Disclaimer: The following are the views of a single, black father whom shares custody of his child. These views are not representative of all single fathers or black parents. These views are not meant to excuse or justify the choices or actions of any individuals. However, this discussion piece is meant to provide new perspectives and encourage dialogue. Comments are greatly appreciated.
As discussed, in our society the BD is regarded as the villain. It is highly discouraged to support the villain, associate the with villain, or even date the villain. In most cases, regardless of the father’s involvement in their children’s lives, it is considered a bad idea to attempt an intimate relationship with a BD.
Unmarried fathers, much like mothers, are regarded as unmarriageable/undateable due to the presence of their children. It is assumed that when you date an individual, you date their life, and many aren’t prepared for the challenge and/or responsibility of parenthood. Because of this, if you date a single parent, you are assumed to have a bad case of HAS (Hoodrat Affinity Syndrome)… let’s define:
Hoodrat Affinity Syndrome (HAS) – a mental disposition to make choices indicative of lowered standards, due to low self esteem and efficacy. These choices are meant to decrease the rate of rejection and increase the rate of success when approaching candidates for intimacy.
In short, they date undesirables because they don’t think they can do any better… and sometimes even because they know they won’t become attached and can drop them quickly.
KING’S LAW: Dating BD/BMs is comparable to buying damaged goods; You only enjoy it because you can’t get any better or because there is something wrong with you.
Is this a fair depiction of anybody who would date a single parent? Why is dating a parent seen as such a negative?
In a world that continually chastises irresponsible parents, it seems so fitting that we deem the responsible individuals incapable of supporting other areas of their life (i.e. dating, careers, education, social life, and/or anything the average ASS
umption maker thinks you would sacrifice to have a child).
It’s also funny how women might cite fear of dating a man who would abandon their children, when if they dated a man who takes care of their kids, this would be less of an issue…. In Black America, the fact of the matter is that if all Black Women were to marry a Black Man, a large number would undoubtedly be marrying BD’s. And this is bad why?
Why is it considered such a bad thing to date somebody who already has children?
Fear of Societal Perception
Because the BD being a villain, it is assumed you will be the target of many a side-eye from your more discriminating friends and family. But this isn’t a one-way street; BM’s are seen as careless and brash decision makers. Everything they do is often questioned as well. If they have a child outside of marriage, people will certainly question their ability to date, let alone their dating choices.
Although many people won’t admit it, they really DO care what others think. As often as dating somebody with children is something that people feign, it is usually a standard that is preached by somebody close to them. This negative perception is a result of other fears that accompany dating a BD/BM.
Fear of the Mixed Family
In many peoples’ minds, they will build their “perfect” family, live a financially stable life and retire with healthy grandchildren and a white picket fence. By dating somebody who has a child, it is perceived that you are joining a family as opposed to building one.
Let’s face it, not many people plan to be step-parents. The idea of taking care of somebody else’s children is foreign and sometimes offensive to some. Not to mention the risk of a family that grows beyond your control; i.e. you’re dating BD, and his BM has another child. For the person dating the parent, this in itself appears to be a Parent Trap.
Fear of Escalated Commitment
Commitment, obligation, and responsibility are non-tangible burdens that people usually make a choice to carry. By dating a parent, you’re not allowed to assume situations without the child’s presence (supposedly). It is assumed that if you’re dating a parent and not dealing with their kids, you are either not important or you won’t be around long. This idea scares people… for the simple fact that they don’t want to be committed, obligated, or responsible to the child; in fact they don’t want to be parents.
KING’S LAW: Parenthood is a gift to the willing parent, and a curse to everybody else.
Are these brash statements? Yes… But we live in a harsh reality. Just as the current numbers show that it is unsafe to assume a father will stick around, it is unsafe to assume the world cares about the social plights of single parents.
However… These fears aren’t limited to the non-parent. I personally am not ready for more children. I’d find it to be a disservice to date a woman with children because I have no interest being a set part of their lives. Hypocritical much?
Not really… as parents, we tend to have a better understanding for what life challenges we are able to handle… You can’t fault me for being honest with myself… and I’m not the only parent that feels this way. A female peer of mine who has two children told me flat out, “I won’t date a man with kids.” Was I offended? No… it’s how the cookie crumbles. It’s a part of the complex and uncertain world of being a BM/BD.
Not only are we considered unmarriageable based on others’ fears, standards, and general misunderstandings, but we have to look out for ourselves as well. Sadly this usually points in the direction of failed relationships because finding the balance of pleasing others while ensuring a happy family is beyond difficult.
But while most would assume this means we live only for our children (which they are or should be our top priority), we still have our own lives to live.
KING’S LAW: You know NOTHING about parenting, until you’ve done it yourself.
KING’S LAW: Parents don’t need pity, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need love.
Upcoming Topics… Dating the Children, The Love of Child Support is the Root of All Evil, The Unwritten Script of Fatherhood, Taboo Expectations, Blame the Gatekeeper, and more…