Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Hornet's Nest...and an Apology

Boy did I stir things up yesterday. My comments both here and on Singlemommyhood.com on what I felt may be a red flag in relationships for me got me in all kinds of trouble. I truly meant no offense to anyone and was just trying to give my point of view as well as that of other men I've spoken with about this subject. Still, after rereading my posts, I can see how things could be taken out of context or misinterpreted. For that, I truly apologize.

In 1984 Robert McCloskey, the author and illustrator of childrens' books including "Make Way for Ducklings", felt he had been misunderstood in some remarks he made about the Vietnam War. His response was as follows:

"I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant".

That my friends is how I feel today. Don't get me wrong...I love it when people disagree with me here or give me a point of view I haven't thought of. If I didn't get that, I'd never grow or learn new things. That said, I thought I'd attempt to better explain what I meant by a woman (or man) who may be in their late 30's or early 40's, never married, with no kids is a Red Flag does and does not mean to me. Here goes:

What I Did NOT Mean by Yesterday's Comments:
  1. That women (or men) that fit this category have nothing to offer and should be considered broken and steered clear of. Everyone has something to offer. What isn't a fit for one person may be a perfect fit for another;
  2. That I have no issues and am perfect. SO NOT TRUE. We all have them. How we deal with them makes all the difference;
  3. That I would never date a single mother. OH MY GOD NO!!! Single mom's who are good parents (subjective but we all know the basic difference) have it all going on. They get the kid thing, they've experienced life, and they are super women in how they run their lives;
  4. That long term relationships that didn't result in marriage don't count as significant relationships, even when that relationship has resulted in a child. Again, that would be silly. While most people who have kids have been married at some point, not all have. Those relationships count just the same;
  5. That women who don't have kids and fit this category should have no right to consider donors or adopting to experience the magic of parenthood. Couldn't disagree with this more. As a matter of fact, my plan if I had hit 40, was single, and had no kids was to try and adopt. Not ever having been married doesn't mean I'm not qualified to be a good father. Same with prospective single mommies; and
  6. That women or men who have been married and are divorced are better than the people who've chosen not to make the commitment for the wrong reason. NO WAY. Good for those people who didn't feel the pressure to commit when it didn't feel right. In hindsight (while I am grateful to my Ex for my daughter and don't regret that AT ALL), I should have had the courage to say "I just don't think this is right." That is a brave decision that should be respected.
  7. That Hot Girl, having fit into this category, is more "broken" than my Ex just because my Ex has been married and is a mother. NO F' ING WAY!!! Enough said there.

What I DID Mean by My Comment:

  1. That a person (man or woman) who has never been married nor has had a significant long term relationship in their lives by this age most likely has never made it a priority. FOR ME, that is a concern because I consider past behavior to be a decent predictor of future behavior. If someone hasn't ever committed to a person by this age (marriage or long term relationship), why would I expect them see me as any different? ;
  2. I would (and am dating someone in this category). That doesn't mean the category itself doesn't give me pause. The key is that Hot Girl and I talk about it A LOT. We also talk about my issues, of which there are a ton.
  3. That if a woman has put career so far out in front that family wasn't her priority by this age, she may be great for someone, but that's not what I want. Doesn't mean I think those people who do this are bad. I have several friends, especially in New York, who are like this. MY first priority over everything is family however, and I've thus want a partner who feels the same way.

What I Hadn't Thought About But Was Pointed Out To Me Are Exeptions (and with Which I Agree):

  1. Some people may have stayed in a relationship for a long time, chosen not to get married, tried to have kids but couldn't, and then broke up. What was left is a person in their 30's or 40's never married with no kids.
  2. A woman may have had a child outside of marriage earlier in life and has put that child as a priority (as she should). Thus, her dating life has been sparse and she now finds herself at that age having never been married nor in a long term relationship.
  3. That someone who had "other priorities" earlier in life can change their view later and be WONDERFUL spouses and parents.
  4. That my experience with women in this category has shaped my opinion but someone else may have a completely different experience. That is valid and worth noting.
  5. That a better term for this "pause" when meeting someone who is in this category might be "yellow warning sign" meaning proceed cautiously, versus "red flag" which means stop and run the other way.

Again, hopefully this sheds more light on what I was trying to say, even if I didn't make myself clear initially. I do believe that anyone who is capable and who has the love to give has the right to experience the magic of parenthood, regardless of how that comes about or if they have a partner. And for those single, parents or otherwise, we all have something to offer. Committing or not is a choice, but better to alone than to commit when it's not right. What right for one isn't necessarily right for another. Hopefully, there's a "nut" for every "bolt" out there. :)

Have a great day everyone.


