It’s hard to date men who have kids

Dear Meredith,

Thank you for your informative podcast and column. I would like you to address a dating issue. I’m a woman, over 40, never been married, never wanted kids, and finding it difficult to find men who have the time and energy to make dating a priority. To make the woman he's dating a priority. It’s near impossible when the man is divorced with kids.

I am dating much younger men (cougar-cub dynamic) because it fills the void. These experiences are fun but not fulfilling for the long term. My observation after many years is that there are two camps of women: those who went the marriage and kids route and those who did not want kids and pray for a man who also does not want kids. My friends and I have had relationships and love but it feels like because we did not settle for a family, we cannot find the men who go the distance. I pray that someone creates a dating app for people who are seriously not into having children. I have given up and I'm trying not to be bitter because I didn't go the marriage-kids route. What are your thoughts on trying to date people with kids when I don't have any?

– Unfulfilled


It's tempting to make broad generalizations about categories of single people, but try not to, please. There are many single people out there who chose not to have kids but are more than happy – and excited - to commit to someone who does. There are single men with kids who do want to make time for a romantic partner. There are also childless singles who are difficult to date because they'd rather spend time on their careers, friends, sports, the return of "Game of Thrones," etc.

Based on your letter, it sounds like you could do a better job giving these busy men a chance. Many of them do have to pace themselves in relationships because of their children, but sometimes it's worth being patient. I'm not saying you haven't been – I have no idea – but it's something to think about every time it feels like a man with kids has other priorities.

Another idea is to think about these younger men in a new way. For example, a 35-year old man who doesn't have or want kids could be a great partner. Perhaps these place-holding, void-filling experiences feel less important and a bit empty because you've already decided they have little value. Maybe these men are more than they seem.

– Meredith

Readers? Are there two camps of women? What can you tell the letter writer about dating at this age?