When He Already Has Kids

Asked yesterday in the comments to When Princess Fiona Comes With a Mess of Little Donkeys

J:  Athol/whoever wants to answer: what are your thoughts on women getting involved with men who have children from a previous relationship?

Ke:  What’s the situation where the opposite is true? The guy is divorced and has partial custody of young children from his previous marriage? Should a woman not get involved with him?

Athol:  This is fairly simple. It’s just math. The figure I’ve heard is that is costs something like $200,000 to raise a kid over their lifetime.

Consider how many children the man could reasonably support on his income. Then take away from that number the number of children he already has. Whatever is left, is the number of children he can reasonably have with you.

So say you get involved with a guy that has enough income to reasonably support three children, if you marry him, you end up having three children. But if he has an ex-wife and two children with her, and you’re the second wife, he’ll only have one child with you. Either way, he’ll only end up with three children.

Of course you can fight tooth and nail to get him over-committed to having more children than he can reasonably support, but he isn’t really going to want them and you’re going to have trouble paying the bills. This of course creates a massive charge of erotic sexual tension between you desperate for release… lol just kidding.

Plus you’re likely likely going to watch him hand over cash via child support and/or alimony to a woman who has sexually rejected him. Which is a fairly difficult structural situation for a guy to maintain his attractiveness in. Obviously it’s all mandated by the courts and he has to do it, but the end result is that he’s funneling money outside the marriage constantly. It would probably be cheaper if he just had a bit of a moderate gambling problem or something. Even if he had a $500 a month strip-club bill it would be less annoying than a $1000 a month child support bill. At least that way he’d have attractive women showing him attention as a preselection effect and it would be cheaper.

It’s also worth noting that women going through, or planning a divorce, do occasionally quite purposely seek to damage the ability of the husband to provide for and father more children. The vasectomy demand shortly followed by divorce paperwork isn’t super common, but does happen. I have email from one reader who got the paperwork when he came back from the urologist office, and a second reader who had sex one time only before being given his walking papers. From an evo-psych perspective this makes sense in that as much as possible, the ex-wife wants her ex-husbands resources to continuously flow to her and not risk being diverted to a new woman. Sometimes it’s just revenge.

So anyway… if you don’t want kids yourself, a guy broke from paying for the children he already has won’t bug you much to have more children. Yay no stretchmarks!

And obviously if the kids are all grown and so on, this is all less of an issue. Provided that the little darlings are moved out of the house and have proper lives of their own. You don’t want to end up doing the laundry for his 25-year-old son. Or being a sudden step-grandma / child care service for his returning 22-year-old daughter so she can finish her under water basket weaving degree.




  1. RedPillNewb says:

    Somebody thinks he’s worth putting out for AND he’s not shooting blanks. Yay preselection!

  2. My opinion is that you are being to harsh. These days with so many divorces and split families it is so common that it isn’t such a big issue. If you can find a partner that is great in all the ways that you want and they don’t have kids, that is a definite bonus! but if all else is good, then proceed with caution, and of course any red flags should be seriously looked at.

    As for the money formula, if the woman wants to be a SAHM then this might be true. But otherwise, they will be paying for half of everything as well. So I would say, is his income – his kid/spouse payments still about the same as hers (female sizing up guy) if it is the same or better then it should be ok. If it is considerably less then there will be resentment and problems as she will end up contributing more than he is while his money is going to that other bitch.

    Wow, I can’t believe that a woman would have him get a V and then divorce him. I think that would be grounds for suing her… or at least make a great Judge Judy show!

  3. The ex will likely be involved in your life as far more than just a financial headache. His children will always be her children and god help you if you try and raise them.

  4. I saw the vasectomy thing in action. I forget her exact words but when we were having troubles my ex was definitely worried that I was going to knock up another woman if she left and asked me to put it off. I think it helped keep her around and aware of of my provider value a bit longer. The realization that one of our friends was trapped by an “accidental” pregnancy a year earlier probably woke her up to the potential issues of me having to support another kid on top of the ones we already had. In the end I went ahead anyway because I didn’t want to run the risk of any more kids with anyone, including her. She moved out 2 months later. Obviously it wasn’t the only factor in the divorce, but I did see that before I had it she was more driven to mate-guard me. Having the vasectomy took that compulsion away.

  5. Athol is not being harsh at all…that’s called reality. Wake up and smell the coffee….reality is harsh.

    Everybody thinks they’ll be the one in a million person to make a difficult situation work and not realize that they will likely be the 999,999 person. Divorce was never meant to be an option for either gender…also it was never meant to be that you should have kids outside of marriage. When one and/or the other happens you get problems.

