When I was in college, I swore to myself that I would never date a single father. Dealing with “baby mama drama” and a child that wasn’t mine didn’t seem appealing in the least. I couldn’t help but think, he’s the type to be screwing carelessly and dangerously (read: raw) and probably wouldn’t have my best [virginal] interest at heart. On top of the stories I’d heard from friends about trifling and “ain’t sh*t” daddies, I just knew that they weren’t the kind with whom I should get romantically involved.
As an adolescent transitioning into adulthood, I had negative perceptions of single guys my age with children. But sure enough, as I matured developmentally, so did my perceptions on people and circumstances. I no longer looked at single fathers as diseased men with whom I should avoid contact, or men that needed to be placed on a “DO NOT DATE” list. I had more and more single male friends who were becoming fathers–being responsible and responsive to their fatherhood duties. As a result, I became more comfortable with the idea of dating men with kids and not allowing their being a parent to serve as a barrier from me potentially meeting Mr. Right.
I’ve dated a few single fathers. In particular, I dated a single father for over a year. He had full custody of his 9yo daughter. There were various reasons why I no longer wanted to be romantically involved with him. And I’d be lying if his being a full-time parent of his child didn’t play a role in that. The time we could spend together was dictated and (in many cases) restricted by his daughter’s schedule. There was no such thing as spontaneous get togethers, outings, overnight stays (at my place since I never went to his). Everything we did revolved around his daughter, as it should. But that really didn’t work for me. I can’t be sure it ever will.
I think my reluctance with dating a single parent has more to do with my difficulty in accepting that we’d never just be a couple–our relationship would always involve more than the 2 of us. I’m apparently having a hard enough time blending 1 other person’s personality and lifestyle with my own when it comes to making a relationship work. Adding the responsibility of raising a young child to the mix complicates and compounds a courting process I’m already not that good at. Though I’m not directly involved in the parenting, I’m still directly effected by the roles and responsibilities of dating a parent. The closer their relationship to their child, to more the impact it will have on a budding relationship. Now make no mistake–I wouldn’t want to be in the reverse position, with a man whose child wasn’t his top priority or presence in his life. It’s pretty much a catch 22.
While I no longer discriminate or have a “no dating single dads” policy, I don’t think I’m yet at a place in my life where I’m ready or willing to accommodate a relationship with a man and his child(ren). I admire and appreciate men who take their roles as fathers seriously, even when their relationship with their child(ren)’s mother didn’t work out. I just don’t think I’m the right woman to work through that single parenthood with in a relationship. *shrug*
Perhaps my stance on single dads will change, as they have once before. In the meantime, it seems like I may be missing out on this pool of eligible bachelors to try and fish out Mr. Right…
How do you feel about dating a single parent? If you’re a single parent, would you date another single parent? Do you think people’s ability to have successful relationships with single parents is a function of age and maturity?
With an ever-shrinking dating pool,