When you’re dating a guy without kids

by singlemomseeking on June 22, 2010

single man tie

 

For so many years, I would ONLY date men who had kids. Meaning, I would only date single dads. I had my reasons for sticking to this rule. I thought that:

Someone who was already a parent would get me. If you didn’t have kids, how could you possibly understand the ins and outs of raising children?

Only a father would know how to parent because he was already one. I figured that a dad came with real life experience.

As it turns out (surprise!), my assumptions were… wrong. And, as you know, I am now married to a man who did not have any kids. (Update: We now have a baby together!)

So, when I recently heard from a man who’s dating a single mom, I paused because the story sounded similar to mine. She has sole custody of her 9-year-old daughter. They have no contact with the birth father.

“The daughter and I get along great,” he writes. “But sometimes she reminds me that her mom is just fine without me! Well, she’s a kid and doesn’t understand her mom’s need for male companionship.”

In response to her daughter’s fears, this mom has asked her boyfriend to slow down. And he has.

“I want to give the daughter time to accept and trust a new man in their lives. But it can be hard. I’m a single guy, and I get a bit lonely.”

In the meantime, the mom has made it very clear that she cares about him, but she’s afraid. She wants him to be a part of their lives, “but she uses the phrase ‘baby steps’ a lot, which says to me… go slow with us, but don’t leave. And I don’t want to leave, so I guess I’m resigned to giving the relationship more time.”

If you’re a single mom, have you ever dated a man without kids? Did you ever feel afraid and ask him to slow down?

If you’re a single guy (I know that some of you DO read this blog!) who has dated a single mom, does this guy’s experience sound familiar?

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Michele June 22, 2010 at 9:38 am

I recently ended a long term relationship with a guy who had no kids. It was so difficult because it seemed to me that he was competing with my children for my attention and that was a competition that he would never win. That wasn’t why we broke up but it was a contributing factor.
.-= Michele´s last blog ..Paradocks Grille =-.

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T June 22, 2010 at 10:18 am

Yep, Soldier had no children. The most difficult thing for us was my constantly having to remind him that my children already have a father! He wanted to just move in and have them call him Daddy.

Slow down, indeed!

Also, I’d have to remind that guy that if you know that she’s the one, it doesn’t matter how long it takes, does it?
.-= T´s last blog ..If you’re not happy, do you think you could be wrong? =-.

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singlemomseeking June 25, 2010 at 5:35 pm

Thanks @T, for reminding us that patience does matter. It’s not always my virtue….

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Tiia Jones June 22, 2010 at 12:37 pm

I have the same rule you did and for exactly the same reason Michele expressed (it will always be a competition, and he will never win). Early on, I tried dating men without children with disatrous results. My daughter, also, does not have a father who is present in her life which I think changes the dynamic. She also says (now–after ten years of Internet dating) that we are fine just the way we are. Maybe she’s given up on my finding a new Daddy for her!

I think, though, that with the right man it could work but it would take a very special guy. In the meantime, I will try to target my search to men with children. No matter who the man is or whether or not they have kids, I think it’s critical that they know at the onset that you and your child have been alone for a long time and that going slow will be really important. My daughter has been, well, not so nice to quite a few men! She even wrote a blog post about all of the devious, under-handed things she did.
.-= Tiia Jones´s last blog ..Happy Father’s Day to Me! =-.

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Swati June 22, 2010 at 1:26 pm

I have dated men without kids and I just couldn’t get it to work…they were very patient but really didn’t get what it was like to have a child (yes, I know we made plans..but we may have to cancel if this cold turns into a fever and then…etc…etc….) Sigh!

I am dating a man with kids now and we both have agreed to take it slow…but there’s still the challenge os different parenting styles – no It’s not simple no matter what I suppose (yes, sign me up, I hear myself saying – LOL!)

Somehow, when the right people get together, it all just works itself out.

Swati
.-= Swati´s last blog ..Chapter Five: Vicky, The Woman Holding Herself Together Like A Robot =-.

