An Automatic Disqualifier?

The other day my friend hit me with the age-old question. It is that question that many black women in their twenty-something’s from all socioeconomic backgrounds will face at some point. Whether or not she addresses the question to herself or her girlfriends, it is one every woman has to answer and decide her stance.

“Benè call me ASAP,” SD said via Twitter. “I need to talk to you about something I know you can give me insight on.”

“Ok, cool. I’m at work I’ll hit you up when I get off at five,” I replied.

Five o’clock couldn’t come fast enough. I was overly anxious to hear what SD wanted to discuss with me as I usually was the one seeking advice from her.  Furthermore, I had a feeling that this  conversation was about a man. Since I wasn’t really dating anyone I had to vicariously live through her.

“Hey girl what’s up?” I asked when she picked up.

“Nothing much,” she replied. “So I been knowing this guy since high school and we’ve been acquaintances for a really long time.”

“Recently we got back in touch with one another via Facebook. We have really great conversations and we’ve been talking everyday for the past month,” SD said.

“Why am I just hearing about this? But go on,” I said jokingly.

Girl he wants to drive all the way from *———— * to *————— * to come see me,” she said.

Now in my head I’m thinking, ok what’s the problem. He sounds like a good enough dude.

“Ok, you don’t want him to come see you?” I asked.

“It’s not that. Girl he has five kids,” she said.

“NO. DON’T. DO. IT.” I yelled. “How many baby mama’s does he have?” which is a very relevant question nowadays.

“Four,” she replied.

Now I know this seems like a closed case as soon as she said five with four baby mamas, especially when SD has no children. I was on the phone dumb founded that she was even considering continuing any type of communication with him. This was a no-brainer. At least I thought.

I was all for her remaining friends with the guy, but I told her she had to make it very clear that she was not interested in him in any shape, fashion or form. Hell, he needed to be worrying about his five kids. I even quoted my grandmother hoping SD would see the light, “Baby you never want to get with a man who has all these kids. Because his income is steadily going out the household to those kids, while all yours is coming in,” my grandmother once told me. I was so firm in my point I just knew SD would agree. Bam! She hit me with the, “Well what if you miss out on a good man just because you’re discrediting him for having kids?”

As someone with former law school aspirations I had an immediate response to her question. But what I wasn’t sure about was how much I believed in my response. In hindsight it seemed as simple as we don’t have children, if God knows it’s our preference to date someone without children, then He has created a man for us that meets that criterion. On the surface it sounded logical. Yet, I couldn’t help to ponder how superficial and selfish it sounded once the words left my mouth. If a man has all the other qualities on your list (ladies don’t act like you don’t have a list), should he be scratched off just because he has kids?

Next I tried to argue with SD that it was the caliber of men she chooses, which is why we were even addressing this issue. Once again I was taken aback my own thoughts. Single black men with children have absolutely nothing to do with a lower or higher tier of men. One of my good friends- who has his Bachelor’s, Master’s and is pursuing his Law degree-has two children. In many conversations I’ve had with him he always verbalized his concept of a strong family unit. And one day he wants a wife and more children.

Fact is life happens; and everybody doesn’t experience the traditional- date, get engaged, marry and then have children.

I can bet money based on his credentials alone, many women would jump at a chance to date him. Black man, loves black women, pursuing law degree, has a job, a car and his own place. Sounds good on paper doesn’t it? (Note: I’m not saying that degrees and materialistic values are all that matter or are of uber importance to every woman. However, these qualities initially will make a woman at least consider the guy).  But how many of those same women would think twice about continuing a relationship once they found out he has not one, but two children?

Ladies, let me ask you this. If you were a single mother would you want men to say you are not a suitable life partner because you have a kid(s)? Everyday women have children and are forced to become single parents. However, many of them  still handle their business and possess the qualities of great women, phenomenal women. If we as women truly want to be considered equal in this world, I think we must use the same measuring scale for men that we use or want used for ourselves.

