Times magazine has an article about a study that examined the phenomenon of women having children with more than one man. It's interesting, but it does bother me how it focuses on women as if they are more to blame than men. After all, these women aren't impregnating themselves. Besides, this domino effect doesn't just apply to women. There are plenty of men out there with children from more than one mother.
When my own bio-dad left the four of us kids and divorced our mom, she stayed single for eight years. Then she married a man whose wife had left him with their eight kids. Their marriage provided the twelve children with more stability than either family had prior to that. The two of them never had children together, but if they did, it would have been totally okay with me. These were adults who were serious about the "'til death do us part" promise in their first marriages, but both wound up with mates who didn't feel the same way.
Twelve children from prior relationships that didn't work out might look pretty bad on paper, but I think it should be remembered that this was all the result of decisions made by two people (the spouses who left). If my mom and step-dad did make kids with each other, it would have qualified as a "domino dad" family. However, that domino-dad effect wouldn't represent a loss of family stability. It would have been a sign of more family stability, because it means that children who were growing up without one of their parents now had a chance to live in an environment with two parents who loved them.
The same has been true for me and The German. He's not our daughter's biological father, but he's been her father from since she was a toddler. She has her bio-dad's last name, but she usually prefers not to tell people that she isn't The German's biological daughter. And The German never did call her his step-anything. From the time that I allowed him to meet her, he stepped in and did all of the things that a father is supposed to do. Even if he and I had just remained friends, he was determined that she wouldn't be a child without a stable father figure in her life.
Sometimes, I think that how he treated VanGoghGirl was what made me fall in love with him. My parents and my brothers were fiercely protective of me and her. Instead of criticizing them or going against what they thought was best, The German joined right in with them. He always followed whatever rules my family set for him.
I remember when he was remodeling my parent's house and it was time for him to work on the upstairs jack and jill bathroom that was between my room and my brothers' room. It was his first time coming up the stairs at our house. He'd never even tried to come upstairs when I wasn't home. He wouldn't even go upstairs to my brothers' room. When they wanted him to play video games with him, they had to bring everything downstairs and play in the den because he didn't even want to give the appearance that he'd dare try to bend the rules. He's the first guy that everyone in my very large extended family approved of.
VanGoghGirl has always expressed her wish that me and The German would have a child together, so that she could grow up with a sibling instead of being an only child. She'd love for us to have a "domino-dad" family. So, there are lots of ways of looking at this study. Having a "domino-dad" family isn't necessarily a bad thing.
I'm also curious about how many different fathers did most of the "domino-dad" families have. If the average "domino-dad" family only involves two fathers, then we really aren't talking about a situation where mothers have "different men cycle in and out". Instead of a cycle, it would be more like a single step.