Dating Scene Basics from a Grown Man

What is more challenging than weight loss? More difficult than Algebra? More frightening than facing a three-headed monster? Why, dating over the age of 40 of course.

For some people the above analogies might not apply, but I suspect for many of us restarting our dating lives after a long period of dormancy the aforementioned is the truth. I’m no different. For the record – dating sucks when you’re a full grown man.

A plethora of problems come to mind when dating over the age 40.

1)      Exactly how much money will I need and am I the only one paying? Dating is not for the poor – although there are a number of things you can do for free but most women will only tolerate free dates for so long. Bringing over a six-pack, a bottle of cheap Moscato, and a large pizza just won’t cut it. Eventually you have to show your worth.

2)      How many dates can I pursue during a given week? The short answer is as many as I want! Of course keeping in mind Issue #1. Additionally, the stress of work, kids, washing my socks, etc. proves that it is no easy task to go on dates nightly. This cuts the dating time down to a few times a month if I’m lucky. Choose wisely.

3)      What? No sex on the first date? When did this trend start? I must have missed the memo since my college days when everyone seemed so wild and carefree. There was a time men talked about other men “sowing their oats” and gave the obligatory wink of approval. However, today we are living in an age of incurable disease and changing lifestyle which forces our hands of morality when choosing sex partners. The choice is not always about volume but sharing an intimate moment with someone special.

4)      My kids. Yes, paying attention to your kids is going to cut into your dating life. Not only from a time management standpoint but emotionally as well. I don’t mind having this type of problem; however, women over a certain age typically have older kids therefore making it harder for them to play second fiddle. I will caution women that if you have a man doing what he can to take care of his kids he’s probably a keeper. IJS

5)      Choices, choices, and more choices. I thought my high school and college years were full of choices. There seems to be so many single people roaming this free country of ours that the stable is endless. With so many choices can a man really expect to rush through the dating life? Granted, everyone’s choices are not the same but we all have them regardless. Dating is not just about quantity as first gleamed.

6)      A lack of desire for love. I often hear women say they married for love the first time and the second time for money. What say a man? I married for sex the first time and will marry for sex again? Not quite. The difference – there will be no second marriage. At least those are my thoughts initially and presumably shared by many a man. It takes careful introspection to determine who I am now and what I desire for my future. Time heals all wounds.

As you can see the issues mount up quickly. Now do note – I am not against dating, marriage, love, emotional slavery, Valentine’s Day, etc., but I will approach dating cautiously. Society’s approach to dating when young was to be more cavalier and it worked fine as we experienced life as young adults. But there are so many other responsibilities that arise when you age that they can’t be ignored. We all want someone to share special moments with but we all are very guarded more than before. All hope is not lost as we see people fall in love every day regardless of age. And that, my friends, is a good thing – hope.

Man of Wisdom

Family and the Single Dad: Why I can’t wait till summer vacation!

When did public schools around the country start giving standardized tests for 3rd and 4th grade? At what point did homework seem to consume so much of a parent’s time? Who does Algebra at the age of 10? Did I miss the memo for these life changes? Apparently I did. Having kids at my age has made me reflect on how involved my parents were with my school work when I was the same age as my own kids. I am glad that I have half a brain to figure out the correct answers. Are you Smarter than a 5th Grader? Uh, well, probably not so much.

I have always said if I had my kids when I was in my twenties I would have had more energy and time; however, I have found myself with more wisdom and money by having kids in my forties. It’s an interesting exchange of priorities – time and energy versus money and wisdom. Now I have to add education into the mix. I might have had a fresher outlook for schooling in my twenties – thus able to focus better, help my children with their school work, and understand the problems presented. My current attributes are patience, empathy, and compassion. Life is always filled with irony and decisions, and homework in my household has not escaped this dilemma.

I am not in the same household as my children’s mother making it more challenging to assist in the duties of homework. This shared responsibility is a bit more taxing today versus what I remember as I grew up. With the divorce rates pushing nearly 60% I wonder how many of us parents struggle to deal with this changing landscape of education. I’m happy we did not go down the road of homeschooling because I can only imagine the challenges that present themselves as a person goes through a divorce. It seems an impossible task. Time commitments and dedication to my child’s education is exacerbated because of the separation but it is necessary.

