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Dating Daddy

January 20, 2009

Being a dad…it used to be on my list of deal-breakers. Not because of any kind of deep issues I have with kids or care-giving. It was simply a pragmatic – and possibly selfish – guideline.

First of all, if a woman dates a man with a child she can never truly be free of his ex. The ex is ultimately attached to his child and will therefore have to be dealt with for the rest of the child’s life.

This is a two-fold problem because: A.) She’s an ex and no woman in her right mind wants an ex around – especially if the ex has slept with your man. And, well, if they have a kid together that one is unavoidable. B.) There is probably something wrong with the woman, otherwise she would not be an ex. At the very least she is capable of bringing out the worst in your man – otherwise she would still want to be with him.

There’s a lot more to it than that of course. But in general, aside from my personal aversion to children and a desperate fear of motherhood, all of my issues with dating a daddy were simply pragmatic.

Then I dated one.

Ain’t that always the way? Once you try something you realize how different it is from anything you could have possibly imagined. Most of the things I was pragmatically concerned about are partially true, but they don’t actually interject themselves into a relationship often enough or in severe enough a manner to really matter.

However, this dating a daddy gig is far more emotionally difficult than I could have ever anticipated. In fact, I have already cried about it a lot.

Again, many of my objections and/or issues are purely selfish, and somewhat unfounded. Furthermore, I have talked to my fella about a lot of them. Others I have been afraid to even think about in his presence. He is an incredible man and a GREAT boyfriend and, for the most part, it really doesn’t matter that he has a child – at least it didn’t until I found out his son would be here for Christmas.

That’s when this all got real and it got really emotional.

First of all, I never would have imagined in a million years that he would want me to meet his son. I just assumed that I would have to do Christmas sans-boyfriend – a very frustrating prospect, however, manageable. Of course he kind of assumed I would meet the kid and didn’t seem to think it was that big of a deal.

Well it was a big deal. At the prospect of meeting his son I was confronted with all kinds of ideas and emotions. My fella even assumed we would spend quite a bit of time together over Christmas. I was floored. I still had it in my head that I wouldn’t spend a significant amount of time with the kid. I thought I’d meet him like at church or something.

Well, my guy and I had the, “I’m going to introduce you as my friend” talk. We had the, “I’m afraid he isn’t going to like me because I’m not his mom” talk. We had the “this is how much you can spend on his Christmas presents” talk. And throughout all of the talks I was at least anxious – at worst I was terrified or incoherently bawling.

My man handled me very well, but he still seemed to think it wasn’t that big of a deal – and I can’t explain to him exactly why it is such a big deal to me.

In the beginning it was the fact that I’m not the most important person in his life and I want to be. I’m also scared I will never get to be and it has me jealous. Not jealous of his son so much as jealous of his ex. Heck his she got to be the most important person in his life for years.

Now the big deal is kind of the fact that no matter what my man’s son will never really be my son – at best he might become my step-son someday, but what is a step-parent anyway? I’ve never had one, in fact, I’ve never even seen one up close. All I know for step-moms are the evil ones from stories like Cinderella.

I sometimes try to imagine what a good step-mom might be and I can’t think of anything beyond a glorified babysitter. No matter what he will never be my child and he will be something that my man and his ex will share forever. But this child still represents what might be my only chance at motherhood – since I don’t think I want any of my own.

Yeah, Crystal’s confused. I’ll probably end up writing about all of this more in the future. Maybe I’ll even figure it out eventually. Like my fella said the other night, “it will all be okay.” I guess for now I just have to hope that it will. I mean the kid did seem to like me, and I actually miss him now that he’s gone – I guess we will have to see how this all plays out when the kid comes to visit this summer.

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