So I posted this on the Full-Time Daddy Facebook page the other day:
Been trying to decide on what to write about next. Can you help me out? (These aren’t titles, just ideas)
1) My habit of falling back into patterns
2) How I deal with other people’s children
3) My experience with 30 days of online dating
If you have a better idea, or maybe want a guy/dad perspective on something, send me a message. I’ll respond with: Yes, No, Maybe So.
And happy freggin’ Monday!
And sure enough, I got exactly what I asked for. There were lots of good responses, and I’m sure I’ll have plenty of things to write about in the future. The following is one of the comments I elected to respond to, and a big Thank You to Staci for these relevant questions.
Staci said: I’d like to hear your perspective as to whether or not having daughters has impacted your dating behaviors. Specifically, do you treat women better, worse or the same now that you have daughters? Any dating behavior you do currently or in the past but would not want a man/boy to treat her that way? Or do you date women you wouldn’t want to “bring home” to meet the girls? Has it changed your feelings on one-nite stands or casual sex? Are you seeking to model appropriate relationships for them or does that part of your life stay separated? Would any of your answers be different if you were raising sons?
Here is my best attempt at answering her questions.
Though I believe that having children impacts my dating behaviors, I don’t believe that their gender plays a role in my dating decisions. I’ve only really been dating for about 30 days, albeit online, but honestly I’ve never really been the dating type of guy. This feels like the first time.
The relationships that I have with my girls are very special. I share a relationship with Genesis; I share one with Olive; as well as Olive and Genesis (my OG) sharing one together. There was a time when I didn’t understand the meaning of relationships. To me, they are one-on-one, inasmuch that the relationship between Genesis and Olive is none of my business. What they have together, even with the urge and desire to intervene at times, actually belongs to them and I have always encouraged them to figure out their disputes and differences on their own. Sometimes I have to step in, but I try not to.
How I treat women has no bearing on the fact that I have daughters. I’ve made plenty of relationship mistakes in the past including cheating, over-drinking, gambling, lying, and manipulation tactics. I think, for the most part, how I treat women today has everything to do with how I’ve treated ones in the past and reaching a point where I became fed up with myself and my patterns. I used to let relationships choose me, ultimately ending in doing things I don’t really want to do. I’m more cautious these days with the relationships I choose; I don’t let them choose me.
As far as not wanting a man/boy treating my daughters a certain way, I’m not going to limit it to males. For all I know my daughters could surprise me with being lesbians and if that was the case, I’d support them 100%. This goes back to their relationships being none of my business. Given, if there is a 54 year old man knocking at my door asking if Genesis can come out and play, be assured that I’m going to light a tennis ball on fire and shove it in his mouth. Obviously, as a dad, I have to use discretion but in that, I need to respect their relationships however they choose them. This is their pursuit of happiness, not mine. Letting my daughters choose, instead of me choosing, has created a sense of trust for all of us. If they make the wrong choice, it doesn’t necessarily mean I’m going to fix it either. Suffering the consequences of their choices is something I believe that is important to a child’s development, and I think it’s working so far.
Dating women that I wouldn’t want to bring home to the girls would be hypocritical. I wouldn’t want my daughters dating people they were afraid or unwilling to bring around me. I’d probably feel like they were hiding something, and that’s not good. If I was to date someone that didn’t have the potential of meeting my daughters, I’d most likely feel like I was wasting my time. Not in that I’m wasting time I could be spending with another woman, but wasting time when there are so many other things, besides dating, I would rather be doing. I’ve had one-night stands, and casual sex honestly sounds really boring to me. If we can laugh and be ourselves, then no matter what happens, whether dating or a friendship or even a brotherhood, then I’ll never feel like it was time wasted.
When my daughters are with me, I have every opportunity to model for them. Sometimes this modeling means running out to the living room in my underwear and dancing like their Grandma Pat, but for the most part, they are watching my every move and observing my interaction with my peers as well as strangers. When it comes to dating, I’m sure I’ll find a woman that I’d want introduce to them one day. Does that mean she is going to be the person I marry? Is this their future step-mom? I think these are very premature questions that don’t need to be answered yet. The best model I can be is one of a guy that doesn’t give up in pursuing his happiness; and being the type of dad that won’t let them give up theirs.
“Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” – Alfred Lord Tennyson
P.S. I want to hear from you. Feel free to comment and let me know your thoughts or experiences with dating and children. I want to be nosy.
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