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Dating As A Separated Dad

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 17 Aug 2015 | comments*Discuss
 
Dating Dad Single Single Man Girlfriend

One thing most men find when they’re single again is that it’s a big, scary dating world out there. Without them realising it, the rules seem to have changed, and for many it’s difficult to approach females.

That’s not too surprising. After a period of being settled with someone, you’re thrown on your own again. Even if you didn’t like what you had, you knew what it was and what to expect. Now you’re finding your way in the world again, and trying to maintain your kids as the centre of things – which, of course, is where they should be.

Before You Start Dating as a Single Dad

As a single dad, most things in your free time will revolve around your kids, when you can see them and talk to them. That’s perfectly natural. Any arrangements with friends will take second place.

But you’ll find something else going on inside yourself. You’ll have changed from the single man who originally got together with your ex, tempered by the responsibility of having produced children. On top of that you’re now alone and trying to adjust to being single again, which isn’t easy for most people, as time in the evenings and on weekends when you don’t have your kids can feel like it stretches out endlessly.

Many suggest taking time to yourself before you plunge back into dating. The company and the intimacy can be good, but you also need to sort yourself out. Be willing to reflect on yourself, what you want from life, from another relationship, and for your kids.

In the long run, this time out can serve you well. It’s certainly healthier than careering from relationship to relationship and having none of them work out. The more you understand yourself and develop a clear picture of who you are, the better. As has been said, to love others you need to love yourself first.

Starting To Date as a Single Dad

Whether good or bad, being with your ex was a complete relationship, and you were together most of the time when you weren’t working. That’s not something you’ll get again easily, and you shouldn’t want to. When you start dating again as a single man, you should do it gradually, from dipping a toe in the water and only slowly working up to full submersion.

One of the first problems is finding someone to date. It might be someone who’s been a friend, or you could join a dating site – there are many for almost every taste and age group.

Take it Slowly

Once you have found someone to date, keep it low key. Meet somewhere public for a coffee to see how you get along when it’s just the two of you. Don’t be discouraged if there’s no spark – and even if there is, don’t expect too much. Simply enjoy a little time in someone else’s company.

You don’t need to ask for another date immediately. Think first – is this someone you want to see again? If so, call and ask her out. But let things develop naturally, don’t try to push it into a relationship. Don’t be disappointed if things don’t work out – the old saw about kissing a lot of frogs to find a prince also applies to princesses.

When to Meet the Kids?

Remember to keep your kids firmly in the centre of things. Arrange dates around your time with them. Don’t, under any circumstances, introduce your kids to a new girlfriend until the relationship is already well-established (although you should tell anyone you date about your circumstances).

The last thing your children need is to meet a succession of women. Wait until something is good, then allow a relationship to develop between your girlfriend and your children.

Starting over romantically isn’t easy. Sometimes it can feel as if, for each step forward you march two back. Just take things slowly and steadily, learn to be happy on your own, and things will work out in time.

