Joseph Scialabba is a single father from the Chicago area who unexpectedly lost the mother of his child several years ago. This blog post chronicles his experience with raising a female child alone in the 21st century.
Nothing so far since I became a single parent, has made me feel as old, or off the mark, as trying to date. It’s a challenge for any single parent, especially one like me that was off the market for the better part of a decade, it is a strange and unusual escapade. I was never bad at dating, but this current culture, this instant gratification era we live in, when companionship is literally a swipe away, is challenge for someone looking for something of depth. After being off the market for close to a decade it truly has been an eye opening experience, the Wild West.
Dating as a single parent is a challenge in and of itself, and requires the most delicate of work, life and parenting balance, it’s not for the faint of heart. Give too much or too little to one side or the other and everything can tip over and smash like many a dinner plate or thrown whiskey bottle. Don't communicate enough and you get dropped and communicate too much and you're clingy and get ghosted. Honesty seems to be the one thing everyone wants but few seem to practice.
It’s strange that even though we live in an age when people are more connected then at any time in the course of human history, though many seem to be more alone and lost than ever. For every honest and decent woman there is out there, who's got an inbox full of weirdos sending pictures of their ding a lings, there's a dozen anxiety ridden, slightly suicidal women who are just looking for a dinner date while they wait for their next tattooed bad decision to show up in their lives.
Now I've been smart enough to keep my daughter out of it, she's only met two women in the slightly over two years I've been on the market. I'm sure the idea of being a step parent is pretty terrifying, especially if you don't have kids, so while i make no secret that I am a father, I also keep it under wraps. It’s hard enough trying to develop a relationship without the other party worrying about their abilities to parent. When asked I tell them I have it handled and I do, if it ever gets serious to a point marriage is considered I'd address it at that point. Throwing too much onto a relationship is bad news, and if you're a parent looking to just find someone to help you raise your kids through the dating scene, it’s bad news for you and your kids. I can't understand men or women that engage with that.
Its rough out here, dating in the 21st century is no walk in the park. Stated intentions and honesty seem to be few and far between and when used in relationship development they seem to be unheard of. I'm no brad pitt for sure, but I'm no Shrek either. I find myself wondering after each failed attempt at love, or getting ghosted or whatever the current case may be, what is wrong with me? Am I that difficult of a person to be around, is it my stamp collecting obsession (just kidding. I always try to reflect whenever a relationship ends and figure out what I can improve of myself, because I definitely always am a work in progress.
For every single parent, for every person out there looking for a relationship of value, where the other person is part of you, just know you are not alone. There are plenty of us struggling out here looking for something and someone as real as the rain. 21st century dating is a competition not only from the never ending barrage of potential suitors your love interest may have, but from all the other daily distractions we have in our life including, in some of our cases, our children. It is rare someone that is willing to enter into a relationship knowing that there will always be partial attention paid to the kid(s), and is willing to cut you slack when you have to cancel a date to take a child to the E.R. after a face plant. They are out there, they do exist, don't give up hope.
"Shoot for the moon, even if you miss you will land among the stars"
Photo by Getty Images