Anonymous said...

Smiling. Gotcha. Thanks, BCD, for taking the time and care to clarify.


Mass Hole Mommy said...

That is soooo funny! I read it yesterday (the part about her being 37 and never married as a red flag) and couldn't agree more. I am now back on that dating scene, too, and wouldn't really look twice at a 37 year old man that has never been married. It does set off a red flag, like why have they been out in the world for 20 years and not focused on a personal life. You are nicer than I am, because I don't really care what others think about what I say, lol! I did agree with you whole-heartedly on it.

Senorita said...

When I read your post and gave my opinion, I wasn't really offended. A little saddened by it ? Maybe, but not offended. It's how most men feel.

Thanks for explaining, but I don't think you should have to appologize for what you said. Most men feel the same way you do.

drleah@singlemommyhood.com said...

You're a welcome member of the Singlemommyhood community. No apologies are necessary. You inspired a provocative (and continuing) conversation.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Big City Dad said...

Thanks ladies. For my feelings, no apologies. It's just my experience. For not being more clear which led to misinterpretation, apologizing no problema. Three different marriage counselors taught me something eh?


Single Mom Paying Off Debt said...

I second everyone else's comments. I certainly do not think you need to apologize for your feelings, I just wanted to put my two cents and give you my ideas as to the reason I am 33 and never married.

I loved the last part about exceptions. I totally fall under #2 and with my son getting older, hope to get back into the dating scene more.

Anonymous said...

Look at this, a new blogger causing so much shit already.


Big City Dad said...

You got it QT. I don't do anything quietly.

T said...

Hey, our perspectives are all based on our experiences and HOW GLORIOUS that we've all had different experiences. Truthfully, you and I could look at something as simple as an apple and my experience with it will be different than yours.

That's what's so fun about blogging... sharing... opinions, perspectives and stories.

I never thought nearing 40 and never married was a red flag. Then I had a relationship with a man who fit that description and who seemed to be the "victim" of many failed relationships. One day, I had to stop and realize that the only common denominator was him.

So, while age may not be a factor, the number of failed relationships seems like more of a red flag to me.

Great post. Thanks for sharing!

Single Mom Seeking said...

Big City Dad: welcome to the big city of blogging! Thanks for hanging in there with us, even when some of us might disagree.

Yes, you are SO welcome at Singlemommyhood. We hope you'll come back for more! Glad you have thick skin. And if you don't, we're here to help you back on your feet.

Danielle said...

I was single until I was 37 and yes, that should have been a red flag. I have issues! :)
I feel the same way about men that have never been married and are closing in on 40, so you had every right to feel that way.
I do remember however, that when I would tell people that I was 37 and never been married, people would say, "What is wrong with you"? My answer was alway exactly what I wrote yesterday. What is wrong with you that you got divorced. Now that I look back, that was a defense mechanism to the fact that I new that I had issues and I didn't like people calling me out on them.
I applaud you voicing how YOU felt. This is YOUR blog and you were explaining your feelings. Don't change that based on comments.

Michele said...

Sorry I am so late to this thread. I am a DI mom at 40.5 and never married. Now 45, I am engaged to a 42 year old (never married) man. I had 2 long term relationships totaling 15 years. When I look back I didn't make them permanent because we did not share family values/styles. I liked bad boys (not father material), but it didn't matter since children were not a priority then. After the last failed longterm relationship at 37, I knew what I wanted and it very definitely included children (I am a late bloomer in many respects). Unfortunately many feel as you, initially were taken by your comments, something must be wrong with a woman not married by that age. It did not help that I gave off the desperate vibe and stated up front that children were definetely part of my agenda. Assertiveness is only attractive in some arenas. I tried yet one more committed relationship 1.5 years before becoming a SMC. It changed my whole life. I now was now completely comitted, to my child. Surprisingly, more quality men came out of the woodwork when they understood the way in which my daughter came to be. Single or divorced men with children respected my choice to "not trick some man into getting me pregnant". Older, childless men who wanted to be fathers, but varying reasons were not, saw the opportunity to be a father to someone. Initially, all the attention creeped me out. But ultimately, my success came from a change in attitude and priorities. I looked at a man from the perspective of being worthy of my child first and me second. Not to say I was looking only for a father for my child, but that my standards were higher for her than they had ever been for me. My daughter saved me on so many levels. There you have my 2 cents, an affirmation of the yellow flag reasons and an exception all in one. There are many shades of gray. Thank you for your blog and the opportunity to share the other side.

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