Unmarried and childless: socially frowned upon?

Google
tsukino

Google

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w
tsukinomore
Apr 16 113 Comments

A person in a long-term relationship refuses to get married and has decided to not have children; their partner commits to the same arrangements for shared career reasons, lifestyle preferences, and philosophical views.

In some cultures, this is considered selfish and immature to the degree of being disowned for disgracing the family. They may be ostracized as crazy and suspicious by members of proper society.

(Please select one option for each question below.)
1. What do you think about this couple's type of attitude and behaviour?
2. How can such a person respond in a tactful manner after being asked persistently in a casual way about their life plans by professional colleagues?

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TOP 113 Comments
  • Microsoft lMQO62
    It goes against basic human nature. But personally I don’t care. If you’re dumb enough to choose not to have kids, at least you aren’t passing on your poor philosophy to your children. So more power to them.
    Apr 16 25
    • Microsoft
      tech.ladki

      Microsoft

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      tech.ladkimore
      I don't know what's your definition of breeder -- for the record, ideally I don't want to have kids, but believe that my life would suck less in my death bed if I have immediately family.
      As an Asian, I think there is a higher chance my family would give shit about me, although not guaranteed of course
      Apr 16
    • Microsoft mdnd
      People taking for granted that their kids will take care of them in the future are so funny 😂
      Apr 16
    • New / Consultant
      PinkJacket

      New Consultant

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      Google, Techstars, Mozilla
      BIO
      I'm me.
      PinkJacketmore
      It seems second and third generation Americans are more commonly delusional in this regard. My guess is that it's because family was important to survival when immigrating and that the importance of family is preserved for a few generations as a result. Eventually American individualism takes hold and people end up in an old folks home with kids who hope they never get a phone call and bemoan the fact that they have to write checks for elder care. Assisted suicide can't come soon enough.
      Apr 16
    • Microsoft
      tech.ladki

      Microsoft

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      tech.ladkimore
      I'm not taking for granted, but at least as an Asian, I've reason to believe that the probability of having your life suck less improves with kids in your old and debilitated days.
      I don't see any other reason to have kids
      Apr 16
    • New / Consultant
      PinkJacket

      New Consultant

      PRE
      Google, Techstars, Mozilla
      BIO
      I'm me.
      PinkJacketmore
      That seems like a terrible bet to take. 20+ years of dependence and hundreds of thousands of dollars per kid for a slim chance that someone will make your life suck less when you're old? Sugar babies are far cheaper and far less risky.
      Apr 16
    • Microsoft
      tech.ladki

      Microsoft

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      tech.ladkimore
      I agree on the low odds of my bet (relatively higher for Asians than Caucasians), but why else would anyone have kids? I don't see any other reason to have kids
      Apr 16
    • Google
      tsukino

      Google

      BIO
      w
      tsukinomore
      OP
      I feel like some people have kids to try out the experience and bond with others with a similar sense of guardianship and familial patronage
      Apr 16
    • Microsoft
      tech.ladki

      Microsoft

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      Google
      tech.ladkimore
      You mean bond with spouse/child's other parent?
      Apr 16
    • Google
      tsukino

      Google

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      w
      tsukinomore
      OP
      Bond with other parents on shared experience - it's hard to "get" that without personally going through the process
      Apr 16
    • Adobe gofers
      @tech.ladki "I don't see any other reason to have kids" That's precisely what your "opponents" are saying as well, plus they're trying to drive home the point that it's not a good enough reason in the end. Just sayin'
      Apr 20
  • Facebook FBDrunk
    You're Indian. I get it. Do whatever makes you happier. Kids are not for everyone. To use absolute blanket statement that every couple must have children is ludacris. Also, marriages are nothing special. If anything, they bring more sadness than happiness to all involved. 200 years from now, I doubt marriages will exist. It's an ancient practice supported by a stupid tax code and the constitution. People should be able to live however and with whoever they please in a free country.
    Apr 16 24
    • Microsoft
      ToopyToo

