Should you date a guy who doesn’t see his kids?

date guy doesn't see his kids

 

In 411 BC, ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes staged Lysistrata, a story about a Athenian woman who ends the interminable Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta by convincing the women of Greece to withhold sex (and seize the treasury) from the men, who of course make all the decisions about war and money.

Hilarious? Yes.

Powerful and possible message that women can change the world with our pussies?

Yes, indeed. 

One of the most trafficked things I’ve written is the post, ‘The real reason your ex doesn’t see the kids’ about the so-very-common and heartbreaking reality that the majority of fathers who are not in romantic relationships with the children’s mothers, are not actively involved with the kids. In fact, Pew found that a full 78 percent of dads who live separately from their children, see the kids less than once per week.

That means that just 22 percent of dads who do not live in the same house as their kids are actively involved. 

That is bad.

It is bad for the kids, of course, because they miss out on a close relationship with their father.

It is bad for the moms, who do not enjoy the emotional, logistical or time-off afforded by a co-parent. This, too, hurts kids, who then are more likely to have an exhausted and stressed-out mom who is worried about the effects of an absentee dad on her children.

Absentee fatherhood is bad for the dads, too. Whatever the circumstances are, they miss out on parenting, close relationships with their children, and the pride of knowing they are upholding their parental responsibilities.

The more men do not step up and father their children, the worst it makes it for all men and fathers. This becomes the norm, a horrible norm, and men are not given the benefit of doubt in family court, in society or on the playground.

Further, the fewer active dads around, the fewer active dads our children see — and as a society we stand to have this trend perpetuated forever and ever.

Bottom line: Absentee fathers are bad for everyone, including society itself.


Listen to my Like a Mother episode about this topic:


If you read the comments in ‘The real reason your ex doesn’t see the kids,’ you will hear all kinds of stories — heart-breaking stories from guys claiming their devotion to their children, but forced alienation by unjust courts and vindictive mothers. There are also stories from moms who claim it is for the best the dad is not around, because of abuse, addiction or roller-coaster inconsistency. Incarceration is another common reason fathers are not active in their kids’ lives.

Of course, every case is different, there are plenty of grey areas, and it is true that sometimes parents are best not involved with their kids.

But this is what I will tell you, and you, woman, know to be true:

If some crazy person or circumstance stood between me seeing my kids often, I would fight like mighty hell to change that.

I would fight because I want to be an intimate part of their lives.

I would fight because that is my moral obligation as a mother.

I would fight because I would need my children to see me fight for them. Because I would worry that my not fighting would be even more painful for them than not being involved every day or every week.

I would fight because fighting for my relationship with my kids would be fighting for all parents’ relationship with their children — and against a messed-up court system, or insane and malicious parents who try to keep the other parent away must not be allowed to persist.

And so when you meet a man — a nice and hot and successful or funny and thoughtful and sexy man — and he says he has kids, and you find out he doesn’t see them so much, and he tells you all these reasons why, what do you do?

Do you excuse him? Blame the system/judge/bitch ex/his job/society for his absence?

Do you tell yourself, ‘He will be different with any kids we have together — because I will change him.’

Do you think, ‘It is just a fun fling. His personal life is his business.’

If you care about those kids he doesn’t see — care as a person, a woman, as a mother (aspiring or actual), a member of society, here is what you do:

You will not see him.

You will not respond to his texts.

You will not fuck him.

You will know that if is a bad dad to his current kids, he will be a bad dad to future kids.

You will say: “It makes me uncomfortable that you don’t see your kids.”

Or: “Frankly, I don’t like the fact your kids are not your priority.”

You will not listen to his excuses.

You will just shut that down.

And you will encourage your girlfriends to do the same. And your cousin and sister and colleagues, too.

Before long, you and me and all of the women of the world will be like Lysistrata and her fellow women, changing the world with our pussies.

And that is good.

