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20 people over 40 reveal their experiences of having family and kids or staying single

People over 40 share how their choices about family and kids have shaped the course of their lives.

20 people over 40 reveal their experiences of having family and kids or staying single
Representative Cover Image Source: Pexels | Matthais P; Reddit | u/affectionate_piranha

Everyone navigates life in their own way, setting goals and making plans to achieve them. For some, having a family and children is a major milestone; for others, the focus might be on solo living, starting a business, or traveling the world. Life goes on, with each person facing and overcoming their unique challenges. Ultimately, there is no single "right" way to live.

Representative Image Source: Pexels| Toa Heftiba Şinca
Representative Image Source: Pexels| Toa Heftiba Şinca

When u/chinesefox97 asked people over 40 without children to share their experiences and feelings about their lives, the response was overwhelming. The post read, "For those here that are over 40 and still single. No wife or husband and no kids. Do you guys regret it? Or ever wish you did have a family?" With over 3,000 comments, many shared their life choices and how these decisions have shaped their current lives.

1. Family and friends suffice

"If you'd asked me thirty years ago, I would have assumed I would find someone lovely to marry and have children with. As I hurtle toward 50, I'm just really grateful that I didn't reproduce during my childbearing years. Mostly, I'm a bit sad that I never did find the great human love of my life - a best friend to navigate life with - but I count my friends and my blessings." -u/TheLadyHelena

2. Personal choice

"I was just discussing this with a coworker. She is choosing to remain childless. When I was a teenager, all I heard from my Sicilian mother was, 'You'll make a great wife and mother someday.' I love my kids to death, but not having them wasn't a choice for me. So, as instructed, I got married right after high school and had babies. Of course, now divorced. I am so proud and thankful that the girls and women today consciously know they have a choice." -u/siwelnerak1979

3. The 'What if'

"I think as we grow older, there will always be a slight 'what if?' The only to way move forward is by making the most of our decisions and whatever life gave us." -u/james123ng "Yes, this! 40-year-old male a 4-year-old. I think about this a lot. All of my childless friends…all of the disposable income, free time, doing whatever they want. 'What if.'"-u/winniecooper73  "Yeah, there's also the downside: wondering who will take care of you and help you in old age." -u/Siena58341

4. A sure no-no

"Don't worry, not all of us who are childless are living some great, rich, cool life. About to be 37, no kids, still struggling to pay the bills and still haven't traveled the world and still not enjoying life." -u/yogurtCloset386 "Whenever I picture myself with a child, it always ends up in some kind of nightmare scenario because I know in my bones, I'm not parent material. I am so grateful I didn't give birth to some random kid and ruin my and their lives, and so happy to be childless." -u/Saturdaysun4

5. A 'yes' all the way

"My kids have kept me grounded and made me make more money. I have 2 kids, 15 and 2 and have traveled the world and worked my a$$ off. Kids or not kids, they aren't going to fix your life. You are. I do and always have done whatever I want." -u/i-changed-my-name "I'm a 60-year-old male with grown, successful children and when I think of what 'might have been' I shudder and immediately thank God for my family." -u/Dragonfruitknown4795
Representative Image Source: Pexels| ELEVATE
Representative Image Source: Pexels| ELEVATE

6. Things unplanned

"I adore my 30-year-olds, but my original plan was no marriage, no kids. Ended up still married 40 years in April." -u/princesspindy "My sister is a good mom. She has 3 adult children. A year ago, she finally blocked one of her children. He has been in jail off and on for years, is a racist and a flat earther. He can also be violent (not with her). She said she should have disowned him years ago. Her other 2 are professional and well balanced." -u/Earthggodss

7. A pet for the win 

"Cat Ladies take many forms. Part-time roles are as important as full-time ones!" -u/TheLadyHelena "I have with a cat and a tortoise. It's great to know there are more like me."-u/Baboobalou "We're out there - millions of us! It's just that we're usually trapped under a sleeping cat." -u/TheLadyHelena "Get a cat,it will change your life." -u/SweatyMushroom5830 "Not a cat mama, but I’m on a look out for another dog to be a dog mama again." -u/TinyGur4356

8. Marriages aren't easy

"Most people don’t find the perfect one. Marriages are very rarely great." -u/fragtore "If I look at all my friends, how many couples look truly happy? That kind who love each other through thick and thin and kids? One or two, a handful at best, out of hundreds of couples. Being alone (if able to be happy with it) and/or more loosely tied to somebody is a lifestyle more should try." -u/fragtore

9. Love and effort above everything else 

"A lot of friends and acquaintances in seemingly happy relationships have privately confided in me that things at home were very different from their rosy public appearances. Sometimes it was just as simple as confessing that they just weren’t in love with their partners anymore, if they ever were." -u/LaScoundrelle "I think most married people feel overall content, with both ups and downs, including in how they feel about their partner. But to be fair, I think most single people have ups and downs as well." -u/digdugdogdun
Representative Image Source: Pexels| Andre Furtado
Representative Image Source: Pexels| Andre Furtado

