08 November 2012

Concerning The Sexual and Marriage Markets -- Part II

II.  On Single Mothers

Despite all of the moves by society to make it more acceptable, being a single mother is still stigmatised in contemporary society. And no, not all single mothers can be painted with a broad brush—after all, some are that way because their husband (or other long-term partner who was also the children’s father) suddenly passed away or became abusive towards the mother and children.  Some married and had children early, and the marriage dissolved by divorce.

However, a lot of them do result from the mother failing to think adequately about her actions. For example, she may have forgot to ensure she was taking contraceptive methods with one of the men she was sexually intimate with. Or perhaps she wanted a child so badly that her current beau was (at the time) enough.

In any case, the effect is severe and hotly contested by women. Many women will argue that a man without children is “shallow” and “selfish” for not wanting to date a single mother.  Some even go so far as to say such men are “douchebags” and “arseholes.”

But, the thing these single mothers (and others who attempt to shame other men as a way to force such men to “man up” and play the provider) seem to blatantly overlook is that most people do not want to take care of someone else’s children full-time and without some sort of financial compensation.

Or to put it simply: most men do not want to raise someone else’s kids; they would by far prefer to father their own biological offspring.  A lot of that are fears and risks, most of which are actually quite grounded, such as:

  • He may want to be the #1 priority when he dates a woman; if she has children, those children should be (and hopefully are) top priority.  In other words, he wants to experience some of the relationship with her without children in the picture.
  • As a result of above, he fears that there will be little or no time for intimacy or “alone time” with the mother—in other words, he’ll again be overlooked or neglected, and merely seen by the mother as “just another person who needs or wants stuff from me.” 
  • He may feel that by dating the single mother, he may have to impress her children as well, which may add to his stress. 
  • He may fear that he’s being looked at not as a romantic partner and lover, but merely someone to “help pay the bills and provide a ‘meal ticket’” for the mother and her offspring
  • He may fear that the children’s biological father(s) may try to re-enter the scene and cause unpleasant or violent reactions that may very well cause him harm, be it physical, social, financial, and/or legal. Related to this are child-custody schedules and court-ordered visitation rights by the biological father(s). 
  • He may fear that society and the Courts may attempt to force him to cough up much of his salary to pay for children he didn’t father and wants nothing to do with all simply because he dated their mother for a bit—and particularly so if he’s just “scraping by” as it is. 
  • He may want children of his own and the mother may not be willing (or perhaps even able) to have any more children. In other words, he wants to be with a woman to start a family and not try to shoehorn himself into one that already exists.  
  • He may simply believe that he himself is not fully prepared to take on the role of father and believes that trying to do so would be an injustice to the children.  
  • Finally, he may fear that by dating a single mother, he may be seen as extremely desperate for any sort of female attention. This perceived view drops his own SMV and MMV down by quite a bit simply because in the dating world, perception IS often reality. 

Now think about it this way. Suppose that you’re a single woman without children. Would you honestly date a man who has custody of three young children? Many of you would say “no” and list many of the same reasons that I just rattled off.  Many of you would argue that he is “damaged goods” and therefore undesirable and inferior to a man who doesn’t.

And if that is the case, then why aren’t men allowed to think and feel the same way?

As a result, many (if not most) single and childless men thus view single mothers as “damaged goods,” and poor relationship material. And the truth is: such women generally are. In the dating bazaar, there are plenty of women who don’t have children, and few single mothers have enough attributes and sex appeal left to compete with many of the childless women out there. Consequently, the very spectre of having to take care of someone else’s children in and of itself yields a deep black mark.  And yes, the same is equally true to single fathers (hint: just reverse the genders).

This isn’t to say that there are absolutely no currently childless men at all who don’t mind women with children; rather, it’s to say that such men are very few and far between.  It’s a fact of life that single mothers have to deal with. And if you don’t already have children, it’s something to think long and hard about: are you honestly prepared and willing to deal with such a harsh reality should you become pregnant and have children outside of marriage?

Go back to Part I

Go to Part III

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