Related:

My kid’s dad isn’t involved and I don’t know what to say

The real reason your ex doesn’t see the kids

Close the pay gap? Get dads involved? 50-50 visitation and no child support

What to tell your kids when their dad isn’t involved

 

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59 thoughts on “Should you date a guy who doesn’t see his kids?

  1. I was on Match (until I found a great guy) and I wouldn’t respond to someone who didn’t have kids because I was late 40’s at the time and still in the thick of it. I figured we had very little in common.

    The next criteria was are you an active part of their lives? I wouldn’t ask I would just determine. Some had young kids in another state. Those were easy to eliminate. Others were not as easy and required more emailing before I moved on.

    There is no fixing a selfish man. They will remain selfish. They may be generous with purchases, but they will remain selfish with their time.

    A single mom has to be judgmental and selective and unapologetic about it!!!

    1. Absolutely. I would rather be alone than be with someone who does not understand or VALUE my life and it’s priorities.

    2. My ex divorced me when I was pregnant with our daughter because I had morning sickness 24 hours a day and he said I was a lemon. He was an absentee father of his own choice up until our daughter got a job and then he said he would pick her up and bring her home rather than buy her a car. So, last week, she was waiting for him to pick her up and he texted her and said he wouldn’t be coming because he had met a new lady friend and was going out with her. I wondered to myself how any woman could date a man who put his daughter last always but she doesn’t seem to care so a pox on her!

    3. Well my issue is that dad and I split 50 50 custody and for the last past 2 years he’s paid support but refused to help out anymore than that we went through no shows and being missing always til recently I seen him with this woman who he cheated on his family with he knew I seen him so finally he tells me about her guess he already had told the kids and warned them to not tell me I dunno why but he on his own decided to plan spring break without speaking to me and mind you this woman I never met will be around my kids. He told my kids his plan is to take custody of all 3 kids because I’ll be a problem with him and his girlfriend involving my kids WTH ? He went from being so hateful when we really needed extra help I don’t get spousal due to him black mailing me years ago and threatening me I’ve never modified support either but now since he plans to take full custody he is changing their dentist and doctors without notifying me first or communicating with me he’s basically going to try and look like a good dad usually in court I rep myself since I can’t afford a lawyer so he’s taken advantage in the past but I refuse to allow him this again I don’t care what I have to do to have a lawyer I’ll have one. I’ve been thru hell when together and he always either has to have his way or he screws with my lively hood to the point of insanity I just want peace but he will do anything to have me out the way so he doesn’t pay support anymore but come on doesn’t he realize the pain he keeps causing the kids

  2. Being on both sides of the issue I know what it’s like to have a vindictive parent who keeps you from your kid and do to my personal financial situation where I cannot afford a lawyer to be able to fight for my older son. It’s really difficult because I have a two year old now and I am a single mom and very dedicated to him. His father (my youngest) has addiction and various other issues even so, I allow him in his son’s life as long as he is consistent and leaves his issues at the door.
    So I choose not to date or be in relationship right now because I need to focus on getting myself in a better financial position so that I can provide for my boys and fight for my older son.

    1. Good choices in tough situations. Keep the faith. You’re doing the right things. Be thankful in what you have, and more will be added to it.

  3. I met and fell head over heals in love with this guy. He chose to see this kids twice a month and I insisted that he asks for overnight visitation since kids are teens/soon to be teens, 3 of them. So he got the overnight visitation but what he did, he would bring them home and leave me to help them with homework bcoz he considered me very educated and smart (yeah I fell for that). Earlier, he was planning to move out of country after his first failed marriage and my girlfriend told me not to date him since a guy who’s willing to leave his kids can never be a responsible husband or father. I wish I had listened to her.
    Now, here I am, with two children from this man, going through a divorce after unbearable verbal and emotional abuse, and he visits our kids just ad revenge. Takes them home, either puts them to sleep giving melatonin or just keeps them home in front of the TV bored, fabricating bad stories about me to the two innocent toddlers and they come home with confused stories. He is not involved in their school, doesn’t celebrate their birthdays and snatches every possibility of missing a visitation, rain, snow, kids have cold, or simply when kids refuse to ho with him.
    I especially feel bad for my daughter bcoz father’s absence though serious for both gender but affects a girl more. Well, there’s only so much I can do besides dealing with my own single mother limited income challenges.

