Dating a Single Dad
One of the hazards of being single well into your 30s is that a lot of the eligible men in the dating pool are divorced. And where there is a divorce chances are there are kids too. Navigating these waters can be tricky. There are ex-wives, schedules, baggage, resentments and unresolved issues up the wazoo. The sad part is the kids and the new girlfriend are often the collateral damage.
My last serious relationship was with a single father. His daughter lived in another state so we’d been dating for a year before I met her. Yet when she was in town our relationship ceased to exist. He had no ability to balance parenting duties and boyfriend duties. Once I got to know her I figured out how to fit into their world. I helped fill in the gaps and made it my goal to help him be the best father he could be. But our relationship would stop growing because we had no time together.
It isn’t all bad, getting to know her was one of the great joys of my life. I got to be a fun aunt in her life for a while. I wasn’t responsible for parenting. I count myself as privileged to be one of the people in her life that loved her. It was fun to be a girly girl with her. We went and got pedicures together. She loves to read and so we spent lots of time in bookstores and libraries. There were also days we didn’t get along at all. Yet overall I am glad I was part of her life for a bit. But kids make a new relationship complicated. There are many unmitigating circumstances you have zero control of.
So a relationship with a single dad requires great flexibility, confidence and determination to make it work. As the new person in this equation you never really know where you stand or what your role is supposed to be. Your plans are always flexible. You most always come second. Even his relationship with the ex-wife predates yours, so she is still a pull in his life. One call from her can ruin the week because she pushes every button he has, often on purpose.
My mom said at my age I need to be remember that I’m choosing from the damaged ones. LOL. Classic mom line.
I’m revisitng these issues because I’ve recently met someone I really like and he’s a single father with three kids. The divorce was ugly and the residual effects are still very evident. We have great chemistry and a lot of fun but because of his situation I don’t know if it will work. His time is limited. His first priority are his kids, which I know is right.
I don’t have kids. I don’t fully know the weight of responsibility that rests on your shoulders as a parent. I can’t imagine how that is affected by a divorce, where as a father you don’t have the daily access to your children. It has to be hard.
Cognitively I know his time and attention are limited. We don’t have the same priorities. I want to be understanding and supportive but when plans change again and again I get frustrated. Am I ready for another relationship like this? I realize he’s not my ex and that perhaps he can balance fatherhood and dating, I really have no idea.
But ultimately, I’m afraid to hope, trust and let him in, those are my issues. LOL
Maybe we’re all damaged at this point.