Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Dear Brookey...Single Dad

Happy Hump Day!

So I got my first "Dear Brookey" email from a GUY!! This should be interesting, let's go!

Dear Brookey,

I don't know if you've ever gotten a "Dear Brookey" email from a man before, but I figured I'd get your take on something from a woman's point of view. I'm a single father of a son that I have custody of. His mother and I split visitation, I have him during the week and she gets him every weekend - sometimes for long weekends. We have a great relationship as far as being parents is concerned, but nothing more. I'm having a hard time dating, and it's frustrating since I feel I'm ready to have a relationship. I understand it's hard dating men with kids, but Black women are always saying how hard it is to find a good man, I figured that maybe they wouldn't be AS picky since they're so hard to find. I consider myself a good guy and I just want to ask you what you feel are the red flags or pitfalls are to dating a man with a child so that I can ease a woman's fears about getting involved with me? I'm a very proud father and I take this very seriously. I don't want just any woman around my son, but I feel like I can't even get a woman to open up to dating me once I tell her I have a son who lives with me. Any help? Thanks!

-Single Dad.

This is a good question, and I think it's great that you want to understand a woman's fears about dating a man with children in order to put these fears to rest. Not every woman is hesitant to dating men with children, but there are several who feel this is a deal breaker. While I agree women may be limiting themselves by disqualifying a man who has children, I do understand that everyone (if they're completely honest with themselves) knows what they can and cannot handle and what works best for them.

There are several reasons why a person - man or woman - may not want to date someone with a child, so I'll try to narrow down what I think are the main ones. Maybe once you identify some of these reasons, we as a blog family will be able to come up with ways for you to allay some concerns a woman may have when it comes to dating you.

1. The Mother. Most times, the MAIN reason a woman will not date a man with children is because we know that - for the most part - where there's a baby...there's a baby's mama. If you two are co-parenting, that means you always have to talk to the mother, spend time with the mother and put the mother first in a lot of instances where it pertains to your child. Some women are uncomfortable with the amount of contact you have with the mother of your child, and don't like the fact they'll forever be second or third in his life. The child is a constant reminder of the mother's existence, so dating a man with a child may be too much for her to deal with because mom is always lurking around somewhere. You may have to see her at soccer games, or she may drop the child off at the house and come in to say hi and you see her there. She may not like you, especially if it was a bitter break-up, so there may be tension or even resentment. This doesn't sound like it's the case with you and your child's mother, but women think about these things and if it's worth taking a chance on. Only a truly secure woman can deal with ANOTHER woman in her man's life.

2. She doesn't like kids. Not all women are maternal. Some women genuinely do not like children and don't want to have any - yours OR her own. You can't get around that one. You have to date a woman who likes, or who can at least tolerate, children. If she's the busy, independent type, then she might not even have time for you, let alone your child - so doing things with you that revolve around children may not be her cup of tea. She may not want to get stuck in the house babysitting or watching Nickelodeon when she'd rather be out on a "real" date with you. If she doesn't like kids, keep it moving.

3. She wants her first child to be your first child too. I know this may not seem like a big deal to some people, but for some women (and men), they want their first child to be the first child for their significant other as well. I don't know how old your son is, but if he's say, 3 years old or older, then you've already seen him crawl, take his first steps, say his first words, he's potty trained, etc. You've seen your son reach several milestones already, so she may think that those things are no longer "new" to you, and therefore can't share in her excitement the first time any future children you might have with her reach these same milestones. While that may not be true, some women want the experience of sharing these "firsts" with a man who has never experienced them before with someone else.

4. Her "mother potential." You said that you take parenting very seriously, and that you don't want just any woman around your son. That makes total sense. But some women don't want you to judge them based on what kind of mother they'll be, especially if they have no desire to be one. It's hard enough dating as it is, and many people have a long list of attributes they want their future mate to have. Adding "mother" to that list may be a bit too much for a woman who knows that you're looking, not just for someone for yourself, but for someone who's a good fit for your son as well. Too much pressure.

