Should I Go Out With Men Who Don’t Know If They Want Kids?

I’ve been following your blog and advice and recently returned to online dating after taking a short break. I’m 35 years old and went through a divorce a few years ago (no kids), and hope to have kids someday. However, when I browse through the match section, over half of the men there have marked “Unspecified/unsure” under the want-kids category. This is true regardless of the platform (e.g, Match, eHarmony, etc). To be clear, the available choices are Yes-I-Want-Kids, No-I-Don’t-Want Kids, Unsure/No-preference. For someone like me who wants children (either biologically or via adoption), is it worth spending time interacting with men who don’t clearly say they want kids on their profiles? I’ve had awkward experiences already where I turn down first-dates because I realized they stated “unspecified” on their profiles. On the one hand, I probably wouldn’t be this “picky” if I meet someone in person at a friend’s dinner party or other social events. But on the other hand, I really don’t want to waste time on men who are seemingly ambivalent on this issue. I’d appreciate it if you can share your thoughts on this, thanks!

-Nicole

I’m SO glad you asked this question, Nicole, since it’s one I address directly in Love U and one that comes up all the time for the above reasons.

And, unlike most of the questions I answer, in which I’m trying to point out a reader’s potential blind spot, I completely agree with your assessment of the situation.

Here’s how I see it:

There are men who really, really want kids like you do. I was one of them. I always wanted to be a Dad and was always looking for a woman who wanted to be a Mom. This vision for your mutual future is essential because if you’re not on the same page, you’re not going to have much of a mutual future.

Then there are men like you described: maybe they already have a kid, maybe they’re undecided. There’s nothing inherently wrong with them. Everyone has the right to be confused or ambivalent or to want to see if they get inspired by the right woman.

The issue is when a woman who knows she wants children hitches herself to the train of the ambivalent guy.

There’s a 50% that if those two people fall in love, move in together and get married, that “unsure/no preference” guy will prefer NOT having children – and she will have unwittingly placed her fertility on the line for a pipe dream.

So is it possible that the other 50% of men DO decide to become fathers when they meet the right woman? Sure.

Is that something you want to take a chance on as a potential mother? Hell, no!

You wouldn’t get on a plane that had a 50% chance of landing. Why get on the undecided train with a 40-year-old guy who’s still figuring out his shit?

You wouldn’t get on a plane that had a 50% chance of landing. Why get on the undecided train with a 40-year-old guy who’s still figuring out his shit?

Stick exclusively with men who know they want kids and you’ll have one less thing to worry about when deciding if you’re going to spend your life together.

Marriage is complicated. Don’t make it more complicated by investing in ambivalent men.

(Same goes for guys who don’t know if they want to get married, by the way!)

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