The Problems With Dating Single Mothers

Dr. Dennis W. Neder


I just read the article “Read and Heed” on your website concerning dating a single mom.

It seems to be saying dating a single mom is a terrible thing and men should keep away at all costs. If a man is truly in love with a woman, he will accept the children just to be with her. Besides, the children will eventually grow up and move out of the house (hopefully) and then the relationship can continue on.

Finding someone you want to spend the rest of your life with is not all that easy. For a man to let go of a woman just because she has kids is a shame, he may be the one missing out on something great. Sure there would be challenges, but I think two adults who love each other can figure out something to make it work. I guess I’m just trying to say not to completely discourage men who may have found someone they really like but has children.


Thanks for your comments!

You’re right-on on your analysis of my article “Read and Heed”. I encourage men to stay away from dating single mothers at all costs. Yes, I know this doesn’t seem fair, but consider it from another point of view: relationships are very difficult as it is. Adding kids to the mix raises this difficulty exponentially. Further, the laws in this country can actually make a man liable for 100% of the child’s expenses even though he isn’t the father! This happens all the time. Unfair? You bet! But that’s the way things are in this “feminized world” we live in today. Until we get this changed (unlikely to be soon), this is the #1 reason why men should avoid dating single mothers.

Let’s look at you as the mother of this kid. You didn’t mention if you were married to the child’s father, but it is becoming much more common for women to (stupidly) have children without being married first. Even celebrities like Madonna, Calista Flockhart, and Rosy O’Donnell are “doing it”. What a great example this sets for people who look up to celebrities! I actually had a very well known author (female) tell me that if a woman’s body is capable of bearing children, she has every right to do it – with or without a father, and society just has to deal with that fact!

So, let’s say that you weren’t married when you got pregnant, for the sake of this discussion. What does the man already know about you? First, that you make poor, selfish decisions about your kids. You see, having children outside of marriage is bad for the kids – it has been proved over and over again. You can’t replace the father’s importance in your child’s life.

You probably have to work, (or be on welfare) to support them, which means that you aren’t around for most of the time. What time you ARE there has to be dedicated to these kids, not to your boyfriend. Don’t you think he should know that up front? After all, is that really fair to him? He didn’t make the decision for you to have kids – you did.

What if you’re divorced? This is a similar issue. Let me explain: What this tells a guy is that you pick the wrong men, or that even when you’re in a critical situation (like being a parent), you can’t keep the father around. Is the father a jerk? Perhaps, but again – YOU picked him!

In either case, you chose to have this baby, and for whatever reason the baby’s father isn’t around, as he should be. This isn’t a reflection on the men you date from here on; it’s a reflection on you. I’m sorry, but it’s true.

Remember: there is nothing so selfish as having children in the first place! After all, the children don’t ask to be born – YOU decided that FOR the child. For that reason, you owe them everything – and every possibility for success in this difficult world. By not having the father around, these kids are already at a disadvantage.

Why would a man want that much trouble? Further, just because the man loves the mother, that doesn’t mean that he’s going to love the children, nor must the children love the man! He has had nothing to do with their upbringing thus far, and, depending on your point of view, may have no involvement in their future upbringing either!

Now, you’re really going hate this: men with kids aren’t the challenge for women that women with kids are for men! Why not? Because of many reasons including:

  • Men rarely get sole custody of children in divorces at the worst; they have shared custody, and often not even that, and
  • Men usually have some other “support” group to watch the kids – when they’re at work for instance.

All of this considered, I stand by my article. Having children is the most important decision you will ever make in your life. Frankly, it affects your life in profound ways – including your relationships. You’re just going to have to live with the fact that your choices have impacted your own possibility of getting – and keeping – a fulfilling relationship; that that it’s impossible, but it is much more difficult. This isn’t my rule – it was here when I arrived.

Good luck, much love…

Have a love, relationship or man/woman question? I answer all email. You can write to me at for answers. For more information about my book, “Being a Man in a Woman’s World”, visit:

Copyright (c) 2002, Dr. Dennis W. Neder
All rights reserved.

Posted in Dating Advice, Relationship.

One Comment

  1. I hate to say this but it’s kinda rude for you to decide that,just because your life seems perfect doesn’t alternately give you the expertise of categorising single parents,specifically “single mothers” on whether to be selfishly happy, if you can’t stand the heat then damn right stay the he’ll out of the kitchen,women don’t choose to raise kids alone circumstances and the lack of responsibility from the other party contributes to it being like it is,so why should their life stop because you think they made a poor choice at protecting their children,your opinion doesn’t really matter at this point because you are from a narrow minded society,happiness is for everyone and children need that sense of love,so what if that you discouraging could be what the child’s need to contribute to a better society,no one said it would be easy no,bear in mind that the word daddy is not defined by whether or not a man has a biological child you can never produce a child and be a daddy,likewise you can have 20 kids and never be a daddy.A daddy is a man who cares for a child’s both physical and emotional needs.he puts the child’s needs and wants ahead of his own. A true daddy is hard to come by,but a truly special gift to that child…

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