I went out with a girlfriend in Montclair, NJ, to a fun place called Just Jakes. It was a little deceiving, sure, but I thought telling the guys I was a single mom would influence their answers—and I wanted raw thoughts.It was lovely being out sans Jack, having a cold beer at the bar, surrounded by other adults enjoying drinks, conversation, and music. I videotaped their answers, transcribed what they said, and here’s what I got: “My mom was a single mom most of my childhood, so I have tons of respect for single mothers.
I would just be really cautious about getting close to the kid, because if it didn’t work out, I’d feel bad if the kid got attached, then hurt.” “I think it would be a pain.
My friend dated a single mom and she was always breaking plans because of childcare issues, or suggesting he just come over and watch a movie. Maybe she’s like my friend and had a baby after just dating someone. I dated a single mom who had a lot of issues with her ex and I found that I got sucked into a lot of drama.
I’m young and I want to have fun, out in the world, not be tied down to someone’s living room while her kid sleeps in the bedroom. I admire my friend for being a stand-up guy and taking care of his son, so my opinion of a woman doing the same … Also, her ex had issues with me being around his daughter because he was threatened by the relationship that was forming.
Also, my friend’s ex had a kid that always wanted to sleep in his mom’s bed and that would be a problem for me. I want all the perks that come with a grown-up relationship.” “A lot of my friends are divorced and one guy even has a kid after a one-night stand.
remembers the conversation she had with her two sons following one of their regular visits with herex-husband.
Both boys were brimming with news about Daddy's new friend, Joanne.
But when she referred to their father as someone who was dating, the children were quick to insist that she was wrong."Daddy told us he won't date until we're in college," they declared.
"She's just a friend."Tears followed some time later, when the father asked his sons for "permission" to allow Joanne move in with him. C., author of Helping Your Kids Cope with Divorce the Sandcastles Way.
Given the power to vote on the relationship, the children cast "no" ballots and told their dad that, per his earlier declaration, Joanne couldn't move in until after they went away to school. Neuman is creator of a divorce therapy program for children mandated for use in family courts by many states.
The story illustrates the confusion and anxiety children often feel when parents, eager for some measure of happiness and success in a new relationship, struggle over how much distance to place between their children and a newly developing romance."Seeing a parent date is an odd scenario for kids," says M. "It sometimes hammers home the message that our parents are never going to get back together."The power of the reunion fantasy is not to be underestimated, says Neuman, observing that some childrencling to the belief that their parents will get back together even after one parent has remarried.
The reasonis simple: A child's own identity is very much tied to that of his family.