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Survivor’s Remorse

Imagine not knowing who your father is. At All. Not even a name, not even a theory. For 27 years. TWENT-TY SEV-EN YEARS!

Think about what questions you’d ask your mother. Do I look like him? Did he like the same stuff that I like? WHAT IS HIS NAME?

WHAT IS HIS NAME?

Now imagine being the mother of that child. Not only unwilling, but UNABLE to answer those questions. Spending 27 years trying to block out your child’s conception. Being reminded of the worst night of your life with every question.

That’s the story of Mary-Charles and her mother Cassie. Cassie was a girl from Boston in her early teens when she and some friends rode down to a party on Long Island. It was there she was sexually taken advantage of by not one, not two, but THREE fellow party-goers. It was on that night Mary-Charles was conceived. And for TWENTY SEVEN years she managed to bury that incident deep inside. Scolding and chastising Mary-Charles for every expressed desire to know who else’s DNA made her who she was.

Cassie telling Cam her truth

It took for Cassie’s son, whose father had been incarcerated since he was six weeks old, to guilt her into giving Mary-Charles a lead. I couldn’t imagine having to explain to my son at any age that I had been violated by three men and that his sister was a living, breathing, TALKING reminder of possibly the worst night of my life.

This may be the fictional tale of a scripted drama family, but for so many this is real life.

I watched in awe as Mary-Charles addressed the three tombstones as “Rape Father #1”, “Rape Daddy #2” and “Rape Dad #3”

Having the moment to get out all the “In spite of you, I Am” statements that so many of us need to say, some to fathers still living and breathing.

Every 98 seconds an American is Sexually Assaulted. September 21st is Rape, Assault, Incest National Network Day.

I’ve never been a victim of rape, but I could think of no Survivor’s Remorse worse than raising my unknown rapists’ baby. #DaaamnDaddy

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Looking for Love in All the wrong Places

Ok yall, I apologize. I started this blog to talk about my Daddy Issues and shed light on how Daddy Issues create other problems in our lives. Recently however, I’ve misused this platform to vent about my “Thought I Found A Friend” relationship drama. Not only is that not fair to you as readers, it’s not fair to him, nor myself.

Truth is however that writing helps me heal. It’s hurt how I talk to myself. Where I gain clarity and has brought about the most progress for me in identifying and finally facing some of my Daddy Issues.

The problem lies in this. When I was in high school I began writing in notebooks because I had come to the realization that people were not to be trusted. Before then, my notebooks were exclusively for poems and short stories.

I created this blog essentially as an exercise in trust. Could telling my story help others? Could others be trusted to know my story and not judge me? I did here what I often do in real life.

Look for love in all the wrong places.

My mother loves me, my monster loves me,  my uncles love me, my aunts love me, my grandfather reminds me EVERY chance he gets that he loves me, My grandmother loves me in ways her own children wish she had shown them and believe it or not all three of my Daddies tell me they love me all the time, well when I actually speak to them.

My problem has never been not being told “I love you” My problem is not feeling that people mean it.

When I was 12-13 years old I had my first boyfriend.

He was my 3rd-5th grade nemesis, but in 7th grade he became the “Love of my Life” My first Intellectual Asshole. I enveloped myself in him. Doing his homework AND mine (if mine even got done) Staying up late on the phone with him. Kissing him in the school courtyard, not caring who saw. I wanted to be loved.

At this time, Buddha was at peak failure. Living with some woman 5 blocks away, dropping off and picking up her kids at MY school that I lived right next to EVERY DAY. I would see him at the flag pole, roll my eyes and keep walking.

Step Dad #1 had seemingly fallen off the face of the earth. With his new baby and her mother that had a daughter the same age as me. I later learned that my sister’s father had demanded he back off not only from my mother’s life, but from mine as well. He had it in his mind that Step Dad #1 was using me as a pawn to lure my mother back in.

Speaking of my mother, she was acting very weird at this time. For 10 years I had been EVERYONE’s favorite person. Or at least it felt that way. Then my mother had my sister and I watched her create a new family I didn’t fell part of. My sister looks more like my mother, she’s as rebellious as her, and more importantly, at that time, she had a more loving, engaged and supportive father than I did. It was as if I was the little sister my mother never wanted and my sister was the daughter she always dreamed of. Any thing her father did to make me feel included always felt fake and forced to me.

