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The window of opportunity with a single parent, and why you should take it

Enough is enough.
David McNew/Getty Images

Have you ever been presented with a window of opportunity, only to have it shut in your face?

When you hesitate during a quick chance of "should I do this?" and end up getting the door slammed in your face, did you ever regret it? For single parents, each opportunity to spend time with them is like a golden nugget being offered your way.

How do you react when the window opens your way?

Taking someone for granted is never acceptable, whether you're dating, committed or in a long term marriage. So know that when a single parent offers to see you among their plenitude of responsibilities, when you can't prioritize them into your schedule, it feels like you're rejecting their treasure.

What is the treasure you're missing?

First off, like Cuba Gooding Jr. quoted in Jerry Maguire, "They have been to the puppet show and they have seen the strings." Single parents appreciate anyone who isn't looking to play them and leave them high and dry with the responsibility of being a parent (on their own). If you make him or her a sandwich, you'll be a greater chef than Gordon Ramsay. If you pay for a fine date with dinner and a movie, you officially knocked Don Juan off his pedestal. After all, single parents are turned on by your ability to be real and human. We love you!

What do you mean to them? Your time and effort is like a vacation.

Back when I was dating a guy for over a month, I nicknamed him my "vacation." After all, getting away from my kids, having a few drinks, smoking incognito and whatever happens with date stays with date was the closest I had to a real vacation. After all, my divorce started almost five years ago, I became a parent at 22 and I've spent the majority of my life being good to my kiddos. Trust me when I say, "You are my Vegas!"

What it means when you can't make them a priority of your time.

Understand that single parents wear many hats. Among them are: Parent, employee, freelancer, friend, student, cook, chauffeur, therapist, laundromat, housekeeper, project analyst, manager, melt-down specialist, yogi follower, scapegoat for their ex, caregiver, survivalist, researcher, developer, part-time fornicator, sales pitcher, life coach, and the list goes on...

What are you doing that trumps all those jobs?

I was inspired to write this article to save anyone else from losing the "window of opportunity" with a single parent from putting them on a lower priority on your list than every day life. There was a single guy who recently reconnected with me online after over a year and here's some of the excuses I've heard. When I was supporting a coworker with his band performing at a local bar, I invited him to meet me. His answer, "I'm grilling meat for the week."

Months later, I find him again after a long hiatus of dealing with every day life. I invite him to join me at a local bar on the beach. I later take a walk on the pier and mention how all the pairs on the strand partake in bonfires and we should do that. His response was that he was too tired from driving that day to meet me there.

The next day I awake to a message that he can't wait to meet me any longer. He has to see me, whether it's in the morning, daytime or night. By the end of my work day, I'm informed that something came up and he can't meet me that day. I'm obviously a patient person, but stupid I'm not.

Choose your battles and windows of opportunity wisely.

I'm neither desperate, nor needy, nor left without options. I know what I offer. I feel sad for guys who don't see that treasure right away. Their loss. My words of wisdom to all you others who come across a single parent whom you may consider dating: Don't blow them off! You'll regret the lost opportunity... trust me. The same people who hold out for single, childless and unwed partners are usually the first to complain about how they feel unappreciated, taken for granted, used or are manipulated.

Like I said, choose your battles.

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