Where Are All the Cute, Stable, Successful, Funny, Interesting Men?

Where Are All the Cute, Stable, Successful, Funny, Interesting Men?

I hope you don’t find me to sound conceited or picky, but anyway I am hoping you can help me here. I am a 34-year-old single mom with a beautiful one year old daughter from a previous relationship that didn’t work out because my ex BF didn’t want the baby. I have never been married.

I am bothered by the fact that I’ve never been married. I SO desire to get married within the next couple of years or so, but I want it to be with the right person. I wish I was married about 5 years ago or so.  Like virtually all women, I would like to have my “princess day” of getting married before I go completely gray and I look too old. I am also very worried that if I don’t get married soon enough while my baby is young, she will never have a father figure in the picture whom she can comfortably bond with.

I believe I am reasonably attractive and on the “cute” side. I am five feet tall, a little over 100 pounds, and have very long dark hair.  But, to this day I have a hard time finding the right guy. I don’t feel any chemistry when I’m not with a guy I find equally attractive.  Sure, of course personality counts, but I just don’t feel comfortable with kissing a guy whom I don’t find attractive.

To sum things up, over the years I’ve found that the guys who are interested in dating me are either too “geeky” looking and unattractive, too old, or, if they ARE my age and I find them attractive– they don’t seem stable in life and don’t have a good job OR they’re just plain conceited jerks (like my baby’s father). I’m not kidding. I’ve been trying online dating with several different sites, but that hasn’t worked out for me.

Why am I having such a hard time in finding someone who is mutually interested in me whom I find attractive, who holds a steady decent job AND has a decent personality?  I don’t think I’m asking for too much here, or am I? Should I force myself to be in a relationship with someone whom I don’t find terribly attractive and I don’t feel any chemistry with (whom I just don’t want to be “intimate” with?).

Paula

Dear Paula,

We covered this recently, but since you speak for a lot of women out there, I wanted to try to tackle your question in a slightly different way.

First of all, I want to validate all of the women who feel just like Paula does. I know it’s not always easy to hear the other side of things – or even consider that there IS another side of things – but we’re here to try to get down to a core truth. This isn’t about right and wrong; this is about effective and ineffective. If your goal is to get married and find a father for your baby, you always have to keep that in mind.

If you want someone stable and kind and attractive and tall and personable and age-appropriate and financially well-off, and you can’t seem to find him? Maybe you need to compromise on SOMETHING.

And I think that’s where the Lori Gottlieb critics went a bit astray. See, if your primary desire is to lead an exciting, passionate life, then, well, you go, girl. But if you want someone stable and kind and attractive and tall and personable and age-appropriate and financially well-off, and you can’t seem to find him? Maybe you need to compromise on SOMETHING. You can transpose the world “settle” for compromise, if you like, but we’re talking about the same thing here: giving up one thing to get something else….

My girlfriend is compromising by dating an opinionated, Jewish atheist who spends way too much time working, talking about ex’s and complaining about all the things wrong in his life. What she gets in return is a guy who is pretty self-aware, always trying to get better, has a good work ethic and excellent family values. She could spend her time lamenting that I’m not athletic enough, cheery enough, or free enough to take vacations at the drop of a hat, but she doesn’t. She has compromised – and, some might say, settled. After all, there are probably some tall, attractive, wealthy, Catholic men looking for a super-cool woman. And yet she chooses me.

I know, Paula, that you feel that you’re talking about something else. You’re talking about men who are old, unattractive, boring, unstable – dealbreakers all. But as I tell my clients, you can be as choosy as you like, as long as you don’t choose yourself out of all your options.

An example from the other side of the aisle:

My rich 56-year-old client wants a hot 35-year-old woman who not only doesn’t want kids, but can pick up and travel on a dime on his private jet. This means she can’t have a serious job, or be too tethered to her friends, and must be willing to move to his area. Oh yeah, and he’s not looking for a trophy – intelligence, class and poise are a must. There’s nothing wrong with what this man wants, but when he factors in:

How few 35 year olds truly want 56 year olds

How few 35 year olds don’t want kids/don’t have kids

How few intelligent women don’t have careers or deep roots in their hometowns

Guess what? There’s virtually NO one left for this guy to choose from. So what do you tell this successful, intelligent, youthful man to do? Say it with me, ladies: COMPROMISE! Go out with an older women. Give a little on the kids thing. Accept the fact that an intelligent woman might have a career and can’t travel spontaneously. This seems REALLY obvious from the outside, but hey, this guy REFUSES to settle. The heart wants what the heart wants. It just seems pretty clear that starting with such a narrow dating pool makes it next to impossible to find someone compatible.

