Straight From His Mouth: Should Men Without Kids Avoid Dating Single Mothers?

May 13, 2013 ‐ By WisdomIsMisery
Source: Shutterstock

Source: Shutterstock

After sharing a guest-post on step-parenting from the step-child’s point of view, one commenter asked an interesting question: “Should a man with no kids be hesitant to date a woman with kids?” First, whether a man has children of his own or not, there is nothing wrong with preferring to date women without children. We are all free to make up whatever dating preferences we want. They are called personal preferences for a reason and we don’t need the approval of anyone else when it comes to what we like. However, there are a few things childless men should keep in mind when deciding whether they are ready to date a woman with a child, or children. Women, would you agree on the following?

Figure out if you like or want kids BEFORE dating a woman with children.

When you are single and looking to mingle, you generally will not hurt anyone if you start dating “just to see where things go.” Plenty of men do this all the time. But when deciding to date a woman with a child, you should be clear about your expectations for the relationship upfront with yourself and her. In other words, if you’re still in the “dating just to date” phase of your life, involving a woman with a child is probably not the type of relationship you should engage in because your actions will more than likely impact the lives of two people — the woman and the child. While the age of the child plays a factor, if you’re not looking for anything serious, you shouldn’t play the “I’ll figure it out” game with a ready-made family.

Further, if you’re not a kid person or don’t want kids, you should not date a woman with kids to see if you’ll change your mind. This is not a video game that you can turn off when you decide you do not like how the game is playing out. That is a personal decision you should figure out long before you involve a woman and her child in your life. Save the games for the rest of the single people in the world who do not have the responsibility of looking out for the emotional well-being of themselves and their child.

Do you want kids of your own?

I’m always surprised at how few people discuss this topic upfront. Some women with children do not want any more kids, and this is an awkward conversation to have after you have already exchanged “I love yous” or “I dos.” If you want one or two kids and she already has one or two kids, this is a conversation you should have sooner rather than later. In addition, if you do not want any (biological) kids of your own, do not assume that just because she has one or more child from a previous relationship that she does not want anymore with you.

You are not in first place.

As a continuation of the above point, one of the hardest changes for many single men who decide to date a woman with a child is realizing they are not in first place. In general, the needs of the children come first. This is a hard adjustment for many men to make because when you’re single and don’t have any kids, you can be as selfish as you want. People with children are used to (hopefully) putting the needs of their children before their own. I have friends who have gotten upset because a woman they are dating has to drop everything for their child. This makes not one iota of sense. A woman should not be placed in a position to choose between the child she loves and the man she likes. If you don’t understand that, then you aren’t ready for this type of relationship and it is best if you do not bother wasting her time or yours.

How is the relationship with her baby’s father?

I’ve written on whether you need the baby’s father approval before  — and for the record, no you do not. But while the relationship with the father of the woman’s child should not dictate your relationship, their relationship –- whether good or bad –- will play a role in your lives. It’s important to know what you are getting yourself into. Before your relationship gets serious, you should know what role, if any, the baby’s father has in the child’s life, and what type of relationship the two parents have with one another. Contrary to popular belief — and Lifetime movies — not every woman with a child is looking for a second parent if the biological parent is actively involved in the child’s life and doing a good, low-drama job of co-parenting. An honest conversation about this should minimize the chances of you making a surprise cameo on a VH1 reality show.

What do you think? Should a man without kids hesitate to date a woman with kids?  If you are a step parent or single mother, what advice would you offer a man to know if he is ready to date a woman with kids from a previous relationship?

WisdomIsMisery, aka WIM, uses his background as an internal auditor to provide objective, yet opinionated, qualitative and quantitative analysis on life, love, and everything in between. WIM is not a model, a model citizen, or a role model. See more of WIM on his weekly write-ups for SBM, on Twitter @WisdomIsMisery, and Instagram: WisdomIsMisery.

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  • IMOLady

    Unfortunately its not the woman or man your dating that is the problem. Its the parent of the children that can be a huge factor. If your in a good place in your life and your lucky enough to find a person with children that doesnt come with drama, I say go for it. If not, find the nearest exit and RUN!! Aint nobody got time for that…

    • DarthW

      They all come with drama. Just run all the time.

