Single Parents: Do You Need the Approval of Your Child’s Mother or Father?

This week on MadameNoire, I was asked to speak on the ever complicated topic of when it’s right to meet the baby daddy/mama and how much influence they should have on the relationships of their exes. Early MN commenters then promptly ignored the content of the post and lashed into me for referring to men as “baby’s daddys” after just last week another writer wrote about the political incorrectness of being labeled a “baby’s mama” in a post I didn’t read and didn’t know existed. SBM family, please forgive any indiscretions you may feel towards the terms “baby’s daddy/mama” when reading the contents of this post. Thanks in advance!

An excerpt from, Do We Need Your Baby’s Daddy Approval?

When it comes to single mothers dating, a couple of questions always come up if her child’s father is an active presence in her kid’s life: Should your child’s father meet your new man and how much weight should his opinion of the guy you’re dating hold as far as influencing whether you decide to move forward with him and, of course, when is the right time to introduce each other?

For starters, there is no “right time” to introduce your current boyfriend to your baby daddy, but some situations are unavoidable. The holidays are a good example; I’m sure many of you navigated the awkward conversations that ensued as children exchanged hands and homes in an attempt to honor the holiday spirit with some form of tensely negotiated civility. Still, holidays or regular days, introducing your current beau to your old beau is always complicated. It’s only further complicated when there is a child involved. But there are a few considerations you can follow to make this already awkward situation slightly less awkward.

BE HONEST ABOUT THE STATUS OF YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR BABY DADDY

In theory, your baby daddy should have little to no influence over any of your future relationships, but in the real world, Isht happens. First and foremost, it’s important that you and your current boyfriend are on the same page. I’m not saying you have to unite as one force as if you’re calling on Captain Planet to defeat the toxicity of your prior relationship. I am saying that you and your new man need to have an honest discussion about what you both deem as important for the child, the influence you believe your child’s father should have on the current relationship (if any), and if it’s important to you that in the everlasting words of Rodney King, “we all get along.”

It’s equally important that you’re honest about the overall status of your relationship with your ex. This includes being honest with your current boyfriend and with yourself. If you’re still in love with your baby daddy, have feelings for your baby daddy, or you’re only bidding your time with your new man until your baby daddy decides that he wants to take you back, these are all things that should be communicated.

I’ve been in situations where I only realized afterwards that I was merely a pawn in a much more complicated ex-relationship chess match. Some women use the men they date subsequent to their baby daddy only to make him jealous, which is fine, as long as the new man is aware of his role. Some men are perfectly fine with being the side-man. Like side-women, most men are generally content with the status of the relationship as long as they know the role they are expected to play. What’s not fair is to pretend like you’re building a legitimate and “moving on” when you know damn well your heart (and other organs) still belong to your baby daddy. If the new relationship is nothing more than a complicated charades game to get your ex to start caring about you again, just be honest with yourself and your new man. It’ll save everyone a lot of headaches and heartaches.

On the other hand, let’s say you’re over your ex but your ex isn’t over you. This is…read more.

Single, Sexy and Free (if male, insert obligatory pause here): How do you feel about dating women/men with children? Does the number of children matter? Does the origin of the children – from a previous marriage, relationship, single – or the status of the other parent – multiple baby daddy/mamas, present or missing – influence your decision?

Single Parents: Should your baby’s father/mother meet your new boyfriend/girlfriend? How do you decide when the time is right? Do they have any influence on the status of your relationships? Do you require their “approval” for anyone you seriously date?

From Our Partners

  • http://twitter.com/cynthialanel @cynthialanel

    I've dated men with a children before, I don't have a problem with it. The number of child(ren) matter and the origin of child(ren) matters (somewhat). What matters most to me is the relationship he has with his child(ren) and the relationship status of his ex-girlfriend/ex-wife.

    Bottom line as a single woman with no children, I want to know what sort of situation I am walking into.

  • RPrice

    I don't think that approval is needed, but a heads up,"my ex tried to use voodoo dolls on me," would be very much appreciated.

    I wish more people would post on subjects like this. Rules of engagement are more needed to handle situations that can have you on the evening news.

  • InsomniaPoet

    WIM – I know this isn't the point of your post, but seriously folks upset over being called baby mama/daddy? I read the other blog & the comments and I just cannot with the foolishness! Folks always tryna sugarcoat some ish. Anyways, to answer your questions, I try my best not to date people with children. I don't have any children and that is an experience I'd like my future husband and I to share together for the first time. I don't wanna be anybody's step-mother. I don't want the added stress of another woman and a child that isn't mine. Relationships are hard enough as it is. So with that being said I avoid baby daddies like the plague. For me the origin of the child(ren) and status of the baby mama is irrelevant. I don't care if it's ya ex-wife – that just means you already failed at my end goal which is marriage – so an ex-wife with a child is actually a double strike against ya. Anyways, great post as usual and don't let the baby mama's discourage you for calling a spade a spade. Your candor is one of the things I appreciate about your writing :)

    • paulb31

      Well, the truth is that's all some people are to the people they had kids by: baby mama/daddies. They need to get over it, especially when they were simply FWB/cut buddies, one night stands, or were never seriously dating, engaged, or married.

  • That's My Story

    I have my own children (by the same….male) ex-husband, my fiancée has children of his own as well. I do not think an Ex's approval is necessary. I could personally care less what my ex or my fiancée's ex thinks about our relationship. Neither of us is asking, because neither of us cares! We are both the sole providers for our children and our seperate households. So the ex's opinions aren't given any type of thought.

    • Lady T

      I think the whole point is whether or not you want someone around your child and being an influence in their life. I'm not saying go overboard and not immediately dislike somebody because they are dating your ex, but as a mother/father, you would most likely want to be comfortable with who is spending time with your child. Anyone that says otherwise is a fool.

      So at the end of the day, you don't have to like them, it would behoove one to respect their ex's relationship, and hopefully they will be okay in your child's life (please knoe children pick up on strife between their parents, and that is certainly not needed, nor is bad mouthing the other's SO just because you are not over them). And I too, would like to see the rules of engagement when meeting a child, the baby mama/baby daddy (I'm going to keep using those phrases by the way).

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