Image: iStock. By Dan Erickson for The Good Men Project.
I’ve been a single dad since my daughter was 11 months old. Now she’s 10 years old. That’s a lot of time and a strong relationship that’s been built between my daughter and me. There’s a dynamic to our bond that I never want to lose.
A new relationship might stir things up. It would create new expectations for both dad and daughter.
I’m like most guys; I’d love to have a new partner. I miss companionship, intimacy, and sex. I’d also love for my daughter to have a positive female role model in her life. But the truth is, many single dads fear getting into new relationships. Here’s why. (5 things about dating over 40. Post continues after gallery.)
We have a routine.
Single parents create routines and rituals with our kids. My daughter, Annie, knows exactly what to expect from me. She knows I’ll always be there when her school bus arrives. She knows what I expect of her around the house. It’s taken time to develop our routines and understandings. A new relationship might stir things up. It would create new expectations for both dad and daughter. That could be confusing. No dad wants to see his child confused.
We have limited time.
This is the big one. Between getting your kids to school, a full-time job, picking your kids up, cooking the meals, doing the laundry and participating in a variety of other activities, there’s no time to start a new relationship. I own a home. I operate a blog. I play in a band at church. My daughter only spends a few hours a week with her mom. She’s with me most of 24/7 outside of school. There’s literally no time for dating. (Post continues after gallery.)
We have a crazy ex.
Okay, maybe not all single dads have a crazy ex, but plenty of us do. People don’t want to get into relationships with too much baggage attached. Our kids’ moms often have problems. They often struggle with being the one who gets visitation. They can be overemotional. Some lack boundaries and might stop by to see their kids without warning. There’s nothing like snuggling up on the couch with a new date only to have the crazy ex unexpectedly stop by.
We have a protective heart.
This is the bottom line. Relationships are hard enough when we’re young and single. When we add careers, homeownership, ex-spouses, and kids into the mix, it gets complicated. It seems easier to avoid new relationships because all the contributing factors could throw a wrench into things. Our kids have feelings. They can grow attached to our new acquaintances. We don’t want to see our kids get hurt.
Annie will be 11 years old soon. Sometimes I think it would be easier to wait until she’s off to college before I seek a serious relationship. Other times, I want to find a partner that would help Annie feel more like her friends who all have two-parent homes. It’s a dilemma.
As a single dad, I want what’s best for my daughter. If that means diving into a new relationship, that’s what I’ll do. Because although many single dads may fear new relationships, wanting what’s best for our kids will always win.