Dating, in this day in age, is difficult (as I’ve said in other posts, I’m sure, of which I’m also sure you’re sick of hearing, but eh). Throw some kids in the mix, and you’re just asking to be single until those little ones go off to college. Child-less people feel weird entertaining others with children, as if children were a disease of some sort. As if children are a personality trait that can’t be ignored. Obviously, I’m not saying go against something that’s at the core of what you believe and throw caution to the wind. I AM saying though, that people have certain misconceptions about single people with children, and they write them off before they’ve even gotten to know the person. Maybe they don’t feel comfortable around kids, maybe they don’t want to feel like they’re overstepping in some way – I totally 100% get it. I see some disparities in how parents are viewed, based on the parent’s gender. Men with children don’t seem to be that big of a turn-off for women, while women with children might as well have a “C” for children scarlet letter emblazoned on their dresses. But let’s be real here: if you’re over the age of 30 and you’re looking for a serious relationship, chances are, 7 out of 10 people you meet may have children (I literally threw out an arbitrary, made-up statistic out there, so please, spot-check me and correct me, it’s cool). I’ve noticed that there are at least three common fallacies surrounding single parents, so please take heed and ensure that you’re not generalizing a diverse group of people (I know this is America and that’s what we do, but try, this one time, ‘kay?).
1. Single parents are looking to replace the “missing” parent.
Please. Have several, several seats. Not all single mothers are looking for a “daddy” for their kids. Truth be told, that is typically the furthest thing from their minds. Companionship and partnership are important, but they are not looking for step-mommy-or-daddy-dearest to step in and save the day. For the most part, all of the single parents I know are doing fine on their own, thank-you-very-much. And lo and behold, the “missing” parent has a HUGE part in those kids’ lives, and they engage, participate, and know their children. No, the single parent is looking for someone to have a relationship with, because yes, the children are the most important part of the lives, but not the only part. Also, if the single parent is doing it right, you shouldn’t be meeting their children any time soon anyway. As parents, they want to take their time and get to know someone, to figure out if you’re even a right fit for them, much less their children. I give this phase about 8 months to a year, with that time period being spent in the serious relationship. And then maybe, maybe you can make it to meeting the kiddos.
2. There’s nothing but constant drama with the “other” parent.
Okay, I could see why this would be a concern, I do. No one wants to deal with someone’s crazy baby daddy or baby mama. But again, here we are making assumptions. Hopefully, you’ve met a single parent who has their head on their shoulders, who wants to do what’s best for their children, and leave the drama elsewhere. I have witnessed several successful co-parenting situations, where the parents get along, have great relationships with their children, and even with the new significant other. You will encounter situations where the other parent is no good, and I don’t blame you for wanting to steer clear of that b.s. But have faith: there are tons of mature adults out there that have come to grips with the fact that they didn’t work out, but understand that they still have to partner with each other to raise wonderful little people, and who realize they are wonderful people themselves that can move on and give their all to someone who is willing to understand their situation.
3. They may still be carrying a torch for the “other” parent, also known as the ex.
Another valid concern, I suppose. I mean, it’s one thing for a person to break up with someone, and you swoop in and take that number one spot, with the ex never being heard from again. But an ex that your lady/man has to talk to constantly? No, no, no. Not gonna happen. Um, but guess what? Exes are exes for a reason. It’s usually because the two people who were once in that partnership realized that they just weren’t gonna work out together. And again, they are those two awesome mature adults that understand that, but still need to communicate for the good of the people they produced. It’s a given that they will still care about each other to a degree; most of us without kids still care whether or not our exes live or die (hopefully), so of course you’re going to care about the well-being of the parent of your children, since essentially, it will affect those children. You just have to keep in mind that you’re the important one in their lives, and just like you were able to move on from your exes, so can they.
I know we all have our deal-breakers when we’re determining a person’s value in our lives, and I know accepting someone else’s children is a huge one. But if you meet a good person, who has it together, who makes you happy, and just happens to be an amazing parent, don’t just write them off. I happen to be a friend of people with some wonderful blended families, and I know that if they would have run the other way when the words “I’m a parent” left their lips, they would have missed out on something great. Happy dating!