Friday, February 13, 2009

How to date a single dad

Posted By on Fri, Feb 13, 2009 at 8:36 AM

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L swore she would never date a man with kids. She said she didn't have any, so shouldn't her mate be in the same boat.

Besides, she said, she'd dated one guy with two kids and the children weren't the problem it was their mom.

It seemed that whenever she was at her ex's place, the mother would call or show up with a child that just had to see his father. L wondered if there was more than co-parenting going on between the two of them. She got her answer after she dumped him and three weeks later he was married to his children's mother.

Two years later, L met Mr. Right. He was sexy, caring and to her dismay, a devoted father.

He and his ex wife share custody of their six-year-old son. Unlike her ex, L's new man has boundaries with his ex wife. Still, she was hesitant about being with this man. She thought she couldn't deal with the kid. But once she was introduced to him, she fell in like with him. She even played basketball with the little tyke.

But when her new man cancels a date because he can't find a baby sitter or when he comes over to her place with the little boy in tow, she wonders if this is the kind of relationship she can deal with. Selfish? Some may think so, but L doesn't want to get hurt by another family getting back together. And she know how she's supposed to approach dating this man.

I wondered if there were other women who had issues dating a single dad. And not just any single dad, but one who actually takes care of and spends time with his kids.

And you betcha, there are web sites out there with listings telling women like L how to date a single dad and be happy.

Ehow.com says:

Let him talk. Allowing him to chat about his kids and his life will give you a lot of information about the scenario you are walking into. A single dad who talks about his kids and is involved in their life is a good sign.

And there this bit of information is something a lot of women seem to skip over.

Show courtesy to the mom, if she is involved. This woman is not your competition, but she is a constant and equal part in the children's lives. Even if the divorced mom and dad do not get along, it is not your place to be involved.

Dad's House, a blog written by a divorced father, says:

You might find the early stages are different for dating a single dad vs. dating a man without kids. Single dads can move more slowly when it comes to love. Part of this might be a hesitation to get romantically involved, exposing himself to the potential of getting hurt. But it might just be his schedule.

If he has 50/50 custody, he won’t be free every weekend. Expect him to call you within a week of your first date, but don’t feel slighted if it takes 2 weeks or more for a Friday night dinner to materialize. Your job: be patient with his schedule.

If he has weekend custody, he’ll want to date on weeknights. It doesn’t mean he thinks less of you if he can only meet after work. He will likely want to wait before introducing you to his kids, to keep them off a dating rollercoaster. And he may not want to get a babysitter in the early stages of dating you. It’s nothing against you - he only gets to see his kids part time, and he wants to spend time with them. That he’s a family man is a good thing. Your job: make yourself available on weeknights.

His free nights might not be date nights. Going out is more fun later in the week, but if he’s only free Monday and Tuesday nights, can you make an exception? There may not be clubbing, but there’s still plenty to do. Plus, restaurants and bars are a little quieter, giving you more one-on-one time to get to know him. Your job: go out with him on laundry night, and wash your clothes some other time.

Howtodothings.com says dating a single father "a lot of patience, understanding and selflessness."

Don't Try To Be a New Mommy. Unless the two of you are getting married, or he's a widow and you're adopting his child, that child (or children) already has a mom. It is not your place to discipline them. And be careful about handing out your expert advice that you saw on Dr. Phil. Parents can be sensitive, especially when someone who doesn't have kids tells them what they are doing wrong. You can offer to help, but leave the down and dirty to Dad.

Don't Expect All of His Time. Keep your life busy because you will probably have some free time on your hands. That's FINE. One divorced dad told me he liked to date other women with kids from a previous marriage. That way she had her kids every other weekend and didn't expect to see him as much. A father may have his children two weekends a month and maybe even want some alone time or to see his buddies. Hey, that's fair! So, having your own life and your own plans can also be very attractive to a man with limited time and energy.

His Kids are Number One in His Book. Never for a moment think that you are going to come first. His child is and should be his priority. You must honor that. Never ever compete with his children for his time or affection. You try and you will lose. If you understand that at the beginning, you will be less likely to take it personally or sometimes feel rejected. And if for some reason his kids don't come first, what kind of man is that?

If you can handle what dating a single father entails, then you may have the best relationship with a great guy.

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