G is for… Guest Post from OnlyDads.org

Posted on 25th November 2010 in onlydads/ sex/ single father/ single parent

The first ever guest post on my blog is by my lovely friend Bob. If you don’t already know him, then the only thing I need to add to his post is that I want you to read it with the knowledge that he is the master of understatement, a genuinely humble and modest man. Bob is a wonderful father to two very lovely (and lucky) girls, a good friend and has a work ethic that most should admire.

Without further ado, and with much applause, I hand you over to Bob:

The invitation to write something for @coffeecurls’ blog was met with a mixture of pride and trepidation. Pride because this is one of the few blogs I really read, and Lisa’s writing style is easy and flowing and natural. It would be a hard act to follow. Trepidation? Well that feeling arose because firstly, my writing style is more jolted and clumsy, and secondly, I knew if I was to write anything, I would want to make it meaningful and informative. And to do that, I would have to be honest.

So this post may be a bit clumsy in terms of grammar and it may not flow with ease. But it is written from the heart and the head and I have tried to be really open and honest about quite a tricky subject for many single Dads; this blog post is about love and sex.

With running www.onlydads.org I am privileged to come into contact with many lone fathers and there is a general perception that single dads live their life like Jack the Lad. I think people do the Maths…”ten times more single mums than single dads…blimey son, you’re in luck”

And in some ways this is true. As a single Dad we do meet more single mums than we do single dads. Of course we do. But there is a gap between the statistic above and living the lifestyle of our mate Jack!

I will explore why I think this is with my own story:

Welcome to the world of being a single dad

I was left living with my two girls (then 4 and 7) when my wife ran off with her gym instructor 6 years ago or more.  This chap was many things, but he was also muscular, extremely fit, and in truth quite handsome. When you hear from your ex that he is also “very good in bed” as a man you feel…well what do you feel? Deflated? Not a bad word, yes – deflated.

But this feeling of “deflation” is amplified. When you become a single parent Dad through separation it is always “news”. People mutter and talk. “She’s left him and her kids”. One can almost hear the questioning about what sort of husband you must have been to facilitate such drastic action as a Mum leaving home. These are hard concerns and worries to live through.

My introduction to single parenting began at 4.00pm one afternoon in May 2004. I came home from work early to find my two daughters with a childminder. The two girls and the childminder were visibly upset. My youngest Anya was crying…the childminder took me outside and told me that “she has left”.

My wife had left. She was never to return. I paid the childminder off and asked her to leave us.  I remember seeing her run down her path audibly crying. Back inside, both girls looked scared. I remember hugging them. But it was not a love hug, the sort of hug that some Dads reading this will give their daughters and sons. It may not have been a hug at all. Perhaps a mutual “clinging” would be a better description.

The entry point into becoming a single parent is rarely a pleasant one. We do hear of mutual partings where everyone remains friends, but for many I fear, it is so often the opposite.

My entry point to single parenting left me feeling broken. Like I was not a true man. Something less than a man… a failure.

Later that same week I had to walk into work. Everyone knew by then.  It took guts and strength to hold my head up. I did not (could not) hold it up high. But hold it up I did. All single parents reading this will know that inner strength that we develop. The strength that says “get up” when all you want to do is crawl away and hide.

I relied heavily on that inner strength in the first few weeks and months.

But in those early days I was supported by many. Friends like @Traveloguer (he’s crap at Twitter so don’t follow him! ) kept me going in ways I can’t adequately express. How fortunate to have true mates…but (and I’m sure all single dads will relate to this), you also find your house being visited by single women with all sorts of offers of help and support especially in the early days.

I used to wonder if it was because they didn’t think I could cope on my own…now I wonder if at least some of them thought they might strike up a relationship??

Jack the lad!

One such lady…Sophie,  caught me on the way into work one morning. (I was in a suit and tie in those days). She took my tie off in the street and loosened my collar, and lifted my chin up, pecked me on the cheek and said something like “much better”. I got into work that morning with something of a spring in my step…a week later she asked if I wanted to come over to her house in Provence for a few days. “Just the two of us”. The kids were packed off to Grandma’s in a flash and I was on a plane!

If you can’t enjoy sex in the late September warming climate of Provence with no kids and wine at lunchtime then there is something wrong. It was a blissful few days 😉

But back in the UK, the daily grind of another type returned. Guilty at having left my kids and mounting pressure at work, and an endless round of Divorce hearings and…the list goes on…meant that our fledgling relationship was put under strain. This one was not to last. But Soph was and is a lovely person…and for reminding me that I was a man and not one who should hide-away was a real gift. Thank you Soph!

It was a year before I met Lisa. (Lisa was blonde with extremely curly hair btw).  Another lovely woman – this time a single mum. We used to live a mile or so from each other and although we never moved in together, we used to see a lot of each other. It was good…but again not destined to last.  Another 11 month relationship?? Another lovely person gone from my life. Lisa was a Northerner and could make me laugh like no-one before.  But why?

