Observations from a Single Dad in the Bay Area Dating Scene

 

Dad and little girl on beach.jpgIn 2014, I became single after the completion of a thirteen-year relationship, which included eight years of marriage. These days I’m a 43-year old single dad with two girls, ages five and eight, navigating a dating scene that has changed quite a bit since 2001. Amy asked me to write about some of my observations, which I thought would be fun. Naturally, what has worked for me may not work for others and these are just some of my thoughts at this point in time. I’m sure that as I continue to learn and grow my thoughts will also evolve.

 

  • Dating Experience as a Single Dad: Within a few months of becoming single, I started dating again. Of course, I didn’t know it at the time but I wasn’t ready emotionally at all! Looking back though I think it was important to just get out and meet women. I was honest about my situation with those that I met. Shortly thereafter, I found myself in a nine-month relationship, which ended up really helping me to get back on my feet. Since then I’ve been on over thirty dates and while none have panned out from a relationship perspective it has provided me with experiences that I’ve used to help narrow my focus on what I’m really looking for in a partner.

Key Takeaways: Just get out of the house and have fun! Don’t overthink things. Every date doesn’t have to be a perfect match and it is likely that with each date you will learn about something new and will grow as a person. I’ve been on dates including night swimming at Aquatic Park, rock climbing, cycling, hiking, running, formal events and more – all with women that I barely knew. I would have never experienced any of these fun events if I didn’t just get out of the house!

 

  • Online Dating: Of course, back in 2001 there was no such thing as online dating. Sure, you could have surfed the personals in the SF Weekly or Bay Guardian, but that wasn’t something that was done by anyone that I knew. It was really all about getting out and making a real effort to meet women in person. No texting – we would exchange numbers and leave voicemail messages. How fun it was to experience the suspense of waiting for a woman to return a message on the answering machine! Or coming home and asking your roommates, “Did she call?” Sadly, these days if you leave a voicemail instead of a text it seems most women would think you’re crazy.

The biggest issue I have with online dating is that no matter what the person looks like or writes like or even talks like on the phone, you just don’t know how it’s going to work out until you meet in person. This is a very time-consuming process because you end up going out with a lot of women that you would have never gone out with had you met the old-fashioned way to begin with. And while there is a plus side to this in terms of life experience and learning about new people as I described above, the downside is a seemingly constant state of not expressing interest in someone else, or vice versa. Even though everyone knows the process, it can still be a little disheartening, especially when you meet a really nice person and you wish the chemistry could just be there!

I also think that online dating presents a false sense of choice. Yes, there are tons of women that you could go out with, but really there’s only a tiny fraction that you would be compelled to see again after a first date, or vice versa.

Key Takeaways: Online dating can be useful and fun for an immediate high volume approach, but it can also be a time sink. Try to take it in bite sized chunks – do it for two or three months, then take a break. Or better yet, join an outdoor club/team (running, cycling, rock climbing, etc.) Prospects seem to be much better when meeting in the real world through a common acivitity. And in any case, if you meet someone that you really like, put real effort into making time for that person in your life. Don’t take those opportunities for granted and don’t play games.

 

  • Be Kind to Yourself: Shouldn’t life become easier and less complicated as we become older and wiser? While you’d think this would be the case, in terms of relationships we sometimes carry fears with us from prior experiences that can take a long time to heal. But don’t worry – we’re all in the same boat. So, if you’ve ever been in love, be elated that you had it while you did, and if you’ve never been in love remain hopeful because everyone deserves to be in love. I say this because many of the women I’ve met tell me that they stuck around too long for a man that wouldn’t commit and now they’re left with little time to start a family. Regardless of any mistakes you’ve made in past relationships, acknowledge them but don’t dwell on them. Learn from them. We’ve all made fumbles in life and the best we can do is to not repeat history.

Key Takeaways: Everything is working out just the way it’s supposed to. Enjoy the journey! Once you do find love either again or for the first time you’ll be glad that you experienced everything that you did. It will all make sense when it’s said and done.

After writing this piece I’m not sure if I wrote it for you or me! Anyway, I hope you enjoyed it. I’d also like to say in closing that some of the most remarkable women that I’ve met in the past three years have come through Amy’s service. So, if Amy has a suggested date for you, try not to second guess it. Just go for it and increase your chances of finding love.

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