RELATIONSHIPS 101: Signs your man will be a deadbeat dad


If women could have their way, none would date or marry a deadbeat dad, but unfortunately, most deadbeats-in-waiting do not walk around with a tag on their foreheads. Instead, they are ordinary men, some who are well-off or popular, who don’t look like they would ever bail out on their kids.

Nevertheless, there are some tell-tale signs that hint at the possibility of your man turning out to be a deadbeat when the kids come along. Prevention is better than cure, so here is what you should watch out for:

JUST AN ORDINARY MAN: Deadbeat dads aren’t necessarily the men struggling with their finances or whose day jobs are hanging in the balance. A deadbeat could very well be the suit and tie guy occupying the corner office.

“This is a difficult man to spot,” cautions Lucia Wahome, a family therapist. “If he approaches you, his good stature, position in society and track record at work may be enough to win you over.”

AGE: “Men who are very young or men over 35 who are still single are much more likely to run away from their daddy responsibilities,” says Chris Hart, a psychologist in Nairobi.

BEHAVIOUR: By: keenly studying his behaviours, you can tell if he will be a deadbeat dad. “Be careful if he is a high testosterone risk-taker or if he is in any way unreliable,” cautions Dr Hart.

“For instance, check if he keeps his promises, whether his phone is often switched off, whether you can accurately tell where he is, whether he has a vague employment history, hardly pays his way, other men around him seem to look down on him, or if he is always flaking out on your dates.”

Further, Ms Wahome adds that a boyfriend who is always available to meet you every weekend, yet he has a child, is likely to neglect your child in the same way.

“Does he seem to be free when he should be with his child? Is he always ready to have fun every weekend and hardly mentions anything about his child unless you ask? If yes, terminate the relationship because he might be a deadbeat!”

EXCUSES: According to the journal Examiner, if a man with a child shows romantic interest in you and insists that his child was the product of a one-night stand, an unwanted pregnancy, or a friends-with-benefit arrangement as an excuse to why he is yet to establish a relationship with his child, take to the hills. “Deadbeat dads will place blame on their children’s mothers, and create false illusions to distract prospective mates,” notes the journal.

ASK: If you suspect that your prospective mate could be a deadbeat dad, do not hesitate to ask if he has a child. To begin with, take note if he answers yes, and was reluctant to say so.

Find out if he has a sound schedule to meet his fatherhood responsibilities, how he interacts with his child’s mother, how often the child is with him, and whether he keeps up with news about the child. If he appears anyhow clueless, he is a deadbeat.

According to the Examiner, you should take note if he appears to blame his child’s mother as the reason why he can’t be with his son or daughter.

“Bear in mind that he could be using his children’s mother as a scapegoat if he claims that he doesn’t see his kids as much as he likes because she doesn’t like him to, is in another relationship, or is disobeying a court’s visiting rights, or is simply blocking him.”