Dating Someone with Children

I’m a 30 year old, single guy who, while not desperate to settle down, am trying to only date girls with future potential. Is it unreasonable for me to disqualify a potential mate simply because she is divorced with young children? I’m sure you can figure out most of my reasons for thinking such a situation isn’t ideal.

It isn’t unreasonable for you to disqualify a potential mate for any reason. I can understand why you might not want to date a women with children already. There are many potential problems that come with an ex-husband and children.

You are going to over look many wonderful women your age if you choose to date only the childless. However, that is your loss, not their’s.

I don’t think so. Sounds better than getting involved with someone you don’t see a future with.

I’ll agree that it’s probably best to not waste the time of others dating them if you’ve pre-determined there’s no future for them with you.

But I think you must accept you’re increasing your chances of ending up alone thereby: what if all the child-less women you’ve “approved” tell you to take a hike because YOU are divorced, balding, too hairy, too short, too tall, funny looking, too liberal, too conservative, she doesn’t like your teeth, or whatever other reason that the might find for ruling you out.

Hell, I know one woman who will ONLY date divorced guys because she says “if they haven’t been married by now [late 30’s] there’s GOTTA be something wrong with 'em”

I think you never know where, when or who “the one” will be, so your best bet is to keep an open mind… When opportunity knocks, you don’t wanna look through the peephole and go “nah…”

Personally, I don’t blame you for considering this. If you’re pretty sure that you wouldn’t be happy settling down with a woman with kids, you’re doing everyone involved a favor by not getting involved on the outset. This is not like closing your mind to a woman with a fat ass(provided that’s not what you’re looking for). The ass could get smaller or you could learn to deal with the ass, but the kids aren’t going anywhere and they deserve better than someone learning to deal with them.

My kid is dating a girl with two kids. I was surprised at how into it he is. He calls me up and asks for advice when he’s babysitting. He seems so happy. I never woulda thunk it. You’d be surprised what you can find joy in.

I’m a single mom (though never married). I had my son when I was 18. Both men I’ve dated seriously since having a child never thought they’d want to date someone with a child. The first person was right; he simply did not have the ability to deal with someone else’s child. The second guy, however, has turned out far better than I could have imagined, and I think he’s swell (we’ve been together for almost four years).

So what I’m saying is, if it’s not for you, it’s not for you. I don’t think it’s unreasonable at all – there’s a lot of emotional and logistical baggage that goes along with dating a single parent, so if/when it becomes serious, there’s a certain amount of commitment and understanding that becomes necessary. You have to work harder in this type of relationship, and you really have to want to be there. One thing I’ve heard people say that irritates me to no end is that single moms are so desperate to meet and marry a man that they lower their standards to rope a guy in. NOT TRUE. Once my son entered the picture, it became a lot more important to me to find certain qualities in a partner – kindness, patience, consideration – in addition to the normal requirements of being good at Trivial Pursuit and an enormous amount of physical stamina.


I am in my mid-30’s and, I think, facing the same issues you are. For the time being at least, I have reached the conclusion that it does not make sense for me to date a single mother.

Are you going to overlook a lot of “wonderful women” following this rule. Yes, and, not to put too fine a point on it but that’s exactly the point. Bear with me. What I mean is that, there are indeed lots of wonderful, beautiful, smart, charming fantastic single women out there with children (indeed I know several of them.) By deciding in advance you are not going to date them, you are not prejudging their wonderfulness, beauty, intelligence, or charm. You are recognizing the reality that their wonderful qualities are beside the point.

There seem to be plenty of guys who are ok with the idea that the women in their life has children from another relationship. After much soul searching, I have decided that I am not one of those guys. I get the sense that you have reached a similar conclusion. IMHO, because innocent third parties are involved in all of this (namely the children), it’s better to face the reality earlier rather than later, and avoid a lot of heartache down the road.

Now, what if I meet the perfect woman, who has a wonderful child? Am I saying that it is impossible that I would consider a relationship with her. I guess not. You can’t control what your heart will do, or how you’re going to feel. BUT you can avoid getting into a situation where a lot of heartbreak is close to inevitable. You can say to yourself, before I get in too deep with someone who–because of factors that have nothing to do with her wonderfulness–is not going to work out in the long term, I am going to put my energies into meeting someone who would be a better match.