So ask yourself – are you being reasonable with your desires/demands? It’s not my place to say. But play with the percentages and you’ll see. You might think you’re really open, until you realize that 99% of the men in the world DON’T QUALIFY for a first date with you. The charismatic cute guys are emotionally vacant players with money issues, the geeky guys are too bland to be kissable. This is YOUR observation. These are YOUR judgments.

Thus, you have two choices – lower the bar – or steadfastly hold out for that 1% – and hope that coincidentally, that 1% feels that you’re in HIS 1%.

We want everything – and want to give up nothing to get it.

As always, there’s not a right and wrong. But if you really want to be married and find a father figure for your baby, you might have to give up something to get it.

It just seems that no one wants to compromise. We want everything – and want to give up nothing to get it. If you’re a lawyer, refusal to compromise is a terrible negotiating technique. If you’re looking for lasting companionship, it’s probably even worse.

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Comments:

  1. 31
    Steve

    BeenThruTheWars;

    You had two good points:

    1. People come here for advice, not to have other people vent their own dating frustrations at them. Although, the information gathered from looking at those vestings can be extremely useful.

    2. The now well known fact of the brain chemicals of romantic passion wearing off in about a year. Seems like the basis for a good rule of thumb. Don’t commit to anyone until a year has passed and you can get an honest look at them without the haze of passion interfering.

  2. 32
    Steve

    Vino;

    Thanks for the stats on birth control effectiveness. Interesting!

    You have a great point. Part of getting solicited advice is having people make sure you understand why you got into your position in the first place. That is the reason why I mentioned my preference ( & those of other single childless men ) for single childless women. So that Paula would understand why the cute, employed, and nice guys may not be buzzing around her.

    You wrote that you are not a professional advice giver and that you have no problem with being blunt. Even allowing for that it sounds like you are being a bit hard on her.

    People make mistakes, big ones and dumb ones.

  3. 33
    Chris

    Steve,

    I liked your distinction between a woman who had a child in a long term relationship or marriage and a woman who had a child after something less enduring.

    “a woman who exercised reasonable judgment before entering a committed long term relationship which lasted several years before a child was born and was a good enough fit to last a number of years after the child’s birth.”

    Though it would be financially harder to raise a widow’s child, I think that I would be more likely to date a widow than a divorcee/never married mother. It’s not anyone’s fault to be widowed. Perhaps the children would see me as their real father, and not a stepdad.

    If the father were living and responsible I *might* date the mother, but if the father were a deadbeat I’d have a major problem dating the mother.

  4. 34
    Steve


    Chris Mar 25th 2008 at 12:42 pm 33
    I think that I would be more likely to date a widow than a divorcee/never married mother. It’s not anyone’s fault to be widowed.

    Chris, the divorce rate has been standing at about 50% for a long time. The way I see it not that many people can be losers. I would give divorced women a chance (find out why they got divorced ).

  5. 35
    vino

    Steve,

    I may be hard on her. Here is why – Though it does not explicitly state, her letter gives me the impression that Paula got pregnant without boyfriend’s consent, because SHE wanted to be married and with kids. This quote sums it up:

    “I am bothered by the fact that I’ve never been married. I SO desire to get married within the next couple of years or so, but I want it to be with the right person. I wish I was married about 5 years ago or so. Like virtually all women, I would like to have my “princess day” of getting married before I go completely gray and I look too old.”

    I’m connecting the dots a bit, but I get that nagging feeling she got pregnant to ‘trap’ him into marrying her for her reasons and benefit. It just smells fishy to me. If you couple her choice not to use birth control with her desire to SO get married, preferably 5 years ago, I think you have an unpleasant situation, one that Paula should understand is of her making. It’s also one that stable, intelligent, successful men would understandably avoid.

