Bittersweet success on the good-dads, equal-parenting and dating front: a new-ish friend came to dinner the other night. While this sexy, successful, late-30s, never-married, no kids, NYC woman brought and I drank rose’ and my kids inhaled the Magnolia cupcakes she brought, we chatted, of course, about dating.
My friend recounted a recent horror story …. after a fantastic first date and fantastic follow-up texting, a potential romance went down in flames. Not only did he fail to mention until date No. 2 that he was a father, he bragged about his every-other-weekend, Wednesday dinner schedule with his kids as being a really involved dad.
Background: this woman has never heard my platform about my call to expect men to be equal parents with 50-50 presumed custody (and no child support), why women must ban together and withhold pussy from men who abandon their children, or my attempt to understand why just 22 percent of dads who live separately from their kids see them once a week or more. From what I know, she doesn’t have any personal ax to grind re: divorce, single dads, or parenting.
Over their Mexican dinner she told him:
“First of all, you hid the fact that you are a dad. I don’t care that you have kids, I care that you lied. Second, every other weekend is not an involved dad. That is a part-time dad.”
This as a huge win. Without any baggage on the subject, she just got it, and she called him out on it, and women, moms, kids and fathers are all better for these sorts of stances.
To this, I will hold myself to a higher standard in what I will tolerate in dating, and actively tell men who fail their children that I will not date them. I recently saw for a few months a man who actively bragged about his professional success, filled his Instagram feed with pics of his shopping sprees, luxury travel, videos of him training at a high-end gym with a sexy personal trainer, and pricey downtown dinners. He also spoke lovingly about his teenage daughter, an affection that resonated with me as very authentic.
However, this man’s very expensive apartment (waterfall wall in the lobby, all white walls, natch, and the requisite bachelor’s modern, black leather couch), had just one bedroom — a room he would lend to his daughter when she visited every second weekend. Not only could he not be bothered to take time from his fabulous life to actively co-parent his kid, he chose many material indulgences over making room in his home and life for his child. What did this tell the girl about her father’s devotion to her? What did this say about him as a man?
This one was not a long or serious affair, and I called it off with: “We’re not a romantic match” then unfollowed the buffoonery that is his social media.
Next time I will follow my friend’s lead, and I suggest you, do, too. Say: “I can’t be involved with a man who is not an equal parent to his kids.” You will hear him out when he tells you about unfair family courts, and malicious exes, because those are real and powerful things. But if he has not or does not actively fight to be an equal parent, you’re done. And you tell him.
And I, his kids, your kids, all kids, women, men, fathers and mothers and society, we all thank you.
Emma Johnson is a veteran money journalist, noted blogger, bestselling author and an host of the award-winning podcast, Like a Mother with Emma Johnson. A former Associated Press Financial Wire reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Glamour, Oprah.com, U.S. News, Parenting, USA Today and others. Her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was named to the New York Post’s ‘Must Read” list.
Emma regularly comments on issues of modern families, gender equality, divorce, sex and motherhood for outlets like CNN, Headline News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, CNBC, NPR, TIME, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine and The Doctors. She was named Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web,” “Top 15 Personal Finance Podcasts” by U.S. News, and a “Most Eligible New Yorker” by New York Observer.
A popular speaker, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality. Read more about Emma here.