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singlemomseeking June 25, 2010 at 5:36 pm

@Swati: I was hoping that someone would bring up the fact that dating another single parent does come with its own challenges, such as parenting differences. If you’re written a post about this, I’d love to read it!

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Edgar June 22, 2010 at 5:11 pm

Maybe because of my age (52), the relationships I have had for the past 20 years have almost all been with divorced moms – and the three serious ones have been with moms. They didn’t seem to me to be particularly slow in development emotionally, but the logistics of life (particularly in the career I have chosen) in one’s 40′s and 50′s, coupled with the fact that two of these started out as long-distance relationships, did make the prospect of spending every waking moment together an impossibility, even had I such a desire. If anything, the bonds we developed seemed to build faster than those I had in my 20′s and 30′s. I think this is because as one gets older, one gets clearer about what one desires in a relationship, and once we find someone worth our time, there are fewer barriers to pursuing emotional intimacy. Two of them had children who were teenagers, and the other was a little impulsive (ultimately turning out to be borderline personality disorder), so those factors probably played a role in making the moms more available.

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Jenni June 22, 2010 at 6:32 pm

The guy I’ve started.. dating [seeing we're only one date down, and hopefully many more to come], has no kids. But he has gone out of his way to explain how much he likes kids – like talking about his nephew, and his niece that’s on the way. And he makes time to spend time with his friends AND their children. So I feel like there’s hope, if we decide to make a jump into a relationship down the road.

My biggest challenge is that he’s a widower. He last his wife to cancer last December. This is definitely new territory to me. So if anyone is having to remember that this will be a slow process, it’s ME.
.-= Jenni´s last blog ..This Is How It Feels =-.

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singlemomseeking June 25, 2010 at 5:37 pm

Wow, Jenni, please keep us in touch… re: dating a man who lost his wife. It sounds like he has had time to grieve, yes?

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Susannah June 23, 2010 at 5:02 am

I’m a single mother, for the past several years, both by choice and through divorce. I’ve dated a man without kids, but the most disastrous relationship EVER was dating a man WITH kids, thinking because he had kids already he’d make a good stepfather. Wrong!
He has no contact with our son whatsoever.

Now moving on to the new challenges of dating a woman who has no kids, and won’t be having any kids of her own. Any suggestions, Bay area friends?

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Queenie June 23, 2010 at 7:27 am

This hits home for me, also. I’m 31 and have a beautiful, three year old son. I have actually never dated anyone with kids. Sometimes I wonder if it would be easier. There’s just part of my life where we can not relate, you know? I mean, personally…I thought I had hit the jackpot when I learned that he didn’t have any kids because I would have been fearful if he did, only because we fear what we do not know. It’s been two or so years since I separated from my son’s father and I’ve been in one serious relationship (guy without kids) and have gone out on several dates (guys without kids). The older I get, the more I am mulling over the idea of dating a guy that has children. I think it would be easier to relate. I’m not sure why I went in the other direction regarding dude’s with children. I don’t think it was the fact that they had children but the fact that the children had a mother and I don’t think I was ready to have to deal with a ‘baby mamma’, hell…I don’t think I”ll ever be ready to deal with a ‘baby mamma’. I’ve heard too many horror stories but then again, I’m a ‘baby mamma’ myself. lol

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Sarah June 23, 2010 at 8:45 am

I’ve dated men with children and men without. None of it is easy! The man with children was very engaging with my daughter but we had different ideas about parenting and would get offended when I disagreed or did something differently with my daughter. I lean towards attachment principles and he was pretty much the opposite. I got tired of his suggestions and his insinuations that I was doing something wrong.

The most recent man without children broke my heart. We had/have a great connection and our relationship was great. Except that he felt like he came in second to my daughter (indeed he did) and he was unwilling to make the commitment necessary for our relationship to move forward. He wasn’t ready to take on a ‘father’ role. Although it was hard to let that relationship go I couldn’t be with someone who did not accept my mother status. I have decided that when it doesn’t feel like a choice I’ll know I’ve found the right dude.

