Compared to women, men are virtually overlooked when it comes to being recognized as single parents. On top of that, they struggle to take care of their children and date, finding it difficult to maintain a balancing act and connect with the "right" woman. Although single dads deal with some unique issues of their own, it can be a painstaking process on both sides of the aisle. Women who are dating single dads may also find the experience difficult due to conflicting schedules, babysitting problems, and the inability to acclimate to a "ready-made" family.
When Ted was asked if he had any advice for women dating single dads, he replied, "They need to be able to share attention. My attention is not always going to be on her. She can't just be a good mother; she has to allow me to be a good father to my daughter, too. What kind of man would I be if I sacrificed caring for my daughter to give a woman more attention? Patience is important for a woman to have, to get to know me."
When asked about how single dads should approach dating, Ted replied, "Single fathers should make the time and room for a relationship. Their children have to understand that they will have to share some of their father's time once he decides to date someone and chooses a woman as his mate. Just because you want to date, doesn't mean you're ready. You have to be prepared to make sacrifices." However, when it comes to dating single dads, Ted made it clear that children's needs should never be sacrificed.
Calvin said that was a bad move on his part; he would skip weekends with his daughter to go out on a date. "I felt bad about it afterwards. I couldn't believe I chose a date over my own daughter. So I started integrating my date time with my daughter's weekend visits. It was a constant tug of war, my daughter literally tugging on one side, my girlfriend tugging on the other. One day at the park, they even battled over who I should push on the swing. One night, my daughter refused to go to bed, she cried all night long until I would read to her. She couldn't stand the idea of leaving me alone with my date."
Dating single dads or moms bear some of the same difficulties, such as deciding whether a potential mate is suitable for you--as a single parent--and how soon you introduce that person to your children. Calvin admitted that he should've waited to introduce his date to his daughter, and allowed more time to develop a relationship first before trying to force a blended setting. "That was a big mistake! Don't ever bring a woman onto the scene with your children unless you're sure she's the one you want in your life and your children's life," he added.
Lorraine has had varying results from dating single dads. In one case, the process was fairly smooth. "We were together for four years and I got along with his 8-year-old son very well. But there was a time that I dated a guy for two months when he began breaking dates and shortening our phone calls because one of his live-in daughters needed him to do something. When I brought it to his attention, he accused me of not understanding that his daughters were a priority. What he should've said was they were 'his life.' He'd drop whatever he was doing with me to cater to his daughters' requests. That was the end of that. Dating single dads is no longer for me."
The moral of this story: Dating single dads requires a two-sided effort. Women should first be focused on getting to know the man. His children are an important part of who he is, but getting to know them and winning their trust takes more time. The relationship can develop at a natural pace when a man feels comfortable about having a woman in the presence of his children. Single dads can do one thing to handle the potential issues that may arise: be in control. Lay down some basic rules and boundaries about how and when your potential mate is involved with your children.