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Where have all the dads gone?

(188 Posts)
Lizbethann55 Fri 01-Apr-22 19:57:06

So this could be one of those shoot me down in flames posts. But here goes. Times are financially worse and harder than they have been for ages and many families will be really struggling. Every time the news is on we see desperate people who cannot afford to look after their children. But increasingly these are single parent families and most frequently women. Now I am not stupid. I know some of these women will be widows. Some will have been in steady relationships that have broken down. Some will have escaped from abusive partners. But, however much we try to disguise the fact, many of these single mums have not been part of a stable family. So where are all the dads? Are there vast droves of men wandering around fathering children and taking no responsibility for them? Are there men out there who don't even know they are dads? Why are they not paying something towards their childrens upkeep. On TV the other night there was a single mum with a tiny baby worrying about making ends meet. I couldn't help but think that only 11 short months ago there had been a man in her life, so where was he now.
Of course no child should ever suffer, but these fathers, these sperm providers, should be held to account. Or am I just being unrealistic

JaneJudge Fri 01-Apr-22 20:01:04

the government haven't made it very easy to claim child maintenance from fathers recently, well for many years nor cn people get legal aid very easily either. The last decade has been an attack on the poor and unfortunately poor women and then the disabled are on the bottom pile

Calendargirl Fri 01-Apr-22 20:31:08

Yes, so often you see single mums with very young babies featured. I’m like the OP, where is the dad, he must have been on the scene not too long ago.

GagaJo Fri 01-Apr-22 20:34:36

When I got divorced, what was then the CSA, claimed not to be able to find my ex husband. He was still living in the marital home.

GrannyGravy13 Fri 01-Apr-22 20:45:34


When I got divorced, what was then the CSA, claimed not to be able to find my ex husband. He was still living in the marital home.

Totally agree Gagajo DD is going through this at rhe moment, apparently he is the invisible man

Urmstongran Fri 01-Apr-22 21:04:52

Goodness, you’re brave Lizbethann. When we watch the news Himself often says “right, but where’s the dad? Or at least the financial support?” I tell him it’s a lifestyle choice for some and the taxpayers are “dad”.

Jaxjacky Fri 01-Apr-22 21:38:49

My good friend works with single mothers, sadly many are from single parent homes, the pattern continues. Many young girls still see male attention as ‘love’ they feel needed, a baby then fulfils that need when the father abandons them.
My paragraph above is very simplistic and answering the OP is more complicated with many nuances.

Chardy Fri 01-Apr-22 21:46:40


When I got divorced, what was then the CSA, claimed not to be able to find my ex husband. He was still living in the marital home.

CSA told me that now he had a new family, he couldn't afford to pay for his first family.

Chocolatelovinggran Fri 01-Apr-22 21:47:23

My husband bogged off with another woman when my youngest was a small baby.

ElaineI Fri 01-Apr-22 22:54:10

DD2's ex pays minimum through CSA maybe every 4 months - owes hundreds. They can't find him? he is on benefits so meant to be able to take it at source. He is "too good" to work in supermarket, labourer so doesn't work! We help her with food and expenses. She pays mortgage, childcare, his debts - almost paid off through CAP - was over £10,000. He owes us too at least £2000. Now he is getting legal aid for contact and she has to pay out nurse's wage - b....y joke! Now he is having contact and the lies already started - learned to drive not, partner rushed to hospital (mug if she is with him), can't come to this contact flat tire oh really! Trouble is now DGS2 is 4 and suffers where he didn't realise d...y was meant to come when he was a baby. We all wish he was gone!

Sago Fri 01-Apr-22 23:02:38

My friend sent the CSA proof of her ex husbands yacht moored at huge cost in Spain.
CSA disagreed,claimed he was on the bread line and refused to investigate, they settled eventually at him paying £60 a month for his 2 children.
He had a yacht in Spain a home he shared in the north with his partner and a rented flat in London.

My friend worked her socks off and was subsidised by her parents.

Callistemon21 Fri 01-Apr-22 23:11:50


Goodness, you’re brave Lizbethann. When we watch the news Himself often says “right, but where’s the dad? Or at least the financial support?” I tell him it’s a lifestyle choice for some and the taxpayers are “dad”.

Yes, we say the same when we see desperate mothers worrying about how to feed their families.

They can't all have used sperm donors.

GagaJo Fri 01-Apr-22 23:32:26

I think the number of women who set out to be single parents is very small. And easy for those who have remained married for their entire lives to sit in judgement.

No one ever sees benefits as a 'lifestyle choice'. Possibly 20 or 30 years ago (I don't know and really can't comment on the past) but living on Universal Credit means living below the poverty line. Not what anyone would consider a 'lifestyle choice'.

