A profile is an amazing thing.
Think about it. In a few short paragraphs and some check boxes, we attempt to summarize our entire selves – or at least to give enough information that the right person might want to learn more.
It’s really the ultimate marketing. We’re marketing ourselves.
I personally think that CatholicMatch has this system worked out brilliantly. In one short page, our friends at CatholicMatch have created a format that can, if used correctly, give a remarkable snapshot of some of the most important issues Catholic singles face in dating. Is this person Catholic? Does he or she take the faith seriously? Free to marry? Have children? Want children? What are his or her values? What is important? Lifestyle?
In such a tight and well-constructed format, every piece of information takes on an almost exaggerated importance. When you only know five facts about someone, each fact comprises 20 percent of your overall impression.
Which is why it becomes very problematic if one of those facts is…well, alarming. Or strange. Or out of place. You think “I can’t be reading that right.” “Maybe he meant something else.” “Maybe she didn’t understand the question.”
And thus, I begin my discussion “Profiles: Things That Make You Go ‘Huh?’”, in which we will examine the factoids we discover about people that make us stop, scratch our heads, ask “huh?” and immediately move on to the next profile. The statements that, if you have posted on your profile, you may want to reconsider.
Today’s topic, and one of my primary “huh?” elicitors, involves two seemingly unrelated multiple choice questions. The first, as you’ve probably all seen, asks whether the person being profiled has children. The answer that catches my attention is “yes, at home part time.”
This, I generally assume, means that those children are minors and that they live with someone else (presumably their other parent) the rest of the time. Obviously a less-than-ideal situation for children, but one in which some really stellar parents sometimes unfortunately find themselves. And those parents – the really stellar ones – do everything they can to make the situation easier for the children and to maximize the time they spend with them.
So far, so good.
The head-scratching starts when I then refer back to the last question of the previous section, an innocent-looking little one-word line: relocating. It asks whether the person is willing to move to another city (state, country, whatever) for the sake of a relationship.
Incredibly, I sometimes see grown men (perhaps women too – I don’t see a lot of female profiles) with children who live with them part time answer this with “I’m open to live anywhere.”
What the what?!?
Seriously, I’m very open to the fact that I might be reading this wrong or understanding it wrong. I’m open to any explanation except the obvious one, that this parent is willing to move away from his or her own children for the sake of a relationship.
’Cause if that’s the case, I’m out. Gone. Next!
I have always been open to dating someone with children. But I have never, ever been open to dating someone who doesn’t put his children and his role as father ahead of his love life. That’s unfathomable to me – completely incomprehensible. They’re kids. They need a dad…one who’s around.
Not living under the same roof full-time is heartbreaking enough for a child. But to voluntarily move out of state? To go far enough away that you can’t be readily available for parent conferences and school plays and emergency room trips? To force your children to get on an airplane every time they want to hug their father?
I think the traits that make a man a good father are the same traits that make him a good man, whether he has kids or not. And primary among those is the ability to put the needs of others – particularly young children – ahead of his own desires. And willingness to move away from his own kids (under any circumstances) to me seems radically incompatible with that.
Like I said, if I’m describing your profile, I’d love to hear that I’ve read it wrong somewhere. Maybe your “children” are in their 30s and sleeping on the sofa in your basement. Maybe your young children would join you if you moved, along with your super-supportive (and annulled) ex, who is willing to live anywhere in the interest of helping you follow your latest flame. Maybe they aren’t your children at all, but merely the tenant children of migrant workers who live with you seasonally. Maybe you live on the U.S.S. Enterprise and can transport your children at will with a simple command to “beam them up.” If so, you might want to go back and clarify that somewhere.
If, on the other hand, that is the case, and you are open to abandoning your minor children for the sake of your love life, then please don’t change a thing on your profile. Because these are the things we like to know up front.
CatholicMatch is proud to be the preferred dating site of many stand-up single dads. Check out 19 of them here, ladies; we know these photos will melt your hearts!