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Naked Girl in a Dress June 23, 2010 at 11:43 am

I think dating with kids is difficult. Period. I have not dated someone without children before, but find dating someone with kids challenging. The love really has to be there for it to work because you have to navigate through the feelings of all the kids towards each other and the man/woman you are dating. It is very complicated!

Great post!
.-= Naked Girl in a Dress´s last blog ..Free to Be You and Me =-.

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BlueBella June 28, 2010 at 2:02 pm

Great topic. Having just married a guy with no kids, I’ve committed to that scenario, but it is not without its challenges.

The best part – he treats my kids as his own. Their biological father isn’t involved, so that messiness isn’t there, but it is replaced with my insecurities of having had to do everything myself and on my own in the past. How to let go and have a partner with children is a work in progress for me. The kids and MM on the other hand are handling it beautifully.

BUT, having had no children of his own, his dog was his kid until now . . . believe me I love dogs, I have 3 of my own, but a newlywed bed is no place for a dog IMHO, to which he sadly disagrees. . . of course I expect him to be ok with the toddlers coming in to sleep in the early morning hours. Is it a double standard?

Bottom line – kids or no kids, the partner you choose has to be right for you AND the kids involved. It may not be perfect, but it shouldn’t be more work than you’re willing to put in it, either. When you have kids you’re not just dating for you anymore, you’re dating for you and your kids as well. More complicated? Sure. It certainly is an extra sieve to run the dating pool through. But it makes finding the right fit that much more satisfying when you do.
.-= BlueBella´s last blog ..Someday I May Sleep Again =-.

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QTMama June 29, 2010 at 9:16 am

In my very humble opinion, it’s more so that a parent with children just simply “gets” it. A person that has no children just … doesn’t get it – yet. It’s always been my hope that no matter who I am with – a parent or not, would simply love my girl like she’s his own.
.-= QTMama´s last blog ..My Face Hurts =-.

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Neil March 16, 2013 at 9:07 pm

So I read your response, and all the other ones too. There are two ways of life, give and get, the way of outgoing love and selflessness to another equal to, or greater than that of loving onesself, then there is self-ishness. A lot of you have selfish, petty little quirks to start with. I am a single guy with no kids, yet I GET IT! I look after my best friend’s kid as if he were my own, and her older son too. To categorize EVERY single guy in your wonderful category of “don’t get it” is a misnomer. Us single guys could easily say that dating a woman with kids is a waste of time and that you all made poor choices in your selection of a mate to start with, hence your situation. But the guy who I am knows that things happen in life. Furthermore, following the love I was thought to express, I can easily love another’s kid as if they were my own, even if it means coming in second to them, so think about your comment for a sec, or two, or three…and don’t stereotype, try to find a single guy who “gets it”.

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Spencer Park June 30, 2010 at 8:29 am

I do have kids (2) but the “baby steps” comments reminds me so much of my relationship with my lovely lady who is a single mum with kids.

She has never actually used those words but constantly uses the words, “I really like you” but, “I don’t want to hurt you.”
.-= Spencer Park´s last blog ..Punkah Wallah Wanted- =-.

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Tia June 30, 2010 at 3:38 pm

I’m a single mom, and I’ve dated one guy without kids. It wasn’t entirely horrific, but truth be told, it was a BETTER experience than dating a man WITH kids who has a lot of contact with their mother.

I actually prefer to date men without kids and I think that’s now my golden rule.
.-= Tia´s last blog ..How Do New Private Student Loan Trends Affect Your Family =-.

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Jen July 5, 2010 at 6:39 pm

Interesting post and comments. When I was single with two kids, I made it a point to ONLY date men without children. It’s not that I don’t like men with kids; my theory was that if I ended up married again, life would be less complicated with just one ex to worry about it.

Sure, some guys didn’t “get it” but I just kept moving forward. Eventually, I found the right guy who did get it. And for whatever crazy reason, wanted to be a part of all of it. 10 years later, we’ve added two more kids to the brood.

Has it been easy? Heck no! And I know we’ve made a ton of mistakes. But we work together to make it the best we can.
.-= Jen´s last blog ..Old Town San Diego Old Town Attractions and Fun =-.

