The year was 1998 and my wife and mother of our children had left us for good two years earlier. I was a single dad and sole parent of 5 children all under 12 years old. I had gone through the divorce from hell and I was Mr. Mom, but I was still a man and hoped to find that elusive and special woman that I could spend the rest of my life with.
So with my kids finally in a safe and stable place, I started dating. I hadn’t dated in over twelve years, but with a lot more life experience and little more confidence, I thought I would have a relatively easy time at it.
The Internet had brought dating right into the home and that made the process more efficient, since it allowed me to spend less time outside looking and more time at home with the kids. I also assumed there were lots of women that would appreciate me more, because I was a hands-on father that took complete responsibility for his kids.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
The vast majority of the women I interacted with passed on me explicitly because I had children. It became a painful ritual to get a response like, “You’re a nice guy, good looking, but I’m not interested in men with kids…” It got to the point where no response from a woman was easier to take.
It seemed like the only reason they responded at all was because they felt sorry for me – especially since the kids were living with me. Hollywood did an accurate portrayal of this attitude in a scene from the movie, “Blended”:
Lauren: What happened with Dick?
Jen: He dropped a major bomb on me.
Lauren: He’s married?
Jen: No, worse, he’s got kids!
Lauren: Wait, you’re just going to break up with him because he has children?
Jen: Five Children! Five! What am I? Julie Andrews?
Here are the 5 Reasons Why It’s Better to Date Single Dads
1. We know what’s really important in life.
We have our priorities straight and place an emphasis on family. We don’t incessantly play video games, watch sports all weekend and stay out late.
Before I had kids the most important things to me were making money, playing/watching sports and chasing women. Now, the most important things to me are taking care of and spending time with the ones that I love.
2. We’ve learned how to balance work and family and make it all work well.
Having 5 children to take care of, running a difficult business with 100 employees, and having a big and fun life that many people envy takes organization and coordination. Even though we have more responsibility to take care of than men without kids, we manage it all way better and know how to make time for our significant others and give them meaningful attention.
3. We are capable of committing.
We committed to our ex’s when we married them. We committed to our kids and taking care of them for life. When I was faced with the daunting task of raising 5 little children by myself and the court system was beating the crap out of me, I could have run away. But I didn’t. I won’t run from you if you are the one for me.
4. We value women more for who they are than for what they look like.
What was “hot” to me before I had kids has little to do with what is “hot” for me today. Sure looks matter, but unless you are stable, loving, caring, generous and smart you don’t interest me. Would you rather have a man that only cares about your looks or is looking deeply into who you are and valuing you for that above all else?
5. Having a relationship with our children can be extremely rewarding.
As long as you are not the “evil stepmom” type, our children can provide you a lifetime of amazing experiences and joy – and you don’t even have to sacrifice your body to have them.
Many of the women I have dated through the years still ask about my children and follow their lives. Loving someone else’s child is can be your legacy. It will have a positive effect that can last for generations.
6. We can teach you a thing or two about parenting.
Despite what your mom told you and maybe because your dad was the second parent, that doesn’t mean we can’t be damn good parents too. And sometimes we do it the way men do things. Why not pick up a tip or two from us?
My children are all in their 20’s now, kind human beings and highly successful. I must have done something right that you could learn from.
7. We’ve learned to love another more than ourselves.
Having children and caring for them cures anyone of selfishness. It teaches us, no it drives us, to learn to love another more than life itself.
When I realized my 5 children’s lives were my responsibility and I saw them hurt and wounded from their mom leaving, it was my desperate love for them that made sure I used every ounce of my strength and will to raise them into happy and well-adjusted adults. Wouldn’t you want a man who can feel desperate love?
So the message to women is simple: The next time you come across a single dad – whether it’s in a bar, at a party, at work, on the beach, in the park or on the Internet, give him an extra look. You may be looking at a man with a real working heart.
And he’s not afraid to use it.
This article was originally published at The Good Men Project. Reprinted with permission from the author.