In emails I receive with questions about dating single dads, what most have in common is a general, but often specific, frustration over his ex. In other words, coping with the fear and challenges of that ever ticking time bomb between former spouses.
I can still remember when it happened, where I was, what I wore, and what I was doing when it all went sideways. No time or distance will erase the mark left when everything changed, the moment I came to myself.
In the spirit of reflection, expected this time of year, I typically look back on the most important events in my life over the last twelve months. And while this year’s list includes a new marriage, better job, and bigger house, what surpasses them all, in terms of its impact, is becoming a stepdad.
Christmas is complicated; you don’t need me telling you this. But the reasons are more meaningful than navigating traffic, fighting malls, and dreading credit card bills. Things get complicated during the holiday season because whatever seems wrong about our lives, our families, children, or relationships becomes quickened, concentrated, and inescapable.
When it finally set in that I would become another marital statistic, albeit outlier – we were educated, from intact families, and financially comfortable, any one by itself putting us, demographically, ‘above’ divorce – one thing became very important. I would do whatever necessary to make my children feel at home in my new house as they would at her’s.