10. A little bit of everything

"I think it goes in stages. My parents fell more in love once the kids grew up. They are always doing things together. My husband and I are deeply in love but are busy and most of our time and mental energy is taken up by kids and work." -u/AfterLeopard "I think people put too much pressure on each other and consciously define what their relationships should be instead of letting it be as it wants to be. Relationships don’t need to be forced. If you force them, you end up marking them with an expiry date." -u/Claphish

11. Taking time 

"We didn't put a lot of pressure on ourselves and didn't even put any real expectations on our relationship. We just took the time to enjoy life together, which resulted in us taking our time. It's been almost 25 years now and we're doing well. We have had and still have lots of life challenges: our families have lots of quarks, our daughter is extremely unique, work too, and even health, but that's just part of what life throws. We make it work and continue." -u/clayphish

12. Boundaries first

"Another lesson is that you don't have to tolerate anything you don't want in your life. The level of bullshit married women put up with to 'make it work' is simply inconceivable to me. I honestly don't see the point because their partners rarely provide them with emotional support, the only reason I would even consider having a partner." -u/necromancerskatie "If you're never going to 'tolerate anything you don't want,' you're also guaranteed to miss out. Some are willing to take that chance, others aren't. Just choices, I guess." -u/Rich-Environment334

13. Self-love and priorities

"I would ask myself, 'Would I want to see a copy of this douche nozzle walking around?' The answer was always no. I never particularly wanted children, and pregnancy was terrifying to me. I'm not sad that I never found a partner. In the same way, I'm not sad that I don't have a flying carpet. The women around me who have partners tolerate so much bullshit to be able to stay with their partners, something I love myself too much to subject myself through." -u/necromancerskatie

14. Not necessarily a benefit to choose

"I'm a gay guy, mid-fifties, single. I had a good career and a nice life so far, but if I'm honest - I think I would have enjoyed being a father. I enjoy my freedom, but there is a sadness attached to the fact that once I’m gone, that’s it in terms of my gene existence. It doesn’t matter if I would have liked a different life, the universe didn’t deal me the cards that would have had past me making different choices." -u/Professional_Ruin953

15. Finding delight in oneself

"I’m still open to a romantic relationship, but I’m doubtful I would ever live with someone. Having spent most of my adult life dealing with my parents’ health issues, plus an undiagnosed disability of my own, this is my time now. Lots of my friends have kids and grandkids, and I couldn’t handle the stress of it all, I’ve done all that for my parents, lol! Very happy - delighted even - I didn’t have kids." -u/upstairsinternal295
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Oleksandr P
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Oleksandr P

16. Past experiences

"I didn't realize that I had bad parents until I had a girlfriend who was actually a good mother. Sometimes, I'd say something about my childhood and her eyes would get wide or she'd cover her mouth and I wasn't even thinking about it being bad. Then I'd think of it from an outside perspective and not my normal family stuff and yeah, it seemed not great. A long line of alcoholics, neglect and/or abuse. Probably better not to contribute my gene pool to the world." -u/i_amKrogan

17. More to life than kids 

"I don't regret not having kids and honestly never wanted them. Funny thing is as soon as I became interested in girls, my goal was to find someone to have something long term with. I never cared for the 'game.' I wanted a real relationship. Sad that I never found someone to share my life and adventures with, but glad I don't have kids preventing me from having those adventures!" -u/xghul0x

18. There's still time

"I think it's very mature of you to admit to yourself that you probably wouldn't make a great mother. I generally don't think everyone needs to have kids to have a fulfilling life and even if you do decide to change your mind one day, you could always opt for adoption. Don't give up on finding the right person for you though! I don't know what you've been through in your life, but it's never to late to find love." -u/Top_unit6526

19. Just a beginning

"At 49, I find most women to be interesting and deeper. I like getting to know who they wanted to be and who they are now. 49 is far from over. At 49, you've had a few writers in your life, but none with the mastery of the subject of who you were meant to be. That's the task I take when meeting new people. I get to know the shoes they're walking in while thinking of who they were 30 years ago." -u/affectionate_piranha

20.  Learning with humbling experiences

"My mental health (or lack thereof) never allowed me to keep a job or relationship for very long in my 20s. Every day was a struggle until I found the right help and meds in my mid-30s. I don’t regret anything as I’ve always had a great work ethic and discipline and achieved in school and university, designations, etc. My mental health would cancel everything though, eventually - the great equalizer. Life, to a very large part, is luck and upon realizing this, it has humbled me greatly and made me content." -u/Efficienttruck9696
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Nina Uhlikova
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Nina Uhlikova

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