5. Baggage. Some women (and men) think of you as "damaged goods." You've already had a kid with someone who you had a failed relationship with, so she may think you have some issues that need to be resolved. I don't know if you were once married, or just had a kid with an ex or whatever, but most women wonder why you're not still with the mother and automatically think it was your fault the relationship ended. Or they may think you have babies all willy nilly with people with no commitment if you were never married. Again, probably not the case with you, but this is what some women think.

6. There are restrictions. Most people with children aren't very spontaneous, especially if they have custody of them. You probably can't just up and go to the movies or out to dinner when you feel like it because you have to find a sitter at the last minute, or the child's mother isn't around to take him. If she's the spontaneous type, this will frustrate her because she'll feel limited in the things she can do with you. Also, most likely if your son lives with you, that means you can't have wild, screaming, hot-butt-nekkid sex in the house either - because your son will hear you. If she's loud and wants to be free, she can't do that in your house, and begins to resent you for making her tame her passion. Whether it's having "quiet" sex all the time, or no last- minute weekend getaways, no one wants to date a person they feel they'll be restricted with.

7. Some women are selfish, and want all of your undivided attention. They don't like to share her man with anyone - not the child or the child's mother or anyone else. If she can't come first, then she's not going there. She won't, and knows she can't, compete with the child - so if she's not your focus, then it's not happening chief.

8. She thinks you're broke. Most women don't date men who have children because, if you're a good father, that means you're taking care of them emotionally AND FINANCIALLY. Some women hear "child" and think "CHILD SUPPORT." If half of your check is going to your child and the child's mother, then that means (in her mind) that there is less money to take her out with, or go on vacation with, or enough to save towards a future with her with. Again, if you're big ballin' like Diddy, then this may not be an issue. But if NY State is taking 17% of your salary and giving it to someone else, then she may resent the fact that you're limited in things you can do with her - or that her man's money is going to his child through another woman. Kids cost money, so women automatically assume that men with kids don't have any.

I'm sure some of you can think of more reasons why a woman wouldn't date a man with children, so I'll stop there so this blog doesn't get too long. I know men share some of the same reasons why they won't date a woman with a child either. But if I left anything out, feel free to add more to the list. Also, help give "Single Dad" some ways he can help alleviate some of the reservations a woman may have when it comes to dating him. If you refuse to date someone with children, give us your reasons why. And if you don't have a problem dating a man with children and want me to hook you up with "Single Dad" - holla at me!

Go!

-b

28 comments:

Annamaria said...

First bitches

Anonymous said...

lol...B, you killed this one! great response...

Anonymous said...

I was about to get my first first...i knew i shouldnt have typed anything....damn damn damn...Annamaria...It's your boooooy! Zay Buge.

Annamaria said...

Dear Single Dad,

FIRST OF ALL (CLAP CLAP CLAP) i'M APPLAUDING YOU FOR NOT ONLY TAKING CARE OF YOUR CHILD BUT FOR SOMETHING YOU SAID IN YOUR QUESTION..(YOU DIDN'T WANT JUST ANY WOMAN AROUND YOUR SON)That is VERY IMPORTANT!!!

Now on to the business at hand. I am currently engaged to a wonderful man with two children from his 1st marriage (so it is possible to find someone..LOL)
When we met I had never been married & had no kids. NOW unfortunately this situation is NOT for everyone. It takes a special person not only to want to be in this situation BUT an even more special person to be able to deal with it long term.
It's NOT easy. #3 and #6 were my biggest hurdles to overcome... My problem with #6 I am a very spontaneous person who likes to just get up & do what I want whenever I want. We have them every other weekend so our arrangement is different from yours so once we started dating I couldn't do that all the time. I had to see if it was his free weekend before I made plans. And now I don't make plans that do not include them on the weekends we have them because I feel those are our weekends together. But on the weekends we don't have them he makes every effort to be spontaneous.
As far as #3 We had a baby 8 months ago. Yea at first I felt like it wasn't going to be special because he already had a son & a daughter.. So i kinda felt like my daughter was going to be extra..BUT he made my pregnancy very special. He was extremely supportive. Was at EVERY doctor's appt. And was the first one Sophia laid eyes on. She's daddy's lil girl completely & I've never felt like it wasn't special. I can say if anything the pregnancy brought us closer.
As far as baby mama drama. You may never have any OR you may have a lot. My advice. You aren't with your ex anymore so talk about what is necessary & that is it. AND PLEASE DO NOT LET ANY OF THE DRAMA INTO YOUR NEW RELATIONSHIP! You also have to be dealing with someone who knows how to mind her own business at times. There are plenty of times I wanna say well I didn't like when she did this or that BUT unless it affects the kids well being I shut up. If he brings it up I give my opinion but ultimately it's his job to make sure everything is on the up & up.

