single dad seeks

Catching Up On My 11-Year Love Quest: Girlfriend Next

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I have had FIVE long-term relationship attempts since my divorce in August of 2010.

Girlfriend #1

About three years in, I met a lovely woman through She was amazing. And in a matter of months, she healed a lot of what had been so beaten down in the last sexless years of my marriage to the mother of my children. She had kids that were a bit older, so she always had humor and wisdom when it came to talking about parenting issues. We were not a perfect match. For me, she was what is called “the healing relationship.”

Girlfriend #2

She was GF #1’s best friend. She was a tennis player. She was amazing. She showed me some interesting aspects of dating. And she was NOT INTERESTED IN A RELATIONSHIP. She would say it over and over, like a mantra. I should’ve listened. What she taught me was this, I AM ONLY INTERESTED IN A RELATIONSHIP. I am not into dating or casual. Sex is sacred to me. Let’s either be IN a relationship or move on. We moved on.

Took a break and wrote Single Dad Seeks, attempting to get clearer on what I was looking for. I was still not to clear on how to get there. But I learned again, how important my own interests were.  I learned to love my alone time. I saved a good portion of my love and energy for kid-time. I healed. I worked on being a better dad. And I reset my goals, even as the house was coming down around me. (SEE the book: Fall of the House of Dad)

Girlfriend #3

Came through Facebook. She was a friend. We had worked at the same company, but met after both of us had moved on. She did her research. Read my blog. Poked me back after I made a comment about her “stupid ex-boyfriend” post. She proposed tennis. I didn’t know it then, but she was well prepared. She also had a more important lover. So that didn’t last. But what a ride. Wow. (SEE the book: The Third Glass)

Girlfriend #4

A bit of a rebound, but more of a tantric thunderstorm. We connected via OK Cupid. And over the course of a few weeks, we had some amazingly tantalizing phone calls. We’d laugh after talking for hours. Oops, my cell is dying, I guess that’s one way of getting us to go to bed. She lit my fire from the first hello date. And we burned brightly for a month of so. Too brightly, it turns out. There was some serious emotional damage underneath the sexual prowess. At a major moment of stress in my life, she pulled out. Six months later, I was still trying to understand her collapse. She said, “It’s just what I do. Six months, bolt.” She was not interested in figuring out why or how to stay with someone.

Girlfriend #5

This was the big one. The closest I’ve come to feeling really loved. Really nurtured. And held close and tight. We weathered the big covid shut down together. We sheltered in place with her son. We loved. We survived. We homeschooled. We thrived. But some major piece of the equation was missing. There was an element of self-reliance that kept her from letting me in. She never fully trusted that I was HER MAN. She already had her little man. And their team didn’t need another player, but more of a support role. There was no place for a man-woman relationship. No room. She was occupied by the mother-son relationship. Perhaps to a degree that was essential in the early years, but in our time together, prevented her from giving spiritual and emotional space for two males in her life. A sad departure. Somehow, she seemed confused that I would be leaving them.

Girlfriend Next

Is currently in progress. And this I know:

  • she checks all of my boxes
  • she has time for me
  • she’s willing to grow and evolve
  • her beauty and smile are unequaled
  • she loves her two kids and she is clear that she loves me
  • i love her
  • we spend time together doing ANYTHING and have fun
  • the ease is a bit unreal

Sure, we’re in some extended version of the honeymoon phase. AND YET, maybe there’s a better way. I say this every time, I know. But this time, I’m convinced there’s a better way. How can we move forward with eyes open and with our hearts true and strong? And keep bending our paths back towards each other as we go along? Can we do it? Is there a formula that I’ve missed in the first 5, or 6 (including my ex-wife)? Is there a better way to move forward as a couple?

When I’m Home Again

As my wife asked for a divorce over 11-years ago, I was broken with pain. I was losing my home. I was losing my kids. I had already lost her. She had a bitter final year or two, that was some dysfunction that seems to still be in full-blown display even today. Her bitterness is toxic. I no longer engage. She quit engaging in about year three of our divorce. She just stopped co-parenting. What was I going to do, sue her? She weaponized indifference towards me. Sure, thanks for the money, and the weekends off, but other than that, kiss-off.

[Oh, wait. I was heading in a different direction here. Reset.]

Today, I am home again. About 5 months ago, I was able to afford a home. My child support was paid, and the bank deemed me a good risk again. So, I am rebuilding my life. I am creating my nest. I am indulging my time alone. And I am loving my new GF. I’d love to imagine how to find the balance between want and desire, between need and have. I want to love the same woman for the rest of my life. And I’d love it to be THIS ONE.

Home is inside me. Home with someone else is a horizon I knew I was losing in my divorce. After eleven years of seeking, perhaps I’m getting ready to rebuild a home with someone else. (Holy Shit! Did that just come out?) What’s the hurry?

Things are just perfect. Seeking THE BIG LOVE is fun when you’re inside it.

Muse: will I no longer be a single dad seeking?


John McElhenney – life coach austin texas
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storm before the divorce john oakley mcelhenneyAvailable on Amazon

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