The Single Life: Don’t Date a Woman With Kids if You Won’t Marry a Woman With Kids

BY: - 16 Aug '13 | Single

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Over the weekend, my friend–let’s call him Jackson–sent me a text message to ask me what I was doing. I had turned down a dinner date earlier in the afternoon and wasn’t doing much of anything. Since I’m not into to texting an entire conversation, I picked up the telephone. 

Jackson couldn’t understand why I didn’t go out when I didn’t have my daughter. I explained that I was relaxing, enjoying my time watching a television show that didn’t star Dora or Doc McStuffins. Jackson mentioned possibly hanging out with a woman who was his perfect marriage match, but who would never be his future fiancée. The deal breaker? She was a mom.

No matter how sexy, how smart or how fun, she would never receive a ring–at least not from Jackson. I respected his opinion. Heck, I held the same one when I was in my twenties, single with only one mouth to feed–my own! But I didn’t respect his approach. I told him he should not date a woman with kids if he would never marry her.

Obviously, there are numerous factors that determine selecting your spouse. And sometimes you have to fish a few ponds before reeling in a winner. Nonetheless, I thought Jackson should put away his pole if he didn’t want to catch a family. We then went back-and-forth.


Jackson: The hesitation for not wanting to marry a woman with children is the fear of the phrase,”You’re not my daddy!” Nothing will make me feel as powerless as a six-year-old telling me that. When you have children together, those things like that do not come out of their mouths. Besides, I will never be number one in the mom’s life.  Kids come first.


Me: Whoever I marry will be my daughter’s stepfather, and she will be taught to respect him and listen to him as he would be a main caregiver. Although I won’t allow another man to spank her, I will allow him to discipline her in other ways with my input. We would teach the same to our own biological children. I wouldn’t marry a man who doesn’t love my daughter dearly. We’re a package deal! As far as ranking your loved ones, that doesn’t occur. I have a special bond with my daughter. She comes first, but that doesn’t mean my husband will get leftover love. My heart is big, and there’s room for lots of people. Just like a house, it has many doors and I have copies of the keys to hand out!


Jackson: A bigger factor for hesitating to date a woman with a child is the fact that you are setting yourself up to marry not only the mother of the child, but the father too. That man will be around forever. If the parents do not have a good relationship, you’re stuck with that problem forever! I dated a mom before whose baby’s dad and father would argue about who I was and if I was good enough to be around their child. He also told her that he missed her.


Me: There is no need for my daughter’s dad to interact with my future husband beyond cordial exchanges at birthday parties and school plays. Of course, I would love for the two men to get along, but if they don’t like one another, they don’t have to deal with each other. If the father is an uncooperative person, the mother should set boundaries. Communicate via email. Keep the conversations centered on the child. Agree to disagree. Remember, you cannot control what happens under the father’s roof–unless it is harmful of course–or what comes out of the father’s mouth. You are in charge of your own happiness. I’m not cheating with my ex just because we have a child together!

About the author

Heather Hopson

Not long ago, Heather Hopson was an award-winning television host in the Cayman Islands. Today, she's writing a different kind of story as a new mom. She gives readers the key to her diary and shares personal stories about single parenting, dating, transitioning to motherhood and her obsession with being what her family calls an "activity mom." The site features celebrity interviews, parent spotlights and confessional videos. Follow her journey through motherhood on Twitter @dearmomdiary.


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16 WordPress comments on “The Single Life: Don’t Date a Woman With Kids if You Won’t Marry a Woman With Kids

  1. T

    I agree with Jackson. I am married to a man with kids, & I love him. While I do think you shouldn’t date a woman with kids if you don’t want to marry a woman with kids, that part is true. All of Jackson’s points are true. Being with someone with a child is NOT like being with a single person. & if your child comes before your spouse, it’ll never work. God’s way is that your spouse is the most important person in the world to you. Children grow up, move out & move on. Then all you have left is your spouse. Always protect & provide for your child, of course, but husband is first in my book. This was easier before it became so common to have kids before marriage or to divorce. Now the guilt makes people feel like they have to make the spouse second to their children, and it causes even more divorce.

