Paradigm Shift? Children Shouldn’t Come First When Dating

November 3, 2014  |  

I love my little girl to death.  However, when it comes to relationships she can’t come first.  I am a single father and have sole custody of my daughter.  After getting her dressed for school, working long hours essentially to feed her, pick her up, homework, afterschool activities, soccer, play time, putting her to bed, etc….what is there for me?

I agree and disagree with the notion that when it comes to dating if one puts the children first then everything else will fall into place.  All children can do is take from you.  Point blank, period.  They may make bad days a little more pleasant and such; but if you think about it you spend all day, everyday doing things to take care of them.  It’s second nature.  For most of us, no matter what we’re going to make sure our children don’t go without.  You can’t be the best parent that you can be if there is nothing in it for you.  Many marriages fail because people put the children and everything else first without giving proper balance to their helpmate and the one who assisted in bringing said offspring into the world.

If many marriages end because of this why wouldn’t the same go for dating/relationships?  As a single father dating is just about the one thing that is about me.  As a guy it may be a little different and I acknowledge that.  It feels good to be out and about with someone that I have genuine interest. Many times the return on investment is just simply having the good time and adult conversation.  The ROI could even be sex in which we all kind of have an idea if that’s where things are headed…everyone knows who could “get it” pretty quickly and kind of know if or when it’ll happen.  Even then, it’s about doing something for me.

I have dated single mothers before.  I don’t necessarily ask about the kids because I’m not there for them.  It isn’t about being selfish, it’s because I am interested in them.  The children are secondary and as a father I understand that.  I make a living writing about my daughter and I have a following.  So honestly, I don’t take “How is Cydney?” seriously.  Just about any woman of interest asks me about her, that they’d love to hang out with us, or even watch her one night for me are virtually all pick-up lines to me at this point.  In fact, the women I often pay more attention to are the ones who don’t ask about Cydney.  They’re truly interested in me and “How is Cydney doing with soccer?” isn’t something asked because it’s the courteous thing to do.

Some people aren’t being selfish. They just don’t get it.  It just isn’t a part of their lexicon because they can hangout whenever they want to.  More than likely, most people they date aren’t parents either.  Happy hours, just calling to say “Hey, what you doing tonight?” or even being the kind of person who is out and about because their job requires it doesn’t nor will they fully grasp the lifestyle in which you are dead tired after putting the little one(s) to sleep and going out at the drop of a hat is virtually nonexistent.  As much as you want them to understand your paradigm you have to understand theirs as well.  Yes, you know what life is like without children but they don’t get the other side.

Parenting is instinctual and that part hasn’t kicked in yet.  You are, in fact, requesting them to go against nature.  If they are genuinely interested in you they will try their best to adapt to the learning curve.  The best thing you could possibly do is bring them into your world.  Invite them to your place and see what it’s like.  It will make things a little more real.  Just understand that for some people it takes longer than others.  I dealt with someone for a year and a half who genuinely cares about my daughter and I; they just don’t get this aspect of my life.  When-or if for ambiguity-our time together ends (or ended) it isn’t because of my daughter.  It is because we simply didn’t fit.

By nature and nurture we often want people to fit into our paradigm.  Love is doing the opposite.  As parents we do this every day for our children yet want and expect people to meet us where we’re at.  The notion of putting one’s kids first means understanding and putting more value on their needs than our own; expecting little to nothing in return.  When you’re dating it is usually to see if whoever has the potential to become your partner.  You are looking for someone to meet you where you’re at with no expectations.  It is a process getting there that requires all parties to do so with give and take.  If you keep this in mind more than likely things will fall into place.

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