Why I Love Dating Single Dads

One woman sings the praises of dating a single guy who has kids—and tells how to make it work for everyone involved.

By Rachel Sarah

dare you to line up actor George Clooney next to one of the geekiest men you know. This guy is not only ordinary, but he’s also “wearing” his baby in a Baby Bjorn. Instead of looking at the camera, he’s cooing at his infant.

Then ask me: “If you could spend the rest of your life with one of these
One of out of every 45 fathers now heads a family household by himself.
men, who would it be?”

Without blinking, I’d choose the geeky dad.

That’s because a dude who devotes his days to nurturing and raising his child is just about the sexiest thing out there.

That’s also why I think nothing beats dating a single dad—especially for a single mom like me.

Fortunately, single dads aren’t too hard to find. In this country, one of out of every 45 fathers now heads a family household by himself, according to Ellie Slott Fisher, author of Dating for Dads: The Single Father’s Guide to Dating Well Without Parenting Poorly. That’s more than two million men!

Single dads get it:
  • They carry around worn photos of their kids.
  • They run around in circles, cheering, when their toddler poops in the potty.
  • They count a kid’s coed soccer game as a date.
  • They know not to kiss you in front of the kids.
  • They don’t get defensive when you ask about STDs.
And here’s a point single moms like me love to hear: According to Fisher, “Single dads prefer to date a mother. They prefer to date a woman who has children because they think she’ll be less selfish and will understand their situation. They think she’ll be more giving.”

Sure, as long as I’ve had a full night’s sleep, I can be fairly selfless and understanding.

I have sole custody of my second-grader. I’ve raised her alone for the past eight years. I am the parent who ignores the empty chair next to her at parent-teacher conference. I am the solo mom on the soccer field.

And I’ve learned the ropes regarding how to date a single dad. Here are my top tips:

Know what to do when the sitter calls in sick
During my first foray into online dating, Ronaldo popped up. He was a six-foot-tall father of two who was working full-time and completing his Ph.D. in psychology. He also had sole custody of his kids, a girl and a boy. (If you just
It took us two weeks to find a vacant spot in our hectic schedules to meet for tea.
read that and wondered how in the world he found the time to date on top of this, you’re already one step ahead of me.)

It took us two weeks to find a vacant spot in our hectic schedules to meet for tea. And I wasn’t disappointed. Ronaldo was a great listener, he smelled like peppermint. On our second date, we held hands. On our third date, however, as fate would have it, both of our sitters called in sick. We talked about canceling. But then he found a play date for his son, and we decided to take the girls out for ice cream, the four of us.

Be cautious with what you tell the kids
We both agreed to tell our kids that they were going to meet “a new friend.” Disclaimer: This was a few years ago. Today, I wouldn’t let a date meet my eight-year-old daughter until I felt sure about him. As Fisher cautioned me: “Your child can become very attached, especially at her age.”

It was noisy when Ronaldo knocked on my door. My daughter, Mae, was jumping rope in the living room. I was yelling from the bathroom (where I was simultaneously brushing my teeth): “Stop jumping!”

Then the phone rang; it was the downstairs neighbor. “Please stop that jumping.”

Not to mention the fact that my insides were jumping, too.

I couldn’t turn off the fantasy in my mind. We both had daughters: His was three years older than mine. We’d be like The Brady Bunch or Family Ties.

His daughter would take Mae’s hand and lead her to the ice cream case. They’d choose the same flavors. After ice cream, they would color together. Mae would even share her special gel pens.

Months would pass, and he’d be over for dinner. After we’d eat chicken stir-fry, he’d wash the dishes. As I read bedtime stories, he’d fold the laundry. He’d even fold the socks.

Don’t get ahead of yourself…
… like I did.

In reality, his daughter didn’t want any ice cream. She wanted to play with her Nintendo DS. Mae wanted to sit right next to me, knees touching. She got coconut ice cream in my hair. Then Ronaldo got a call from his son, who was “bored.”

I guess that dreaming about a single dad is different from dating one. As wonderful as Ronaldo was, things just didn’t work out. But since I’m a dreamer, please keep me in mind if any of your geeky dad-friends get divorced. A guy who “wears” babies is a plus.

Rachel Sarah is the author of Single Mom Seeking: Playdates, Blind Dates, and Other Dispatches from the Dating World. Visit her at
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