8 Ordinary People Answer the Question, "Will Child-Free People Get Lonely In Old Age?"

Family & kids
month ago

In a candid exploration of the intricacies of aging without children, eight individuals from various walks of life offer their insights and personal reflections on the question, «Will child-free people get lonely in old age?» Each story paints a unique picture, challenging stereotypes and shedding light on the complexities of human connection and fulfillment.

  • Let me tell you a story. I have two sons. I love my boys more than anything. I have spent the last 20 or so years living my life around theirs.
    On his 18th birthday, my older son talked to me on my way to bed. We laughed about some videos he’d been watching. Very normal chat. When my other son woke me a couple of hours later, my older son was gone, and I have not spoken to him since. It’s been six months.
    He’s alive and well and living in another state with some strangers. You probably think I’m leaving out the violence or something. Nope. He just left. We got along great. No explanation, other than a short note that he wanted more independence.
    My point is that, maybe, if you’re really lucky, your kids will be there for you at the end. It’s the luck of the draw. If you’re having kids for any reason other than the experience of raising children, you’re fooling yourself. They’re not an investment. They’re an experience.
    I’d say focus on building friendships with people who will stick with you. Build a social life. If you want kids because they’ll «have to take care of you when you’re old» save yourself a LOT of expense and hassle and make some good friends instead. It’s a better bet. Bradley Todd / Quora
  • I have three children. Yet, I find myself lonely in older age. Because I did a good job. My kids learned how to be independent and live their own lives, going after their destiny, and making their dreams come true. I see them rarely, yet they have expressed their appreciation of my maternal care.
    But they are on to their own things. They are free people, and happy. That makes me happy. Having kids is no guarantee against being lonely in old age. You do it to give, not to receive. Leah / Quora
  • I have kids and I get lonely every so often. My kids went to the best schools, had a college fund, and both were gifted a car upon graduation from college. As they grew up, I took them camping and taught them to fish, hunt, and survive.
    My kids don’t call, write or visit. I see my grandkids once or twice a year. You can sacrifice 100% for your kids, and still be alone in old age. No worries. I stay busy. Bee Leland / Quora
  • I had an unmarried aunt, lived to be 94. She never married and, to hear my dad talk about it, she was never even interested. Not that she was a lesbian either, she just preferred her own company. I think the problem is the opposite.
    In my wife’s case, once the kids were out of the house, she suddenly found herself lost. Once the kids were gone, they rarely come back unless it’s a birthday or something. If one came by to pick up something they’d left behind, she’d rush to the door: «Can I get you something to eat?» and before they could even answer, she was in the kitchen making something. Short answer? No.
    Child-free people have made that adjustment long before. I think it’s the ones with children who get lonely, especially once the kids stop coming back. Patrick Young / Quora
  • I can only speak for my wife and myself. We are blissfully «child-free» in our 60s. At the peak of our careers with no plans to retire. Doted on by the nieces/nephews we want to be doted on by. Frequent visits.
    And we anticipate domestic robots with AI chatbots in the next 15 years to allow us to «age in place» and to provide hospital assistance if needed. So it all works for us, but everyone is different. We never developed the «normal» kind of life that people with kids have.
    Weekends and holidays have little meaning, no real dinner hour, etc. We do our own thing, and connect for «date night» every night at 8 or so to stream something we both want to see. More like grad students who never changed the routine, meeting after the library. Our lives are VERY different than our friends with kids, and it is a life we adore and would NEVER change. Michael Feder / Quora
  • When your kids become teenagers, you start to get a glimpse of what the future potentially holds. As teens, with school, jobs and a social life, you rarely see much of them anymore. It’s kind of a good indication of what you can expect when they’re off in the world, married with a family of their own. [...]
    I recently spoke to one neighbor lady who last saw her son five years ago, and she doubts she’ll ever see him again. He moved to America to get married, but she’s too frail to visit him there, and he can’t afford to visit her here. I felt so sad for her, and anxious for myself too. Feef / Quora
  • I have no children. I have no family. I have two close friends left, but they live far away. The rest are scattered around the U.S., so e-mail is how we keep close. Yes, it is lonely on holidays like Thanksgiving, Easter and Christmas Eve. The rest I can deal with.
    I wish I had someone close to talk with and share more things with me or just «to be there» but it is not the case. I have learned to be happy with my own «doings» on a daily basis and have always been surrounded by a pet or pets. I will be 87 and have resigned myself to this loneliness. It is lonely, but what can I do. I make sure my days are filled with life and activities — even if I am alone. Elgrit B. Russell / Quora
  • I am in my seventies and child-free. Many, many years ago, when I was attempting to make a decision about bearing children, I went around having talks with my women friends who had children. I queried them about what their lives were like. After those conversations, it seemed to me that it was, indeed, possible to have a good and interesting life and also have children.
    However, as chance would have it, my marital situation turned out to make that choice impossible for me. And I have had quite a long and interesting and childless life. So far, so good.
    But I remember the words of one of my female friends, who said, «Michelle, you are seeking to avoid regret. And it is certain that if you don’t have children, you will have regrets. However, I have two wonderful daughters, and I can assure you that my list of regrets will be far longer than yours when we are old. Because you will get to do many more things in your life because you don’t have children, than I will because I do.»
    She and I are both much older now, and we talk frequently. Her life differs from mine. She has much more family. I have friends and I travel and I write. I have never felt loneliness in my entire life. I am far too busy.
    Do I wish I had had children? That’s like wishing I was tall. Sometimes I do, but I’m not. Those are fantasy thoughts, so I give them no attention. I focus on the blessings I have, which are abundant. And I’m certainly not lonely. Michelle Gaugy / Quora

In a household where chores seemed routine, one woman’s decision to defy her husband’s odd request not to clean the fridge in his absence unravels a chilling revelation. What could possibly lurk behind such an innocuous demand?

Preview photo credit Michelle Gaugy / Quora


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