So now that you have some insight into how a woman may feel in that situation don't lose hope. There is a woman out there that will love you & your son. You just have to look thru the bull to find her. She will love you & your son the way I love Powerz & my first 2 "babies"

Women: If you aren't that person that can handle it DON'T. Single parents don't have time to waste. That's time they could be spending with their kids. And open your minds to the possibilities. I have to admit it hasn't always been easy & if I had to do it over I'm not sure I would BUT it's definitely been worth it. I am DEEPLY loved not only by my man but by all 3 of MY kids. And I must say the first 2 taught me sooo much. Not only about the type of person I am but about the type of mother I want to be.

Good Luck single Dad.
Brooke...You did a great job!!!

Annamaria said...

Damn I wrote a LOT! LOL
Sorry for the long response.

Annamaria said...

Sorry I know that I already wrote a book but I have ONE more thing to say... It does sound like a difficult situation to deal with BUT one thing I noticed is that I never felt like I sacrified anything or that this relationship was "difficult" Even though we took things really slow (for the kids sake) it came really naturally. Once they were part of my life I was hooked. And we all just "became" a family... If you find a woman who feels like she's making an effort for you OR giving up something for you.. then she may not be the one either..Things will just naturally fall into place.

Brooke said...

LOL! Zay, you're funny - you almost had it!

Thanks Zay and Annamaria, but I don't feel I gave any real solutions for him - only the reasons why a woman may not want to date him. I'm hoping we can help him find ways to help a woman get over these fears if she's on the fence about dating a man with children.

I've dated men with kids, and in some cases it's been a great experience, and in others...not so much. I gave this list out of some of my own reservations about dating men with children, but I'm not closed off to the idea...but can see how a woman might be.

I think it depends on the man and each individual circumstance. In the instances where it was a great experience, it was because the man had a civil, grown-up relationship with his child's mother and neither of them wanted anything from the other except for what was in the best interest of the child.

In the cases where it was a bad experience, the mother usually wanted him back, or didn't want him but didn't want him to be with anyone else, or he never had time to cultivate a relationship with me because he always had prior commitments with the child and the relationship just fell off.

Each case is different, and it really does depend on the individuals and the individual circumstances. If "Single Dad" feels he has time to give to a relationship, that's half the battle - so now all he has to do is find a woman willing to work with the time he has to give. Not easy, by any means, but not impossible either.

Annamaria said...

Got it B...

One suggestion that I had was take things EXTREMELY slowly especially when introduciing your son to a potential mate. When we first starting dating I NEVER used to see Powerz on the weekends he had his kids. That was his time to spend with them & we hung out on the weekends that he was alone. Then after a very long while I started tagging along to things with them & getting to know the kids & letting them get to know me. We took it very slow & let everyone feel comfortable with each situation as it came up.

Stef said...

Brooke, you nailed everything on this blog. I don't like dating men with kids for the VERY reasons you named, even though I have. It really does depend on the guy, what his relationship is like with the baby's mama, and how he handles it all.

It sounds to me like Single Dad has his stuff together, and that the minute he says "I have a son" the women go running. If that's the case, then you don't want those women anyway. If a woman won't date you for all the reasons Brooke mentioned, chances are there's no changing her mind. You just have to find one who's open to the idea to begin with, and then work to make sure she stays secure in that relationship. The main issue is the baby's mama - so as long as you keep that relationship in check, the woman will feel secure and not feel the need to run from you. Other than that, there's nothing more you can really do...you just have to find the right one, just like we all do.

Jay said...

Great blog B!

I don't have children, but I hope to have some one day. I'd be lying if I said it didn't matter to me if the woman I'd ultimately have kids with had a kid already. I'd prefer to date, marry and have a child with a woman who didn't already have kids, but who knows what the universe will bring. But the reasons you gave are some of the same reasons a man might not want to date a woman with kids - so I can totally relate.