To make matters worse, we had all just learned that my uncle’s girlfriend we didn’t care for was actually his wife. And she began speaking up more, putting a huge strain on my relationship with the one person I felt was always there and constant.

So, of course I fell in love with my nemesis. I wasn’t feeling very loved at home.

He listened to me. I learned from him.(He knew so much about so much the teachers loved his intellect but hated his attitude) And like most adolescent girls, my hormones made me want to be as close to him as I could whenever I could. Even if that meant listening to him watch The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen on the phone while I watched Nick @ Nite with my sister, 3 cousins and 57 stuffed animals laying in the bed with me.

When he started lying to me about other girls my famous line to them was, “I don’t care  what he told you. Until he tells ME that we broke up, it doesn’t matter.”

Emmelie said it best, I think I always knew that I was attracting these dudes, because that’s what I was seeing.”

Except, it wasn’t necessarily what I was seeing. it’s what I was experiencing I was watching all three, four including my uncle of the men directly involved in my upbringing, raise everyone else but me.

So the cycle continued from there. I kept looking for the love I didn’t feel I was getting from my family in other ways.

Though my relationships have been few and far between, they always seem to come at times where I’m feeling empty. Be it neglect at home, failed friendships, unfulfilled in the workplace. And they always help me refill in the beginning, and once I’m full again, I start to see their flaws, I take more notice of the half-truths and lies by omissions and my trust issues are back. And every canceled plan takes me back to that flag pole, watching my father take somebody else’s kids to school.

I can’t rewind time & make my Daddies be more attentive to me in my critical adolescent years, but now that I’ve acknowledged this pattern, I can stop looking for love in all the wrong places.

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F is for Friends Who Do Stuff Together

Initially I was gonna write about my abandonment problems from My Dads giving me trust issues & how my inability to trust causes me difficulty in building and maintaining friendships.

 

Then I hopped in a group chat after completely writing that post and talked about this random 37-year old man in the park telling me I had nice feet, then someone said “You have a boyfriend @BossyGroupChatName” to which I inquired “I do?” and they clarified that they were actually asking if I did. Then I was able to share. “I was feeling underappreciated so I let my last suitor go.” Or something close to that.

 

I was congratulated & told I deserve better by people who never even met the brother. I said “Thanks, I agree” and told them how I felt I couldn’t un-teach him certain behaviors, (Cause we all know you teach people how to treat you), then added “We cool now.” To which the initial interviewer replied “Good, I’m glad you were able to remain friends” And someone else chimed in “Good riddance. I don’t see why you should be friends with an ex.”

I could continue to transcribe the exchange & how I caped for this young man and just said “everybody don’t enter relationships with the same tools.” But I really want to zero in on how me saying “we cool now” led to a debate between other group members about whether or not folks should be friends with their exes. All I could think was *I never said we’re friends*

True to life I struggle with trust issues. I’ve ended many of friendships due to people habitually saying “I’m a call you right back” & not following through. I KNOW this is directly related to spending more than the first decade and a half of my life waiting for Buddha to finally show up or call or contribute when and what he said he would. For this reason I require people’s actions to match their words, or AT LEAST a genuine apology when they can’t. I expect others to treat me with the respect I give them.

I remember breaking up with my high school boyfriend and my uncle suggesting I try to remain his friend, because he did taxes and I might need an accountant one day. My uncle was friends with most of his exes. Many of whom had gone on to marry other men, but called on him to DJ their events and do repair work. So coming from him this was reasonable advice.

I tried that our with my high school boyfriend. We still did friend shit after I broke it off. He came skating for my 17th birthday. I attended his parents’ wedding the following month. After which we decided to go back to being more than friends. Only for him to fuck up royally on Valentine’s Day and me to discover that my choice to end things was the right one, because just as I suspected, he had been seeing someone else.

 

That was when I learned to listen to my intuition and not my uncles.

 

As far as my most recent situation, I felt like Tasha from Insecure. I’m not gone say that I knew or felt it was nothing serious but if he didn’t “You fronted like it was.” For months I thought we were something serious only for him to tell me he wasn’t ready for a relationship. I tried to replay in my mind any instances where I missed the memo that this wasn’t a relationship. And though I kept coming to conclusions that he led me on, he had confirmed on more than one occasion that this WASN’T just some casual shit. I realized that the biggest sign was the one thing that had bothered me most.

