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Parallax - Advice

February 24, 2003

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Sometimes, when people get confused, they need to stand back and listen...and see what they look and sound like to others. Which is good advice for this week's visitors. Visitor number one is a whiner who portrays himself as a dateless wonder; visitor number two knows you can't hurry love, but thinks she's the exception to the rule; and visitor number three appears to be following his life goal of pursuing the unattainable. Can our Conversely cohorts get them to listen?

Dateless Daddy.
Or dud date?
 Date: 02/24/03

The twelve-month itch.
Scratch it.
 Date: 02/24/03

A stroke of bad luck?
Strike out!
 Date: 02/24/03

More from last week...

Dateless Daddy

Dear Conversely,

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I'm a 39-year-old widower with two elementary school-aged children. My wife died two years ago, and I'm trying to get back into the dating scene. I don't have any illusions about being every woman's dream, but I've met with so much rejection and lack of interest that my confidence and self-image are nearly destroyed. I have two questions—one specific and one general. Firstly, how much of a turn-off is it for a woman to date a man with young children? I don't expect to attract young supermodels, but I don't seem able to drum up any interest at all. Secondly, can you suggest any helpful hints for getting back into dating?

Her view:

Dear Rejected,

I'm sure there are single parents' groups and the like that you can join, which can jumpstart your re-entry into the world of the single. That's a good starting place, as you'll run into other parents looking for partners.

You sound rather frustrated, and that is understandable, but do give it some time and effort before you conclude that nobody is interested. My guess is that unless you are trying to meet women younger than you, your children are not a problem. Most women your age already have children, so adding a couple more should go over fine.

Having said all that, just get out there. Join clubs, groups, cooking classes, tennis classes and gyms—whatever floats your boat. Maybe it's time to just let things happen versus looking for them. Be around and be available. If you're about town, eventually you will encounter a dating prospect.

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His view:

Dear Rejected,

From a practical point of view, having children should only limit the playing field for you, not eliminate it. For every divorced man with children, there is a divorced woman in the same boat—not that only divorced mothers would be interested in you. However, at least they have a weaker case for writing you off on that count. My colleague might be better placed to speak for women, in general.

On a more philosophical note, have you considered that your particular circumstances and frame of mind might be hindering your incipient dating attempts? I mean, instead of describing yourself as a handsome, late-thirties, exciting, single man (because you are single, aren't you?), you kick off with 'widower' and 'two children.' As long as you keep thinking of yourself that way, that's how others will see you, too.

You don't have to be defined by these realities. Yes, they are a part of your life, but so are (I would hope) many other things...

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