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A Single Dad In Love, Again

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This post was written in Aug 2015, and the single dad spirit is still alive and well in 2022, though this particular relationship did not continute. I learned a lot.

Neither of us are broken, neither of us need fixing.

Yes, it’s happened. I think I’m changing my status from single dad to something else. (Stops for a minute and checks Facebook.) Yep, it’s official, I’m engaged to be married. Married I say. Yes, I’m a dreamer and a believer and an optimist and am no longer a single dad. I’m just a dad. I like it.

I’ve written so many roadmaps and rules, tips and hints for what I was looking for, how to know what I needed in a relationship, how to get my Love Languages stroked in the proper direction, that I’m pretty tired of my own lists. So I need to make a new one.

Here is my outline for how a Single Dad fell in love again, in spite of all the warnings and previous failures.

  1. She is fascinating.
  2. She is driven.
  3. She is self-contained and rational.
  4. She has a crazy, flirty, quirky streak, just like me.
  5. She’s bonkers about me.
  6. She sees the best in me and pushes me to be even better.
  7. She’s got the sense of humor and enthusiasms of a child.
  8. She’s never had kids.
  9. She’s fit.
  10. She’s unafraid to tell me when it sucks.
  11. She makes easy repairs.
  12. She’s got her own agenda, her own projects, and some of them don’t include me.
  13. She is grateful.
  14. She is spiritual.
  15. She wears practical shoes, but she also has flirty and bad girl shoes.
  16. She is ever rub-able. Always game. And rarin to go.
  17. She’s taking on tennis to be with me, doing what I love.
  18. She sets plans and sticks to them.
  19. She’s the most loyal person I’ve met.
  20. My friends love her.

It wasn’t that long ago, I was writing an aspirational love poem to the “SHE” who I was anticipating. And even with all fantasies of that poem, things imagined and dreamed, she, this REAL SHE, has blown away all of my expectations. I know that’s hard to imagine. But she, this woman, my woman, has let me know that I am her man. That she wants to spend the rest of her life with me. And that she thinks I too am the cutest, sexiest, funniest, and the smartest person she’s ever met.

If we can keep our business focused on ourselves and our passions focused on each other, we’re on our way to a life-long relationship. How do I know?

Easy. We are both fighters. We fought for our marriages even when they were failing. We were the ones who asked for a re-commitment even after the deal had been broken. And if you put two fighters for love in a relationship together… Well, I think, we think, the writing is on the wall.

Sure there are things she does that drive me crazy. Probably they always will. I am anti-OCD, anti-schedule, and freeform. She likes her lists. She likes to ask what I’d like for dinner, days in advance. I still look at her sometimes and say, “What do you mean? Like a menu for next Wednesday? I don’t even know what I want tonight.” The real magic is to laugh at and love the differences. We both appreciate what’s odd about each other.

Quirks are the things you’ve got to learn to love as well. I love that she’s different from me. That her ways are logical and strategic and often seem diametrically opposed to my natural instincts. And then I’ve learned to let those ideas go as well. In my best flexible thinking, I’m learning to love all aspects of this amazing woman. Why? Because I believe in her. I believe that what she says is true and that when she invites me on a trip to NYC, it will (and did) happen.

I don’t work the same way at all. And I’m pretty sure that’s some of what she likes about me. I lead with my heart often before I know the direction we are going. I misstep out of passion and vision when a more measured approach might have worked. But I always do it out of love. I always do it from a place of caring about her more than I care about myself.

My lists were all blown away when the right woman showed up. I like to think that my prep work, the writing, and sorting of all of this “relationship” data, is what made our connection so clear to me. We have jumped fearlessly into this love thing. We’re going to get married. We’ve already started wearing our wedding bands. In the eyes of the state, we are indeed already married.

But I like the anticipation of the marriage too much just to skip or belittle it. We are going to get married. And our friends want to know the plans, the schedule. And I’m sure she and I are working at odds in our natural patterns as I flippantly say things like, “When it happens.” She on the other hand, in my mind, is ready to make a plan.

But that’s the beauty in the end, of our courtship and partnership. She doesn’t need to force me into a plan. And I don’t need to buck against her plan or freak out when it hasn’t been put forth. We are indeed already married in every way but two.

  1. We need the legal papers to do things like combine health insurance or car insurance.
  2. We need the spiritual ceremony shared with others to celebrate and hold our tribe together now and in the future.

Today, we have all we need. And what we don’t have or don’t like, we’ve learned to ignore and tend to our own issues. Neither of us is broken, neither of us needs fixing. In fact, as equals, neither of us has a need to be married. But I think we’re looking forward to it.


John McElhenney – life coach austin texas
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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Bill

    How’d you two meet?

    My situation is similar to yours, but I’m not sure how similar. I have sole physical custody of my daughter. My ex gets her overnight every other Saturday.

    Something always goes wrong on my Saturday nights. I’ve been on one date in a year and it was a disaster. Finances are tight and I never know if my Saturday will get moved by a week. This turns me into a flake since half the time I have to cancel. Not a turn on for women!

    I have a great job but child support and preschool combined are $1881.50 /mo. I can’t even own a car. I literally ride a bike with my daughter in a trailer to get her to school. Drop her off. Then bike to work in rain, cold, snow. I’m like the post office.

    I do have low blood pressure and a nice ass :-)

    Should I even bother trying to date?

    1. John McElhenney

      Bill, sorry for the late reply. Yes, it’s good to get your own shit together.

      I met this woman via an old job. And then we were friends on Facebook.

  2. Marie Stafford

    #8 and #9 … Is that a stab at your ex?
    I feel bad for your future wife… Bc tbh I think you still need to let go of your ex wife. I have a quote, it’s goes… You can’t hate someone you don’t care about. Based on the comments in your list, it appears to me that you are still trying to hurt your ex. For your kids sake, grow up. If you say your moving on… Then let it go, stop comparing your fiancé to your ex. I can be quoted as saying, There’s a reason a woman is 35+ and never married & I’m going to guess your fiancé is 35+…. So don’t make a list like this until you’ve been with her for 15 years and 2 or 3 kids later…. Because the grass is always greener…

    1. John McElhenney

      Not at all. This is in relationship to all of my previous relationships. My ex is fit and happy.

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