All The Single Ladies: Dating a Man With Children?

dating-relationship-man-with-kidsBeing on the dating scene, I’ve been reconsidering what characteristics I desire in a partner and which are absolute deal breakers. A situation I’ve come across more and more lately are men with a child or children. Divorcees, single fathers, or men who parent part-time, they identify themselves in various ways. Dating these men comes with the implicit agreement that you will be meeting and eventually spending your time with a person under the age of eighteen.

Until now I never considered a man having children to be problematic. After all, there all sorts of families, many of them featuring stepchildren. I’m now realizing that the situation is far more complex than it may at first appear. Men with children, rightfully, can prioritize their children. As a woman in the beginning stages of a relationship, it can be off-putting to know that you are in second place by default. Then there is the issue of having the relationship become long-term and essentially becoming a stepmother and assuming all the responsibilities of mommy long before having any children of your own. And of course there are the issues that can arise with the child’s mother. She is free to interrupt your plans with emergencies, call at odd hours, and otherwise impose.

Dating a man with children has its upsides. Such a man is likely more stable, responsible, and past the stage of having his world center around his selfish needs. A woman can be assured that such a man will make a good father because he already is one. In many cases he is more than capable of sustaining a long-term committed relationship because he likely has already been in one.

Is the extra work of dating a man with kids worth it, however? Single women without children, I’m interested in your thoughts in particular. Other women and men are also welcome.

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On Catfishing

manti-teo-catfish

Catfished.

What is a catfish and why are so many concerned about catfishing?

A catfish, as described by Urban Dictionary is someone who pretends to be someone they are not online to create false identities, particularly to pursue deceptive online romances.” The term, and an MTV reality show centered around the phenomenon, are derived from a 2010 film of the same name.

However, while the term has existed for some time, it recently came into popularity when the case of college football player Manti Te’o‘s relationship hit the press. Manti Te’o apparently led a one-year long online relationship with a woman who claimed to be Lennay Kekua. After his girlfriend died of cancer, it was later discovered that she didn’t exist at all — she was merely an online persona created by a man who knew of Manti Te’o. The man in question later confessed to being in love with the football star.

Since then, there has been an explosion of interest: countless media outlets, social networks, and offline discussions have centered around catfishing and the illusions created by online relationships. Many have become more cautious about building online connections, worried that they too may be duped by someone hoping to forge a relationship or simply looking for a laugh. Relationships experts and writers have dedicated segments and articles to catfishing, how one can avoid being catfished on the Internet, and how to spot a catfish.

silhouette-computerAs always, catfishing highlights the need to be aware and vet all possible associates. If you’re seeking or have found a potential partner online, it is wise to take steps to make sure that you know who you’re dealing with and connect offline in a way that you can be sure that the way a person presents themselves is who they are in reality.

On the other hand, catfishing shows that many are still weary of online relationships. While many have been fooled and swindled offline, catfishing has been used as an example of why online relationships just don’t work. Yet catfishing is not exclusive to relations created in the online realm — anyone can be fooled by another person and stories of such existed much before the World Wide Web was created.

My thoughts on catfishing? Since I’ve previously written about the positives of online dating, it’s probably important to mentioned that is also good to keep your [virtual] feet on the ground. Things aren’t always what they seem. But don’t get too caught up in the hysteria and enjoy your online connections for what they are: another way to forge the bonds and mental stimulation most of us desire as human beings.

What is your perspective — any other thoughts on catfishing?

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7 Types of Men I’d Never Date

do-not-pass-goMost people have a “type” — a particular look or personality that they find appealing in others. I’m the same — I also have types, but what I have more of are non-types — those that I do not find appealing or even repelling.

These types coincide with general personality traits I find disagree with my own, but in romantic relationships they take on an even greater importance. At a distance you can pretend everything’s fine, but in close quarters, you can only pretend for so long. Perhaps this should be titled “7 Types of Men I’d Never Date (Again)”:

The Argumenter — The Argumenter is that great debater you found so attractive at first. Just so informed, intellectual, and worldly, isn’t he? He’d never lose an argument…Including one with you, and he spares no words.

Also known as Mr. Know-It-All.

The Passive — Easy enough to get along with, begin a relationship, and deal with in a relationship. You’ll think the fact that you never disagree with the passive guy means you’re meant for each other. What it really means is that the disagreement will happen later, perhaps much later, when the Passive Guy grows tired of pretending he agrees with everything you do and say.

Not for the straightforward.

Bob Bummer — In a word, negative. This guy isn’t usually the most attractive, but can find himself in relationships with women who think they can make his life a little brighter with their presence. What actually happens is Bob Bummer makes your day a little gloomier by killing any excitement or happiness you feel by bringing in thoughts of doubt and urging you to think of the”worst case scenario”.

Of course if your name should be changed to Debbie Downer, you’ll find Bob Bummer to be perfect.