 

We RARELY did things together. He was king of “Netflix & Chill” if there ever was one. And every activity we DID do, I initiated.

“If You don’t know the purpose of a thing abuse is inevitable.”

I once asked him what my role/purpose in his life was. He said “friend” three times between filler words. We were coming up on a year of being exclusively intimate and I felt like the list should’ve been a bit broader than “friend.” I tried to see things from his perspective. He claims to be a Shy Guy and told me from jump he didn’t have many friends so I guess I should’ve been honored, but EFF THAT! F is for FRIENDS WHO DO STUFF TOGETHER! And I didn’t really feel like he wanted to do things with me.

This was possibly the hardest relationship I had to walk away from. I had learned so much about myself while with him. I challenged myself to trust & communicate in situations where I previously would’ve just ghosted. But that’s what made it necessary to walk away. Once you give to a person from places of yourself you didn’t even know existed and you don’t feel it’s reciprocated, you have to go before pieces of you start to erode.

When I attended the Sincerely Chosen Live Finale, Syreeta said something that has stayed with me. Her relationship with her children’s father was off again on again in the beginning because she was learning to love herself though loving someone else.

 

I think I wanna learn to love myself a little better before looking for love through friendships.

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What My Cheating Ass Daddy taught Me About Empathy

Queen of team “No sleep til the to-do list is done”, has been one of my virtual “Friend-tors” for a little while now. Emmelie De La Cruz formerly known as The Branding Muse is a BEAST at Millenial Marketing. Be it Big Brands or budding personal brands, she’s your go to woman. Though Syracuse & execution are responsible for her business acumen, her “Cheating Ass Daddy” taught her a different lesson. And last night she shared with us just what she learned about empathy.

When I asked Emm if she would talk with me about her dad, she already had this popping ass title ready to go. It had been about a year since I read this caption under one of her IG photos and thought to myself *10 years? I wonder what happened there* And I was new to her coaching program, talking about an upcoming Facebook Live collaboration I was embarking on when she suggested “Don’t just collaborate with people in the same lane as you.” That was the green light I needed to say “Hey, you wanna tell me why you hadn’t seen your Dad in 10 years?” Then she hit me with the title and I was like *PERFECT!* Cheating?! Daddy? You Free July 20th?

*Juy 20th happens to be the magical date between Step Dad #1 & Step Dad #2’s birthdays*

So last night Emm spilled tea about her Daddy, her 6 siblings ( I would’ve SWORN she was an only child smh) And their 4 mothers, well 5 including hers.

But the lemonade I wanted to sample was WHY empathy?

Empathy is defined as the ability to understand & share the feelings of another. Emm is certainly empathetic. I think it’s actually one of the keys to her business. Definitely why I felt like we were long lost best friends on all those Periscopes with Trap Queen blasting in the background & the Melanin Magic Webinars where I watched her generate business ideas for me and several other viewers off nothing but keywords about our industry and a sentence about what we felt set us apart. She did en masse what I did for friends and family all the time.

 

But what did that have to do with her Cheating Ass Daddy?

 

Our conversation started out with Emm sharing that her Dad used to have her around his side chick while her mom was in medical school, and at the time, she just thought this woman was like her nanny or something. As kids we don’t really know the inter-workings of the adults in our lives. Once she was old enough to understand the pain he caused her mother, she couldn’t disown him for what he did, because at the end of the day that’s still her father. But she better understood her mother’s choices, and the lack of age gaps between some of her siblings.

Despite the slight overlap in age of his 7 children, Emm has a father worth admiring. She respects his work ethic, his hustle, his ability to survive by any means necessary, even selling socks on the Subway. Her ability to understand that infidelity is just something Dominican women have come to accept as part of the culture, and sharing his hustler spirit is how Emmelie has been able to empathize with her father. She chooses to see him for all that he is not just all that he ain’t.

