Dating While My Daughter is Watching!


You're daughter is watching your every love move...Date Wisely!

Today I decided to teach my daughter a lesson – a life lesson, indeed.  You see, I’ve been divorced for three years.  Since the divorce my daughter has spent every other weekend with her dad.  This has given her the much needed time with her father and has also given me the much needed time to be a single woman.  I have slowly learned to love myself again; I’ve learned how to live with my glorious imperfections and also I’ve learned to date after 40.  And dating after 40 is a trip.  It’s very different from what I knew in my twenties.   Over the course of the last three years I’ve dated three very different men.  One man traveled nearly nine months out of the year.  Therefore, the time we spent together didn’t really involve my daughter very much.

Man number two had issues.  Now I won’t bore you with the details but I will say I quickly realized he didn’t deserve the pleasure of my daughter’s presence.  We only dated a few months so, while he met Ashley*, he didn’t spend much time with her, other than an occasional visit with us to our church.

This leads me to man number three.  He’s the one I’ve fallen quite hard for.  He’s the one I’m excited to unwrap a future with.  He’s met Ashley and has had dinner with us on three separate occasions.  We’ve been dating for about four months now and have uttered those three magic words… “You want breakfast?”   (Just kidding)

For the last few months when my daughter visits her father, I’ve raced across town to be with a wonderful man.  Things were moving along splendidly until the unthinkable happened… Ashley’s father cancelled!

Yep, life happened and he was unable to spend weekends with her. He didn’t know when he would be able to return to the weekend schedule.  Never did I even imagine such a thing could happen.  I was traumatized.  What would I do now?  How do I date when I have my daughter every weekend?  For the past four months my man and I have been living in a protective little bubble, just the two of us.  What happens now?

I was devastated that I didn’t have a Plan B.  I can’t send my daughter to a relative’s house every weekend.  I can’t schedule play dates for her every weekend.  In sheer horror I realized, I may never have sex again.  I may never wake up at noon from a night of talking, cooing and cuddling.  I would never spend another beautiful evening listing to oldies with a man nibbling at my neck.

For the next three days I tossed and turned and prayed and hoped.  “Oh God, please let Ashley’s father change his mind. Let him figure out whatever problem he has and call to say he’s changed his mind.”

After three days of this groveling prayer, nothing happened.  No call came, no miracle happened.  I finally made the call of shame.  I called my handsome man and informed him of my dilemma.  In the most dramatic fashion I explained that I had a problem. He listened intently and when I finished, he said nothing – for four minutes he was silent.

“Are you there?”  I finally asked.
“Yes.”  He answered quietly.
“Well, say something.”  I nearly demanded.
“What do you want me to say, honey?”
“What do you think?”  I asked.
“I don’t think anything.  I’m not sure what the problem is.”
“I just told you the problem.”  I said getting a bit perturbed.
“Honey, that’s not a problem.  It’s not our problem, anyway.”
“How can you say that?”  I asked incredulously. 
“Did you honestly think we could have a relationship where we only saw each other four days a month?”  He asked almost comically.

I stopped and thought about it.  We had been having a wonderful relationship where we’d only see each other four days a month.  In a good month, we saw each other five or six times.  I couldn’t answer the question.  Did I think it would go on this way forever?  He waited patiently for my response.  I could hear his smile over the phone.

“Babe, are you there?”  He asked still smiling.
“Well?”  He chuckled.
“I don’t know what I thought.  What did you think?”  I asked subbornly.
“I thought we’d spend time alone together and there would also be times where we spent time with Ashley.  If we are planning to have a future together, shouldn’t we at least consider adding her to the mix?”  He laughed out loud at my naïveté.

My man and I spent the next hour discussing plans to incorporate Ashley into our time together.  I honestly had not even considered the day that she would be a regular part of my dating life.

In the midst of this conversation I also had an epiphany.  Instead of me shielding her from my dating life, I would become her coach.  I would be a great teacher.  I would begin to teach my daughter a great lesson.  I would teach her “how to date”.
My daughter deserves to learn a lesson that most girls never learn from their mother. 

Think about it.  Did your mother teach you how to date?  Did you get to watch up close and personally, your mother on a date?  Most of our mothers were married to our fathers so there was no dating.  Other mothers were like me, they shielded their daughters from their dating lives.  I had been sneaking around like a thief in the night for the past three years.  I had almost missed the opportunity to teach my daughter what could be the greatest lesson in life.

My daughter is fourteen years old and in two years she will begin to date.  I have only about two years to teach this important lesson.  Over the course of the next two years my daughter will begin learning how a man should treat her on a date.  She will see a man opening car doors and assisting a woman with her coat.  She will see hand holding and sweet kisses on the cheek.  My daughter will see a woman tenderly caring for a man.  She will see me affectionately stroking a man’s ego, bringing out the best in him.  She will see me encouraging him and learning love’s life lessons.

My daughter will see love bloom in the most respectful, delicate, loving way.  Television and movie scripts won’t teach her.  Real housewives from anyplace in America won’t teach her.  Jersey Avenue or Shore or any Hip Hop celebrities aren’t the ones I want teaching my daughter about love.  The one person who loves her most in the world will teach her this very important lesson.

This weekend I begin teaching my daughter…love!
Wish me luck!

                                 *Not my daughter’s real name!