When a person has to care for another human, they simply have less emotional and physical energy to invent snafus or hang-ups.
Cleaning is one of my favorite forms of therapy, likely because if I'm in a highly cluttered space physically, that transfers mentally and makes me feel like a stressed-out trashcan.
Very early in this relationship, I suggested I help my boyfriend with an intense cleaning sesh of his kitchen.
Playing Mother to a series of adult Peter Pans got old, so this kind of attitude is a very welcome change of pace. If your cat got secretly sick and he steps barefoot into a pile of barf, he doesn't love it but he understands that happens (probably because he has experience direct skin-to-someone else's-barf contact before).
He also doesn't panic about periods or farts or other body stuff.
Of course my apartment is much cleaner—because I only have to account for me. I recognize I have some control freak tendencies, relationships included.
A lot of life is outside our control and dating someone with a child is a very effective reminder that no matter what, we can't always call the shots. As such, I waited until my boyfriend thought it would be OK to introduce me to his kid.
Suddenly the jokes seemed a little creepy, and although I actively pumped the brakes on making them, those familiar with my menagerie of hot dad puns rose a skeptical eyebrow. Hotness aside, there's some unexpected things that happen when you date a single dad.
I've dated ("dated") divorced dudes before, which might be a little similar, but this relationship marks my first with a parent.
I'd like to say this exercise made me resurrect toxic romantic relationships as healthy friendships, but that hasn't quite happened yet (and with some specific ones, I honestly can't see that ever happening).
More than anything, I think it's helped me recognize the hard fact that all humans have faults and, in general, good intentions. (Though to be fair, I can't take credit for the calendar.
When the relationship was brand-spankin' new, a lot of close friends lamented renditions of, "I could never DATE A PARENT." They echoed sentiments of kids being deal breakers. Everyone has a past and brings baggage into a relationship. Although, of course, I find my partner's child a deeply charming, fun, hilarious little human who doesn't qualify as "baggage." You know what I mean.