NOTE: ‘A’ dad, not ‘Your dad’. If you’re dating your dad, you have bigger issues and excuse me, I need to go throw up now.
In your 20s’ everyone you date is single and childless (unless you live in Mississippi or Kentucky). In your 30s, there are a few divorcees scattered around but few if any have kids. These days, in my 40s’, every other guy has kids.. and wow its definitely a different experience.
You see, if you’ve never had kids, you’ve never had all those unique experiences that parents have had. You’ve never spent a sleepless night walking a screaming baby around the house, you’ve never changed a diaper and you sure as hell don’t prioritize anyone over yourself (except maybe your dog). Which means dating a dad, when you’ve never been a mom.. well… it taking a bit of getting used to.
Because dad’s are all about loving their kids. Putting them first (or a very close second), having a life that revolves around their needs. Dad’s don’t expect to have all of their time to themselves, to get to choose how they spend all their free time, and they certainly don’t own their finances any more (have you seen how much college costs these days?). And while I think parenting is awesome (and god bless you patient weirdos), I can’t relate in any way to your experience. Which sort of makes first dates with a dad, well..a bit strained.
But dad’s make up 90% of the dating population over 40, so unless you’re really really adamant, you’re going to end up dating a dad one day. Here’s some dad’s to watch out for;
1. ‘My kids are my life’ Dad
Oh we’ve all read this guy’s profile. Usually the first or second line in his profile, having kids was the best thing he ever did.. like ever. And no matter if they’re 2 or 22, they’re still the best thing in his life… in fact, they probably are his life. I’ve dated a few of these guys and every single one, while warm, communicative and caring, also had no life outside of his kids. Hobbies? No time for that. Friends? Does the parents of my kids friends count? Interests? What my kids are up to… oh and Xbox.. which I play with my kids.
This guy is awesome, selfless and devoted. To his kids. Which doesn’t leave much room for you. So unless you want to absorb yourself into his kid centric, kid saturated world.. you might want to pass.
2. Absent Dad
This dad has kids, but you’d never know. He never mentions them, he’s eager to assure you that he barely sees them and he’s got a very full life of which they have no part. On the face of it a better option that Dad #1, but what kind of asshole isn’t involved in their kids lives at all? You know that dating him is going to be no different than dating someone without kids, but selfless, caring, responsible? Not this guy. Kids were something he had, and other people now raise and care about. He sends the checks (or doesn’t) so he figures his parenting is taking care of. Yikes. Run, run far away from this Dad. Or be prepared for footing some serious therapy bills for his kids down the line.
3. Bitter Dad
This guy has kids and boy, you’re going to hear all about it. How much money he has to pay in alimony, how his ex wife is ruining his life, how he takes more responsibility for them and how she’s undermining him in their relationship. Bitter dad might love his kids but that’s not foremost on his mind. She is. He’s still nursing wounds from his divorce, realizing how much work it is to look after them during ‘his time’ and boy, is he pissed about it. During a date with one bitter dad I felt like calling his ex wife and offering her my support. How she’d stayed married to that jackass for 7 years, I don’t know. This guy, kids or not, needs some time and a lot of therapy. And unless you’re a saint (or therapist in training), you might want to skip him.
4.Sex mad dad
They stayed together to try and make it work- because of the kids. His ex deprived him of marital relations for the last 1, 2 or 5 years of their marriage and now, well now he’d making up for lost time. He can’t believe that chicks who wouldn’t have touched him in his 20s, are now waiting for his call. So he calls. And he dates. Everyone. Plus with 5-10 years experience with the ex, he’s got some skills this time around so he’s in demand. He can’t believe his luck. And neither will you. That is, until someone younger, cuter and less demanding than you comes along.
5. ‘Looking for Mom 2.0’ Dad
This guy seems to have it figured out. He loves his kids (but they don’t run his life). He’s attentive and involved, and he and his ex have a great relationship. He cooks, he takes care of things.. in fact, he’s perfect. So what if he asks you to pick up little Stacey from her ballet class, or wonders if you’d mind coming with him to watch Tyler play soccer? You don’t mind.. after all, he has kids. But when you find yourself helping out with homework while he watches Homeland, or you’re running the kids to the dentist, ask yourself if you’re ready to be a Mom. Because it sure looks like you’re one in training. Dating is about you and him, and eventually the kids. But you’re not dating them and unless there’s a ring involved, you’re not duty bound to be Mom 2.0. They have people for that – they’re called nannies and they get paid.
6. Judgmental Dad
This guy is fine with your decision not to have kids. Fine. I mean, a life lived purely for the pursuit of the self is ok for some. Just not him. He prefers to live responsibly, you know.. like all ‘normal’ people do. Its what everyone does… right? And if you prefer to hang out in bars, spend all your money and time on making yourself feel good, that’s your decision. It wouldn’t be his.. but you know, but everyone’s different. Judgmental Dad doesn’t ‘get’ women who aren’t Moms and clearly they should stay away from us. Us being so ‘abnormal’ and all. But like moths to a flame they can’t help themselves. After all, its a lot less complicated when there is only one set of kids involved in the dating process. Its only when they’re confronted by our selfish, hedonistic existence in the flesh that they find themselves compelled to judge. They can’t help it. I don’t know if these guys resent us, think we’re not really women or envy us, but damn, they sure don’t like us. My last judgmental dad date assured me that while I was ‘doomed to die alone’, he was, at least ‘going to die surrounded by love’. Well Sir, here’s hoping you don’t piss off the kids over the next 40 years because I don’t think having kids guarantees you any kind of ending.
And finally, we have ‘Unicorn Dad’.
Unicorn dad (an urban myth I’m sure) is the guy who loves and supports his kids, respects his ex, lives a life outside of parenting and doesn’t expect anything from you as far as raising his kids go. He’s not bitter and he doesn’t care whether you’ve had kids or the reasons why. I’ve heard such men exist.. but if attractive, are rarely single. So if you find one, let me know.. or at least take a picture.
Meanwhile I’ll be out dating the selfish lush with the vasectomy.