    If people took marriage a little more seriously, you would have so many divorces. Study your significant other like a detective, look for red flags, be objective. You don’t go to a car salesman when buying a car and say “I’ll pay anything for that car, I love it.” Most smart consumers go over the details with a fine toothed comb…and that’s just for a car. You should be even more aware when you have something as important as marriage on the line.

  6. *wouldn’t is what I meant to say

  7. LovelyLauren says:

    I really hate the “Kids cost X amount of money to raise” statistic. That number is an average, not a per child requirement, which is the way people use it.

  8. Agree with this one as well. One of my motivators to start looking for a husband overseas was that I knew that the more time I waited the more chances of my ideal man having kids and a nosy ex. Another thing is that now that I’m pregnant for the first time he is also experiencing all this for the first time and is another experience that bond us together. Of course I’m sure this one is another unpopular position but indeed relationships are complicated enough between a man and a woman adding exes and kids cannot possibly make them better or easier, good advice as usual.

  9. I’d also consider *why* he has kids and is divorced. If they were trying for years and finally managed and then she got bored and left, ok, he’s damaged but worth considering. If he sabotaged her birth control because he was afraid of her leaving him (which is what happened to me), I’d think more than twice before getting involved.

    I’ve met some great single dads out there but I’ve hesitated about introducing them to my girl friends because my advice to them is to try and find somebody who doesn’t have kids first. They’re great guys but how much baggage are you willing to handle going into a relationship? Harsh but true and the same advice I’d give to any man considering dating a single mom, even if that single mom is eventually me.

  10. The advice is good, however if you look at the dating market, you will soon see that young+virgin+never married+no kids is a very small portion of the market, and is going to be nearly impossible for the majority to achieve, partner wise. There are going to be a lot of single people and not just people with kids, people who have never had them.

    It’s sort of like the whole polygamy thing that someone suggested in the parallel blog, referring to single mom’s with children. As a man, the idea of having more than one woman (assuming they’re both doting) massages the male ego. The reality is that there aren’t enough women to go around to make polygamy practicable. Men are quickly outstripping the female population as a whole, and in some countries there are 2 men for every woman.

    Will they legalize polyandry? Food for thought.

  11. Milf_in_Training says:

    On the other hand, I’m past my baby making years. I’d actually prefer a man with kids.

    Due to age, his kids would either be fully gown or close to it. Financial obligations would be over or ending soon. I would not have to worry about becoming Mommy #2, and could have an adult to adult relationship with his kids.

    Rearing kids is, pardon the cliche, a life changing experience. You have to be more responsible, more understanding, and more willing to put up with tough situations. A non-batshit parent won’t run away when life gets difficult. Captaining a family can bring out the best sort of male alpha and makes sure he has the necessary amount of beta.

    When I see the online profile of a 50+ year old man who has never married or had kids, I immediately wonder what is wrong with him. ANd even if nothing is wrong, that’s a lousy way to start a relationship.

  12. @Athol-And where do you get your math?

    Sounds reasonable anyway,but women aren’t looking at those figure when choosing a potential mate.

  13. Well, yes reality is harsh.
    Maybe this is a good formula:
    -if you have no kids look for and expect the same
    -if you have one, look for someone with one…
    -if you have two look for someone with two…
    My sister just got married, she is divorced and has a young son, she married a guy with a daughter. They entered marriage with caution as they had both had past challenges, so didn’t rush into dating or marriage. They both have challenges with their ex’s but both are sympathetic to the others challenges and work around it. It was tough to blend the families but as they were both bringing baggage it made it easier to cope with the others… He has been working for a while and has a good job and has money saved and a house – she is still in school (but in a fully funded Phd program so -lots of earning potential) and asked her to sign a Pre-nup which she initially baulked at but I talked her into as it made sense that he wanted to protect what he had just in case.
    -The bottom line is that it CAN work out, but yes be very cautious and keep your eyes open! In my limited experience, I have seen more second marriages go well than not… Athol maybe sees a lot more, but if things are going great – do you seek out a marriage guru on line? no if things are going shitty you do! so he may have a negative skew on his sample group. However, If someone is head over heals for someone and entering blissfully into what they think is perfection – then that negative reality/possibility is good to hear as a wake-up call.

  14. I have talked to quite a few women (including my wife and several of her relatives) who have said they would not get involved with single fathers because they don’t want to deal with “baby momma drama”, and indeed, if the momma is still around, it’s quite likely she will cause drama and interfere in the man’s new relationship, just because she can and to keep him from finding happiness without her.