    I think the focus shouldn’t be on telling men or women to date people that already have kids but to focus on ending this endless cycle of unwed mother/fatherhood and divorce. Marriage is hard enough wihtout having to deal with a child from a previous relationship. The LEAST of your worries is the phrase “you’re not my daddy/mommy”. Trust and believe. If that’s all I had to worry about, marriage would be a walk in the park!

    1. Heather H

      Can you provide that Bible verse that states that a person should put their spouse above their child? I’ve often heard people refer to this, but wonder what the scripture says exactly. I’ve read verses on the husband being the head of the household, a wife submitting to her husband and a woman being created for a man.

      I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, but like to see it in black & white and not leave things up to interpretation. Obviously, when you marry–according to the Word–the husband and wife become one. I agree–always protect and provide for your child. There’s no need to weigh who you love more. I think you love in lots of different ways.

  2. Mrs. Brown

    I had two sons of my own before I married my husband 3 years ago. I personally did not stay in a relationship if I didn’t feel it would lead to marriage. I didn’t introduce my sons to any man. I was careful because I didn’t want them to get attached to someone who wouldn’t stick around. I’m thankful that my situation was a little less complicated. Their father has not been in their lives in almost 9 years (They’re 10 and 9 now so you can do the math). My husband was the only father they’ve known, so we gelled as a family very well.

    I will say that I agree with the previous poster that in a marriage, your spouse should come first. The boys understand that my husband is their father and even call him “dad”. I even agree with him spanking them, but only because they were able to form a bond first. They understand that any discipline he gives is out of love for them. We now have a son of our own and another on the way, and our family is seamless! No child is treated differently than the other. True love and committment is possible for the single mother, as long as she is NOT willing to settle or comprise and she trusts God to bring the mate. I’m a living witness that this is true!

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  4. Ronnie Tyler

    Great Article Heather! It’s a complicated subject with no right or wrong answer. At the end of the day, every one has their preference and you have to respect that. If you don’t want a ready made family…that is cool and there is nothing wrong with that. Not everyone is cut-out to be or wants to be a step-parent or in a blended family. It is both challenging and rewarding. HOWEVER….I do think that Jackson is limiting himself. He is just focusing on stereotypes …and the negative ones at that. Not all women with kids have drama with their exes.. And there are sooooo many wonderful women out there that have children (you are an excellent example of one.)

  5. Lisa Maria Carroll

    Jackson needs to watch “Men Ain’t Boys.” (I’m sure Ronnie and Lamar can share how he can get a copy.) The DVD has a great example of a father and stepfather getting along, for the sake of the child. Sounds like he needs to see the side of dating a woman with children that doesn’t include drama.

  6. Deema

    I am a single mom but haven’t dated a man with children yet. I’m open to dating both & It’s funny how a lot of guys automatically think about the “crazy babydaddy”. My daughter’s father isn’t present & hasn’t been active in my daughter’s life for over a year now. What I drew from “Jackson’s” conversation was that he wants to “lay up” & sees the child as a block for that. A REAL man honors God & knows it isn’t about late nights & early mornings. As a woman living a Christian lifestyle I’m now celibate & know not to entertain men who want to sleep over because they aren’t interested in anything serious anyway. Their goal is to get what they want from you but won’t even be man enough to tell you they aren’t looking for a wife. So they leave you broken & go on to another woman without a second thought.

  7. MommieDearest

    I don’t have a problem with Jackson not wanting to marry a woman with kids. My issue is that he will DATE a woman with kids knowing full well that he has no intention of marrying her. The deception bothers me. He needs to let the woman know UP FRONT that he is not interested in marriage. If she’s cool with it, then great. If she’s not, then she has the choice to cut him loose and move on.

  8. Trixanna

    @MommieDearest….I’m with you.

