Monday, August 15, 2011

Dating Dead-Ends—by Jamie Levine

Before I became a mother, I dated constantly, and people who wondered out loud why I never had a boyfriend often surmised, “you must be too picky.” But the reality was I just could never find a guy whom I felt chemistry with who would commit to me for more than a few months. I was unlucky in love, and perhaps I made some poor choices, but I wasn’t very picky. Now, I’m picky.

Before I met Library Guy, I was quite content existing as a single mother on my own. But after experiencing a pretty amazing—though ultimately tumultuous—relationship with a single father, I’ve realized that I want another one (minus the drama, of course). And I want it badly. But it’s far from easy to find. Because this time around, I’m very picky.

First of all, I don’t simply want to date a single man—I want to date a single father. I want the man I’m with to “get” the devotion I have to Jayda, and understand that she always comes first—whether that means having to cancel a date because I need to spend time with my sick child, or even bailing on an intimate moment with my man because my daughter is crying out for me. Library Guy “got” that and it helped us through a lot of tough times. Honestly, the fact that both of us prided ourselves on being good parents was something that brought us together and made our relationship stronger.

So, I'm only open to dating single dads…but there’s more. I don’t want a dad who has more than two children, because let’s face it, if we ever wind up living together, that means three children living in our house some weekends—three children to both dote on and discipline—and that’s almost more than I can handle; four or five would be over-the-top. There’s also child support to contend with: If my new man is responsible for supporting more than two children—and putting them through college—he may not have much left to contribute to my child’s upbringing. And while I’m not looking for a sugar daddy or a free ride, if I ever get married, I am counting on a second income in my household making at least a bit of a difference in my child’s life.

But that's not all. While I’m searching for that single father of one or two children, I also need to find out immediately how long the man has been divorced. Because after my tragic ending with Library Guy, I’ve learned my lesson: Never go out with a man until he’s been divorced for at least a year. Library Guy jumped from his broken marriage right into an intense relationship with me and never experienced being alone, or even dating, and he needed to. Just-divorced men need time to see what’s out there, have some fun, and figure out who they are before jumping into the next big thing. And I do want my next relationship to be a big thing—not a fling or a rebound or a big mistake. Unfortunately, I’ve been meeting a lot of really great just-getting-divorced guys lately, and though I've been tempted by a few, ultimately, I've walked away. I never believed it before I fell for Library Guy, but timing is everything when it comes to making a relationship work. And I won't date a divorced man before it's the right time.

So once I do finally meet a single father of one or two children who has been divorced for over a year, am I ready to date him? I think not. A zillion other components come into play: Not only does he have to be fit and funny and gentlemanly and generous, but there has to be chemistry between us. I’ve met a few terrific guys lately, but when they kiss me, I don’t feel weak in my knees, and when they come to pick me up for a second date, I don’t want to jump into their arms, and for me, that’s a dealbreaker. I need chemistry. I need great kissing. I need passion. And those things are not so easy to find.

But that’s not all; once I start dating a guy for awhile, it’s not just me whom he needs to please: I need to be with a man who’s good with Jayda, and with whom Jayda likes to spend time. Jayda’s rather friendly and social—and she loves men, in general—so she’s not too difficult to win over, but she will be a factor in my future relationships because we're a package deal: Two smart, strong-willed, beautiful females for the price of one. And yet another obstacle to overcome when it comes to finding Mr. Right.

No wonder I’m single. No wonder I’m still finding it difficult to let go of my dream of being with Library Guy....and wondering if I'll ever feel the way I used to feel when I was with him. And thank goodness I have so many amazing girlfriends—and guy friends—to lean on whenever I start wondering. Because lately I do often wonder if I’ll ever find a new boyfriend—let alone a husband. And with enough love and friendship in my life, I know I’ll find a way to be ok without one.


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