    Perhaps the best solution in that case is a single father who has sole custody. That only happens when the mother either totally gives up custody rights, or is judged completely unfit for custody, mainly because she’s not able to be physically present with the kids, ie. she’s in prison/mental institution/is a crackhead living on the streets who never showed up for custody hearings. Or she’s dead.

    Either way, “baby momma drama” is unlikely, or impossible if the mother’s deceased. Of course, actually finding a single father with sole custody is like finding a needle in a haystack…

  15. I totally agree that as you get older it becomes harder and harder to find people to date that don’t have a relationship history of some sort. All I’m saying is open your eyes before you get a hard on/wet panties and commit yourself to a structural situation you find yourself unhappy in, but emotionally bonded to.

    If you’re someone that has not had children, in your child producing years your marketplace value is higher than it would be if you have children.

    If nothing else, I do hit that dynamics on both the female and male side of the equation.

  16. Another factor to consider; child support is often based on HOUSEHOLD income. Get remarried and if the new wife works, her income is then considered part of the household income and the child support goes up. If the ex wife gets remarried and has another child, child support can go up because the family expenses have gone up.
    Both of these things happened to friend of mine.

  17. Californio says:

    Divorce not final – however Child support, as calculated in my state,is based on your income – so if income goes up after divorce, the child benefits from the increase. Child support does not last forever. Also – alimony is based upon the last three years average income during the marriage – therefore if you had the best three years of your life you have problems – but if income down through no fault of your own, then that is the basis. I am self-employed so this is a little tricky -but so far so good.

    What is creepy is noting the numerous women on dating websites who are in their 40’s and as to wanting to have children the answer is “definitely”. ???????? Well, I’d like to win an olympic gold medal – but it ain’t gonna happen! [oh, and the whole deal with seeking the “artistic”, chill dude who also loves to travel, experience different cultures and has high income? Oh yeah – and they have “chemistry” (translation – he has game and looks and the body). He just cannot seem to find his soulmate without on-line dating…….]

  18. Couple of things since I am married to a man who had a child (no ex-wife) when we married.

    1) it is a hard row to hoe the first year, to put it mildly. I wouldn’t change a thing about the life I’ve shared with my husband, but I was naive about how long it would take for us to settle into a functional rhythm with his ex. The only reason we ever did was because he had balls enough to throw down the gauntlet and make it clear that he wouldn’t be manipulated and he wouldn’t allow his wife to be disrespected.

    2) The assumption here is that any man who has children has children from a woman who divorced him. It’s 2012. That’s far from a given. And the dynamic is different depending on the nature of the relationship from which the child emerged. Baby mamas are much harder to deal with than ex-wives, since he never thought enough of her to put a ring on it.

    3) Child support laws vary from state to state. In our state, the man’s income is the sole basis on which support is calculated. When I worked my income was never requested or used as a metric of how much he would have to pay.

    4)The financial estimates of what it costs to raise a child are quite frankly, bogus. They are based on the American, materialistic, entertainment driven way of life. The five children we have had together have lived a pared down lifestyle compared to their older sibling but we believe they are better off for it.

    5) If you’re going to date a man with children, you need to do it with eyes wide open. (Same thing goes for a man dating a single mother, of course. ) If the man isn’t willing to set clear boundaries with his ex, you’re in for a long, difficult, stressful marriage until the kids become adults. It will be hard for you to ever have a good relationship with his kids because he wasn’t strong enough to set the atmosphere from day one.
    I have a good relationship with my husband’s daughter. She even calls me mom.

    I hope my comments were of use to whomever is contemplating such a relationship.

  19. My take on this is that unless the guy (or gal) is really special, getting into a relationship with someone else who has kids isn’t going to work unless you yourself also have kids. Having one nulliparus person in the relationship just leads to often one-sided baby drama (“oh, we need to have one of OUR OWN- our OWN FAMILY” stuff- when often one person is totally fine with only having the kids that they currently have).

    Plus you also have to take into consideration lifestyle. For example, my dad is one of four boys. His father worked and his mother stayed at home. His father worked as a mechanic and then as a janitor at the local school- he didn’t make a lot of money. They had a modest house and a couple modest items and all hand-me-down stuff. Even though there wasn’t a lot of money, they were able to provide for, feed, clothe and raise four respectable young men in a lower-middle class sort of lifestyle. Of course, back then, there weren’t cell phones, cable bills, and other stuff, but honestly? Most of the “cost of living” bullshit they put into children’s “expenses” are expenses that come from dumping the kids in daycare for most of the day, giving them computers and expensive electronics on a whim, paying for designer clothes, sending them to hoity toity camps, getting their teeth whitened, and other superfluous crap that they don’t particularly need. And don’t get me started on the McMansions and the parents who buy themselves thousands of dollars of shit they don’t need to justify the hole they feel from working 80 hour weeks, never connecting with another human being in an honest and meaningful way and feeling like they’re stuck in a hellish hamster wheel with no way to get off. People in our modern world are over-extended, under-connected, and over stimulated by flashy commercial bullshit that promises and costs but never satisfies.

