Real Talk: What It’s Like Dating A Single Dad
I started a blog chronicling my experiences as a raising my daughter Cydney after her mother passed away about a year and a half ago. Along the way I have gone into great detail about everything from my legal woes to obtain custody of my daughter to the joys and stresses of potty training. Aside from all of the drama, the stories that I have received a lot of feedback on have been when I write about my experiences dating as a single father. I’ve even been sent emails asking for advice.
A lot of women are wary when it comes to dating a single dad. Common misconceptions are having to deal with the child’s mother, limits on time, being judged on whether or not she could be a good mother, limits on time/attention, having children of their own, or the fear that nothing is new for the dad. Logically speaking, I can understand these but most of this can be alleviated with conversation.
More often than not lots of questions come along pertaining the details about being a single parent. I believe that the daunting process of dating/courtship should start off with having nothing to hide. More often than not, single parents welcome almost all questions about our children, their mother, what went wrong, etc. right off the bat. Every first date I’ve had over the last two years, I wind up answering questions in detail about what could be pretty depressing stuff: court dates, cancer, and so on. However, it is important information that says a lot about my character. So while I may not want to talk about this stuff I do so because it means something. In an effort to show that my past is not part of my present I talk candidly about it, making jokes along the way and bouncing back questions that make you the focus of my attention. After all I am here to get to know or spend time with you.
As time progresses if a woman is feeling insecure or thinks that there is still lingering baggage, reassurance is important. Being a parent is all about being selfless. That means that we are great at putting aside our own feelings and giving what is needed to instill confidence and keep things moving positively. For me, reassurance has just about always revolved around my fiancee, the proverbial elephant in the room. No one has blatantly asked whether or not I’m still in love with her because I preemptively say that I accepted long that she is no longer here and I am ready to move on. I let this be known repeatedly and I don’t talk about her often unless it’s a funny story that says something about the kind of person that I am.
Almost everyone meets my daughter. She’s with me almost anywhere I go so usually I’m that guy in social settings with the kid. But just because people meet Cydney doesn’t mean I let everyone have a relationship with her. The current person that I’m seeing has a relationship with my daughter because that was something they both wanted. When we first met they bonded and she said that she wanted to get to hang out with Cydney. I let them a few times but I was still careful and limited interactions because I didn’t want my daughter to get too attached to someone it wouldn’t work out with. I couldn’t reverse what was already in progress and I didn’t want to put the pressure on her that I was “mom shopping” so I wouldn’t talk too much about Cyndey and for a while I limited interactions until I saw fit.
At this point they have their own thing. My daughter’s favorite thing in the world is a blue teddy bear my friend gave her. She loves the doll because she loves my friend. This may not work for everyone and if this doesn’t work out it may not be something that I repeat. It all depends on the person that I am dealing with and my daughter as well. She’s also very young so more than likely I probably won’t repeat this because the older she gets the harder breaking up could possibly become.
Dating a single parent and showing genuine interest and love for the children does kind of accelerate things. We’re not afraid of commitment and are sharing our most prized possession with you so if you get close to the child, more than likely you’re working towards something long-term whether you realize it or not. Once again, this is something can can be addressed by keeping lines of communication open and both people letting each other know where they stand. If things are moving too quickly, don’t wait until two broken hearts have to mend instead of one. My daughter will still ask questions, want to do things she did with you, and that can be hard. Imagine what it;s like to being going through such grief and having to mask it with a smiling face because the child is feeling something and cannot describe it?
Then there’s the time thing women worry about when dating single dads. But if a man is truly interested in a woman than time isn’t really an issue. If we have custody, no, we cannot do impromptu trips and please know that every time we meet up requires planning, third and fourth parties such as babysitters and negotiating compensation in the forms of money or favors. If we do not have custody then know what times are and are not available. As the party with children, no matter how busy you think you are we got you beat so plan accordingly.
Time is of the essence. If I am seeing you past two dates I’m thinking of the possibility of commitment. I don’t have the time to be wasting or playing games. I have laundry to do, ballet and soccer classes, and the remnant of me time that exists could be spent watching the game or hanging out somewhere else. If I am interested I will be more than let you know. If I am seeing you more than twice you are a big deal. If I allow you around my child then you are a huge deal.
If we really like you we will go to the ends of the earth to change your mind. The best advice I could give is keep an open mind because you never know who or what could ultimately define and even change your life. And for you non-parents out there that is the first lesson you learn when you become one.