you who is right there with her right now, going through life's ups and downs with her? That is a very offensive notion to me and one of the major reasons (the others you cover pretty well) why I will never children. How can I trust someone who would leave me for someone who doesn't even exist. That doesn't sound like someone who is taking our relationship very seriously to me or someone who would have my back when I really need her to. If I am that interchangeable with another guy, she can't possibly be really that into me. I'll pass on that kind of relationship thank you.
I could write a lot more about this and maybe one day I will, but I just wanted to throw this out there as something to discuss since it never is and I think a lot of men with and without children can relate to it.
Thanks for the great blogs and links. Keep it up.
Hated On Mostly
This was a great letter! I taught elementary school for 27 years and I KNOW there are women who marry so they can become mothers and really do not care much about having a relationship with a man. The child becomes the most important thing! It's sad that many unsuspecting men go along with becoming fathers and end up pushed aside.
Great article! Sometimes I do think there are some men that are just as much about "being a father" as woman are about becoming mothers (to the exclusion of all other interests, their spouse, etc.). My husband works with so many men that hate their lives, resent their wives, but yet that same familiar mantra comes pouring out... "but my kids mean the world to me, it is so worth it."
Overall, I agree with underlying ideas, but also offer the caution that we have to be careful with statements that attribute the fallout to one gender.
*People* can be very manipulative. Yes, be careful. Yes, a childfree relationship does offer a great deal of freedom, real intimacy, and openness that *may* be missing from a childed relationship.
But take care, too, with generalizations. Writing as someone who works with felons for a living, I pretty much see it all. No one gender is more "noble," more of a "victim," than the other. People are people. They range the from amazing decent, honest, and wonderful to... well, people that I end up talking to at some length.
This is a great point. If the woman is not willing to be with YOU, then why the hell would you breed with her? Excellent point, that.
LOL Christy! You almost made me spit out my tea! I hate the herd of sheep mentality that most people follow.
If you had hung out with about 60% of the women I shared a dorm with in college and talked to them then, you would have been amazed at how many of them were dating the engineer/premed/business majors ONLY because these were the men that would get good jobs to support a family so they could stay home with their kids. I never understood the point of that--marrying someone because they are a good provider is more of a business contract than a real marriage. Part of why we decided to be childfree was because I really like being a wife...spoiling my husband is something I genuinely love to do. If I had a bunch of rugrats running around, I doubt I'd be as sexually active and in shape as I am now. I wouldn't have as much time to spend with my husband, that's for sure.
The thing that frustrates me about posts like this one is the endless finger pointing at women. In my relationship, *I* was the one that didn't want kids and *he* was the one that decided that kids are more important to him than me.
It's not just women. Sure they may be the majority, but the bitterness and anger I see coming from men aimed at women annoys me. Men are not so freaking awesome either - how many men date a woman just for sex? How many men date a woman just for her looks? How many men dump a woman after she has the kdis that HE wanted just as much as she did, because suddenly his wife isn't so hot?
As someone above said, it is not any one gender. People are people - please remember that.
I also think, honestly, that the "she/he chose people who don't exist over me" concept is an oversimplification of a very complex set of emotions and values. It's easy for those who don't desperately want children to pass it off as a simple choice, but I saw what that choice cost my partner (and me) and there was nothing easy about it.
Humans just aren't that simple and I wish we all, as humans, could be more tolerant of that.
Interesting article, and some very good comments made. I agree that we cannot pigeon-hole all women into womb-obsessed breeders who are only after men for their money. Women in the world have enough to deal with without further gender-stereotyping. We also have to remember this is true for men, too. But in saying that, we also have to remember that the stereo-type does exist also.
Part of the many reasons I don't want children, is that I don't want to push my husband aside. He is the No1 in my life, and I don't want something that doesn't even exist getting in between us.
Luckily, my OH doesn't want children and we established that reasonably early-on in our relationship.
I cannot understand how women are led by their womb and agree that if a woman (or man) puts having children ahead of you, then they are not worth staying with, unless you both feel the same way.
The few women who *do* trap men by "forgetting" to take their contraception are foolish, selfish people - and also put feminism back 50 years. To trap a man this way is cruel and if he leaves her, she deserves it. It takes two people to make a baby, and two people have the choice.
If women chose to date/live-with/marry a man PURELY for their money, it shows a very shallow personality. Essentially, the most important thing in a relationship is love and respect. I would much rather be with a penniless man who loves and respects me, than a rich man who does neither. Besides, what is wrong with making your own money? Plus, I am not talking about being with someone who is a bum!
One last thing, if a woman dates a man purely for money........well, there is a very old profession she's practising there, whether she'd care to admit it or not.
To further add regarding money. When I was a child, although we weren't poor, we weren't well off by any stretch. But my father was the most wonderful, caring man you could meet who made me feel special every second. The love and care he showed is what I remember, not the material objects.
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