Why I Chose To Be Unmarried And Childless

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woman alone outside enjoying breakfast
Unmarried and childless, but not alone. Why one woman chose to forgo marriage and kids.

I made sure my next serious boyfriend did not want kids. He said he didn't, though I never quite believed him. But he also said we shouldn't get married until I lost the 80 pounds I had gained when I quit smoking—not because my weight mattered to him (it didn't), but because it mattered to me. I didn't lose the weight. We broke up when I was 33, and those 80 pounds quickly melted away until I was once again a size 8. He went on to marry, have a son, and get divorced. 

Now my childbearing days are fast diminishing, and I haven't heard one peep out of my biological clock. My life is not filled with nieces or nephews (my brother is also unmarried and childless) or friends' kids. I don't dislike them—a baby or cute kid always makes me smile—but as an adult, I have spent little time with them, in part because of their constant need to be the center of attention (normal for kids but mentally wearing); their steady stream of chatter and raised voices feels like an auditory assault to me.

Sometime in my mid-30s, I quit apologizing for the fact that I enjoyed living by myself, or that three hours was my time limit for social interaction. Because I'm an extreme introvert, I have to try to balance my need for the love and companionship of friends, family and a mate with a need for a lot of time alone (my introverted father understands; my extroverted mother never will).

It was also in my mid-30s that I decided that I might get married if I could find someone who would be willing to live in the same building—but down the hall in his own apartment. I met a guy who thought that this was a fantastic idea (another introvert), but we were only fated to be friends.

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