  • Darthw

    If you’re a childless male OF ANY AGE considering dating a single mom (or if you’re a childless woman considering dating a single dad) I would suggest you stay single, or find a woman with no children. Of the dozens of relationships I’ve witnessed among my male friends over the years, only one has married a single mom (of one kid) that worked – and they are both great people and happily married – while the rest have failed. I’ve dated a few single moms until I finally wised up.
    Single parents tend to bring a ton more baggage to a relationship, and I don’t just mean the children. There’s generally more likelihood of debt, drama, bad boundaries with a crappy ex, and split loyalties all over the map. Often I’ve been accused of knowing nothing about children, so any ideas I have about the kids are dismissed at will (I’ve been a kid before, so I do have some ideas about what a kid needs.) However, single moms sure don’t mind dipping into your wallet to pay for that bigger house, those groceries, put the kids on your insurance, etc….but once you’re stepdad you better keep your mouth shut. The single moms also love it that you don’t have kids, so their little team (in which you are an outsider as stepparent) will always have the upper hand, and no other children to upset the balance. As step you will ALWAYS been third, fourth, or further behind in priority (even behind the ex spouse), but you sure better make her and her kids #1 priority or “YOU DON’T LOVE US!!” I know a half-dozen older stepdads whose stepkids are in their 30s and still living at home because mommy doesn’t know how to make her kids independent, and stepdad just keeps his hole shut under threat of divorce.
    Look around the internet forums. Seek out forums where stepparents are posting message about how great step-parenting is, or how marrying a single mom was the best thing they’ve ever done. You will find very few forums where step-parents have anything positive to say. You will find tons of forums full of resentment, anger, and frustration where stepparents have had enough.
    It’s much better to stay single that get with a single mom long term. If you can’t fight the urge, date ‘em, and once the drama gets old, move on to something more fun. DON’T EVER MARRY A SINGLE MOM!

    • John

      “Long term”

      Don’t even go there short-term.

      • DarthW

        Well, maybe one or two nights if their hot.

  • Bunny Ramsey

    This is the first article I’ve come across that speaks the truth. Most promote it and say its healthy. However I disagree. I will say I was always open to an already made family because if you care for that person you should be able to accept their life, and whatever else comes into play.

    However after personal experience of always hearing how my child comes first by men. Which I understand to a point. I got tired of that, because I felt I shouldn’t have to meet his demands and wants first and mine are secondary or even in third or last place. Now I did have an encounter with one guy who had a son. His son (who was one at the time) hated me. Would even hit me and throw toys at me and be down right evil!! But what made it worse the baby’s mother not only played an active roll she was always present. Not on a co-parenting type of role. She acted as if she and the baby father were still together. She left her stuff at his house and always showed up when I was alone with him. She even went so far to go through my purse and have their son do it too. She was just as horrible to me and would even have the father leave me in a room so they can have a “private” conversation. It was dreadful. Due to that I refuse to date or even consider a man with even one kid.

    I honestly get offended when a man with children approaches me expecting to date, hook up or whatever because I don’t understand why you expect a single person to be commuted knowing you have responsibilities else where. Depending on how the children and their mother feel makes it worse. But I do think this needs to be considered. If you don’t like kids, don’t want any of your own (ever or yet) or don’t want to compete for affection. It definitely needs to be left alone. But I’ve also noticed people with kids push to have a relationship with a single person and expect them to accept the “parental responsibility” and I don’t think that’s fair. You can’t make someone do something they don’t feel comfortable doing or may not want to do. And taking care of someone else’s child(ren) is definitely a challenge.

