I’m a 33 year old, single father with primary care of a 14 month old daughter. Her mother has a weekends-only job and never has her overnights or even in the evening. My question is: How do I even go about looking, when the only time I spend away from work involves my daughter? It’s me, I’m sure, but I don’t seem to even try when I’m out with my daughter, doing all the things it takes to keep my house, my daughter, and myself in order.
In the last three months, I’ve “went out” once. I have no problems meeting people in the regular bar scene….but I don’t seem to make the time. And when I do, the results aren’t the type I’m looking for anyway.
Great question. Important question. Simple answer.
Before I give it to you, I want other readers to ask yourselves if you can sympathize with Mike’s predicament. You don’t have to be the primary caregiver to a 14 month old; you just have to be too busy to find love.
Being busy is the greatest and most believable excuse for being single that you can find.
So…do you work a lot? Have lots of responsibilities? Hobbies? Friends? Obligations?
If you said yes to any of the above, this article is gonna be one great kick in the ass for you.
Make no mistake about it: being busy is the greatest and most believable excuse for being single that you can find. Which is why you’re not going to hear me suggest to Mike that he ditch his job, ditch his daughter and spend 24 hours a day finding love.
What I will suggest, however, is a re-evaluation of three things in Mike’s life
- 1) His time
- 2) His priorities
- 3) His methods
Time is a precious commodity. Our lives our finite. Days end after 24 hours. And, as an adult, you have responsibilities that don’t simply abate because you wish them away. You still have to work to pay the bills. You still have to make sure your children get fed each night. That’s life, and it’s way more difficult to create opportunities in love when you’re pulled in so many directions.
But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
Consider these questions:
How many hours do you work each week? If you’re like most people, you’re home by 7pm. That means you potentially have 4 hours every night to devote to the pursuit of a relationship.
How late does your daughter stay up every night? Granted, you have to feed her, play with her, read to her, and put her to bed. But once she’s asleep, you should be left with a few hours to yourself.
Is it possible to create a more even custody arrangement? Hire a baby sitter? Ask your parents or the mother’s parents for a little relief? – Despite my probing questions, I want to acknowledge that if you have sole custody during the week and your wife works on the weekends, you have virtually NO breathing room. And instead of trying to create something out of nothing, you need to get your life into better balance before you worry about dating.
The greatest invention in the world for busy people who are looking for love is online dating.
Which is why I suggested a shuffling of your priorities. This is not to say that you should be any less devoted a father. But you owe it to yourself, your daughter, and your sanity to lead a life that does not eat up all of your free time.
I see this frequently with my hardworking clients, who put in 12 hours a day at the office, maybe fit in a workout and a meal after work, and start all over again the next day. Who could blame them for not having a love life? Yet it’s virtually impossible to break the cycle. Despite the fact that love is more important than anything, we maintain the mindset that work comes first.
One smart, successful client of mine always stressed about how busy she was and how this made her search for love particularly taxing. She had little free time and certainly didn’t want to spend it going out with strangers she’d probably never see again. She just wanted to cut to the chase and find a guy. One day, she informed me that she met an impressive man online, who claimed to be too busy to make a date with her. This pissed her off to no end. Yet she was unable to see that in 99% of the circumstances, SHE was the one who was too busy for the men who were courting her. It was fine when she was too busy for others, but when men were too busy they become “workaholics” or “aloof” or “emotionally unavailable.” It didn’t occur to her that she was all of the above as well.
If you’re a busy person, this should be hitting pretty close to home right now.
So ask yourself, if you were on your deathbed, would you whisper to your closest friend, “Now that I look back on my life, I wish I worked more 12-hour-days.” If so, keep doing what you’re doing. If not, it’s time to get a career that doesn’t require such slavish devotion. You may have a job, you may have money, but you don’t have a LIFE.
The last recommendation I have is for you to broaden your methods. The greatest invention in the world for busy people who are looking for love is online dating. Yet the most common complaint I get is that “it takes too much time and effort”.
Well, I’ve got 3 words for you: Suck. It. Up.
Anything worth having takes effort. You had to fight hard for your education, your job, your promotion, your pay raise. It wasn’t bestowed upon you merely because you’re worthy.
Yet somehow, in the dating field, everyone seems to think that love should just happen organically. No searching online. No back and forth emails. No screening phone calls. No awkward first dates. No disappearing third dates. In the mind of a busy person, Mr. or Ms. Right should materialize from thin air and come pre-ordered for chemistry, compatibility, values, goals, and humor.
THIS DOES NOT HAPPEN.
IF YOU THINK IT DOES, YOU’RE GOING TO BE WAITING A REALLY, REALLY LONG TIME.
Online dating gives you far more power and control over your own destiny – but only if you do it right.
Finding a life partner takes a LOT of trial and error. I went out with over 300 people over 15 years before getting married. I’m positive you could do it in less time. But to think that you’re going to find a relationship when you go on two dates a year? Yep, that’s crazy. Maybe you’ll get lucky and fall in love on your twentieth date. But at 2 dates a year, my friend, that won’t happen until 2018.
Understand, to find love, you have to create room and opportunity. The genuine desire to find love is useless if you never go on first dates. And online dating is useless unless you have time to get away from your job or your 14-month-old baby for a few hours.
I am very sympathetic to anyone who feels trapped. Work is consuming. Fatherhood is consuming. But nothing will change unless you make a decision that it’s a priority to change. Your excuses for not dating, Michael, are unassailable. You are in an impossible position as it currently stands. Which is why you have to make a fundamental shift that creates more life balance. Unless you do, nothing will change, and you’ll be in the same exact position next year and the year after.
I can’t tell you how many people call me for dating coaching, decide to save their money and do things their way, and call me again two years later. Now they’re two years older, two years more frustrated, and two years less marketable. Why? Because they wanted results, but they weren’t willing to work hard to achieve them.
If you are busy and you want to have a love life, online dating is the best way to go. Matchmakers are fine, but guess what? You’re paying $5000+ to get set up with 10 people that you might not want to go out with. Online dating gives you far more power and control over your own destiny – but only if you do it right.
I’ve staked my entire livelihood on the premise that ANYONE can have success online, thereby avoiding matchmakers, blind date set-ups, and weird singles events.
Just know that change happens when you want it to happen.
Until then, you can tell yourself you’re too busy. But you and I both know better.
You’re probably not dating because you don’t want it bad enough.