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@Rogue - I'm sorry to hear this. The courts while aware of parental alienation, it is still not wholly recognised in the UK. I have included the link; Ex Partners and Parental Alienation Syndrome here which will give you some further information on how to best deal with the issues surrounding this. I hope it helps.
SeparatedDads - 25-Mar-15 @ 12:48 PM
Hello, I am contacting on behalf of a friend who has recently separated from his long term girlfriend who has an 8 year old daughter between them.Since the now ex-girlfriend (mother) has moved out of the house and got a new place, which was supported by friend (father) the mother is now refusing to allow father access to child.It is very clear that parental alienation is taking place as what was once a very happy and healthy relationship between father and child, who was a daddys girl, is now deteriorating very quickly who is now saying that the father is unworthy of a family (child doesnt even know what that word means but nevertheless has said it) and is now also saying that they dont want to see or even speak to the father.Its horrible to see this poisoning going on, not only for the father, but so concerned for the child who is feeling that they cant openly talk about their own father or has to hate them because the mother does.Really worried about the psychological effect on the child.What is recommended to try and start getting the right agencies involved now to help stop the parental alienation before it goes to far and permanently effects the child?
Rogue - 22-Mar-15 @ 7:28 PM
@Rache -- thank you for your words of advice.
Mr. D - 3-Feb-15 @ 8:31 AM
@MrD - wow - this is enough of a story for a novel. But I'm very sad to hear it and the ups and downs that you and your ex have had in your life. We all have to make choices in life and some of them aren't the choices we want. This is very difficult to advise on because who knows whether the next choice you make may be right one either. It seems you have two; move in with your new partner and possibly start a family again (which you obviously have reservations about), or keep hankering after your ex and wonder whether you let it slip away. Should you really be taking these steps with your new partner when you are unsure? I'd say not. Do you have to live with her? Can't you be honest and say you are not sure you are ready to settle down again after you had such a bad time previously. I think if you are in doubt, then you need to give yourself a bit more time and healing. It also might be wise to sit down with your ex and ask her whether she still has any love for you. It may seem duplicitous to ask your ex this, but if she says there is no hope then it might just let you move on with your life. It is better to face this than starting afresh with your current partner and regretting it later and hurting her more, plus facing the possible entanglement of having another child. Love is the glue that keeps people together and you would miss it in the relationship if it wasn't there. You need to be honest with yourself and if you feel in doubt, then I would do nothing, as nothing will at the very least buy you time.
Rache - 2-Feb-15 @ 12:40 PM
Part 4 Eventually we decided to split and she left the property.I was lost, had to give up work for my kids but kept things together and told her that she can come and see the children when ever she liked, an open door policy.However, I missed her, I loved her with all my heart and also I did not want to be the guy who ruined her possible last chance of being a mother.I offered her to move back in and for me to leave making her the primary parent, this she agreed to and of course I stuck around for a few days for her to settle in before I left. The day I left was very hostile, we argued and as I was loading my belongings onto a car, she threw my Hi Fi system that had been in my family for 25 years onto the pavement, damaging it in the process, but I continued and finally left.I know you're probably thinking I am mad for leaving my children with this woman but in my defence I figured if I saw my children regularly like every other day, I would be able to check how she was coping.When I left however she told me that I am only going to see my children 2 hours every 2 weeks.I argued this decision and asked why she was being so cold when I was the opposite for her, she told me she's been through this in the past and is only doing what is in our children’s best interests to save them pain and confusion. I felt robbed, confused, I was in pain and now homeless, jobless and broke. I was 29, couldn't get help from the council so I was sofa surfing while dealing with depression.It took me 3 years to finally get a home, during this time I had counselling as everything had left me in a complete mess and when I was 31 I met another partner, she is 10 years my junior. I kept contact with my children and yes, she became a great mother to them.Most of the time I was having them over my uncles place every fortnight for the weekend.I couldn't stay and refused to spend time at my ex's house as while seeing my children she would cause arguments and I felt it wasn't fair for the children.Out of respect for my ex, I did not and have not introduce our children to my new girlfriend, A. I needed to work out if this one was going to stick around and B. I don't want to confuse my children.I have been with this new woman now for 2 years and are ready to move in together, well it seems right and it is the next step. However, my ex asked me a question the other day, do I love this new girlfriend, the truth of the matter is I don't know, I know I still and probably always will love my ex, she is the mother of my children and I though what i had with her was for life.The new girlfriend (I know, we've been together for 2 years) I enjoy my time with her, she makes me feel happy and is an amazing person, so kind, generous and understanding but I don't love or feel for her the same as I do for my ex. I also know she will probably want us to have our own children but I don't know if I could do that to my children as I don't want them t
