Gay Dad Life

How Do Divorced Gay Dads Date?

We're curious about the dating habits of divorced gay dads. Here are the stories of four of them: Mark, Brian, Greg and Ed.


A beginning, that’s how Mark views this new chapter in his life. The 44-year-old Seattle-based high school teacher talks about his past with heartbreak, and his future with bittersweet hope.

“We were only married two years, and we adopted our baby girl right afterward,” he says of his now-defunct partnership to a man 10 years his junior. “It’s embarrassing, because I bragged about everything to everyone. We were the perfect couple, the product of new gay times, with our little girl and our house and all of that. Then I found out my husband was having an affair. That was it. He was gone; we dissolved the marriage; we now share custody of our child.”

The end of the story? Not really, as three years later, Mark has stepped into the dating world, again, with a little less trust and a lot more family. “I have a three-year-old child, which is more of a dealbreaker than I would have thought,” says Mark, who adds that he’s on about three different online dating sites.

Mark, like many gay men around the country and the world, is embarking on a journey they never imagined before  the fight for marriage and children progressed: being single with a kid in tow.

“I don’t think people read those online profiles very carefully before they respond,” he says, “because I get all these messages from men, we chat, I remind them I have a little girl, and I never hear from them again. My mom was a single mother and I can completely relate. When I do date, and I have our daughter that week, there’s a lot of hassle. The babysitter, the phone calls, the getting home on time. I don’t think single gay men are comfortable with that lifestyle. Or at least they are not used to it.”

Mark says he would love to date another man with kids, but he hasn’t struck that gold. “I want to date the men I’m attracted to, and so far I haven’t met another man with kids who gets me going,” he says matter-of-factly. “Also, I tend to be attracted to younger men, and there’s a much bigger chance that they won’t have children, or want them.”

Although Mark and his ex-husband don’t communicate outside of discussions about their child, he does know that there’s a new man in that picture. “Yes, it makes it harder,” he admits. “He started seeing someone immediately after the breakup. I’m told I shouldn’t care, but it hurts and it makes dating harder. I feel as if I’m supposed to have someone new too. And my daughter talks about her other two dads a lot. That’s very hard.”

When I asked Mark about dating outside the cyber world, he says he’d love to, but does not quite know where to begin. “Half of my friends are no longer my friends,” he says on life after separation, “and my entire social life revolved around my husband. I teach all day, I work out when I can, and I come home exhausted, with a child to raise. Yes, Seattle is very gay-friendly, and sometimes I’ll meet a man when I take my daughter on walks or to the park or getting coffee, but it’s not as glamorous as it seems in the movies.”

While he’s somewhat joking about the last part, he does say there’s a myth to the notion that men think Daddies who are Dads are hot. “It sounds sexy on paper,” says Mark, “but once men realize how complicated my life is, they don’t find it so alluring. I’m not fighting men off with a stick. And try meeting a guy at a bar and then telling him you have a three-year-old. It’s like telling him you have herpes.”


Brian, 49, who lives in Dallas and has two children from a long-ago marriage to a woman, tells a different kind of story.

His children got a new dad when he moved in with his partner 10 years ago; they have since broken up. “My ex-partner loved my kids, and he was their second dad,” says Brian, who also says his children have a wonderful relationship with their mom. “They were still pretty young when my wife and I divorced, so in their minds my ex was my life partner, as they grew up around him and we lived together for over five years. Also, my wife remarried, so they’re wondering what happened to me,” he laughs.

Now that he’s single and living in an apartment, alone, Brian dates quite a bit.

“People always ask me if it’s difficult dating and having kids,” he says, adding, “not really. Maybe I’m just lucky. Maybe it’s because my kids are older. Maybe I’m just automatically attracted to men who like kids, but I date a lot. It doesn’t always last but I’m not a sexual hermit.”

Brian says that if he meets anyone he’s interested in dating, or if someone asks him out, he tells him he has kids in the first conversation.

“It’s one of those things you need to say immediately, not just so he’ll know that you come with so-called baggage, but because children are a part of who you are. Once you’re a dad, your priorities shift, your attitude on life shifts, you’re a dad! And on that rare occasion I meet someone who objects, I need to know right away because to even go on a date would be a complete waste of time.”

