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Dear Hon: The Whole Parent’s Advice on Love and Relationship-Building

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Let’s try a new thing. I get questions for advice all the time. And, as I’m coaching both men and women in dating and relating, perhaps I could share a few tidbits of that “advice” on my site (here – you can ask questions in the comments). Let’s give it a shot.

You can see a lot of back and forth on my most popular and most commented article here: What a Single Dad Wants in His *Next* Relationship.

Dear Hon, Advice on Love and Relationship-Building (Here’s the form if you have a question.)

Here’s one from a while back in the comments.

Defining a Single Dad or Single Parent

Dear Hon,
One question I’ve had for some time: I’ve struggled with calling myself a “single dad”, as I’m a 50/50 co-parent. I’ve been told by many (mostly female) friends that being a “single parent” entails having sole custody, or, at the very least, primary residence and being mostly responsible for the children. Despite my belief that by footing the bills (ex didn’t work until last year) and directing their education and extra-curriculars, I feel like I’m doing some heavy lifting on my own. What are your thoughts about this ? from H.

Hey Hon,

Let’s get a couple of things straight.

  1. If they are trying to define “single dad” for you, they might be a bit too controlling for you. Who cares what the definition of “single dad” is. Do they apply the same concept to single moms? I bet the answer is NO.
  2. Being a single dad is about having your kids alone. It does not matter how much time you get with them. The real part of being single with children (a single parent) is not about custody or parenting schedules, it’s about the time you spend ALONE or “single” with your kids. Period.
  3. Footing the bills is part of the cooperative part of being a single parent. If the “child support” is enforced, and both parents have equal earning power, and equal skills at providing a safe and warm home for their children, it might be an issue with the unequal standards we seem to have in the US for moms vs. dads in divorce.
  4. If you’re a single dad who cares what anyone calls you. Do your best and ignore the people who question your process and progress as a single parent.

Since you are a 50/50 co-parent you clearly have nothing to defend here. I salute you for asking your question and putting it out there for us to talk about. Dads and Moms who have sole responsibility (not custody) for their kids at any time during the week are SINGLE PARENTS.

Good luck, Hon. I hope you keep seeking someone who doesn’t question your integrity at calling yourself a single dad.


Lonely Confused and Lost

Dear Hon,
Here’s the problem. I’m 40 and have had no true career. The good news is that I’m healthy, and naturally pretty and still have a great figure. But the only guys that have approached or have shown interest in me are guys that just want to have sex or are interested in just having another attractive woman by their side. Also, I take great pride in only having slept with one man, but what are my chances of finding a man that has the same old-fashioned values as me? Ugh!  *
comment edited for clarity and brevity

Feeling Lonely, Confused, and Lost

Dear Hon,

Let’s start by outlining your question.

  1. You are attractive and are worried that guys might be dating you just for sex or to show up with them as arm candy
  2. You don’t have much of a career
  3. You have old-fashioned values and wonder if any good men are out there who are into someone without a ton of sexual or promiscuous experience
  4. You are healthy

You will get better (if you continue dating) at identifying men who are only interested in your body. You have several options there. You can go along for the fun of it, knowing that it most likely will not lead to a satisfying relationship. Or, you can pass on the sexually-focused men, and look for someone who is interested in getting to know you before getting you in bed.

There are men with old-fashioned values. There are men who still believe in opening doors, paying for dinner, and making efforts to adore their partners. And ONLY their partners. There are plenty of men that don’t cheat. What you want is a secure attachment. You need to learn about secure attachment for yourself as well. When you get more confident, you can start identifying the “wrong” sort of man in the first few minutes of a conversation, or online chat.

Keep your morals high. The man with the same goals and intentions is out there. And believe me, the RIGHT relationship is worth waiting for. Spending months in a sexually driven and emotionally hollow relationship is a waste of time.  You’ve got time, but don’t waste is on predators and users. Find yourself a good man. Then, give yourself the time to explore the relationship/friendship, before you explore the four corners of a bed.

Good luck. When you know what you are looking for, and know that you are worth it, you will start attracting the right kind of attention.



Thanks for playing. Here’s the link again to ASK A QUESTION. Let’s keep this conversation going. And then, let’s get out there and seek the partner we deserve.

I’ll be answering some of your questions on the podcast, so please leave your question in a voicemail to 512-524-6684, and you may be on an upcoming episode or answered here on the website.


John McElhenney – life coach austin texas
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How I Can Help

I am a relationship coach and a dating coach. I coach women in 1 x 1 zoom or facetime calls. I work in monthly blocks (4 sessions). We establish a relationship. I become your wingman in navigating and sorting through the bullshit of dating and relationships. If you are here, you’ve probably already read some of my opinions.

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Reading List: What is Love (Redefining what we want in our lives and loves)

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