Single fathers are enticing and intimidating at the same time. They’re attractive because they’re mature, responsible, caring, and clearly know how to share their life with another person. But they’re scary for the same reason because they get you thinking, “Well, am I all of those things?” It’s true that a man with children has different—some may even say higher—standards for the women he dates. Want to know if you’re up for the challenge of dating a single dad? Here’s what to expect.
He wants you to be fun
Before he had children, a man may have looked for a woman who was ambitious, career-oriented, and driven. But do you want to know what most fathers say they look for in a woman? A woman that is fun. Hey, he has seen it all now and he’s learned that in the toughest, most awkward times, what makes it all better isn’t intellect or ambition: it’s somebody who can bring the fun out in a situation, even when it feels nearly impossible.
He analyzes your friends
Sure you may be perfectly child-friendly, but are your friends? If they’re a rowdy, loud, swearing, partying, drinking crew that can’t clean up their act for an hour to have a family dinner, dating you won’t look sustainable to a single father. He knows your friends go where you go.
He wants you to go with the flow
A single father wants to see that you can enjoy yourself even when things don’t go as planned because with kids that get sick at the worst times, or want to be picked up at 1 am from a sleepover, you can bet he’s had to learn how to do that. He wants to see that you don’t become unhinged or irritated if you don’t get exactly what you wanted.
He wants you to be patient
If you’re at a restaurant and an eager yet obnoxious server, fresh to the job, stops by your table every ten minutes to ask how things are going, he doesn’t want to see you sneering at him because you know what? That waiter reminds him a lot of his own kids, yapping on with their endless questions and stories at the dinner table.
He wants to see your inner child
Can you be goofy? Can you laugh at bathroom humor? Are you unfazed by spaghetti sauce splashing all over your shirt? A dad wants to see that you can be silly and are young at heart, because his children will fall in love with that about you. They’re not going to care how accomplished you are in your job, or how well put together your outfits are. They’re going to love you if you can let everything hang loose.
He wants you to live healthy
(Most) fathers consider it a deal breaker if you’re an excessive drinker, smoker or drug user. But even unhealthy eating and exercise habits may turn a dad off. He has an example to set for his kids, and having you lounging around his house with fast food doesn’t help set it.
He wants you to be openly affectionate
Women who are this way with their partners and friends are often more maternal. He wants to see you give hugs and kisses freely, and that you like to touch your friends. He wants to see that when you feel warmth towards somebody, you show that through affection. Because that’s the number one type of warmth children respond to.
He wants you to prioritize relationships
By now, a single father has probably realized that what’s most important in life isn’t status or career standing or respect from his peers. It’s having the people you love know and feel every day that you love them. It’s being there for the people you’ve promised to be there for. He wants to see that you’d be willing to pass up on a career-making trip if your mother was sick and needed you because he makes those types of sacrifices on a daily basis.
Romance will be hard to come by
Understand that things like romantic weekends away, or even romantic nights in, are very, very hard to execute. Kids often choose the perfectly wrong weekend to get a stomach bug or be heartbroken over a lost spelling bee. And when that happens, reservations have to be cancelled and the rose petals in the tub have to be replaced with rubber duckies.
He wants to tell his kids when it gets “serious”
He doesn’t want you making comments to his children about the status of your relationship, or your plans to move in together or anything that indicates you’ll be around for a while. If you do so, he’ll feel you’ve overstepped your boundaries. He is the one that wants to explain that to them, in the ways that only he knows how.
He won’t care about petty problems
Drycleaners messed up your dress? His kids draw on his shirts every week! Your caterer put raspberries where there were supposed to be blackberries? He often has to settle for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich when he is in a hurry! He has a very clear view on the things that just don’t matter in life, and he’s not going to change that view for you.
He prefers practical over fancy things
On the above note, he’ll be turned off if everything in your home is expensive, especially if it’s only for aesthetic purposes. Not only is he now used to buying things for his home that are child proof, but he has to think about his kid’s needs every time he spends money. Buying a $3,000 marble table seems careless to him.
His little one’s little problems are big to him
He might miss your event because his little girl got in a fight with her best friend and wants her dad around, or she needs him to help her turn the house upside down in search of her Teddy. This doesn’t mean he doesn’t care about you or want to support what you do. It’s just that making his kids feel loved and supported is his number one priority right now.
He doesn’t want you to dress seductively around his kids
A) Because you could be a role model to them and B) because you know how kids are: they ask questions like, “Why are your boobs so big?” And that’s awkward for him to have to explain.