Lesbianing with AE! This week: Owning parenting desires and coping with sexual abuse flashbacks

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Today on Lesbianing with AE, writer Lindsey Danis answers reader questions about dating when you want kids and coping with abuse flashbacks.

I’m a 35 year old bisexual with a dating dilemma. I’m single, I know I want kids, and I’m struggling with how to approach this when I meet women online. My last female partner and I were super compatible, except she was on the fence about wanting kids and ultimately decided she didn’t want to be a mom. After getting out of that relationship six months ago, I decided to have my eggs frozen so that I could have kids when I was ready, whether or not a co-parent was in the picture. That said, I do want to be partnered, ideally with a women (I lean more toward lesbian lately).

I’m not sure when is the right time to tell women I meet online about my desire for children. It seems really presumptuous to put it on my online profile or roll it out on a first date. Hell, I would walk away from a woman who opened up like that on the first date. But after my ex, I don’t want to wait until I’ve already fallen for a women to tell her I want kids, only to get my heart crushed again if she doesn’t feel the same way. So it seems fair to both of us to be upfront about what I want and how important it is that a potential partner want that, too.

What’s a good way to put it out there that I’d like to have kids, and when is the right time? Alternately, should I be looking to date women who already have kids, so I can be a parent to their children?

– Hopeful Parent

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

Hey HP,

Kids! You really can’t go half in on them. And… people tend not to change their minds.

Kudos to you and to your ex for thinking about what you both wanted and ending things when it wasn’t in alignment. As painful as it was to walk away from your ex once you two realized your hearts weren’t in the right places, it was ultimately the right decision for you, for her, and for any kids in your future.

I completely understand and respect that you don’t want to end up in the same position with another lady, and there are several ways you can broadcast your affinity for kids without scaring off women.

Try mentioning kids in your online profile – not that you want them, but that you enjoy their company/love taking your nieces and nephews on camping trips/adore being the honorary auntie to your queer bestie’s offspring. Or include the kiddos in your life in one of your profile pictures. This way, anyway who is fully in Camp Childfree will have some evidence that you might want a kid, and they might self-select not to message you in the first place.

On dates, focus on getting to know the person you’re with as a person, not as a potential mate and coparent. This is how you should approach all dates, in general, no matter how you feel about kids. After you’ve gone out a few times, you should have some idea if you’re compatible or not. ONLY if you’re compatible should you even think about mentioning your desire to have children (and this doesn’t mean date 3 is the perfect time to roll it out).

On dates, focus on getting to know the person you’re with as a person, not as a potential mate and coparent. This is how you should approach all dates, in general, no matter how you feel about kids.

If the chemistry is there and you’re seeing a lot of each other, it might be a good time to throw out the kids thing. A simple, “Have you ever thought about having kids?” should get you to yes/no/maybe, and you can evaluate from there. Or you can dig into one another’s families and use that as a jumping-off point (“My sister and I hated one another growing up, but we’re super close now. I babysit her kids all the time… I love being the auntie, and I want kids myself one day. How do you feel about kids?”).

Finally? You can date women who aren’t into kids and keep looking for the co-parent of your dreams. You can consciously choose to be a single mom. You can marry someone with kids. Or you can adopt, foster, or otherwise get involved in a child’s life. Popping out your own biological child isn’t the only way to be a parent…

With  regard to your latter question, dating or marrying into a family is a great way to acquire kids IF you can handle being the stepparent/second mother to these kids. Ask yourself if you’ll raise those kids like your own, and/or love them like your own — especially if you and their mother then decide to have a baby of your own. Those family dynamics are tricky to navigate, and not everyone is well-equipped to be a loving father to children who aren’t biologically theirs. It would be just as unfair for you to date a woman with kids if you were not prepared to truly co-parent them as it would be for a childfree woman to lead you on under the guise of “maybe someday I’ll change my mind.”

Good luck! I hope you find the right way to get what you want.

NEXT PAGE: Coping with flashbacks of abuse.

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