‘I prefer to date single fathers – but he’s only a DILF if he’s actually a good dad’

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With over 120k Instagram followers, Lala is the anonymous voice helping womankind through every bump in the road. An established sex, dating and relationship educator, she’s had her fair share of relationship drama and shares her wisdom on social media to a loyal army of followers.

Every week thousands turn to her to answer their questions (no matter how embarrassing), and her funny, frank approach to love and relationships has made her the ultimate feel-good guru. Now, she’s sharing her knowledge exclusively with OK! VIPs. Register below and access Lala’s weekly wisdom…

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Lalala column: 'I only want to date single fathers - but he's only a DILF if he's actually a good dad'
If you’re already a parent, dating someone else with kids can have its upsides

Before I became a mother, I didn’t want to date fathers. Men with children felt like hard work. I was in my early twenties and the parent life just didn’t appeal to me. I was also needy and insecure, and I couldn’t cope with the thought of them not being free every weekend, having significant contact with their ex, and the fact that there would always be someone who was more important to them than me. Since becoming a mother, I would prefer not to date men who don’t have children. Now my preference is single fathers.

When I first started dating as a single parent, I was unprepared for the way in which some men would react when I told them I was a mother. I never stated that I had a child on my public dating app profiles, as a social worker I was fully aware of the fact that offenders use dating apps to target and groom single mothers to gain access to their children. So, I would drop it in the conversation a few messages in, and the reaction would sometimes be that they weren’t looking to date anyone with kids. Their reasons usually being to do with ‘not wanting the drama’, or because they wanted their first child to be their partner’s first child.

Some men were obviously totally fine with it. But it’s worth clarifying that first. I went on a date with a guy once, a Z list rapper who I met at the BBC radio studios, let’s call him Yung Disappointment, we spoke for a while and followed each other’s personal IG before meeting, so he knew that I had a son. The date was pretty underwhelming. But we got into a discussion about dating people with children, and Yung Disappointment said: “I could never take a woman with kids seriously for a relationship”. I was open mouthed at his audacity and the date ended there. I’m extremely glad that we had that conversation before I started catching feelings and ended up in a situationship against my knowledge.

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It was hard not to feel offended by the men who were put off by my motherhood. It felt like being a mum was a new unattractive quality that I had acquired that was now going to hamper my potential for finding love forever. I had to remind myself that I had also felt turned off by single dads before I became a mum, and that I shouldn’t take offence to it. It is reasonable for people to make that choice, I would rather that someone was straight up from the beginning . It just makes the already sewer-like dating pool, even smaller. And that’s not even the biggest obstacle. Becoming a parent changes you, not just physically. The physical part is hard to cope with though.

If you lose confidence in your body after pregnancy or just from getting older and having all your focus on a child/children, the thought of intimacy with a new person who isn’t the Father of your kids, can be really daunting. Or you end up losing the ability to associate your body with sex anymore because your boobs remind you of babies and you live in comfy clothes covered in snot. It is easy to lose yourself to parenthood. To even get into the mind frame where you are capable of thinking about anything other than juggling work and kids or to find your old self back enough to feel like you’re capable of sustaining a conversation with an adult, can take a while.

When you do decide that you want to get back out there it’s like a military operation trying to schedule a date. You can’t just have impromptu drinks after work or go off for spontaneous nights out. Everything has to be planned, like hiring babysitters or fitting it around the time that they have contact with their other parent. It just makes everything harder. Especially if you have a limited support network, or if your ex is making things difficult.

Lalala column: 'I only want to date single fathers - but he's only a DILF if he's actually a good dad'
‘Becoming a parent changes you, not just physically,’ LaLa says

Ex-partners can often create problems when they get wind that you’re dating. It’s a slightly difficult one, because whilst the child’s father (or mother) has no right to dictate who you date, they do have some right to know who will be introduced to the child and who will be present during contact. However, unless there are exceptional reasons why you might not be a good judge of character, they have no right to intervene, or control who you can and can’t date. And as the kids get older the ex has less of a right to know. It’s more relevant when the children are younger and therefore more vulnerable. It is important to seek advice if an ex is trying to stop you from moving on. Women’s aid can help with this. You have every right to date, and they have no right to stop you.

In terms of safety, you must never invite internet dates to your house before you feel you can trust them. You must never invite random people to your home where your kids live when you don’t fully know who they are. See their house first. And most especially important is to NEVER invite internet strangers to your house when the children are sleeping. You have to date far more cautiously once you become a parent. If you do get into a relationship, I think it’s wise to ease your children into meeting them as your friend, initially meeting to do fun activities together, with their kids too if they have them. It’s best to know that you are certain before bringing them into your children’s lives.

Lalala column: 'I only want to date single fathers - but he's only a DILF if he's actually a good dad'
Is he a DILF? Only if he’s actually a good parent

It’s also best to know that you are certain before committing to getting into a relationship with a parent. You have to accept that their child comes first. And if you’re dating someone who puts their relationship with you above the relationship with their children – or if they barely see their own children at all – that is a huge red flag. He’s only a DILF if he’s actually a good dad. And set the bar higher for what makes a good dad – simply seeing his kids every other weekend doesn’t cut it. Being a good father means really being there for his kids.

You have to commit to not allowing jealousy to rear its head when it comes to them having a good relationship with their ex. You have to encourage that relationship. Being a stepparent is a privilege, it is a joy to have the opportunity for kids to love you. If we have kids, we should also do our best to encourage our children to have good relationships with our ex’s partners. Unless we have reason to believe that they are dangerous in some way, then it is also a privilege that our children get a bonus parent. The way I see it is that I can’t be mad that he has an extra person in his life that loves him and wants to care for him. I found it difficult at first, but it’s a blessing now.

Children definitely create huge hurdles when it comes to dating, but it is possible to meet great people who can be fabulous additions to your children’s lives, even if it doesn’t last forever. Being a parent should be our biggest motivator to date wisely and to heed red flags even more cautiously. It’s one thing to get into crazy relationships when you just have yourself to worry about, but it’s a whole different ball game when you have kids. You have to date with their best interests at heart, way before your own. They are your ultimate f**kboy filter. But whilst doing that, you also have to remind yourself that if you feel like you want it, you deserve love and intimacy, and you should never feel guilty for wanting to lose yourself in a romance and forget about being a mother for a few hours. It’s allowed. In fact, it’s important. Happy parents are the best parents.

For more wisdom, follow @Lalalaletmeexplain on Instagram





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