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JD July 6, 2010 at 7:38 pm

Hey i’m a single guy with no kids. I was dating a girl that has a son not too long ago. We got along very good her and I, but when we were apart things seemed kinda different. Like she was scared I would invite her out somewhere and she’d say yes then came the day of and she said she couldnt go. However, she always made time for her girlfriends. And then again once in a while she’d tell me you dont have kids so you dont know what its like. The crazy part is that when we were together me and her always had that instant connection and we’d be happy together, first and last thing we’d do is kiss when we saw each other. Although when we were apart it seemed like she was having second thoughts about us, but I know she still has feeling for me even if we’re just friends now. If any body has any advice for me please let me know what you think about the whole situation.

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Carrie July 22, 2010 at 6:01 pm

When I was a SM the only guys that I dated were without kids. Mind you though I did that on purpose. I was not looking for commitment and I figured if I hung around the “player” types I would be safe.

I did however end up engaged to a wonderful man who was before I met him the ultimate bachelor with no kids!! The transition for him has been seamless thus far!
.-= Carrie´s last blog ..NEW – Home-Hair-Care-Treatment!! =-.

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Single Guy (No Kids) July 26, 2010 at 5:49 pm

So, I’m the single guy referred to in the opening post and I think I have an edge on most single guys since I’m a doctor who treats kids all day long. I’m already great with them! And I was married to a mom with three kids and an ex who never let me participate in their raising. They already had a dad they saw every two weeks and he wasn’t me. It totally didn’t work out.

Now I’m dating the single mom with one 9-year-old daughter (mentioned above) and after knowing her for 1-1/2 years and dating her for 6 months, I’m already closer to her daughter than my ex ever let me get with my three stepkids after 3 years. There’s so much potential… and my current lady’s ex has relinquished all parenting rights due to domestic violence.

When we talked with the daughter about the possibility of mom someday getting remarried, she cried and said she already had a daddy and she and mommy were getting along fine now and she didn’t want a stepdad. I told her that, even though that wasn’t going to happen soon, if it ever did she didn’t have to worry. Any man that really loved her mommy would never come between them but would love her, too, and instead of pushing them apart would give them peace and security and help make sure they were safely together. Later she tried to tell me that she didn’t want me to be her mom’s boyfriend, but she wanted us to always be friends. She and her mom always refer to her as “my favorite 9-year-old” and one day she asked me if she’d be my favorite 20-year-old when she turned twenty, and I said “of course!”

What I finally realized was that mom’s “boyfriends” in the past, came and went and never lasted. So it was actually a compliment that she wanted me to just be her mom’s friend and be there when she turned twenty. Guess I’ll just have to be mom’s friend until it’s time to be mom’s fiancé, and skip the boyfriend phase :)

But I’m still struggling to understand what mom’s been going through as a result of domestic violence. That seems to be the hardest part…

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stephanie March 10, 2014 at 1:50 am

The hardest part about someone who has been through domestic violence is when the kids are involved. Even if the mom in the situation never gets hit, there is the mental and emotional manipulation that comes with the whole dv package. And not to mention, there is also the whole feeling in the back of your mind of disgust with yourself for letting him control how you felt and try to make you contradict everything you believe down to your core. It also happens with the kids involved, but they are so young that they don’t know how to process these things….so patience is key. Just hang in there.

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Angie February 6, 2011 at 10:11 pm

I dated a guy without kids. It was kind of difficult because it seems like he is jealous of them, especially my daughter. He wanted me to move in with him, but he didn’t like the idea that my daughter should move in with us. My daughter is 20 years old, but still not financially stable to move out of my house.

He always give opinion on how to raise my kids, but at the same time he not very supportive. I asked him that we talk to my kids about the rules if we all moved in together, but he refuse to talk to them. He insisted it’s not his place to talk to them. If he wants to be part of our lives, he should be part of the converstion on how we all have to deal with the situation.

Now I am considering dating a guy with kids and see how it goes.