I've dated a woman or two who had kids and it just didn't work for me - either because the father was always up in the mix, or because he wasn't AT ALL and I had to become "daddy" before I could become "her man." That IS alot of pressure, and most people don't want ready-made families, or they want the chance to get to know the person before signing up for all that "other" stuff that goes along with it. It's not easy, and you have to have alot of patience and understanding. If you know in your heart you can't do it, then don't waste anyone's time. I don't think men or women who can date a person with kids is any more "special" than anyone else - it just means they're different. I don't fault men or women who can't do it, because everyone knows what they can and can't deal with. It's about being honest and not wasting anyone's time. So there is no real "answer" here - it's just about finding that someone who feels you're worth taking a chance on...for you AND your son.

LockSmiff said...

Single Dad,

Imma keep it real for you. The Census Bureau states that there are 155 million women in the US. That means you have 155 million women to select from. If a woman is hesitant to date you because you have a son, tell her to kick rocks and scram! Statistically the numbers are in your favor.

Wait .... let me correct that number. It should be 154,999,996 (I had to subtract my wife and 3 girls). :-)


LockSmiff

Yolanda said...

Hey Single Dad...

Where do you live?




*I'm shameless*

Annamaria said...

Yolanda...YOU GO GIRL!!!! You go get you that single daddy...AWWWW I would love it if we made a blog love connection.... LMAO...

Brooke said...

I stand corrected.

Mr. Nice guy wrote me a "Dear Brookey" email before - sorry!

**he just told me off very nicely via FB email**

LOL!

Mr. Nice Guy said...

I was about to say, that wasn't your first "Dear Brookey" email from a dude. I don't feel special now :(

Brooke said...

I said I'm sorry! DANG!!!!

Annamaria said...

Can we focus on the problem at hand please??? LMAO

Sorry this is a subject close to my heart...LOL

Stephanie said...

I used to be one of those women who never dated a man with kids for reasons 1,3, 5 and 8. I am happy to admit I am a convert now.Timing is everything. We get our kids the first 3 weekends of the month. And yes they feel like my kids and I love and treat them as my own. I love kids. The best part was always being able to give them back when I was single.When I met my current love It was the kids that won me over.I almost cut him off because he baby's momma is a bitch.In time I learned to not let my insecurities get the best of me, and to not let my man's ex interfere with our relationship.Four years latter she gets the message. One of the things that made me fall in love with my man is that he is such a wonderful and loving father. With so many dead beats out there I had to look at the bigger picture.Like many women I felt any kids I would have would be second fiddle. I've come to realize that will never be the case.That belief was only in my head, and stems from fear.Instead of trying to play mommy to my man's kids I always reassure them that even though their mommy and daddy are no longer together both parents love them more than life itself. I also promised them and their mother I will always do my best to be a positive role model as a women in their lives. And instead of having one small family we are now one big family. They have opened up to me in a ways that surprise even their own mother.Keep the faith Single Dad. You are a hero among men and any woman who can not see that is not worthy of you.Good Luck

Annamaria said...

HIGH FIVE AT STEPHANIE. THAT WAS BEAUTIFUL. CONGRATS...

P.S.- WHY HASN'T ANYONE NOTICED THAT I HAVEN'T USED MY TASER TODAY???? HELLO!

Powerz said...

Hey Single Dad, keep the faith. As a former single dad myself, always keep your principals. You remind me of myself (as I gaze in rememberance! lol) As long as you stay true to what you believe, she will come. Your principals will weed out the fakers.

There are/were strikes against us in the mormal dating world but what is really normal?????? Love at first sight? Jumpoff turned Wife? Wife turned Ex? There are so many variations nowadays, there is no standard. Whatever works for you, stay true to it and when the right one comes along, both of you will appreciate the relationship and not resent it.

A-Buzz is a great mom and partner and my kids adore her. I even saw my ex hug her hello at an event! I was like wow! You never know, miracles do happen!

Stay up my man!!!!

Annamaria said...

Powerz

Did we have to mention that the spawn of satan hugged me at an event????
(sorry did i say that out loud??? LMAO)

Stef said...

LOL! Ya'll are funny!

