This is the third in a series of interviews with REAL dads and dudes starting over in life. From each of these stories, we can learn a great deal from each other and see that we are nowhere near alone in our quest to start over.

“David” is yet another man with a troubled past that has resulted in a need to rescue and “fix” the broken women he is so very attracted to. His baggage and subsequent life decisions very nearly cost him his life. Fortunately, David is one smart dude and has the gift of introspection and a good therapist. We can all learn a great deal from him.

DSO
Okay, so if you could… introduce yourself. Tell us your name, age, number of kids.

David
David J. 35 years old. Two boys –  9 years and 3months old.

DSO
Oh wow… a little feller. That has to make things interesting for you. So I assume you were married before? Both kids from the same woman?

David
No, two separate women. My 9 year old’s mother and I split amicably when he was 3. My youngest’s mother and I split before we knew she was pregnant. Last November.

DSO
Gotcha. So let’s start at the beginning. You…. good family life? Both mom and dad together?

David
My father passed when I was 14… Suicide. Mom and him divorced the year before. I’m the oldest of 4 boys. Mom is on her 4th marriage. I’m the only one of my brothers that has never married. Although, I’ve had longer relationshipships than any of them. I’m 8 years older than Steve, and 9 years older than the twins.

DSO
Oh I’m so sorry to hear that. That had to have quite the impact on you, especially at such an important time (your early teens). Your mom’s subsequent relationships with men… Were the men all bad news, you get along with them?

David
The one after my dad was bad news. The next 2 were great. She divorced the 3rd after 8 years. I was nearly 30 and an adult when they married, after all of my bothers were out of the house. Without kids, they were both unhappy, and kind of became roommates. So, they mutually decided to go their separate ways.

The most recent was my Dad’s best friend be for he died, so we all know him, and like him. They waited over 20 years, to get together,  so none of us boys have any hard feelings.

DSO
Do you know the particulars of your dad and mom’s breakup? Did dad suffer from depression? Infidelity?

David
Dad, was a career military man, he suffered from severe depression, and was a closet alcoholic. I recall an instance of accused infidelity on my father’s part, just before they split. Then the accusations went both ways. Mom married the next guy, the day the divorce was final, only 6 weeks after meeting him.

DSO
How did you meet the mother of your first child?

David
I was an insurance agent and she was my office’s “smokin’ hot secretary”. We went out once, and spent the next 5 years together, inseperable. Jason, our oldest, was conceived after nearly a year together. She was 21, and I was 25 when he was born. She had an amazing childhood, originally from Canada, intact family, but was the black sheep in her teens and early 20’s prior to our son. She liked to PARTY. I was in the legal system, on probation for a DUI (yes, I was a moron) nearly our entire relationship, so I wasn’t much of a partier. We had a relatively boring relationship and stayed together for so long, because we both dreamt of an intact family for our son. But, one day when he was 3, we looked at each other and knew we no longer had romantic feelings. We parted, on great terms, she is an amazing co-parent. She got married about a year later, to an awesome guy, who I am proud to call my sons “other Dad”, and they had a little girl a little over 3 years ago.

DSO
That’s all to that story… You eventually grew bored with each other, not a great match, and you amicably decided to split?

David
The short hand version, is we just kind of bored each other… We had a great friendship, and lots of laughs, but literally zero things in common aside from our son and our mutual obsession with soccer, playing and watching.

I’m a few years older, and she liked that, but I’m also 5’6″ and she’s 5’10″… I blame the fact that she wanted a man she could wear heels around… Plus, had I ever gotten into a fight, i would have expected her to defend my honor… Lol

DSO
Ha. Did you genuinely feel emasculated around her? Did she “wear the pants” in the relationship?

David
Oddly enough, I didn’t… She was very gracious. When we first got together, I thought it would end up that way, so it was a fear. But, she never even brought it up. I had all the jokes, so in hindsight, it may have bothered me a bit. But, I was still incredibly proud to be with her. Especially after our son came… She is an awesome Mom.

There was a little push and pull regarding our son- but that quickly ended in us compromising on parenting time- and me agreeing to keep him away from my “hussies” as she called any woman I would date, until they showed some staying power, and we decided that we were going to try for the long haul. And I listened to her. We’ve always had a great deal of respect for each other, and our individual relationships with our Jason.

DSO
Well that sounds very mature. How soon after splitting did you both start dating?

David
She starting dating her now husband seven days after we split. Not going to lie even a little- that was a huge gut shot to my ego. I felt easily replaced. I started dating about a month later. Once I started dating, I realized my feelings being hurt was just my ego and that it wasn’t a contest. I dated several women, a month or two here and there, including the one my who would have my 2nd son, nearly 5 years later.  When Jason’s mom and I split, I let her and Jason keep the apartment and everything.  I went and lived with my folks.

