Last summer I decided to try online dating on a whim. After screening all of the messages I received, I struck up conversation with this really nice guy, who I will call “Pete.” For all intents and purposes, he was everything I thought I was looking for in a guy. Smart, cute, funny. Nothing like anyone I had ever dated (or been married to, for that matter). Since I met him on a website for single parents, I felt like we instantly had at least one thing in common.
After chatting with him for a few weeks, we decided to go on a date, seemed to hit it off, yada yada. And all I could think about was how lucky I was, to actually luck out after going on one date with someone I met online (!!!!!).
At some point during the date we started talking more in depth about our lives. I already knew he was a single parent as we had met on a dating site for single parents. So curious me asked him how often he saw his kids. That’s when he told me something that completely changed my opinion of him.
He hadn’t seen his kids in months, he said. It wasn’t because his ex-wife wouldn’t let him see the kids – they actually had an arrangement where he could see them as much as he wanted. He had just not seen them for several months, even though they lived close enough to him where that should have been a non – issue.
At first, I thought okay, Pete’s ex-wife was preventing him from seeing his kids. I get that; I had similar issues once. But it turns out that his ex-wife wasn’t stopping him at all from seeing his kids. It was purely because he wasn’t making efforts to see them. Not only that, but he owed his ex-wife thousands of dollars in back child support.
So here was my dilemma: I was dating someone who – much like my own children’s father – consciously chose not to see his kids. He had all the time in the world to spend with me, and my kids; but made every excuse in the world why he wasn’t seeing his own kids. Not only that, but he didn’t even feel the need to support them financially.
I was dating a deadbeat dad. Someone kind of like my ex-husband.
When I started online dating, I actually refused to talk to anyone who shared the same name as my ex-husband. Call me paranoid, but the last time I dated someone with that name, it didn’t end well. That rationale is probably a little silly. Sharing a name with someone doesn’t mean that you are the same type of person as they are.
Doing the same things as they do, however, is a different story.
Anyway, I did date him for few more months after that. But every time we were hanging out, I was thinking about his kids and how he would have far less time to hang out with me if he was actually spending time with his kids.
This guy lived out of his car, begged for money from strangers at Walmart to fund his “business” ventures, liked to mooch off people, couldn’t hold a job, and had a tendency to say completely offensive things without thinking about it. Parenting wasn’t the only issue that he had. There were obviously other things. But yeah, none of those were even as remotely significant as the fact that he was bailing out on his responsibilities as a parent. Although those things bothered me, too.
After I broke things off with him (which is the only outcome that was appropriate in that situation), he posted a video on his YouTube account, where he basically said that I was the one with issues. Yeah, okay. When he texted me a couple of months later, asking if I wanted to go out for dinner, I just shook my head and laughed.
The whole experience made me realize that dating really isn’t as scary as I had always thought it would be. But it also made me realize that while I try to be open minded as possible, I do have my limits.
Some day when my life isn’t quite so chaotic, maybe I’ll change my mind. But for now, I think I’ll remain happily single.