Another single dad seeking advice…

by singlemomseeking on August 8, 2008

Because you, readers, are incredibly helpful and supportive, more single parents have been writing in to ask for advice.

Here’s Joseph, the divorced dad of three children. He finalized his divorce more than two years ago and sounds like a devoted dad.

Joseph recently fell for a single mom of two kids, who “went through a divorce a few months after I did.” They were friends first, and to complicate matters, their kids are friends, too.

“During our divorces, we became very close. Recently, we decided to take it to the next level– I’m very attracted to her. I have told her that I really care about her–”

So, what’s the problem, you wonder?

“She says that she doesn’t think she will could ever fall in love again,” Joseph says. “I asked her ‘So, are we a couple?’ She just laughed and said ‘We are just friends with benefits.’ “

“Look, I am not a teenager anymore. Sure, I’m having fun, but I want — and need — more in my life. Should I hang on and hope that things will turn around?”

I was blunt with Joseph. I told him: this woman is being very honest with you. It doesn’t sound like she’s emotionally available to you. If you’re ready for a real relationship, move on.

I know that many of you have had similar experiences. What do you think? Any words of wisdom for Joseph?


Photo by Duchessa

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

dan August 13, 2008 at 10:32 am

Yeah…the friends with benes comment has the subtext of “You’re ok to fool around with, but you’re really not who I’m looking for as a partner” vibe…she’s still playing the field while you keep the bench warm for her Mr Right.


Jim aka Sydney&Hunter'sDad August 10, 2008 at 9:09 pm

Hey Judy,I’m not from a coast, but kinda in the middle (Denver burbs). Rachel, please send Judy my email address and thanks for the flattering new nickname!


restaurantrefugee August 9, 2008 at 12:51 pm

I have been on many sides of this issue, and I would agree with the underlying sentiment that LEM expressed. If the children are the first consideration as I am certain they are for any parent, then this relationship needs to end now.

Further, no one is served by continuing the relationship with the idea that she will “come around.” The parties want different things and that imbalance is inherent and therefore untenable.


singlemomseeking August 8, 2008 at 8:42 pm

Once again, you all rock! I got an email earlier today from Joseph saying how appreciative he is… and that he has a lot to think about.

It’s interesting, I feel like I’ve gotten to know so many of you know — through this blog — that I can almost guess what some of you might say.

I had a feeling, for instance, that LEM might take a more cautious stance — and stand up for the kids (I was right!).

I was kind of surprised, however, how many men (minus Mr. Don’t Be So Quick to Give Up the Benefits Jim) really gave an emotional response to this one.

Thanks everyone!! If anyone else wants to chime in, please do.


judy August 8, 2008 at 6:28 pm

Hey Jim, what coast do you live on?

Joseph, listen to her. I recently had a man ask me…”On a scale of 1 – 10 how serious would you say we are dating?” My reply, “I didn;t think of us as dating so I guess zero.”

If you want the benefits and can take them without hurting yourself do so however she is not leading you on, you are leading you on if you believe that you can change how she feels.


singleparentdad August 8, 2008 at 1:45 pm

I agree it’s time to move on. It’s highly unlikely that things will “turn around”. I think women, more so than men, know fairly early on whether the person they are seeing is “the one”. Even if she becomes emotionally available at some point in the future, it’s highly likely that this person will be the beneficiary.


avigail74 August 8, 2008 at 1:35 pm

Wouldn’t it be nice to be with someone who wants to be in a relationship as much as you? I’ve learned through many trials and errors (including divorce) that if you’re ever feeling confused about someone, s/he is probably not it. Love shouldn’t be confusing—I’ve fallen in love with a man who wants to take it to the next level as much as I do–and it feels really wonderful and safe.


dadshouse August 8, 2008 at 11:28 am

How funny that you get single dads writing you for advice, and I get single moms writing me!