      Microsoft

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      Amazon
      ToopyToomore
      @tsukino - population growth usually slows down as density increases - for a variety of factors. Fertility rates in dense cities are lower than villages.
      Apr 16
    • Facebook FBDrunk
      ToopyToo - you don't have to be married to have children. Marriage is some made up religious antique that is then integrated into constitutions and tax codes around the world. Would you rather have kids grow up in abusive and failed marriage where parents are always fighting and unhappy? Vast majority of marriages result in divorces - which is even worse for kids. Two questions for you with the above premise, 1. Are marriages actually making kids lives better?, 2. Is it OK for two people to stay together for a child in a wrong marriage? The statistics back my POV. In reality, kids stop "needing" parents to a great extent after 13-14 years. I'm sure we can figure out the kids part in a world where marriage isn't a forced norm.

      I agree with everything else. Marriages and the way they are sculpted in the society are very unnatural. There is no such thing as one love. At least not for extreme majority.
      Apr 16
    • Microsoft
      ToopyToo

      Microsoft

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      ToopyToomore
      @FBDrunk - I believe we are discussing marriage as a legal contract not as a religious construct (that’s immaterial to my underlying arguments). I don’t disagree ofcourse that there are unhappy marriages and I certainly don’t recommend staying in one. But we are asking a macro question here - what is the new construct that allows societies to function? What’s your proposed solution?
      Apr 16
    • Google
      tsukino

      Google

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      w
      tsukinomore
      OP
      Family and generational planning is more widely an economic-legal institution (especially in secular regions of Asia) than a religious one (sacred in the Abrahamic faiths)
      Apr 16
    • Bloomberg / Eng iVX372
      "That approach doesn’t scale beyond a point. We are very interconnected today and we travel/ migrate a lot."

      That's not a barrier to community-based child rearing. The communities would simply be more fluid and less permanent now than they were in the past.
      Apr 17
    • Microsoft
      ToopyToo

      Microsoft

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      ToopyToomore
      iVX372 - “community would just be more fluid”? Really? Don’t agree - people can’t be comfortable in fluid communities when their children are being raised by the community. Heck they are not comfortable now when we almost live private lives!! Things will get 100 times more rigid.
      Apr 17
    • Datometry / Eng LangEr
      I hate to break it to you but marrying out of “love” is pretty recent in overall scheme of things. Marriages are tools used to organize and sustain communities. That’s all.
      Apr 17
    • Bloomberg / Eng iVX372
      @ToopyToo You're assuming that what's true for you is true for everyone. Whether or not one is comfortable living and rearing children in open, fluid communities depends on one's degree of social openness, and the nature of one's social relationships.
      Apr 17
    • Microsoft
      ToopyToo

      Microsoft

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      Amazon
      ToopyToomore
      @iVX372 - sir, my assumptions are based on common sense understanding of human nature. I am a parent and I know a lot of parents. It seems you are the one making wild assumptions here. Anyway - I have nothing more to add here.
      Apr 17
    • Bloomberg / Eng iVX372
      @ToopyToo I've met people just like you, and people who are very much the opposite, in fluid communities as I described. What you see as a "common sense understanding of human nature" may reflect the majority of Americans, but definitely not all.
      Apr 17
  • Facebook / Eng PureWin
    We have nearly 8B humans on a planet increasingly unable to provide enough resources for all of us. Procreation is really unnecessary at this point.

    We’re already headed towards childless couples and singles becoming the new normal. So it’s just a matter of culture catching up.

    Regarding question #2, it’s simply not appropriate to harass someone about this topic in a professional environment. If someone does, it’s very much an issue that should be taken to HR.
    Apr 16 0
  • Microsoft
    tech.ladki

    Microsoft

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    Google
    tech.ladkimore
    My two cents
    1. The primary reason to have kids is so you're not old, sick and lonely. Especially true in cultures with strong bonds between parents and adult kids.
    People who don't want to marry and have kids usually haven't thought about slowly doing alone by themselves. That's probably why the OP is having trouble responding about their future life plans.