I truyly hope that no single mothers (or anyone else) take any offense at what I’ve just read, because I swear that none was intended. I guess it just seems to me that the stakes are much higher when there are children involved. And its better not to go down the path if you are sure you don’t want to take it to the end.


Refusing to date someone with children doesn’t increase your chances of ending up alone any more than refusing to date someone who doesn’t like dogs, or isn’t athletic, or who smokes, or whatever. The “you’ll probably end up alone” thing is passive-aggressive crap.

There’s nothing wrong with not wanting to get involved in a potentially messy situation, especially if you’re not willing to deal with the mess. You don’t date the woman with five dogs and three cats if you don’t want to deal with pet hair and pet smells and feeding schedules and such, and you don’t date the lady with the kid if you don’t want to deal with bedtimes and tantrums and homework and “You’re not my father.”

Everyone who has deal-breakers (which is, well, everyone) excludes a certain number of wonderful, intelligent, attractive people. There are wonderful, intelligent, attractive smokers, drinkers, people of other races or religions or political leanings, fetishists, pet lovers, pet haters, sports fanatics, nerds, bisexuals, etc.

There’s nothing wrong with being honest enough and self-aware enough to realize that however wonderful a person may be, they just won’t fit into your life.

It depends. Are you disqualifying them because you don’t want to deal with children in your life period, or because you don’t want to deal with someone else’s children in your life? If it’s the first, it’s not unreasonable, and you’d only make yourself, her and the kids miserable if you force it. If it’s the second, and that’s the only disqualification, give yourself the chance to get to know the kids (and the ex, because you’ll have to live with him, too, in a figurative way) before you disqualify her

By all means, be selective in who you date. It is not a crime to want to date women who don’t already have children. It’s certainly more cost -effective for one thing - single mothers expect the man to not only pay for the dinner, flowers and movie, but to pay for the baby sitter as well!

Keep in mind though that if you’re too selective - and if you’re not rich and handsome - you may eventually reach a point where women who are already mothers are the only ones realisticallly available, because gorgeous twenty two year old SFs tend to laugh at passes made by fat, balding 45 year olds who drive old Ford Escorts.

From the OP: No, I can’t figure out any of your reasons for thinking such a situation isn’t ideal, but I seem to be the only one here with that problem.

FWIW I never thought I would date a woman who already had a child. Then I fell in love with a single mom and had a long, intense relationship with her. In the end, we didn’t get married but it had nothing to do with her daughter, there were myriad other reasons. So date or don’t date whomever you want, but don’t be surprised if Cupid has other ideas for you!


I always imagined you as much older than your mid 30’s.

(I’m the Vegan from the “other” board, lol)

As a 40+ year old man who has dated women with children, I will tell you that eventually, no matter what they promise, they want you to love their children. My last girlfriend said “They have a father, I want a lover.” But then proceded to invite me to every band outting and every similar thing that they had. And when I say “invite” I mean, “push me into.”

I can honestly tell you that every woman that I have been with who had children, eventually broke up with me because of her children. (“I thought you would eventually grow to like them”)

My opinion? No, not unreasonable.

Boy are you in for a surprise. I said that too when I was your age.

Guess what? I met someone, divorced, 2 small children (pre-school), and a sorry ass ex-old man (a god-damned bully).

Guess what else? None of that matters…as a matter of fact, now, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve got a good ol lady and two fine kids( high-school), and the ex, we haven’t seen him in a loong time. (He wanted to bully me, HA)

So, when Ms. Right comes along, you poor sucker…you won’t know what hit you.

and BTW… fear not, just do the right thing and you’ll be okay.


For what it’s worth, PatrickM, I’m a divorced mom of two and when I was dating I always expected to pay my own way and would never have presumed that my date would pay for a sitter! That’s just outrageous! And when I told a man that I was just looking for someone fun to spend an evening with, I meant it. Surprisingly enough, I ended up finding a sweet guy who wanted a family and now we’re all living quite happily together.

In response to the OP, however, a ready made family is a lot to consider–in addition to the kids, there’s likely to be an ex, and if your parenting style differs greatly from your girlfriend’s, that’s going to lead to additional problems you’ll have to overcome. Don’t let anyone guilt you about this because it is a major decision and if you just don’t think it would be right for you then don’t do it.