By Angie Toole : Freedom Newspapers
Back in the early 1970s, Bill Bixby made it look easy.
He was a single dad who had no problem dating – in fact, women were eager to go out with the guy who took long walks on the beach with his son in “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father.”
Apparently things haven’t changed in dating, at least in that aspect: Studies find that women tend to prefer men who have traits that make them a good dad, like willingness to commit and loyalty.
One dating site, True.com, took a survey to test this theory, and found that single fathers do have an edge over single men without children when it comes to personality traits that promote deep relationship bonding.
“A number of published studies show that the relationship qualities most desired by females concern emotional and economic security,” said Dr. Jim Houran, chief psychologist of True.com.
“Single-parent fathers have these qualities which promote heightened levels of mental chemistry with partners who made them attractive dating candidates for single women. In fact, our research found that single-parent fathers are generally more devoted and affectionate than their non-parent counterparts.”
Tiffani Motley, 27, of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., says she prefers single men with kids to those without.
“Oh yeah, I’ve found that those men I’ve dated with kids tend to be more responsible, and more stable than those without,” she said.
But her co-worker, Katie Rausch, believes her preference to not date guys with kids has more to do with her age than personality preferences.
The 19-year-old Florida State University student is not ready to have kids herself until she finishes her studies and starts her career, so she doesn’t want a ready-made family yet either.
“I’m just too young for kids right now,” she said. “Besides, my parents would probably freak.”
Roger Cook, 49, of Fort Walton Beach, hasn’t had any problems with a post-divorce social life after he had time to grieve over his marriage.
“I haven’t found it difficult at all,” Cook said. “A lot of women my age have kids themselves, or they naturally have a bond with kids.”
Women not only seem to be understanding when Cook wants to spend time with his kids on the weekend, they respect that he takes that commitment seriously.
“I think that women respect me more because I care about my kids and want to spend time with them,” Cook said.
His best advice for single dads is for them to get active in something for themselves. For Cook, bowling and dancing has made a big difference in his life. He met someone who had the same interests, and they’ve started an exclusive relationship because of it.
“I really started to get happy being by myself but being social, and she just popped into my life,” he said.
Billy Kane, of Shalimar, Fla., isn’t current on the dating scene. The only girls in his life right now are his 10-, 3- and 1-year-old daughters. He’s hoping to reconcile with his wife.
But he admits single dads or single guys without kids don’t seem to have a problem having an active social life, if that’s what they want.
He believes he probably is a better person since he became a dad, and is probably a much better catch.
“Becoming a dad changes the way you look at life,” he said. “You find out what’s really important.”
He also credits a large part of his changed life to his faith. Once he turned his life over to Jesus, he said, nothing was the same.
On the flip side, what’s important to him may not help in a relationship: His kids, and his relationship with the Lord, come first.
“You make decisions in your life with a different perspective,” Kane said. “Because your decisions don’t just affect you; they affect your family.”
“Overall, single fathers should remember to draw strength from their parenting experiences, and proudly and enthusiastically convey to dating prospects the edge that these relationships bring to your romantic relationships,” said Houran. “That edge is only effective when you use it to your advantage.”