    • DarthW

      Bunny, your experience is like so many others. I think after 20 years of an ever-increasing population of single parents, those of us without children who are single have been waking up to the mess that single parents bring to relationships with one another, and those of us who are childless and single. We are told we’re selfish and heartless because we don’t want to raise someone else’s child, when none of it is that simple.
      Single parents selfishly seek to meet their needs and the needs of their children at the expense of the someone whom is childless. I have had single moms tell me they purposely seek out childless guys because it’s easier to date someone without children, and marrying them would easier. No doubt! Meanwhile they didn’t mind sitting back while I folded their kids laundry, cooked their kids meals, washed their kids dishes, paid for EVERYTHING we did, all trying to help single mom out. The single moms meanwhile wouldn’t keep the ex at bay, even though they were unemployed clods who were way behind in child support. Mommy wouldn’t bother to confront their ex about the child support, or why he keeps texting that he “loves her”, or “just stops by to visit” since she thought she had a new potential step dad to take over all that work.
      In time I wised up. I realized that although I like kids, and cared about theirs, that single moms were just gonna use me up, and I’d get nothing in return.
      Yeah there are childless men and women out there who are crappy too, but you don’t have the potential for split loyalties, undisciplined kids with whom you have no authority, debt, drama, and more crap when you try to date other childless singles.
      Stay wise. More singles are wising up.

  • MystiKasT

    I’m a 24 year old professional and I recently started dating a woman who has a kid; I have none. I’ve thought long and hard about it and unfortunetely have decided I cannot raise someone else’s kid. It is a shame because she is an amazingly wonderful girl who I would love to settle down with, however, as much as I’ve wrestled with it, I cannot bring myself to raise someone else’s child. Now I awkwardly have to break up with her. To anyone else: do not put yourself in this position.

    • DarthW


    • omgwat

      I did the mistake… And it’s really a big decision because I want to be with her… but I cannot see my future with her daughter… she is soo whiny and bossy. Even after 8 months, she just look at me and never answers me.

      I love my GF, but I start to have confused feelings. I love her, but I don’t at the same time…. I’m always number 2. I hardly can have a conversation with my GF, because her daughter always interrupts (she is 4.). Whenever I try to bond with her child, playing with her, watch a movie… she will be happy because we doing something she likes, but the rest of the time… she just doesn’t speak to me, or sometimes she answers me in a rude way :(

      I just cannot seem to have the courage to tell my GF “It’s over”… Idk :S

      • DarthW

        omgwat if you want to date her, keep doing so while it works for you. DON’T ever marry her though. I understand the confused feelings. Been there, done that. It took me a long time to get over it, but I did. I’m better for the experience, but won’t ever date a single mom again.

  • Realist

    avoid like a rat infested with the black plague

  • Spencer.

    I dated a single mum for about 8 months, I asked all the necessary questions i needed to ask,Her relationship with her ex (omg-he’s useless), are you ready to move on (i cant wait, i have taken this for years, time to move on) are you sure (100% sure) For one thing, I loved her to bits and loved her son too. I accepted the whole package. Believe me, We were awesome and in perfect sync. We were engaged to be married. Out of the blue, She said baby daddy is back and wants to make things work and that they have been off and on for years- “Baby-Mama” Negro please, That’s a no go area.

    • DarthW

      Spencer, what you experienced happens all the time. Never trust a single mom with her ex. My last gf was a single mom, and her ex would push boundaries, and she’d just sit back and never confront him. He’d text her he loved her, and she’d just keep quiet (although the next day he might text her and call her every name in the book.) He was jobless, stole from her and the kids’ (piggy banks, believe you me) and cheated on her a half-dozen times. One day she was concerned he might have gotten into a wreck and mentioned to me about it, and couldn’t hold back the tears. That was one of my first signs she wasn’t done with him, even though they’d been divorced for a year, and separated for more. Then, I watched him call her, text her, email her, all things in the interest of being “friends”, and how he “still loved her”, but he didn’t love her enough to pay any child support, or work a job. Well, after a few months I left her so she could feel free to go back to him. He’s got another sugar mama now, so I don’t think she’s gotten much but maybe a few hops in the sack. Meanwhile, he didn’t pay his lease for a business he was running, and he signed the lease using an company they had when they were married but was legally dissolved. Now he’s gotten her sued, and on the hook with him for 10K. Of course, if they lose he simply won’t pay it, and she’ll be on the hook. I hope she still loves him. HA!
      Anyone reading this, stay away from single moms!

  • caroline

    What does it matter if somebody has kids? The only thing that should matter is if you fall for the person. Nobodys perfect..everyone has baggage in some form. People are so busy analysing what they want and dont want from a relationship that they forget real love doesnt work like that!

