Should you date a dad?

Before meeting my wife, I spent almost a decade as a single dad, parenting a little baby girl by myself.

Over the years I came across two different ‘kinds’ of women: women that would, and women that would never, go on a date with a man that already has kids.

Lucky for me, Cheyanne did not make any objections.
On the contrary.

She gladly embraced the part of me that I had become through my years of being a dad.

Two years into our marriage and having our own baby boy together, we look back on our story and wonder how our experience could help others. Hence this blog post.

If you are wondering whether or not you should date a dad, we hereby share with you the perks as we experience them.

1 You already know what kind of parent they are.

Maybe you have children of your own, and maybe you don’t.
If you do, than you know what an impact’ becoming a parent’ has on you.
And you also know that you probably could not have known in advance how you would be changed.

When we become parents ourselves and it’s our turn to raise the next generation, we tend to fall back on what we’ve seen and learned in the course of our own lives. And we’re left with two choices: either we do the same, or we do the opposite. There are some things our parents used to do while raising us of which we think: “Never shall I do it that way”.

Most of our behavior is determined by what we’ve known for our entire lives, because it’s what we know to be ‘normal’.

But maybe your spouse doesn’t feel that way.
Maybe they believe that what you’re doing isn’t ‘normal’ at all.
Maybe they feel that your most natural way of parenting is totally the opposite of what they think it should be.
And maybe you just don’t know yet.

All the little things we see as ‘normal’, because that’s how we’ve always seen them, all of a sudden might not be.

Maybe you can talk about it in a respectful manner, and maybe you don’t.
Maybe you can learn from each other, but maybe you won’t.

When two become one, so too must “the way we do things” become one way.
You and your partner now have to come to terms and reach an agreement in what the two of you perceive as ‘normal’.

More often than not, we don’t talk about these things beforehand.
We don’t think of these things, simply because we have no idea how we’ll be impacted by parenthood.

But when you get to meet someone who’s already been impacted by all the changes of parenthood, you already get to see how they will be as a parent. You get to decide in advance whether or not you can respect and relate to their way of doing. Now you can talk about their ‘normals’ and why they do the things they do, and see if you can get on the same page.

This way you can test whether or not your communication styles are compatible in the real world and if either you or your partner is able to adjust either behavior or expectations, so that you don’t have to find out the hard way after your child has been born.

2 Strong and tender

As your potential partner has had his share of taking care of little kids, he most likely had to wipe some tears and kiss away many booboo’s. Helping a child navigate their way through their feelings and pains has potentially made the father more in touch with his own emotions.

When raising a kid, there will probably have been some moments of sheer crisis. As any parent can acknowledge, it therefore is crucial to remain calm and centered yourself so that the kids can also become calm and peaceful.
Having had experience as a dad will probably have given them plenty of opportunities to practice that muscle.
It is the parent that takes care of the kid, not the other way around.

At the same time, they will have also had the chance to become more responsible and protective, having had to take care of little children. They had to make more sacrifices than you can (probably) imagine. The kids’ needs have always had to go first: not eating or sleeping simply isn’t an option for a kid.
This would make a dad possibly less egotistical than anyone who’s never had to take others’ needs into account.

And as any parent will acknowledge: in order for kids to thrive, they need stability. They need predictability.
They need repetitiveness. And so your potential partner also had to be strong enough to create a sense of stability, yet at the same time also gentle enough because the routine has to be finetuned to meet the needs of all those included.

Now, because this section covered quite a lot, here’s an overview of traits a dad might consist:

  • A caretaker
  • In touch with his emotions
  • Centered & calm
  • Responsible
  • Protective
  • Sacrificial
  • Less egotistical
  • Stable
  • Strong
  • And gentle

3 They’ve been around the block

When you’re dating, you meet people when they’re at their best: in a beautiful & romantic setting, freshly bathed, wearing their finest & favorite clothes, no stress or threats whatsoever.

However, this does not resemble real life at all.

While it’s easy to feel attracted to someone’s best side, but when living in an intimate relationship, it is our deepest and darkest sides of our personality that get revealed.

“Under pressure, the cracks get revealed.” And what a pressure a (first) kid brings with it.

Between the lack of sleep, dirty diapers, loads of laundry, intruding parents(- in-law), societal pressure, obligatory house guests, failing breast feeding attempts and living on naps, the romance is absent more often than not.

During these hard & difficult times, one is often presented with insecure moments.

In moments like these it’s extra convenient to have a partner by your side who’s been there before. Someone who’s gone through it all before, and therefore can be there more to help you help the baby.

Someone who can be a rock for you, new mommy, who you can build on.

Someone who can be a rock for the family.

But because they’ve loved and lost before, they’ve learned to appreciate the value of a happy family.

“The best gift a father can give his children, is to love and respect their mother.”

Since it may not have worked out with the mom of his kids, he sure will have learned some very valuable lessons the hard way. So when he looks at you for engaging in a lasting love relationship, just the mere reason that he would entrust you with his most valuables – his little ones – is a huge sign of how deeply he wants to commit to you.

Published by Kim & Cheyanne Cleyman

Married Belgian-American couple living in Europe helping families connect through fitness across cultures and continents; with a passion for well-being - mind, body, heart and soul.

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