Finding A Girlfriend For My Dad, The Hero: Guest Blog
This months Guest Blog comes from Hayley Thompson, creator of dating blog My Place Or Yours where she shares some of her hilarious dating experiences. But this time for us, Janey has shared the heartfelt reason she decided to find love for the hero in her life, her single dad. These stories are what datemy.co.uk exists for, we just wish it had been around when Hayley needed it!
Over to Hayley:
It’s only when I look back, now as an adult, or a close replica of one, that I realise how strange it was.
You see, I’m a child of divorce and, really I’m grateful. I don’t have a picture of my parents together and simultaneously happy in my memory. So for them to be apart, well, that was a good thing. And, at four-years-old, you tend to accept the world around you for whatever it throws up, to be the norm.
Seeing my Dad on the weekends was just a thing that happened. Two Christmases just meant more presents and moving to a new house with my Mum by the beach was exciting.
I was lucky.
I liked my new school, I loved my Stepdad and I came to look forward to the long car journeys sat next to my Father, to and from Mum and Dad’s: Singing along to Fleetwood Mac, listening to Anne Fine books on cassette and making Dad laugh with stories of my own devising; were some of the happiest hours of my childhood.
But my Dad had to become a hero.
The hours spent in the car may have felt like a treat for me; fun road trips with McDonalds for tea, but my Dad made those five hour long drives after a full on week at work. Worse still he made them at the end of our weekends together, to deliver me home to Mum, then drive away again, alone.
All that time I never saw it as strange, but my Dad, the hero, never once had a girlfriend.
It wasn’t until I was in my late teens that I realised this was a problem and not just a matter of fact.
My Dad’s hero cape now just seemed to strangle his spirit. All of his energies went into working and clinging to being a prominent part of my life. There wasn’t much room for anything or anyone else. That strain began to show, not just on my Dad, but also on me.
It’s hard to be someone’s everything. It’s hard to be the reason for someone’s happiness. It’s hard growing out of childhood and away from your Dad when all that meant so much.
You see, he needed me to need him, but I was at an age where increasingly I became more independent. I couldn’t be stifled, held back in cotton wool. Yes, this sounds selfish, but teenagers are.
I decided, as I stood at the beginning of my adult life that my Dad needed to get one for himself too. And, whilst those weren’t going for a subscription fee online, relationships luckily were.
I did everything. I stole the photos from Facebook, I wrote the bio, I added in my Dad’s own brand of cringe worthy ‘Dad Humour’. I even concocted hobbies to fill the page. I decided what Dad should look for in his matches, filling out his preferences, shamelessly scanning the net for middle aged women whom I deemed good enough to date my Father.
But there was only so much being my Dad I could be, online, before all my good intentions just turned into plain old ‘Catfishing’.
The day I opened my laptop and signed into my Dad’s secret dating profile, whilst sat next to the man I’d been pretending to be, was both terrifying and eye opening
Dad didn’t like any of the matches I’d picked out for him! But nothing surprised me more than how cool he then became about it all. He fronted the subscription fee and an awkward tutorial ensued. Dad, for the first time in a long time, took the reins on his own love life.
It wasn’t plain sailing. Thrown back onto the dating landscape, after over 20 years since he’d left, was a challenge for everyone involved.
“But is it ethical to message two women at once?”
“Do you think four hours away is too far?”
“I’m not sure I could date a women with that many cats…”
“Why is she winking at me, she’s your age?!
The questions were endless, I was sucked in, he gave me updates both pre-date and post! It was fun, he was doing something with his time which wasn’t focused on me. For the first time my Dad was being selfish.
Then he met someone.
My Dad went from hopeless bachelor, to dating newbie, to someone’s actual boyfriend!
He didn’t need me anymore.
Yeah, ok, I was happy for my Dad. This was exactly what I had wanted and tried so hard to make happen. You wouldn’t believe the hours of profile scanning I had to do and amount of winks I had to send. I really was over the moon. The colour was back in his cheeks, he walked taller, his hero cape back and the Dad jokes were more shameless than ever.
But now I had to get used to idea of not being the only woman in my Dad’s life. And, surprisingly, that’s been the hardest thing of all.
It’s more than two years later. Guess what. They’re moving in together. She’s brilliant! She doesn’t need him, she’s a grown up woman, but she wants him! She wants to be the reason for his happiness and in return he loves making her smile.
In the meantime I feel I’ve temporarily lost a little of my Father. But what is there is the craving for his attention again. The wanting to make him laugh, or to tell him a story just to see him smile, is back.
It isn’t jealously, but it’s as if now my Dad is being a little cooler, he’s slightly preoccupied, it’s almost as if he’s playing hard to get, and every girl knows how that feels.
Now I no longer feel guilty when I can’t see him on weekends or holidays. He’s in love and so I’m now safe in the knowledge that he’s somewhere else and happy, not alone.
A truly heartfelt story and one which resonates with us and probably many of you. We'd love to hear your matchmaking stories. Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.