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Dating the single parent

Dating the single parent

First of all, let me acknowledge that what I’m about to say paints the perfect picture of a double-standard and yes – after having recently posted an article describing hypocrites, I’m probably not going to win any fans sharing my feelings about this, but here it is.

 I do NOT like dating men with children and yes- I’ll share my hangovers to justify my saying this at a later date but for now, there were two reasons why I’m saying this now.

Reason # 1 is a phone convo between a good friend of mine (without child) and I (with one child) as we shared our dating woes and chatted up the subject of the men we’ve encountered who have children.  She’s telling me about a conversation she shared with one of her Gulf Coast conquests, that she felt the two of them were on the same page regarding children and how she went on to explain that she’d much rather date a man who doesn’t have because (1) of the lack of availability he would have, (2) diminished funds and (3) because she wanted a child of her own and wanted her first to be his first.

Okay, all fair statements.  The problem?  Well, she’d met two men that previous weekend.  One with children, one without so take a guess which one she was talking to confusing him with the other?  Yep, you guessed it and her mission statement was met with SILENCE.

I’m anxiously awaiting the outcome of their friendship and anything it may blossom into, but in the meantime……on to reason # 2.  I’d realized that Good on Paper presented the best example of why I would prefer not to date a man who has a child or worse, chilDREN.  He has three, the youngest is THREE and while he has been divorced from their mother for three years, he still has major drama.  Damaged goods for sure.

Just so we’re clear, I am by no means delusional and the statistics speak for themselves – the possibility that a man will meet a single mother is about 50% so I’m not exactly the crème of the crop in terms of dating material for some (or even most).  But hey, what can I say – $hit happens.  You get together with some, maybe in love, maybe not and procreate.

It doesn’t work and SOMEONE is going to bear the responsibility of raising the child and no matter what the involvement of the other, the sole provider is still a single parent and being one is draining.  Still, single parenting women don’t want to be alone and want the opportunity to move on and find that special someone, a life partner even.

So my beef with the “baby daddy”?  Well hell, the exact same reasons why there are hundreds of posts out there titled “Reasons Men Hate Dating Women With Kids”, and they include the following:

1.  Time, time, time – There is no such thing as a spur of the moment date night, get away or booty call when you’re a single parent.  From my experience dating a man who has a child, this has been one of the biggest problems – he simply isn’t able or refuses to make more time for me.  In fact, I dare to say that the problem of finding a reliable sitter may be worse for men because women – well we have our girly networks.  Women are more likely to have a group of friends, grandmother or aunts who may be more willing to watch our children while we get out and “have fun”.   Unfortunately (because there are so many of us), I have several single parent friends who wouldn’t mind doing a little kid swap now and then.  Men?  I don’t think they’ve learned how nor have the ability to forge such alliances.

2.  Funds shortage – “I can’t really spend because I need to…” or “this child support is…”.  Whether the man is fairly active (meaning sees the child more pretty frequently) or is simply forking over a percentage of his pay check to the state, his funds are going to be severely affected.   This works both ways because of course, I can’t necessarily throw away money either because I’m supporting two people on one income, but this is how I’ve lived.  I’ve developed a system for budgeting so there’s activity money for my child and play money for Mom.  I could do a 15-page post on the topic of how men are either getting worked over by the kids’ mothers or simply didn’t handle their business and the unavoidable things such as garnishment are in full force.  Point being, their kid is going to absorb a significant amount of their income which is going to affect a single father’s dating lifestyle.

3.  Baby Mama Drama – I hate, hate, hate using the terms baby mama and daddy, so let’s say the drama with the ex.  Funny, each man I’ve ever encountered has always asked during initial conversations if I have drama with my child’s father and the answer is a resounding NO.  The way I figure, most people create their own drama though there are some instances where the other parent simply will NOT let them have any happiness.  I’d go so far to say that there are three main reasons a man I’m dating is having problems with the mother of his child and that is (1) he is still messing around with her or (2) she refuses to move on and let go or (3) she has moved on but is just bitter and vengeful.  I’ve had the displeasure of experiencing # 2 and # 3 and it made being involved with those men a living hell.  Something always made me wonder why the guy was hiding his testicles and wouldn’t just man up and handle their business with these women, but it never failed, instead, they tiptoed around the issue.  Manic messages, repeated and harassing phone calls, unannounced visits, restricting visits etc…  D-R-A-M-A.