    2. If you have kids only because of social pressure, you are probably a spineless coward.
    Apr 16 21
    • Microsoft
      tech.ladki

      Microsoft

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      Google
      tech.ladkimore
      Yeah, I agree on that. Bedridden if you were born with those physical limitations or even as a result of physical trauma wouldn't be "sick"
      Apr 16
    • Google
      tsukino

      Google

      BIO
      w
      tsukinomore
      OP
      Either way, I think if you're able to afford proper elderly care and nursing, it's less of a burden to not regularly depend on family who may still be in the workforce and possibly live continents away; of course, the occasional visit could be customary depending on circumstances
      Apr 16
    • Datometry / Eng LangEr
      I am curious about the western point of view here. What is the motivation towards having children ? What larger goal does it serve ?
      Apr 17
    • Microsoft
      tech.ladki

      Microsoft

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      tech.ladkimore
      From @tsukino's comment it still serves roughly the same purpose: emotional support.
      But I'm afraid, for many people it is just a poorly thought decision.
      Apr 17
    • Google / Eng hooli.xyz
      For a lot of westerners, it is simply trying to leave a legacy. For others, having a family feels like the next, natural step towards a (hopefully) fullfilling life. And for the rest, a child is merely the result of a fun night.

      It’s kind of like the question, what is the meaning of life?
      Apr 17
    • Microsoft
      tech.ladki

      Microsoft

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      tech.ladkimore
      It really feels like the reasons you suggest like leaving a legacy, or a vague definition of fulfilling life are not strong enough to justify a 20 year longcommitment that will take away LOT of your time, energy, dreams, and money. Of course, just my personal opinion
      Apr 17
    • Datometry / Eng LangEr
      Exactly. Why do it at all? What’s so special about legacy ? Why does having a family ‘feel’ like the natural next step ?

      Ever wondered about why our dilemmas are still so very primal in a supposedly progressive world?
      Apr 17
    • Datometry / Eng LangEr
      Also, I do have an answer for the meaning of life. Very pragmatic and non spiritual/ religious answer. I’m just not sure if you are interested in it.
      Apr 17
    • Google / Eng hooli.xyz
      I’m confused. Why is legacy NOT special? That’s about as big as it gets for humans. Or do we have different definitions of legacy?

      As for life fulfillment, being vague is part of it because it can have a different meaning per person.

      Why do some people don the cloth?

      Why do some people dedicate their entire lives to a canvas knowing they’ll die peniless and alone?

      Why did Lewis & Clark purposely go beyond the frontier?

      I feel like Indians are looking at life with simply an eye towards ROI. Children are not just the combination of “time, years, energy, and money”. I dare say that’s bordering on philistine.
      Apr 17
    • Microsoft
      tech.ladki

      Microsoft

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      tech.ladkimore
      @hooli.xyz

      Personally, ROI need not be monetary but yes, to me a major factor in wanting to have kids is the opportunity cost of all that you can do with the time, money and energy.
      After all, you can't love your kids who aren't born yet. So why? Is a life raising kids more fun than retiring a decade early?

      Almost everyone has kid's and passes on their genes. Doesn't feel great or unique. I find adopting a kid (especially from a third world orphanage) more motivating considering the impact of totally transforming someone's life.

      It also feels more fulfilling to me to pursue personal interests, traveling the world or researching on genetics than having to lose all my personal freedom and bear all the nagging that come with kids.

      May be I just can't see wanting to raise a kid as a passion similar to wanting to climb the Everest, or painting.
      PS:
      I am not sure if most Indians look at children from an ROI perspective, never heard that from another Indian. Not saying Indians are not superficial, but that's another thing.
      I wonder if everyone having kids is doing it for the emotional support later in life, even if they don't consciously look at it from a ROI perspective
      Apr 17
  • Facebook
    Nevernude

    Facebook

    BIO
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    Nevernudemore
    People who want to get married should be able to, people who don't shouldn't be forced to.