Mr. D - 31-Jan-15 @ 1:41 AM
Part 3 Life was still bliss.I eventually started another band and our second child came along.Things should have been great but we weren't communicating properly anymore, rather that talking we were assuming what the other one would think.Again me going on tour was seeming to be a problem.I had worked so hard to get to the level I was at and didn't want to give it up.We were arguing loads at this point too, it was almost like she had outgrown me, she didn't like the way I dressed, games I played, films I watched even down to the music I listen to and also my career choice (music).I was working a full time job, coming home to a very messy house, the baby's nappy had not been changed, the children had not been dressed and she would tell me she had a hard day, go to bed and leave me to sort everything out. Hell there was one morning I left her with the children as I went out to the local market to buy some fresh meat and when I returned my youngest child was playing with my oldest child's excrement in the living room while she was on her laptop in the kitchen on that dreaded facebook.I tried to help her but it just seemed like I was having a go at her all the time, I was waking at 6 every morning, sorting out the children’s bottle/breakfast before going to work for 9 hours, coming home, sorting out the tea time, then bed time routines, then doing all the house work before finally sitting down to a cuppa and a game or two on my Xbox just before going to bed having to go through the whole process the following day.I am not complaining at all about having to do the housework or night routines with my children, I am a parent and have the responsibility to look after them and actually enjoy every second/moment spent with them.I offered to become a house husband and for her to go out and get a job instead of I as I thought maybe because she is stuck in all the time, not having a social life could very well have impacted on her mental health, however I was met with anger and was accused of wanting more time to work on music.
Mr. D - 31-Jan-15 @ 1:40 AM
Part 2 After a further 3 months I asked my boss if it would be okay for her to move into the staff house with me (it was a 3 bedroom house that I lived at by myself) considering she worked for the company too I didn't see this being a problem but my boss did not approve of our relationship and said no, then rumours started flying around that she had lost her children through drug use and money was missing from tills.I was an assistant manager that counted tills quite regularly and found no discrepancies.I did question her in our private time (knowing that if there were any extra money or drug use I would have noticed as we spent all our time together) I felt so bad asking her but I had to know.I also couldn't tell my boss that I knew all the rumours were lies as I'd then have to admit that I moved her in with me.She took me to her solicitors and asked her solicitor to tell my why her children were removed, the solicitor confirmed what we had already discussed when we first met, there was no drug use, it was all lies to get me to separate from her.So we moved into a shared house, we had one room to ourselves and shared a kitchen/bathroom.Not long after this, she fell pregnant.We had only been together for 6 months and because of our situation (living conditions and her history with social services) we decided it was best to go for a termination.It was really hard, especially for her as she has already lost so much, I didn't show my feelings and just continued with life as normal trying to appear strong, the truth of the matter was this was my first chance of a family but was ruined because of situations and peoples decisions.Not long after we decided to leave the town we lived in (her home town) and move to a new city (my home town). Things were great, it was like a breath of fresh air.2 years later she fell pregnant again this time we were in a much better position to raise a family, I was working full time in a pub as assistant manager and gigging with a band.I was looking at going on tour with my band at some point, I knew she was a bit anxious about it and she was asking me questions that I couldn't answer as I didn't know what the answers were, it were things like how long would I be going on tour for, at some point she also told me that she wouldn't hold it against me if I woke up with someone else whilst on tour.I asked what she meant and she confirmed if I was to sleep with someone else that it would be okay. I told her that this is not the reason I am doing this music career, I loved her and her only, I am committed and faithful and I would not put at risk what we have for a stupid fling.However, she introduced swinging into our relationship, I loved her and thought it was best to get this out of the way now rather that live with regret, however, I lived to regret this decision.What I should have said was that what we had was so special to me that I don't want to share it with someone else but I did
Mr. D - 31-Jan-15 @ 1:40 AM
Hello, I am hoping for some advice to help me make the right decision, if this allows me to this will be a long story as I have to give you the full story to allow you to give me the right advice.So before reading I suggest you make a cuppa and get ready for a long, hard but honest read. Part 1 I had an eight year relationship with a woman, this woman had already tried to settle down twice before, once with a guy11 years her senior, the other 3 years her junior.She had 3 children with guy number 1 (11 years senior) (also one child died shortly after birth) but their relationship didn't have a happy ever after as he kept chasing women behind her back and was very old fashioned where she was concerned, also violent towards her.When their break up came around his rich father paid for a barrister and he kept the children.With guy number 2 (3years junior) she had a further 3 children, they were together for 4 years but 2 years of that relationship this guy was having an affair with her sister and it came to light he was also the father of her child, so as you can imagine, when this came to lightshe was very sad, alone