    So bottom line, No, don’t ever date a guy who’s not involved with his kids bcoz that simply shows he is not a responsible person and would treat you the same.

  4. When I was younger and dumber… I was with a man for 3 years, this man had 3 kinds that I NEVER met.. Never even saw a picture of. Of course the story was-” the mother of the children was crazy and took the kids away. She broke him down mentally and emotionally even though he provided everything for them”. She packed the kids up one day and left and moved half way across the country. I though this was terrible. I though “wha a bitch” so I encouraged him to find them on FB or try to hire someone to find them, write them a letter .. Something. Then something strange went down… I realized that he did find the two oldest ones of FB but they did not want to talk to him… I comfronted him about it And he avoided the subject completely and became frustrated when I was persistent. I should have seen this as a red flag.
    Further into our relationship, as we got more comfortable with each other and let loose , I started to see the crazy……… He was an extremely jealous and violent person. It’s like all of a sudden he just put on his true face and it was ugly as hell…. Very controlling and vendictive. A very dangerous situation for me and in the end, I ended up with a broken knee. BUT the truth I gained was invaluable… His former wife wasn’t a crazy bitch… She was protecting her children. She knew this man and knew what he was capable of and she snuck out of the situation for them. Turned out in Cali he had a few cases of domestic violence against him… And he went to jail for hurting me as well.
    From my experience, and I know everyone is different, if a lady takes her children from a “good man” there is usually a very good reason. Look in to that man……

    1. We should start a blog called “When I was younger and dumber …”

      So glad to see you’ve learned from past dumb, young mistakes :) xx

  5. Sometimes it want to tell my baby’s father’s girlfriend about the dangers of dating a man like that . I want to talk with her woman to woman and tell her the truth….she is young and I wish someone had told me about it when I was younger so I could have kept my years. But t then there is the part of me that wants her to learn for herself and waist her years, cause I’m angry
    I think if I ever get the opportunity to talk to her I will.

  6. When I was 19, I dated at much older divorced guy for two months. Then I realized he rarely saw his kids. I broke up with him because I thought he must be a shitty guy for doing that. My point is- isn’t it kind of a no-brainer? What other character test better shows how a guy really is?

  7. My ex now lives in another city. I encourage him to see the kids as much as he wants, but he remains content to see our kids for 2 weeks during the summer, and for the Thanksgiving holiday. He calls them (on their cell phones) on Sundays and speaks to them for, at the most, 10 minutes. That’s it. This article is spot on! I know that he has issue with personal inadequacy, so I no longer get angry with him for being so absent. My BF, on the other hand, sees his kids all of the time. He wouldn’t have it any other way, and I wouldn’t have him if he did.

  8. I have watched the father of my 6 month old put his new girlfriend before our son. I’ve encouraged him as much as I can to be an active part of our child’s everyday life. I’ve heard every excuse possible. And I am constantly questioning how a woman can be in a relationship with a man that doesn’t put his child first.. It makes me question what kind of person she is. The level of selfishness that it must take to not put your child’s needs before your own is something I could never understand.

    1. But ultimately he is putting his girlfriend even before his own needs. Because deep down he wants to be a good person, a responsible father. And he’s not.

    2. The new girl friend may not know. My ex used to demonize the mother of the child he fathered from a previous relationship. For years, I thought that she was crazy and then I learned that he was sending her essentially nothing for child support. This woman’s personal finances were stressing her out….so, you never know.

  9. Emma, you are spot on Sister. Last year I met a guy who had not seen his daughter in 7 years. I politely told him that FINDING her was his priority, not a relationship with me or anyone else. And certainly if you have no idea where your daughter is at this time, surely your child support payments are in arrears – OUCH!

