Are My Kids Keeping Me From Finding Love?

Evan,
I fall into the majority of divorced women with a degree who are looking on line, but with children. Dating with children changes the rules of the game entirely. For both men and women. As a single person without children you are open to possibilities, open to long distance relationships even, but when the kids are around then we have to change our mindset to realizing that we are Teflon until the kids are out of the house, that the Brady Bunch was just a fantasy TV sitcom, and that living a life of dating without the kids makes us live two lives, one with kids and one without. Soon enough you’re going to resent one of them, if not both, and the idea of bringing your children along for dates is not really something acceptable.

So you can talk about what your dating life as a single man was like -you wanted a woman who you could have children with, so you probably didn’t date women with children and if you did you soon found out that they needed to be thrown back. That’s how I feel, that every man I meet will never really date me for a serious relationship because I have children, and especially if he has his too, then it’s like he can understand but he also doesn’t want to pick up someone else’s slack. Perhaps you can recommend a different resource…or you can explain how your comments apply when it comes to dating with children.

Try it with your wife…pretend the kids were not yours, and you were dating her…how would that change everything? -Joy

Joy,

Thanks for your email, as it reveals both some truths and blind spots.

Truth: it’s a lot easier to date if you don’t have kids.

People without children don’t have much of a concept of what it’s like to be tethered to home for feeding, napping, school, and extracurricular activities. Your life isn’t entirely your own.

The thing is: this isn’t news to anybody.

If you are confident, self-aware, have a high emotional IQ, a low tolerance for being mistreated and understand the opposite sex, you’re going to do well in relationships.

This just reveals your blind spot – you keep on choosing men without kids. And because you keep choosing men without kids, you’ve come to the conclusion that the Brady Bunch life is a fantasy. Hate to tell you, sweetie, but the reason that the Brady Bunch is NOT a fantasy is because both Mike and Carol HAD kids.

To be fair, you almost figure this out by the end of your email: “If he has (kids) too, then it’s like he can understand but he doesn’t want to pick up someone else’s slack.”

Pick up someone else’s slack?

He has his kids to raise. You have your kids to raise. He doesn’t have to pick up your slack. He has to understand that, as a parent, you need a little slack, because you don’t control your own schedule.

The tone of your email suggests that because I am a single guy who found love with a childless woman that my advice is invalid to you. That’s not remotely true.

Everyone likes to think her situation is particularly unique. It’s not.

Once people hit their mid-40s, tons of guys become available because that’s when the married-with-kids guys who got married in their 20s are divorcing, so suddenly you can date your peers again.

Advice for women over 50 is almost identical to advice for women under 50.

Advice for women who want kids is almost identical to advice for women who don’t.

If you are confident, self-aware, have a high emotional IQ, a low tolerance for being mistreated and understand the opposite sex, you’re going to do well in relationships.

That has nothing to do with kids or age or anything. If you understand 40-year-old men, you pretty much understand 60-year-old men. Men don’t change. But circumstances do. Which brings me to something that I’ve been sitting on for a few months and wanted to share here with you. It’s an update from my friend, Lori Gottlieb, author of “Marry Him,” my favorite relationship book. Writes Lori:

I’ve been dating someone for about six months. I guess I should change my Facebook “status” to “in a relationship” at some point, so I can stop being considered a “toxic maximizer” every time some guy asks me out. You should write a column about how once people hit their mid-40s, tons of guys become available because that’s when the married-with-kids guys who got married in their 20s are divorcing, so suddenly you can date your peers again. In my late 30s, I didn’t want divorced with kids, but once I had a kid and reached my mid-40s, divorced with kids was exactly what I wanted. So he’s 47 with 14-year-old twin girls. And then, of course, in the past year, all of these opportunities came about due to the demographic shift of an influx of 40-something men with kids getting divorced and not wanting to date women in their 30s who don’t have — but want — kids. They don’t want to go back to diapers at that age. And then there’s the financial investment of starting a second family. For all those reasons (not to mention, of course, my “charm”… ahem), I’m what these divorced-with-kids 40-something guys seem to be looking for. Fodder for your blog, perhaps?

Yes, Lori, it is fodder for my blog.

And it’s also my answer to your question, Joy.

Choose men with kids who “get” what you’re going through and you’ll be that much closer to developing a Brady Bunch family of your own.