"It's been one hell of a ride since the beginning," said 26-year-old Steve Argyrakis, Canadian dad of one. He was 19 when he found out he was going to be a dad and the mom was already several months along in her pregnancy. Steve, who lives in Montreal, was struggling with his homosexuality but wanted to do the "right thing," so he continued to suppress his authentic self. "I was so scared about the future and about my own happiness, that I had put aside my homosexuality once again."
A couple of months later, little Gabriel was born, and it was love at first sight.
But Steve's internal struggle was only getting harder. He recalls a friend asking him one day if he was happy. "I answered yes pretending that I was sincere since I was trying to convince myself that this life with a woman and a child was going to be my new life forever. Which meant an unhappy life forever." When his friend left that day, Steve thought for a long time about what he would do with his life.
Nine months after the birth of his son, 20-year-old Steve came out. He told the mother of their son and decided to live openly no matter what others would think. "I was scared, I was lost, and I needed a lot of love to go through this difficult journey." Since that moment, Steve remembers being a lot happier.
Steve's friends and family embraced who he was, and he and his ex share custody of Gabriel. They also split the major holidays such as Christmas and Halloween so they each get to celebrate with their son. But when it came to dating, Steve was a little apprehensive; until he met Philippe Amiot eighteen months ago.
They met on the Tinder app, and Steve was very open from the beginning about having a son. (He included photos of him on his profile but his face was covered by a smiley emoji to protect his identity.) At first, Philippe who turns 28 this month, was a little cautious upon seeing Steve with his son on his profile. He was unsure about dating a dad, but he decided to meet anyway as Steve seemed so kind and was very good looking. And he hasn't looked back.
"We had our first date in a restaurant and we both fell in love with each other right there," said Steve. "It was the beginning of our story."
A month after they began dating, Steve decided it was time to introduce Gabriel to Philippe. "He [Philippe] loved him from the very first day," Steve recalled.
"I remember one of our first activities with Gabriel was going to the Santa's Claus Village during summer time," shared Philippe. "It made me discover a fatherly side of me I didn't know... We played, had fun together and it made me realize that having a family could be something that I would like to be part of... A thought that I never had before."
Today, Philippe is very grateful and proud to be embraced as a second dad. "I'm really thankful to Steve and Gabriel for letting me being part of their family. I love seeing Gabriel growing up and I love to support Steve in the education of his son."
Since becoming a dad, Steve has learned a lot about himself and the importance of making his own happiness a priority. He's also learned a lot from his son. "Appreciate the present moments, don't take life to seriously and to keep my child's heart," he said. "Children are so pure and innocent, they have a lot to teach us."
"I think the three of us are going really well together and we're making each of us even more stronger everyday," added Philippe. "Happiness, powerful and love are the three words that come to my mind when I think about our little family."