So judgemental.

Teacheranne Fri 01-Apr-22 23:51:07

Maybe the dads are just not being interviewed, or are at work in low paid jobs so not around much? Not everything we watch on TV is telling the full story. Sometimes programme producers deliberately look for situations which fit the agenda rather than give a balanced picture.

However, there will be single families where fathers are absent for lots of reasons as there always have been. Equally there are two parent families who don’t know how they are going to feed the children or pay energy bills, it’s rare to see them being interviewed.

BlueBelle Sat 02-Apr-22 05:06:06

Gagajo the same happened to me I gave them addresses every time he moved but they never ‘found’ him although the first address was his parents and he was there for some months
I never got a penny for his three children, not one penny

Allsorts Sat 02-Apr-22 08:03:00

Exactly.I remember hearing the famous footballer Martin, talking about struggles when young on the family due to low income and how hard it was on mom, but where was dad? I can understand those widowed and some men they just father children and walk away whether they are married or not. Some set out to do it alone , that I can’t understand, what a mistake for everyone involved, some even do it twice. Do they think ifvtgeveffectbon that child or just the fact they wants child. Surely if you had one child without a father, you would not make the same mistake. You bring a child into this world, they are for life, we owe that child the best we can give. They need a mom and a dad, grandparents and family, a place to live.

GagaJo Sat 02-Apr-22 08:19:53

And what do women do when men abdicate their responsibility? You can't condemn women for mens mistakes. Until we have a society that holds men accountable for the children they make, this system will continue.

Relationships break down. And if the state can't make men pay, what chance does one woman on her own have? I speak from experience. My ex husband owes me thousands of pounds of back child support from 25 years ago.

Katie59 Sat 02-Apr-22 08:20:07

The benefit system has a lot to answer for.
Take 2 sisters one leaves school gets a job which pays for a rented flat and works her socks off to be independent.
The other gets pregnant and gets her own social flat and benefits, she is not allowed to have a man living with her so drifts through a succession of casual relationships, trapped as a single parent.

The benefits system should encourage couples to live together not make it financially impossible, a very large proportion of single parents cannot afford a partner living in they would loose too much benefit.

Urmstongran Sat 02-Apr-22 08:20:24

You’ve got rose tinted apex on Gagajo about lifestyle choices. Himself was at an ATM years ago in Eccles during his lunch hour. Behind him two mums with buggies we’re chatting. One had two babies, the other had three. He heard the one with three confide to her friend “you need to get another one babe then you’ll be minted”. She then outlined the reasons why. He said he felt quite dispirited returning to work.

nadateturbe Sat 02-Apr-22 08:21:13

Agree with what teacheranne said.

Urmstongran Sat 02-Apr-22 08:21:27


Urmstongran Sat 02-Apr-22 08:23:50

Very good point Katie59.

Urmstongran Sat 02-Apr-22 08:27:13

Seems as though the CAB are pretty toothless. This whole sticky mess needs a fresh approach. I wonder what is the best practice in some European countries? I would put money on it they’re not as soft as us about it all. We just mentally shrug it off thinking there’s no alternative but surely there has to be?

BlueBelle Sat 02-Apr-22 08:49:28

There will always be some girls who get pregnant to start their own family after leaving a bad one, those who get pregnant without bothering with contraception , those who are just promiscuous, and maybe ‘some’ that do it to try a short cut for a home !! But I m much more sceptical about that and of your story Umstrongran ( not saying your husband didn’t hear it) but I don’t think that really happens it’s a bit of an urban myth so many young girls with babies are in hideous bedsit’s, or temporary housing with just a microwave to cook on and a single bed and cot They aren’t given a houses or flat quickly! just the same way that some people insist refugees are given flash houses etc etc which just doesn’t happen, most are housed in dire situations

And none of this addresses the situation of a married woman a family woman being left with the children while the man walks away to start again with the next woman and doesn’t support the family he left

Septimia Sat 02-Apr-22 09:10:13

When ex-DiL decided she didn't want to be married to our DS it was entirely her decision - it came as a surprise to him - and she wasn't an exception. I've heard of a number of men who have been in the same situation, and equally shocked.

DS has always cared for his daughter 50% of the time. However, not all men have been as lucky. Another I know of would love to spend time with his daughter but his ex is obstructive even though he is an honest upright citizen.

It seems to me that some women choose to abandon their children's fathers simply because, these days, it is relatively easy to do. They can work, they should get financial help from the ex-partners, and it is more socially acceptable, even if it isn't always easy. Men frequently get the blame, but it isn't always their fault.