an confused.She continued to go through the auto pilot/robotic motion of being a mother but found it difficult to keep routine and housework up to a moderate standard and unfortunately her children were taken from her from social services.People had tried to put me off this woman when I met her but I don’t listen to people bad mouthing another person, I like to judge them on their own merit.She was honest with me as I was with her when we first met, no secrets and no lies and started a relationship. When I first started seeing her she was still living in the house her children had been removed from (3 bed council house) and had friends living with her to help her cope with loss and lonliness, I was living in a staff house from work.Her friends though, mistreated the property, wouldn't clean up after themselves, dirty dishes and broken glass strewn everywhere along with empty alchohol bottles and cans.I felt sorry for her and showed my concern but she just told me they are her friends and she'll have a word with them.. During the first 3 months nothing had changed so I offered her to come and live with me at the staff house I was staying at as she had just started working at the same place as I, she didn't want to leave the house behind because of memories but eventually the house would have been taken from her by the council and given to another family so she agreed it was best to clean up the house and hand it back.
Mr. D - 31-Jan-15 @ 1:39 AM
Hello, I am hoping for some advice to help me make the right decision, if this allows me to this will be a long story as I have to give you the full story to allow you to give me the right advice.So before reading I suggest you make a cuppa and get ready for a long, hard but honest read. I had an eight year relationship with a woman, this woman had already tried to settle down twice before, once with a guy11 years her senior, the other 3 years her junior.She had 3 children with guy number 1 (11 years senior) (also one child died shortly after birth) but their relationship didn't have a happy ever after as he kept chasing women behind her back and was very old fashioned where she was concerned, also violent towards her.When their break up came around his rich father paid for a barrister and he kept the children.With guy number 2 (3years junior) she had a further 3 children, they were together for 4 years but 2 years of that relationship this guy was having an affair with her sister and it came to light he was also the ather of her child, so as you can imagine, when this came to lightshe was very sad, alone an confused.She continued to go through the auto pilot/robotic motion of being a mother but found it difficult to keep routine and housework up to a moderate standard and unfortunately her children were taken from her from social services.People had tried to put me off this woman when I met her but I don;t listen to people bad mouthing another person, I like to judge them on their own merit.She was honest with me as I was with her when we first met, no secrets and no lies and started a realtionship. When I first started seeing her she was still living in the house her children had been removed from (3 bed council house) and had friends living with her to help her cope with loss and lonliness, I was living in a staff house from work.Her friends though, mistreated the property, wouldn't clean up after themselves, dirty dishes and broken glass strewn everywhere along with empty alchohol bottles and cans.I felt sorry for her and showed my concern but she just told me they are her friends and she'll have a word with them.. During the first 3 months nothing had changed so I offered her to come and live with me at the staff house I was staying at as she had just started working at the same place as I, she didn't want to leave the house behind because of memories but eventually the house would have been taken from her by the council and given to another family so she agreed it was best to clean up the house and hand it back. After a further 3 months I asked my boss if it would be okay for her to move into the staff house with me (it was a 3 bedroom house that I lived at by myself) considering she worked for the company too I didn't see this being a problem but my boss did not approve of our relationship and said no, then rumours started flying around that she had lost her children through drug use and money was missi
Mr. D - 31-Jan-15 @ 1:30 AM
@Ben - that was a difficult one for me to, you just gotta make your children feel even more special when yr with them.
Jake - 28-Nov-14 @ 2:35 PM
I've been dating for two months now and have not yet met my new girlfriend's child, I keep putting it off. I almost feel like I'm betraying my own children. Does anyone else feel like this?
Ben - 26-Nov-14 @ 11:39 AM
Hi LouiseW - i'd suggest he tries to get counselling as he seems to have lost perspective here.... he cannot allow his daughter to control what he does/doesn't do and who he dates.His daughter sounds very insecure and given the fact that her Mum has another baby, his daughter may feel that her Dad is the only real security she has... this is not fair on any of you. Would he go and see a counsellor and/or possibly have his daughter see a child counsellor?? It is not an easy situation... I tried with someone in a similar situation to yours but lost all respect for him when he allowed the situation to continue... 3 years and there was no change... I am in a much better place without him and the hassle and he is still in the same situation as he was with me... (it was heartbreaking for me to begin with though as I had given up everything to be with him and tried everything to get his children to like me), the ex was always in the middle making things difficult... I truly wish you all the best and hope you manage to get the ending you both want :-)
optamistic - 19-Dec-12 @ 2:45 PM
