Hell, once they can eat and get dressed on their own, they can practically babysit themselves, right?In the four years since the birth of my daughter and the end of my relationship with her mother, I have done some dating.No, I’m not talking about being physically beautiful, or being “arm candy” (although that is great too.) We want to be able to take you to company functions and family reunions, and as we are leaving, we want our bosses, our coworkers, or that old slightly-senile uncle who always smells suspiciously like whiskey to pull us aside and tell us we better hang onto you, because you’re a keeper.

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Easy or not, the majority of those four years, I was battling some fairly serious depression and anxiety due primarily to the minimal time I was able to spend with my daughter and the ongoing conflict with her mother.

Because of this, finding a potential partner to have a serious relationship with was not a priority for me until about the time I began dating my last girlfriend.

Having recently read an article describing What A Single Mom Wants In A Boyfriend I began asking myself exactly what I was looking for in a woman with whom I choose to have a relationship. Recently, after a brutal 14-month custody battle, I was finally granted 50/50 custody of her and no longer limited to being an every-other-weekend dad.

You might think that change shouldn’t have a significant effect on the qualities I look for in a woman, but it absolutely does.

We just need you to reassure us that everything is going to work out.

These days, mothers are almost always viewed by the courts and the general public as the most capable and nurturing parent.

The littlest thing that was said in passing, months before, is suddenly brought up again as a supposed glaring infraction on our part.

We want you to trust us so we aren’t always walking on eggshells.

Sure, we know you think we are great at it, but we need to hear it.

Plus, when you feed our egos, the odds are it will pay off for you in the near future.

At that point, after more than our share of failed relationships, we both genuinely thought we had found “the one.”◊♦◊The day I was granted equal custody of my daughter fell smack-dab right in the middle of our relationship, and looking back, it was a defining moment for us—the day I can pinpoint as the beginning of the end.