dating + love

Dating Single Daddies

June 20, 2011

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,

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  • Reply madscientist7 June 20, 2011 at 1:24 am

    i’ve dated a single mother before. i don’t think i could do it again. like you said dating a single parent is really like dating more than one person. more power to single parents out there but what happens if the relationship grows and matures. honestly, i don’t want a ready made family. i would prefer to start one of my own.

    • Reply gemmieboo June 20, 2011 at 2:15 pm

      honestly, i don’t want a ready made family. i would prefer to start one of my own.

      though i didnt really touch on this in the post, ive had this conversation with a close friend who’s single dad. admittedly, the idea of building a life with some one who already has a child makes me feel inadequate and intimidated. i dont think its the idea of raising some one else’s child as much as it is being with some one who has “been there, done that” as a parent. if we have a child together, i’m experiencing parenthood for the first time while my husband would have already done it. and for whatever reason, that makes me uneasy.

      • Reply madscientist7 June 20, 2011 at 4:33 pm

        i feel the exact same way. i want to raise a child with a woman who hasn’t already been there. i don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

      • Reply gemmieboo June 20, 2011 at 11:27 pm

        i dont think theres anything wrong with it. we all have our preferences. and we need to be upfront and honest about them.

      • Reply nicknotnikki June 21, 2011 at 12:09 am

        that was exactly my take on it… I don’t want to be in labor and he says “you know, at the birth of my first child, it was false labor..” I’d feel some kinda way…

      • Reply gemmieboo June 21, 2011 at 12:20 am


        lol i have had those thoughts too. having my hubby tell me im doin ish wrong or actin all superior because hes done it before. i know thats overthinking it and probably coming from a very insecure place, but thats where my mind is lol

  • Reply Starita34 June 20, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    I made a long comment, I thought it was clear too…then Firefox crashed.
    I may try to recreate it later.

    Bottom line: I date men that are mature and responsible. Being a dad without a wife doesn’t negate either one of those, but it doesn’t guarantee it either.

    • Reply gemmieboo June 20, 2011 at 2:22 pm

      i had to quit firefox a few months ago. *men on film voice* HATED IT! make the move to google chrome.

      I date men that are mature and responsible. Being a dad without a wife doesn’t negate either one of those, but it doesn’t guarantee it either.

      i hope you do come back to expand on this. i still dont get a sense for how you feel about dating single dads (im assuming you have). and if its something that you found difficult to do.

      • Reply Starita34 June 21, 2011 at 5:24 pm

        Ok, I’m done pouting, lol. So, what I had said was…that my experience was the opposite of yours. Initially I was completely open (and naive) about dating men with *a* child. I love kids, I plan to have kids with my husband, he just got a head start on me, what harm could come of it!? *dun, dun, duuuuun* Then I was introduced to baby mama drama! And boy is it REAL. So for a hot minute I was turned off of men with children, turned off, never eliminated, because I knew some great single fathers-unfortunately I knew more fathers that couldn’t tell you their kids favorite food or birthday. This doesn’t sit right with me at all. Family is tres importante to me (so what I mixed three languages?! FIGHT ME!).

        So in the end I realized that the presence of child is irrelevant to me really. I’m definitely worried about the kind of father a man is whether he’s got a jump start on it or not and if the mother of his child is someone that I can share parenting responsibilities with fo’ life. But outside that, bring on the single daddies. It’s actually quite attractive to me. Both of my two meaningful relationships were with single Dad’s and I respected them that much more for their parenting.

  • Reply MsEvahoney June 20, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    I have to agree with you. i have dated two single papa’s. One was major baby mama drama the other was great father which meant I was put on the back burner. i am at a point right now where i want all the attention. I’m selfish. Although if things don’t go the way I hope i may be a single parent at some point so my feelings may change.

    • Reply gemmieboo June 20, 2011 at 2:39 pm

      i am at a point right now where i want all the attention. I’m selfish.

      sometimes its hard to admit, but i think this really sums up how i feel about dating single parents. i would NEVER ask a man to put me before his child, but its really hard for me to get to know some one when there are restrictions and limitations to when and how we can interact. *shrug*

  • Reply jrsirmans June 20, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    I too, have dated a single mother. It has scarred me in many a way. Children often and unintentionally become human shields. The potential for that to happen literally distinguishes a single parent s/o in a very bad light. Real or not, children should not predicate an adults responses. (By predicate, I mean tantrums and acting out. Adults should have matured to a point to properly handle such an event). If the child does predicate, it not only raises red flags but should cause a deep re-evaluation of what both parties hope to attain by their union.

