When sifting through today’s dating haystack it’s nice to know what you’re looking for.. and what you’re not. Just a year ago in 2009, the Census statistics showed 30% of children in America live in Single parent homes. So roughly, 3 of every 10 people with children are single parents… meaning it is likely that a fair number of the singles mingling out and about will be single parents.
In a recent survey taken, using fifty random people on facebook*, on the top dating issues that single parents have, the issue that stood out the most was whether to date people that have children already or those that do not. Overall the school of thought on this matter used to be that single parents avoided dating non-parents for fear or rejection because of their children. This came from some non-parents expressing the need to have their “own” children or wanting to “start fresh”. The results of the survey, however seem to be suggesting that times may have changed, and that people have different reasons in today’s society on this issue.
Of the 50 asked, 34 people stated they would date a person with children while only 16 that said they would not. Of those that would not, there were common concerns, having to do with the level of involvement with the child’s(rens) other parent, such as:
– being a rebound relationship
– feeling an obligation to be a “replacement” for the missing parent
– chlid support drama
– feeling pitched in the middle of an unresolved relationship between the estranged parents
– unpreparedness to become an instant parent to the children involved ( regardless of whether the dater has their own children or not)
“I would not date a person with children, because I am not ready to be a parent, but mostly because the extra drama involved. The other parent will always be a part of your lives and the child’s life, where in some cases they need to butt out, but they feel they have the right to be involved.”
A few concerns were raised about child confusion or resentment toward their parent’s choice of “new” significant other, but mostly, the reasons for not dating a single parent were not focused on the children.
“Personally I have a rule where I don’t interact with any children of the men I’m dating unless it has become a serious relationship being taken to the next level. This way I’m free from any attachment and don’t have to worry about impressing or disappointing anyone’s kids.” Facebook survey taker
Those what would date a single parent, on the other hand, had the view that there were endless benefits of dating a person with children, because of the obvious common ground and comfort level they would share. Parents know what other parents go through, and are more understanding with scheduling and time issues. They can relate to each other, and of course, there’s the easy solution of having play dates; where the kids are invited to play while parents talk in a safe open environment – and the stress involved with finding a sitter is alleviated.
One parent commented that the reason he preferred to date women with children was because of the mentality of a parent vs a non-parent.:
“My single parent situation should never be open for critique or debate from someone I am dating. It seems that non-parents don’t understand the sensitivity there, and don’t really know when to keep their opinions to themselves. No one wants to be put in a situation where they are treated as if being a parent is a shortcoming.” – Facebook survey taker
Some of those that would date a single parent, however, had a few stipulations. One parent made the point that she could date another single parent, as long as there weren’t more than one or two children. More than that, she said, would be “imposing on her willingness to take the relationship to the next level”, implying she would want that many children added to her own family. Another had a condition that the opinions and raising techniques of one parent should under no circumstances be imposed on the other, because this almost always spelled disaster for the couple and the children.
All in all, the choice is up to the parent, whether they decide to date or pursue another single parent vs a nonparent. In a society where the choice between the two is one that will be inevitable for most people, open mindedness and compromise..or maybe just weighing the pros and cons thoroughly could be the key to finding exactly what works and what doesn’t. Happy dating!
*unofficial poll taken from facebook, ages 20-35 single people, with and without children.