    My husband and I have a 3 year old and I am pregnant with our second child. Our 3 year old could care less about the shiny new toy. She wants us to play *with* her, spend time *with* her, give her cuddles and kisses and involve her in the household. And, counterintuitive as it sounds, she *wants* to be disciplined- to be shown right from wrong. I have seen plenty of children freaking the hell out because their parents won’t impose limitations and clear expectations on them, and that’s a terrible burdan on a kid- it’s terrifying for a child who is largely ignorant about how the world works to simply throw them out there with no structure or understanding of what is expected of them.

    We have discussed my husband getting a vasectomy after this pregnancy, but I have made it clear that this is *his choice* and as for me, I’m going to get myself a Mirena IUD again because I honestly don’t want to have any more children in the forseeable future (if ever), but I’m too much of a chicken to get the invasive tube-tying surgery if I absolutely don’t have to (I have had surgeries in the past for various stuff and would prefer not to have to have to chance “going under” anesthesia in surgery again, and would like to avoid having to deal with extra physical problems that can come from infection, especially in and around my pelvic floor area).

    I don’t like the implication that men get vasectomies only because some woman harangues him into it. I mean, seriously dude, if you’re that weak to a woman’s whining, that’s a huge fucking red flag in the relationship as it is (and you know what they say- never make huge Life Decisions for ANYONE ELSE if you are not 100% on board with the choice anyway). Lots of guys *like* the option of the “no more kids” angle- especially since a lot of the time, if the relationship ends and he still has children, his next prospect is going to be some single mom who may not be above trying to get “oopsie” pregnant so that she can reel him in.

    Oh, and I just want to mention- if any of you fellows *are* considering getting snipped, make sure that you listen to your doctor about using condoms and secondary birth control options for a certain amount of time after the procedure. A lot of men will have leftover sperm in the vas-deferans and sometimes it can actually grow back and fix itself so you aren’t shooting blanks! This is how the neighbors around the block got pregnant with baby #4 (and yes, they confirmed the baby was his- one of his tubes hadn’t been properly snipped and it had repaired itself).

    So yeah. Dating people with kids, especially little kids, is rife with drama. Although, to be fair, if everyone is reasonable and open to co-parenting without being vicious asshats, it can work out. But that’s more of a question of who your ex is like and what the dynamic will be between the new relationship people.

    To be honest, co-parenting in a remarriage/divorce situation is very similar to being polyamorous, only in a non-sexual way with your primary co-parent, since you both only have the parenting thing in common. It’s very hard to do well, especially since most divorces aren’t amicable, but I’ve found that, especially in the situation where you have two people who both mutually decide that the divorce is right and neither is happy (instead of the cheating/one side can’t let go scenario), it is completely doable….it’s just way more complicated.

    I know that most of you are monogamous, but if any of you are in co-parenting situations, the following article is really useful on learning how to deal with jealousy/emotion management, especially if you see your ex traipsing around with New Lady/Dude.


    Feel free to ignore it if you don’t find it useful. :)

  20. PS: I’m not particularly sure how child support works in other areas of the US, but in CA, if you have joint custody of the kids, neither parent has to pay child support. My best friend had amicably divorced parents as a kid and she would go to one parent’s house three days a week and one parent’s house the other three days a week and alternating every other week for the extra day. It didn’t cause a lot of problems since both parents lived in town. Neither of her parents had to pay alimony or child support (and yes, you can be forced to pay alimony if you’re a woman- my mother in law found out the hard way when she divorced her lazy asshole alcoholic ex husband and he got her house and a monthly stipend because he was technically “unemployed” even though he’d been running the joint finances into the ground for years with under-the-table get-rich-quick schemes).

    I also know of a good number of single moms who work their butts off at my workplace who have never received one penny of child support, regardless of it having been put in place by the courts and said guy is not in jail or suffering any real direct threats for having not paid. Ostensibly, this is not a scientific sample, but it does seem that it’s not an automatic “wimminz get teh cushy life on the backs of teh menzzzzz!” situation.

    So it depends on your situation and the location where it happens.

    Not saying that men don’t get screwed, just the fact that the law doesn’t give two shits who is wrong and who is right sometimes- it is what it is- and in many cases, it needs to change.

Speak Your Mind