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Motherhood

You’re Dating a Man Who Cannot Afford to Pay His Child Support. Should You Pay it For Him?

Romans, friends, countrymen, lurkers and M.O.M readers; I come to you this day with the heat of blue flame coursing through my veins and the resolute determination of the water bear. Fear not! I come not with corona in my throat, but a question: Is there a fiscal cap on the expression of your devotion towards someone you love?

You read that and think to yourself: “Well, no! Of course not! Money would never hinder me from expressing my truest love for the object of my desire.” Let me ask the same question without all the flowery prose: If you were dating a man who has a child from a previous relationship and he could not afford to pay his child support – or any financial obligations for the upkeep of his child (diapers, milk, daycare, etc) – would you be moved to pay these expenses on his behalf?

My personal belief is that this line of questioning applies to women currently aged 38 and older. Gen Y & Z women and girls are more likely to look out for their own self interests first and dispassionately assess the nuances of their romantic relationships. They also have the benefit of ready online resources and access to information to help them identify red flags and avoid the pitfalls and toxicity that formed the foundation of “old school love”. In short – in my cursory observation – these women are less likely to love from a place of guilt…and I am so proud of and hopeful for them.

So yeah, this question is for the clowns in my age group: What would ever possess you to pay your man’s child support/expenses?

The first time I interrogated this question was in the early 2000’s, before I had children myself. I was listening to Tom Joyner or Ryan Cameron (I only ever listened to one of the two during my commute to work) and the question around recently wed Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown’s family dynamics was brought up. She was a megastar and he was a (now) struggling artist who owed loads of money in child support for children from previous relationships. Now that their assets were shared, could the state garner Whitney’s wages to pay Bobby’s back child support?

I almost ran into a bus that day. What utter nonsense. Did Whitney have a hand (or vagina) in making those babies? Hands off her money! An image of a shiftless, free-loading Bobby Brown formed in my head. God forbid that I should find myself in any similar situation with any similarly useless guy! Well…as they say, God sits on His throne and laughs because a few years later he was watching Logic run circles around under the big top with one of these on.

Longtime readers of MOM know most of the details of what my life has been like post procreation with Douche Bag (who has never been good at demonstrating anything resembling responsibility), so there’s no need to rehash those points. The issue has been raised because we have reached a new dynamic in our association – that is his reliance on other women to shoulder his parental responsibilities. The man is broke.

Allow me to speak in generalities. There is nothing wrong with dating a broke man – or woman for that matter. Lack of ready access to money, capital and resources is not a reflection of one’s mores or character. Similarly, poverty is not a synonym for laziness. I believe it’s shortsighted, and dangerous, to shame anyone because they do not have a certain dollar figure in their account – especially when they wake up every day and try their best to improve their lot. These are not people who feel like the world owes them reward, but are driven to discover what portion is theirs and how they might access it.

And then there are those who think that by virtue of their beauty, wit, past hardships – and yes, the girth of their community distributed penis – have the right to demand that others cater to whims and cover their shortfalls. It is such a person who would ask his girlfriend(s) to pay his rent, or braid his daughter’s hair for free; or put gas in his car; or pay his utilities; or risk her government job to look up someone else’s personal information; or produce the down payment on his kids’ braces; or pay his child support in arrears.

But what is in the heart of a woman agrees to do this? Any of this? And for nothing in return… It can’t be compassion alone.

That is the question I want to ask you, because I truly at a loss. Can we figure this out together?

NB* If you are such a woman and have yet to realize your worth (and believe me: you are worth MORE), I’m sorry for calling you a clown. I was definitely projecting. Looking back on what Fate and a cackling God saved me from, there’s no other explanation for my participation in such foolishness.

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