Should you go out with a person who has kids?

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Kidsdata.org reports that in 2013, about 73 percent of all African American parents giving birth in the U.S. did so and were not married—and almost 68 percent of African American parents in California were not married. Then kidscount.org (Kids Count Data Center) reports that in 2015, 6,333,000—or 67 percent of African American households in the U.S., were single-parent led—whether it is male or female. Single parent household is defined not whether the parent is in a relationship or not, but more so if the biological parents or spouses reside under the same roof. Cohabitating or “shacking” situations with their “bae” do not count here.

As of July 2016, US Census Bureau reports that 13.3 percent of the people in the United States identify as African American, or, 37,685,848 people. Before you get too excited and think there’s a huge Black population boom from reading these statistics, pump your brakes. Whites makeup nearly 64 percent of the U.S. population, or more specifically, 196,817,552 people.

In California, 51 percent of the population is unmarried. This means that though some may indeed be in an exclusive relationship, they are yet to exchange vows.

The Washington Post reported in an article back in March 2013, that first-time births not only exceeded that of first-time births of married women, but these first-time unmarried mothers were often time in their teens and early 20s. The average age of first-time births for married women was 28.8 years of age.

By now, I’m going to assume that you’re tired of statistics being thrown at you! Let me make my point: if you wait until after you’re 25 years of age to get married, the odds suggest that you may very well enter marriage for the first time as a stepparent.

Obviously, there are several African American men and women who are available that don’t have children. But, as you seek to find your soul mate, it is highly likely that he or she will have at least a child. Get over it—it’s true. The numbers completely bear this out. If you decide to remain uncommitted until you find a suitable partner that is childless, I do understand. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting a clean slate to get your married life started. However, before you run off with the negative mindset regarding unmarried men and women who have children from previous relationships, consider the following:

  • Many single parents don’t have time to play around. Meaning, single parents often don’t have time to for frivolous encounters. If single parents date, it is likely that their ambitions for a suitable partner is truly sincere. Single parents are likely to be more methodical and thoughtful in the dating process, and likely aren’t dating several people at once. This also does not mean that someone who’s single won’t be serious at all—certainly not the case. However, those who are single and don’t have children can be a bit riskier in their dating habits until they are truly ready to consider getting hitched.
  • Communication is often time clearer with single parents. Single parents can’t really afford to deal in the ambiguity. And if the single parent is an active and involved parent, they are far more likely to deal in the black and white—either they can or they can’t do something, and they will seek that definitive type clarity from potential people of interest. Single people with no kids may be just as committed, but often their sense of urgency is driven by their true interest. In addition, they tend to have a better command of their discretionary time, not to mention a lot more of it to spare.
  • Clear about moving forward or not. Many single parents realize that if you’re not suitable as a potential spouse, you won’t make the cut to meet their kid(s). So, it makes sense that they will look for the person of interest’s sincerity and fit with them because there is another person (the children) to consider. Again, this does not suggest that single people without kids won’t do the same. The point is that single parents MUST do this because it’s not just their own interests they have to consider.

Now, in all fairness, while I have spent time painting this impeccable picture of dating single parents, there can be challenges as well. Here are a few:

  • Package Deal. The guy may truly be overly enamored with the woman, but that’s just the start. He’s got to find a way to appropriately bond with the child or children of the mother. Same goes for the woman who is dating a guy with children. And admittedly, this isn’t always easy. There could be hang-ups that the kids have and not want their father or mother to find true love as they live in a fantasy world of their biological parents reuniting. Or, there are lingering issues with the other parent that haven’t been fully resolved, and it complicates the process. So, if you really love this single parent and want to build a life with them, this is inevitable.
  • Ultimately, having to deal with the other parent/family. Let’s just say that things with the kids go swimmingly. No issues—you bond OK and it appears to be a workable situation. In most cases, especially if the other parent is involved with the children, you will need to meet the other parent (I would also add to request this meeting even if the single parent does not). This isn’t necessarily a bad thing—especially if the other parent has moved on to another relationship and particularly marriage. The other parent can be very understanding and rational. In many cases, they can be quite supportive of the blended family concept. Then there are those parents who completely are opposed to another man/woman trying to have a role in raising their children. Or there are still lingering feelings. You name it. So, you’d want to know the reality of the landscape is and not just go off the reassurances of your potential spouse.
  • Occasional rescheduling. Sometimes the plans are all set, reservations made, and then something happens with the kids that throws a monkey wrench into everything. If you’re a single parent you know full well what I’m referring to. Kids get sick, unexpected accident occurs, you name it. While another single parent can understand these untimely occurrences, someone who’s not a single parent might not be as patient or tolerant.

 

At the end of the day, you can indeed find true love with a person who’s never been married or doesn’t have kids. And in some cases, a bad relationship that yielded children could, in fact, have created a gem of a human being that can bring you joy for the rest of your life. Don’t disregard a person because they have a child or children. Every single parent situation is laced with drama and discord. Just be open. But if you are clear that you don’t want to entertain single parents as a potential partner, be honest and don’t “go there with them.” Be respectful and stay true to what is personally gratifying for you. In conclusion, remember this: In the first marriage, happy couple, happy children. In the second marriage, happy children, happy couple.

 

-Kerry Neal

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