One of the best parts about writing this blog is that I get emails from thoughtful, caring single parents who open up about their lives. Usually, these emails include a question, too. (“If you happen to know any cute, single dads in southern Tennessee, will you let me know? Thanks!”) I try my best to respond, but every so often, I get stumped.
That’s why I’m reaching out to you. Mark, a single dad of two teenagers wrote to me this week:
“I have custody of my two boys who are 17 and 14. We have a great time together. They are ‘cool’ with me dating and I always like to make sure that I get to know the person I am dating before introducing her to the boys. And I expect the same from her.”
“But recently, I dated a couple of single moms who didn’t wait very long before introducing me to their kids. After a few dates, they wanted me to meet their children. And then, they would ask, ‘So, when can I meet your boys?’ I felt uncomfortable.”
“In both cases, we are no longer dating. I wonder if their kids ask them ‘Where’s Mark? Why doesn’t he come to visit anymore?’ One little girl was so precious, and we got along so well. It broke my heart to stop being there all of the sudden.”
“I just want to do this right,” Marks says.
“From a woman’s perspective, do you think that the next person I date (I hope this will be soon!) would be offended if I told her that I didn’t want to meet her kid(s) yet?”
“I mean, if it ‘feels’ right, does that mean it’s okay to meet them? I wouldn’t want her to think that I have a problem with kids because I don’t. And if there’s a real attraction between us, I don’t want to run the risk of blowing it because we feel differently about meeting each other’s kids.”
Here’s what I told Mark: I don’t have a teen (yet). Dating and raising teens? Help!
Single moms and dads, can you please give this dating dad your advice?
P.S. Mark’s older son “is interested in girls, but he’s yet to have a girlfriend, so I really don’t know what would happen if and when he starts dating. He and his brother know very well that I am not looking to replace their mom, but I am looking for someone special in my life. They also know that I am careful about who I date and who I introduce them to. We have a great level of trust between us and I think that is key.”
Photo from greyman
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