Though he lives in a different country, and she saw him for the first time in 10 years last April, it hasn’t stopped her from loving him, and learning from him. Listening to Emm made me realize just how much further I have to go on my journey to be less judgmental. She also made me feel less alone. I learned that I’m not the only one out here with nieces & nephews I don’t feel connected to because my father wasn’t the only one who’s shenanigans interrupted the development of real sibling relationships. I’m not the only one who sees what’s accepted in the culture & doesn’t REALLY agree with it, but seems to keep finding myself amidst these relationships where I’m deserving more.

We didn’t just talk about Cheating Ass Daddies & Sidechick Step-Mommas or siblings that feel more distant than friends. We talked about how seeing failed relationships and BEING empathetic puts us in this place where we face a constant internal struggle of “If you love him you can work it out” and “Girl, you deserve BETTER!” Sometimes we don’t know what better looks like, so we just keep attracting these cheating ass reflections of the Daddies we saw the best in. #DaaamnDaddy

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Put ALL the cards on the table, or End Up with a BIG JOKER

I shared this screenshot over a year ago. After finding out the guy I was seeing had a child and realizing I had never asked.

See, I had already identified my problem pattern when it came to men. I liked intellectual assholes. You know the type, they can hold a conversation about any topic you’re interested in & the moment they know something you don’t, they wanna make it a teachable moment and make you feel like a toddler instead of their equal. Am I the only one?

Well, seeing this post resonated with me. I wanted to make sure I was asking the right questions. Tumbling over in my mind the thesaurus of inquiries I had committed to my rolodex & getting the important answers.

The next time we met he told me he was a Dad more organically. Drag & Drop all those “important questions into my mental trash bin.

So it was funny to me to find that post amongst my screenshots as I was clearing my phone for space today.

I learned about his childhood. It was similar to mine. Absentee Dad, due to narcotics & incarceration. A sibling here a sibling there. Going months to years between visits and even those memories weren’t always the best. We shared a fear of being hurt and it took A LOT to make either of us angry. Well a lot more for him than myself, but I felt safe with this person. He felt familiar. We had similar backgrounds so I thought I understood his trauma. More importantly, I felt he understood mine.

It’s funny how wrong I was.

To BE continued…

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Why You’re Out Here Being Bad & Boujee By Ya Damnself

Almost a year ago, I wrote a post called The Myth of an Independent Woman.  I was in a place where I realized people thought I was doing it alone but they didn’t see me struggling. And thanks to the “safety net” of my family, I’ve rarely been alone. But I felt I had to be.

Last week I sat in a training here in Baltimore with 46  other bodies in a classroom space seated for 20. It was poorly ventilated, especially for the humidity on that particular day. My head dipped back, and I jerked it forward. SEVERAL TIMES. Sandwiched in and unable to take a walk to keep my blood pumping I drank my bottled water carefully hoping the river on my tongue would replenish my mind from inside out. I struggled.

Then a new face entered the room. Tailored corduroy denim, kind of a tierra clay hue. Classic denim button up & curly hair like Corey from Boy Meets World, but more of it, like a Robin Thicke cut, with a lumberjack beard. We’d seen him before. A stand out among the bodies of  seasoned educators who in that moment, mirrored the Baltimore Youth. We were cramped, hot disinterested in another presenter, until he opened his mouth.

The training was on “Trauma Informed Care” and how to keep in mind that some of what we’ll witness are rational responses to irrational life circumstances. He shared an anecdote of a youth arriving to work improperly dressed. Then saying i’d get robbed if I come outside dressed in a suit or nice clothes.” They supported that youth by allowing him to change into work clothes after arriving to work. But that young man developed a habit of  not dressing for success because his survival instinct taught him “dressing nice in this neighborhood will get you robbed.”

This made me want to check my own trauma led habits. I’m almost certain I’ve shared that I’m a hoarder and I believe I hold onto things because unlike people, they can’t abandon me.

I live alone, because I know my moods don’t always support me having or wanting to share  my space with others. But even that stems from me being the only child for 10 years and constantly having to give up my room for guests. I’m also fairly Independent I still struggle to ask for the help that I need and I’ve been told I push me away. I don’t allow them to do for me. But WHY?

The men in my life TAUGHT me to be independent. I can check my own oil, pump my own gas, I have a tool kit for small repairs & building projects. I can cook, I’m not much a fan of cleaning, but I really don’t have much NEED for a man.

