As you can imagine one of the most common reasons people use our services is because they are very busy with the demands of juggling work and parenthood. Since Fathers Day is right around the corner, it seems like an appropriate time to explore the challenges of being a single dad and dating. First of all, you have limited time as well as being torn between wanting to be a good dad but yet longing for companionship and love.
As fathers grow more engaged in child rearing, single dads increasingly are dating with kids in tow ome 2.8 million single dads live with their kids, up 27 percent from 10 years ago and nearly double the number in 1990, according to Matthew Weinshenker, assistant sociology professor at Fordham University, who analyzed 2010 census data. While single dads face many of the same dating challenges as single moms, there are some differences:
In a survey of 100 single fathers, the vast majority preferred to date women with children, thinking she would be more selfless and understanding of his commitment as a father according to a recent survey. Single moms, in contrast, preferred dating men without kids to reduce complications.
Whether divorced, widowed or never married, we recommend that single dads date with care. That means telling a date immediately, alongside name and occupation, that you have children, and gauging early whether she respects how much time you spend with them.
It means only introducing your children to girlfriends when you’re confident that your relationship is on its way to long-term or permanent status — and, if you’re cordial, giving your ex wife a heads-up.
A tough hurdle is when your kids dislike your new love interest. As you determine the source of the hostility, be patient and constantly reaffirm your love for your kids, Fisher said. They may just be hurt and angry that their parents’ relationship is over, in which case they may need counseling, she said. Or they may notice that dad’s new girlfriend becomes nasty as soon as he leaves the room, in which case dad might do well to take their concerns seriously.
Sometimes the kids will love a new girlfriend until she moves in or you get engaged, because you’ve dashed their hope that their parents will get back together.
But they may also become attached to her, which creates different challenges. My Client shared with me that in his last relationship, his children were “furious” at him, he said, when he broke it off without consulting them first. The moral, he said: Keep everyone’s expectations low.
A single dad’s love life is a balancing act, with a lot of time spent mediating from the middle. A common mistake men make is to neglect to have regular conversations with the new girlfriend to explain why he makes choices favoring the children. She can end up feeling unimportant.
While kids remain the priority, don’t ignore the needs of the relationship. If your girlfriend has an important family wedding she wants you to attend, that takes precedence over a kid’s hockey game.
On a final note, life is meant to be lived and in the end, your kids want you to be happy.