An avid beer drinker, Brian says he meets men on Grindr and Scruff, at Dallas bars, and lots of Sunday beer blasts and barbecues. “I think I meet more men at The Eagle than anywhere in Dallas,” says Brian. “Something about those big leather guys. They’re all softies underneath, and they all love kids. That’s so cool.”


Venice physical therapist Greg, 49, paints a completely different picture of the single dad life. Separated from his partner for six years, and with a 17-year-old son with whom he shares custody, he says that in that time he’s had a few hookups with friends of friends and has been on two blind dates, “both horrible, one worse than the next.”

“I’ve not dated since,” he says. “I have a very difficult relationship with my ex at times and I have to be on guard. I want my son to get through high school and keep him as my focus of attention. When he’s off to college I can think of myself again.”

Sound sad? Not at all, says Greg, who adds that he’s not opposed to dating, he just doesn’t see it as a necessity.

“I’m open to dating, but it hasn’t arisen,” he says, simply. “I do not go to bars, I do not go out seeking dates. I do not go online. If it’s going to happen I would imagine it would be at a party with friends.”

Greg seems almost baffled when I tell him that other single men feel the need to date or be in a relationship.

“I’m not lonely,” he says. “I keep busy. My son is my focus and I’m very close to my family. I’m a private person by nature. I do not need to seek constant companionship. My life is very full just being me.”

Back to the dating game, Greg adds, “There are plenty of men who I see and who I’m attracted to, but they never approach me. I don’t put out that energy.”

Besides, dating is a package deal for Greg. “I wouldn’t bring someone in my life if my son wasn’t comfortable around him,” he says sternly, suggesting he’s spent a lot of time thinking about the subject.

“He’d meet my son in less than a day,” Greg says on any potential partner. “I think of myself and my son as a family and a unit. I would say, ‘Hey, would you mind if my son came along?’ There’s no hiding it. It’s right from the start.”


A relative virgin to after-divorce dating, Ed, 51, a New York realtor, has been separated from his partner for a year, and has been on four dates; the guys were aged from 22 to 55. His two children are 22 and 19.

“My expectations on a date are not high,” he says. “I’m not looking for anything serious; hanging out, friendship, a f*** buddy. I’m not committed, emotionally or physically.”

He’s also not finding what he sees as anything substantial. “I was very attracted to one guy, 44, who was after me. Turns out he lived in a halfway house, was a drug addict, was on social security and disability, and had tried to commit suicide. I had a date with a twenty-five-year-old; he was interesting and well grounded and he was holding my hand in the cab. I never heard from him again.”

Ed, who says he meets most men on Grindr or Manhunt, would prefer to date someone closer to his age, but says the avenues are limited.

“The resources aren’t there,” he says. “Are you really going to find a guy in his fifties on Grindr or Manhunt? You’re going to meet them at parties or from friends. I don’t want to go to the bars. What other establishments are there to meet men my age? I have no intention of going on because the men I know who are on it are miserable. I also think there are less men in our age group to date because a lot of them are partnered.”

While Ed says he hasn’t had any particular trouble after telling dates he has children, it can be awkward on the other side. “When I told my daughter I went on a date with a 25-year-old she almost had a heart attack. But he helped me build my self-confidence again. In reality, however, it would never work.”

What Ed didn’t tell his daughter is how often that age group is available. “I only get the young ones,” he says. “It’s a father/son thing. The majority of them I meet, their fathers were absent in their lives. Ultimately, they’re cute and you want to teach them in the bedroom. It’s a turn-on and a turn-off because of their age.”

* * *

While Ed and others I spoke to for this piece said they’d wait a good chunk of time before introducing any man to their kids, Greg has the dissenting opinion. “I would never wait,” he says, adamantly. “That would make it all about me and not my son.”

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Change the World

10 Inspiring Coming Out Stories From Gay Dads

Happy National Coming Out Day! To celebrate, we've rounded up some of our recent stories about gay men with kids coming out to live their most authentic lives.

Happy National Coming Out Day! To celebrate, we've rounded up some of our best articles of gay dads coming out to live their authentic lives.