  6. 36
    Zann

    Great posts by all. There’s a ton of useful, solid information here for anyone single, regardless of age, gender, with or without children. But for Paula specifically — I believe the worst possible criteria for seeking and selecting a partner is how they will satisfy YOUR need — not your daughter’s — for a father figure in her life. First of all, it assumes that the nuclear family model (a mom & dad, married, with kids) is the ultimate wholesome environment for raising happy, stable kids & living a happy life. This is simply not true. Sure, our culture is permeated with messages that preach this to us, but the statistics do not support it. There are all kinds of families now, and that’s a good thing. And there is nothing wrong with raising your child on your own, gathering whatever support is available from friends, relatives, counselors. I applaud people who choose going it alone over desperately searching and often settling for a partner to be a substitute mom/dad. Paula, forget the past, forget the blame or bitterness about your situation and move ahead. Be open to wise support, educate yourself on parenting issues, take responsibility for your child (who had no choice in this matter), and get in love with yourself. You’ll be a great, reliable parent regardless of whether you ever marry. Don’t depend on the “odds” or your youthful looks or the trends in dating/mating — things over which you really have no control. And being a parent doesn’t mean you can’t have adult relationships, including a vibrant sex life, but it should be separate from or supplement your parental obligations and with a partner who suits your intimacy needs, not your perceived wishlist for a second parent to your child. And finally, if you’re allowing yourself to be ruled by the unsolicited advice of friends who claim they want to help but actually make you feel like a loser if you don’t have Mr. Right on your arm, you’re going to be very disappointed. Don’t forget, those advice-givers go home at the end of the day and live their own lives, not yours. Good luck and stay strong.

  7. 37
    vino

    Divorce rate depends on where you are

    In CA, it’s about 73% or so.

    Don’t love those odds.

  8. 38
    sunray

    To the people who mentioned that Paula should not “settle” because it is better to be alone than be in an bad realtionship have totally missed Evan’s point. When he says settle….he means (correct me if I’m wrong Evan) date someone who is 5’7″ (not the 6’0″ you require) if he treats you well and meets most of your other requirments. Settle does NOT mean date someone who slaps you around and/or ignors you just to say you have someone!

    I agree with the comments made about someone in their 30s w/o kids not wanting to date a peer with kids. I’m a 30 year old sucessful attractive woman……pretty much the girl version of what Paula described in her letter and I would not date someone with kids. I’ve done it before and it just hasnt worked out. The thing with dating someone with kids is that it gets annoying (I know I’m horrible..but its the truth) when you want to pick up and go somewhere (to a play, restaurant, etc.) and you have to hear I can’t b/c I have to find a sitter for the kids, or I can’t b/c its my weekend this week, or I can’t b/c____(fill in the blank)_____ For someone who doesnt have kids this gets old real soon.

  9. 39
    Anonymous

    I love how several of you (you know who you are) have been making inferences about what the birth control situation was in the case. I would like to point out that none of you were in bed with this woman or her ex. Vino- how are you so sure that this guy did in fact use a condom? He could have trusted HER ability to take birth control (which, in case you were not aware, needs to be taken at the exact same time every night, which is easier said than done with the variability in peoples’ schedules). This ties into your point about fraud. Yes, technically lying about being on birth control to have a kid is wrong, but your argument about fraud does not hold water with me because the male ALSO has the responsibility of utilizing birth control to prevent a pregnancy. If he does not wear a condom, he is entrusting the fate of his sperm to the woman. Is it wrong for women to lie about that sort of thing? Absolutely, but if he gets burned by HIS poor decision of relying on the woman to take her birth control precisely at the same time every night, to remember to even take it every night, etc, then it’s his own damn fault too. You seem to forget that your arguments work both ways. Also, you make it seem as though it is faulty of women to choose not to date a man with kids, yet when a man chooses not to date a woman with kids, it’s a very logical choice (as inferred from your little apples-to-apples comment)…how is this so? Women face the same issues (i.e. legal entanglement, etc.). This isn’t the 1950’s, females make are financially independent now too.

