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The Boston Globe

Lifestyle

Love Letters

Dating a single dad?

Q. I am really bad at writing but I have wanted to do this for a while. Here it goes.

I met my friend at work. He is not a co-worker but does work in my building. Which is now my old building because I no longer work for the same company.

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We started off as friends. We would go on smoke breaks together or go for walks during lunch.

He is a couple of years younger and is a single father. He works very hard for his daughter and just adores her. There have been a couple of times that we went out after work. It’s always a blast. Yes, things have happened. I truly adore this man.

But we live about an hour away from each other and I don’t drive. He will tell me he wants to visit, but then something always seems to come up. He has come once and has given me rides home when we hang out late in Boston.

I guess I am really confused because he says things to me like “you hold a special place in my heart.” I understand that he is a single father and respect that he is not ready to bring her around me, but there are times he doesn’t follow through or just doesn’t answer my texts.

I say actions speak louder than words. Should I just let go? Does he really care about me? I am so confused. Please help. Does He Like Me?

A. It’s time to have a talk about what you’re doing.

Ask him what he wants. Ask him whether he’s ready to see you more often and how that can happen. If he only wants an occasional date when he has time, that’s fine, but you need to know so that you can make decisions and manage your expectations.

He probably does care about you, but his other priorities come first. The “actions speak louder than words” rule doesn’t always work with a single dad who’s spread thin. That’s why you have to talk.

No matter what, don’t expect this relationship to get more serious without you figuring out a way to handle some of the transportation on your own. If you guys decide to try to make this work, you’ll need to be able to get to him. Meredith

READERS RESPOND:

If she were a priority, he’d answer calls, initiate dates, and show actual interest. She is a booty call. Nothing to talk about. URKIDDINME

His daughter is his first priority, and it’s always going to be that way. If that’s something that you can’t deal with, maybe this isn’t the right guy for you. Plus if you don’t have a car, you can’t expect him to always take time out of his schedule to drive down to get you. Be patient with him and understand that he’s not going to have the amount of free time you would like him to have. RICH1273

You are being unrealistic if you expect to be courted in the traditional sense by a young single father who lives an hour way, especially if you can’t at least meet him in the middle. ZEPTEMBER

You come off sounding a bit like a child yourself, or at least not too experienced in the dating world. This guy has his plate full as a single dad and you represent a bit of adult time for him when he can sleep with you -- but not enough of a relationship for him to invest much time in. And a woman who lives an hour away, who doesn’t even work in his building anymore, AND doesn’t drive — is waaayyy too much responsibility for him to add to his plate. This is not going to work out and you should find some one else. I think you need to work on yourself and have more to offer to the next relationship. Guys can’t do 100 percent of the work. HSMBS

If you want more with this guy you have to try harder. That simple. When you say you don’t drive, does that mean you don’t have a car or you don’t have a license? Sounds like you want this to be something more as long as you don’t have to do anything requiring effort. KINDGUPPY

How can you truly adore this man? It doesn’t sound like you’ve been able to even date him much. . . . Does he at least say “I got your text, but couldn’t answer,” or does he offer some form of response? When you next see him, say you do want to talk about whether or not he thinks about this the same as you. Quit smoking by the way, both of you. SOXROCK2

You call him your “friend.” Have you ever made it clear in any way other than sexual that you’re interested in more than that? I can’t really tell from your letter, but that might be a good place to start. ELLEEM

You smoke. You don’t drive. You live an hour away from him. You hook up with him when you go out in the city. I doubt he sees you as step-mom potential, but rather someone to have “fun” with on occasion. He’s focused on his kid; you’re an occasional diversion. Move along. SOMEONEWHOCARES

Holding a special place in my heart = I don’t love you or want to be in a relationship with you.

ASH

Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters. Meredith Goldstein can be reached at mgoldstein@globe.com.
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