    #EmmaRocks

  10. Of course, there are those men that use their children (all the while proclaiming courts are biased against fathers– they sure don’t seem biased against fathers in California) to punish their exes. We don’t talk about them much but it happens over and over in the USA.

    1. I work in healthcare and see this with women in my profession a lot. I also see a LOT of women who start a relationship with both partners working and, over time, they end up being the only one working. Needless to say, the men I have met on and off dating sites, the experiences I see women my age going through, and the fear of having a bad relationship again make me extremely gun shy. I am only willing to have a healthy relationship that is beneficial to both parties and involves my child in a positive way.

  11. This is exactly my ex. Its everyone else’s fault that he can’t parent his children! Excuses! So passionate about exclaiming about his rights as a father, not so about the responsibilities that go hand in hand with parenting! The only child support I receive has to be taken by the government. Kids see through it all now, and I’ve surrounded them with good men who couldn’t even comprehend being that sort of father.

  12. This is quality thought
    Clever writing
    And shit that matters.
    Stuff we can make a difference in with our choices.
    Well done Emma.
    Thank you

  13. Emma, I loved ALL of this! I shared it in a post and in my groups! Say it sister! Absolutely, we must stand up and not be so eager to date and have a man that we become accomplices to the crime of not parenting. Amen sister! Ladies, men and women leave their children. It is up to us to challenge them to be better human beings by encouraging they return to build and better that relationship regardless of length of time and relationship with the mom or dad. In my dating, this is one of the first questions I ask before we get comfortable. You can’t tell me. You have to show me you are a part of their lives. And women must stop being so gullible that they accept “The mom is evil and doesn’t let me see them.” I heard this was said about me and I have made sure their dad has had access. Short story, be willing to pass on someone who isn’t mature enough to be a man.

  14. What a thought provoking piece. 4 years ago I fell in love with a guy who had a 6 yr old girl who was “the result of a one night stand”. Her mother was *crazy*. He saw them every three months. I was in love, blinded, until I became pregnant. He gave me an ultimatum, him or the baby. I felt unable to have an abortion. He left and waged a subsequent war of hate. I have “forced him into fatherhood”. I now have a bouncy toddler who has met his dad once. The minimum of child support only arrives when I write to ask. Now I have become the *crazy* ex. Beware beware if you ever hear this term!!

  15. I wholeheartedly agree. Honestly, my ex was not involved with my son while we were married and living in the same house. After we were divorced I had to force my son to go and see his dad (He was 4 1/2) and I would break down crying after he went. Now, he has a relationship with his dad. He doesn’t have the perfect relationship that I envisioned him having, but the relationship is there and desired by all of us. His dad teaches him some things, has him while I am working, and we coparent better than we did living in the same house. In the beginning after we divorced, I could see him easily abandoning his son as you’ve talked about. Now, I am glad to say that I can’t see that happening. I can see that my son may want more independence as he hits his teen years, but his parents will still be there. There are still a lot of inequities in our division of labor and finances and my son sees it. I hope that he learns from the good and the bad qualities and becomes a better parent than either of his parents are. Being in a relationship again will be down the road for me. I would rather be alone that be in a relationship that is harmful.

  16. What an empowering message with a catchy delivery :) I hope that more women work together to build each other up — we truly can change the world.

    Your mention of Lysistrata made me wonder if you’ve seen or heard of the movie Chi-raq? It’s a modern retelling of the same story.

  17. I’ve learned the hard way, I had kids with a man who didn’t see his other kids. Wish I was wiser then :/ But I’d give this advice to anyone, Emma. Its absolutely a huge indication of character.

    Also, why is it so common for so many men to be minimally involved. I’d move mountains to make sure I was an active part of my kids lives. Some of it comes down to gender roles I think, but is such bullshit.

    I’m no longer in the dating pool, because I am engaged to a man who doesn’t have kids of his own , but has been a wonderful father figure to mine for the last 2 years.

  18. Thank you! Thank you! Coming from someone who was married to a filthy rich loser who doesnt make any time for his two beautiful children but has plenty of time to screw women half his age… Thank you.