The Player — We all know of the Player. He says all the right things at all the right times, and he can do no wrong. Except he’s say all the right things with every woman he’s ever dated. And just when she’s convinced he can do no wrong he finds someone else to say all the right things with.

Don’t hate the player..

RomeoNot exactly a Player because unlike the Player Romeo actually feels as strongly about you as you do about him. That is, he thinks he does. But Romeo loves romance more than any particular person, and when the sparkle and glitter are gone, so is Romeo.

There isn’t much else to know about Romeo because he usually doesn’t stick around long enough.

The King of the Throne/Breadwinner — Lovely, if you like being the equivalent of a nice-looking suit or enjoy being told what to do, say, and think. He is convinced a man should be a “man” in a relationship. The King of the Throne makes the rules, even if his throne consists of an armchair.

Often extremely judgmental, as an added bonus.

The IntellectualizerIf you have emotions, and would like to express them, then look for another partner. Some Intellectualizers just don’t get emotions, theirs included, but others actively ignore or belittle them. To the extreme Intellectualizer emotions are just irrelevant. The only upside is that if you ever have a problem to solve, they can fix it.

It’s hard to decide if the Intellectualizer is the least problematic of the types, or the most.

Which of these types have you dated and which do you find the most and least appealing?

Some Thoughts on Friendship

baby-friendship

In the realm of interpersonal relationships, romantic relationships get all the attention. People want to know how to find a romantic relationship, how to keep one, or how to end one. So much so that the word “relationship” has become synonymous with romantic relationship.

However, I’ve found platonic relationships to be just as difficult as intimate relationship. In dating, there are a list of “dos” and “don’ts” if one wants to be successful, but lists on how to be a good friend are less common. But friendships are tough and true friends are hard to come by.

It is important, in my experience, to be as discriminating when forming a friendship as you would be with choosing a romantic partner. In some ways, a good friend is hard to define, but there are a few basic traits that I would say make a real friend:

Loyal — It sounds so simple, but a real friend will stand by you. Many so-called friends will not be faithful when the friendship is tested. On the other hand, a true friend in these times will show that they are concerned with your well-being as they are with the their own.

Sincere — A friend will tell you the truth, even when you don’t want to hear it, and will be genuine about themselves.

Positive — Never ignore the effect that a negative acquaintance can have on you. Whether your “friend” is negative about you and your hopes and dreams, or about life in general, negativity is toxic. A friend will make your day brighter by just being around.

Helpful –– Not only does a good friend offer helpful advice, but a friend will provide assistance, even if they can’t do much to help physically. True friends always try to help, and make your friendship one of their priorities.

Understanding — A true friend understands that everyone has flaws and is not overly judgmental of you. They understand your point of view and point of being, even when it may differ from their own.

How do you determine if someone is a friend or not? What qualities do you think make a good friend?

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7 (People) Mistakes I’ll Never Make Again

social-mistakes

…and you don’t have to, if you learn from my experience.

2011 has been a year of learning in the social realm. I’ve discovered as much about people in this year as I have in the past ten. Much of this learning has been difficult — very difficult at times.

People can be a source of enjoyment, but can also prove to be a primary source of frustration. You can’t change this, and you can’t change their ways, but you can change the expectations you have of people and the way you approach them.

The following is what I’ve learned not to do when it comes to people and all kinds of relationships.

1. Assume your close friends and family know and understand you

Before this year I’d thought the people who I’ve known for years and had a close relationship with understood my way of thinking and motivations. But I was wrong — most people simply don’t understand (but think they do), and will easily misinterpret your simplest actions.

2. Believe people will be consistent in thought and behavior

Being fairly consistent, I expected other people to be as well, at least when they tried to be. However, people are a fickle bunch. There is no way of telling how they will feel or what they will do from one day to the next.

It’s not that they’re dishonest — they can truly mean something one day, and say or do something which contradicts it the next day. If you think you can hold someone to something they said weeks or months ago, forget it.

3. Assume people understand why they do things

As surprising as it may seem to people who are more self-aware, many people don’t understand themselves and their reasons for doing things. Often times they say or do what they feel like doing at the time, without comprehending why.

This ties into number one — if people don’t understand their own motivations, how could they possibly understand yours?

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Profiles of the Emotionally Unavailable: The Ten

vain-man

Also known as the number one Hot Guy ™ or Hot Girl ™.

To some known as suffers of the Beautiful (Wo)man Syndrome.

The Ten

The Ten is the person whose great looks have carried them through life, and as a result, they never fully developed their personalities or inner life. The Ten learned early on that their physical appearance was the greatest asset they had to offer other people. They reacted to this message by further developing themselves physically, not mentally, and certainly not emotionally.