Sex (I believe) became an issue in both these two relationships sadly. Both Lisa and Sophie enjoyed having sex with me. And I did with them – don’t get me wrong. But these relationships were being forged at a time when single parenting and work were really sapping me of my sex drive.

I was spending day after day doing house work, making packed lunches, shopping, cooking, trying to cope with a full-time job…and to be honest, by the time I got the kids to bed at 8ish I was more Done-In than Don Juan.

I think many single mums will relate to the shear tiredness factor that must impact on new relationships. But for dads who cope with the all the domestic drudgery…I really do believe that there is something emasculating about the whole thing. What is it my “friend” Chris wrote in a paper once “Bob …more Wonder Woman than Superman”

He made a valid point!

Confidence

Men need confidence to enjoy good sex. That is a male #fact.

So when single dads I talk to speak of feeling “effeminate and boring” because all they do is housework and domestic stuff, I can really relate. It’s a horrible feeling.  All single Dads I have ever met go through periods when their confidence (hence their sex-drive) disappears temporarily.

I tell them (and myself when I remember) that although we may be domestic drudges; my God, we should be super confident because we really are doing it all. Alpha Males might be bullish in the work place and a bit shouty down the pub…but if you want to find a real man…single dads up and down the land step up to plate, and in my book, have everything to be proud of.

Our confidence really should be sky high!

As for me, I long for the day when I find myself in a long-term sexually fulfilling and loving relationship.

It takes confidence though to make a move – and sometimes I still feel like I might want to hide away – while at other times, I just know I can move mountains!

Whatever – and I do like to keep our single dad friends in mind…our time will come. I’m sure. If in doubt we just need to look at the statistics… 😉

Bob
@OnlyDads

Yes, he did start by saying he couldn’t write. Am sure you’ll all agree with me now that he is a far too modest man! Please comment below to let Bob know what you thought about his guest blog – it took some convincing to get him to do it and I’d really like him to feel the love! If you are a twitterer – please also tweet him @OnlyDads to share your views on this post.

Oh, and send him some socks too please.


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42 Comments

  • Reply Richard 25th November 2010 at 10:46 am

    Bob, a really moving post. a cracker. I too felt a failure when my marriage ended, no real reason except my ex said she wanted to try again with someone else before she was too old and she didnt love me anymore. I had been wrapped up in just getting to the train station, doing my job, getting home at 8, having supper and going to bed – the normal life of a commuter holding down a job. It took a while to regain ones confidence and it was a time when you took a real hard look at yourself and thought – who actiually am I ? The real you got kinda buried in the chores of normal life. The kids live with their mum, so there is a real emptiness that has to be filled constructively, and it makes the time together really important. 5 years on I think I am making some headway.
    All the best

    • Reply Bob Greig 26th November 2010 at 8:00 am

      Richard – thank you for your comments. Glad the article resonated.
      You will make headway – for some of us men it IS a matter of years though. Onwards and upwards as they say :)

  • Reply LauraCYMFT 25th November 2010 at 10:56 am

    Great post! I always seem to hear of stories of women being left by their men who have run off with a younger, prettier woman. It’s not nice to read but it shows that women are capable of doing the same thing to a man and it affecting a man just as much as it does a woman. Good luck to Bob, I hope you find what you are looking for. It sounds like you deserve someone very special.

    • Reply Bob Greig 26th November 2010 at 8:02 am

      Thank you for your comments Laura. I am gald you enjoyed the article. It’s pleasing to know that folk found it interesting :)

  • Reply Ann 25th November 2010 at 12:19 pm

    Who said you couldn’t write??? What a great post! Sounds like you’re doing a great job to me – hope you find your soulmate soon.

    • Reply Bob Greig 26th November 2010 at 8:03 am

      Ann, thank you for kind comments :)

      It actually means a lot…

  • Reply Me 25th November 2010 at 1:29 pm

    an ex of mine was a single dad….same kind of circumstances. He did a bad job tho in my mind and we split because I couldnt handle the way he treated his son :(

    Bob….you do men a credit

  • Reply Me 25th November 2010 at 1:29 pm

    and by the way…bloomin well written too :)

    • Reply Bob Greig 26th November 2010 at 8:20 am

      “bloomin well written” you say – well that brought a “bloomin big smile”

      Thank you :)

  • Reply farmerdadof2 25th November 2010 at 3:41 pm

    I really don’t know what to say Bob, but you’ve hit the nail on the head. I can only hope that people can read your post and begin to understand us, our “rare breed”, the single dad.
    I can certainly relate to the feelings of “inadequacy” , as at first, you are simply doing everything you can to keep going, to keep a smile on your face for your kids.
    Now, while I don’t exactly have a frolicking social life, I do have a close circle of friends, mostly single mums in fact, who are an irreplaceable support line – I don’t personally know any other single dads – and what I have learned from them is priceless. Especially about love and relationships whilst being a single parent.
    It’s not easy, there are a multitude of things you need to worry about, not least of which how your prospective partner will be with your children – and how your children will react to someone else in your life.
    Now, while I have not been in a long-term relationship since becoming a single dad – or really been looking for one, As you have stated my time will come, but in the meantime, I’m a single dad, and am happy with that.

