I’ve as many single thirty-something and forty-something year old friends, as I do friends who are either divorced with children or have chosen to parent alone. This makes me think that if I could match the two groups of people together, then everyone would have a mate. How great is that? The challenge though, lies in convincing never-been-married thirty-something and forty-something men and women to give previously partnered people with children a go.
This has more to do with Asians than it does with Caucasians because, as I’ve witnessed in my own family from my mother having been divorced before marrying my father, there is a huge stigma associated with having failed at marriage. Now why should this be the case seeing as love is as daunting an adventure as any other and who you love is who you love, regardless of past relationship status?
Some people point to getting involved with people with children as being messy, in that often the previous partner is still in the picture through custody-sharing arrangements, if not on-going court battles for custody, and as one friend said to me, “But how can it be special when my partner has done everything with their previous partner?”
Most single parents see it this way though: if you love me, you’ll love my child too because my child is part of me. It’s a package deal Asians are not usually fond of.
Many years ago, I wanted to introduce a recently-single female friend to a single male friend of mine. The female friend had a very adorable one year old whose father was out of their lives. The male friend sounded keen until I got to the part with the child. “No, thank you,” he said to me, as though I’d suddenly singed him with a hot rod. “I don’t want to be someone’s pretend father.” It sounded worst in Cantonese.
I understand that most people prefer their mates to come unencumbered by children, but isn’t it unrealistic to hope to find someone single, matching all one’s glorious requirements, from among one’s peers, when the average person within that age group is married with kids? There’s no doubt that one can always marry someone much, much younger, but that too comes with its particular challenges. In that scenario, it’s unrealistic to expect to find anyone who has his or her life sorted – most twenty-somethings are still discovering themselves – who doesn’t mind your age or prior relationship experience and is willing to settle down.