    Live and let live
    Apr 16 0
  • Cisco chukrobbin
    We're really over populated. The world can afford for a lot of people to not have kids.
    Apr 16 0
  • Oracle not_larry
    Don’t get me started on unmarried and pregnant.
    Apr 16 0
  • Tektronix BazzokaGrl
    It's your life do what you want with it.
    Apr 16 0
  • Microsoft uyeI81
    I don't want kids & I don't want to marry either. I don't care about these social/religious norms too much, just do what feels right to me.
    I don't care about the gene pool & reproduction at all, rather proud to be able to have a choice and take myself out of this pointless game. The universe does not give a shit about a few more or less humans, we are all just parasites.
    Apr 16 11
    • Microsoft uyeI81
      Never make decisions based on your fears, rather go there...

      You misread, marrying & children are separate things.
      Apr 16
    • Microsoft
      tech.ladki

      Microsoft

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      tech.ladkimore
      I just wanted to say that if you don't have kids, you risk being old and alone in your sunset years.
      Apr 16
    • Microsoft uyeI81
      I won't let fears guide my life
      Apr 16
    • Microsoft
      tech.ladki

      Microsoft

      PRE
      Google
      tech.ladkimore
      Just curious, what do you think about saving heavily for rainy days inn the future?
      Apr 16
    • Microsoft uyeI81
      Admittetly I do have the advantage of living in a well developped country that forces me by law to take care of that, which also puts me in a position to say these things. I see my grandparents in their 90ies still doing well without much support. I do save money cause it gives me freedom in many ways even before I am old.

      I would never dare to be a burden to my kids and expect them to look out for me, even if I had them.

      You'll leave this planet on your own and you'll be in a space where you simply don't care. My guess is that once I am in a state not being capable to look out for myself and taking care of my social life properly, I'd decide to end it myself (or else it will end pretty quickly by itselfe...).
      Apr 16
    • Microsoft uyeI81
      In addtion, there is an increasing number of childless people, I can imagine living in a community of like minded folks that takes care of each other.
      Apr 16
    • Microsoft
      tech.ladki

      Microsoft

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      tech.ladkimore
      If you don't care about being alone, and that retirement homes would be good enough, then sure, it makes no sense to have kids.

      Personally, I'm afraid my old and debilitated days will suck if I'm all by myself. I don't see any other reason to have kids.
      Apr 16
    • Google
      tsukino

      Google

      BIO
      w
      tsukinomore
      OP
      You can always spend old age with spouse, siblings, cousins, friends, and neighbors
      Apr 16
    • Twitter juJJ15
      Ladki, what makes you think your kids will live in same city as you and take care of you? Are you in the same city you grew up in?
      Apr 16
    • Microsoft
      tech.ladki

      Microsoft

      PRE
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      tech.ladkimore
      There is no other reason to have kids. And it is extremely dumb to spend so much time and energy on raising kids when you could have done a lot more in your life.
      My parents have me for financial support just in case things goes beyond their means , and if they are really sick, I'd do whatever I can to provide emotional support.
      Apr 16
  • Microsoft
    tech.ladki

    Microsoft

    PRE
    Google
    tech.ladkimore
    For those who aren't having kids so you are not lonely in your old age, why do you even want to have kids?
    There's so much more you could do with the time, money and energy
    Apr 16 8
    • Oracle not_larry
      What? You think ABCD kids are going to stay with you? Good luck tech.ladki.
      Apr 16
    • Twitter juJJ15
      Seriously. Impossible in today’s world.
      Apr 16
    • Microsoft
      tech.ladki

      Microsoft

      PRE
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      tech.ladkimore
      I think having adult kids would be a lot better than being lonely and sick.
      But ignoring that reason, I think it is completely stupid to spend so much time money and energy on kids.
      Don't people really have anything better to do with their time and money?
      Apr 16
    • Microsoft
      tech.ladki

      Microsoft

      PRE
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      tech.ladkimore
      Why is it relevant 🤯
      Apr 16
    • Facebook blueriver
      I like kids a lot, and I think I’d like my own especially. Helping an awesome little person grow up and discover the world sounds great.
      Apr 17
    • Microsoft
      tech.ladki

      Microsoft

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      tech.ladkimore
      @FB
      Aren't you concerned about personal interests if any that may be impacted by the resources in raising kids? Like traveling the world, pursuing your passion like research or any other low TC career all become way more changing to do.

      you could have retired almost a decade earlywithout kids. Is it worth for you to work a decade longer just to help raise someone?
      Apr 17
    • Facebook blueriver
      Yeah it’s worth it to me.