The Ten relies on the alluring power of their good looks to draw people to them. All beautiful people are not Tens, but all Tens are beautiful people. The Ten is unique in that they keep their emotional distance. Their relationships are based on appearance primarily, if not only, so they never have to actually connect with anyone, including their partner. Why should they? People stay around anyway because they’re gorgeous.

The Ten Plus You

Everyone loves the Ten, and they are rarely without a relationship. And if you begin a relationship with the Ten, your role is quite simple — adore, compliment, and complement the Ten. You must make sure the Ten remains confident in their appearance, and make sure that you serve as a good backdrop to their all-encompassing beauty.

You, like most people, are fine with this role at first. You feel proud and accomplished that you have such a good-looking person as a significant other. You see people look at you with jealousy or admiration as you walk by with your Ten. You can’t help but feel pleased.

But eventually this thrill gets old. You wonder where this relationship is going. You realize that you don’t really know the Ten and you want to get closer. You’re no longer satisfied with being their figurative or literal mirror holder. But the Ten has little to offer you. Since they never developed themselves emotionally, they are emotionally unavailable to you, themselves, and everyone else. Instead of an emotional connection, all you get is more shine and beauty.

The Ten Minus You

You might decide to end your relationship with the Ten, but more likely the Ten will decide to end their relationship with you. Either way, when your relationship with the Ten ends, your self-esteem may suffer a bit. Especially if you’re quickly replaced (a likely scenario since many are waiting for their chance with the Ten). You might wonder if you were ever worthy of the Ten — were you attractive enough? It’s tough being the ex of a Ten.

But what you should really be wondering is how lucky you are. Now you are free to find someone who can offer you more than physical beauty, someone who can offer you the emotional closeness that you need.

The Ten’s emotionally unavailability has nothing to do with you and everything to do with themselves. The Ten may never self-examine and connect with their inner self as closely as they have connected with their outer self. Until they do, they can’t have a full relationship with someone else. But that’s no longer your problem.

Have you ever been involved with a Ten?

See also:

  • Profiles of the Emotionally Unavailable:

Profiles of the Emotionally Unavailable: The Intellectualizer

bones-temperance-brennan

Emily Deschanel as Dr. Temperance Brennan on TV drama "Bones"

This isn’t your ordinary analytical partner.

The Intellectualizer is one form of the emotionally unavailable partner. The Intellectualizer has to analyze, quantify, and categorize anything in order to understand and experience it. In the love and romance realm, this includes emotions.

Emotions aren’t easily categorized — they are shapeless and unpredictable. So the Intellectualizer ignores them when possible. If you attempt to emotionally engage the Intellectualizer, they will freeze up and back off, or express their thoughts, instead of their feelings.

The Intellectualizer isn’t always a bad choice of partner. If you’re satisfied with an intellectual, unemotional relationship (perhaps if you are an Intellectualizer yourself), then you’ll have no issues with the Intellectualizer. But if you expect your partner to show emotion at certain times and to feel rather than think, you’ll be in it alone. The Intellectualizer will try but they are so emotionally unavailable that they can only simulate true emotional involvement through practice and study.

The Intellectualizer usually won’t see their emotional distance as a problem. They tend to view themselves as rational and steady, and one who makes wise, well thought out decisions. Other, more emotionally expressive people –everyone else– are the ones with problems. Why can’t they get in control of themselves and their emotions?

Such unevolved, troubled beings!

What the Intellectualizer doesn’t realize is that they are far from untroubled and certainly not more evolved. Life and relationships in particular require emotional involvement. By rationalizing their feelings they are blocking themselves from truly experiencing life. Intellectualizing creates distance between themselves and their emotions, so they don’t actually feel them. This prevents real connections from being made with other people, including their significant other.

What can an Intellectualizer do about this? Usually they won’t do anything, since they don’t see a problem. But if the Intellectualizer can make a commitment to feeling their feelings, and not thinking them, they can improve over time. If your partner is an Intellectualizer you can help in small ways, like reminding them to begin sentences with “I feel” or “I believe” instead of always with, “I think”. But the Intellectualizer has to connect themselves with the emotions they are always leaving behind.

Have you ever been involved with an Intellectualizer? Are you one?

See also:

  • Profiles of the Emotionally Unavailable:

Profiles of the Emotionally Unavailable: Romeo

piggybackRomeo is the dream partner.

He (or she, in the case of Romiette) is the ultimate romantic. You begin dating Romeo and he is attentive, sweet, and devoted. He spends time learning all about you and assures you that he is in love with you. You are the most amazing woman he has ever met — the only one for him. You can’t help but to be swept into the fantastic web of romance he has created around and about you, and picture yourself with Romeo forever.

Then, after a few weeks or months, Romeo becomes less and less available. He doesn’t come around as often, doesn’t call, and responds to your calls at the last possible moment. He becomes more distant, that is, if he doesn’t disappear completely. You may later discover he has been seeing someone new. You are devastated.

