I was chatting with my pal Nora a while back about dating and how things change when the men she meets are fathers, not just bachelors, and she proposed writing a little guide for us single dads and the nuances of dating from a woman’s perspective. This is it, with the names changed to protect the privacy of the men mentioned. Enjoy.
Dating after the age of thirty-five (let alone after the age of forty) is an interesting endeavor. Most of the men I’ve met over the past four years have been divorced and the majority are dads. More than once I’ve been asked, “Is being a dad a dating deal-breaker”?
Dave and I were recently discussing this exact topic and he asked if I would be willing to share my reply to him with the readers of his blog. Agree or disagree, here’s my perspective – as a woman without children of her own.
Being a dad does not, in my book, make a man un-datable.
That said, how a man talks about his role as parent can play a key role in determining if he is “second date worthy”.
Within the course of two weeks I went on first dates with two very different dads…
• One lunch.
• One and a half hours.
• One topic: His daughter.
It was too much.
At the end of the meal I knew all about her….her favorite restaurant, her summer job, her search for the perfect college, upcoming events she is looking forward to, the boy she has a crush on and oh, so much more.
What did I know about him? He makes a good living or has entirely too much credit (he mentioned several very expensive items he has purchased for his daughter), and he has a daughter who IS his life.
• He adores his children.
• He is proud of them and loves them with all his heart.
• They are adorable (he showed me a photo on his phone).
While he told me a bit about his children, he also demonstrated an ability to talk about business, pop-culture, politics, religion, … and himself.
What had been planned as a dinner date (I was thinking two hours, tops) transitioned to dinner and drinks with the conversation flowing for five hours.
He was interesting and insightful…..definitely “second date worthy”.
Both men love their kids – that’s clear. The biggest difference relates to how much of their personality and life is defined by being a dad.
I understand the majority of men I will meet in this post-forty dating world will be someone’s ex-husband and most likely someone’s dad. In my humble opinion, these roles alone do not determine whether or not someone is dateable. Dateability of a single parent is not a yes or no question….it’s a matter of how the role of parent plays out in their life…is it their whole identity, or is it clear they also see themselves as friend, worker, lover, individual, and more.
In addition to the Gils and Samuels of the world there are the dads who have completely extricated themselves from the lives of their children, those who want a date to meet their kids inside of three weeks, and those who want to have another baby as soon as possible to “start fresh” (yes, a man has actually expressed this to me on a first date)… all of those are stories for another time.
There you have it – agree or disagree – this is my insight into the land of dating dads … from the perspective of a woman with a large and fabulous family, two insanely cute dogs, and no children of her own.
— Nora Burns (@NoraBurns on Twitter)