Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Child Factor

Admittedly, when you start dating someone, you can only hope that the two of you don't run into any obstacles that would get in the way of getting closer to each other. Things like an intense ex or a pushy best friend can really end up being troublesome in a blooming relationship. But, what do you do if it's something else -- like a child?

It's actually one of the very issues that got in the way of me and my ex, Charles. And, it seems like the very issue Marisol is tackling with more than one of the men in her life. For starters, she learned through the ever revealing Facebook that her old hook-up, Will, is as of a month ago a father. FACEBOOK. And the kicker here? The baby was born just a few days after he spent the night with her. (UGH!)

And now, Marcus, the new younger man in her life, has just recently introduced her to his very small child, who's basically just shy of pre-school age!

I have to admit, this makes me shudder NOT because of the children. I grew up in a huge family, love kids and hope to have one or maybe two of my own (as much as I may put up appearances). But because these guys aren't married nor are they currently in long term relationships, it's just a little trickier to comprehend. Essentially, these two young men brought a whole new life into this world just like that. Meanwhile, me, very career centric and living on my own can't even fathom the idea of taking care of another life form right now. At least, not alone.

I truly believe that children are the result of very special unions, regardless of how couples fare out after their offspring is born. But, I get a little confused when this happens in a situation like Will's or Marcus's -- had so young and then dealing with the reactions of potential dating companions, like Marisol.

But, while not a fan of how young he is as a dad, I must commend Marcus for his upfront approach letting Marisol know about his child early on. It's honest, real, and can be seen as a mature move. Will, on the other hand...

Regardless of whether someone has a child or not, it's how the parent puts it out there that matters. Then the rest is up to the two in the relationship. If it's strong enough, it'll weather the storm, right?

Well, that's the hope.


  1. I like your belief on children being the result of a special union but the reality is that they are actually the result of fertilization; which can take place whether participants are mutually in love, both participating in self deception, both attempting to deceive the other, or one merely being deceived by another. A lot of the time we mistake our ideals for reality not acknowledging that our ideal is actually how we feel about what we think the reality is. In this instance, your ideal is actually a wish and one that I hope will be true for you.

    The only difference between a child out of wedlock and a child "all right and proper" is that both of the people in the relationship have a real and concrete vested interest in doing right by the child and the relationship because its their child. There are children who were abandoned and mistreated by both their real parents and those who've been loved and defended by individuals and families who while being complete strangers made the love and the well being of that child their main priority.

    In which ever order she chooses, the question before Marisol is whether she is willing to entertain "seriously" Marcus and his child being her priorities. Dating ideally is about a larger question, which when answered properly leads to real commitment. Each day before that is just a willingness to seriously entertain commitment. Marriage is to try.

    Dating someone with a child can be wonderful, but it can mean you're the one going to get the medicine from the pharmacy at 2:00 am. You don't have to love it because real parents don't always love it (it's 2 in the morning), but they do it because it must needs be done. It also means that you end up dating the child's other family members as well because there are now three sets of families, not two and you may be surprised to find that your family doesn't mind contributing to the chaos. Yeah, that's right it's easy to look the real mom and her family but how do your parents treat this child that's not really related to them. Just as in-laws can be a problem, so too can step-problem-in-laws. Real parents don't always connect with their own children over lifetimes occasionally and so if Marisol chooses to stay, don't let her write everything off to not being the real mom or whatever, these are just ideals.

    The reality is that humans big or small don't always get along and they damn sure don't make it easy.

  2. @Preternatural: I appreciate your insight. A couple of things:

    When I reference children being the result of a special union, I speak in terms of the ideal. While not all situations turn out as such (and I fully acknowledge that) and many things are unplanned, sometimes, great things -- and people come out of that. Obviously, this is not absolute but I do think it's one way to look at things from a half-full perspective.

    Second -- I completely respect your outlook regarding children being born in and out of wedlock. Makes sense, and hear you loud and clear.

    Third -- As a person with step-siblings, I can understand how hard blending the families together can be -- when it comes to that. Of course, when you're dating someone you're not forced to make such decisions so soon (luckily). But hoping over time, if you decide to spend your life with someone, you take all that comes with it -- including their loved ones. Otherwise, how will that relationship really fare out? And if you're lucky, you love them the way you love family -- with them driving you nuts and everything!

    There's no telling what Marisol will do. But it's up to her to determine what she can and cannot deal with, should it even get there. Of course, by that point, let's hope she's armed with the knowledge she needs to know what she can and cannot handle.