      I think I will love them more than I loved anyone before and they will give additional meaning to my life. In addition to just being cute and interesting.

      There’s two decades where I’ll lose a lot of freedom but that’s okay. I have the rest of my life to make random trips whenever I want.

      We are actually saving very aggressively so that we can leave tech after we have kids and get less stressful jobs to spend more time with them.
      Apr 18
    • Facebook blueriver
      I will say that one part of this a biological urge for sure. Once I reached 20 kids went from obnoxious to cute to me and that makes a big difference. Before that I was in the “wow I should probably have kids so that I have a family when I’m old but it’s a huge sacrifice, ugh” boat. The same thing happened to my fiancé but later, like when he was 25
      Apr 18
  • You’re taking yourself out of the gene pool. Your choice
    Apr 16 3
    • Microsoft mdnd
      We are going through an inverse Darwinism.
      Apr 16
    • Google
      tsukino

      Google

      BIO
      w
      tsukinomore
      OP
      It seems more narcissistic to think that the loss of one's own set of genes among the billions out there would be a significant detriment to the human race on an evolutionary scale
      Apr 16
    • Microsoft mdnd
      It’s not one’s set of genes, but a sum of sets. the ones that are minimally capable of making the world a good place to live are deciding not to have kids. If I want to have kids, I will adopt a kid from my country..
      Apr 16
  • Datometry / Eng LangEr
    I want to share a perspective that has served me well over the years. Most things in our lives are not binary ( sorry techies ). There is no absolute good or bad, no black and white buckets of ethics. Everything is different shades of grey. The only constant thing is action and consequence. If you are ready to accept the consequences, go for it.
    Apr 17 2
    • Google
      tsukino

      Google

      BIO
      w
      tsukinomore
      OP
      This is Realpolitik.
      Apr 17
    • Datometry / Eng LangEr
      This philosophy predates Realpolitik by at least a few thousand years.
      Apr 17
  • Oracle kittyka
    Personal matter and lifestyle choice. This is 2019 for God's sake. One should be free to choose to lead the life they want. That said, people will ask you questions especially in an Indian society. Just be equipped to answer approximately.
    Apr 16 0
  • Facebook blueriver
    Do what you want. Your coworkers should not be asking persistently about this unless you keep bringing up the subject or evangelizing your view.
    Apr 16 0
  • It's a lifestyle choice, like many other varied lifestyle choices.

    People asking you about it at work are either socially clueless or just narrow minded fools. Same with people who have to immediately judge your choice and declare it a "bad choice".

    It's just like colleagues who keep suggesting you "must have another child", not knowing you want to but are unable.

    Practically, though, pay attention to your social circle and seek out people who truly appreciate you for who you are. Life is hard if your the only child free couple in a sea of parents. even the best of them cannot help but steer conversations to child rearing.

    You will be judged. All the bloody time. By random strangers. Get used to it.

    I am a parent.
    Apr 16 0
  • OpenTable Meliodas
    Why not ask your gay friends for advice?
    Apr 16 0
  • Microsoft mdnd
    I usually answer that we are in the era where we can decide our own path, and the old mentality is gone.
    Apr 16 0
  • New / Eng jpasserby
    What you want to do in your family life is your own business, and anyone decent at work will respect that and not really care. Your manager may ask about it to understand your family situation, and to help build rapport, but if anyone judges you or treats you differently based on your preferences, that's their problem.
    Apr 16 0
  • Salesforce namehere1
    What kind of backward shut is this?
    Apr 16 0

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