In the last 30 years or so, we have seen a dramatic shift in how society views single, unmarried parents. While stigma and perceptions vary by cultural group, and changes in acceptance have occurred at different paces, it’s now commonly accepted that there are unmarried people who have children and who are seeking love and companionship.
Single mothers, particularly in Black communities, have been seen both as strong heroines who are the backbones of their families, and as vicious destroyers of the traditional family structure. Single fathers are often demonized as deadbeat dads or heralded for their involvement in their children’s lives. Whatever the perception, the majority of single mothers and single fathers want to date, find loving happiness with a great partner and build a solid companionship that makes them and their children happy.
Anthony, a single father of three, found that a man with children by multiple women carries the stigma of being irresponsible and incapable of fidelity and commitment. He asserts that it’s not true in all cases. For a man, he says, dating with children is often easier when the woman of interest has a child too. There’s a parental understanding that seldom needs explanation; she gets it.
Of course he doesn’t dismiss that women without kids won’t understand; just that dating a woman with children provides an additional level of commonality, one in which you are both similarly situated. An optimal position for establishing a relationship. Anthony believes in being honest in the beginning about his status as a single father of three by two different moms. The woman of interest has the choice of accepting his parameters and working within them, or rejecting them.
Marie, a single mother of one, says that dating with a son is challenging because she’s not only dating for herself, but to find someone suitable to help raise her boy and set a good example as a man. She acknowledges that there is always the fear a man won’t be welcoming when she tells him she has a child, but that just lets her know when she needs to keep it moving. She also has a personal rule to wait a year before introducing someone that she is dating to her child, because she believes children are impressionable and she wants to avoid hurting her son as much as possible.
Kevin, a single man without children, says he has no problem dating women with children. One woman kept him and her child separate because their “friends with benefits” situation did not call for that level of connection. Another wanted her child to call him “Daddy” after only four months of dating, so he had to fall back from that situation. Kevin says that for the most part, he’s had good experiences dating women with children. He never receives any negative feedback from his friends, and does not discriminate against single mothers although he has no children of his own.
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