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Should I Stay Away From Single Moms?

Dear Philippa,

My buddies and me have been talking about whether or not we should date women with children. Most guys I know would rather date women without kids. I've dated some single moms but I think I prefer finding a woman without children to marry. What do you think?

�Terrie, Montpelier, VT

 

Dear Terrie,

I can relate, even though I preferred dating unencumbered men I still dated single dads, and yes it did seem those relationships took more work. On the other hand, two of the most satisfying relationships I have ever had were with men who were wonderful single fathers. And although I would have never thought that I would end up marrying a man with two teenage kids, I am so thankful that I saw past all my preconceived notions and gave a relationship with Robert, my husband, a chance.

I think when we disqualify any group of people we are doing them and ourselves a disservice. We all do it to some extent. Some people say they won't date bald men. Others avoid women with kids. Of course whom we choose to date or not date is our prerogative. But before you start setting such hard and fast rules, at least examine logically why you feel the way you do.

When I hear from people who say they don't like dating someone with kids, I ask them why. Is it because they don't like kids? No, most of us like kids and usually want to have our own someday. One of things that seems to be a concern is that the single mom or dad hasn't figured out how to balance their parenting and dating. The person without children feels like second best, always coming in after the kid; or complains that there just isn't enough time for the two of them without the kids around.

Let's face it, being a single parent in our society is one of the hardest roles around. Balancing work and home is tough enough without adding another component to the equation, namely a romantic life. Yet some people manage to do just that. Is it logical to expect that all single parents behave the same way? Of course it isn't. The issue you bring up isn't about whether to date women with or without children, the issue is about finding single moms who are better at balancing their lives.

Another thing that seems to worry men (and women) who date single parents is the implied responsibility of the child. What if the child doesn't like me? What if I don't like the child? What happens to my relationship with the child if this doesn't work out? And, am I ready to step up to the plate and be a father (or mother) if things get serious? Nobody can deny these questions have merit, but life doesn't hand out guarantees. If you had the choice between a great relationship with a woman who had a child and a good, but lesser relationship with woman with no children, and you know the one you choose would be the love of your life-which would you choose? The point is whether a person has kids or not, we don't know how its all going to play out. The more we open ourselves up to possibilities, the more options we have and the better chance we have at finding the love of our life.

There are positive signs to look for when you meet someone who is a single parent. One of the most important factors to focus on is their relationship with their ex spouse. A person who has had a nasty divorce and a lousy relationship with their ex is almost certain to have ongoing troubles, especially in a shared custody situation. At the very least it is preferable to date someone who works at having a reasonably agreeable relationship, even if it is just for the sake of the kids.

The next sign to look for is their attitude about balancing priorities. My husband won me over because he made it clear that while he loved his kids and was a great dad, his personal life was very important too. I always felt like a central part of his world. On the other hand, I have dated men whose children were clearly their whole life and I was just an enjoyable distraction.

No one can say that dating someone with kids, or having kids and dating is easy. But, guess what, life is not easy. Life is messy and tough. People don't come in perfect packages. Even the gorgeous, never married, no kids, great job woman that you think you want to meet is going to come with some kind of hidden challenges.

Think about the positive aspects of dating single parents. For one thing you'll know what kind of parent they are going to be before you get married and have kids of your own. Secondly, a single mom who is doing a good job raising her kid and providing a good life for them is a woman to be admired for her strength and courage. And a single parent learns to be less self-centered than those of us who can focus on just our selves.

Take it from someone who has learned so much through her relationship with her step kids. Be open to all life has to offer because you have no idea what incredible gift is waiting for you inside the package that you never thought you would open.

�Philippa

 

 

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