A lot of my friends are finding husbands and having babies, and I’ll admit that for a while, the idea of settling down and starting a family appealed to me too. But the more I think about it and the older I get, the more I’m starting to realize that marriage and kids might actually make me miserable. Here’s why the unmarried, childfree life is starting to seem like the best choice I could make:
1. YOU’RE NOT LEGALLY BOUND TO ANYONE.
Breakups are hard enough as it is, but divorce can be pure torture. And what happens if you want to take a few months off being a mom? Once you’re married or have kids, the law makes it pretty hard for you to just go off and be free of your commitment to another human being. If you avoid these so-called “milestones”, though, you could go live by yourself in a cabin in the woods without having to worry about any lawyers coming after you.
2. YOU CAN SPEND ALL YOUR MONEY ON YOURSELF.
Children cost money. A lot of it. Even if you decide to live the child-free life after getting married, you still have to factor in another person when considering large purchases, especially if you have a joint account. By deciding not to get hitched or knocked up, though, you ensure that every penny you earn gets to be spent exactly how you want. Forget spending a fortune on diapers — just think of all the solo trips around the world you could take instead.
3. YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE WHENEVER YOU WANT.
It’s hard to pack up and move across the country on a moment’s notice when you have to consider your spouse’s job and your kid’s education. If you don’t have either of those people in your life, you can really do whatever you want when you want it. If the person you’re dating doesn’t fit in with those plans, you don’t have to worry about getting a divorce before deciding to up and leave. It might suck to leave them behind, but it’s a relatively small price to pay for unbridled freedom.
4. YOU DON’T HAVE TO FOLLOW SOMEONE ELSE’S PLANS.
On the flip side, never walking down the aisle also means you’ll never have to worry about uprooting your own life because your husband got a job somewhere else or your kid would be better off in another school district. Sure, you might make compromises for a serious partner, but the commitment will be significantly less than if you had a spouse and children inadvertently dictating your every move.
5. IF THINGS DON’T WORK OUT WITH SOMEONE, IT’S LESS OF A HEADACHE.
Breakups can be messy, especially if you’ve been together for a long time or share a living space. But even the worst “normal” breakups are nothing compared to divorce. Without kids, you still have to worry about dividing assets, lawyer fees, and the crushing feeling of watching your promise of “forever” get signed away before your very eyes. With kids, you also have to worry about custody and a whole other mess of issues for yourself and your little ones. Doesn’t it sound so much better to just be able to make a clean break and move on with your life?
6. THERE’S NOT NEARLY AS MUCH PRESSURE TO NOT MESS UP.
As a childless, unmarried woman, no one expects you to be perfect. While yes, you should be a good partner to the person you’re potentially dating, you won’t have to worry about your kids turning out to be rotten because of your bad parenting choices if you aren’t a parent in the first place. And if you do end up not being a model partner, the person you’re dating can easily end things with you.
7. YOUR TIME IS YOUR OWN TO SPEND.
No losing sleep because of a crying infant, no skipping the gym to drive your kids to soccer practice — all twenty-four hours of the day belong to you and you alone. While you’ll probably end up sacrificing at least some of it if you end up in a relationship with someone, it’ll be significantly less than if you were to have tiny growing humans running around all the time.
8. YOU NEVER HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT A BIOLOGICAL CLOCK.
Who cares about being “too old” to have kids if you made the decision not to have kids a long time ago? Who cares about “locking down” a husband while you’re still young and hot and fertile when getting married isn’t even on your radar? When you’re not fretting about how the hands of time will affect your ability to find a spouse and reproduce, you’ll be able to relax a lot more and appreciate each day for what it is instead of seeing it as another tick on a timebomb.
9. THERE’S NO REAL PRESSURE TO STAY WITH SOMEONE YOU’RE NOT IN LOVE WITH ANYMORE.
Even when married couples know it would be better for everyone involved if they went their separate ways, they still often feel some kind of obligation to stay together. They might not want to put their children through the stress and sorrow of having divorced parents, or maybe the vows they took and the money they spent on the wedding is enough to make them want to keep trying to work things out for too long. When you’re unmarried and childfree, it’s not nearly as big of a deal if you realize your relationship wasn’t meant to stand the test of time.
10. YOU NEVER HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT NOT BEING FREE.
Once you have a baby, you’re automatically locked into at least eighteen years of commitment to caring for another human being. And even though lots of people do get divorced, marriage is supposed to be a promise of forever. Avoiding both of these massive commitments means that both fifteen days and fifteen years from now, you’ll be pretty much free to do what you want at any time and place you want to do it.