A girlfriend of mine from Chicago swore she would never date a man with kids. Well, after years of saying she would never go there, she ended up falling in love with a guy who happened to have a little boy–you can’t help who you love!
There were times, however, when she became frustrated with dating someone who couldn’t make her his entire universe because, understandably, he had other priorities. I remember her calling me a while back complaining that there are absolutely no advantages to dating a man who has kids.
I thought, surely there has to be some advantage, at least one. From my own experience, I’ve found that men with children tend to be more nurturing and caretaking. Plus, it’s hard to juggle multiple women when you are already juggling your children with your girlfriend. A man without children is probably less responsible and could be more interested in drinking and partying. Therefore, I would think a man with children would be much more stable and grounded.
It seems like every man I meet these days either has kids or wants kids. Some of these guys already have kids but still want more kids. Although many of my girlfriends simply refuse to date a man with children, I’ve always kept an open mind. In fact, there was even a time where I thought it was a good idea to date a man who already had kids because it would let my uterus off the hook. Now don’t get me wrong, I love children—I just don’t particularly want to give birth to one. I’m a really fun aunt, but I’ve never had a strong desire to be a mother. For that reason, dating single dads seemed to make sense in theory. However, after dating a man with two young children, I started to re-think my position.
Several years ago, I was dating a man with two boys, 3 and 5-years-old. One of my guy friends tried to warn me saying, “Don’t do it! He will never put you first.” But, of course, I didn’t listen. This man’s divorce was so fresh that the ink on his decree was barely dry. He had dated other women before me, but not seriously, and I, unfortunately, was his first relationship since splitting from his wife.
One of my other girlfriends says she doesn’t date single dads, not because of the children themselves, but because there will always be another woman in the picture. You see, what I hadn’t factored in is the baby’s momma situation. In this case, there was no formal custody arrangement, and since my then boyfriend and his ex lived so close, any time she wanted to go out, she would ask him to take the kids so she didn’t have to call a babysitter. Additionally, she had a rule that I couldn’t meet the children until we were together nine months—we only made it six.
Now, it wasn’t that I was dying to meet the kids. I don’t want to parent or play mom to anyone. If I did find myself in a serious relationship with a single dad, I would simply aspire to be a good friend to his children. The biggest challenge to dating my then boyfriend was that he would often have to cancel or reschedule dates with me at the last minute if his ex called asking him to take the boys. Had I been allowed to meet them, then we could have all stayed in and watched a movie or something. However, since that was against the rules, there were many nights when my boyfriend cancelled on me, sometimes so last minute that I was already putting on my makeup to go out for the night. And if my boyfriend would ever tell his ex that he already had plans, she would make him feel guilty about not putting the children first. Something I’ve witnessed is that single dads tend to carry a great deal of guilt.
Although I never did officially meet the kids, the three-year-old once saw me from his bedroom window. The mere sight of me made him start crying, asking his dad, “Who is the woman in the driveway?” Not knowing how to handle the situation, my then boyfriend told his son that there was no one in the driveway, and the kid kept crying. I always wondered why my boyfriend just didn’t say I was a friend. From that point on, I had to enter the house through the back door if the kids were home.
I swear, there’s a little boy somewhere in Calabasas that still probably has nightmares over me. To be honest, I felt a little bad after that night. I mean, most kids adore me. Was I really that scary in my pink lace dress? I don’t want to be a person who makes kids cry just by looking at me. And I definitely don’t want to be the “woman in the driveway.”
Too much drama, too many rules, and far too many cancelled dates–that experience left me a little turned off to single dads until a few years later when I met a man who actually got it right. He was able to be both a good dad and an attentive boyfriend. He introduced me to his son after only a few dates. I didn’t spend much time with the kid, but this guy wanted to avoid any weirdness or awkwardness if his son saw me coming and going. The three of us watched The Smurfs together and ate banana ice cream. It was no big deal, there was no drama, and not a single tear was shed. The guy and I broke up eventually, but for reasons that had nothing to do with him being single dad.
Naturally, a man’s children have to come first. I wouldn’t want a man who abandons his kids for me. If a man ever convinces me to have a baby with him, I would want to know that he is an excellent father–I wouldn’t have it any other way. However, I think a man should be able to both attend to kids and make the woman in his life feel special. The way you love a child is different from the way you love a woman—there shouldn’t be a competition. I believe there is enough love to go around for everyone. Unfortunately, it seems as though many men have trouble with this balance.
Now, would I date a man with kids again? Yes, I would give it another try. It’s not that I’m specifically seeking out single dads, but I wouldn’t rule them out. Although there are challenges to dating a man with children, I do believe there are men out there who know how to keep everyone happy.
As for my girlfriend, after she and I hung up the phone that day, I opened up my computer. On my Facebook newsfeed, someone had posted an article on why sex with single dads is the best kind of sex. I immediately forwarded the article to my girlfriend, telling her I found an advantage to dating single dads.
She responded, “Yes, that is true! Single dads are better in bed.”
At this point, you’re probably wondering how I feel about sex with single dads…I think I’ll be a lady and say, “No comment.”
But there must be a reason we keep dating them♥