My brother and my cousin, who oddly share the same birthday, were the first men I remember treating me like a “lady”. When they visited, I wasn’t allowed to do things I had to do in their absence, like take out the trash. But I was a teenager by the time they came along. I had already survived the abandonment of Buddha and Step Dad #1 by then. I watched my mother not ask for help and get things done. My uncle had taught me to lay tile and put up dry wall. I don’t think he meant to teach me NOT to need help. He probably just wanted me to stop asking him three million questions. Have you ever had a child in your presence hit you with “but why?” or “how’d you do that?” on repeat? We’ve all been at that crossroads where we can say “stop being annoying!” or just answer them. My uncle answered me with action.

Twelve year old me sitting on a stoop of three concrete steps watching Mr. Softee ride by as I waited for Buddha; wanting to slide my tongue diagonally against a soft mountain of sweet cocoa & vanilla flavored dairy chomping the chocolate rocks that adorned them; Learned not to wait for people to do anything with or for me. I buy my own ice cream now. I hop in my car and go where I want to go and most of the time I go alone.

My mother suggested that maybe I traveled too much without my ex. That my get up and go lifestyle may have intimidated him. I invited him to join me. Most times times he chose not to come along. Work or family obligations often trumped my invitations. I never saw those as reasons for me not to go. My grandmother always encourages me to go. She just celebrated 50 years of marriage. Which means she was about 5 years younger than me when she married. Unlike tv/movie grandma’s she’s never pressured me to settle down. Always to “GO”. Go to college. Go to China. Go to the Kingdom Hall. “Don’t worry about a husband. Just go live life. He’ll find you.”

“Never a borrower nor a lender be.” This one-liner from my Granpa is like a boulder atop the mountain of debt I’m currently chipping away at. I remember the Daddy I was dating asking me why I hadn’t asked him for help. And I simply responded “I didn’t want any more debt.” Watching my mother do it alone I had no real example of partnership. I watched my sister’s father embody all those “Petty things to take after a break up” memes long before Instagram was a thing. And I decided I never wanted anyone to have the right to claim batteries from my remote. Tents for the cookout. Lawn furniture from MY backyard. So I struggle. I struggle to make it alone. I struggle to accept gifts without suspecting ulterior motives. I struggle because I adopted all of these rational responses to my irrational circumstances. And I learned all these independent attributes, but I never learned the art of partnership. Being an only child made me a loner. Having young parents may have made me mature sooner. But I learned to be an Independent woman by accident. Now I just need someone to teach me how to love.

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Fatherless Fathers Day Chat

A couple weeks ago Life Coach Latisha Carr approached me with the idea to do a Father’s Day Brunch for women who have lost their Dad’s or grew up without one. I thought it was a dope idea, put some feelers out there and got a decent response. However, many of the women interested in participating lived nowhere near us, and 10 days just was sufficient time for them to make proper travel arrangements or us to plan and execute with care. So instead we decided to do this live chat where we could engage with our audiences about our experiences being Fatherless & ways to cope.

We hit an unexpected technical difficulty and were unable to be dual hosts as intended. HOWEVER, we persevered and navigated via both IG Live & Facebook to keep the conversation going.

Me: Tish How old were you when your Dad Died?

Tish: I was 23 when my Dad died. It’s still been a lot for me to process, but he wasn’t necessarily a present Dad before then either. So I’ve had a lot of Fatherless Father’s Days.

Me: You mentioned weddings making you miss your Dad, & thinking of who will walk you down the aisle, how do you get through those moments?

Tish: I don’t know, I have uncles and brothers and really good friends so I haven’t decided who I think will walk me down the aisle just yet, but I do think about it when I attend weddings.

Me: I know you’re big on self-care, what tips can you offer to other women who are grieving or dealing with the loss of their Dad?

Tish: For me, I choose to log out of all social media on this day just to protect my peace. It’s hard for me to see other people’s post so I choose to stay off social media this day. Another tip is writing. Journaling, writing down what it means to you to be a Fatherless woman. Sometimes writing things down is a way to ease what you’re dealing with because we sometimes have a tendency to bottle it up.

The tech barrier got to be a bit much at that point so I didn’t continue with the last question I had, but the conversation did go on organically between Tish, myself and our live viewers.

