'Dating for the divorced single parents' thread

I am currently seeing a great guy, but dating is a challenge. Money is tight - it always is when you are an adult- so getting a sitter and going out adds up fast. We have fallen into a HUGE rut after only a few months of him coming over here, watching tv, screwing and me sending him home.

I am bored.

How do the rest of you do it? How do you juggle parenthood and dating?

I need my space, its been three years since I was in a real relationship, and 9 years since I had to do the dating thing - even then it was breif followed by shacking up.

I think my SO will be moving in this fall, we have discussed everything, the kids, my rut, all of it. But he has very limited dating history (one very long distance relationship a few years ago) He works from home, and seldom goes out… so what I view as boring is a wild night for him :frowning:

We are gonna try to go out at least every second week, and we will be camping etc with the kids this summer, I am hoping this will help.

Hanging out with other couples would be fun, but they are all in the same boat - they need a sitter to do anything, and money is tight.

Any ideas from the veterans?

pool resources with other couples? as in perhaps double date, share a babysitter with the kids spending the night one place or the other. Or trade babysitting services with other folks - one night you watch their kids, the other they watch yours?

When I was dating, small child, if Ben was with us, we did ‘Enzo adventures’ (SO’s nickname is Enzo), pile into the car and go odd places (county fairs, zoo, etc - hell we made going to the grocery store an ‘adventure’)

We bring the kid along. If they are young, walk them in the stroller until they fall asleep.

I babysit for free so my friends can get out & have fun if they want to.

But most of the time we bring the kid [s] along, I think they should be part of the family & often they are a lot of fun too.

My experience is a little different as we have joint custody. We split the visitation roughly 60/40 in her favour when school is in session and 50/50 in the summer. This means we both have free nights and weekends. It’s been working pretty good.

As for the “rut”, well lets just say I too would be ecstatic to find someone I could get that comfortable with - for me at least, a relationship is much deeper than finding a new position to orgasm in every week. However, I am always coming up with new things to do (Chicago is good for that:) )

The big problem for me (dating wise) has been the very fact of having children. I can’t count* how many times I have been told “I am not looking for someone with a family” or “I want someone with more freedom/flexibility/etc.”.

Now rationally, I understand that these are not the kind of women I would care to date in any event, but it really gets old after a while. What happened to the idea that women loved guys who were proven to be good fathers/caring/etc.?

*not that I can’t actually count that high, it’s just too depressing to think that all the women I have been interested in have been that shallow. Gotta start looking elsewhere, I guess.

Um…hi newbie delurking here! I just want to say that I am currently doing the internet dating thingy at the moment (gawd is it depressing!)and in all my adverts I say “no ex-wives and kids please” and that is NOT because I am shallow! It is because I don’t want to subject myself to the politics of divorce and stepchildren and I don’t want to find myself being hated.

For various complicated reasons and being bullied for most of my childhood, not leaving the house for most of my adult life etc.-I know it sounds sooooo melodramatic but there you go…I am very inexperienced at life. The idea of getting involved in a romantic relationship absolutely terrifies me although I want it oh so much. I don’t want any complications. I have enough problems relating to human beings as it is.

Also from what I’ve seen of those curious creatures Other Human Beings, and from what I have heard from some people that if you get involved with a man who has kids and ex-wife in the background, you are in a very awkward and difficult position. A lot of the time the ex-wife hates your guts, the kids hate your guts, even if you are the sweetest most saintly woman alive you are eternally the Bitch Who Replaced Mummy. I do not want to subject myself to that. Dealing with low self esteem and being paranoid about people hating me as a result of the events of my childhood, I do not want to be hated, it is something that particularly worries me.

I have been told by a divorced friend that “you don’t need those kind of politics” and no, I don’t.

So please don’t condemn everyone who does not want to get involved with a person who has children already, some do have reasons more substansial (oh I’m afraid that’s spelt wrong never mind) than wanting to go to nightclubs 9 days a week.

Forgive the ugly username, it’s the name of a comic book character, only other Legion of Super Heroes fans will get it! It is not a reference to STDs or anything! honest!

At a Cinco de Mayo party, the host said that the people living across the street from her are three single fathers renting a house. Share costs and duties. Sounds like a good idea if you can find trustworthy people.

Get a baby sitter for a few hours. Attending local college and traveling theatre productions make for a fine evening out. Take in a light meal at a good bistro and then walk hand in hand along the river as the sun sets. Get a good DVD and repair back to the non-sittered manse for fresh brewed coffee and some fresh strawberries and cream. Cuddle on the couch watching the DVD or just relax listening to music. Leave at 10 PM to get back to sitter.

Substitute a night of swing dancing, a good bottle of wine and and wild monkey love afterwards if you’re in that mood.

If he’s not going to take the initiative to be creative re making his time with you special and this is what you want, you need to think seriously how this would play out post marriage.

I think the problem might be solved for me now anyway. His parents want him to break it off with me ASAP. They are ready to cut him off over it.

They dont approve of the kids.

I dont kow if I want to be connected to such a hateful assholey family.

If I break it off, I break his heart, if I dont, there will always be bad feelings on both sides… once they un-disown him in a few years. He is very close to them and he would be devastated to lose them.

Hmmmmmm… 5 month relationship vs your parents…

OUCH! I am sorry to hear that. {{{Kelli}}} You hang in there.

Oh Kelli that’s awful :(. That’s truly bloody awful. What a thing to do to your adult child!

I hope things work out OK for you.

When I was dating Mr Primaflora he had joint custody so it wasn’t a BFD to get time alone cheaply so I don’t have any brilliant ideas on how to do it.

