The Better Half

Single dad is comprised of two key terms. Most of the time for Single Dads I write about the dad part of the equation. Today, though, I’m going to write about the other part: the “single” part.

Technically, I am single. But for all practical purposes, I am not single at all; I’m part of a couple. So let’s give the other half of my couple a name. Let’s call her Lisa.

Lisa is a hefty part of the reason that life being a single dad is bearable. After my breakup with my daughter’s mother, I drifted. Sure, I had my daughter, but as many single parents will tell you, something was missing. There was an incomplete variable in the equation. Personally, I feel that once you get used to having an adult to spend time with, especially with your children, that you need someone to help you navigate the chaos that is parenting.

For a single parent, though, you have other considerations besides simply what you need. After all, you have your progeny to consider as well.

The resulting questions then abound. First, the single parent should effectively filter out all people who they can’t see as parents. This can eliminate a large number of the applicant pool, which can be a touch dejecting, but believe me, this can work in your favor in the end.

Once this has been completed and you find a person that seems to be a serious possibility, there are more questions to ask – is the other person the kind of person that would be willing to accept your child into your lives? Do they have the correct temperament? Can you envision them with a child themselves, if they don’t have one already? Are they willing to help you teach a child? Are they safe around children?

Then, assuming that they pass this series of tests, you broach the next set of questions, like: when do you introduce your significant other to your child? What if the child doesn’t like the other? How should the significant other be addressed?

All of this happens before the more complex situations even arise.

Then Lisa came into our lives.

For reasons that I can’t quite put my finger on, Lisa accepted us. She was undaunted by my parenting status. She was familiar with children for various reasons. She likes cooking. She enjoys reading, likes teaching, and loves to play. Wildly enough, she also loves my daughter – who loves her back. Oftentimes I feel a slight twinge of jealousy when my daughter decides to talk to her more than she talks to me. Slight.

For these reasons and many more, Lisa and I are what make this house, especially when my daughter is here and not with her mother, a home.

Being a single dad is difficult – being a single parent in general is difficult. But it becomes oh so much less difficult when a single dad is presented not only with love from below, but with a second chance with an adult, an equal, that shares his needs and values.

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