    • Reply gemmieboo June 20, 2011 at 2:42 pm

      i’m not really sure how your dating a single mother has scarred you and how a child’s behavior has influenced that. please explain.

      • Reply jrsirmans June 20, 2011 at 3:48 pm

        I do not desire to be examined. I will simply say that the idea of dating another single mother has a very visceral, negatively emotional feel to it. Not very likely to happen at all.

      • Reply gemmieboo June 20, 2011 at 11:21 pm

        no one is trying to examine you. but i dont find your comment to be very enlightening as to the issues with dating a single parent. but if you dont want to share thats fine.

      • Reply Sagey June 21, 2011 at 2:05 am

        It is hard to describe without dumping on that situation. The mother is a wonderful person. The child is bright and promising.
        There was no baby daddy. But her scars became my scars and there was cancer, pneumonia, a few deaths in the family and a kidnapping all in the first 6 months. Not my family, all that was her family. Dealing with all of that unfortunate series of events and three budding stages of our relational was taxing and just cannot be relived, hence the scars.

  • Reply Cheekie June 20, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    I love the honesty in this post. Because, like you said, there’s nothing wrong with a man putting his child first. There’s also nothing wrong with admitting you may not be ready for that. It’s when someone starts to make the man/woman feel guilty for placing their child before you when it becomes a problem and unhealty for both parties. And frankly, not being ready for that type of relationship can bring that out in someone. Without them even knowing it.

    • Reply gemmieboo June 20, 2011 at 2:45 pm

      It’s when someone starts to make the man/woman feel guilty for placing their child before you when it becomes a problem and unhealty for both parties.

      agreed. the dating ritual dance can be complicated in and of itself. and adding another person to the mix complicates it more. the child shouldnt suffer because you realize you’re a selfish bastard and have a hard time sharing some one’s time. you just have to be honest with yourself and say “this isnt for me so i need to take a step back”

  • Reply ellemarie360 June 20, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    The last serious relationship I had was with a guy who had custody of his two kids. I was not prepared for the lack of time and attention that I would receive in dating a single parent. I’m used to one on one relationships and in this one it was 2 additional people involved, well 3 if you count the children’s mom. I have to agree with MsEvahoney..I’m at a point where I want to cultivate a relationship with just two people and not all of the added drama that having children and trying to date can bring. I know every situation is different, but my expirience with this situation has taught me to think long and hard about dating a single parent again.

    • Reply gemmieboo June 20, 2011 at 11:23 pm

      its good to know im not the only one with my line of thinking when it comes to dating a single parent. i think it takes a very special and patient person to be willing to accommodate the needs of a parent trying to raise a child. at this point in my life, i dont think im that person.

      thanks for sharing!

  • Reply keisha brown June 20, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    the way you ended the post says it all…the ever-shrinking dating pool changes things.
    my preference has been not to date men with kids for the same reasons has stated above.
    i think it’s very hard for relationships to grow, when the spontaneous fun part of the relationship is always going to be (and rightfully so) trumped by that person’s need to be a good parent.
    never mind all the other stuff that potentially comes along with it.
    that being said, i have dated men with kids, not sure if i will or wont again…only time will tell…

    • Reply gemmieboo June 20, 2011 at 11:26 pm

      exactly. its definitely a test of one’s ability to compromise and be flexible with their time. i think you really have to be honest with yourself with what you want and what you need from the other person.

      thanks for sharing

  • Reply nicknotnikki June 21, 2011 at 12:32 am

    I’ve dated a single father.. The fact that he didn’t tell me he had a child on the way when we met speaks volumes.. We broke up for other reasons, but I really don’t want to date a single father again.. it IS a catch-22.. because I wouldn’t want to even know someone that didn’t take care of his child(ren)
    I feel like my request isn’t that much of a big one.. And it’s not like I’m coming from a place of knowing I won’t do it without having actually tried it.. I don’t ask for anything I’m not giving myself.. Why can you be the first person whose seed I give birth to and you’ve already gone through the whole thing with someone else.. I want use to experience that angst together.. and yes, I know that “it would be different with you” but I’m not feelin that argument..

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