    With all of that being said, I do agree that bashing her ex so much speaks to her decision-making, and perhaps her maturity too. You’re also right that is no man’s responsibility to support another man’s child; however, just because a woman has a child does not mean that the child is always the consequence of a bad decision. Just some food for thought, since you all seem to have such strong opinions about this woman and her situation.

  10. 40
    Simone

    Vino: You don’t cite your sources, but if you look up the various forms of birth control on Wikipedia you will find the actual rates according to “typical use” (meaning, in reality, not in a lab, allowing for user error) are:

    Pill–8% failure rate
    Condoms — 10-18% failure rate (pretty close to the Pill, eh?)
    Diaphragm — 10-39% failure rate
    IUD– 0.8% failure rate (but not used much in the U.S. — strange)
    Sterilization–under 1% failure rate
    And, good news for you, since you are very into this: a male contraceptive pill is under development. That should alleviate your worries about all those manipulative women out there who are just so desperate to be impregnated. And the reason that I assumed you were engaged in uncommitted sex is because it’s hard to believe that someone would be so black and white about who should/shouldn’t bear responsibility for birth control in a committed relationship. Women get pregnant — there are pros and cons to that on both sides of the gender equation. If you don’t see how vulnerable women are b/c of their part in procreation…well…that’s just staggering and more the idea you find in men who aren’t very experienced in relationship. But that women have MORE options, so the responsibility is theirs is weird logic to me.

    But if you are afraid of being manipulated and taken advantage of, you have options. You aren’t a victim.

    Also, another stat: 25 million people worldwide have died of AIDS. If they had used condoms they wouldn’t have. Condoms are the ONLY form of birth control that both protects against pregnancy AND sexually transmitted diseases. In that regard, maybe it is the bst form of birth control.

  11. 41
    Simone

    Oh, the other thing about the Pill and other estrogen drugs — a lot of women can’t take them for various medical reasons. The estrogen-based drugs can be very hard on some women’s bodies, and barrier methods are the only options for these women, should they choose to engage in sex. (Personally, I LOVE the idea of a male contraceptive pill — let’s just put all this “trapping” business to rest, shall we?) But as it stands now, women get to decide what to put into their bodies (which drugs, which penises, etc.), and women get to decide whether or not an abortion is an acceptable option for them. For millions of women the world over, it is not. This is not my political belief speaking here, I am just reporting, to use Evan’s phrase. So the whole pregnancy/birth control issue isn’t a slam dunk right or wrong — and this is the kind of thing that two mature people need to discuss when they enter into an intimate relationship. And yes, it goes the other way, too — let’s say you’re in an intimate, committed relationship and you decide you WANT to get pregnant. Nature may go along, or it may not. And you have no say in the matter. And you certainly have no say in the timing. (Just talk to anyone trying to get pregnant.) Human reproduction is a mysterious, quixotic thing, and if anyone thinks they can control it, more power to ‘em. I would guess that most of us were an accident — or at least a surprise, given the how unknowable human fecundity is.

  12. 42
    vino

    Anonymous,

    I never said he did use a condom. I grant it’s possible that in their 30’s they never discussed who wants kids and when, but my experience is that it is unlikely with someone you are dating in your 30’s. Hell, the girl I just met, that was in the 1st conversation, and we’re not even dating yet.

    Likely knowing the boyfriend didn’t want kids, Paula had many methods of birth control available that do not require taking a pill at the same time daily. Simply put, when several methods are available that are 98%+ effective that aren’t ‘same time daily’ necessary, she could use one of them. FYI, the info I got from the FDA site re: effectiveness included possible mistakes in usage of methods, meaning that even if Paula took her pill at 10 instead of usual 9, it is still a 95% effective.

    So if she forgot to take her pill at the right time, and the 5% chance of pregnancy occurs (assuming she didn’t take morning after pill, as she should if serious about not wanting child). Why would she not take the abortion route? In effect, she now changed her mind re: having a child, something HE now has to deal with, because HER whim changed.

    You are right in that he bears responsibility for potentially entrusting her with birth control. Men in general are stupid for trusting women regarding procreation because they have no control over the process once sex occurs, particularly if she changes her mind to give him a new life responsibility for 18+years. The responsibility he bears in proportion to the decision-making control in this process is simply very inequitable and unbalanced.