DSO
Tell us about woman #2. How did you two meet?

David
My best friend married her sister.. Introduced us, a couple of months after my son’s mom and I split, and a couple months after she ended an insanely toxic 10 year relationship with a DIAGNOSED sociopath.

She was a very damaged woman, but so insanely pretty. Plus, I loved the way she talked to me, and complimented everything about me. Im originally from California, and she loved that I wasn’t an Indiana country boy. Did I mention that she was an ABSOLUTE KNOCKOUT!?!? Like, gorgeous.

We dated for about a month, split up, and then got back together a few years later.

We had a whirlwind relationship. She broke up with another guy after 2 years with him, and was essentially living in my house immediately. We were sleeping together, living together, and planning our lives together within a week. This was break neck speed for me, and cause for concern. I justified it, because we had dated before, and she was insanely gorgeous. She always made me feel like a million bucks. She complimented me, was amazing in bed, and in my eyes was just the absolute perfect woman. Red flags be damned. She would ask me on a regular basis if she could perform oral sex on me. Never had headaches when I was in the mood, dressed so incredibly sexy, and all if my friends absolutely drooled over her. I felt like I was THE MAN when I was with her. But then of course, the cracks started showing

DSO
Are you the guy women tend to go to when shit hits the fan and they need help?

David
They refer to me as “the guy with the 6 bedroom house.”… So, unfortunately, yes. My less politically correct friends, have sometimes called me “captain save a ho”

DSO
Do you get a sense of purpose by “saving” the damsels in distress?

David
I do… Kayla was so needy, and so broken, she gave me purpose. Little by little she revealed that her life was in shambles, and for ever problem I had a solution. And she knew how to show her grattitude. I summed it up to her terribly abusive childhood. I saw this amazing woman so often in her. But, alcohol kept drowning her. Then triangulation with other men. Then she became physically violent with me. Then the lies. Yes, I took her back, at least minimally a dozen times over a nearly 3 year period. Even while she was pregnant with our son. Then cheated on me, with 2 other men, throughout her pregnancy. My self esteem was in the garbage.

DSO
Have you had much time for introspection during all this? Wondering why you’re so drawn to broken women?

David
This particular woman, is the ONLY broken woman I have ever had any sort of substantial relationship with. I sought therapy back in March, and still attend. The clear and obvious culprit is my mother, and my relationship with her. Fortunately, her and I have been able to frankly, and matter of factly discuss this, with the help of my therapist. I’ve been able to logically understand my need to save Kayla. I fight my feelings a lot. But, since identifying many destructive relationship habits, including trauma bonding, my own insecurities, and tendency to lose myself in romantic relationships, i.e. lack of outside interests, giving up hobbies, health, friends, and becoming completely absorbed in the idea of “us”… I’ve been rediscovering myself, establishing a strong sense of self, recognizing toxic traits in potential partners, and overall just taking time for myself. For instance, I don’t and won’t date at all currently. That is of my own decision… For now.

DSO
That is awesome. You should seriously be proud of yourself for that level of introspection and effort to improve. VERY VERY rare.

David
This one broke me… We all have that one that breaks us, I think.

DSO
I often say every dude should hit rock bottom at least once in their life. Usually men hit it via a relationship with a toxic woman.

David
Civilizations have fallen over a toxic woman. Lol. By being with them, we can become toxic ourselves. The whole “Show me the 3 closest people to you, and I will understand who you are” statement comes to mind.

DSO
Exactly.So you have two women you have fathered children with… and how would you categorize you relationships with them now? Has their brokenness affected your efforts to improve going forward?

David
It’s given me, at the moment, incredibly high standards, a desire to undergo a vasectomy, and 9 stab wounds from my 2nd sons’ mom’s ex-boyfriend. Yes, it has affected me. I can experience empathy, but it isn’t my responsibility to fix the things I feel bad for someone for. I can offer to help a person, but only if they aren’t kicking and screaming while i carry them uphill, and after a bit of help, they had better be outpacing my efforts. Most importantly, for my own stress levels, and mental well being, it is ok for me to say NO., even if I have the ability to help, or change a situation. I’m not obligated to anyone, even for something as little as an explanation,  and frankly, they aren’t obligated to me. Its not ok for anyone to make me feel guilty, for doing what I think is best for myself and my sons. Lastly, I don’t have to compromise my integrity, just to make someone else feel better, or so that they might like me. I may not be the greatest guy in the world, but I’m ok most of the time, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with just being ok sometimes.

