Biggest frustrations dating single dads?

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-05-2004
Biggest frustrations dating single dads?
9
Wed, 06-10-2009 - 12:07pm

Hola Chicas!

For those of you dating single fathers, what were your biggest frustrations when starting to date them?

I had dinner with mine last night - we cooked together at my house. He seemed really preoccupied, like he couldn't relax. I just got the feeling he wasn't focused and was just exhausted. He was also semi-affectionate. Yet this morning he said he enjoyed the meal and it was delicious. Giving me many kisses and hugs and being more affectionate as he's leaving. Throughout the evening we did discuss work and what he has to do this week regarding having to give employee reviews to his staff, etc and that larger fact that his youngest son is still sick - his ex has had to stay home with him for the past 2 days. He got up really early this morning to see how he was feeling and to determine if he had to stay home with him today. I realized then that, that is probably what had him most preoccupied - his youngest being sick. Yet he never said that even though I asked many times how he was feeling. It was just a bizarre evening...

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-01-2005
Wed, 06-10-2009 - 12:33pm
Well, I am marrying a single dad next month. We have been together for about a year and a half.

For the first six months of dating, it was challenging. Not only does he have two kids, but he travels a lot for work and his father passed away just a few weeks after we started dating. So, he was busy and preoccupied quite a bit in those first few months. (He still is at times, but we have reached a great balance of making time for each other in the past year. It also got a lot easier when I started spending time with him when he had the kids.)

The best advice I can give you is to be patient, but to continue to ask for what you need.

If he's being quiet and distant, don't take it personally. C. (my fiance) calls those moments "going into his cave." I think a lot of guys need "cave time" to process what's going on in their lives and figure out what they are feeling. As C. says, sometimes he doesn't even really know what he's feeling until he processes it. Don't assume it's about you. More than likely, it's about work and his kids. Sometimes, though, I have to drag C. out of the cave. I remind him that I need him, too, and that I miss him.

So, enjoy the time you have. Do fun things. Be a nice distraction for him. You don't have to solve his problems or be his counselor -- he can do that for himself. Just be the wonderful woman that you are and he'll appreciate that.

AJ, enjoying life with C.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-05-2004
Wed, 06-10-2009 - 1:25pm

Ah yes I like the cave analogy. Very good and seems very true in this case. I actually did meet his kids over the past weekend - which was an unexpected, nice surprise. We originally were going to do something alone but he still had the kids. So he suggested I come over and meet them instead. So, we hung out and watched dinosaur movies. They are quite adorable.

I did just send him a message a bit ago, telling him I hope his little boy is feeling better. He replied back that him and his ex just got in a big fight because the baby is still is not feeling well and she is at home and just called him asking if he could come home from work to get him - yet he had been calling her for hours before he went to work to see if he should stay home and she didn't answer the phone. I didn't know what to say so I just told him to let me know if he needs any help that I'm happy to lend a hand. Goodness I sympathize with him...

Congratulations to you on your upcoming nuptials!

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-21-2008
Wed, 06-10-2009 - 1:26pm

I agree with what Tallgirl told you. Patience is the key. I'd also say that flexibility is also key. You never know when you might have a special weekend planned for just the two of you when something comes up and he has to have the kids.

My situation is a bit different because my fiance has permanent custody of both his daughters. They're around all the time unless they are visiting their mother, so I had to learn right away how to handle having them around all the time. We've reached a place where we function as a family rather than as a single dad with two kids and a childless girlfriend. Our times alone are often few and far between but we've learned to make the most of those moments.

Definitely talk with him about setting aside time for just the two of you if you can both manage creating that time. Don't take it personally if he doesn't seem as in tune or talkative and do let him have his space if he needs it. And by all means, keep coming back here!


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iVillage Member
Registered: 02-05-2008
Wed, 06-10-2009 - 2:36pm

Hi Rachel,


I too like Tallgirls' discription of "Cave Time".

 
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-01-2005
Wed, 06-10-2009 - 3:18pm
>> I didn't mind that he walked in on the phone or that the phone rang again after we were seated.

AJ, enjoying life with C.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-05-2008
Wed, 06-10-2009 - 5:28pm
You are so right about the phone thing!! :0)
 
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-05-2004
Wed, 06-10-2009 - 5:41pm

Yeah the whole communication with his ex took place after he left my house and early this morning. So I haven't experienced the issues that you guys have experienced yet.

It's just that as you guys point out he was having a "cave moment", and I was thinking - why did you even come over if you don't want to be here with me! No one is forcing you to be here. So I got all paranoid that he's just leading me on. But then I started to think more rationally after he left this morning as was a bit more expressive with me. I mean he just introduced me to his kids - I don't think he would have done that lightly. They are his world.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-01-2005
Thu, 06-11-2009 - 12:37pm

>> I mean he just introduced me to his kids - I don't think he would have done that lightly. They are his world.<<

Nope. That's HUGE. It takes trust for him to introduce you to his kids.


I know it was a big deal for C. to take that step with me (and it was a big deal for me, too).


Oh, and just because he's in his cave doesn't mean he doesn't want you around -- it just means he doesn't want to talk about what's on his mind. Sometimes quiet company is the best remedy for worry.

AJ, enjoying life with C.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-05-2004
Thu, 06-11-2009 - 1:29pm

Well interestingly I just got a little taste of how the ex interacts with R (my man). As I mentioned the youngest has been sick for like a week. Also another note - his ex is bipolar and refuses to get treatment or take medication.

Quick recap:
His ex took both kids to daycare last week when both kids had fevers, and the daycare called R to come pick them up since they were sick. So he did and then had them with him the rest of the week. Monday of this his week she got both kids back but stayed home Monday and Tuesday from work with the youngest one because he was still sick. Wednesday morning R left my house real early - like 6am - to go back home, get in touch with her and see if he would have to make arrangements with his job and stay home with the youngest if he was still sick. She didn't answer his calls, so he went to work thinking she took him to daycare and that he would pick both kids up that night after work, because he has them the rest of this week. A couple hours after he was at work (he works about an hour commute away) his ex called and said he had to come get the youngest from her because he was still sick and she was at home. Apparently they had an arguement about her not responding to him earlier when he kept calling. So R came back to get him and as it turns out he took him to the doctor and the poor thing has a throat and ear infection.

The night before when R was at my house for dinner he met my friend and next door neighbor who is a teacher and also a single mom. They got along well and related how hard it is to be a single parent without a lot of support. Anyway she knows the youngest is sick and ironically told me yesterday before I knew all this happened with the ex...that she has an additional resource for him - another teacher friend of hers that is a certified child care specialist with over 25 years experience, that works with people that have kids with work schedules that require long hours; works with foster kids and kids with diablities; keeps children overnight; or that are sick. My neighbor relied on her quite a bit as her son was growing up - he's now 10. She gave me her number and suggested I give it to him so him and the ex will have another resource. I think it would be great but don't want to appear intrusive. It's obvious that he just doesn't have enough support - especially in any emergency situation. And his ex is not always reliable...