Hi, I wonder if anyone can give me, or more importantly my boyfriend any advice? My boyfriend has a 13 year old daughter who lives with her mum, mum's partner and their new baby. I have no children myself.Boyfriend and I had a very romantic start last year and just fell completely for each other - we both gave up alot & went through alot to be together. He's 43 & I'm 36. He's besotted with his daughter and has an extremely difficult relationship with her mother.I met his daughter a few times last year and really liked her, but she told her Dad she didn't like me and didn't want him to have a girlfriend - which I think is quite standard and I expected it. Unfortunately my boyfriend backed off from me immediately after this, and it's never been the same since. He even moved away to be nearer her because she didn't like it here where he was living. We've had a very difficult, strained and heart breaking year, and he's terrified of huring his daughter. We still love each other and we're still hanging on by a thread, but something needs to give. This evening, a year later, he's still worrying about it and keeping me a arm's length. He said in an ideal world he really wants me and him to be together and to be ok. My question is, how can he find a way to do this? He's tearing himself up in knots about it, and if we split up 1)it would be such a waste given what we went through just to be together in the first place, and 2) I wouldn't be the first girlfriend he's had to finish with because of the situation.
LouiseW - 18-Dec-12 @ 7:22 PM
Hi Lilly!! I am with you 100%!!Your partner is caught between the woman he loves and the child he wants to bring up, unfortunately there is an evil, vindictive, horrible ex in the way causing trouble.Your partner probably finds it difficult to see your point because he has his own set of problems with the ex. him losing his child because of her, feeling guilty that he might be letting his child down, trying to keep the peace (these are all things my partner mentioned at councelling). On the other hand, you (like me) just want to have a normal relationship with no interference or trouble from anyone. my partners ex stalked and harassed us by e-mail for over a year but he wouldn't get the police involved in case the kids got hurt! She told the kids that he loved me more than them and that he didn't want them!!The reason I have stayed with my partner is that he finally put his foot down and stopped all contact with his ex/children. he explained everything to the kids and his ex and why he felt it was the right thing to do (because the of mothers behaviour). his ex was shocked (I think she assumed (hoped) we would split up) and the kids were devistated but it did stop the mothers trouble making ways for a while.There is no right/wrong answer but my partner and I are behind each other 100% because we know that it's his ex who is entirely to blame. we keep in contact with the kids and they are finally realising the damage their mother has caused (the daughter, who is now a teenager said her mum behaves the way she does because she is jealous). This is not much help to you but it might be worth your while showing this website to your partner. you can get through this together if he opens his eyes to the real situation. his ex trying to control him by using their child as the weapon!!!Take care of yourself Lilly, you deserve to be happy!!
Sally - 6-Aug-12 @ 9:36 AM
Sally. Thanks for your response. I have been with him for a year and can honestly say that the relationship has worsened. More fights and most importantly, my health is suffering. I get so stressed and worked up about this. TBH right now its more likely that its gonna be a break up. If and when I try imposing ground rules, that is not taken well. I dont stay around the child as malicious allegations have been made before ( not against me ) therefore I dont trust them.BF is a manly man, dont believe or even understands counselling. Sometimes completely fails to see my point. Im exhausted with his constant emotional rollercoaster with the child and ex. No routine with the ex around when the child can come. Seems that we top toe around her plans.Basically, in a nutshell, seems to appear that really not comfortable with this child situation. I know most say I should walk away.but its hard when you love someone.Lilly
lilly - 3-Aug-12 @ 11:39 PM
Hi LillyI was in the same position just over two years ago and have to say quite honestly that if I had known then what I know now I would never have got involved with my partner.I love him with all my heart and will stand by him no matter what his ex tries to do, but like your situation, she did nothing but cause trouble as soon as my partner and I got together!!He used (we both used to) have a fantastic relationship with his two kids but the mother has completely destroyed that with her lies, behaviour and actions. we actually went to counselling to help us cope with the constant stress.His ex actually stalked me and contacted friends I used to work with to see if she could find out anything bad about me (she didn't and my friends'ex colleagues told me), she pretended to be her own daughter so that she could look at me/my partners photos and personal information, she has tried to emotionally blackmail him by using the kids. I could write a book. We have not let her beat us but it has been a tough ride! My honest advice would be to sit down with your partner and ask him how he feels? If you sense he is losing interest, then I'd walk away as he (you both) need to be 100% committed to the relationship to get through it.I wish you all the best.
Sally - 3-Aug-12 @ 8:55 AM
Hello All.This site is very interesting and informative. I am a female dating a man who has a 10 year old child from his previous relationship. Yes he told me he had a child however its only now I realise how difficult it is?The ex is still causing issues for him re false allegations etc. She also got a wiff of the fact that he may have a gf and convieniently decided that he cant see his son !!!!!!!! Needless to say, this has had a huge impact on our relationship as he is stressed and I am losing the will to live. All in all, I feel left out, neglected and it seems the relationship has broken down as he is so obsessed with his son. Should I just walk away as it is clear that he is not ready for a relationship? help???
lilly - 1-Aug-12 @ 11:45 PM
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