         And my personal favorite that I’ve experienced waaaaaaay too often

4.  Daddy’s Little Witch – Of course, I don’t want to sound too harsh so I got a little creative with that third word but real talk – men take the relationships with their children, specifically the little divas in training too far.  I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the Princess Who Could Do No Wrong, the Just Like Her Mother, Bad Attitude and All and the My Daddy is an ATM.  I really tried to figure these men out, attempting with all my might to understand how and why they ignored the fact that their daughters were master manipulators.  Was it because they weren’t doing as much for them as they should, and over compensated by not being as strict?  Well no.  Several of these hangovers had full, sole custody of their daughter’s and gave them the world, but these little monsters still demanding the galaxy.   This is another one I could go on and on about.

The bottom line is this – I realize if I’m dating or attempting to become seriously involved with someone who has children, there needs to be balance.  I need to be able to balance my life, the needs of my child, work and everything else so that I’m able to dedicate the time and energy needed to be with someone.

It just seems that some men with children are constantly putting out their “available” signs without taking into consideration whether or not they should REALLY be trying to date.  I realize all that comes with me being a parent and am very much aware that no matter how attractive or appealing my characteristics may be, because I check the “yes” box under dependents I may not even be considered by some men.  However, for those who are interested in taking a ride on the Carmen train, I’m open to dating and swapping kid stories as long as YOU know what it means to have balance while dating as a single parent.

So for the men complaining about getting involved with women who have children, it works both ways.

Until there’s a cure…

Carmen Jones

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Hangover - a let down following great excitement or excess. Wow. This one sentence describes nearly all of my dating and relationship experiences!

I'm a 30 year-old woman muddling through the Los Angeles dating scene and yes - Believe all that you've heard about the screwed up men and women in La-La Land.

This blog is of my actual experiences that will either make you chuckle, laugh out loud or maybe say "aw.....".

If your dating hangovers seem worse than the next person's, read on, post a comment and enjoy!



  1. I agree. I have two kids, and given the choice I will GLADLY take the man who has none! I refuse to have more kids, too. So I am being doubly selfish. I just want a guy who will love my kids like his own. Probably was too much to ask for…

    1. Ah Esme – I want the same, the man to love my child like his own so in all honesty, when I do take the chance and get involved with a man who already has kids, I watch and listen. Some of them are so wrapped up with their own kids, I feel as though they may not have the capacity for anything beyond.

      Selfish? Yes, but as with a man who won’t date a woman with a few extra pounds – it’s all about preference.

      But here’s a little something to think about that Until Something Better Comes shared with me, something I have NEVER heard from a man before. He said he PREFERS to date women with children because they tend to be less selfish. USBC said he’d compared the women with child against those without and found the former tended to be a little more selfless, willing to compromise and be more understanding. I GUESS if I flipped that statement and applied it to men as well, I would surely feel differently. A man who understands the parenting and dating dilema may be better but still, because of the messy situations with the BM’s… not so much.

  2. Oh, my. This is a wonderful post! Sooo true. Balance is so the key, coming from this single mom of one and most of the men I have dated with children seriously lacked competence in that department. Unfortunately, I guess it is not just me that has run across this issue.

    1. No Perpetually, this is something many of us have had to deal with. Here’s the thing (once again, good old communication or lack thereof) comes into play…of the men you have dated with children, how many of them were really up front about their parenting situations, including the time spent with the child and any arrangements they’re able to make to fit in a social life? Not many.

      Then again, some are. For example, I have another fellow I’ve been talking to and after a few weeks of talking, texting and the like, we finally met up this past weekend. Finally. I’d asked earlier during the week when his work schedule permitted some time to meet up and he replied it wasn’t his job, but that he needed to get a regular schedule worked out for when he would be with his sons. Understandable but for the life of me – why the hell is he on a DATING web site where you should probably have time to GO OUT with women to determine compatibility if you don’t even have time to do it? Whole other tangent, but I’m just sayin’.

      Thanks for stopping by. =)

  3. I do not want children. I love kids though. Hypocrite indeed.

    I knew at a very early age I did not want children.
    1) Mental illness runs on my family.
    2) I dont make enough to take care of myself let alone another little person.
    3) I’m entirely too selfish to give my time to someone who is dependant on my very existance to exist and survive.
    4) I’m over the age of 35 now. And for every year passed age 35, your chances of having a child born with downs syndrome increases by an additional 3%…every year. (thats not to say a lot of women are not capible of having perfectly healthy kids after the age of 35-40-45 etc)
    5) I’ve never wanted to be an old mum.

