Tips to dating a busy dad

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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.

‘I can’t tell you how many times I was reduced to tears by a seven-year-old!

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‘Some fathers vow not to have more children, especially if they’ve experienced bitter divorces; others are determined to do it again, this time with the right person,’ she says.But I ended up feeling like a frustrated outsider.’ Charlotte and Evan split after five years.‘Selfish as it sounds, I just didn’t want to share him,’ she explains.‘If you know you want children, the benefit of watching him at work is that you’ll have a much clearer understanding of where you’re compatible on important things like family values and discipline.’ And me?I have been given a unique window on to a world I never imagined before I met James.

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