Child-Free Couples: Thriving Without Kids
Relationship experts and couples who chose not to have kids reveal the secrets of a successful child-free marriage.
Remaining Child-Free: Handling Birth Control
When couples have decided to forgo childbearing, birth
control is of paramount importance. Many couples opt for male or female
sterilization because of the near-100% success rate, though experts
recommend exploring all the available options.
Robin took the birth control pill for years. When the issue of whether to
have children was resolved, Duane opted for a vasectomy. Duane candidly admits
that, "If for some reason Robin came up pregnant, I would have
Authors and self-help gurus Debora and Mick Quinn say the kid conversation
was concluded in the "first five minutes of our meeting." Debora says
she happily sought a sterilization to "close the door."
Child-Free Couples: No Regrets?
None of the couples interviewed by WebMD expressed regrets about their
choice to remain child-free.
Buckley says the couples she sees don't really have regrets either.
"They might have curiosity, wondering 'what if.' But once you've made a
conscious decision and you have clarity about your choices, then chances of
regret go way down," she says.
Mick says that when he first emigrated from Ireland, he asked an 85-year-old
woman if she regretted not having kids. "She paused the longest time and
then said 'no.' She just missed company and camaraderie. The connection Debora
and I have is phenomenally stronger than having kids."
Child-Free Couples Living Happily Ever After
Can couples remain child-free and have a lasting, satisfying
Absolutely, says Gibson.
"When couples have kids they sometimes forget about being a couple,"
Gibson says. "[Child-free couples] often have something they share instead
of children, such as a cause, animal, a dream, fabulous annual
It's also a myth, say experts and the couples themselves, that people who
chose to remain child-free lack nurturing skills.
The Marcuses, for instance, have taken a young man in his 30s under their
wing and poured their energy into building a successful gardening business.
"A psychology student friend of ours says that the 50s are the 'generative
phase,' a time to give back to the younger generation," Duane says.
"Our participation in the community as elders is very nurturing."
The Quinns agree. They've written a book in English and Spanish and teach
"I always give the same answer," says Mick, when asked if he and
wife are happy with their child-free relationship. "Separately and
together, the work we do is way more important in our opinion than putting the
time, effort, and focus into raising one or two children -- especially when
there are billions of spare ones around."