 

We discussed what inspired Tish to even want to do a brunch for Fatherless women in the first place. She shared with us that she had some cousins who also experienced being Fatherless and it was something they intended to do together, but they moved a distance apart and were never able to carry through with it. She said many people go out and have cookouts and it can be difficult for those of us who don’t have Dad’s and having support is important. It made me realize that I had not ever thought to consider my own cousins as a source of support in Fatherlessness. It was something we never talked about until they started reading my blog, and now I get to build that source of support for those of us who are open to it.

We briefly touched on access to therapy and other resources to cope with what it feels like to be Fatherless and how it isn’t always available to the community that needs it. I shared one of my favorite Jill Scott songs THE FACT IS (We Need You) and how it highlights that as Independent was we can be we still need men to be fathers and active members of the community.

Our ultimate goal was to support other women who are dealing with Fatherlessness, but also to gauge who would be interested in attending an actual sit-down Brunch next Father’s Day. We had a handful of women interested in attending the brunch and when asked what they would like it to cover, they mentioned topics like Forgiveness, and never being able to see their Dad. Things I’ve covered over the years on this blog. Things that I could also continue to benefit from, one viewer, a friend of mine from my days in education, suggested we do a brunch for Fatherless students so that’s an opportunity I’m excited by.

If you missed it, don’t fret, just be sure to join the conversation next month. I’ll be releasing that topic in a few weeks. And you can still view the conversation and read other people’s comments on the Daaamn Daddy Facebook page. If you have any suggestions for what you’d like to experience at a brunch for Fatherless Women on Fathers Day feel Free to share them in the comments!

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5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Dating a Dad

This isn’t for the woman seeking to date a man her momma’s age. More so for young independent women who’ve never dated a man with kids before. About a year ago I posted a video on my YOUTUBE channel about how Dating & Daddies had intersected for me and for the first time, I wasn’t the child in the situation. At that time I was all rainbows and optimism, but I learned so much about myself through the experience of Dating a Dad. So I want to share some things I think women should ask themselves to determine if Dating a Dad is something they’re ready for.

  1. Are you cool with NOT coming first?

     Often times as women, we feel the desire to be a priority in our mate’s life. At a certain point we expect to be a priority in their lives. If Friday night is our designated date night, we’re not Tryna hear “Oh, my homeboy and them going” NOWHERE! But when you date a Dad you have to be prepared for the reality that no matter what nigh is “Date Night” if an emergency arises concerning their child, you drop down a peg on that list. So before you enter a relationship with that man, honestly ask yourself if you can handle getting all dressed up to go out and THEN getting that “Heeyy, can you take a rain check?” phone call when the child swallows a LEGO or has some other sort of emergency.”

  2. Can you handle HEARING about a child you may never meet?   

    Let’s be real. Everybody that’s dating ain’t courting. And if you’re dating a man that’s a decent parent, he isn’t introducing every woman he gets familiar with to his child. However, again, if he’s a decent parent, he’ll be active in his child’s life and may share details of his day with you that includes information about his child. Is that something you’re ok with? Be honest with yourself on whether or not you’re the type of person who can know a child’s favorite color, zodiac sign, the story behind the “boo-boo” on their left knee, what they sound like saying “Daaaddy” but never meet them face-to-face. Understand that not meeting the child doesn’t denote the seriousness of the relationship. Some men just want to appropriately feel you out before exposing you to their child. And that’s exactly what a protective parent SHOULD DO.

  3. Are you ready for child centered vacations and activities?

    If you pass whatever test the man lays before you and you meet his child, can you put Paw Patrol before your Netflix and Chill session? Are you cool with Sesame Place as opposed to Caesar’s Palace? Do dates to the Discovery Zone top Dinner & Dancing? Can you accept that a baecation to the Bahamas might actually become a family field trip to Florida?

    If you answer “No” to any of those questions, Dating A Dad ain’t for you sis. Yes baby sitters and grandparents exist, and YES every couple needs grown up time, but you CAIN’T always get what you want. And in the moments when your man ain’t BK and you can’t have it your way how are you gonna act?