  19. Love this message. My soon to be ex-husband sees our 2 year old daughter during “working hours” so his gf doesn’t know. He fathered a son 2 years old also-while we were married. I push for him to be in our daughter’s life but he sends the checks and has minimal involvement. We get email from him checking in every Monday and Friday. I mean is this what it comes to? My goodness! Your blog rigs true!! Run away if he doesn’t see his kids…Shane on him to miss out on a wonderful opportunity.

  20. I think a guy who isn’t actively involved in his kids life is pretty much a dirtbag. A lot of men out here think because they pay child support, makes them a good parent. I’m confident that if the child support system wasn’t implemented most guys wouldn’t volunteer make those monthly payments. These guys are losers and they deserve no rest what so ever…

    1. Don’t judge the book by it’s cover, read into it. I’ve spent a lot of time with my son the until last year. February the 1st last year to be precise the last time i’ve seen him(he flew into my arms and asked me “Dad can you pick me up after school?”.I said “I can but you need to ask you mom”. Not my choice/decision. For a dad a family court decides if you can see your children. I’d love to see my boy and be involved in his life, but a bitter ex wife prevents me in that. You see when you go to court and try and fight you soon realize you’re a man and have very little rights and no one believes you.. She can say that you’re abusive(mentally, physically, emotionally) and none of that is true. I don’t believe in violence or an abusive relationship, but here I am being prevented in having a contact with my child. I’m sending presents through mutual friends, however my options are running out because she started to isolate me from them too. I pay child support, always did and even paid for other expenses including helping her out financially to last until payday and never asked for a cent back. Yet I’m a loser as you have generalised. Oh and never to be dated again..
      My advice would be to ask that man’s close friends/friends and they will give you the answer. You see I have a million photos on the walls and tear up most times I look at them coz it hurts and I suffer in silence. But I’m just a loser I guess, never to be given the opportunity to be happy again perhaps.

  21. My heart goes out to all single Moms and Dads out there. I too have a 20 month old baby girl who i have established contact with her fathers family who reside overseas and they have shown little interest in. Her father showed once to meet her when she was three days old and i had a third party to greet him as he requested this whilst i was pregnant. I informed him every week of her progress for a period of time and he told me i was to needy however he left the country seven days after she was born and denied recieving an invite to an event we had. He was apparently divorced and seperated for two years. When i discovered he was still married and he had several online affairs with women i asked him to move out of my home. But now he has friends who he has told that i wont allow him to see our daughter. And apparently im crazy so he will just tell our daughter when she is a teenager that i was a nutter and i ruined their relationship. I was also accussed of messaging his wife thats his reason to me why he wont see his child due to my jealously. He honestly appeared to be a great father to his previous child as he was always at his wifes home which did not faze me as children come first. However our daughter he has only met once due to his own selfishness. I have has a women contact me over what he says about me and states his baby was a mistake and i was a crazed women. I have now decided to cut all contact with his family as they dont respond however they take their gifts when sent and my daughter only recieved a few from her Grandmother. My daughters father has never even given her a card acknowledging her however he left a few second hand bottles at my front gate. He really has serious issues i believe as he never even showed to see her in a third party situation that was so he didnt have to see me but couldnt afford the $5.00 fee which i offered to pay. However he can travel constantly with what i have been informed about through his ex lady friends who have decided to locate me due to the extent of his story line they are worried about our welfare sorry this is very long im just so hurt exhausted and frustrated how can a man blatently lie about not being able to see his child and still have believers.

  22. When I met my ex he had a child from another woman and it seemed he played a fairly active role in her life. He made out that he supported her financially and was in regular contact. Then after a couple of months he stopped seeing her, he said his ex was jealous that we were together and so had stopped contact – I encouraged him to seek legal advice, I felt angry on his behalf, I suggested we stop the relationship as it was causing problems etc he kept saying he’d made an appointment with a solicitor and told me all the right things. I fell for it all, I also fell pregnant!

