Ever notice that furniture companies offer ‘90 days same as cash financing’, most stores hold you to a ‘90 day return policy’, and the new job’s health insurance doesn’t start for 90 days? Why not 54 or 218 days? Apparently three months is the time necessary for the human animal to make a conscious commitment to a product, service, and in some cases a job. While this nuance may serve some business practicality, I’m of the opinion that this principle may apply to other areas of our life as well.
When a couple begins dating everybody is on their best behavior. He’s diligently calling and texting just to say ‘Hi’, ‘I miss you’, ‘Can’t wait to see you’, and she’s careful not to complain if he leaves the toilet seat up; though both behaviors may be completely out of the norm. But by the third month he has probably farted in front of her and she has likely had a PMS meltdown. At this point he’s referred to her, vocally or mentally, as a b*tch and chances are high she’s complained to her girlfriends about how big of a d*ck he was the other night. Most homo sapiens are able to keep up a charade for about a month, but eventually the spots on the bathroom mirror start getting noticed. The news of a couple breaking up in the first month lands a different reaction than the couple who broke up after 6 months. It appears we subconsciously think that if a pair can make it 90 days they should be able to make it much longer.
Being a divorced parent makes dating as simple as Differential Calculus. The factors to consider are almost endless. For example, do I date women with or without kids? If with, how old or young should they be compared to my own? If not, does she want her children and if she does do I want any more? Even if we’re blessed enough to actually stumble upon someone with most of our requirements, we are still faced with the potential land mind of bringing the kids into our little love fest.
When a single dad decides he is going to date someone ‘seriously’ (as in committed, as in not seeing anyone else), it’s a big deal! He’s hopefully considered how the girlfriend might handle his kids and how they will get along with her? And the same factors should be considered if she’s also a parent. Plus, how will the ex react to his new love interest being around her kids or will a restraining order be necessary? But with all of the factors to consider, from my experience, the majority of men put more thought into their choice of underwear than who they should introduce to their children.
We forget youngsters tend to get attached very quickly. It’s kind of like a dog without the crotch sniffing or dry humping; if you like someone chances are your kids are going to like them too. But children don’t understand the finer points of casual dating or friends with benefits; all they know is that there is a woman hanging around the house, she’s really nice, and daddy really likes her. When suddenly the new woman isn’t hanging around anymore they’re left confused, scratching their heads, and wondering what happened. Even today, my kids occasionally ask about a past relationship from over three years ago.
An advantage to divorcing when my little ones were still in diapers was that relationship mulligans were in ample supply. Since their little brains were at the developmental stage of a garden gnome, I suffered minimal damage from my plethora of dating snafus. But fortunately I came to my senses before they got out of sippy cups and started living by a rule that served me well.
No mixing girlfriends and kids for 90 days.
As a single papa I have the dating life and the daddy life. And mixing them before it’s time is like premature ejaculation which isn’t enjoyable and is embarrassing. I knew a dad who started having his new girlfriend sleep over, with the kids there, after their first month together. The relationship didn’t make it through month two and he was left to explain to his kids and his ex-wife why she wasn’t around anymore
There is always a risk that single parents take when they bring someone new into their lives and that of their children. Unfortunately we have other people to think about and there are no guarantees that after 3 or 6 months the relationship has staying power, but giving a new relationship time to marinate makes the odds better than at any Vegas casino.
For the single mommas out there, this is an equal opportunity concept.