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I'm Dating a Reflection of Myself

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Even though I am a single Mom in my mid-30s, I don’t attract men with children—ever. So imagine my surprise when I found myself engaging with an old childhood friend and ugh, developing feelings for him. While I’m trying to deny that I really enjoy his companionship because I am afraid to allow myself to be vulnerable again, I can’t deny the fact that not a day goes by when he doesn’t mention the drama he has with the mothers of his children.

Yes, Baby Mama drama. He has plenty of it.

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It’s weird looking at things from this side of the equation because my ex, the father of my two sons, is the one who has swept through a string of women, all smiling, in my son’s faces. While I can imagine what he tells these women about me, since I have never dated anyone with children, I could never imagine what I am now experiencing by dating a man with Baby Mama drama.

This man has five children from two women, one of whom was his wife and the other, the love of his life. He doesn’t live in the state with them but works out-of-state so that he can earn more money to send back to them. When we first reconnected, he was very bitter and sad about his last break up and I, the perpetual life coach, prodded him until he recognized that the relationship was dead and it wasn’t his last chance at love.

Since then, he has replaced his sadness with anger, lashing out at her at every turn, exchanging angry phone calls and text messages with her and resigning that he won’t be able to see or speak to his children because she is using them to hurt him.

I usually sit holding my phone wondering what the hell I have gotten myself into. This is my life but flipped.

In my world, I am the one paying child support because my son’s father has custody of our kids. I am the one who has to wait until he allows them to call me to talk. I am the one who has to hear how I am not a good mother and I don’t mean anything to my children when he becomes upset that I didn’t do what he wants me to do. All of this time I thought that I was singled out for this type of interaction when really, this seems to be common treatment for non-custodial parents.

I find myself giving him the treatment that I wish I had in my life.

Sometimes I don’t know what to say to him. I damn sure don’t allow him to vent his rage to me when he can’t see his children because I can’t stand to hear a man complain about women, especially the mother of his children. This is confusing and hurtful to hear about, and I identify with his effort to remain a part of his children’s lives. I see how he tries, how he buys them phones and sends them gifts, how he must listen to his exes ask for financial help over and over again even though he is paying child support already. If he doesn’t give them what they ask for, they berate him and tell him he’s not a good father.

The same thing happened to me.

While I am not certain that this thing between he and I will turn into intense, passionate love, I do have a certain amount of compassion for watching him navigate rocky relationships with two different women. I find myself being extra gentle, extra caring and extra encouraging to him. I find myself giving him the treatment that I wish I had in my life.

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He swears he will never get married, fall in love or have children ever again, but I know he is lying. He loves women too much. He loves love too much. All it will take is one special lady with a pair of beautiful eyes to stare at him, smile and treat him like a man and he will forget all the trouble he’s seen thus far.

As for me, I guess I’d like to believe the same. It may take some time, but many thanks to my friend for being my mirror and helping me see that I’m not the only one in a rotten relationship with my ex. And the encouraging words that I consistently speak to him? I’m starting to believe them myself.

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