A long time ago, I filled out an online dating profile. I answered all of these questions about myself - most of them truthfully - and I made sure that I thought long and hard about what I was looking for and what I could say to attract the people I was looking for.
As I filled it out, I came across one question: Would you date someone with kids?
Instinctively, I clicked "yes."
After talking about this with a lot of other people in their 20's, I found that most people click "no." The vast majority of young men and women seem to have some aversion to dating people that already have children.
I asked them why, and they gave some standard, but understandable responses:
- They probably have drama with their ex-partner.
- They are likely more stressed
- They are possibly looking for a father figure for their child, rather than a relationship partner.
- There is probably a large financial commitment.
Each of these makes cognitive sense, and most people can think of single parents that fall under these categories. Indeed, things like divorce or unplanned pregnancy can take a severe emotional toll on the single parent, and that emotional toll can lead to a relationship with someone that consistently stressed, emotionally unstable, and possibly even deceptive.
But my response to that is: So what?
That is not to say that those things don't matter. They absolutely matter. But they don't matter any differently than any other relationship.
If you get into a relationship with someone that has a child, and that person is emotionally unstable or angry or manipulative, etc., then you leave that relationship.
But you leave that relationship because you would leave any relationship where the person is emotionally unstable or angry or manipulative, etc. Whether or not they have a child may affect how they act in the relationship, but it's how they act that's important - not whether they have a child.
Every relationship should be evaluated based on how well the relationship works. If someone has a child, but the relationship is great, then the relationship is great. If the presence of that child causes stress or any problems that make the relationship not as successful, then the relationship is not as successful.
So if asked whether or not I would date anyone with a kid, the answer is: of course I would, as long as the relationship was successful, and we had mutual goals. It seems foolish to think that someone with a child can't make me happy, and while conceivably the child's presence could cause stress in the relationship, so too could a lot of things in my partner's life.
Everything needs to be evaluated by how it affects the relationship, not some imaginary belief that somehow having a child makes someone more or less desirable or as good a relationship partner as someone that doesn't. It "may" be more likely for a single parent to have issues that affect the relationship, but that should only be a concern if it affects the relationship.
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