author Jackie Haugh gets dating advice from her 95 year old fatherNow that I’ve gotten the diaper thing somewhat down having my daddy here is not as big an issue as I thought it might be. Mainly because he sleeps nearly twenty hours a day. But in those rare moments that he’s awake, we have some amazing talks.

Years ago, just after my mother passed away, we were having a conversation about dating. The fact that no one in my family had a significant other, including me. To this, my father immediately stated, “Oh, you’re done. You don’t get a second chance.”

Shocked (and fearful he might have been right), I blurted, “Dad, how can you say that? I’m only 50 years old.”

Pausing for a moment before he answered, he calmly said, “You only get on chance to do it. It wasn’t your fault. You tried to keep the marriage together, but you need to figure your life out without a man.”

Being the staunch Catholic he is, I knew where this was coming from. You marry once and for life. But as the years have unfolded, he has seen how lonely it can be without a loving partner – both for him and for me.

Last night, while feeding him his dinner, we got on the subject once again.

“Is it hard for you, honey?”

Since this was always such a closed discussion, I was surprised he was bringing it up.

“It’s difficult sometimes, dad,” I answered. “All my friends are married. I don’t feel like I fit in anywhere.”

Chewing another spoonful of rice, he stopped and said, “You need to be careful. There are a lot of rotten men out there.”

“How right you are,” I thought to myself. Dating after marriage is a complicated process. So many people have baggage the size of steamer trunks that they can’t let go of. Anger and bitterness are two of the heavy items that weigh their lives down.

“Don’t worry, dad. I am.”

He then went on to tell me what men were like, how they can take advantage of a woman, and what to be looking for. I found this advice sweet because even though he still holds on to the concept you marry only once, he could see the emptiness in my life at times.

As a child, my father rarely talked to me, but he always taught me by his living example. The biggest lesson: I had to learn to love myself and the life God gave my – by myself. That tutorial has been invaluable. He also taught me never to settle.

Who knows where my road of life will take me. I know I’d prefer not to do it alone, but if that’s the path I’ve been put on then, like my dad, I will accept it and make the best of the years ahead. His words have always taught me lessons, but his acceptance of the way things are has brought me tremendous comfort. If I can trust that God has me exactly where I’m supposed to be, then all will be right in my world.