    While I think it’s fine for Jackson to prefer not to marry a women with kids. There is something very deceptive about him that also bothers me. Not only that…he strikes me as “selfish”. So, between his deceptive nature and selfishness, I’d say that he wouldn’t make a good husband or father — step or otherwise.

  9. Pingback: 14 And Dating A Married Man The Same Age As My Father - The Good Mother Project

  10. Rick

    I’m a divorced man and met a younger woman who it turns out has two small children and is currently separated from her husband and living alone with her girls. We have just started dating and the relationship is getting physical. I like her a lot, but I keep thinking in the back of my head I couldn’t marry her some day not just because of the kids but because she doesn’t have other aspects of her life together (she doesn’t have a job, is doing bad in school and seems like she is overwhelmed by her life. I feel for her but I don’t want to get sucked into someone else’s huge problems). We talked up front about what we were both looking for and she indicated she wasn’t looking for something too serious, but if it goes that way she’s fine with that, and I said the same thing.

    Another problem for me with dating her has to do with my past. I treated my ex-wife pretty well, was never abusive and never cheated on her and I’ve always been gainfully employed. She wound up cheating on me with an ex-bf after we had been together for years, and then after the fact she tried to claim that I was this terrible guy who never loved her. I haven’t talked too much to the single mom I’m dating about her past marriage, but all she said on the topic was that her life would have been easier if she had stayed with him but she had to “run away” or else she would feel lost. My fear is that if I was with her she eventually something would snap in her where she just wasn’t “happy” and she would book and I would have wasted years of my life.

    I think what hasn’t been mentioned in this article is that some men who’ve been burned by women wonder why a woman would leave the father of her children, and it’s not promising to another man interested in getting heavily involved. And contrary to what they will try to claim, not every woman has been beaten or cheated on. A lot of women take off in search of greener pastures or for other issues.

    1. Heather H

      Rick, not to be in your business, but you did put it out there…lol. It sounds like she may have her issues–everyone has baggage. I like to date those with carry on luggage only, since I really don’t have the energy to drag overflowing suitcases of drama–but it seems like you are also taking old issues into a new relationship. When I broke up with my daughter’s dad, I didn’t date for a year. Best decision–ever! Needed time to heal from heartache and be present 100%. (Relationships aren’t 50/50, can’t half ass your way through anything in life.)

      We can’t live in our past or live in fear. Women may “leave” the father of their children, but they didn’t “leave” the children in most cases. Single moms break up with men for the same reason women without children do. Sometimes things in life don’t work out. You can’t worry if someone will wake up and be unhappy with you. Sometimes it’s not you at all. It’s someone deflecting blame:) Learn, heal and keep it moving!

  11. Rizzo

    I’m a single, no-children guy in his early 40s. I’ve dated single moms with the idea that the relationship would go further.My last experience was with a gorgeous woman whom I clicked with very well. Her kids were 5 and 7, and she’d been divorced a couple years. We hit it off well, and got along great. However, she had no boundaries with her ex – who was the typical deadbeat, warrants, saw the kids sporadically, etc. I didn’t “stay over” when the kids were there, which was most of the time, respecting her relationship with them. I initially really saw the relationship may go the distance…but began to see the ex relationship in a horrid light. He would text her “I love you” messages or every name in the book, stop by when he wanted (unless I was there after I had stepped in the middle of him calling her names on the porch one day), and she simply would never respond to draw lines. We discussed the situation many times. She didn’t like him (supposedly), but seemed to feel there was nothing she could do. After nearly a year, her drug-addicted mother moved in (who had stolen from my gf before), and I told her we were done. I was willing to take on her lovable children, but not deal with her inability to set boundaries, which ultimately probably would manifested with her kids too. LOL, and I do set healthy boundaries, so I would eventually be the interloping bad guy in that situation. It took a long time for me to get over her. I see Jackson’s point. Unlike Jackson I will never date a single mom again, but it’s because I see the very pitfalls that Jackson acknowledges. There is plenty of divorce already, and marrying a single mom only increases the odds of divorce.


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