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I wrote this a couple years ago, and it continues to be one of my most-trafficked and commented-on posts. When it comes to relationships, I’m fond of saying, But there are a few couples in my life who I look to as models of the kind of marriage I’d like one day. They are the dynamic centriforce around which the family’s life orbits. There is lots of research to suggest that a happy marriage is the cornerstone of well-adjusted kids. D., writes in her relationship guide, The Book of Love: “No matter how sacrilegious it sounds, you need to put your relationship before your children. If you’re not in a committed relationship, it is very easy to make your kids the prominent one in your life.

I stand by it 100% — as well as the followup I wrote here — and am bemused by the angry comments around my blog from people who think children should be the center of single moms’ lives. A strong relationship provides security for your children and demonstrates how a loving, respectful partnership should be. After all, they can be so demanding — not to mention fulfilling.

Read between the lines on some of these screeds — they’re really saying mothers should deny their sexualities. Of course that is all hogwash, and you know know that, but I’m republishing this as an enthusiastic reminder to get out there, date, enjoy and stop feeling guilty you’re destroying your family in the process. It’s very common for guys with kids to write in their OKCupid profiles: “My kids come first,” or “My daughter is the center of my world! You want a potential mate to know that your life includes the giant presence of a kid or four. Plus, if you’ve gone through divorce or another crisis that landed you as a single parent, you are no doubt concerned about giving your kids extra care and sense of security. But it is even trickier if one or both of the parents put the kids before their partner.

You also want women to know you’re a devoted dad (it’s no secret chicks get hot for guys who are great with kids! It’s no surprise that so many blended families I know struggle with adjusting all parties to a home where everyone is suddenly expected to revolve around the new relationship. One dad I went out with nearly boasted when telling me about a four-month relationship that went sour because his girlfriend did not understand why he’d abruptly leave in the middle of dinner because his tween son would call, upset about some matter with his hockey coach.

And in these families, the parents put their relationship before the kids.

Another’s girlfriend eventually broke up with him after several years because he rarely made time to spend alone with her, instead expecting constant family time with his son.