I agree with you completely on this one – the woman is not emotionally available for a relationship. If Joseph wants more, he should absolutely look for more. Now – he “could” keep a friends with benefits relationship with this woman while he looked for someone else. But I’ve found that doesn’t really work. For him to be emotionally available to someone else, he really should just break free. And if he’s not ready or willing to do that just yet, enjoy the FWB! A bed buddy is way nicer than sleeping solo.


mc August 8, 2008 at 10:58 am

Oh yeah, I’d believe what she said.

For the forseeable future, she’s just not available to be with you in the way you want.

If you are still interested, your only hope is to cut out the sex (so you can keep your distance) but still stay in her life as a “friend”. It’s possible that in a couple of years she’ll change her mind. But don’t count on it.

Meanwhile, get a life and date othe r people.


Legal Editor Mom August 8, 2008 at 10:46 am

I think all signs point to ending the relationship. (Sticking it out is ok if he can do this without getting hurt or being resentful when things don’t change, but it doesn’t sound like it.) And he shouldn’t make the mistake that a lot of women make, remaining in relationships with men who either aren’t capable of a full commitment or just aren’t interested. She’s been honest with him, so he should be honest with himself. She’s not likely to give him what he wants, so why waste time?

It’s usually pretty hard to be with someone when you want different things. I think as Jim says, he should tell her how he feels and what he plans to do. That way the burden is on her. And if she doesn’t change her mind, then it’s definitely time to move on. And hopefully for the kids’ sakes, they’ve formed a friendship which can remain in tact.


BlueBella August 8, 2008 at 10:13 am

Agreed with all the PPs. I have been in the same situation and it was because I wasn’t either ready for a relationship yet or because I didn’t want one with him.

I’m sorry she’s put you in a tough spot, and if at all possible try to remain friends if you can. . . but don’t be afraid to move on – there is a woman out there who’s ready to fall in love with you – when you’re available!


laurakim123 August 8, 2008 at 10:04 am

mmm this is tough!

I am actually at a stage where my std answer is “friends with benefits” but I actually do want more – I just am not ready to admit it (mainly to myself)

It boils down to how much he feels for her? Is he willing to wait? To initially invest a bit more?

Maybe a discussion with her is best to gauge how she feels about him wanting more?


Jim aka Sydney&Hunter'sDad August 8, 2008 at 10:03 am

“… friends with benefits,” nothing wrong with this unless you want more and there is not mutual desire! Joseph, it sounds like you are not currently in a committed relationship with this lady which is leading to a future together, unless she has a change of heart. My advice is to tell here exactly what you want (to be in a committed relationship and to love and be loved), and if she doesn’t want to go there or is incapable of going there, you have a tough choice to make. You can either tell her you are fine with the status quo but you are going to begin searching for your true love; and if she is not OK with this, then it may be time to move on. Faced with these choices she may then have a tough choice of her own to make, as no doubt you are a top shelf guy! Good luck buddy and don’t be so quick to give up the “benefits!”


Vinnie Sorce August 8, 2008 at 9:31 am

Tough one. Normally a man would love that situation but I know I need somebody full time again. Loneliness can do strange and stupid things to you.

I think you were honest with her and if you can handle the situation for now then go with the flow but if you’re going to fall for her even more than more than likely you’ll be the only one getting hurt.


Anna August 8, 2008 at 9:24 am

This is a tough one, I agree she is being honest but usually we fall in love, it just happens and sounds like it might not be happening for her. Sorry. Amy is right, give yourself a time limit, then for your own sake and all involved, may be time to move on so that you do meet someone who is ready to fall in love with YOU.


The Exception August 8, 2008 at 8:51 am

I think Amy and you have said it all.


Amy Nathan August 8, 2008 at 8:20 am

I agree, she’s being honest…but I bet she is also really scared. Be honest with her and if you want to stick around, just do so knowing that she might never “change her mind.” Give yourself a time limit for you, not for her.

Good luck!! 🙂


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