  4. How will you react to their parenting from the outside looking in?

    When your partner trusts you, they’ll often share scenarios with you or come to you for advice. Sometimes even if they do trust you, they’ll try to keep their parenting life separate from their dating life. Either way, you’ll have a fish tank view of their parenting. Are you the type to offer unsolicited advice? If your man blows off his child’s parent-teacher conference to do a favor for a friend will you speak  up or stay in your lane? Will you know what that lane is? It’s important that you understand boundaries. Establish how much you want to know, find out how much input they’re comfortable with you giving. Know your stance on parenting and decide if you’re the type of woman that can keep a man encouraged through a custody battle or call him on his bull if he falls short of meeting his child’s needs.

  5. What are your views on parenting/being a step-parent?

    Some women KNOW without a doubt that they want to bare their man’s first (only) child/ren. Those women don’t entertain men who have children. And that’s their prerogative.

Some women are cool with dating a dad as long as she never has to meet their children. They like men who can compartmentalize. They don’t want to be invited to talent shows. They’re unavailable to hear & heal his baby momma drama. They want to be arm and bedroom candy and NOBODY’s stepmother.

Some women are ready and willing to be a plus mom. They accept their man’s venting sessions with open ears & arms. When he needs help making a decision, she offers suggestions on choices in the best interest of the child. And if & when the time comes she’s down to be the best step-mom ever.

Other women just get in where they fit in and kind of figure it out along the way. Know which one you are before you decide to Date a Dad.

*BONUS Question*

How much interaction can you handle  with the child’s mom? From Baby Momma Drama to Blended Family Bliss. Where on the spectrum are you comfortable with?

 

Men with kids are often off limits to childless women. We don’t want to deal with their baggage. Yet we call foul when men steer clear of single mothers. I think it’s important to be reflective. I could have decided not to continue having lunch with my “friend” once I learned that he had a child. By the time I learned about that I was already interested in him as an individual, and his life as a Dad was another layer of him I got to learn & love. It’s definitely been a learning experience, and I created this list because I learned so much about myself in this process. I just want to present the learning curve to you so you can get ahead of the game & do what’s best for you.

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What’s LOVE Got to Do With It?

I was driving to meet my *thinking face* “friend” for lunch and turning on a certain street made me think of my “first”.

Not sure why, but my brain jumped to the day I told him I didn’t want to deal with him anymore. I don’t remember verbatim because that was nearly 5years ago, but I’m pretty sure I said something like “I deserve to be with someone who loves me.” And he replied “I DO love you”

I just realized I can’t tell when a guy really cares for me.

So my brain did what it does best & jumped to several of the tabs I had open based on the keyword love.

1st tab was me asking my mom advice on successfully ending a relationship a few weeks ago. I laughed because, all of my mom’s exes are still in love with her. *So again WRONG person for ADVICE*

Next tab was my own exes and how even after not seeing them for YEARS I can still see their hearts smile in my presence. (Saw paranoid Pete a few weeks ago).

Final tab was my cousin’s Facebook post I had seen before taking that drive. Her Dad & Buddha are brothers. Her post read “I just realized I can’t tell when a guy really cares for me.”

When I read that Facebook Post my immediate thought was “Well of course you can’t because the man that made you didn’t show you how.” But during that drive I thought “What’s Love got to do with it?”

It’s hard to realize when a guy really cares for me because I’ve constantly received mixed signals on what love looks like.

I like for people’s actions to match their words because Buddha’s never did. Unlike my mother, I don’t tend to dedicate much time to relationships past a certain point. I’ve always just attributed that to high emotional intelligence. *And also that I had my life played so thoroughly by my middle school boyfriend that I see no need to relive that experience.*

If you don’t stay, they can’t play you

But seriously, for more than two years, I’ve exposed how my trust issues are rooted in the fuck ups of the male “role models” in my life. A biological father that let me down so often everything feels like abandonment. A stepfather that seemed perfect as a child until he committed the ultimate betrayal. So now I don’t even know how to trust gestures because quality time don’t stop a cheater from cheating. Another stepfather who hadn’t dealt with his own Daddy Issues so he over compensated & under-communicated. Which brings me back to WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT?

All the love in the world can’t make you show up somewhere you don’t want to be.

All the love in the world ain’t gone stop a wandering eye from bringing the rest of the body to the bedroom.

All the love in the world can’t make a listening ear from a shouting mouth.

And ALL the love in the word cain’t clear a cluttered mind.

Nina Simone said “You must learn to leave the table if love is no longer being served.”

