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Zissou's avatar

Should young singles expect that their co-parent will probably not be their life-partner?

Asked by Zissou (2962points) October 2nd, 2016

… and if so, is that a problem?

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7 Answers

Zissou's avatar

Seeing if I could ask a question on my Kindle. Now back to the desktop.

A few years ago, a 30-something woman I know said, “Have kids with a friend. Then find the love of your life.” She and her then-partner both have kids from previous partners and both have good working relationships with their exes. The woman’s kids are school-age, and she does the every-other-weekend thing with her ex. It seems like she has the best of both worlds: she has the satisfactions of parenthood but has every other weekend to play like a single. (She and the “love of her life” broke up a couple of years later, but still.)

zenvelo's avatar

if they are single and raising a child, I think it makes no sense to expect any partnership at alll beyond raising the child. I would expect them to each seek out other partners.

Your friend does not have “the best of both worlds”, she has just made the best of her situation. Being a single parent every other weekend is not good for long term relationships, it was very difficult telling my girlfriends, “maybe next week” or “I can’t get to that concert, that is my weekend with the kids.”

And it really isn’t a blast for the kids, either. They get torn and they get tired of going back and forth and having their day to day lives disrupted.

Zissou's avatar

To clarify, when I said “young singles”, I didn’t necessarily mean young singles who had kids already. What I’m wondering is if the separation of the roles of co-parent and life partner is becoming the new normal, and if that is a problem.

janbb's avatar

@Zissou My co-parent and partner (husband) and I broke up when my kids were adults and it is still hard on most of us. I think it is hard to maintain a loving relationship with one person through all the changes in a person’s life but I still feel that is the ideal. Especially if you have children together. I’m probably better off in many ways now but it still breaks my heart that we are not a whole family.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

That is a busted situation where if anything good comes from it, one can truly count it a miracle.

zenvelo's avatar

@Zissou No, it is not the “new normal”, but it is common because of the likelihood of divorce. It is not at all mainstream to find someone to co parent a child,but not be one’s partner.

Zissou's avatar

^In the example I mentioned, the woman’s co-parent is the biological father. They had two daughters before splitting up. Her life-partner was the man she started seeing when her daughters were in elementary school (or so she thought, but they broke up recently after several years together).

I know another woman who got pregnant, decided she wanted neither an abortion nor any further romantic connection with the father, and worked out custody and support arrangements with the father and his family, who have played an active role in the daughter’s life. This woman married someone else when her daughter was in middle school.

Neither of these women set out to find a co-parent who wasn’t a life partner, it just sort of turned out that way.

I’m not endorsing either of these arrangements, but ones like the first seem to be increasingly common. It may not be anybody’s ideal, but if we factor out couples who have strong religious views about divorce, it may be getting close to being the de facto norm.

I wonder what sort of expectations the children in these arrangements have (or should have) for their own future relationships. These arrangements seem less than ideal for the kids, but better than the situations of other parents I have known who effectively have no co-parent at all and sometimes no life-partner either.

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