Being a single father is something nobody plans, I certainly didn’t. Dating as a dad can be really complicated. Here are some things I’ve learned on being a good dad and a good date.
Number one: Kids come first. Always. No exceptions. Unless you want to be paying for therapy and rehab in their twenties, remember to let the kids know that they will always be number one.
Number two: Make sure you’re ready for dating. It’s not just women who need to take time to mend a broken heart and rebuilt trust in themselves. Guys do too. Don’t just jump into a new relationship, breathe, make sure you’re repaired and ready for dating.
Number three: Don’t hide the fact that you’re dating, but don’t talk about it constantly either. It’s a hard balance and it depends on how old they are as well. If you’re only going on blind dates with no second dates, it might be better to keep it to yourself. However if you’re seeing one person on a continuing basis, tell them about it. If they ask questions, be honest, if they don’t bring it up again, follow their lead.
Number four: Tell your date about your single dad status. I’m a firm believer in honesty, get it out, not before dinner, but before desert. If she’s not interested in dating a dad, telling her later on isn’t going to change her mind.
*Don’t bring out family photos, at least not on the first date, that makes it a bit too real.*
Number five: If you end up having a romantic night and you want to sleep over on a night when you’ve go the kids…don’t. Sorry, it’s a hard pill to swallow, but this can really mess with a child’s sense of security. If the girl is worth dating, she’ll understand and wait till the days when your ex has the little ones. Reading to your kids will pay off in the long run way more than a booty call.
Number six: Have date nights with the kids. This will remind them that they are special to you and that you going out on dates isn’t going to change that.
Number seven: Ask that new date for patience and tell her your intentions. If you’re just looking for something easy going without a lot of thought about the future, she has a right to know. If you are looking for a new partner, it’s ok to share that (in a no pressure kind of way).
Number eight: Take time for yourself. If all you’re doing is dating, working and reading to your kids every night, it’s easy to burn out. Take a break, hang with your buddies. If you’re going to be there for everyone else, you’ve got to first be there for yourself.
If you want to be a good dad and a good date just follow the above and you’ll be off to a great start.