Say hello to Romeo

Romeo, or Romiette, is a person who loves the romance –and nothing else– of relationships. The term was first used by psychologist Bryn Collins in her book Emotionally Unavailable. Romeos begin relationships strong, stronger than most, but lose steam as time goes on. Romeo is one of the most dangerous types of emotionally unavailable partners because everyone believes his love is sincere. Including him.

Put simply, Romeo is a romance junkie. He loves the excitement and thrill of romance, which is more likely to occur at the beginning of a relationship. But what he doesn’t like is the steady, stable affection of a long-term relationship. He is hooked on is luv  — that exciting, passionate feeling that comes with a new romance, not Love — the deeper and truer feelings that arise with time. Unlike luv, Love is not always exciting and grand, and is way too emotionally complex for Romeo.

Say goodbye to Romeo

The minute Romeo senses the familiarity and regularity of mature, realistic Love, he begins to look for an exit. And, often, a new romance that will bring those feelings of luv back.

Romeo doesn’t mean to be cruel. But he doesn’t really love you or anyone else. What he loves is the intensity of luv; its highs and lows and constant fireworks. No matter how romantic and sweet he may be, Romeo is emotionally unavailable and doesn’t build true, long-lasting connections.

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Ability To Love Is Not Equal

candy-heartsRecently I was asked if I believe in the transforming power of love. It’s a romantic notion that has survived the ages, this idea that love conquers all. No matter what the issue may be, love can make it work. My response is that while I believe this is a lovely concept, reality shows us that it rarely work out this way. There are basic personality differences that love can not overcome. Some people have a great desire and capacity for love, while others neither have the desire nor the ability to love in the way that it is described in fairy tales.

This isn’t something I’ve known forever. I had to learn the hard way that everyone is not capable of loving with the same intensity. And even if they have the ability to love, it doesn’t mean that they will love to this depth. For some people, deep love is not the goal of a relationship or marriage. Understanding these ultimate truths will save you a great deal of confusion and possible heartache, and help you realize the best love for you when you have it.

Love can transform, but it doesn’t have to

Finding true love can tame a free spirit and change a perpetual bachelor into a devoted partner. But this is the ideal result and life is rarely ideal. Often that overly flirtatious guy you’re dating will continue to flirt, or at least desire to, no matter how much love and understanding you show him. Love can not overrule inborn personality traits.

differences-in-loveRelationships are not the be-all and end-all for everyone

Many people have the goal of finding a life partner. But everyone does not have this dream — they prefer to be alone or see romantic relationships as less important than other aspects of life. Their views are not likely to change once in a relationship, if they ever settle into a long-term commitment.

Goals for relationships differ

Not only is the desire for a relationship not the same for everyone, but the goals for a relationship are different depending on the person. Some people enter relationships purely for love and intimacy. Others begin relationships as a means to another goal — social success, financial gain, physical support. For these people love is not the goal; their maximum ability to love will probably never be realized.

Being aware that people have varying degrees and requirements for love can help you to gain better results in dating and marriage. Instead of thinking “S/he’ll change in time” or “Maybe if I do this, s/he’ll love me the way I want”, you’ll accept their abilities and reach a compromise or find another person.

What do think? Do you believe in the transforming power of love? Or do you think that the capacity for love differs?

Vetting Celebrities

I carefully examine potential friends, partners, and even social events before choosing. Now I have to add celebrities to the Official Vetting List.

john-mayer

John Mayer

Of course it never takes long for a celebrity to make headlines for poor behavior or provocative statements. TV stations, radio, and bloggers make a living from reporting the latest shenanigans by the world’s (in)famous. But it seems celebrities have become more bold about expressing and endorsing questionable beliefs and actions. For me that means making some adjustments in who I support. Too many celebrities are failing to make the grade:

Goodbye John Mayer because racism, misogyny, and homophobia is just about too much prejudice for one person. I was never fond of loud mouths.

See you around Chris Brown because domestic violence and colorism have never been on my list of issues to support. We’ll forgive you when you show some improvement.

Jill Scott, you can sit in your own corner some time. Maybe next time you’ll think before speaking for other people and setting the progress of black American women back 50 years. Not that I’m betting on it.

Some would say that it shouldn’t matter what these celebrities opinions, personal beliefs, or actions are. What matters is their product; whether they bring value through entertainment. This is partly true. Everyone is allowed their personal quirks. I’d never penalize a person for smoking cigarettes or having an anger problem. But I draw the line at a celebrity causing harm to other people through their words or actions.

Celebrities have a global audience. What they say and do has a great impact on society at large. I will not support, through viewing, buying, or requesting the products of people who are not using their platform to better society but to damage it. Negative reinforcement is sometimes necessary and, best of all, it works.

Anyone else vet celebrities?

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