embed embed2
I Dated And Married A Single Dad, And I'm Not Ashamed To Say His Son Still Calls Me 'Tita'
PHOTO BY COURTESY OF ELAINE CARAG-CALDERON
  • “What’s it like?” was probably the most common question I was asked when people found out I was dating a single dad

    I honestly didn’t mind. I was in my early 20s when I met my husband at work. We were assigned to different departments in the office but became acquainted when we worked on the same account. He was a bit older, but we bonded over our shared interests in music, TV series, and films.

    At the time, we were both in steady relationships—he was expecting a baby and planning to marry his girlfriend, and I was going on two years with my college boyfriend. We were focused on our own careers, too. I often worked overtime to earn a promotion and he even left the company to pursue other passions. 

    Our lives just seemed to be going in different directions, neither of us really thought we’d find ourselves where we are today. 

    Fast forward a few years later, he and his partner eventually decided not to get married; and, instead, chose to co-parent their child. My ex ended up cheating on me, so that was that. 

    When our friendship developed into something more, it was a time of turbulent growth for both of us. Imagine the rollercoaster of emotions—a lot of confusion and hesitation due to the circumstances, but there was also a lot of love and hope for the happiness we wished to share. 

    PHOTO BY COURTESY OF ELAINE CARAG-CALDERON
    ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

    I’m not ashamed to say we didn’t think much about “us” when we eventually got together. As good friends, we both had a quiet understanding of the possibilities (and impossibilities) of our relationship. I was still heartbroken, so I hyper-focused on my career. He was already a father, and he wanted to be a part of his boy’s life no matter what. We had to figure out where the “we” fit into our lives as we went along.

    "I’ve always strived to be an independent woman, but I wouldn’t trade being loved, appreciated, and taken care of by a loving, patient man who I have proven to not just be a good husband, but also a good father."

    I remember, the first thing I did when we decided to become boyfriend-girlfriend was to sit my mom down and talk to her. I still recall the night vividly, telling her how my new boyfriend was a single father. (I was so scared my parents would disapprove, so I kindly asked my mom to tell my dad for me.)

    The first thing she asked me was, “Kasal ba ’yan?” My mom was genuinely concerned for me, given the obvious complications in our future had he been married. I was already “marrying age” at this point, so I couldn’t really blame her. I told her he wasn’t. We left the conversation with a “Let’s see where it goes from here,” and never really discussed it again. I took her silence as a sign of her support through the years; so my family welcomed him as part of our lives, and I became a part of his. 

    PHOTO BY COURTESY OF ELAINE CARAG-CALDERON
    CONTINUE READING BELOW
    Recommended Videos

    I wish I could say that was it, but I wouldn’t be writing this if there wasn’t any more to it. 

    The ups and downs of our love story were real, and there were constant phases of doubt no matter how long our on-again-off-again relationship lasted.

    As a notorious planner, I learned to live “one day at a time.” I never knew when something would come up, so I had to learn how to be more understanding, giving, and accepting of the fact that I share him and his time with his son. I had to be trusting, unconditionally, knowing how much time he was spending with his ex as they raised a child together. Although I’ve never struggled with patience, this was a completely different exercise in acquiescence altogether.

    PHOTO BY COURTESY OF ELAINE CARAG-CALDERON (BY OAK ST. STUDIOS)

    Thankfully, not a day went by that he didn’t assure me how much he loved me or showed me how much he appreciated my support. He was considerate, and always communicated with me clearly and directly. He knew how I tended to deal with my feelings quietly, so he constantly encouraged me to talk to him about them to make sure we were always on the same page.

    ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

    Looking back, our whole relationship prepared us both for the challenges of marriage early on.

    When I was being interviewed by the presiding priest for our wedding, he asked me, “Why did you wait so long to get married?” I was forthcoming when I told him we wanted to give ourselves time—him being a devoted single dad, me being a strong-headed career woman.

    PHOTO BY COURTESY OF ELAINE CARAG-CALDERON (BY OAK ST. STUDIOS)

    “Where does his son fit into your life? Would you still treat him as your own even if you have your own children?” he asked. The answer was easy. My husband only wants what’s best for his kid, and so that’s what I want, too. With time, I’ve learned to embrace his duties as a father like my own even if I’ve never met his son.

    At the beginning of our relationship, we decided that I wasn’t to meet him unless we were absolutely sure we would be together forever. We didn’t want to confuse him, and we agreed that he and his ex needed to establish themselves as parents before I could even be introduced to him. I think this was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made, not just for his son, but for us, too. Knowing that there was more than just “us” we were committing to, we both worked hard on ourselves and our relationship so we could become a blended family.

    ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

    ILLUSTRATOR HAZEL ROMERO

    By the time we got engaged and married a few years ago, his ex had already built a family of her own; and his son had grown into a smart, wonderful young boy who takes after his personality (down to his little quirks).

    Now, the question I get asked more often is, “What does [his son] call you?” And I’m not ashamed to say he still calls me “Tita.”

    He’s almost a teenager now and enjoys the freedom to choose where he wants to stay. When he’s here with us, my husband and I make sure he feels our house is also his home. They’re very close, and I can only hope to someday have the same bond with him as he does with his dad. 

    PHOTO BY COURTESY OF ELAINE CARAG-CALDERON
    ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

    With my husband, I’ve found comfort in the fact that we both chose to go and grow through life together—that we chose to still be with each other through it all. I’ve always strived to be an independent woman, but I wouldn’t trade being loved, appreciated, and taken care of by a loving, patient man who I have proven to not just be a good husband, but also a good father.

    What other parents are reading

  • You're almost there! Check your inbox.

    We sent a verification email. Can't find it? Check your spam, junk, and promotions folder.

Smart Parenting is now on Quento! You will love it because it personalizes news and videos based on your interests. Download the app here!

Don't Miss Out On These!
View More Stories About
Trending in Summit Network
View more articles