    • Jay

      To the poster that put down women with children with diffrent father’s. Your ignorant!
      People get pregnant even on birth control even using condoms ect. Your going to put down a women for what not having an abortion? What if they were married more then once? In a committed relationship with each father? Having multiple mothers or fathers to children means nothing! Its how responsible they are when taking care of the children that shows character. There are so many taboos out there when it comes to dating. Don’t date people that have been married or married more than once.People that have depression or basically that aren’t prefect. Its pretty much point blank there are many ppl out there with kids,,mental illnesses and a run of all kinds of flaws. Once you take each one of these off the table, guess whos single?

      Stop being so judgmental of people and their flaws. Its not about finding the perfect person, its about finding the one that’s perfect for you!

      • singlemom

        So very true.

      • I-WISH-I-WOULD

        “Stop being so judgmental of people and their flaws. Its not about finding the perfect person, its about finding the one that’s perfect for you!”

        Agree! And, that person has NO kids.

      • DarthW

        NO WAY JAY. Dating single parents when you don’t have you’re own kids is ridiculous and poor judgement. Dating a single mom with kids by more than one man, even from two marriages, is INSANE. SIngle moms want we guys to fix the messes they created themselves in their lives. They want our houses, our money, our work, and then there is a 70% chance that they’ll be the ones to initiate that 70% of divorces that happen in 2nd marriages. Run from single moms!!

    • Dessalines

      It depends where you are in life, at 25 with no kids it would matter for me and i’ll more likely not entertain the thought….ask me that question in 5 years maybe i’ll feel different

  • Raven2012

    I find it funny how women avoid men with children , yet the women with children always seek out a man without children. that should tell you about these females in the 1st place fellas DUH! a single no kid chick is way better than a woman with kids, its tighter, more fun to be with and able to do things instead of having to deal with all that drama , babydaddy stalking ( sometimes being her side piece at that ) do not date a female with kids ignore her body, accept the fact she’s already been ran thru and should be considered used goods.

    • chay

      I beg to differ. I’m not by far ran thru or used goods. There are women with no kids looser than women with kids. Just because you don’t have kids doesn’t mean you have been pregnant. I’m a proud mother of 2, both by the same father whom has also been my only partner. I know girls with no kids who are ran through

    • singlemom

      Wooooooooowwwww!!!! Its a shame you feel that way and from reading your comment it makes one presume that you have a perfect and spotless life! Puuuhhhllleeeaaaassseee!!!!!! Just because a person has children does not make them “used goods” and does not mean they have been “ran thru”! One can say the same about a person without children. I will even go a step further and say if you have ever been in a relationship before and are not a virgin(which judging from your post I am sure you are)….that means you are no longer “new” and would therefore make you a “used good”. So the next time you decide to make a statement like that I strongly suggest you take a look in the mirror and make sure you are perfect and unflawed in all of your ways before you judge and stereotype ANYONE else…Please and thank you.

    • DarthW

      I agree with you on most points Raven2014…albeit not necessarily on the “ran thru and should be considered used goods” though. All single moms will have some of any of this type of baggage in some degree: drama, debt, undisciplined kids, look at you like a wallet, expect you to put her first while you get scraps, overwhelmed, poor boundaries with the ex, etc. I’ve dated women who were good moms with decent kids, but then they’d have that ex that they just couldn’t seem to keep from “coming over for a visit whenever”, or would continually cancel dates “because of the kids”, or sit back and let me pay for everything (which meant that would be the expectation if things ever got to marriage). Or if the ex was decent,then the kids were monsters and the woman was in debt to her eyeballs from the divorce….but wanted me to step in to pay the debts. While I believe there are a few decent single moms out there, and one of my buddies did marry a pretty great one….they are few are far between.
      Single moms sure like we childless, employed guys because we don’t have exes to be jealous of, and kids to overshadow their own. However, any single childless guy will generally find themselves on the short end of a relationship with a single mom.
      Single moms should date single dads, so they can all deal with the baggage each carries, and know what it’s like to be on the receiving end.

  • vanillasteve

    Sprint, don’t just run away from the expense and hassle of dating a single mother.