    You’d be surprised at the hate mail I use to get from men on POF about how it’s my “duty” to have children. I remind them that we’re also a species that can choose not to procreate just because we’re in heat. Since I recieved those emails, I’ve always taken note of men and their views of having kids. The dating ppol just got a whole lot smaller.

    There are 3 kind of men.
    Those who have kids. Those who do not want any, and final, those who are on the fence. They will lead you on reassuring you for many years that you’re on the same page then hit 32 yrs old and change their mind. (yes hint of stabbing bitterness there)

    I will never say I wont date a man who has kids. Idealy, he and his ex will have an amazing custody agreement and follow the same rules at each house. So there is no bad/good parent. With that kind of set up, I could see myself even befriending the mother of his kids.

    Maybe I should make this my own post, apparently I have a lot to say about it. lol Off topic, I use to think dating men who had been previously married and now divorced was the way to go. They’ve been there once, and know better now what they want… in theory.

    Long story shory. Great post, you’re not alone in this.

    1. I love, love, love your reply Just Saying and no worries – I think each of us sometimes stumble on a topic where we get the runs, with our fingers that is, and the brain is on overdrive. Sharing your feelings about this issue and comments are very much welcomed.

      Your reasons 1-3 are very much legitimate and I applaud you and any other woman for making the decision that you don’t want any children. I wander why these crazy heifers who do the off the wall, Susan Smith drown-your-kids type of crap didn’t have the same mentality that they probably didn’t want any offspring.

      Your 4th and 5th – well…. as the chime of my 36th year set in a few weeks ago, I’m realizing the same but in my mind, I think 38 is my cut off. I’d like to have some youth remaining instead of being a geriatric parent in depends by the time my children are ready to graduate high school.

      The a-holes on POF? Well, that site tends to attract some truly retarded men (as if they all don’t), but to actually make it seem like it’s your rite of passage or something to bear children. Lame.

      Lastly, the agreement and arrangements of the single Dad if I should encounter him. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? Again, I can’t really say that I WON’T date a man with children, but the experiences thus far… Phew! So I guess MY ideal situation would be the father who loves for and cares for his kids, supports them financially and remembers special events and all that jazz but HE lives about 3,000 miles away.

      I’m a selfish stinker!

  4. Wow, I’m glad i didn’t wait to read this one. Good stuff Carmen! I’m single but have no children and yes, all that you described is what I’ve encountered with the men I’ve dated who did.

    To me, it seems like the men who weren’t married to the mothers seemed to have the worst of situations when it comes to being the single dad. Maybe you’ve hit on something – in some way they’re over compensating.

    Either way, it sucks and I’d rather not deal with them. I know it sounds bad because some of my close friends are single moms and they have a hard time dating because they ARE dedicated to their kids. I guess it boils down to priorities.

  5. Good post, good points!

    However, if you have kids then everything should be about them. First and foremost. Whether or not you want to find your life-mate or partner or whatever, it isn’t fair to children to bring in a revolving line of dates because you feel lonely.

    Finding comfort and sex on the side because it’s a natural human need? Fine- no problem with that as long as it never affects your child in a negative way. But having your child meet a partner you’ve been dating for a while? Nope. Not unless you have been together long enough to know that this person is going to be your permanent partner.

    I wouldn’t be against dating a woman who had children, but if she wanted me to meet them early and start being a part of their life I would be very wary. But if I met a woman with kids who I really liked, and she had the strength, integrity, and independence to put her kids first and me second, I would respect her that much more. That’s probably the kind of woman I would want to be with, anyway. Sadly, it seems like women who are like this are fairly rare nowadays.

    And you’re right- any man who raises his children wrong or stays in a dramatic entanglement with his ex is trouble. Run!


  6. Just so I understand this one – you’re a single parent but prefer not to date a single parent?

    Interesting perspective, but what is you’re involved with someone who has one or more children that are near or the same age as your own? I’m sure that might work out a lot better.

    Good luck in your dating ventures, keep posting, good stuff.

    1. Yes, annonymous, that’s right – I prefer not to but if I do, I’d much rather the child be closer in age to mine (playdates, whoo hoo!) or be old enough to be independent (babysitter). Okay, that sounds totally selfish but that’s how I feel. Smaller/younger? Goodness no because then I’d likely get grief from the real mother complaining of me trying to raise their child. *sigh* So many rules!!!