    • Reply Bob Greig 26th November 2010 at 8:22 am

      I can’t tell you how I appreciated reading your comments. Thank you my friend.

      I like the analogy of single dads being a “rare breed” – like a Gloucester Old Spot I would say. A bit messy but a bit special at the same time 😉

      Cheers !

  • Reply Single Dad's Diary 25th November 2010 at 6:16 pm

    Really good to read more than just 140 character Tweets, Bob. So much of what you wrote rings true for me too, I guess single parent dads have many common experiences.

    • Reply Bob Greig 26th November 2010 at 8:24 am

      Thank you SDD

      Most single Dads (if not all) do share common experiences, emotions, and an ability to talk about it. The fact we can write and talk about it is the good thing :)

      All the best brother!

  • Reply andthenallithoughtaboutwasyou 25th November 2010 at 8:17 pm

    What a great post rubbish you can’t write! Really makes you think what you have to go through and it was very enlightening x

    • Reply Bob Greig 26th November 2010 at 8:26 am

      Thank you for kind comments – means a lot :)

  • Reply mummyfiles 25th November 2010 at 8:54 pm

    Really honest and enlightening post. I was brought up by my dad and always thought he should hold his head up high as he did absolutely everything for us. I’m glad you feel you can move mountains, hats off to you.

    • Reply Bob Greig 26th November 2010 at 8:29 am

      The fact that OnlyDads can speak to others who have been brought up by their dads is special…

      Thank you for reading the article and commenting. You should write one for the OD website on how it was for you, being brought up by a Dad…would be interesting reading for sure.

      Bob x

  • Reply ocean_design 25th November 2010 at 9:18 pm

    First time I’ve ever actually written a comment on a blog, great writing Bob! I can’t say I would have said “What sort of husband must he have been?” More like “What sort of woman must she be?”. All the best, you will make a fine catch for a lovely lady I’m sure x

    • Reply Bob Greig 26th November 2010 at 8:30 am

      …your first comment on a blog…my first blog

      Everyone’s a winner :)

      Thank you X

  • Reply scribblingmum 25th November 2010 at 10:12 pm

    Really enjoyed reading this post, you have a really easy style of writing to read, I like it! Hope your two gals know how lucky they are to have such a cool Dad. Refreshingly different post, thank you muchly.

    • Reply Bob Greig 26th November 2010 at 8:31 am

      very warm and kind comments. Thank you SO much.

      Bob x

  • Reply Sarah 26th November 2010 at 10:26 am

    Wow – sounds tough but ultimately the biggest looser must be your ex! Lovely post. xx

    • Reply Bob Greig 26th November 2010 at 3:44 pm

      …Thanks for reading and commenting. I think you are right !

  • Reply Chrissie 26th November 2010 at 11:11 am

    A lovely, moving and very honest post. There’s such a maelstrom of emotions after a separation, all made so much more poignant when there are children involved. To keep going is all you can do at times but not without sacrificing a little bit of yourself in the daily grind… Raising kids alone is not to be underestimated.

    Your ex wife is the loser in all of this Bob, despite the challenges you’re raising two gorgeous girls and she’ll never be able to wind back the clock and share the experiences which they will carry into adulthood. Despite any teenage strops and tantrums inbetween, your girls will grow up knowing who put their life on hold for them and that bond is irreplaceable. Especially by some gym junky whose looks and muscles will fade over time.

    As for the social life, I know of a great organisation that one day will tempt you onto one of our events or holidays….believe me you’d never look back!

    Chrissie x

    • Reply Bob Greig 26th November 2010 at 3:45 pm

      Thanks Chrissie!

      All you say makes perfect sense :)

  • Reply Cate Pearce 26th November 2010 at 11:32 am

    I loved this post, your simple honesty was refreshing and you CAN write.
    When it is about something you live and feel every day, and comes from the heart, you can’t go wrong.
    Well done and good luck. :)

    • Reply Bob Greig 26th November 2010 at 3:47 pm

      Thanks Cate. Those are kind words and much appreciated.

