Thursday, November 19, 2009

I am, therefore, I date

Growing up, I was your typical girly girl, I often dreamt of the fairy tale wedding, my prince charming, my knight in shining armor. I grew up believing he would one day come into my life and make me the happiest girl on earth. I had a notebook full of wedding dresses, cakes, beautiful boys from Tiger Beat that I could only hope would one day be my real life prince charming. Then I grew up and I thought I had met the man of my dreams. I married him, and poof, just like that, one day, those dreams were gone, and I was suddenly forced to find dreams of my own.

This childhood dream, brings me to the reality of present day dating. I have learned a lot over the years about dating. But the one thing I haven’t seemed to learn yet is how to keep a man around. Come to think of it, as I write that statement, I realize that I don’t think I have ever dated anyone that was really worth keeping around. Oh, at the time I thought a couple were keepable, but looking back now, if I had kept any of them around, I might be working through divorce #2.

One thing I have come to realize is that I prefer to date divorced men. Because in the eyes of society, they are like me, failures, tainted and have lots of baggage. We, divorced people, know this is not true, but we have come to terms with how others see us. Even in my church, divorce and singleness are looked down upon, maybe not deliberately, but we are. Sermons are always geared toward happily married families. Oh sure, sometimes they throw us a bone, by adding “and you single people too” to the end of a sentence, but in general we are looked down upon. And I can’t help but think of my children when I think of men who have never been married…you know in an “attached to my apron strings” kind of way. I also think, “wanderer”, “selfish”, and “in great need of attention” when I think of men that have never been married. But if I were being completely honest with myself, if he is cute and emotionally available I would still give him a chance whether he had been married or not…hey, I’m completely open to someone saying “I told you so” if I meet and fall in love with a guy who has never been married. But I digress… Back to my original point of why I like dating divorced men.

Men who are divorced, oftentimes, are fathers. They know firsthand and understand what kind of life I lead, a life that is hectic and very rarely has time for outside relationships. They obviously aren’t afraid of commitment, because if they were they wouldn’t be divorced. Most divorced men have a greater appreciation for my post-pregnancy body than most single men do.
Because these men are divorced it makes me believe that they have had the time to work on themselves and hopefully they have learned from their mistakes. Their divorce also suggests to me that they plan to make better choices the next time around. They will hopefully have a better understanding of what it means to choose their partner for the right reasons and not all the wrong reasons. But most importantly, dating a divorced man means that some other woman loved him enough to test drive him and break him in…so he can’t be all that bad, right?

Why do I bring all of this up, you might ask? Well, unfortunately for me I recently went on a date with a divorced dad whom I thought had potential but defied everything I described up above. This guy, I will call “bitch, moan and complain” did just that all night long, bitched moaned and complained. The biggest turn off to me is someone that complains about paying child support. Dude…it’s the law! It’s not like we are trying to scam the money from you. It is money you owe for the sole purpose of “supporting your child”…hence the name. Does it always seem fair, no…but it is the law! Does it make things tough sometimes…you bet. Suck it up…it is your obligation to your children-THERE IS NO GETTING AROUND IT!

But my biggest pet peeve about “bitch, moan and complain” was the fact that he kept referring to himself as a “single dad”. But after having a couple of drinks with him before dinner what I quickly realized was that he is not a “single dad” but a “part time” dad. The difference between the two, you might ask? A single dad has 50/50 (or more) custody of his children. He understands his role as a parent/dad/caregiver to his children. A man who sees his kids every other weekend has not earned the “single dad” status. Whether he knows it or not, his ex’s parenting responsibilities far outweigh his. More than likely, he doesn’t even know what his responsibilities are. In fact, I know he doesn’t. Over dinner, he was complaining about how his ex-wife called him to ask him to help pay for an activity one of their kids wanted to do and he denied her request with the excuse…”that’s what I pay you for every month.” Never fear ladies, I set him straight. That is, in fact, not what he pays her for every month. First, he sends her a child support check every month, not a payroll check. And second, this check is to be used to put food on the table for their children, to put a roof over the heads of their children, to clothe their children…do you get the picture?

Funny, I never heard from “bitch, moan and complain again.” And I am good with that!

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