    Does she not bear responsibility? Particularly if she knows or has reason to know boyfriend does not want kids. This circles back to the fraud argument.

    I also think you misread my comment regarding dating someone with kids. It’s not faulty of either sex to choose not to date someone with kids for the reasons you and I cited. I think we agree on that one.

  13. 43
    Simone

    Who is telling anyone to have sex? Abstinence is the only 100% way NOT to have a child you don’t want to have. After that is sterilization. If you can’t find a woman you trust not to steal your sperm for her own nefarious, procreative purposes, and you yourself don’t want kids–don’t stick it in or get sterilized. It’s really very simple. :)

    Please. Grow up.

  14. 44
    Single Mom Seeking

    I’m completely floored — especially when it comes to men like Vino — by the female-bashing-attitude here.

    That Tom Lykus quote shows a lot of narrow mindedness. I love reading Evan’s blog because of the thoughtful comments… what’s going on today? Your tone of many men here is one of: this woman took advantage of this poor innocent man so she could make a baby, and he didn’t know what came over him… Excuse me, but where is the man’s responsibility in all of this?

    Let’s see at least one of you men stand up, please. Show that you do have some role in having sex with a woman.

  15. 45
    Delia

    Simone, I Agree with Simone!

    >

  16. 46
    LS

    It seems you have been rather busy since I last looked at the sight.

    LS,

    Vino,

    My point was to bring to light is a non-gender specific point. I’m of an older age group than most of you here, single (never married & no children) and have been Internet dating for 4 years now. I have to say that well over 90% of the guys I have met have children of varying ages. A fact of life for me.

    In my last job I attended my boss’s wedding. He had been married before with no children. They met at time where she was divorced with two small children (under 6) from a previous marriage. They fell in love and married. The interesting thing here is he wanted a family and she security. As the years passed I watch this family bond into one. The moral of my story is that when two people meet who connect there is nothing else on earth like it. The rest just falls into place and those things we thought we wanted are but a faint memory. Compromise at it’s best.

    LS.

  17. 47
    TMan

    @BeenThruTheWars [28]. You wrote:

    “There are also men out there who adore kids and are mature enough to be open to the idea of a blended family.”

    Please don’t confuse “maturity” with a willingness to date women with children. The two have nothing whatsoever to do with each other.

  18. 48
    Simone

    Thank you! I thought I was losing my mind here. Re: Vino’s stats that he says I am wrong to question (why would I be “wrong” to question anything? Isn’t questioning what intellectual freedom is about?) — the Pearl Index (referenced on Wikipedia) has different stats that put the effectiveness of condoms and the Pill closer together, and there condoms are not the “much less” (depending on how you define that term) that Vino promised in his initial post about it unless you are talking about the rings/IUD (female implant-type forms of contraception), which do have a high rate of effectiveness. But sterilization, which is also a medical procedure, has a higher rate of effectiveness. (Not sure why Vino discounts that method). But, too, an article from 2007 says that the rates of effectiveness re: oral contraceptives are now being challenged (i.e., “questioned”) because the incidence of unintended pregnancy has been much higher with the lower-dosage-estrogen forms that have become popular over the last decade.

    Those lower-dosage-estrongen forms have become popular b/c they have many fewer (as I define that phrase) negative side effects. If you read the FDA site that Vino cites, you will also see the list of many negative side effects that can go along with all of the female forms of birth control. (The condom has fewer negative side effects, but I suppose that is a matter of gender perspective.) And the site also shows the only form of birth control that effectively prevents the transmission of STDs — the condom. And seeing as certain STDs affect women only (and very seriously — as in, making the woman infertile) and men can be the carriers without seeing any effects (chlamydia, HPV), the debate about who should be doing what to prevent what and who is “defrauding” whom takes a different turn.

    So let’s see — acc. to Vino and his ilk, we women should all go out and spend the money and have the procedure for the “most effective” form of birth control (the implant types), suffer the side effects, expose ourselves to STDs, and (if we get pregnant), be accused of fraud. All for a date with a “my way or the highway” kind of guy. And what are we getting out of this again? Oh, right. His sperm. Sounds like a swell way to spend an evening!

