As I sat with my closest girlfriends on our routine girls’ night out (GNO) one Saturday evening, the suspense at the table didn’t go unnoticed. Prior to our meeting, I had mentioned that I had some news to share. As the words tumbled from my mouth, all three gave me ‘the look’.
“He has what?” one girlfriend asked.
“As in a product of him?” she added dryly.
“Yes,” I answered, sheepishly.
I knew exactly what they were thinking, as I spoke about my newfound love interest, and him bussing the file that he had a kid. Wasn’t I the same person who vowed to never date a man with a child? Alas, I admit, those were my exact words, but those words were also spoken by a much younger and not so much wiser version of myself. I have learnt through maturity and life’s little lessons, that limiting yourself or options because of the checklist of the perfect man or ideal relationship you have etched in your mind doesn’t actually prove to be realistic.
“Getting to know him is what matters, right?”
But while it isn’t the ideal situation for some women, is dating a guy with a child really all that bad? It doesn’t have to be, of course. It very well depends on the man, and how serious he is about getting into a committed relationship. But getting to know him is what matters, right?
When my guy mentioned that he had a child, I admit that the fear factor did set in. You know… the one involving the mother. Yes the other woman; the ex who will always be present in both of your lives. So I had to ask myself. Was this really worth getting into? Was he really worth it? There are other men who are single, childless and worth getting to know. Eh… I was up for the challenge, and decided to give it shot.
Obviously, there are several issues to deal with when someone has a child. Will he put you first? Do you think you’ll get jealous when you have to share him, and can’t throw a tantrum because you’ll ‘look bad’ for being jealous of a child? Will your plans get rescheduled at the last minute, because something came up with the child or because of a situation with the other parent? Will you have to deal with the ‘chile mother’?
“Can your significant other manage any possible drama?”
Can your significant other manage any possible drama? What about keeping two women happy? You know… trying to pacify the mother so his relationship with his child isn’t affected, and keeping his ‘woman’ comfortable. And let’s be real, what about feeling secure about your relationship when you see him with her and their child, looking like a happy family unit?
Having to deal with the ‘chile mudda’ may not be one’s cup of tea, but this is one of the things you may have to do while you’re dating your guy. Having only exchanged brief, common courtesies via phone with my guy’s ex, I can say that it is necessary for you to be cordial in this situation, because you’ll be interacting with her child as well. In my case, we haven’t really had any tension thus far. All women aren’t the same and not every ex will bring drama or real ‘tote’ because of her ‘child fadda’s’ present relationship. These women, however, do happen to be a minority.
Fact is… there are many people out there who have a child with their ex. It is a reality that single people have to face. Coming to terms with it depends on what the single (and childless) individual is willing to accept, all in the name of love and finding ‘the one’.
Based on my experience, I’ll say that being open minded to a situation like this can be rewarding. You could actually find a great person who shares common interests, goals and views with you.
My guy possesses the main characteristics I usually go for, smart, sensitive, ambitious etc. I also get to witness the type of dad he really is, and he handles his role and responsibilities as a father well. He is absolutely in love with his child, and that makes him even more attractive to me. Seeing a man love and care for his child genuinely is a beautiful thing. Bear in mind that dating someone with a child would initially lead to you meeting the child or children, and having to build a relationship with them, not to mention gaining their trust as well.
Now it may seem rather funny, but I’ll admit that I was highly nervous the first time I met my guy’s child. Of course, I was also nervous that my guy would analyse me. Hell yes! But I wasn’t trying to overly impress him. I was more nervous about meeting his child.
Would the kid like me? Would I be accepted? Somehow I felt I had to impress the kid. I remember thinking, “Please don’t cry if I hold your hand”. Receiving the biggest smile was my ice breaker. It was done. Sealed. The kid was smitten… okay… not totally. Still, it was a great relief to have taken that step. See… another thing with dating someone who has a child is this… something even more special is added to the relationship, as the guy would have to trust you to take such a big step in introducing you to his prized possession, and it’s often a good sign that he takes you seriously.
Seeing a man with a child does give an inclination of the type of father he makes, and females – me included – tend to look for that particular quality when choosing our mates. Possessing the ideal qualities is what would make the final deal in him becoming a potential husband. So does this make a man with a child more marriage worthy? Does having a child mean that he is even more ready for long-term commitment, even with the extra baggage? He just might be. While, on my end, there is no talk of running down an aisle anytime soon, as the relationship progresses, who knows what may happen.
While we look for stability in relationships, dating someone who has a child shouldn’t pose a threat. It’s all about building that relationship on the basics, as you would any other, with love, trust, understanding, and commitment, among other things. Naturally, there would be hiccups; when disagreements occurred between the exes, this stressed out my guy, which in turn affected us, but we worked it out. In this type of relationship, things can also become even more complicated than they already are, so communication is key.
There will be many challenges and the occasional stress factors involved, but if he’s really worth getting to know… why not take a chance at something different? Like I said, many more single people have children now, and, while some people have strict rules about wanting someone, who may be like them, single and childless, dating a single parent isn’t akin to the plague. All you need to do is take a deep breath, and make sure you can handle all the other variables that come along with this relationship.
Check out the rest of this week’s issue (18/04/11; Issue 53):
- Caribbean Amphibian: Stereotypes of ‘Island’ People
- T&T: From a Nation of Underachievers to Leaders?
- 5 Tips for Single Parents Looking for Love
- Missed Genius: The Misdiagnosis of Autism in T&T
- REDjet: Travelgasms and Sunsplash Dreams
Look out for a new issue of Outlish.com every Monday!
Jolisa Brewster – has written 10 posts on this site.
Jolisa Brewster is a south girl, who is still adapting to her adopted town life. She loves to talk as much as much as she loves to write, and is currently pursuing a degree in media and communications. She also happens to be an avid foodie. When she isn't talking her family to death, you can find her eating her way around Trinidad and writing about it. She is learning to not take life too seriously and plan so much. God does laugh! Especially at her.