I’m 37. At some point in my 20s I realized that I don’t wanna have children. The first time I was confronted with this question within the context of a serious relationship I found myself saying that I don’t wanna have children now nor ever. My girlfriend at the time accused me of being selfish but I just never thought I’d be good at this nor did I ever want it.
The myth within patriarchal communities is that “Men don’t know that they want children until they have them” but I found out that this is absolutely not true. I found out that not all women want children and not all men are afraid of it – there were friends of mine who had paternal instincts way more than I did.
I live in a conservative country where family is everything to most people. The sight of a single man in his late 30s is weird to most people in Egypt. “Are you at least divorced?” is a question I get a lot. I have to play the role of the womanizer while I’m actually a very monogamous person when it comes to relationships – people understand why the stereotypical “ladies man” doesn’t get married and have kids way easier than my rational for leading a childfree life.
It’s hard to date and it keeps getting harder over time because most women my age don’t wanna waste time in a relationship that won’t result into marriage and children quickly. Sometimes it feels pretty lonely, as if I’m stuck while others are growing and moving forward…
But every time I break up with someone over this I remember that time I woke up and booked a flight to Paris and left for the long weekend on a whim because I just felt like it.
I remember my peace and quiet every night after I get home, how I smoke what I want, drink what I want, cook what I want, and sleep whenever I want yet have a fulfilling career. I’m a software engineer so I’ll never be “rich”. The career I wanted to have since I was a child pays above average money in general so I’m doing fine on my own but if I have to support a family I’d be broke all the time and I’d have to give up a lot of the qualities that I enjoy in life. Does this make me selfish? I don’t know.
The only thing I’m worried about is the increasing loneliness. The feeling that I’m stuck while others are moving forward.