  19. 49
    Steve

    Single Mom Seeking;
    Vino is the only man making the allegation that Paula may have gotten pregnant out of wedlock intentionally. Please don’t generalize to “Your tone of many men”. That only makes you as much a bigot as other people.

  20. 50
    Markus

    I’m going to check out this “parents without partners” thing. Thanks.

  21. 51
    Chris

    I think common sense says that we should date people who have similar desires for having or not having children. Sorry, but Paula should not have been with a guy who didn’t want kids. Sometimes a “Cute, Stable, Successful, Funny, Interesting Man” might not be someone who wants to be a father.

    If a man gets a woman pregnant it’s his legal responsibility to provide financially for the child and his moral responsibility to provide emotionally. If he is a good person he should even propose marriage, unless he knows there’s no compatibility there.

    If a woman has the misfortune to have an a*****e for a babydaddy, I’m sorry, I’m nice but not a saint, I don’t want to get involved with her.

    If the father were a decent guy . . . . this might sound horrible, but genetics are a big deal for me. I want to be a father not just for the for the joys of parenting, but to pass on my genes. If the child weren’t genetically related to me I would hold back in many ways.

  22. 52
    Steve


    Simone Mar 26th 2008 at 04:06 am 48
    Thank you! I thought I was losing my mind here. Re: Vino’s stats that he says I am wrong to question (why would I be wrong to question anything? Isn’t questioning what intellectual freedom is about?) the Pearl Index (referenced on Wikipedia)

    The content on Wikipedia comes from anyone who holds a Wikipedia account. Anybody, regardless of education or affiliation can get a wikipedia account for free. The idea behind Wikipedia is to have a community encylclopedia, where the community ( the entire planet ) contributes to the content. In theory inaccuracies are weeded out when readers find them for themselves, create an account, log in, and issue a complaint.

    This works for articles popular to the internet crowd, but less popular articles tend not to get viewed as well as scrutinized as much and can stay in need of correction for months, if not years.

    Wikipedia is a great place to start a search for knowledge, but it isn’t a place to find the last word or a solid citation for an argument.

  23. 53
    vino

    So I just sat down with my coffee after a late night, and I’m greeted by invective from Simone towards me, which I find interesting.

    A couple of points to clarify –
    I’d welcome male contraception. I think most guys would.
    STDs are outside the scope of the discussion.
    Guys should use a condom every time.
    Women should use SOME form of birth control if they don’t want kids.
    Men are legally on the hook, no matter what.
    I also find it unbelievable that sexually active women also wouldn’t have the morning after pill around as well as a backup.

    Simone’s histrionics about about ‘allergies’ or side effects are, I believe, disingenuous. It’s as though she indicates women who don’t want to get pregnant can’t choose one of the 11 or so methods due to these supposed side effects or allergies. Is she insinuating that women CAN’T use birth control at all because of all of these factors?

    “I’m completely floored especially when it comes to men like Vino by the female-bashing-attitude here.” It’s not female bashing. It is pointing out differences in choices and the disproportionate responsibilities. It isn’t wrong to point out questionable behavior no matter the sex, is it?

    “That Tom Lykus quote shows a lot of narrow mindedness.” – I said there was some truth to it. Wasn’t exactly a ringing endorsement. Don’t misstate what was said.

    “Excuse me, but where is the man’s responsibility in all of this?” No one said he isn’t. Legally he is, whether lied to or not. this goes without saying. That’s part of the point.

    “Let’s see at least one of you men stand up, please. Show that you do have some role in having sex with a woman.” Please try and make a point, not call guys cowards. It contributes nothing.

