Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Happy Hump Day!
So I got my first "Dear Brookey" email from a GUY!! This should be interesting, let's go!
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!
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!