As my son and I made the two hour drive from Tucson to Phoenix, I got lost in the music and the monotonous white dotted lines.
Out of the blue, my son startled me by loudly calling “Dad!”
I turned down the music and asked what he wanted.
“I know how you can get a girlfriend.”
“Yes,” he declared with all the confidence in the world. “All you do is go on the computer, type in eHarmony.com and give some pertinent information. Then they find you a girlfriend.”
Inside, I roared with laughter. On the outside, I thanked him and told him I was not sure I needed their help, but appreciated his concern and for sharing. And, of course, I asked him where he heard about eHarmony.
My son informed me of this amazing dating tool about three years after the divorce and after about a year of asking me when I planned to get married again.
I, on the other hand, dated for a short time right after the divorce and then, after realizing I was not ready to date, took some time off to really focus on being a dad. What my son did not know at the time of his suggestion was I was dating someone at the time – covertly – and chose not to tell him until both she and I decided to tell our kids.
Another story for another day.
Back to the matter at hand, immediately following the divorce, many well-intentioned friends and family wanted the best for me and began suggesting women I could date. Everyone has a “friend” I should meet.
About the last thing I wanted to do after the divorce was get back into a relationship. When I started dating someone a few months after the divorce, it became clear after a short time I was not ready.
So, when should a single dad get back in the dating game? Let me offer a few thoughts:
- Do not get into dating to medicate or try to fill the void from the loss of your spouse. You should take some time getting comfortable with yourself and finding contentment with being a single dad.
- Make sure you have a few close friends and/or family who will give you honest feedback about your readiness. Maybe even consider some counseling.
- Take the time to write down what you want in a future spouse and include non-negotiables. This way, once you begin dating, you can refer back to the list and make it harder to settle for less than you and your kids deserve.
- Do not let others, including your kids, guilt you into dating or make you feel like you should be healed and ready to go. They probably want the very best for you, and feel free to tell them you are not ready, but thanks for caring.
When, if ever, did you know you were ready to date again following the loss of your spouse? Did you get pressure to date from friends and family before you were ready?