In modern society, and as we get older, it becomes more and more likely that the people we date will have children and previous marriages. These situations that were once taboo are now are now commonplace and add an interesting element to relationships. Coming from a stable Catholic-ish family, I grew up under the impression that divorce was something superficial people do when they get bored. Is there still a social stigma surrounding divorce that there once was? Society is much different today than it was when my parents and teachers were kids. The institute of marriage is not valued as highly as it once was. Granted this sounds terrible, and a 50% divorce rate is nothing to sneeze at, but allow me to offer some perspective. Part of the reason divorce rates are higher than ever is because more people are searching for true love rather than simply stability.
Women are financially independent and do not need monetary support the way many women did 50 years ago. So in a sense, the higher divorce rate was destined to happen as a society based on equality and independence was willed into reality. Now, let me be clear that what I’ve said is a small part of a much larger conversation with arguments on both sides of the fence, but the point I’m trying to make is that because things are different now, we have to shift our opinions accordingly. Women from a divorced marriage are not necessarily any less desirable than anyone else. In fact, maybe these women are more experienced and well-rounded as a result of what could be seen as misfortune.
Now, what of single mothers? Can I be honest? For a large portion of my life I believed that having children out of wedlock was somewhat trashy. And the women that have babies out of wedlock are irresponsible and thus undatable. However, this mindset is flawed. It’s flawed because it’s wrong to judge someone based on something I don’t fully understand. Perhaps the mother had a moment of irresponsibility but has since matured tremendously. Or perhaps it wasn’t irresponsible at all but rather a calculated decision made with an assumed life partner.
That being said, it would still be a very tough decision for me to date these, let’s call them “experienced,” women. There was a time not so long ago (like right before I started writing this article) when dating someone with a kid was not an option, regardless of the situation. And I think I had good reason. There are extra factors to consider when someone has a kid. The most obvious question is whether or not the mother is looking for a boyfriend or a father, or both. I’m personally not ready to be a father. If I was to date a single mother, I would be wasting my time and her time. While I’m sure the kid is a ray of sunshine, dating someone with a child when you aren’t ready to be a parent is like jumping into a ring of fire and hoping you’ll escape without getting burnt. It’s just not going to happen. But let’s consider that you, a single mother, find a man interested in dating you who isn’t violently opposed to parenthood. Are there certain expectations you have for this potential suitor?
No matter what the scenario, I think the man has to be brought on board as a friend to the child first. Even if I was ready to be a father, meeting a child would be a very difficult experience if I was expected to assume a certain role or take another man’s place. And God forbid the kid doesn’t like me. But perhaps after an understood serious relationship has formed, a friendship with your child would seem much less threatening. Luckily for women with kids, there are many men who are ready to be fathers.
The right man will happily accept your child as his own if he loves you enough. My brother is an example, and is now happily married with three girls, two of which are biologically related, all of which are loved tremendously. The key is not to force a relationship that hasn’t had a chance to form. Be patient and make sure your man is comfortable holding your purse before you hand him a dirty diaper.