Sorry, just saying it isn't shallow doesn't make it so.


That's a pretty wide brush you're painting people with there, lassie. There are mature, balanced divorced people out there.


So, you have one friend for whatever reason, hasn’t been able to come to terms with the end of his marriage. That automatically means that no man can have a good relationship with his ex and kids?

I snipped a good bit here but I hope that you will start to learn that just because one of your friends had a bad situation, that shouldn’t keep you from exercising all your options. We are all about fighting ignorance here, and stereotypes are right at the top of that list. There are some wonderful, caring, emotionally healthy divorced people out there, just like there are single guys who have no kids or wife, but are needy, cheating, controlling assholes, etc.

Limiting yourself to single/never married people does not protect you from bad situations…

“They dont approve of the kids.”

That’s odd. They have kids themselves but don’t approve of yours? Well, you need a guy who can stand up to his folks. Let’s hope for the best.

*Originally posted by MikeG *

(some generally good points)

Limiting yourself to single/never married people does not protect you from bad situations…

No… but realistically speaking as a divorced father with a 10 year old boy and a 14 year old girl I would much, much rather have a woman be upfront and avoid entanglements than get would into a situation where she decides to “try it out” becasue she likes me, even though her heart isn’t really into the stepmother aspect. Quite frankly I really can’t fault a woman who would decide not to get entangled with dad+kids+ex scenario. True, it would deprive her of my charming company and magical summer evenings beneath the stars but she also avoids some of the kid centered “who are you to me” stresses that are inevitable in many step-familes and step-relationships.

And although it may sound weird, in the back of my mind I have to admit I would be a bit wary of women in my datable age range say (35-45)(I’m 42) that have never been married or had kids by choice. This is unfair because sometimes it’s just lifestyle circumstances but it’s still something that goes through your mind in considering suitable partners. Another issue regarding this is that I will not ,under any circumstances, move away from my kids. A single, woman deciding to be my SO is probably limiting her career choices and flexibility and that’s a significant sacrifice in some cases. There are a lot compromises a single woman (or man) makes in attaching to a “with kids” relationship and they shouldn’t do it unless they are fully invested in that scenario.

astro, good points. I’ve never been involved in the step-parent situation on the parent side, but I’ve been the step-kid (to both step-mom and step-dad). I can truthfully say that even if you love your steps, like I do, there are stresses inherent in the situation, especially if the steps have kids of their own. I’ve seen my mom and my dad both deal with the situation and it is not an easy one.

I give full credit to anyone who knows themselves well enough to decide not to “try” the step-parent situation against their better instincts. It is hard. Very hard. There are emotional issues with the kids. There are sometimes emotional issues with the ex. There are almost always financial issues (if you don’t believe me, look at how often dads and sometimes moms get taken back to court for more money–and then there’s the issue of how the other parent is spending the money once they get it.)

And, of course, if it doesn’t work out, then there’s pain and resentment all around. I do not ever wish to be involved in a situation like that and pray that I will not. I would probably would be hesitant to date a man who has minor children–grown kids would be different in many ways, I think. No child support or custody or babysitters to deal with, just the possible emotional baggage–the “bitch who replaced mummy” thing as infectious lass called it.

(As long as I am married to my wonderful husband, I don’t expect I will ever have to deal with any of this from the step-parent side, of course.)

I’m lucky. My sons’ father loves them very much and for the past eleven years has not missed his “every other weekend” visitation. I dated only when my kids were at their father’s. I rarely introduced my kids to anyone I was dating. I once dated a man for a year and he never even set eyes on my boys. For me, dating and kids did not mix (I am EXTREMELY protective - some would say overly so). I didn’t want someone to come into their lives who was not going to be a permanent fixture because break-ups are pretty hard on them, too. They are 17 and 18 now and I don’t regret the decisions I’ve made (about the dating anyway!). I’m sure this seems extreme and it probably is but, it worked for me. I probably missed out on some fun but, again, I don’t regret it.

I hope things work out for you Kellibelli. I’ve experienced the “we don’t want our son dating someone with children” crap. As if I weren’t as good as someone without them! I KNOW the fact that I’m a parent has made me a finer, more loving, generous and compassionate person than I was when I was childless. I’m sure that’s true for you, as well. Good luck. You deserve nothing less than the best.

Well, this might end up being moot for kellibelli, but then again maybe not. I used to belong to a babysitting coop and it worked out very well. All members were themselves parents, with members sitting for each others kids (with no money changing hands). (See below for some details.) One nice thing is that the person sitting for you has kids of his own, and usually has a greater sense of the responsibility of the task than a teenager would have.


One key to the system was that you could join by invitation only. Somebody had to know you reasonably well and feel able to trust you before you could get in. Our coop had 30 members, which was pretty high. I think a smaller group would have been easier to keep organized, but would also have led to more trouble finding a sitter for the popular times.

Everybody has an account of hours. You’re not allowed to go more than 20 hours negative or 40 hours positive. It’s a zero-sum system - when you add up everybody’s account balances, it should be zero.

There is a job of secretary which rotates among the members. If you need a sit, you call the secretary. The secretary finds an available sitter (usually starting the search among those members who have the most negative balances). Being secretary was a fair amount of work, but it was only one month every 2 years. Plus the secretary got “paid” - at the end of the month, an hour is deducted from everybody else’s balance and added to the outgoing secretary’s account. Believe me, it was nice to suddenly get 29 hours of babysitting time dumped in your lap.

If I suddenly found myself with a young kid again, I would try to form one right away.