Most dating sites have advice for men who want to date single moms or for single moms who want to go out and find a date, but what about single dads? Where is all the advice telling women what to expect when they find a man who has already had kids?
After much research, and a lot of dating, I’m going to give you the best pieces of advice on dating those single dads so that you know what to expect (and what not to).
#1 Don’t Expect to Be His First Priority
If you already have children, then you know that your kid comes first. If you don’t, and you’re dating a single father for the first time, then you should be aware that his kids will always come before you.
It’s not that he’s being mean, and it isn’t that he doesn’t care about you. The simple fact is that this guy’s priorities are with his family, and that his kids will always be first in his life. If you’re dating a man who doesn’t put his kids first, then you should reconsider dating him because he doesn’t have his priorities in the right place.
#2 If You Have to Meet His Ex, Play Nice
Ex-wives can be hard to handle – especially when there are kids involved. First, no matter how nasty she is towards you (dirty looks, rude comments), just be pleasant and let it roll off your back. Remember, she’s an ex for a reason (they didn’t work together), but nobody likes to see their ex happy, so you’re going to have to deal with the crazy.
Second, don’t try to play the “one up” game. You won’t win. Let her brag, let the kids adore her, and let her continue to treat him like she owns him. That’s just the way it is. Later, if you and he have a long term commitment or end up getting married, you can establish your place as the queen of the house.
#3 Don’t Try Too Hard With His Kids
Chances are you won’t meet his kids for a little while into the relationship, but when you do don’t try too hard to make friends with them. They will compare you to their mom, they will instantly distrust you (in case you break their father’s heart), and they might be horrible little brats just because they can.
Remember, these are kids. They don’t understand why mom and dad are divorced, they probably hardly ever see their dad, and they don’t want to share their time with him with you. Be nice and empathetic. Don’t try to buy their love, but do take an interest in their interests. If he’s got a teenage boy who likes Goth make-up and nipple piercings, say “awesome eye work” admiringly and leave it alone. Eventually, you being cool will make them be cool.
#4 Be Prepared For Last Minute Plan Changes
Being a parent means anything can change at the last minute without warning. Seriously. You will have last minute changes of plans, you will have sudden trips to the emergency room, your romantic dinner will change from plans at a fancy French place to Mac-and-cheese in the blink of an eye.
If you can’t handle the chaos, then you might not want to be in this kind of relationship. Dads aren’t the ones who have weekends in Paris or treat you to a night in a five star hotel. Dating a dad means you get baseball games and camping trips, with the occasional romantic night (which will most likely be amazing since he rarely gets time alone with you). But you will rarely have time alone, so be prepared for that.
#5 Don’t Get Wrapped Up In the Drama
Another important rule is to not get wrapped up in the drama. If there’s mama drama, then leave it to him. It is not your place to jump into his battles, and definitely not your place to fight them for him.
Remember this: There are three sides to every story; his side, her side, and the truth. You don’t actually know the truth and it’s not your battle. Stay away from the drama.
#6 Don’t Be a Free Babysitter
Not all guys are top notch men, and some will take you for granted. Try not to let this happen. Don’t be the person he calls to say, “Can you pick up little Timmy from t-ball for me?” or “I’ve got an important business meeting; do you mind watching the kids for a few hours?”
These are only appropriate suggestions well into the relationship (I mean, well into the relationship). You are not the mom, you are not the step-mom, and there’s no need to be a free babysitter for this guy. Helping a guy out in dire circumstances is one thing, but when the teachers know you by name…you’re being used.
#7 Learn to Like Bugs And Disney Movies
Once you do get to the blissful time when you and the kids get along, it’s important to understand that kids are not little grown-ups. Kids are gross. Kids eat dirt, they bring frogs proudly into the house, they stick worms in the washing machine, and they occasionally smell bad.
That being said, you must be proud of every frog, worm, and mud-pie they bring you! You must laugh at their bad jokes, pretend to answer their toy phone, have tea parties with stuffed animals and tell little boys how very cool the bug they found is. This is the awesome part of dating a dad…you get the chance to be admired by his kids. Kids are wonderful!
When you’re dating a dad remember that you’re entering into an already made family. That isn’t always easy. However, it can be one of the most rewarding experiences you’ve ever known.
So tell us, have you ever dated a dad?