This is not one of the most controversial topics when it comes to dating, and definitely not one of the most uncommon ones. But simple as it may seem, after I found myself dating men with children twice in the past 6 months, I realised that in reality, it’s a way more complex topic than we think. Just to clarify what I’m talking about: this article is about single men with children – they might have been married before or just had a long-term girlfriend, but at present they are single fathers. If you found yourself dating a single father you would have realised the baggage that comes with them and if this was your first time (and possibly had a significant age difference as well), you noticed that they are not as easy to date as men without children. So this is the story of Jeff and Ronnie, both of them single fathers.
Jeff is 31 and father to two children, one boy and one girl, both under the age of 5. The story with Jeff is simple and plain – we started dating and about a fortnight into it I received a text saying “I don’t have time for a relationship, my kids keep me crazy busy. Is casual sex ok?” I was itching to reply “Since you put it so nicely, how could I refuse?”…that never happened! I said no it was not ok, I never indicated that was what I was looking for and he never did either. So when I said no he said ‘Ok, I will delete your number” and that was that. I didn’t put much thought into it, I just wrote him off as just another jerk. When I met Ronnie though, I had to rethink the whole ‘dating men with children’ situation.
Ronnie is 29 and father of a boy, aged two and a half. (I just need to mention here how weird it is for me to introduce in an article a guy and his children – I guess there’s a first for everything!) I met Ronnie about two weeks ago – he is one of my friend’s housemate and when I stayed over at hers for the weekend Ronnie and I became quite close. Well more than that actually: one of the nights I was there they threw a house party and we ended up sleeping together, both a bit drunk. I was ready to write the whole thing off as a one-night-stand by the next morning, when I saw that Ronnie wanted to actually get to know me. I wasn’t sure at first , given my past single father experience, but then I started getting into him and decided to give it a go.
The weekend went by so fast and when I returned to my fast-paced city-life I was surprised to find out that Ronnie still wanted to keep in touch and started texting me. So about ten days went by with back and forth funny and flirty texting – comfortable and easy going – when he decided to drop a bomb-question. A couple of days ago, during a lazy afternoon, I received a text from Ronnie “ I have to ask you something: Do you see this as friends with benefits or do you like me more than that?” You know when you are dating a guy and this question keeps racing through your mind until you finally have to ask it? It didn’t even occur to me this time! I liked talking to Ronnie, I liked kissing him and sleeping with him and I liked getting to know him – but I never thought beyond that. Most girls would love to have the guy clarify the big question this early, but I just didn’t know what to say! So I simply said: “I don’t just want to be friends with benefits, I tried that and it didn’t end well (my tragic end with Mat kept ringing a bell in my mind at that point), but I don’t know yet how I see this. I might like you more than that, but I’m just getting to know you so I can’t tell yet..” And just when I thought I had escaped the uncomfortable question easily, Ronnie let it all out “I don’t want to scare you or anything, but I’m almost thirty years old and a dad. I know what I want and I’m looking to settle down. I fancy you and I enjoy getting to know you, but I get that you are in your early 20s and you need to live your life now”. I have to admit I was anxious now, so I had to tell him the truth: I’m not ready to settle down, there are so many things I want to do with my life: I need to finish my masters, get a job, travel around, find myself… How could I know what I want now? So to make a long story short, after a conversation Ronnie and I decided that we’ll take it as it goes, and pretty much we are on the same page… for now.
But what troubles me is not what’s going to happen with Ronnie in the future. He’s great until now and I’ll just take things as they come… but after our conversation I couldn’t keep myself from thinking about what had happened with Jeff and comparing the two. Jeff is not just the jerk I thought he was – he’s someone that clearly knows what he wants, and he knows I wasn’t it. So he just thought he’d get the best out of our short dating-life. And it’s reasonable: they are looking to settle down; they are dads. They have huge responsibilities and priorities; the last thing they want to worry about is a troubled dating life. But even if they are the one type of guy that knows what they want, I can’t help but wondering: How can we be on the same page? If I don’t have those responsibilities, and what I want to do right now is live life to the fullest, how can a single father and I make it work? and even worse, could it be that I like the idea of a single father because of the responsibility and experience that comes with them, but deep down I know that it will never work? and if so, why do I keep dating them?
Just like with most of my dating choices, I know why I choose them: they are a form of challenge. Something so different from me and from what I know that I have to try. Plus, I like the idea of sleeping with a man that has two different sides to him in two different situations – as weird as this sounds. And there’s another major factor that all girls should keep in mind when it comes to dating single fathers: you will always come second!And of course, it’s reasonable – their priority is their children. But just like I don’t know how to behave around children, I don’t know how to behave with a man whose life revolves around a child. Maybe I’m not cut out for this, or maybe I’m too young for it. But either way, I decided to still see Ronnie for the coming future for as long as this lasts. As long as we are on the same page, we might as well stick to it – whether this lasts a week or a month. As long as we are both having fun then there is nothing more to question right now!
What is your opinion about dating single fathers? Would you do it or have you done it? And what did you think of it? How did it turn out? Comment and let me know!!