A question for single dads about dating.

I’m 34 and prefer to date men my age or a little older, which means that I encounter a lot of guys who are divorced. Some of them have kids. This is not a problem for me. What is a problem is when they’re not upfront about having kids.

The other day, a guy responded to my online ad. Cute (in uniform, no less), decent writing skills, and seemed interesting. I noticed that for both “smoking” and “kids” he declined to answer, so when I wrote back to him I asked about those blanks. He responded that he has two kids who live with their mom. I asked why he didn’t just say so in his profile, and he said, “I don’t mention it because it is sometimes a bone of contention. It’s odd but it seems to me that a lot of women here want men without any ‘complications’. I figure that if the the time ever comes it won’t be an issue.” I wrote back that I still didn’t understand, because it’s not like he would lie about having kids. I also wrote something else that has resulted in no further contact with this guy, so I never got any deeper into this question. But it made me curious.

So, I put it to the single dads out in the dating world: are you upfront about having kids (and if you have an online profile, are they mentioned)? If not, why not? Does it matter whether a woman who isn’t interested in a single dad turns you down immediately, or after 2-3 dates (or whenever you get around to mentioning that you have offspring)? Do single dads find that dating can be just as hard for them as it (stereotypically) is for single moms, even if the kids don’t live with you full-time?

I am not a single dad. I’m not a dad at all. Or a guy, for that matter. However, I think I understand where this guy is coming from, and it might go a little something like this: a women who sees his profile and is interested enough to contact him might not care so much when he says “So yeah, I have a kid”; on the other hand, if he offers that information upfront, an otherwise interested person might skip over him entirely. If she takes the time to contact him, though, his qualities might outweigh the fact that he has kids at all and that, coupled with the fact that they don’t live with him, might convince a woman who is not interested in kids to pursue a relationship with him anyway.

I think it’s underhanded and rude, and I doubt very much that I would have anything to do with him once he told me about his familial situation, but that would have nothing to do with the fact that he has kids and everything to do with the fact that he’s dishonest. I would be very surprised if this tactic has ever worked for him.

Does the online profile allow them to indicate: “I have kids, but they don’t live with me”?

Maybe some men are afraid to select “I have kids” because it could imply “you’ll be their stepmom all week” instead of “my kids will visit us on weekends”. Or maybe some women will avoid men with “I have kids” checked because they don’t know which situation applies.

Well, I don’t do the online dating thing but if I did I’d be upfront about my kids.

The way I see it; If a woman is put off even in the slightest, she may as well move on to the next guy.

Actually, I’m 35 myself and I prefer to date women who already have children. If I’m going to engage myself in a LTR with a woman, I’d prefer she already have that “motherly instinct” built in.

Also, I just like children in general anyway. That’s partly due to the fact that I’m still kind of a kid myself.

A friend of mine is in this situation, ie. single dad, flirting online. Judging by his experience, it seems to be a definite bonus. He’s a nice bloke, but working class, heavy drinker and smoker, and has no money. Yet he’s fending the women off with a stick.

Because he’s got kids living with him, and that somehow makes him ‘safe’.
Heck, if I were a single dad on the prowl, I’d be positively ADVERTISING the fact I had kids…

It depends: Has she slept with me in that time period?

Disclaimer: I’m not a single dad and I’m not intending to imply that all those who aren’t immediately forthcoming about their kids are just looking for some quick action. But, I’m sure there are some.

I was a single dad for a spell and I made sure that everyone knew up front that Lilly, Queen of the Universe, was in the picture.

Thanks for saying it, walrus, 'cuz I was thinking it.

I’m a single dad with an online dating profile. My profile specifically states that I have two children and that they live with me sometimes. That is to say, I spend A LOT of time with them.

I don’t hide or minimize the impact they have on my life or the potential impact they would have on my future S.O. If said person can’t see herself sharing my attention and herself with my kids, I don’t want any part of her.

