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What are DINKs and why do these couples choose a child-free lifestyle?

By JUSTINE PUNZALAN Published Feb 23, 2024 9:48 pm

Talk about the ideal life and for some people, that would be landing a high-paying job, marrying the love of their life, and raising a family together. Some, however, deem it more fulfilling to get married and go child-free.

While frowned upon by conservatives, the latter has been the preferred lifestyle of many couples nowadays. Take it from a 2023 study conducted by the Commission on Population Development (POPCOM) among Filipinos last year.

POPCOM executive director Lisa Grace Bersales explained to OneNews that more Filipinos are opting to postpone both marriage and having children “from the previous 25 years old to 28 years” because they would rather focus on building their careers.

Despite the growing popularity of having a child-free lifestyle among couples, many husbands and wives continue to be treated with scorn and ridicule by society, especially online.

Just last Thursday, Feb. 22, a Pinoy social media user went viral for his post against DINKs (couples with dual income but no kids) who “romanticize” their chosen lifestyle.

“I saw this video where a couple is basically romanticizing the idea that they’re DINKs but treat their kittens and/or dogs as their own babies and then refer to themselves as ‘fur parents,’” user Jacques Claravall wrote.

He continued, “To that, we (Christians) say, Be fruitful and multiply, make your own babies, leave a legacy, and create human beings that have eternal souls with their own unique characteristics as people made in the image of God. Stop roleplaying to be a family; be one.”

The post, which has earned 56,000 reactions and 23,000 shares as of writing, drew flak from other social media users who were mostly demanding the poster to “mind his own business.”

“I understand the perspective of some Christians such as yourself about this, but it’s also a nice idea to respect the idea that some people do not want or cannot have their own babies, but are fine with having fur babies,” one user wrote on the comments section of the post.

“Ano bang pakialam mo?” one user chided. “LMAO they can start off their own family naman anytime kapag ready na sila. Pati ba naman ganitong bagay masyadong big deal sayo.”

Another one wrote, “I think it’s better to have kids if you actually want them, not because it’s your purpose…”

What are DINKs?

Each couple has their reason to go child-free, but all those who prefer to postpone or let go of the idea of having their own children are all categorized as "DINK" or dual income, with no kids.

They are the opposite of DEWKs—or couples with double income, living with kids—and, according to Investopedia, can be categorized into four types: those who deliberately choose not to have children, those who cannot have children for biological reasons, new couples who don’t have kids yet, and empty nesters or couples with adult children who have all moved out of the house.

Because all these couples currently do not live with kids, they get to enjoy non-necessary expenses without having to worry about the cost of feeding, clothing, or educating a child.

According to New York-based investment firm Brown Brothers Harriman, DINKs can also cut costs on living space, as they do not need to look for houses with additional bedrooms or playrooms for children.

As compared to singles, DINKs can also save more money because the couples share goods and services not only during their everyday lives but also when traveling.

Despite that, DINKs, according to the investment firm, are not necessarily rich as their income can still limit how much and how often they can spend for their needs and wants.

Why do DINKs choose to be child-free?

For Manisa and Vincent Cruz, the priority is to make the most out of their lives as individuals and as a couple rather than taking on the demanding tasks of parenthood.

Manisa explained to PhilSTAR L!fe, “It's not our top priority right now, especially with our lifestyle. We want to make sure our individual goals and aspirations are met and achieved before deciding on adding another human being to this world.”

“We both love kids but just the thought of being a parent is kind of overwhelming,” the 27-year-old continued, noting that she didn’t want to give in to the pressure that women face about having children.

“We don't want to rush into things just because the fear of missing out has kicked in,” she added.

Vincent echoed his wife’s sentiment by saying, “We want to enjoy things we didn't get to do when we were kids and still savor the moments as just us two.”

Manisa and Vincent Cruz with their fur babies

When it comes to the ongoing debate on social media, the couple said they are unbothered by the stigma that the primary purpose of marriage is to procreate.

“It’s not a law and it’s not illegal to be childless,” Manisa said. “Procreation can be done by many but stepping up and fulfilling that responsibility of being a parent matters more because it's a lifelong commitment. A family can just be two people being content with having each other. The idea of ‘family’ shouldn't be constrictive because we all have our own ideologies and perceptions of it.”

Manisa and Vincent instead found a family both in themselves and their two dogs they consider their babies.

They are our babies and we spoil them because there's no better feeling in the world than that. It's a forever kind of love,” Manisa concluded.

Like Manisa and Vincent, couple Elaine and Hubert Lim have opted out of having kids from their marriage checklist to focus on their careers.

“There are a lot of factors that played in our decision to be child-free,” Elaine began. "We are both career-driven individuals who placed ‘having kids’ at the bottom of our list (or not even on the list)."

Besides that, the couple said they are not keen on raising a child in a “poverty-stricken country.”

Hubert explained, “The triggering problem nowadays is a lot of people just want to do the deed, have babies even if they do not have the ability to provide a decent living situation to their children—such an unfortunate, selfish, and unfair thing to the children, which I find more harmful than opting out from having kids.”

Hubert and Elaine Lim

This decision not to have kids is one that that both Elaine and Hubert have made even before they started dating each other.

“We laid our cards on our first date,” Elaine recalled. “So we basically got lucky that we share the same vision.”

The vision, the 28-year-old said, is not to bear a child who will later “be subjected to an environment filled with crime, illness, corruption, you name it.”

Elaine also stressed that procreating “is not the measure of being a good Christian.”

“A lot of people should not blindly follow the norm It takes a lot of introspection and self-love and discipline before considering to procreate, so future parents can foster a better living situation for their children, provide a healthy and safe space for them,” she said.

On the other hand, there are also couples like Trixie and Nelson Salazar who dream of raising their own family but are choosing not to until they are both prepared for the responsibilities ahead.

Trizxie and Nelson Salazar with their fur babies

Trixie explained, “We have decided not to bring children into the world until we are ready. We are very busy in our careers to the point where we don’t have enough time to spend quality time together.”

It was a decision that both Trixie and Nelson made early into their relationship because they “understand the great responsibility of parenting.”

“If we are not ready for it, we wouldn’t bear a child into this world,” the 35-year-old added.

When it comes to the common misconception that pet owners consider their pooches as replacements for babies, the fur mom has this to say: “As a fur parent of five, we do not confuse having fur children as having human children. We feel like having fur children is the best for us and we treat them like babies, but not as a replacement for human children the way other people get it twisted.”