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Help! Single dad online dating conundrum


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Posted (edited)

Hi all, I've come to the well here on a handful of occasions over the years and now I'm coming back. Long story short, I'm 34. My marriage to my college sweetheart fell apart two years ago. We have a six-year-old daughter. Since our separation, I've worked hard to rebuild my life as a single man. I got promoted to a supervisory role at work, in which I make more money that I ever have before. I have a very strong co-parenting relationship with my ex. I own my house. I'm paying off debt. I briefly dabbled in online dating before I was ready, but deleted all of my profiles around a year ago because I found I was happier when I didn't have to worry about it.

Not long ago, with the encouragement of a friend, I re-downloaded Bumble. I didn't have high (or any) hopes. I'm not interested in the vast majority of women in my area, who proudly advertise that they smoke, drive pickup trucks, and drink cheap beer. It's not my scene. I like to read serious literature and play tennis. On my first night back on Bumble, I got one match, who happened to be a professor at a local college. We quickly hit it off. At least online, she checks all of the boxes: intelligent, eloquent, talented. People like that are so incredibly rare around here that we seemed like a really good match.

I did not mention my daughter on my Bumble profile because there's no gray area when mentioning a child on a dating profile; the stereotype is that single dads are constantly bickering with their ex over who will raise their bratty child. That's simply not me. We have a rock-solid custody schedule, my relationship with my ex is very positive, and I have my life completely in order. I don't mean to toot my own horn, but my ex and I are both mature people. I put off dating for this very reason, so I wasn't bringing anyone into a tumultuous situation. Bumble also only offers two choices for kids: "Have and want more" or "Have and don't want more," with no option for "have, but would have more with the right person." I get that some of you may see this as deceptive, and that's fine.

So, after chatting for a few days, I decided the time was approaching when I should suggest a meet-up. Ahead of this, however, I flatly told her that I have a daughter and explained my situation as best I could (which I had always planned on doing with matches anyway, given the above-mentioned gray area). She responded that she's trepidatious about dating single dads because of one negative experience that she had before with a child who didn't like her and a guy who was still squabbling with his ex, and cited some anxiety about not knowing to handle a child. I don't even consider myself a single dad; I would call myself a co-parent.

The thing is, I get her concerns, but I feel very strongly that I can change her mind. I have to emphasize again that I'm NOT inclined to date. I'm an introvert. It's easier for me just to bail on all of it and enjoy my alone time. But after she opened up to me I feel even more strongly that we would be a good match. I guess I'm just looking for advice on how to approach this. I think explain that my situation is not like the one that she experienced before, tell her that I would love to meet her, and respectfully leave the ball in her court? Any thoughts?

Edited by SonicYouth
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12 minutes ago, SonicYouth said:

I think explain that my situation is not like the one that she experienced before, tell her that I would love to meet her, and respectfully leave the ball in her court?

Yup, give this a try.  Sucks that she's had a rough go w/ other single fathers out there. BUT no, not all situations are the same.

When I was into dating, I didn't care about their kids (ages/ who has them, etc).  I got to know the guy for who he was.

Big deal, you have a kid, you co-parent.  majority of them do, lol.

She should give you a chance!

at least say.. well let's meet at least & get to know each other better, that way?

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I think you're gut is spot on... take the time to explain that you are interested in meeting and that you hope a bad past experience won't hold her back. you are your own person and don't deserve to clean up after the last guy. 

Then leave it to her to take a chance or not.

I'm sorry if she chooses to not meet but keep in mind, her trepidation is a red flag all on its own. 

One meeting is not a big deal to test waters for someone truly healthy and ready to jump in with both feet for the right guy.

You may be dodging a bullet.

As a single adult, you gotta weed through a lot of different types of people when it comes to dating.  She might be good on paper, but a train wreck emotionally. 

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So did she decline to meet based on you having a child?

If she already said "no", trying to change her mind might appear that you don't respect her wishes or you think you know better than she does what she wants or is good for her. However, if she simply expressed reservations I would suggest a casual meeting over coffee and dessert to discuss your situation and see if she would feel comfortable going on a date.

I applaud you for being mature about co-parenting and for being a loving and responsible father.

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12 minutes ago, SonicYouth said:

...tell her that I would love to meet her, and respectfully leave the ball in her court?

This. 

She's already told you how she feels about dating single dads. Don't push so hard because it's not a good look on you. Let her decide if she wants to give it a try. 