It CAN work, but it takes ALOT of WORK to do. Not everyone is up to that challenge, but the rewards seem to be worth it if you stick to it. Congrats to both of you!

Anonymous said...

this is great Brooke...

Annamaria said...

Yes it does take LOTS of work... And I wouldn't even say not everyone is up to the challenge. Some people just don't want that much of a challenge. And trust me I respect that 150% because it isn't easy.. I'm honestly VERY lucky and our situation is one that is VERY easy to deal with in comparison...

One thing that made me know I could do it was my mother. Mind you this was NOT the ideal situation & definitely not who my mom expected me to bring home. And like any mother she questioned me about whether or not I was ready to date this man with all this "baggage"(I think she was worried about the kids..LOL) After talking with her about Powerz for a while & after she met him one day she looked at me & said: IF the worst thing you can say about him is that he's divorced & has kids then you are luckier than most! And right then & there I knew we'd be ok...

The Cable Guy said...

As a single dad myself, I can relate. I tend to date women who have kids too since those are the main ones who are open to dating a man with kids. But honestly, I prefer to date women with no kids myself, go figure.

I think the reason I feel that way is because dating women who also have kids means they don't really have time to date either. I don't have custody of my son, I see him on weekends - so my schedule usually don't match a single woman's schedule OR a woman with kids unless we take ALL of our kids out together. That can be a bit much. I know that's hypocritical, but I'm being honest.

Hang in there, that speical woman is out there, just may take some time to find her. It'll be worth it.

Ms. Penn said...

I find that I may not be one to date men with children. I know that I may be missing out on a few good men, but the challenges are so great for me that I don't think I have it in me to do. I used to think that made me a bad person. But like Brooke said, I'm honest with myself and I know what I can and cannot handle. I've tried it a few times and it's just not something I'm interested in doing.

But to Single Guy, like everyone else said, hang in there. We all have our dating challenges, and dating with kids just simply is one of yours. Like everyone else, we have to find that special someone FOR US, no matter the circumstance, so it'll just take some time. Keep your faith, and like Powerz said, stay true to yourself and your values. You can't go wrong when you stay true to YOU, and the right woman will eventually present herself to you. Good luck! Great blog Brooke!

Single Dad said...

Hey good people,

Single Dad here. I wanted to chime in earlier, but decided to wait until 5pm when I felt most of the comments would be in :)

Thank you so much Brooke for writing this blog for your blog family, and thank you all for all of your responses. Annamaria and Stephanie, you've renewed my faith. Powerz, thanks so much bruh for the love and encouragement.

Since Brooke doesn't know me, even though we are now FB friends :) I figured I'd give you all some background. I am divorced, and just now really ready to start dating again, but it's been difficult to say the least. I feel it's necessary to tell women upfront that I have a son because I'm a very proud father, but I've noticed that telling a woman that in the beginning usually doesn't get me very far :) I thought of waiting, but that's not cool. I'm proud of my son, I love him and he lives with me, so hiding him was never an option. I guess any woman who can't handle that information upfront isn't the one for me.

I do feel that I understand a woman's fears more now that Brooke gave me some more insight. I've never dated women with children as I got married young - so I didn't date much. We were together for a while, but we just grew apart. We are dedicated to my son and we get along. She has her life and is dating again, and I'm trying to live my life as well. We just both agreed that only a man can raise a son, which is why I have custody of him. I'm very proud that she feels I'm up to the challenge of raising him into the man he'll eventually become with God's help.

I want my next wife to be willing to share in raising him along with me and his mother. I now know that that's alot of pressure, so any woman up for that will be very special in my eyes, because I know that's asking alot. Powerz, you found a gem in Annamaria, someone you feel is a great mother to the child you have together as well as your first 2. It's a great thing when people come together as family, and that's what I hope to find.

Yolanda, I live in Brooklyn :)

Thanks again everyone for helping me with this. I realize now that my next relationship will come in due time with the right woman so long as I keep my standards and keep the faith. It'll happen, and I'll be ready :)

Brooke, you're the best! Thanks!

Yolanda said...

Dammit...and again, Brooklyn is the center of the universe. :-(

Great topic today Brooke & Single Dad...good luck in your search.

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