    • DarthW


  • Pingback: Tommy Sotomayor: Stop Dating Women With Kids | Black Radicals

  • Southern Hospitality

    Let me also add that the last three men I have dated ALL HAD CHILDREN OUR OF WEDLOCK THEY DIDN’T SEE ON A REGULAR BASIS OR HAD NO MAJOR ROLE IN THEIR LIVES. I’m willing to give men with children the chance, but again, men live in these false utopias in their brains….

    • chay

      Definitely agree!

      • DarthW


    • MystiKasT


      • dirty drawers

        it got nothing to do with being black…. it got something to do with being broke
        this honkie that work with me don’t take care of his kids at all he aint ashamed or nothing he just to care idk why

        • DarthW

          You’re right dirty drawers, it has nothing to do with skin color. I’ve dated plenty of women with ex-husbands who were white, and half of them seemed to have no honor, or decency, regarding their kids. I won’t date single moms any more, partly because the single moms still seemed to pine for these pieces of crap in spite of the ex cheating on them, stealing from them, etc. They just keep chasing the bad boys. If they want them, they can have them.

  • Southern Hospitality

    To me it is not about having the children, it is HOW you had the children and how you view your life with them now. If a woman was MARRIED and had her children in marriage, or even in a committed relationship with ONE DUDE, that should be a consideration.

    It is funny men want us to take them with their multiple children but don’t want to date women on the premise that they don’t want to take care of another man’s child. SMH. That is what happens when men found out the dating game was in their favor.

    Oh and #TeamSINGLE with no kids in my 30′s. Please and thanks.

    • dirty drawers

      good job girl

  • Pingback: Banoosh » Should Single People Avoid Dating People With Kids? » Banoosh

  • Teelia

    There is nothing wrong with a man without kids wanting to date women without kids. I let men know upfront what I was looking for because I did not have kids. I actually had 2 men lie about their children. One guy had 3 kids under the age of 5. I found out 3 weeks in and dumped him. One had a 10 year old son who I found out about 6 months later. I felt he was a horrible dad because he did not spend time with his son. I stopped seeing him after a year because he was a bad person all around. I actually helped the child’s mom to get support from him because he was not giving her a dime. He worked an off the book job and I let her know what day he got paid and where he was going when he went shopping. I did this twice a month and after 3 months he decided he should just give her something. He never found out I was tipping her off and I actually still speak to her once or twice a month.

  • kittymabach

    i will never understand why a person without kids would want to date someone with them….that’s too extra

    • Ronald

      I’m 38 and have dated a lot of wen without kids, at this age most women have some kind of baggage or reason for being single, so after not finding what I was looking for I was honest with myself about what really mattered to me, and decided at this point that if they had a kid and it was workable it wasn’t off the cards as long as they were the women I was looking for.
      The first women with kids I chatted with online that I really connected with gave me an option of meeting up with her with or without her 4 year old son, I decided to met them both so I could make the decision early, and half expected that I may after all have a problem with it. At first it was new and strange to me, but by the end of the date it just felt right to me, I was really attracted to her on a number of levels, and the kid was ok and seemed to like me (something that may have been a deal breaker). It is still early days but I am happier in this relationship than I have been a lot of others.
      It’s not for a lot of guys but my advise to guys without kids who are thinking about it:
      1. You must like kids and have spent time with some. ( I had two nieces to break my in)
      2. Be honest with yourself, and if it is not for you end it early, as other people have said there is more than 1 person involved in the relationship. While a lot of moms say they are not looking for a dad in many cases the kid will still see you as a father figure.
      3. You have to be really attracted to her, there must be something special between you that makes up for any down sides you see of her having kids.
      4. Keep up your relationships with friends as there may be a lot of time she wants to spend with the kid/s that may not involve you, particularly to start with. (I like my own time so this works for me)
      5. You must be a patient guy, as others have said you aren’t always number one, and in my experience things go a lot slower as time for dating can be less.

      • DarthW


  • Candacey Doris

    Women please also take this advice. If he has kids you need to take a second to look at yourself.

    • DarthW

      Exactly. Childless women should seek out childless men. Life will be much easier.