My own parents were fairly bright individuals but I honestly don’t recall sitting and going over my homework assignments with them. I will have to ask them. I do remember they were very busy and there was very little time to assist me and my many siblings with much of anything – coming from a big family will do this. I suppose a smaller family unit might have a different dynamic when it comes to educating the youth; but I have a small family and I still struggle with it. There is a lot of homework each week, my kids hate doing homework, I hate doing homework, and it is more complex. Algebra is being introduced in some elementary schools, Common Core math has been introduced, and ISAT scores are ultra-competitive. The educational environment today is not for the weak-of-mind.

I feel bad for those young single parents that do not have the academic background to assist their children. Unfortunately, these children will find themselves behind the eight-ball as they grow. And it isn’t keeping up with kids during these growing periods. My own struggles are evident when I assist my kids and I have to hide it best I can. My kids need to believe that I can answer any question. This helps with their confidence. Occasionally I have to punt the question to God and tell them to wait for that answer. (“Daddy, when does infinity end?” “Daddy, how was God born?”) For the most part, I am able to plow through the difficult school subjects and provide them with the appropriate answers. I do fear my involvement will diminish as they progress in grades. At some point I will have to ask myself “am I smarter than a 5th grader?” Sigh, I already know that answer.

Daddy Dan

ADHD, ADD, OCD, PCDs, etc. What the??

I don’t have the statistics in front of me but if I had to guess I would think many of us with children have had to deal with some type of developmental or behavioral disorder. WebMD has become a great source of information, especially in early diagnosis. However, once reality sets in concerning our children with these ailments, then what?

My child was diagnosed with a number of ailments and my first thoughts were “why him?” Then, “why me?” In either case, the universe dealt me this hand and I do the best I can to help my boy overcome, sometimes with great success and sometimes not so much.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): A developmental and behavioral disorder that is characterized by levels of inattention, distractibility, hyperactivity, and impulsivity that are inappropriate for a person’s age or developmental level. [WebMD]

I had a relative who dealt with ADHD back-in-the-day and he seemed to turn out just fine. But I wonder if he had received better help 40 years ago would that have positively impacted his life today? I do know our society did not look at these ailments as seriously as we look at them today, and many times we are still dismissive. I have been told to control my child, he needs to be disciplined more, or he needs to calm down. It is difficult to accept your child has a psychological or physiological ailment to overcome. Our children can fall through the cracks at school and ultimately in life if not treated.

My child’s mother and I decided to resort to medication to deal with my son’s ADHD. It has seemed to help over the years, but his mother and I are at odds on how successful it has been. Without the medication he has difficulty controlling his behavior. He will bounce off the walls, blurt out thoughts, and is constantly disruptive. Some old school soldiers continue to prescribe the “Word of God” by NOT sparing the rod and taking it to him. However, being the new-age father that I am, I believe in a more progressive approach. The medication has worked but it requires a level of dedication to monitor and adjust dosage over time. The medications that deal with these ailments are expensive and designed for long term use. One word: ca-ching!

Dealing with this situation is one challenge with co-parenting. If you and your co-parent have difficulty being on the same page with regard to these life decisions it can be brutally painful. It is tough to determine what approach should be taken. Each parent desires to do what is best for the child but coming to agreement is difficult. Many times, a decision has to be made quickly, forcing the parents to swallow their pride and move forward. Our fallback decision has been to go with what has been tried and true, tested throughout the years, and move forward. As with all medications, there are risks and possible side effects to consider. Some risks can be quite serious while others are less so. The side effects I’ve seen are with suppressed appetite during medication followed by a huge increase in appetite as the medication wears off (approximately 8-10 hours later). Fate would have it, this occurs just before bedtime.

It is no easy task to help my child to manage these conditions but I owe it to him to try. My child’s mother and I had to base our decision on our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs but we are not neglecting it. It is a matter of future successes defined by current practices for my child.

Daddy Dan

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