Dating a Man Who Doesn't Want Children or Marriage

BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images

There’s nothing wrong with dating someone who doesn’t want marriage or children. That is, unless you do -- and you’d like both with him. Before you ask what your man can do for you, you should take a good look in the mirror to answer questions about what you are looking for in a relationship and how your current man may -- or may not -- fit the bill.

Marriage or You

Before you label your guy “not the marrying kind,” you should honestly assess yourself and your relationship. Many women break off ties with guys who swear they’ll never get married only to find that they eventually do -- just to someone else. Have the tough conversation now and find out whether he’s anti-marriage or just anti-marriage to you. If he’s just not ready, you have to make a decision on whether to wait him out. Therapist Sherry Amatenstein notes in a May 2011 article for "iVillage" that “men have their own biological clocks” and warns that “there’s nothing you can do to speed up the process.”


Just because he doesn’t want marriage doesn’t mean he doesn’t want you. He may be perfectly willing to commit to a monogamous relationship with you, as long as it doesn’t require the piece of paper and big-time ceremony. In fact, according to a June 2011 PEW Research Center article, the number of cohabitating unmarried couples in the 30- to 44-year-old age range has more than doubled since the mid-1990s. Even if he won’t promise you marriage, maybe he's still willing to promise you forever.


If you want kids and he doesn’t, your relationship may indeed be doomed. Going into the relationship believing you will change his mind is a bad idea, particularly if he already has children from a previous marriage. Sometimes no really does mean no. On the other hand, therapist Joann Paley Galst suggests in "Ladies' Home Journal" that sometimes no just means not now. She says that rather than trying to convince your man that he really wants children, you should try to understand why he thinks he does not. But as forthcoming as you want him to be, you may need to be doubly so. You need to be honest with him about just how important children are to you. If you can’t see a future without children, then you may need to be willing to see a future without him.

Living in the Moment

Not all dating is the prelude to marriage. Instead, it can be about spending time with someone you find interesting, sharing common interests and having some fun. Casual dating is a great way to meet and interact with different people, and yes, it can be a search for marriageable men. However, if you’re dating someone who isn’t interested in anything long term, you probably need to broaden your dating circle. Playing the field allows you to see exactly who is out there. Just because the guy you’re dating now doesn’t want marriage and kids doesn’t mean the next knock on your door won’t lead there.