A writer at XO Jane outlines this week why she will probably “never date a single dad again.” It’s a damn good thing, too. If you have it in you to actually be jealous of a child – you definitely should not date someone who has one.
The writer tells the tale of her trials of dating a man with a three-year-old – and how difficult it can be to share the attention.
I will never date a single dad again. Probably. I used to have this as a hard and fast rule for myself while doing the online dating thing, but then felt like I was getting a little too old to keep limiting my dating pool, especially because my own not-so-secret bias suggested that if a man hadn’t been either married and divorced or hadn’t had kids by this age (I’m in my early thirties), he’s probably some sort of a mutant. So I decided to be more open-minded, and cast a wider net.
If you would even think to have this rule – you should probably just stick to it. Or continue to date “mutants.” You don’t default to bringing a whole extra little person into your life just to widen your dating pool.
Months rolled along, and surprising feelings clawed their way out of my gut that I was totally unprepared for… being around someone who was always gushing about how much he loved his son made me feel somehow inadequate. I felt like he was already on a team– Dan’n Son, and I was the odd-girl-out.
I’m not sure what the alternative to “gushing” about loving your child is. I can’t imagine not finding this to be a positive quality. Many of the commenters praised her for her transparency, but the piece just left me feeling confused. I thought tales of women jealous of their partner’s children was the stuff of bad Lifetime movies and fairytales.
And there was more. Since he already “had his baby” and didn’t care one way or the other if WE were to ever actually have children, I started to feel like any potential baby of my own with him would just be a ‘franchisee.’ All the excitement, the anticipation, the first thrills, tiny coos and tiny shoes, feeling like your heart might blow-up from being over-filled with love (or so I’ve heard)–the first of everything was now over for him. His baby cherry was popped. He already had a ‘flagship’ son; any human who would ever emerge from my vagina would be an upsell in his life.
I understand that dating someone with children isn’t easy. I’ve done it – and we’re still together. I was scared shitless to meet my partner’s then five-year-old. I’m not saying these insecurities are unfounded – but how could you put all of this on a child? Also, assuming someone would consider a second child an “upsell” is kind of assuming they are pretty terrible. This article confuses me to no end.
To me, the article is saying “I’m admitting these feelings so it makes me less awful!” I don’t actually think having these feelings is awful, but allowing yourself to become a part of a child’s world when you are harboring these kinds of insecurities and resentments is really unfair. Pull yourself out of your own very small world for two minutes and realize that there is a little person in front of you that doesn’t deserve to be pulled into this bullshit.
I’ll just never understand the thought of an adult pitting herself against a three-year-old. If the words “I could never date someone with kids” easily roll off your tongue – there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Just don’t make an “experiment” out of dating someone with kids. Your adult brain may be able to chock it up to a failed relationship, but a child deserves a little more foresight than that.