Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Single Dad On The Prowl

Avoiding Looking For Love In All The Wrong Places

For some reason - separation, divorce or death, you are single again. You never thought this would happen. Now, here you are, a single Dad, getting ready to join the dating pool again. It may have been hard enough the first time, but now you have greater responsibilities. You have a child or two who depends upon you. You have a teenager or young one who has demands. The big question now is whether you have the time and energy to date.

It is not easy dating and being a parent. You have to balance your needs and those of your children. You are trying to be a capable parent and a good date. This requires skills and sensitivity to everyone’s needs – including your own. You will need to be adaptable and a skilled juggler.

First Things First 

Do not deny the reality of your situation. Although the first woman you plan to ask out is just the start, you still need to be honest about your situation. It is not wise to pretend you are “single.” You are a single parent. This means, during your date, you may get a call from the baby sitter or the children themselves. It may also mean you have to cancel the date at the last moment if your child comes down sick or produces a note requiring your attendance.

Talk to your children about what you are planning to do. They do not need to know all the details. They do have to know you are planning to date, again. You must assure them you are not planning to replace their mother. You need to affirm you still love them and always will. You need to let them know they are your priority. You also must tell them you need this. You have to let them know that female adult companionship helps to make you a happier and better person.

Overall Preparation

Selecting your date

As a single Dad, your requirements may vary wildly from those of the average single male. Preparing a date will vary somewhat. Single people do not usually have to take into consideration the needs of one or more children. You may require a sitter. You will need a cell phone. You will also have to have a definite destination. In other words, you need to choreograph your date.

Single parent’s dates tend to be less spontaneous. They also need to work within a specific timeframe. You have to be home at a certain time. There is less wiggle room. As a result, you will have to make sure you have made all the arrangements in advance. You also need to verify them with the establishments or venues and your kids. Everyone must be on the same page. This includes your date.

Your choice of date is crucial to its success. Although you may not be seeking someone who loves your children, you will need someone who understands your position. They have to, at least, like children. This makes it possible for them to relate to you. It facilitates conversation. It also makes it easier for them to understand why you have to leave them or stand them up with little or no notice.

Otherwise, preparation for your first date is identical to that cited in Chapter 2. You need to do your research. You need to find out her likes and dislikes. You need to plan an event the two of you will enjoy. You must present a confident, clean and fresh appearance when you ask her out. You must always be honest about who you are – a single father. If you ignore this or mislead her on this, there will not be another date after she finds out.

Whether you use a direct or indirect approach is up to you. It depends upon her personality, your character and whatever you think works. In some ways, a flexible and indirect approach may work better. It gives the two of you a chance to organize the date. As a parent, you may need the extra time to arrange or even rearrange the details.

Where to Go

Where you go on your first date says a lot about both you and your date. There are always the safe choices: a movie, dinner, lunch, a concert. You can also arrange to go on a picnic or for a walk. If she is active, engage in a common sporting activity.
Time is always a factor. If your ex has the children for the weekend, you will have more free time. You will also be able to relax a bit more. If, however, a sitter is involved, you have a set time. Sometimes, an extension is just not possible. Make sure your date knows this.

If you are pressed for time after work, perhaps you can arrange for a lunch date. This reduces such problems as finding a sitter. It also ensures, if the date goes bad, you are not going to suffer overlong. It may also cut down on any interference from your children. They are at school, at the babysitter’s or caught up in their own affairs.

Another suggestion is an outing with the family. You, the first date and the children get together. This could be a solution. It could also be a recipe for disaster. In most cases, the woman hardly knows you, let alone knows your children. If you have the urge to include your children in your first date, resist it. It is too much, too soon, for someone you are dating for the first time. You cannot count on good behavior from them. Save your children and all their foibles for later.

Along the same lines - absolutely avoid, as a first date, an event in which your child plays a role. Do not take your date to a child’s sporting event. Your date is not yet a part of your life. Do not take her to a banquet, game, award ceremony or assembly. While there are exceptions, many women will feel this implies more than a first date. As a scare tactic, it can be very successful. As a means to a second date, forget about it.

What do We Talk About?

Conversation is always awkward for some people. Listening is an important factor of conversation BUT one person should not be always doing the listening. You both need to talk. Yet, what should you talk about?

You should not avoid talking about yourself and your family. That is an integral part of you. It may also be the reason she accepted your invitation. That said, do not dwell on your family. This is adult time. You need to talk about more than your children.

Conversation is about two people exchanging words. Let her ask questions. Let her talk about her life. Let both of you make small talk about similar interests. If you work together, talk a bit about work. If you have come from a movie or concert, talk about it. Talk about local news, the weather and sports. Talk about the food, diets, and the foibles of life.

If you doubt your ability to carry on a conversation, double date or go out with friends. You can also read up. Scan a newspaper or read the latest headlines on your computer home page. If you have done your homework, you will know what she likes and what you have in common. Start off mentioning you have read or seen ____ and go from there.

Try to relax. Listen and talk. Do not put down or ignore what she has to say. Really listen to what she has to say and respond accordingly. If you can, inject some humor into the conversation. Make a small joke or make fun of something you did. Making her laugh is one way to winning her over. Do not be crude or lewd. Double-entendre may or may not work. Remember. This is a first date. It is about learning more about each other. It is also about deciding whether either of you wants to take it further.

Final Thoughts

The first date is an important step for you. It is a recognition you are moving on in your life. It is a realization and acceptance of your current situation. A first date is a first step. It is hard work. It may turn out to be invigorating. It could also be disheartening. Yet, it is a necessary action. You need to take it to move back into the world of healthy adult relationships. 

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