  7. Hey Caleb,

    Once again, I can count on you for a reply that makes me go “hmmm, he’s right”.

    Let me make it clear, I am NOT that parent who invites the boyfriend of the month over for some marshmallows and Netflix videos with the kids. Heck no! In fact, I know several (both men and women) who do this and I’m amazed that they have no discretion in who their children meet.

    Want to hear something funny? I’ve had issues with my ex-boyfriends complaining that I was moving too slow with the kid-to-boyfriend introductions. Go figure.

    As much as some of these men will complain about getting involved with a woman who has kids and worrying about not having enough time alone without them around, some of them can’t handle it when they have yet to meet them. One hangover in particular (Jekyll) made it a point to bring up the fact that WE (meaning, he and I and MY child) weren’t spending enough time together to bond. Come on – we were like 2 months into the relationship.

    So yes Caleb, I agree whole heartedly, time and discretion, discretion and time are needed when handling this sensitive matter.

    Nookie with my child at home? Rarely happens unless I have one of those climbing the walls type moments where I gotta have it, but we’re talking kid is in rem sleep etc…

    I admire the thought you’ve put into the possibility of you getting involved with a woman in this situation and again – it just goes back to my basic idea. Communication, understanding and balance are all so very important if you’re willing to get involved.

    Thanks for sharing! =)


  8. I have little to no experience dating men with kids but I will say this…

    Turns out men without kids…can ALSO be idiots with their ability to manage time…AND money lol…so basically I’m saying we should all just become lesbians. No. Okay. You’re right. That’s ridiculous. Man sometimes it’d be rad to be able to change our DNA…but I digress…I’d say it’s more about the man the children he’s had.

    Not to mention…the daddy’s little witch thing. Again. I’d be less worried that daddy’s witch doesn’t like you…then the fact that daddy raised a witch. My mamma (and daddy) didn’t raise no fool…and turns out…I’m not one. You are what your parents raised you to be. Unless they were awful. And then of course it’s up to you to overcome. lol.

    1. Something, I’ve been hearing the lesbian thing as an option quite frequently. Just maybe…. LOL. No, as much as the men give me aches and pains in every day, I can’t seem to give up on them.

      The daddy’s little witch thing is a reality – like I said they’re manipulative and are just smaller versions of their mothers who 9 times out of 10, have poisoned these kids minds to think that their father isn’t $hit and that any woman after her isn’t either. And hell yeah – if the kid (especially the daughter) doesn’t like you, that relationship is doomed.

      Like I said, hooking up with the single parent is okay as long as you’re aware of the rules (what to do, what not to and what NOT to force), but really – just being observant of their relationship with the children and the ex makes a world of difference. If you start noticing drama early on, it only goes further downhill. =)

  9. Funny, but so true. I always hear my guy friends cutting down women with kids but I never thought about it other than that. If the man or woman is still dipping and dabbling with, that will surely create problems if you’re dating them. I just don’t like anyone with bad kids whether I’m dating them or not.

  10. @ Kimmie, yes – I hear it all of the time as well. Men really make single Mom’s seem like they have the ebola virus or something. But again, it just comes down to preference right?

    Damn, dating is complicate. We have so many do’s don’ts, wants, needs requirements that I’m afraid we’re preferencing ourselves right into a lifetime of singlehood.
    BTW, Kimmie, any relation to Jessie? Noticing the whole “IE” connection. LOL

  11. My sons, 17 and 21, do not live with me. I don’t see them often but try to arrange quality visits. So, on paper, I have no responsibilities other than myself. Well, I started dating a single mother. I understand moms are busy juggling work and being a parent, but this mother wanted to be exclusive. Ok. Well, we only saw each other once or twice a week. I understand that too, she’s busy. But am I being to unrealistic to expect at least more communication? Maybe a text saying you’re thinking of me? I mean, I’m being exclusive with you and not looking, right? Am I being too needy when all you have to do is hide in the bathroom so you don’t have to worry about your child seeing you text me? Anyway, she called me a big baby via text and that was the end of our exclusive relationship.

    1. Welcome Steve and thanks for sharing your story which prompted so many questions in my mind.

      Yes- single moms (and dads) are very busy and even more so if they’re really ONLY parents, meaning the other half of the creator isn’t around. Still, just like I say for most instances, people can find the time if they really want to.