That said, I don’t have women knocking down my door because I appear to be “safe”. In fact, I know it’s worked against me with many single women who have no children.

The guys who lies (or hides) any important fact like kids, smoking or drinking will lie about many other things. It’s a red flag no matter how they justify or spin it. Run, don’t walk, the minute you uncover this kind of person.

Since I never wanted to date a guy with small children, I was always grateful that the guys I met by chance who had young (baby-to-sixteen) kids were always honest about it. It made it easier for both of us; we could decide not to see each other again from the beginning. The guy I’m seeing now has three sons (28, 25, 19). I’ve met all three and they’re nice young men. I wish they were more a part of their father’s life. It seems to hurt him a lot that they’re so distant.

I was once a single dad with sole custody of my 11 year-old son. The kid was a real chick magnet:
“Oh, it’s just the two of you? Is your dad feeding you spaghettiO’s seven nights a week?”
“Is your dad making sure you do your homework and take a bath every day?”
On and on like that.
Actually, we were doing quite well. Hamburgers with a box of Kraft macaroni and cheese, pork chops with french fries, steak two or three times a week, the occasional Domino’s Pizza, Coke and Sprite with our dinners…we were groovin’! Salad? Casseroles? Balanced diet? Homework? BAH! We were doin’ fine.
Then along came Mary, with her home-made spaghetti, fried chicken, chocolate cakes, baby blue eyes and other assets and the deal changed.

I didn’t meet people on the internet, only IRL, but the kid was a plus, not a minus in my case. I certainly wouldn’t advise anybody to try to hide the fact that they have children. The truth about children is gonna’ come out pretty soon anyway.

What QuickSilver said.

I’m a single dad with 3 kids. I am the ‘non-custodial’ parent, however they are with me A LOT. I had an ad on the net for a brief period 9no longer) and had TONS of responses.

Not only did I check the box “Kids: Yes, Live with me sometimes”, in my profile I mentioned that I had kids and that “I love[d] them to the marrow.”

I am sure my parental status had some women declining to respond. So…? That’s GREAT! That’s the purpose of the profile! If there isn’t a good fit, let’s get that figured out up front. If my location, height, weight, hair color, income, are bad for you, than it’s cool. It just isn’t a good fit. So what?!

Still, I had many responses and it was cool. If a woman doesn’t want to date me because of my kids, that’s fine with me. I take no offense. (I, for example, won’t date a woman who smokes) They are an important part of my life. They’re part of the package.

I will say this though: Among my ‘non-internet’ experiences, having small small kids (particularly girls) is better than any pickup line ever conceived. I got phone numbers in parks, grocery stores and gas stations. I was in a grocery store once and my 5 year old daughter said aloud, “Daddy, I love you to the last piece of the sky.” I could see the women next to me melting in to pools of water.

If a man lies* about his age, job, thinning hair etc that’s uncool. If he lies about his flesh and blood he puts the “S” in Scumbag.

*(Lieing in profiles, in my experience was extrememly common. Women routinely misrepresented themselves, figuring I guess, that once I found out how wonderful they were I would overlook that they were actually 10 years older, 30 pounds heavier,their 2 previous husbands, and even the minor fact that they were still married!

I agree with John Carter of Mars.

My kids got me more attention than otherwise, by far. I’m sure some women took a pass, maybe a lot, but I got lots and lots of attention with my kids.

As an interesting expirement, I would advise a guy to rent out his nieces/nephews (girls are better; 4-7 yo) and go to a [busy] public park, or theme park like Six Flags or Great America. (King’s Island)

If you’re putting out a parental vibe (read: loving, attentive etc) it will be noticed. The rest is up to you.

(Of course don’t be the same kind of jerk who lies about the non-existence of his kids by pretending that your niece is your child. Come clean quick if someone comments about your lovely daughter…)

the raindog

Let me amend this…

Many times, the issue that I was lied to about made little difference to me. I think men and women perceive what the other wants to hear and craft that profile, even if they have to exagerate or even lie.