TRUST ME, I “Liked”, “Shared“ & “Pinned” every image of her and that quote but I’m not sure I truly understand love anymore.

Everybody who’s ever hurt me told me they loved me.

So again, I ask, “WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT?”

What’s Love got to do with happiness? ● What’s Love got to do with health? ● What’s Love got to do with intelligence? ● What’s Love got to do with discernment? ● What’s Love got to do with confidence?

E●V●E●R●Y●T●H●I●N●G!

Yesterday, my cousin who wrote that post turned 24. And because her father didn’t lay a concrete foundation of love for her to build on, she can’t tell when a guy truly cares for her.

I’m 26 still playing Russian Roulette with my time. Because I’ve never been scared to walk away, but the one thing all my Daddies failed to teach me was when it’s worth it to stay. What it looks like when you work it out with someone, not out of fear, not for the kids, not due to convenience, boredom or because they control your finances, not even for LOVE alone. What it looks like to build a solid foundation with someone because you love them, you trust them, you value them, you’re invested in their growth, and they’re invested in yours and you respect each other enough to show up when you say you’re going to show up. You communicate when you can’t and you’re disciplined enough to remain faithful no matter how tempting the fruit may look.

I want that. And despite what my Daddies never showed me I will have that. Because I LOVE myself enough to know I deserve more. Even if that means I have to cut folks off to create it.

“You’ve gotta love like you’ve never been hurt; to get the LOVE that you deserve.” -My Motha Best Friend Mary J. Blige

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Advice

 

Sunday was Mother’s Day and I fought back tears as I attempted to end my current situationship. He treats me well, doesn’t yell at me or hit me; because I don’t allow that shit; but there seems to be some break-down in communication that we’re having the ultimate struggle getting over.

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My mom; single parent with 2 children by men that she’ll “always love but doesn’t like”; told me I over analyze everything. I shared with her some of my communication frustrations and she said “You give up too easily. Relationships have hurdles sometimes.”

 

I wanna be married.

 

I’m not looking to get married today tomorrow or this time next year, but I know I want to be married to someone I can trust. Someone  who communicates well with me. Someone not only on the same page but also in the same book as me. My mother isn’t married. Her partners have all loved her; but they’ve never in my opinion been in the same book. And despite proposals & rings and 7 or 13 year relationships; she’s never made it to the altar or even the courthouse. My mother doesn’t have the life I want. I hear her advice anyway, because, my mother.

Me hearing, my mother’s advice

Sunday I listened as he expressed his love for me. His fear of losing me. His declaration that I’m his lady and his THIRD confession that he is not ready for a relationship. I don’t want to lose him either, but I’m not in the habit of staying at the table when I feel my flavor of love is no longer being served.

It’s been more than a year since we became physically intimate. Even longer that we’ve been entertaining each other’s company. He stayed when he learned I was depressed. When he realized, my apartment is a constant mess. I don’t always use kind words. He stayed.

One day I asked if we should have joint goals, since we support each other’s individual goals. I think it scared him.

After nearly six months (because the six months before October 29th are questionable) I hear him for the first time tell me he’s not ready for a relationship. It makes wonder *Well what the hell is this then?*

I don’t like uncertainty.

 

I say this to him, but I don’t DO anything with his confession. I let it marinate in my mind & fester into a fungus that tells me I deserve more. I examine myself. Am I giving the type of love I expect in return? Am I making my expectations clear? Am I refusing to accept less than his best? I fail this exam.

 

I ask myself is this worth walking away: List all the reasons I should stay. Call my mom. She taught me to list the pros and cons. She doesn’t answer. It’s ok, she doesn’t have the life I want. But do any of the women in my life?

 clair huxtable GIF

On Mother’s Day morning, I tried to end my current situationship. Even handwrote a letter of all the points I wanted to address. I told him I didn’t want to give up, but I didn’t want to fight to be with someone who didn’t want to be with me. He detailed all the ways he’s shown me that I’m who he wants. He isn’t ready to give in.

He’s been hurt before. His mother is also a single mother. His dad with a similar past as Buddha. We both have trust issues. We don’t want to be hurt again. But it hurts me to sit in uncertainty.

I tried to call my mother again. Sent to voicemail after it rang twice. If I don’t know any women with the life I want. Then who should I look to for advice?