Dating the Single Parent

| | TrackBacks (0)

Got roped into a discussion this weekend .. about the ups-n-downs of dating single-parents .. something with which I have first-hand experience (.. on both sides of that fence).

DatingDivorce is popular here in Southern California. So your chances of meeting an available single-parent are higher here than in other parts of the country.

"Here's a single dad!" called out an acquaintance as I walked by. (.. his table at the coffee shop)

I actually felt somebody grab my arm before I heard his voice. He pulled me over. Hadn't seen him in months. Very athletic fellow. (Always in stellar shape.)

I didn't however, know any of his 3 friends. Two girls & one other guy were seated with him. All seemed very nice, 30-something. None had any kids, nor ever been married. (I remember those days .. sorta.)

Muscles got a chair for me from another table. As I sipped my coffee, they brought me up to speed, sharing some of their experiences dating single parents. I could certainly relate, having had many good experiences of my own. (Kids usually like me, and I certainly enjoy them.)

The biggest turn-off (in my opinion) is when a single mom puts her kid(s) second .. after the relationship with the new guy. Never been able to respect a mom who did that .. no matter how flattering it might seem.

Yet the person who dates a single-parent (as the people seated at this table clearly expressed) don't want to be relegated to an after-thought. They don't want to feel unimportant. So it's not an easy line to tread.

As a single parent, I know that you can't help but feel fondly about people who go out of their way to be nice to your kids. Those who do (go out of their way) get head-of-the-line privileges (so to speak). This is not a conscious decision, mind you. Rather a parent can't help but appreciate (in the fullest sense of the word) those who are nice to our kids (I explained).

••• today's entry continues here below •••

From conversations I've had with other single-parents, I know that it's difficult to develop a meaningful relationship with someone who doesn't have good chemistry with your child .. no matter how much you might be attracted .. or how good-looking they might be. (Or sexy.) It's an uphill battle, at best. And if your son/daughter doesn't like them, it's impossible.

On the other hand (as most of these people discovered) the person who goes out of their way to develop a meaningful relationship with the child(ren) will be richly rewarded for their efforts (.. by the appreciative parent).

Kandinsky Black & VioletFew can show appreciation like a single-mom who wants you to know how much they appreciate what you're doing for her kid(s). Arrive with a small treat .. leave with a big one. =)

It's difficult to raise children in today's nuclear society .. even under the best of circumstances. So finding someone who will help enrich your child's life .. well, that's someone who you definitely want to encourage.

The single parent, in my dating experience, is usually more-forgiving and generally less-demanding .. especially those who might've been thru a long, drawn-out, nasty divorce or custody battle. Real is the word that comes to mind. Down-to-earth.

They're not looking for a knight in shining armor, because they've abandoned unrealistic expectations. They just want someone who will treat them with respect and be nice to their kid(s). If you can make them laugh and kiss good, you're a hero.

After getting divorced, my buddy Tom (who has a daughter in grade school) married a girl who had no children of her own. This arrangement seemed to work well. She became a part-time mom, as Tom split the weeks of custody with his daughter's biological mom (his first wife).

The relationship that had developed between his daughter and new girlfriend during the dating phase was a prime factor in his decision to marry .. if not *the* prime factor.

Tho I often felt he expected too much from his new wife, who frequently liked to take off on the weekends, to go rock-climbing. Tom preferred to do family things whenever he had his daughter. He seemed to resent his new wife's free-spirited adventures.

Nature imbues parents with a concern for their kids that extends beyond the rational. We'll do things for our kids that we won't even do for ourselves. This kind of devotion cannot be duplicated by a wedding ceremony or replicated by a marriage license. Granted, some step-parents treat children better than the natural parent, but this is an exception, not the norm.

Having the other parent still in the picture can complicate things .. tho I've never had any problems myself. Long as the child(ren) like(s) the new boy/girlfriend, and are being treated well, all is usually hunky-dory.

Kandinsky artAnyway, I gave the girls at the coffee shop some strategies for dating their single-parent guy-friends, sharing insights I felt will benefit everyone involved (even the kids).

Much obviously depends on the child's age, since younger children tend to require more attention .. but basically, things work best when the dating-parent makes the child a priority .. because it's difficult to respect a parent who is so desperate for affection (needy) that they'll neglect their child(ren) to focus on the new romance.

But (but!) they also want somebody who will show their appreciation (demonstrated tangibly in a multitude of ways) for the sacrifices that are necessary in such a relationship.

These types of relationships are not easy. Few can make them work. But I tend to feel that people who help single parents raise their kids get a double dose of karma. These were attractive, fit girls (women), who could get any guy they wanted .. (especially the one sitting next to me).

I've also heard that people with intimacy-issues sometimes prefer to date single-parents, because the distraction of having the kids around prevents situations that foster intimacy. Personally, I've found that single-moms tend to be more (not less) intimate. Tho I still asked the girls if they felt this might be a factor in their dating decisions.

The first time I came home from a dinner-date with a single mom (back when I was living in Pennsylvania), she went straight to my bathroom and pee'd .. leaving the door open .. talking to me the whole time .. as if pee'ing community-style was the norm.

That kinda freaked me out. I hadn't yet had a chance to put on any music, so that tinkling sound echoed throughout the apartment. Made me surprisingly uncomfortable. The loudest pee I've ever heard. (Especially for such a small girl.)

But it was clear that she had simply grown accustomed to a more open living arrangement with a man. (After that, I always felt awkward closing the bathroom door. Prudish.)

Come to think of it, she was always freaking me out like that, doing similarly unexpected things .. that pushed my romantic envelope. (She was a few years older than me, too .. and way smarter in the world of relationships.) But that's another story. =)

Regarding the dating scene, I've never done the online thing, but know many people who have had good luck with it. And while I have met some very nice people, I'm in no hurry. If you whack a dog every time it comes to the trough, it will eventually stop coming .. even tho it likes food, and may even be hungry.

In geekier news, I've been learning the Movable Type's templating engine. Supposedly, if you know one templating system, you have a good idea how they all work.

For more along these lines, here's a Google search preconfigured for the query » dating single parents

« Previous Rad entry ||| NEXT Rad entry »

0 TrackBacks

Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: Dating the Single Parent.

TrackBack URL for this entry:

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Rad published on April 19, 2009 9:38 AM.

Sonic Inspiration from the Miserable Ones was the previous entry in this blog.

Can Expectations Affect Reality? is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.