Being a man who wants to date is tough enough. I have to somehow find a way to stand out from the mountains of handsome, muscle bound idiots who love nothing more than taking bathroom selfies without their tops on. Then I need to find a woman I am attracted to in some way and try to spark up some chemistry if we happen to match.
After that I need to do it. I need to work out the right time and way of dropping the C-bomb. No, not that c-word, you filthy minded person, the other c-word; children.
Having my four kids is one of the best things I have ever and will ever do. Okay, so I chose poorly in terms of forever-after-happiness with their mother, but to make up for a broken heart she did give me my little ankle biters. While we were a little family unit life was easy.
Not so much any more.
Generally speaking, with a couple of notable exceptions, as soon as I mention I have children I get one of two responses: either total ghosting or an “I’m sorry for being a cliché but I’m looking for a man who hasn’t been a dad yet”.
To the latter I bear no ill will. Of course a major reason for dating is to find “the one” (more on that another day…) and for many people that involves starting a family. At my age a lot of women are in that position; fair enough.
To the former I don’t blame them either, I just wish they’d have the curtesy to tell me.
Still, it does make moving from chatting to dating a lot tougher. It’s a biggie, something which can make or break a relationship either before it’s even begun or once it is getting up to speed. As far as I can see, I’ve got a handful of options and none of them are fool proof.
Firstly, do I simply mention it on my profile? That will result in far fewer matches but they’ll know what they’re getting into from date one. Trouble is, I’m not actually looking for a step-mother for my kids; I’m looking for someone to spend time with and laugh with again. Someone to help me rediscover who I am romantically and to make the butterflies in my stomach start to flutter once again. If it evolves beyond that then great, but one step at a time.
The next option is to wait until we’ve chatted for a while before slipping it in (again, get your mind out of the gutter…). When I’ve tried this so far, conversations invariably go dead, meaning I get nothing out of the transaction other than frustration. How can I describe my situation without scaring women off? Should I even be trying to?
Another option is to tell them on our first date. I’ve done that a couple of times. Once it resulted in a rather hasty “I have to leave as I’m having dinner with friends”, which was interesting as we’d literally just finished lunch. Another time it led to a slight shock and a gentle admonition for not being up front before a lot of cocktails, a second date and a very memorable long weekend. It feels awkward though, as if I’m taking the choice away from them and putting them in a difficult position after they’ve already committed to at least one date. I don’t like that.
The final option is to not tell them at all. Hide it or simply steer the conversation any other way than children or previous relationships. I tend to think this is next to impossible to pull off without simply lying through your teeth, which is not something I’m comfortable doing. I’m proud of my kids and my life; whether it’s for a date or a relationship I come as a complete package. And if it were to develop into something more than dating then it would all fall apart as soon as I revealed the truth.
It’s been a dilemma, but the right thing to do has always been to tell the truth. I’ve gone down the route of telling them after matching but before dating. So far, so not terrible.
Time will tell, of course.