I was in no hurry to settle down, but it is a luxury to get a preview of the kind of father your partner will be.
Three years ago, baby talk of any kind left me itching to start a conga, just to lighten the mood.
Or we’d be on our way to pick him up and she’d call to announce a change of plan.
Tom would be crushed with disappointment.’ James’ boy is six now, and I’ve known him for more than half his life.
It was spontaneous and chaotic, and that’s how I liked it.That it took a child to teach me about growing up is an irony not lost on me.It is a notable dichotomy that today’s thirtysomethings – born on the cusp where Generation X meets Generation Y – battle with Peter Pan syndrome.‘I can’t tell you how many times I was reduced to tears by a seven-year-old!I’d been attracted to Evan because he was responsible, self-assured and not like the other guys I’d dated, who could barely look after themselves.I spent far too long in an unhappy marriage, so when it was over I recognised The One the minute I met her. There’s so much hostility from my embittered ex-wife – it’s like she holds a gun to my head in terms of access to the children. But it’s an ongoing challenge that we’ll only realise the enormity of as time goes on.However solid the relationship is, I live in fear that my girlfriend will lose patience and one day say, “I don’t need this, I’m gone”.’ The terminology doesn’t help. James’ son and I bonded over a shared appreciation of Star Wars and the kind of imagination that can turn an empty washing basket into a spaceship. ‘If you thought about the energy you have to expend for little or no return when dating a man with kids long term, you would never do it,’ warns Ruth, who was 28 when she got together with Tom, who had a five-year-old son, Jacob.This constant tug-of-love is tough for the father, too.Christian, a 35-year-old dad to girls aged three and six, puts it neatly: ‘My girlfriend is the most understanding person on Earth.I cancelled that trip to South America weeks before I was due to leave.Why go to the other side of the world for an adventure? Me, James, his boy and a small dragon who goes by the name of Spyro, lined up on the sofa and watching Return of the Jedi. Things to know before dating a dad By Wednesday Martin, author of 1.