For many single parents, dating is a daunting task. There are a number of considerations that come into play involving the child(ren)’s security in the dating arena. Much of the focus is on the single parent and the child(ren) involved. But what about the childless person coming into the situation?
When you have children and you are looking for love, do you ever stop to think how your position as a parent affects the other person? Are you one of those people who scream, “accept me, accept my kid(s),” without considering the impact on the potential mate who is childless?
The issues come in when single parents feel entitled to a certain type of relationship. These people feel that a childless person dating them should be flexible and understanding at all times, without much appreciation for that flexibility. A few single parents in Charlotte, when asked if being a single parent presented any “cons”, found the question offensive.
Saying that is almost like denying your child…I know you won’t be able to go out as much and all that, until the child is included in dating, at least from my perspective, but it’s no different than if someone works another shift than you. It’s about how you schedule your time. So nah, can’t say my boy is a con.–Single Dad
Certainly your child is not a “con”, but you being a parent definitely is a “con” for quite a few childless people, when it comes to dating. To think otherwise is unrealistic, to say the least. And downright selfish and foolhardy to say the most.
Look at things from the childless person’s perspective for once. These are some examples of “cons” they may see when deciding whether or not to date a single parent.
CON: You may be irresponsible
Think about it this way. A person who has no children has apparently taken some precautions to not have children. If that means abstaining from premarital sex, or using protection EVERY TIME, then they have been responsible to some level. (Granted, that is not always the case…there are exceptions to every rule…but let’s just take this premise as true.)
Being an unwed (not divorced) single parent, means you have, at some point, been irresponsible enough to allow someone who you wouldn’t marry or who wouldn’t marry you, to expose you to themselves without protection.
All too often, childless people hear about the poor parenting skills of the other parent, so what does that say about your responsible actions in choosing a proper mate? Not much!
CON: The package deal
You may think little Jon Jon is the most precious, adorable, intelligent baby to ever sport a bib. That doesn’t mean the next person does. Then, don’t forget that Jon Jon’s other parent is part of the mix as well. You are asking a childless person to deal with a permanent outside party.
The childless person is not only dating you with the potential of a relationship, but he/she is possibly committing him/herself to a love quadrangle. As the single parent, you do not have to share the childless person with anyone. The childless person has to share you with everyone. Is that fair? HECK NO!
Now the poor sap has to get to know you, your kid(s) and your lousy babymama/daddy. Fantastic right? Not exactly!
CON: Taking the backseat
Starting a new relationship is hard enough as it is. Always having to be the last on the list of priorities makes it even harder. With single parents, a childless person will always come in second. No matter what.
If the childless person makes plans, and little Jon Jon gets a cold…plans fly out of the window. If the childless person wants to spend quality time, it depends on little Jon Jon’s babysitting situation. If the childless person wants to consider starting a family, little Jon Jon has to be considered.
Understandably, everything when dating a single parent, is about the best interest of the single parent’s child. Meaning once again, the poor sap, has to take on all the backlash of being the dope on the outside looking in. No spontaneity, no freedom, no being put first. IT SUCKS!
CON: Unintended sacrifices
See taking the backseat. When dealing with a single parent, the childless person has to sacrifice a lot, for a decision that the single parent made before the person arrived on the scene.
As a childless person gets into the relationship, the single parent wants him/her to watch little Jon Jon. Show up at the school for little Jon Jon’s play. Wipe noses, clean up spills, help with homework. Stuff the childless person had no intention on doing so soon.
Then losing some of the joy of starting a family. Heck, the single parent has already been there and done that. So the thrill of “going through this together” is shot all to Hades!
CON: Bonding with the child
This may not seem like a problem, but it is. A childless person who bonds with a single parent’s child may feel doubly responsible if the relationship does not work out. Who wants to break the heart of a child?
Especially in the event that the other parent is not around, the heavy responsibility of the child’s feelings may worry the childless person. Beyond that, the childless person will always risk the “you are not my…” insult that comes when the child wants to lash out.
CON: More mouths to feed
Dating is not free, though it can be low cost. Adding more people to outings costs more. Also if the relationship becomes more serious, there are potential financial responsibilities that come with assisting in raising a child.
The purpose of this article is not to bash single parents, or deter childless people from dating them. It is to enlighten single parents who do not recognize the negatives from the childless person’s perspective.
Oftentimes single parents who date childless people, expect the childless person to just deal. As a single parent, do you ever consider the chidless person’s feelings? Or do you feel a childless person, just by virtue of caring about you, has to take, accept, digest, deal with, and show no emotions about, what he or she is being put through?
If the latter, it is a very selfish attitude to have. Stop for a moment to think about it. Have some humility about yourself. Realize that if it came down to choosing a person who has all your good qualities, and none of your bad, you may not get chosen. Further if you are chosen, you should show at least a modicum of appreciation for what the other person has to go through.
Instead of insisting that the childless person make all the concessions in the relationship, take a moment to reflect on his/her sacrifices.
Are you a single parent? What’s your take on dealing with childless people? Are you childless? How do you view dating single parents?
The original version of this article may be viewed on the columnist’s blog, Your Boyfriend’s Best Girlfriend.