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Ann Onomous April 10, 2011 at 12:44 pm

This is a great topic! I have always made a point to date men without children. I dated a man once who had 3 kids. I have 3 also. We were very much like the Brady Bunch. I think he resented the fact that I had more time with my kids than he did with his own(due to our respective divorce decrees), therefore, if we were to get into a more serious relationship, he would be spending more time with my kids than his own and that would make his kids feel like he likes my kids more.

So I decided from that point forward to only involve myself with men who had no children. For the most part, those dating experiences were limited and brief, the man not really wanting to spend time with the kiddos, mostly in it for sex. I finally found a man who loved kids and wasn’t afraid to get involved and is extremely involved now with my kids. He is great. However, we recently went on a vacation with the kids and he had a miserable time, because the kids were fighting and being kids basically. I can honestly say that my kids are very good kids. So I know that those of you with good kids, bad kids, any kind of kids, know that kids are going to be fighting on long trips in the car. I think that guys without kids, even guys with the best of intentions just aren’t going to get it.

These are not their kids, so they aren’t going to appreciate having their vacation ruined, their night out ruined, their privacy, their need for space, their need to watch a particular show on TV… etc… etc… etc… ruined. I am seriously considering leaving a great relationship, because of this one thing. I don’t want him to be resentful of my children.

Another issue with all this, is that he is constantly questioning my parenting. He seems put out by the normal mess of children. They will make a mess and it’ll be such an inconvenience to him. He won’t clean it up, but will bring it up to me as an issue to address with the kids. I tell the kids to be more careful and they are… then something else comes up! I feel like a referee between him and the kids… like he’s an older brother who’s space has been compromised…

In conclusion… I’m thinking I will be single until the kids are out… then I’ll date. It’s just too complicated.

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sunsetaqua November 20, 2012 at 7:24 pm

I have dated a couple of guys without kids the same age as me and they were very immature and lacked life goals, however they matched me on my personal level and we had good times, i felt they didn’t understand my situation as a mother at all so they never lasted.
I’m now dating an older man with two children and unfortunately they both hate my daughter and have done some awful things to her and bully her, in their dads presense. I’ve had my own problems with him too and even though sometimes we seem well matched I factor in all the negatives and I feel at the end of the day I just have to trust my instinct and that seems to be telling me to leave, it’s just so complex trying to have a normal life with blended families, I was definitely naive in the beginning thinking it would be like the brady bunch. i think i’m going to be on my own for a while.

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angela June 9, 2013 at 1:57 pm

I am dating a guy who dont have kids however I myself have 2 girls. I have been having a hard time with it more so in the fear department. Him and I alone have the greatest time together an he gets me an wants to spend time with me and my girls but the 2 times we have been around one another with my girls he has been real reserved an I dont know how to help him feel more relaxed….any suggestions to help him out would be great he is totally goofy with me an everytime I think the kid part in him will be great he freezes and he feels so bad an so do i

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Amber March 29, 2014 at 9:28 pm

I have three children (9,7,5) and when I was new.y single I was casually dating… Most I never introduced my children to. The one man I did told me that he would never consider me “long term” because of my children and that no man ever would stay with me… After all…why would they when they could find someone with less baggage.
Then one day I met someone on a dating site, a single man, eight years older than me who lived in a loft in the city. He went out a lot..only had beer and mustard in his fridge and two playful cats to keep him company. We lived completely different lives but we clicked instantly. We lived two hours apart so only saw each other on weekends. He had limited time with the kids for about three months until my kids went to their dads for the summer. I moved in with my bf and we had four months of being alone together… I think that it gave us a great chance to get to know one another… When the kids came back I got my own place with the kids and we saw my bf one night a week and spent the night there…this went on for the entire school yr. seven months ago we all moved into a house together and so far so good..
There have been. Bumps in the road…my bf does have alone time in our bedroom and I don’t expect him to take care of the kids in any way..and I think he appreciates that.. Overtime though he has begun to offer to help. He has taken a real liking to my middle daughter especially. He tells me he loves my kids..and they do love him. I don’t push.. I’ve been letting things happen naturally and in their own time…
,y bf says he doesn’t want kids of his own..he is older..has no patience for babies And has even mentioned that if my children are younger it wouldn’t have worked out with us.
He admits he doesn’t always like my kids…but that’s ok..I let him know that even parwnts don’t always like their kids..love them yes..but like is sometimes a different story..
Is single partying man moved to the suburbs with me..I’m scared that one day he will wake to find himself trapped and wondering what happened to his carefree days..but so far he’s been a trooper…he’s to,d me he wants to marry me someday…I’m hoping for a ring this next summer,,,I am loving our little family and so greatful this man has come into our lives

