This is the second in a series of posts where I’m giving up the goods about dating single fathers. Think of it as being given the other team’s secret playbook right before the big game.
As a quick recap, the first tip was to ask yourself:
“Do I even want to get involved with a single dad?”
If the answer to that was an emphatic ‘no’ then you can stop now and go back to DWTS. Otherwise, keep reading.
Stringent scientific inquiry has dispelled that old myth about the baby and the stork, which means dating a daddy will probably mean crossing paths with a mommy. And since mommy and daddy aren’t together anymore take it on good counsel that things between them likely aren’t rainbows and butterflies. And if they’re divorced it gets even more interesting.
It’s a wise choice to assume a certain amount of drama anytime we jump into a relationship with a single parent. Co-parenting is as simple as Quantum Physics and when two people who would rather fatally stab each other must try to cooperate things can get heated and often out of control.
I’ve seen more than one ex-wife get blamed for ending the new relationship of her former husband. The Queen had her car keyed from a former boyfriend’s ex; I’ve witnessed the use of the kids as a way to control post marriage relationships, and I’ve seen women go to extremes with false accusations against their ex-husbands ranging from laziness and irresponsibility to charges of child abuse.
You might be saying to yourself “Why should I care? Their relationship is his problem not mine?” Don’t be misled into believing it’s only his issue. The first thing you must understand is when you start dating a single dad, by default, you’re also dating his ex-wife. What I mean by that is you’re going to have a front row seat to all the arguments, squabbles, and blow-ups that inevitably come with co-parenting. And you may suffer a fair amount of your own shrapnel from her mood swings, random bitchiness, and occasional insecurities that often become magnified now that you’re on the scene.
All of this requires a little digging and maybe some touch decisions. No matter how nice or cute he may be if dating him means you’ll be filing future restraining orders you seriously need to think it though. But how can you know if you’re about to walk into the Twilight Zone? I believe there to be three areas that can tell you a lot.
What does he say about the ex? – Does he ever say anything complimentary about her when asked? (He WAS married to her so there must be something?) Or is everything that comes from his mouth negative, vindictive, and harsh? If he ranks her up there with the Black Plague then either he’s an idiot for marrying a psych patient or he isn’t completely over the break up. If he is constantly throwing her under the bus he may be using it as a cover up for unresolved hurt. The opinion of my ex has softened greatly the longer I’ve been divorced.
Why did they get divorced? – Almost everyone I’ve ever met blamed his or her breakup on the other person. I can’t recall anybody who made even the slightest acknowledgement they had a part to play in the split. If he claims to have been the only victim and she was the bad guy he’s immature because it takes two to tango, he’s possibly wracked by guilt as a way to cover up his own mistakes, and he’s certainly living in denial.
How do they get along now? – How does he talk to her when they are together or on the phone? He is cordial and respectful or does he talk down to her like a dog? Do their conversations quickly escalate and get heated over the slightest disagreement or does he remain in control when quarrels arise? Is he always complaining about every indiscretion while brushing over his own or does he let things slide?
And here’s something else. Isn’t the way he treats his ex wife an indication of how he might treat you? How can a man be a complete jerk to his ex and turn right around a be the sweetest man in the world to you? Maybe it’s just me but that just doesn’t seem to fit? Because in due time the real boyfriend will stand up.