|Ciara, Russell Wilson and Ciara’s Son|
By Brenda Alexander
Coming into a relationship with children can add layers of difficulties. A mother and child are a packaged deal, so when you date her, you essentially date her kid(s) also. The reality is, there are risks associated with dating a woman with children. And, if you decide to go steady, those risks turn into obligations. There is an expectation that once a man becomes seriously involved that he should take an active role in her children’s lives both emotionally and even financially. But how much should a man contribute financially to his girlfriend’s children? That’s the question and debate that was sparked after this social media post.
|Post Via TheShadeRoom|
Their conversation is a lot to unpack and since the backstory is not 100% clear, let’s just assume that these two are exclusively dating and she asked to borrow (or have) $20 for her children’s field trip. Could he have simply given her the funds or does he make a valid point in explaining that regardless, those responsibilities are up to the kid’s fathers?
Every relationship is different. My mom was in a relationship with my stepdad for 16 years. They began dating when I was 2, married when I was 9 and divorced when I was 18. I lived primarily with my mom and they shared the financial responsibility for our household. We took family vacations together, he took me`to and from school via carpool, attended parent teacher conferences in place of my mom and dad when they were unable to and so on. But, whatever my stepdad did, came secondary to my dad, who has always been 100% present in my life – holidays were blended, family photos were still taken, etc. It was was established from the very beginning of their relationship that my dad was first. I remember every Christmas my stepdad would ask me what I wanted, and he’d splurge; but, I never flat out asked him for anything, simply because I did not have to. Anything my stepdad provided was considered extra.
But not every co-parenting relationship is as seamless. I know plenty of relationships where the biological father is absent or involved very little financially, leaving the burden on the mother. So when stepdads, or men who take on the role of a father figure while they are in relationships with women who have children, accept the role of breadwinner, the larger conversation centers around is there a firm discussion of what he does and does not pay for, if anything at all?
In an article on MadameNoire titled “Let Him Tell It: Helping Out A Woman You’re Dating Is Noble, But It’s Still A Courtesy,” the author (a male) explores the text conversation with both angles in mind: the one who helps out financially for his girlfriend’s children – and the one who objects and feels it isn’t his responsibility. He even suggests that the idea of providing for a woman and her child is an old school concept with millennial men opting out of that idea. He states:
“The newer generation of guys, for lack of a better term, isn’t with the sh-ts. They will ask why money is needed, which is valid. Once it’s learned that money is for a woman’s kids, they will question the fathers’ involvement which is, again, valid. Now an old school guy’s logic may be, “Let me show you what a man is supposed to do.” Guys from this generation may see this as an opportunity to be very frank about a woman’s decision making regarding whom she has children with. And that’s exactly what we saw in the situation above.”
Ultimately, the author comes to the conclusion that a man assisting a woman financially, for whatever reason, is a noble act, but simply a courtesy.
The most common reaction from this was, “It’s just $20. He should have just given it to her.” That is true. Especially, if we are looking at this from the viewpoint of the two being exclusive. In a partnership, we should be able to rely on one another for help when we are down and not scold one another for doing so. But he mentions that a field trip, in his eyes, is not a necessity, so that justifies his no. When you eliminate the other back-and-forth about baby daddies not stepping up, them not being married etc. and focus on the substance portion of the argument, both are solid perspectives.
Ultimately, the lesson to take from this is laying out expectations of the man you are dating and for that man to understand that when he commits to a woman (assuming they are in a relationship) who has children, he will likely run into a situation such as this.