#1. Former NFL Player Jeff Rohrer, and Father of Two, Comes Out as Gay and Marries Longterm Partner

Jeff Rohrer, a father of two teenage boys via a previous relationship with a woman, is the first NFL player to marry another man. Read the article here.

#2. Coming Out to His Wife Was Painful, Says This Salt Lake-Based Dad of Four. But it Started Him on a Path of Authenticity

After Kyle came out to his wife, with whom he has four children, "she listened, she mourned and she loved," he said. Read the article here.

#3. Gay Dads Share Their Coming Out Stories for National Coming Out Day

We asked several gay dads to share their coming out stories in honor of National Coming Out Day, whose stories are heartwarming, instructive, and everything in between. Read the article here.

#4. Gay Muslim Single Dad Writes Op Ed on His Path to Self Acceptance

Maivon Wahid writes about the challenges of reconciling three separate, but equally important, identities in an opinion piece for Gay Star News. Read the article here.

#5. One Gay Dad's Path Towards Realizing Being Gay and Christian are Not Mutually Exclusive

Gay dads Matt and David Clark-Sally talk about coming out, parenting as gay men, and reconciling faith and sexuality. Read the article here.

#6. Republican Utah Lawmaker, and Dad of Two, Comes Out as Gay in Moving Video

Nathan Ivie has many important identities he's proud of: Mormon, Republican, Utahn, father of two... and gay. Read the article here.

#7. How Coming Out Helped This Gay Man Find the Strength to Be a Dad

Steven Kerr shares the moment he came out to his ex-girlfriend. "From that moment on," he writes, "my strength and purpose have grown." Read the article here.

#8. Ed Smart, Father of Kidnapping Victim Elizabeth Smart, Comes Out as Gay

In coming his coming out letter, Ed Smart, a Mormon, condemned the church for their "ridicule, shunning, rejection and outright humiliation" of LGBTQ individuals. Read the article here.

#9. The Best Part of Coming Out, Says This Gay Dad, Is Being an Out and Proud Role Model for His Daughter

"I couldn't face myself in the mirror and think that I could be a good dad and role model for my child when I was lying to myself every moment of every day," said Nate Wormington of his decision to come out. Read the article here.

#10. These Gay Dads Via Previous Marriages Have Adopted a Motto Since Coming Out and Finding Each Other: "United We Stand"

Vincent and Richard both had children in previous marriages with women; together, with their ex-wives, they are helping raise seven beautiful kids. Read the article here.

Gay Dad Life

Retired NFL Player Reveals He, His Husband and Ex-Wife Live and Raise Kids Together

Former Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jeff Rohrer says "we get in fights" thanks to the unique co-parenting arrangement, but that they're "doing the best we can."

Former Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jeff Rohrer, who played for the Dallas Cowboys from 1982 to 1989, came out as gay not long ago and became the first NFL player to marry another man, Joshua Ross. Jeff is a father of two teenage boys, who he had with his ex-wife, Heather Rohrer. In a recent interview with People, Jeff, Joshua and Heather discussed their unique co-parenting situation.

"It wasn't that Jeffrey came out to me, but once I figured it out, it was obvious he was gay," Heather said. "He thought it was wrong; he was so angry. He thought his children wouldn't love him, that he'd lose his job. I tried to help him. I kept trying to tell him it was okay, that it was no big deal. But it was to him."

Today, all three adults live together, along with their two children, Isabella, 16, and Dondillon, 15.

"We get in our fights, but we find a way to make up. We're just trying to do the best that we can," Joshua said.

"Jeff and Josh are my family, and we're a better team together than apart," Heather said for her part. "Being together for the kids is the important thing for us. It's been difficult to get to this place, but it's worth it."

Read the entire piece on People.


New Dad Andy Cohen Is Back on Grindr

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"Get off Grindr and start being a dad," said one follower who appeared to think single parents must take a vow of celibacy the minute they start changing diapers. "You're sad, that kid has no chance," said another.

Fortunately, others came to Cohen's defense. "You think once people have children they should just be celibate?" one person asked. "I support Andy and grindr!" said another. "We're all human bro!"

The only thing crazy to us about Andy Cohen being back on Grindr is that the app repeatedly kicks him off, thinking he's impersonating himself. So maybe better to try Scruff?

