I had never thought I would, one day, find myself trying out the “Single Dads” portion on the dating menu… Apparently, however, if you are single, in your thirties and looking for an older man (aka late thirties or forties), the chances of bumping into a divorced guy with kids are high! This was the case a year ago, when I found myself in Mykonos, flirting with this gorgeous Italian guy and the moment he reached his phone to take my number, I noticed, to my surprise, his little daughter on the screensaver … And so, this was my introduction to what I like to call… Next level dating: Single Dads!
Single Dads, aka divorced men with kids, carry a whole set of complications with them. Yes, it is a next level gaming and one not to be taken lightly. And Yes, it can end up in a great romance (after all, everyone deserves a second chance, when it comes to love), but it requires a whole other level of maturity, clarity and the ability to assess whether this man is actually worth the hassle…
Through many rounds of martinis with girlfriends, discussing stories about single dads & dating, this is what I have come to conclude: Single dads, because of their divorce ordeal (which is usually bitter), behave like “Martyrs”, which appeals to women’s “Savior” gene. But what makes them really attractive is their attention and love for their kids, which universally and with no exception, appeals to all women that have at some point experienced “daddy issues”! When it comes to the “Ex-wife subject”, more than often, she is the one that didn’t understand them, didn’t support them enough and didn’t make it work in general… Which, almost always, makes us want to make the difference. And unfortunately, we get so preoccupied doing exactly this, that we become too busy to notice any red flags.
Single Dads and divorced men – the majority of them – want to regain their “lost flirting years” and most importantly their…Youth. They play the field like newborn ducklings that are learning to walk again, in order to catch up with lost time of being homebound with the ex-wife. They are out of practice, so, they are kind of goofy when it comes to being alluring and seducing and usually very, very insecure (though some hide it better than others). You can spot them in their stylish SUVs with their kid’s car seat on the back; they appear wiser, mature and cool because of their experiences and years of age – but in fact, they are not. In particular, sentimentally speaking, their lack of being in the field has left them immature, and frankly, because they feel they have given too much and been through too much, they rarely have any true intention of getting involved. They cannot – even if they had to save their own life – become confrontational, as the feel they have been through too much shit to explain, analyze, or feel pressured in any way, so, they are the first to flee. You sit opposite a forty- year-old man, expecting to hear or be taught a life lesson when it comes to relationships, only to realize that he has the emotional intelligence of a twenty- year-old, and that you should probably develop a thicker skin.
Nonetheless, there is a bigger issue to address here… The Kids – and the new woman’s responsibility towards them.
I’m a woman that has experienced highs & lows, when it comes to relationships, so I can write (or bitch, at times) about them. But I’m also a child of divorce and I have experienced, first-hand, the bitterness of it. So, I will remain adamant to this: if you choose to get linked with a man who has children from a previous marriage, you get to love him and consider him and his kids as a unity. You can’t pick one or the other; it’s him, with his kids, it’s going to be more complicated and you are going to have to deal with it – end of story!
Women are, by default, more competitive and territorial than men – hence, the so many wicked stepmother stories. They want to feel prioritized in relationships, which is something that you can’t do, if you date a single dad. Children, who are innocent bystanders in every love story, have to remain prioritized, loved and feel secure at all times. This doesn’t mean you won’t feel loved or special; it means, however, you are entering a relationship from another level of maturity. You have to be prepared for a whole lot of challenges: romantic weekends or vacations will be cancelled due to kids school plays, date nights will be ruined due to children’s nightmares or sudden colds, the ex will probably hate your guts and bitch about you (and yes, you have to take the high road on this one); the children will feel threatened by your presence and react in unpredictable ways, your man’s nerves will be rattled from his constant efforts to juggle situations and he will often experience feelings of guilt about missing out and of not being there enough for his kids…
And furthermore, if you choose to create a second family and have kids of your own with him, the relationship between your children and their half-siblings lies in your hands. I have come to believe that women are the glue that keeps most families together. Should you choose to create a modern one, it is a very big responsibility to hold them all together. There are many hats to wear and many roles to take. However, in order to have a great man by your side, you first and foremost have to be a great woman, willing to compromise, balance and love wholeheartedly. Because at the end of the day, for better or worse, we don’t get to pick who we fall in love with; instead, we get to pick our response and behavior in every situation.
Pics by @annatagalou / Special Thanks to Vir & Vaggo my beautiful “Koubaritos” for lending me their playstation! And for always being there for me.