Am I saying I could seriously date a man with five kids? Hell no! Mama ain’t raise no fool.

I am saying that it’s time to reevaluate some of our ridiculous standards that potentially keep us from complete happiness with an incredible man.

Are kids an automatic disqualifier for men or women in matters of the heart?

  • brennan

    hey gurl i feel u.my dude is 33 and he dont got no kids and i dont either. so i think i made a good choice 🙂

  • sepiaesthetica

    I know this is kind of random, but I think the AMOUNT of children would have a greater impact on how I felt than the fact that he had children… oh yeah, the AMOUNT of baby mamas is also a factor. A man with one or two children from one woman is a lot different than four kids from two or three women. Less children to pay for/give attention to/raise/ be a role model for/consider in life decisions and less baby mama relationships to manage.

    If you are a good woman you are going to want your man to give all of his children all of the unnecessary – yet necessary – things that you want your own child to have: braces when her teeth are crooked, trumpet lessons, art school, a trip to the motherland, etc. If he has five children, how will you manage all of that financially… especially of you have or plan to have children of your own?

    I think it boils down to the potential for resentment more than the money. How will you feel about 18+ years of supporting so many children? What will your own child(ren) miss out on in lieu of supporting his other five?… See More

    Then at the same time, you need to be clear about that up front. You can’t be up in a man’s face making him feel guilty about taking care of his kids. Either you can hang or you can’t!

    Just my 2 cents! 🙂

    • Words of a Revolutionary

      I absolutely agree. The amount of children plays a large role in whether or not someone would be apprehensive to dating someone with kids. Although in the past I have talked to dudes with a child(ren), it never was a serious relationship. The couple of times I have been in love, those men did not have kids. I use to be firm in that I would not “seriously date” or think of marrying a man with a child or children. Of course I had my own reasons, whether some would say they are selfish or not. However, as I get older and wiser-at least I’d like to think-I think I am more open to the idea of dating someone with a child. As you mentioned, as a woman you want a man to provide for his children financially and emotionally. If a man had a child and I never knew of him spending time with his kid, receiving a phone call from the mother of the child saying the child needed xyz, I would assume he wasn’t taking care of his responsibilities. That in itself is definitely deal breaker for me.

      I think women who lean more towards the “I’m not dating a man with kids,” is not just because of financial reasons. A lot of it has to do with women wanting their child to be his first, her insecurities about the baby’s mother, not being ready to be a mother figure in someone elses child’s life, and not wanting to deal with some of the baggage. It’s all a matter of personal choice at the end of the day. But, such a good topic as the pool of women and men without children is now slimmer than ever.

  • Almondia White

    I think that God puts people in certain situations for a reason. I think if God sees fit for a man or woman to raise children then that is where they should be and it should take precedence to a secondary relationship, I say secondary because the kids came first.

    I think if you don’t have children you have a right to say, I don’t want to date a man that does. Why should you date someone with kids when you have waited until marriage to have yours? It doesn’t make sense to lower your standards when it something you don’t believe in anyway.

    However, when you reach a certain age and level of success, the likely hood that a man is going to have children increases.
    A. He’s older and more experienced.
    B. A lot of women have probably pursued him and he could have found himself caught up.

    So, there could easily be a lot of very potentially eligible men who don’t fit the mold because they are experienced in life. But there is a huge difference between a man who has had children but is about his business and a man that just has children. As an educated woman you will be able to discern these differences in life. But as far as money going out the household, that depends on the level of success of the man. Depending on his success, he could have enough to go around.

  • I am extremely late to the party but as far as dating a young lady with a child goes I’m all for it. As long as I can be certain that she isn’t dating me just for child rearing purposes only. When my Dad met my mother she was a 21 year old woman with two kids (single mother), working two jobs, her own place. They have now been married for 22 years (I am their first born together). If you don’t want to date a man/woman with kids it’s OK… just remember your reasoning if you’re ever on the other side of the fence.