Gay Dad Family Stories

David and Ben Met on the Dance Floor — and Are Now Grooving Their Way Through Fatherhood

David and Ben, who became fathers with the help of Northwest Surrogacy Center, live in Melbourne with their daughter, Maia.

In 2003, while both studying at Reading University in the UK, Ben Suter and David Cocks met after locking eyes on the dance floor and then being introduced by a mutual friend. Ben, a meteorologist and Operations Manager, and David, an Assistant Principal, have been together ever since. They moved to Australia together in 2010, seeking a different life, and an overall better work-life balance. The chose Cairns in Queensland as their new home, between the Great Barrier Reef and the tropical rainforest, "taking life a bit easier," said David. The couple were also married in June 2016, back home in England.

While David always wanted kids, Ben took a little convincing. So they started their parenting journey with a dog, Titan, who quickly became like their first born. From there, Ben came around rather quickly.

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Single Gay Dad and the City

When Kyle decided to take his four kids, ages 6-11, to New York City on vacation, his friends thought he was crazy.

"You're crazy, Kyle."

"You can't be serious? A single dad taking four kids to the Big Apple? Think again."

"That's bold. There's no way I'd do that."

Those were a few of the responses I heard from my friends as I told them I was thinking of booking a trip to New York City with four kids, ages 11-6. My children's fall vacation from school was approaching and I wanted to get out of the house and explore. Was the Big Apple too much of an adventure?

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Sean Doolittle, pitcher for the Washington Nationals, declined an invitation to the White House after his team won the World Series this year. In an interview with the Washington Post, he listed his numerous reasons for staying home — and a main consideration, he revealed, was his wife's two moms.

"I want to show support for them. I think that's an important part of allyship, and I don't want to turn my back on them," Doolittle said during the interview.

Trump's treatment of a minority groups, generally, factored into his decision as well. "I have a brother-in-law who has autism, and [Trump] is a guy that mocked a disabled reporter. How would I explain that to him that I hung out with somebody who mocked the way that he talked or the way that he moves his hands? I can't get past that stuff."

Doolitttle clarified that his decision had little to do with policy disagreements with the White House. "There's a lot of things, policies that I disagree with, but at the end of the day, it has more to do with the divisive rhetoric and the enabling of conspiracy theories and widening the divide in this country. My wife and I stand for inclusion and acceptance, and we've done work with refugees, people that come from, you know, the 'shithole countries.'"

He concluded by saying he respected his teammates decision to attend the White house ceremony. "I want people to know that I put thought into this, and at the end of the day, I just can't go."

Read more of the Washington Post interview here.


New York Will Fight 'Repugnant' Trump Rule on Adoption, Says Cuomo

Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York promises legal action of the Trump administration moves ahead with plans to allow discrimination against LGBTQ adoptive and foster parents

Last week, the Trump administration announced plans to allow adoption and foster care agencies to discriminate against prospective LGBTQ parents — but he may face a legal fight from (former) hometown. In a tweet, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York said the proposed move "isn't just discriminatory and repugnant to our values,— it's also heartless and dumb as it would deny countless children a loving family and a safe place to call home." If the proposal moves forward, he continued. "we'll take legal action to stop it.

Governor Cuomo's office followed up the tweet with a lengthier statement posted to their website:

Once again the Trump administration is attacking the hard-earned rights and protections of the LGBTQ community, this time proposing a new measure that would give foster care and adoption agencies license to discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Trump's proposal isn't just discriminatory and repugnant to our values — it's also heartless and dumb as it would deny countless children a loving family and a safe place to call home. If he moves forward with this rule, we'll take legal action to stop it.

No matter what happens in Washington, New York State is and will continue to be a beacon of equality in this country. Our Human Rights Law and adoption regulations expressly prohibit discrimination against the LGBTQ community, including when it comes to adoption. I encourage any LGBTQ New Yorker who feels they are a victim of this discrimination to contact the State Division of Human Rights for assistance.

Our message to the Trump administration is simple: there is no place for hate in New York or in our nation, and we will not allow this noxious proposal to stop LGBTQ New Yorkers from becoming parents or providing care to children in need.

Fatherhood, the gay way

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