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Michelle April 7, 2014 at 12:15 pm

I am devastated. I am a single mother of two girls, who are 14 and 6.
I was engaged to my good friend and love of my life. He does not have kids. You can see the love and patience he had for my girls. He loves kids but all of a sudden he lost his job and started to get depressed. Come to find out that he was starting to realize that he couldn’t keep up with parenting my kids. Not sure if that’s the excuse, since I gave him a hard time for not getting motivated to find a job after 7 months being laid off but that’s what I got.

He said that because sometimes they do not listen, that he is failing. He couldn’t do it anymore. Now, we are talking about two girls that adore him and do respect him. They are good kids, they just have the typical roll your eyes thing here and there which I do not tolerate and discipline them for it as well. I let him do the step parent role. They are not kids with severe behavior problems.

My ex husband is very supportive of him and we love each other madly. How can this be this bad? He is also lucky because it’s like my kids don’t like him. They don’t want us to break up.
But we went our separate ways. He said he loves me more than anything in the world but he cant do the entire package. I though we could sit and talk about what can we do better together. I think he is just lazy and just wants to give up.

Should I be sad or glad that this happened?
He has never been committed before to a relationship. Maybe that was a red flag?

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singlemomseeking April 7, 2014 at 3:17 pm

Michelle, I can hear how much your heart hurts.
I’m sending you big hugs!
I’m wondering if you and your fiance have considered reaching out for some support to help you repair… and maybe come back together?
Have you two tried counseling? It sounds like you really care about each other.

Michelle April 8, 2014 at 5:40 am

Hi there! Thank you so much! Yes, i talked to him and he said he didn’t think he need it to talk to someone. It was hard to get him to talk as it is. I suggested for us to go and talk to a professional but he said it is not that bad of a problem… Hmmmm.. His mom abandon him, his father and the rest of the kids, when he was 5 years old and that really affected him. I wonder if that is why he is having commitment issues. Definitely he should talk to someone. I want to see him happy with or without me. I can just see him alone, he was always alone when we were friends. He will date here and there but nothing stable. 43 years old, never been married or in a long committed relationship. We talked last night and now he says that he feels like the passion went away and that he started to realize that he might of not want to get married after all. That i was not the happy self lately and he didn’t like that. I can’t be the happy self when i don’t see him motivated to find a job while i am busting my tail working, we are planning a wedding, he stopped being active, was not working out. He was a coach potato and that is not the man i know. He was very successful! But then again when i said to him we have to go separate ways after not seeing him making an effort to fix this, he suggested to go with his dad to help him for a while and that we should just take a break, he was afraid to loose me. Now, it is things coming out here and there. Not sure if they are excuses, it is so confusing! Everyone is in shock since they know how perfect we were together and how happy he was now with me. Obviously he was depressed. And he is such a happy, FUN guy. He is the most amazing ,giving, smart man you will ever meet. I am very sad and heart broken. This hurt me more than when my ex-husband of 13 years was unfaithful to me and i made the decision to leave him. I hope that now that we are going separate ways although we are still dear friends, he do some soul searching. If it is meant to be, will be right? Just trying to stay strong for my kids, they love him very much. I love him with every ounce of my body, he says he does too. I just think the entire package was too much for him and at least i am glad he realized that before getting married. We were suppose to get married at the end of the month. I am very glad i came across your blog. Thank you!

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