  • Ann

    What about the guys who has children? You have men out there has children by all these different women and act like it not a problem at all. They don’t even deal with their baby mothers to even have a discussion to make sure they have some kind of understand that their relationship is over and the only involvement that have is with the child. They just sit there and don’t do anything and allow the new person to be disrespected. To me it is one of the biggest double standards.

  • Mr. Jones

    Only if she’s really hot, really nice, and the father spends time with the kids. You can date when daddy has the kids. Single parents should only date other single parents.

    • Farrah Marriott

      Wrong. When you’re a parent, the children come first no matter where they are geographically. And dating when the Daddy has the kids is pretty selfish and unrealistic – because you don’t know how often he will have them. The point is, if you can’t handle the kids, don’t date someone who has them. As for single parents only dating other single parents, that’s not accurate either. You can date anyone you want. Many relationships that consist of one person having children when the other does not are happy ones. Some people are happy caring for children without seeing the need to have any of their own.

      • DarthW

        I beg to differ that relationships consisting of one person having children while the other does not are happy ones. They may be “happy” (cough cough) for the single mom, but a childless stepdad, while he may be keeping quiet with her, is letting his buds know it SUCKS.
        I know of about two dozen marriages over the last 20 years where the guy was childless and married a single mom. Only one seemed like both were happy. The other 23 are divorced, or the stepdad is sick of having 30 year old lazy stepkids still living at home because mama can’t cut the apron strings.
        Search the internet for forums where stepdads are saying “I didn’t have kids and married a single mom, and now I’m happy.” You won’t find many, if any, forum posts like that. What you will find is a lot of stepdads advising others NEVER to bother with single moms. And they’d be correct.
        I dated several single moms before I gave up on them. Most of them saw me only as a wallet and strong back to support them and their brood. They weren’t interested in a partnership, and were often chasing their exes still (most of them were supposedly “deadbeats”. The single moms were usually deep in debt, difficult kids, and often on Xanax and other pills. 70%+ of second marriages end in divorce, and 70 to 90% of divorces are initiated by wives, so all in all dating then marrying a single mom is simply a huge mess.
        Thankfully, we men are getting wise, and the word is spreading. Marriage is a rip off for men, and more and more men simply aren’t interested in it. Marriage to a single mom is even more of a raw deal.

  • Trisha_B

    I rather not date a guy w/ kids, so I see nothing wrong w/ a guy not wanting to date a woman w/ kids. Its a personal choice.

    • Ms. Kameria

      I feel you 100%. I avoid dating guys with children.

    • Ms. Kameria

      I agree 100%. I avoid dating guys with kids.

  • jason

    I’d say before the ago of 30-35 dont bother. There are plenty of well educated, do for self women in the world with no children. And that goes for women looking for men also. After 35 the numbers start to go down because of things like kids during a previous marriage but now divorced etc. In the end its all about how you feel. Are you feeling her? Can you look past her having a child(ren). If she has multiple children by multiple men….RUN!!!

    • Candacey Doris

      +1! I knew a guy who swore he was in love with this girl who had 4 kids by 3 men (at 23!). I told him to run but he didn’t listen. Then he wanted to come cry when it went bad.

    • Jessica

      Just because a woman has kids with multiple men automatically means a man should run?! You should never judge a book by it’s cover. You don’t know their story, so who are you to judge? For instance, my oldest son is from my first marriage. My husband cheated on me for over 3 months, so I left him. My two youngest are from my second marriage. My husband was killed in a car accident coming home from work. So, now I have three children from two different fathers. All I wanted was a family, so I should be made to be a victim of my circumstances and be deemed a bad person for that? I can’t help how everything worked out. Screw you and your close-mindedness.

      • DarthW

        Wow take a chill Jessica. The fact that you are widowed makes your situation different from 4 kids from 3 men at the age of 23. The loss of your 2nd husband was a terrible thing, and for some men who would consider someone with kids it is definitely easier when some “ex” isn’t around to deal with along with stepkids. That being said, you may date a lot, but marriage may be a difficult think to attain until your kids are out of the house. As for me, I’m done with single moms, widows or not. There is just too much crap to deal with no matter how great the woman may be.

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