    He played doting dad for about 3 months before consistantly cheating on me with men and women. He stole our sons birthday/Christmas money that I’d saved up and in time I learned how he had treated his ex – we eventually split and for a short time he had access to our son. Then ….. he met someone else, within a month he’d caused an almighty row over absolutely NOTHING and stopped being involved.

    A couple of months later and new partner is pregnant and apparently I’m a crazy jealous ex, hmmmm this was sounding very familiar. I bit my tongue, kept my head down and focussed on raising our son alone.

    When his 3rd child was a couple of months old I’d heard he’d started sleeping around, then he got hooked on drugs, then he was violent to his new partner (extremely violent). They’ve now split and he doesn’t want to see this child either!

    The children are in contact thanks to us super single mums who have pushed aside our own feelings to ensure that the children have their siblings in their lives.

    My advice – if a man doesn’t see his child because of ‘crazy’ ex then dig deeper, look beneath the surface and find out what has actually happened, believe me I know what it is like to wash away the doubt with excuses because the truth is somewhat unpalatable but knowledge is power.

  23. Lady you’re clueless, I have shared parenting for 20 years…I’ve been to jail twice because I love my children…I was lucky…very lucky…do you know how hard it is to convince a judge that thew accuser is a liar? A taped confession to the lie does it…yeah I said I was lucky enough to get it…otherwise instead of my 22 yr old daughter living here it’s very possible that wouldn’t even know her. In addition to that I had to endure a society that says, Pray and do nothing…they say the kids will figure it out…the say “you can’t win”. Perhaps you should go support my group “NC 4 Shared Parenting” on FB and educate yourself with facts so you will quit the bs of confusing dead beat dads with dads that have been beat to death. My experience also includes a daughter that died in the car I took from her…they said she was looking at the phone I took from her. Yes, you read that right. Why were these things returned after separation? To buy her support… Don’t you dare bundle men in a category and not have the balls to support them in terms of

  24. My partner of 6 years doesn’t see his son who now lives interstate. The relationship started off okay after his separation from his ex, then gradually drifted. The child’s mum didn’t like me and made it clear by banning her son from saying my name. This made life challenging, the kid clearly felt he had to show loyalty to his mum. I remember what that’s like as I grew up with a single mum myself. Anyway, his son is happy and both father and child seem content with it as it is, chatting on the phone but not being able to see each other due to financials and his mum moving him interstate for a new job. In saying all of this, my partner is however a wonderful, hands on father with our two babies. I think my point is that it’s impossible to tar everyone with the same brush.

  25. I did feel uncomfortable that he didn’t see his daughter. I tried to meet her. I tried to include her. He made a ton of excuses and I believed him… sort of. Now I’m solo parenting and we haven’t heard from him in more than 6 months. Turns out he had another kid too that I didn’t know about. Love is blind.

  26. http://www.wealthysinglemommy.com/dads-explain-dont-see-kids/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=SocialWarfare
    Here is another situation, very close to home for me at least
    Thanks Emma for the story, but I think that this article was about deadbeat dads.. I’ve had one and even though I can’t see my boy I don’t think I could be judged as one. If I had a choice I’d see him every day. But I guess I’m not allowed to be happy ever again

    1. Oh but hang on Emma.. You are the author of that story too. What happened? Have you actually listened to the silent sufferers?
      I mean please don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to insult you in any way whatsoever. You’re entitled to your opinion as well as I’m to mine. Deadbeat vs. deprived is a very different story

  27. 100% right. In my case I am so angry none of his family co-workers friends or girlfriends call him out on his behaviour. They make him out to be a great guy and accept he left his family because he wants to find happiness. He sees the kids 2x/month. I know that’s more than others but it should be a crime. The court said I can onlycomplain if he won’t pay support but they can’t force him to be active in his kids lives. That’s disgusting. My babies love their Dad. I’ve told them to love and accept him as is. That he’s dealing with his own issues… But really he doesn’t deserve their love. And I’m pissed that others don’t see what a selfish jerk he is!!

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