As a single dad wading back into the dating pool, Daniel Ruyter was surprised how many women lost interest when he revealed, always in the first conversation, that he had a son."At first I took it personally," said the Orlando, Fla., information technology analyst, who was 32 when he divorced and got joint custody of his then 5-year-old son.
"I found it very arbitrary that before they got to know me, they had decided against me."But as Ruyter cycled through "close to 100" first dates and a few long-term girlfriends (a scheduling feat, considering half his week was devoted to his son), his romantic standards heightened in ways they may not have pre-fatherhood.
From the get-go, Daniel was clear that he and his 2-year-old daughter came as a package.
He broke off one relationship because her dream of a downtown condo didn't fit with his need for a yard and swing set.
"I think sometimes the women I dated didn't realize that single dads still have parenting obligations that, for me, came first," said Ruyter, now 36, who maintains the blog "Memoirs of a Single Dad" (memoirsofasingledad.com) and recently self-published the book "Memoirs of a Dating Dad."Changing landscape As fathers grow more engaged in child rearing, and courts more willing to grant them custody, single dads increasingly are dating with kids in tow — in heart if not in hand.
We couldn’t have a relationship unless I accepted that.
I agreed to give things a go, knowing that if it didn’t work out, it would be far worse than the usual break up, because we had a toddler’s feelings to contend with, as well as our own.