Move aside, marriage: Lifelong, loving commitment is out, and co-parenting is in. A growing number of older adults are turning to subscription-based services, such as PollenTree.com, to find a co-parent — that is, someone who will help raise a child without any romantic strings attached.
Its a controversial approach to creating a family, and there are people who balk at it, but the idealized version of a man and woman falling in love is shortsighted, said Janice Andersen, a 38-year-old mother who used PollenTree to find her platonic partner. The old when a man and a woman love each other very much story of family formation is too archaic for tastemakers and web developers today.
The two-parent nuclear family is a thing of the past, they say. After all, about one-third of U.S. children 18 years old or younger are living with a single, unmarried adult, according to a 2018 study by the Pew Research Center. Add to this the fact that most millennials wait until later in life to settle down, get married, and start a family.
So much the better, the avant-garde say. The nuclear family is outdated and repressive. Single-parent adoption is increasingly common. But thats not what Anderson wanted for her child, who she knew would need an active father even if she didnt want a busy husband. Sometimes, the alarm on that biological clock starts ringing in the absence of wedding bells.
Women make up the majority of co-parenting seekers, according to Patrick Harrison, co-founder of PollenTree. Co-parenting is what would happen if a social scientist tried to reverse-engineer a happy family. Two parents provide flexibility and twice as much time and energy. That whole love thing gets tossed out, though.
The idea here is that parents can jointly give themselves to children without entirely giving themselves to one another as well. Nature doesnt quite work that way. Its hard to separate family from love. Andersen discovered this shortly after meeting her co-parent, Stephen DuVal. The two didnt expect a romantic relationship, but now, theyre in love and soon to be married — with a daughter on the way.
. When youre talking about the next 20 years of your life, you start to understand the person better, and you just show them what you really value, DuVal said. Im a romantic at heart. ..