      My first question when reading this is how old were this kids of the ex?

      Second is how often did she get a break? Was the father involved or did she at least have a strong support system?
      Once a week is pretty low for an exclusive relationship, so was it that your time spent together could only be done when the kids weren’t around?

      No – your expectations were not unrealistic and it’s sad they she took your wanting to spend more time together as an act of selfishness. BUT here’s the bigger question – were the two of you even trying to incorporate the children or was one of you reluctant to do so?

      Going in the bathroom, taking a little longer in the laundry room or whatever, a simple text or phone call to let you know you’re being thought of is NOT too much to ask. Damn, why couldn’t she just talk to you openly anyway or when the kids were asleep?

      No excuses, single parent or not. Sounds to me like someone wasn’t completely engaged in the relationship and wasn’t interested in making the situation work. Guess we know which one that was.

  12. Dating men with children really does suck, a lot of the time these men are seeing other women and use children as the excuse so you won’t be upset. I understand what parenthood involves but think single parents should only date other parents or maybe not date at all. Especially if you have nothing to offer but mouths to fed, that’s not attractive to a person who is childfree. If you can’t even afford to go out why date? I’m sorry but single fathers seem to think you should just give without expecting anything in return. I ain’t having it and if it means I may have to live a life alone then maybe that is Gods plan anyway. You have to compromise somewhere and I don’t see a lot of men doing that, so I see things getting worse as people have children and decide to break up and start dating again.

    1. Hey Veronyca,

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing some very good points.

      I was just thinking over the weekend how I would sometimes prefer dating another single parent only.

      I mean a TRUE single parent. Not the every other weekend dads, but the ones who have to juggle caring for their child, school, homework, work life, sports, programs, dating, booty calls etc…

      Single parents have developed (at least the good ones) a sense of selflessness and genuine respect and appreciation for time and planning.

      Saying all of this, I can certainly see how relationships between people with and those without either are extremely challenging or simply don’t work. This is before you even factor in the plus-plus issues such as someone with bad, special needs, spoiled, or crazy children.

      It’s a lot to consider and I dare not elaborate on the infamous other half’s of the children- the parent.

      Sadly you’re right, the dating situation seems to get worse.

  13. I have read up extensively about the topic of dating a single dad. Most articles talk about how one must be flexible, understanding, patient, saint-like, child-loving blah blah blah if she were to date a single dad because he has SOOO much to offer.

    Well, yes, they can be more evolved, have demonstrated a willingness to care for another being full-time, have the capacity to love (now that I’ve written it, am rethinking the validity of this “truism”), is better able to understand the demands of being a single parent. Oh I forgot to mention I’m a single mom with a full time job.

    Unfortunately, I don’t see sufficient material about the balance that Carmen has articulated with precision here. Women are advised at length that a single dad is a good catch and I’m pretty sure he is. But I’m a good catch, too, not a convenience. If you can’t find balance and time, it would be false advertising to “want a serious relationship”. Yes, you want one. But let’s be honest about what you can give in return for what you want.

    1. “…if you can’t find balance…”. Oh Janet, this is THE single most complaint heard when it comes to dating the single parent.

      Interestingly enough, men who are single parents seem to make the status much worse and difficult to manage than it has to be. I know for a fact this to be the case, because not only have I witnessed and experienced the lack of time and availability issue, but several friends have as well.

      Men seem to take the role to the Nth power. There are those who will completely shut themselves off to the world when they have their offspring around, so if you happen to be the woman he’s dating but either not seriously or HE feels your relationship isn’t there yet, good luck. Telephone calls will decrease, and you’ll be lucky if you get a goodnight text.

      Odd and annoying, because as a full-time single parent, I still make time. Whether its while I’m preparing dinner or when my child is in the shower, if I’m involved with someone I don’t go radio silent simply because my child is with me.

      My theory? These men may be over compensating or perhaps feel guilty in some way if they aren’t giving their children their undivided attention. While the age is certainly a factor, I have noticed that even men with offspring old enough to be self-sufficient or if they have resources (child care), they may become absorbed with that parental status and expect the woman to just accept it.


      I don’t care how good a catch a person is; you will always have problems with the individual who refuses to make you a priority.

      Thanks for stopping by Janet and waking up this monster in me about dating the single parent. 🙂

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