  • Reply Kate 26th November 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Just started following you on Twitter Bob, am really touched by this blog. Everything you’ve said is spot on, so honest and encouraging. :)

    • Reply Bob Greig 26th November 2010 at 7:19 pm

      Thank you Kate…I appreciate your comments. And the follow :) X

  • Reply Kirsten Gronning 26th November 2010 at 8:18 pm

    Astoundingly honest – telling it as it really is – is Bob’s USP and one which wins him fans, both male and female. But what’s this ‘modesty’ around his writing ability which comes up from time to time? Bob, it’s clear you *can* really write, just keep on doing it as you are!

    • Reply Bob Greig 27th November 2010 at 9:13 am

      Kirsten,,,you are very kind : It must be writing with you and @redstarkim that has improved my style :)

      Bob X

  • Reply Tweets that mention G is for… Guest Post from OnlyDads.org « MrsLJHall -- Topsy.com 29th November 2010 at 12:01 am

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Quetzalcoatl, OnlyDads and OnlyDads, Kirsten Gronning. Kirsten Gronning said: @OnlyDads at his honest best: ”ten times more single mums than single dads…blimey son, you’re in luck” http://ow.ly/3g06x […]

  • Reply Ol Moore 29th November 2010 at 1:40 pm

    Bob,

    Moving, very moving- I don’t have the day to day caring of my daughter but I have had relationships fail when that person was introduced to my daughter and their realisation that I am a parent and that priorities are different.

    I am incredibly proud of being a Dad and proud of my daughter and as you say I am sure my time will come.

    You are a beacon of light for all dads, single, married, weekend or whatever.
    Thank you.

    Oli

    • Reply Bob Greig 30th November 2010 at 9:01 am

      Oli…what can I say? Those are kind and warm words :)

      Thank you. Bob

  • Reply online forex trading 2nd December 2010 at 5:06 pm

    I usually don’t post in Blogs but your blog forced me to, amazing work.. beautiful …

  • Reply Anon E Mouse 4th December 2010 at 7:25 pm

    What a great post! You shouldn’t put yourself down mate (what was that about confidence?) – you write beautifully. “More Done-In than Don Juan” – priceless.

    “Men need confidence to enjoy good sex. That is a male #fact.” Never a truer word was spoke. And I’m not sure how many women understand this, many seem to think that blokes can – or *should* – be able to turn it on like a tap.

    It’s worth pointing out – and this may be already in the comments; I haven’t yet read them all – that not only single men have this problem. I’ve been married for 4 years to a woman I lived with for 10 before that. She has always been on the bossy side & yes, can be somewhat domineering.

    While I had the relative independence of my own income – although it always has been & became increasingly less than hers – it was less of a problem. However some years ago I was made redundant & have struggled to find regular employment since. I do have a reasonable income now, but it’s from business ventures we have together

    This has meant: 1) Being at home I am expected to be responsible for household chores, & 2) I have become financially dependent on her. She can be demanding, fussy & controlling; I often feel as if I can never do anything right. If I do something she asks it’s almost never done correctly, if I don’t do it of course she accuses me of neglect.

    So not only am I doing a lot of what is traditionally considered ‘women’s work’ as per your post; I also have a woman standing over me berating me for my – in her eyes – mistakes. To make matters worse, she’s on maternity leave at present so both of us are at home nearly all the time. We bicker a lot…

    The result, for me, is a feeling of emasculation. I have become defiantly confident, but it’s still a struggle. I don’t remember the last time I had sex, although having recently had our first children together has had a lot to do with that.

    And as for breaking up: we both love our children too much to leave them or break up their new home.

    • Reply Bob Greig 5th December 2010 at 9:35 am

      Thank you for taking the time to read the blog and comment.

      It is good to know that the content has struck a chord with quite a few men. You talk very openly about your situation and recognise some of the issues that many (many) men face when they become “based” at home.

      As I write I am wondering if other stay-at-home Dads might like to join the list of those commenting. Could be quite interesting if they did!

      Thank you again – it means a lot !

  • Reply Anon E Mouse 4th December 2010 at 7:50 pm

    I meant to add: Your post struck a chord. Thank you for bringing the issue out into the open

  • Reply narnia 10th December 2010 at 7:52 pm

    wooohoo nice post!

  • Reply Ruth 11th December 2010 at 11:20 pm

    Great post Bob,
    Inspired this one,
    http://this-lemonade-life.blogspot.com/2010/12/view-from-here-inspired-by-bob-at.html
    Ru

    • Reply Bob Greig 12th December 2010 at 4:57 pm

      Thanks Ruth,

      It seems this rather simple article has a life of it’s own. It has inspired others to write along the same lines too – which is the best thing of all really.

      Bob x

  • Reply The view from here… inspired by Bob at Onlydads.org | singleparentsgroup.net 12th December 2010 at 12:27 am

    […] few weeks ago we review this post that he had created for Mrs L J Hall’s blog and it disposed me to write about my practice of dating given apropos a singular parent. […]

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