Conversations to Have with Your Partner to Ensure They’re 100% on Board with Being Childfree

What’s worse than meeting a new date who wants or—gasp—already has kids? 

Undoubtedly: investing in a years-long, serious relationship (or marriage) with someone who ends up wanting kids because you didn’t talk about that subject early on.

While the big childfree conversation is often awkward and difficult, it’s crucial to discuss the situation and come to an understanding together. You never want to find yourself falling in love with someone only to break up later because you aren’t compatible on the childfree front.

Chances are, if you’re reading this magazine, being childfree is an essential part of your life. Let’s dive into some topics of conversation you should have with your partner to make sure you’re both on the same page as far as being childfree.

The kick-off: If you haven’t verbalized your stance on not having kids yet, it’s time to do that…like, yesterday.

It’s totally understandable to feel hesitant about bringing up the hot-button topic of being childfree on a first date. But it’s pretty likely that you’ve already been chatting and getting to know that date over text or phone calls, so touching on the matter shouldn’t feel too outlandish. 

Would you rather waste your time with someone from the get-go, knowing they could be someone who wants children in the future?

Or…would you rather nip it in the bud so you can move on to find someone who fully vibes with being childfree?

It’s entirely possible to bring up the topic of your childfree stance in a casual manner. You can slip it into almost any context as you tell your date about yourself, who you are, or how you envision your life unfolding.

If you are already further into a relationship, it might be a bit more awkward, so prepare for the nervous jitters when attempting to bring up the subject to someone who already thinks they “know you” fairly well. It could come as more of a shock in this instance, and the partner might feel a little betrayed or defensive that you didn’t tell them about such an important topic months or even years ago.

On the flip side, they might also show great interest or even agree with being childfree themselves (in which case, that’s your best scenario!) Either way, you need to get this conversation out of the way so you can move forward with a positive step.

The most important thing of all is open communication. 

Your partner deserves to know you are choosing to be childfree, and you deserve to be with someone who is aligned with your life intentions.

Discuss your personal life goals and values.

Needless to say, if your goals and values don’t align, then the relationship is probably already doomed before it begins. Unfortunately, many couples don’t discuss these factors until far too late.

Consider how your goals and values contribute to your childfree life.

Do you have concerns about the planet? Then your childfree status directly benefits the cause for climate change.

Are you career-focused or an entrepreneur? Then your childfree status helps you advance yourself professionally.

Do you love to travel? Then your childfree status makes it much easier to explore the world without inhibitions.

All of the above are not just reasons to remain childfree–they are part of who you are as a human, part of your purpose, and talking about these aspects of your life with your partner is a great way to help them understand the layers of your choice to be childfree.

It’s also worth it to think about any other significant life priorities you have that could be impacted by children. Share your long-term plans and aspirations with each other aside from just being childfree, especially topics like whether or not to get married, or how to handle finances.

Does your partner imagine him or herself as a parent at all?

Instead of asking, “Do you want kids?” consider rephrasing the question as “Do you see yourself as a parent?” It’s all about wording.

Psychologically, a person might think, sure, I’ll have kids one day. Maybe they just believe it’s something they “should do in life” as a natural next step and have never put a lot of thought into the reality of the notion or how they feel about it. 

This simple rephrasing transforms the concept to focus on THEM rather than on kids that don’t even exist. It can make all the difference in how they respond.

Rephrasing the question can also help them contemplate how this could impact them in the future and assess how they truly feel about parenthood. It should help the two of you dive into the conversation with a more personal perspective rather than in the context of societal expectations.

Evaluate whether or not they are a fence-sitter.

A fence-sitter is someone who has difficulty making a decision or taking sides. In this reference, a fence-sitter can’t decide whether they want to be childfree or not, and may have several different thoughts on both ends of the spectrum.

In this case, it’s crucial for them to weigh the pros and cons and do the inner work to come to a reasonable conclusion for themselves.

Perhaps to aid in their solution, you can help them draft a list of reasons—one list detailing why they might want kids, and another list specifying why they might not want kids. Seeing the visual evidence of their thoughts on paper can help solidify their stance a bit better.

Ultimately, life cannot be lived in the middle. A decision must be made at some point, and your partner needs to make that choice in order for you both to move on comfortably with the relationship.

Talk about ways to prevent pregnancy. Is your partner on board?

If you as a couple are on the same page regarding being childfree, it’s a no-brainer that you need to figure out what works best for the two of you when it comes to contraception.

There are myriad ways out there to prevent unwanted babies, so the most practical way to approach it is to look at all your options and come to a mutual agreement.

For women, the possibilities are plentiful. From birth control pills to the vaginal ring, from the implant to the IUD, you’re sure to find something that works for you. 

And if none of those sound appealing, you may also be open to the idea of surgical sterilization. This is a method of contraception that is completely permanent and is, of course, a major decision not to be taken lightly. However, it’s a great choice if you want to forget the stress of remembering to take a pill, and, especially, the stress of worrying about contraceptive failure, which occurs in an average of 7% of cases in the US.

If we’re putting the ball in the men’s court, there is the option of getting a vasectomy, which is a procedure that blocks the channel for sperm to thrive, resulting in sterilization (which, in most cases, is reversible.)

Consider your partner’s responses to all of the above. Give them time and space to reach a conclusion if they are unsure.

Depending on your partner’s reaction to these conversations, you may need to give them some time to personally analyze their thoughts and opinions on the matter. Give them that space to do so.

It’s worth noting here that you may reach a point where you feel compelled to want to change their minds.

Pro tip: don’t do that.

Getting into a relationship only to try to change all the aspects of a person you disagree with is a set-up for failure. It’s imperative to allow people to be themselves and come to their own consensus, both inside and outside the relationship.

If your partner does not resonate with being childfree for life, it’s pretty obviously a sign that you two should consider parting ways. The choice to be childfree is not a lighthearted one, and if someone feels even slightly hesitant about this, then your relationship will always have a cloud hanging over it.

Remember that just because you are compatible in other areas of the relationship that does not mean you will be compatible when it comes to being childfree. 

But also remember: there are people out there for you. Even if your current relationship isn’t childfree-friendly, leaving that relationship to find “the one” who matches your childfree desires will be totally worth it.

It doesn’t stop here. Maintain honesty and consistent conversation related to being childfree throughout your relationship.

Just because you’ve had the conversation about being childfree once doesn’t mean you never should have it again.

Check-in with your partner regularly as the months and years unfold in your relationship. People often grow and evolve with time, and with that often comes a change of heart regarding big life decisions.

Mention and reinforce your desire to remain childfree. Make sure your partner still agrees, and if not, start this article over again to evaluate how you two should move forward.

Hopefully, this list has given you some food for thought as you move forward with your partner or in the dating pool. Overall, remember that discussing such a sensitive issue as being childfree may lead to challenging conversations, but it’s vital to ensure a strong, healthy relationship built on mutual understanding and respect. If you find that your views are fundamentally incompatible, consider whether or not the relationship is right for both of you in the long term. 


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