I ended a few contacts, not because of the eventual truth, but because they lied to me. Tell the truth and take your chances. It’s gonna come out sooner or later.

They want a chance to show you their positive qualities before getting rejected for their negative qualities, hoping that one would make up for the other.

I don’t do the online thing but I am always upfront about my 14 year old son. He means everything to me and although I don’t articulate it outright, I expect it to be understood that he will always come first. By the same token I could never respect a woman who would not put her own children before a new man in her life.

This is dating gold. Not only do you cultivate the “I’m nurturing and responsible” vibe, but you ALSO get the “and not attatched to a harpy ex or screaming kids at 2 AM” points.

Throw in a line about “I can’t wait to have kids of my own” and you will own that playground.

Thanks for all of the replies! :slight_smile:

And iamthewalrus(:3=, that’s an excellent, excellent point. :smack:

I didn’t really expect any less from Dopers, but it’s good to hear that most dads are onboard with being upfront about the kids. I guess having children just adds a whole other dimension to the dating thing that includes a lot of variables, and since most people don’t want to wax parental in their profiles they err on one side or another – I prefer the candid side.

I wish it were acceptable to be straightforward about stuff like that in profiles, though: I almost feel like I need a paragraph something along the lines of “I’m not sure I want my own kids, but I love other people’s kids and I don’t care if you have kids. Even if you have sole custody. I won’t expect to meet them right away (for everyone’s protection), and I’ll understand if our plans need to change at the last minute sometimes. I can’t say that I’ve thought much about the whole stepmom thing: first we have to just date for a while, and I don’t see you being a dad as a reason we can’t just date.”

But that would be weird.

So far, I’ve only met one single dad: we had a couple of dates at the end of last year (almost a year ago! how time flies), and when we met I told him that one of the things I liked about his profile was that he was upfront about his daughter – not just about having her, but that she was an important part of his life. She was in one of the photos with him, and he talked about her a little in his profile. He was happy to hear that, but also surprised, and it made me a little sad that he was surprised (if that makes any sense).

Anyway, the two guys I was exchanging messages with most recently both had kids, so I guess I’m on kind of a “single dad kick” these days. :wink:

Agreed; that’s what I meant by “I also wrote something else that has resulted in no further contact with this guy.” :slight_smile:

I guess that makes a kind of sense, but I don’t like someone else trying to second-guess what I’ll perceive as negative. Kids aren’t a negative, no one’s actual appearance is a negative, smoking and drinking habits aren’t negatives, etc. They’re all just facts, and part of who the person is – if withheld, I’ll feel like they were hiding something. It’s why I include full-body pictures in my profile, and make no attempt to hide how I look or what my interests are.

Funny how it’s exactly the opposite for women… :wink:

It can be weird being a woman who genuinely enjoys children, and is good with them, but has no burning desire to have any of her own. Luckily, several years ago I learned to stop caring whether the cute guy across the zoo/festival/whatever was going to think that I was just dying to be a mom, and learned to fully enjoy spending time with my friends’ kids. These days it amuses me when someone assumes that my friend’s 4-year-old is my son. :slight_smile:

I’ve thought about this from the point of view of being a single dad to be. Of more concern to me would be the reaction of my kid, the mother of my child to be is a single mum and she told me her kids were sometimes unhappy in a way about my prescence (the younger one walking in on us shagging asking for dinner money being a moment to remember)

I’m doing the whole online harmonizing dating thing now, and although I’m not a male, I’d be fairly PO’d if I came across someone and things were moving in the right direction, and he suprised me with kids. Kids upfront are one thing. Suprises are another. Besides, if he omits his kids (his kids! how can you omit your KIDS?), then there’s no telling what else he’s forgotten to mention. (Jail time, drug addictions, that nasty little oozing pus from his penis…)