IMO, it's important to disclose in dating apps you are a single dad. I know there's a lot of people on these apps looking for an ego boost, but there are people like you and her who are looking for a genuine connection. I feel like when you don't disclose that, you can be interpreted as misleading. Don't hold off important info like that for the "right time." 

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Posted (edited)

Great you are out dating again. Be forthcoming about being a single dad. People won't trust you if you pull that out later on.

It saves a lot of dating wear and tear and high hopes/then rejection if you present yourself accurately.

For example no one wants to find out later that someone is actually still married, or living with an ex or this or that.

 Being a single parent is nothing to hide.

Edited by Wiseman2
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4 minutes ago, SonicYouth said:

I think explain that my situation is not like the one that she experienced before, tell her that I would love to meet her, and respectfully leave the ball in her court? Any thoughts?

I'd skip the presumptions and comparisons, stand down to the urge to change another's mind, and simply let her know that you appreciate her being honest about her concerns but would still love to meet and are happy to answer any questions she has, on this subject and more. She'll respond however she sees fit, which will have nothing to do with you but simply a reflection on her, who and where she is at this juncture in her life.  

Moving forward, you might consider tweaking your profile a bit so this information is out there. Something like: "Flaubert fanatic. Decent tennis player. Adventurous eater. Proud co-parent. " Or some such, in your voice, just so you can avoid this being a record a scratch. The right person—right, even just in the context of seeing about a date or four—will shrug where others might shudder. 

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I find it incredibly ironic that you are seeking an intelligent, educated woman and yet you are OK with being deceptive and showing a complete lack of character off the bat. 

Guess what? Intelligent, educated, successful women who have their life together won't give a liar the time of day. This isn't about you being a single father, this is about you being a liar.

 

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As @bluecastlesaid, it would be better to put your co-parenting status in the body of your profile. That way a woman who "matches" with you or contacts you will know the full story. Leaving that very pertinent information out does appear to be self serving even if that's not your intention.

My friend's ex husband put in his profile that he was open to having more children. He lied, but his excuse was that if he told the truth about not wanting anymore kids, no "young" women would want to date him. And he very definitely wanted to date younger women (he was 40 and he wanted to date women in their late 20s to very early 30s).

You don't want to come across like you're trying to hide your parental status!

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Posted (edited)

I refused to meet any men in person through dating sites who lied or lied by omission on their profiles about basic facts .  This included marital status, child status, age and education. I didn’t date men with children with two exceptions (one date with a single dad and three months dating a man who told me on our first date after we met in person at a weekend retreat that his ex girlfriend was pregnant - different than lying on a dating profile - I hadn’t asked him if he had a girlfriend even ). 
Please respect her wishes.  Find someone who is happy to be a potential stepmother.  They are out there !

Edited by Batya33
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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, SonicYouth said:

the vast majority of women in my area, who proudly advertise that they smoke, drive pickup trucks, and drink cheap beer. Bumble also only offers two choices for kids: "Have and want more" or "Have and don't want more," with no option for "have, but would have more with the right person." 

You could manually add, "would have more kids with someone who doesn't  chew tobacco and use a spittoon".🤢

Edited by Wiseman2
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Posted (edited)
On 5/25/2021 at 2:47 PM, DancingFool said:

I find it incredibly ironic that you are seeking an intelligent, educated woman and yet you are OK with being deceptive and showing a complete lack of character off the bat. 

Agree. I'm amazed at how you justify your bait-and-switch strategy. Yeah, it's important to find what you're looking for in a partner, but relationships aren't all about you and what you want.

Some people don't want to date people who have kids. Period. They don't have to submit their justification to you for approval. 

Edited by Jibralta
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You have no idea what your kid will think, and what your ex will do when they meet a new woman in your life.  No matter how kind your kid is, or how cool of a co-parent your ex is, it can completely change when you add a new person to the dynamic.  This new person has deal breakers, and she has every right to stick with them.  I'd move on to someone who wouldn't even bat an eye for having a kid.

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2 minutes ago, tattoobunnie said:

You have no idea what your kid will think, and what your ex will do when they meet a new woman in your life.  No matter how kind your kid is, or how cool of a co-parent your ex is, it can completely change when you add a new person to the dynamic.  This new person has deal breakers, and she has every right to stick with them.  I'd move on to someone who wouldn't even bat an eye for having a kid.

Oh I wouldn't.  I'd pick someone who would bat both eyes and other body parts and know she was getting herself into a parent type role potentially and a very different relationship than someone without children (or another person he was fully responsible for).  "No biggie!" would concern me.  

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