When I asked folks on Twitter, I got a variety of answers. (You can see them in the pink and blue boxes). While some people were resolute in saying, "Absolutely not." or "Sure, why wouldn't I?", most people fell in a gray area.
It seems that the perception of the single parent varied based on the circumstance. If the individual had a child and the situation didn't work out (divorce/breakup/etc) then people seemed hesitant to seriously date the single parent. However, if the individual is a single parent as a result of something that seems a little less out of their hands (death/taking in an orphaned child), then the person usually gets a pass. All of a sudden, the idea of a "hybrid" family doesn't seem so bad.
Other things affecting people's decision to date (or not date):
1. How many children does the parent have? The higher the number of children, the more resistant folks seemed to be to the idea.
2. How many other parents are involved? A friend of mine said she met a great guy who said he had 3 children. While it was hard for her to swallow, she was ok with it... until he said, "By three different women." She felt the multiple parents indicated a failure to commit and recklessness.
3. What is the relationship between the two parents? In other words, is there baby mama (papa) drama? Are there unresolved issues about the (hopefully) terminated relationship? Does the parent intend to make life difficult for any prospective stepparents?
4. Is the individual a good parent? Who wants to date someone who can't or won't take care of their responsibilities? One responder said, "if she doesn't take care of her kids, how am I supposed to expect her to treat me right?!"
I think we all have ideas about what we will and won't do, but once we're faced with the situation in real life, our abstract ideas often seem... abstract. Things we never thought we'd do or consider suddenly become not as impossible to conceive. Or is that just me?
What are your thoughts? Would you date and/or marry someone children from a previous relationship? Why? What factors contribute to your decision?