Ask Kate Bolick Anything: Our Discomfort With Being Unmarried

by Chas Danner

In today’s video from Kate, she responds to the idea that not getting married is some kind of personal failure:

Kate is currently working on her first book, Among the Suitors: On Being a Woman, Alone, to be published next year by Crown/Random House. She is also a contributing editor for The Atlantic and writes regularly for ElleThe New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Slate. Her 2011 Atlantic cover story, “All the Single Ladies”, addressed why more and more women are choosing, as she has, not to get married. The Dish debated the piece here and here. A reader quotes another on Kate’s latest video:

In my experience, Bolick is completely wrong.  The idea that friends will fill in the gaps where a spouse or family used to be is nonsense. … I am also not married, but I’m terrified about what will happen to me later in life without children to look after me.

As a middle-aged man who is married, but child-free by choice, I will say that this is an oft-discussed topic amongst the child-free. One of the comments we get most when people learn we have chosen to be child-free is “Who will look after you in your old age?” However, just ask any home healthcare worker or nursing home employee about how much familial involvement they see for those they look after and you’ll find it’s exceedingly low. There is no guarantee that your children will have the time, proximity or even inclination to provide any assistance in your old age. Having a spouse and/or children primarily as a hedge against late-life health woes seems like a pretty poor reason for getting married or having kids in the here-and-now.

Kate’s first two videos are here and here. “Ask Anything” archive here.