    More to follow…

  24. 54
    Ceilisundancer

    Well, this has been interesting. We don’t know how long or committed Paul’s relationship was, or the situation with that. Clues can be picked up, and could be explored with her by a man who would otherwise be curious to know. Doing that, I think is fair to both, while I think making assumptions would not be. (Oh, and Vino, I personally am not aware of any birth control I as a woman am medically okay to take/use other than the condom and one other that’s not total abstinence or surgical. Really. I would possibly die within my first month or two of any hormonal one. This wasn’t the case years ago, but it is now. Yet, I find the BC conversation an distraction thread. I DO think that controlling for potential STD’s and potential pregnancy should be discussed, in advance, by the couple involved.) My former fiance, a man I knew since we were 14, a man who discussed wanting to have children with me, and I had an “oops” when we were 32. He freaked, unable to handle having a child right THEN. Now, almost 15 years later, she just spent half of Easter break with him, and her half-sister, et al. I do hope that the 1-year old that Paula has will eventually learn to know his/her dad, that the dad will decide that he does wish to be part of this child’s life at some point, even if now he doesn’t wish to be. Oddily, originally, I had strangers asking me if I wanted them to marry me, as in the swooping in rescue my baby and me. That was weird. Some guys, no, they either didn’t wish to or were not able to handle dating a single mom. Fine. Their choice. I agree that once one has a child, any potential mate has to accept that one does have that child. That is not to be settled on. The parent has a right to a life, including romance, while the child’s needs DO have to come first. Even now, with her a teenager, her needs differ greatly but the man I’m seeing knows her needs come first (as do his kids / grandkids). Many decent men and women are out there who are in a stage of life where having a stepchild would be fine, perhaps even great, for them. (Many even obtain rights and/or emotional connections that last beyond the marriage.) I ahve two dads myself — my late father, and my stepfather — it’s okay to have two dads or two mom’s. I agree that a single dad may be a good match for Paula. It’s helpful if the children are in similar stages, but not a requirement, just as dating a partner helps if that partner is in a similar stage of life. Showing negativity towards ones ex is not appealling, for anyone. I’m not clear that Paula’s worked out her emotional issues in regards to her ex, and men in general, or not. When a person’s more confident with herself, not feeling that NEED to be mated, she (or he) becomes more attractive. I think the compromising part is appropriate if someone is more interested in one goal, than whether or not someone is a bit older or “stable.” People get laid off of work a lot, however, can he pick himself back up, emotionally and financially, may be a better yardstick (or can she)? I had to laugh at the “too geeky” and “too old” bit. Being geeky is typically not bland, but complex and interesting. While it apparently bores Paula, I find it CAN be quite appealling. Oh, and I don’t rule out anyone due to age alone. Some really great guys out there just a few years older or younger, or more than a few. Also, there is no rush. Not really. I hope Paula can relax, enjoy her child’s younger time, and seek out other good male role models in the meantime, and perhaps a future husband and/or the child’s dad, will come along, also.

  25. 55
    vino

    Keep in mind we are talking about people in a relationship, so it’s presumed there is some minimal communication there. If he indicates he doesn’t want kids at this time, she is therefore under a duty to also be clear with him and tell him she is or isn’t on some form of birth control, so he can choose whether or not to have sex with her, condom or no. If she isn’t and they have sex with him knowing this, he accepts the risks condom or no, because she wants to be pregnant on some level, not taking contraception of some sort.

    However, if she is on one of the many available birth control forms and they still choose to have sex, the likelihood of pregnancy is reduced greatly to almost nil, particularly if he uses condom.

    Here’s where it’s tricky – She stops taking pill, IUD, whatever she’s using and doesn’t tell him or even improperly uses the method. He still doesn’t want kids, and is under the belief she still doesn’t either. SHE knows the higher risks of pregnancy now. If HE doesn’t know, he can’t make an informed decision. So if the condom slips, breaks, and she doesn’t do morning after pill and becomes pregnant, this is understandably a shock to him. She, in effect, takes his ability to choose away from him. He’s duped, because he didn’t know and couldn’t know because of her actions. That is being defrauded and victimized. Only in procreation is someone who is defrauded still held responsible for the child. It happens every day. It seems Paula’s situation fits this paragraph more closely than others.

