Raising kids as a single parent is hard, and adding a new partner to the mix can make it even more complicated. Things get even messier when that new partner is a lot younger.
A lot of people have very traditional views about what a family unit should look like: parents who are relatively close in age, a breadwinner father, a nurturing mother, and a couple of kids. But the reality is that nontraditional families are becoming more and more common, partly because divorce rates are on the rise, which leads to more blended families. Age-gap dating, which has also become more widespread and accepted, further muddles the dynamics of family.
Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony are the perfect example of this very real situation. After divorcing in 2011, the pair had to figure out how to raise their three-year-old twins together, while being apart. They both also went on to start relationships with new partners who were significantly younger—Lopez hooked up with one of her dancers who is 18 years her junior, while Anthony dated a couple of much younger models.
Of course, the media wasted no time in blasting the former celebrity couple, Lopez especially, for exposing their young children to what most people assumed were just rebound flings with younger partners. But despite the harsh criticism, both Lopez and Anthony are accepting of their new, nontraditional family. “I kind of let society get inside my head, ‘Oh, it shouldn’t be like this. I did this [wrong]. I did that. I failed,’” Lopez told ABC News. “No. [The twins are] happy, they’re healthy, they’re loved more than anything in the world and they’re going to be fine.”
What would you do if you had young children and were dating a much older man? Would you introduce them right away, or wait till you were sure that the new man was sticking around for the long haul?
“Jennifer Lopez on raising kids with ex Marc Anthony: ‘I am a nontraditional family’,” New York Daily News web site; http://goo.gl/N0yl7, last accessed June 6, 2013.