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

May 13, 2013  |  

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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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