    This last paragraph is the situation at issue. The lack of communication so he can make an informed choice is the problem. Why the static on this? I thought women loved communication ;-)

    Bring it back to the Paula, I suspect she always knew her ex didn’t want kids. Apparently she did. So knowing that, she didn’t take it upon herself to go find someone who did want kids. Rather, she chose to have sex with a guy she likely knew didn’t want kids. Take his role out of it for the moment, you have to question that decision, big time. As a guy evaluating someone’s decision-making regarding something as important as procreation, that is a hugely questionable decision. One most guys don’t want to deal with…

  26. 56
    Evan Marc Katz

    Let’s keep it civil, kids.

    And to be clear, Vino is not “woman bashing” if he points out something critical of women, anymore than one is inherently anti-semitic for criticizing Israel’s foreign policy. They can easily be misconstrued, but they are not one and the same.

    This board is dominated by women, but that doesn’t mean that when intelligent men present a valid perspective from a male POV that they are doing anything wrong. If anything, they get attacked just for presenting a differing vantage point and this needs to stop.

    Pointing out that women can hijack a man’s life because of a contraception mistake is not saying “Women Suck!” but rather, that 18 years of child support is a disproportionate price to pay for a bit of lust if she chooses to keep the child. Noting that a man may choose to avoid single mothers due to the complications is not an insult to single mothers, as much as an observation that people like to keep things simple and baggage-free where possible. Our personal feelings about these statements are almost irrelevant – Vino is speaking HIS truth. As Verbosity did before him.

    So please, let’s agree to disagree without insulting the other party. Everyone should feel comfortable stating his/her opinion without being insulted on here.

    Thank you all for your regular levels of intelligent contribution. You make me proud!

    -The Management

  27. 57
    vino

    Thanks, pop! Verbosity??

  28. 58
    Single Mom Seeking

    Yes, this post is getting quite the response!

    Thanks, Evan, for the reminder to keep it civil.

    Of course, I respect any man who says that dating a single mom isn’t right for him. Thanks for being so clear about what works for you, and what doesn’t… Really, in the end, it saves us (single moms) a lot of time and energy.

    In my case, dating as a single mom has not been an issue. Many readers have pointed out that there are plenty of single dads out there who want to date — as well as single men who find single moms very attractive.

    As everyone else pointed out, I wouldn’t get involved with anyone — single parent or not — who is still battling with an ex, emotionally or legally.

    Steve, I do appreciate your thoughtful comments. Sorry if I got a little hot-headed up there.

  29. 59
    Alan

    I’m not quite sure why the discussion spiraled, presumably from half of a sentence in Paula’s letter, into a lengthy consideration of the benefits and detriments of various forms of birth control and who bears the various burdens involved in birth control and child-upbringing. (I couldn’t bring myself to write “child-rearing.”)

    That being said, I enjoyed reading the various comments, opinions and responses, though I doubt that the birth control discussion will be of much use to Paula.

    I’m a big fan of “compromise” and I think Evan’s advice is spot on. A lot of it comes down to priorities. If you highly value something (being in a relationship or having a child) and you’re too picky, your best bet is to compromise – tone down your “requirements” and see what else you can find. How much do you value success (being in a relationship or having a child) over luck (waiting until you happen to meet Mr. Right)?

    If you’re happy with what you currently have, then clearly it’s not such a high priority and you have no reason to compomise. However, if you really want it, you may have to compromise in order to achieve it. Sometimes it’s called being pragmatic.

  30. 60
    Sierra

    Paula,

    I have been reading all of the responses from the various people and I have read your letter a few times; so that I might grasp what you are truly saying.
    I am a divorced single mom to a little girl. My relationship did not work due to abuse. My daughters Dad does not see her very much. I wanted you to know that I completely understand where you are coming from with wanting to find a man to marry, and be with you and your child. But I urge you to do the same thing I did. I had to reach a point in my life where I stopped looking for that “perfect man”, and starting concentrating more on myself and my daughter. Being the Mom I needed to be for her, and not worry so much about Mr.Right. Eventually he will come along, probably when I least expect it. But what I found to be true is that, if I am out there looking for it; I tend to run into all the worng men. It is true what they say that most men don’t want to be with a girl who already has a child. But the ones that do, are far worth the wait. The ones that have a problem with it?? Well, our children will always be our children, and we will always be their mom. Men come and go…. So, why waste the energy on a man like that.
    Be patient girl…You will find your husband, and a Father for your child. I promise!!

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