A BIG SWEETIE:
I wanted to see if you had any thoughts on when to discuss kids when starting a relationship.
I haven't ever wanted to have kids and while I thought that might change the older I got, I'm past 30 now and still feel very strongly that I don't want kids. I don't want to waste anyone's time if they are looking to start a family, but it often feels weird to bring up long term plan stuff on the first few dates as you're just getting to know each other and aren't even sure if it's going anywhere. At the same time what's the point in waiting if there is a potential deal-breaker in the future? Isn't it better to know earlier?
Art credit: Joan Cornellà
Howdy! Howdy! Howdy! This topic is always a bit rough for all of us to navigate, even though logically we all agree that knowing sooner rather than later is best. I think the best thing to do is of course be upfront about it whenever it comes up (do not suggest that you will ever change your mind on this), add it to dating apps if they have the option— many do, and then bring it up fairly early on on your own.
Will this be a bit awkward sometimes? YES. That’s fine. Better to suffer through a few moments of weirdness and an early ending of a relationship than to have a full-on break up months down the road simply because you didn’t speak up.
I don’t think you need to do this on a first date. Firstly because going on a few dates with someone does not qualify as either of you wasting your time, but also because you don’t even know how much you like a person and it will seem a bit much and might be off putting enough to ruin your chances of another date with someone.
I’d wait until you’ve slept with someone a few times or gone on about four or five dates and then (over dinner; not while either of you are stressed or undressed!!!!) say, “Hey this might be kind of weird to bring up so early, but I really like you and I don’t want this to become something later that we should have talked about. I’ve had this be an issue in the past with partners, which I totally understand, and if you need to think about it, I get that too. Anyway, I’ve thought about it a lot and I don’t want to have kids. I know this is a super important issue that can’t be compromised on, so that’s why I’m bringing it up so super early.”
Give the person time to process this information! They may play it off in the moment like, “Oh yeah, that’s cool!” and then a few days or weeks or months down the road realize that they are not actually ok with that. Everyone is allowed to change their mind.
A lot of people don’t want kids these days, so you’re in good company. I don’t think this will be a deal breaker for everyone. If you find that it’s getting too painful to keep starting and ending things because of this issue, start just putting it in your profile as part of your bio.
You also might want to think about whether you’re ok dating people who already have children, because that might come up as well, and you should know your boundary there.
Good luck! More conversations are better!!!
❤️❤️❤️NOTE: because so many sweetie pies have been asking questions, it can take up to a month or two to answer them. I’M SORRY. I try to answer “urgent” / timely letters ASAP and more general questions later. IF I HAVEN’T GOTTEN TO YOURS, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO RESEND!!! I DON’T MIND AT ALL!!!❤️❤️❤️
Sophia Benoit writes this very newsletter; she also writes about sex & relationships for GQ, tries to write about Fleetwood Mac for GQ, avoids writing by tweeting at @1followernodad, works full-time as a researcher for Lights Out With David Spade, and has had bylines in The Guardian, Reductress, Refinery29, Allure, and The Cut. You can reach her or yell at her at email@example.com.