DSO
Bravo. Very well put. For the readers… would you mind giving more detail about the whole “9 stab wounds” story?

David
Well, first off… I feel like a bad ass, compared to anyone who has been stabbed less than 10 times. Lol. This goes along with the damaged woman thought.

When my son was 6 weeks old, his mother was begging me back. I couldn’t do it. She was still drinking. Well, later that night, she got into a bit of trouble with CPS and the police. Drinking and driving with our baby. They didn’t arrest her, they had her mother come and get her, and take her to the 5th floor(like a mental hospital) and took our son while she was in there. Once she got out she immediately started dating another man. She said he was perfect and that they were getting married…blah blah blah. A few weeks go by, and she discovers he had given her a false name and was a registered sex offender, amongst other things. Violent, violent man. She breaks up with him…he didn’t like that much…once he supposedly leaves her apartment, she calls and asks me to come get our son because she’s stressed out, etc. I agree, and drive over. She asks me to sit and talk with her for a few, and tells me all about this guy. After a few minutes I asked her to pack his diaper bag, so we can get home. I step out to smoke while I’m waiting for her to get our son ready. It’s dark out, her neighbor is out, we start a conversation. After a couple of moments, I hear, “You want some mother fucker” from behind me, (he was hiding beside her apartment building) and a shirtless knife wielding man, is on my back, stabbing me. At the time, I didn’t realize I was being stabbed. I thought I was getting hit hard. I also didn’t know who he was. I get turned around to defend myself, and at some point realize he has a knife. I fought it away from him. And he suddenly stopped fighting, and just stands there. I look at him, and say, “You had a fucking knife!” At this point he runs away… I look at my son’s mother who had come to the door during the scuffle and say “I think I’ve been stabbed.” She goes into hysterics… Ambulance comes, she comes to the hospital with me, and just lays in bed with me for the hours in waiting on surgery. After all is said and done, she wants us again, I’m the man of her dreams, blah blah blah. Her ex is sitting in jail on attempted murder charges, 3 seperate cases for domestic battery, including one on a child, a DUI, and turns out has a different name than what he gave her, plus a worse background than the 2nd alias he gave her has. She was ready to marry this guy after 5 weeks. Had him around our son, and her 13 year old daughter, and expects me to just forgive her, and take her back with open arms.

I’m on temporary disability for the next 6 weeks at least, I have drain tubes coming out of my back, and over a hundred stitches. The knife took chunks of bone out of my spine and ribs, severed muscle, and she wants to talk about a relationship. My 9 year old has been devastated since he heard about it. When he was here, he literally hugged me, or sat on me the entire time. This is what happens when you entertain crazy for too long. They attract more crazy, and that crazy wants you dead.

DSO
Jesus H. Christ. Yes… crazy attracts crazy. So glad you made it out of that alive. Would you pursue taking away the child permanently from the mom?

David
This is why it’s so important for men to be so critical when choosing a partner… Especially if they already have kids. Yes, I will… Her ex-husband already got emergency custody of their 13 year old. My situation is a bit more complex. I’m waiting on paternity for Mason. I told her I will be his Dad, and not miss a beat unless a paternity test proves me otherwise. Paternity isn’t until January 10th.

DSO
I was going to suggest that. Sounds like you have everything as “under control” as possible.

David
She swears he’s mine. Even with all if her infidelity, says the time frames don’t add up for anyone else. Nobody else stepped up, so here I am. And I’ll be damned if I miss these baby months. If he were to turn out not to be mine, I just bought some diapers, and loved on a kid who didn’t have anyone else. No harm done… But, I think and hope he is mine.

DSO
Must be an extremely tough position to be in. So, fast forward seven years from now… Your oldest boy is 16. He’s getting way too interested in girls. What bit of advice do you give him?

David
Man, that’s tough… In today’s climate, I’d almost want to advise them not to date until after college.

The reality is I want them to be safe… Be respectful… And to not fall in love with saving anyone. I will tell them if they don’t bring anything other than baggage and a pussy to the table, just leave the damn table. You need a partner, a teammate and a best friend. Theres no such thing as THE ONE, but there is such thing as mutual respect and love.  After some time has passed respect is more about your own personal integrity, and love is more about being a man of your word. Eventually, it stops being a gushy feeling, and turns into a decision. But, it should never be at the cost of who you are.

DSO
Amen, brother. It’s been a pleasure chatting with you. You’re a great example of a guy who has absolutely had a truckload of shit thrown at him, and you just keep on marching forward. Hope you heal up quickly and please let us all know how you’re doing.

David
It’s been a pleasure to share… I really hope some of the other dad’s can take this all to heart and not make the same mistakes. Thanks for the website, by the way!

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