Monday, September 20, 2010

Deciding To Date a DAD

While out with a good friend, we decided to have her boyfriend and godschild come along and hang out. I was amazed at the ease and compatibility my friend had with her boyfriend's goddaughter, who he helps to raise. In fact, their going out that night depended on if the event they were attending was child-friendly, not too late and if all other failed, getting a babysitter. They were so responsible and cute!

The interaction made me realize (even though this was a god parent situation)that we are at the age where more often than not, the available men in our dating bracket would be fathers.

Now let me get this out there right away: I know what you guys are saying, guys have to deal with single mothers all the time. But look, here's the thing: in the few generations that have passed, usually it's the man having to make a decision if he wanted to be with a woman who has a child. But now, having a those generation of men grow up with absentee fathers, this generation of men are determined to be anything but and that's good. Gone are the fathers who children would only see occasionally on street corners or speak to over the phone several times a year if that. Gone are the fathers who only see their children two weeks over the Summer or every other holiday at Big Momma's house. What it has also started is a generation of single, childless women having to decide if THEY want to date a man who has a child present in their lives. Now men are either the sole guardian parent or co-parenting daily with the mother of their child. And it's great. It's the way it should be if things did not work out with the mother of their child.

Now, am I open to dating fathers? I'll admit in the past I was not. I was nowhere near ready for a serious relationship and I felt that men who were fathers were looking for serious relationships and if not, they should be. However, time has changed that attitude. I've met men who I've either dated or would have loved to date who were fathers. Since this a major area of dating for me now, as with most things in my life, I do have guidelines and rules I follow when Dating Dads:

Kim's 8 Rules For Dating A Dad

1) I will only date a man w/ a child(ren)who's only or youngest child is over the age of 5. Let's face it: an umbilical cord will tie you tight around a man and the first few precious years of a child's life are a honeymoon period of solidarity for even the most ill-fated couple. If a couple isn't meant to be together, if they have a child, I've found that after a period of five years both parties move on together or seperately without looking back, which is why the age of the child(ren) is important to me.

2) I will only date a man w/ a child(ren) who is no longer in love/sexing/open to being in a romantic relationship with the mother of his child. I have seen some 'WHOO-HOO' situations in my lifetime concerning this one. One of them being when a man is unable to let go of the woman who is the mother of his child. Yes, women can be out there too when they are still in love with the father of their child, but they have nothing on a man who is still in love. Once a man drove to his ex-wife's house where she lived with her new husband to pick up their child and while crying on his knees begged her to leave her new husband and come back to him. All of this while she was holding her newborn child in her hands. Oh, and did I mention he was on a date at the time? Yeah. Crazy stuff like that. The issue is, if he is still attached to the mother of his child emotionally or physically, there can not possibly be a future for him with me. These type of fathers do crave companionship and intimacy, but their heart (or penis) remains with the ex. Until he is ready to completely let go and move on, and some of them never do, it's just not worth the emotional turmoil and possible embarrasment.

3) I will only date a man w/ a child(ren) if he is fully active and responsible in his child(ren)'s life. What men who have children have over men that don't is that you can quickly asses what type of partner and father he is or will potentially be. If he's a doting father who takes care of all his child(ren)'s needs without be asked, you know he's a good provider. If he isn't taking care of his business with his child(ren) then you know he will not do it for you and you can move on to the next guy.

4) I will only date a man w/ a child(ren) if he has a respectful, drama-free relationship with the mother of his child(ren). Look, as a single, child free female, I DO have a choice in dating men without kids. That being said, why would I choose to be in a situation where I'm being chased down, cussed out, harassed or simply watching it happen to the person I'm dating if I don't have to. So men, choose the women you decide to lie down with CAREFULLY.

5) I will only date a man w/ child(ren) if he has two baby mommas or less AND he must have either been married or tried to establish a long-term relationship with at least one of them. If a man has two or more babymommas or more than one child with one woman and he didn't marry or establish a monogamous relationship with her for the long-term, then what would make me think I'll fare any better? Men who jump ship when things get rough are not great potential partners so I'd next him.

6) I will only date a man w/ a child(ren) if he is fiscally responsible. Okay, I'm far from great with money, but all I have is me and I handle my business. But if he has a child(ren) and he's always broke or isn't taking care of their finacial needs before his(i.e., he always has the latest swag, but just can't find the money to send his child support payments or buy Junior the clothes he needs)then what makes me think he'll put me first? He's most likely a selfish jerk and if having a child didn't change him, I won't either.

7) I will only seriously date a man w/ a child(ren)if he is open to having a child(ren) with me. Depending on how many children and the experience a man has, it is fully possible that a father may dream about the day where he no longer has to be fully responsible for another human being(s). I find that this is true with men who become fathers or marry quite young. The reasons for feeling this way varies and there's absolutely nothing wrong with it. Where it concerns me is that I do want to have children and want to have children with someone who wants to have and raise children with me. If he's done with that part of his life, then we simply aren't meant to be.

8) I will only date a man w/ a child(ren) long-term if he is looking to to be stable and married.  A player is a player is a player. Just because a man has child(ren) and is a responsible parent by no means denote that a man wants to settle down. I know fathers who play the field and will probably continue to do so for the rest of their lives. I could become a long term girlfriend or "friend" and I may even meet his child(ren), but I'll never be the only one. Not only that, it is quite easy to get attached to a child. So, not only would I have to nurse a broken heart from the guy when he moves to the next chick, but over the loss of his child(ren) in ymy life. I personally refuse to get suckered into this type of guy. If he says he wants to settle down, but his actions and behavior don't match his words, I'm out.

BONUS RULE:9) I will only date a man w/ a child(ren) if he is able to handle them properly. Okay, let me be delicate about this because I do not have children and I don't want to offend those that do. But here it is: Some people just have bad behind kids. Not only do they have ill-behaved children, but they are HORRIBLE at disciplining them, if at all. I grew up under the Big Momma era and on top of that in the South. When a parent speaks, as a child you listen. No ifs, ands or buts. Not only are having ill-behaved children nerve wrecking to be around, they can put a serious strain on any relationship you may have with their father, especially since as a non-relative or parent, it's not your place to say or do anything. For me, a bad kid denotes bad parenting skills unless there is a medical problem. If you can't handle a six-year old, then you definitely can't handle me. This is a bonus rule because I get it, it may be taking it too far but it's still a real issue to me.

So for single ladies who are involved with dads I hope you do not have to go through any of the issues outlined here. We can't predict who we will fall in love with and many of the issues above you won't know until you're already deeply involved. If this describes you and that's the case, I wish you luck. But if you see any of these issues before you fall head over heels, I suggest you communicate your concerns and wait to see if the behavior or situation will improve. If it doesn't, be OUT!!

Do you have any guidleines are rules you follow when considering a potential mate who has a child(ren)? If so what are they?