There’s one thing that really aggravates me about being a single mom, and I wish I didn’t let it make me feel so uncomfortable.
I’ll try not to turn this into a rant, but there is something that really annoys me about being a single mom – dating expectations! A few weeks ago while grocery shopping, I ran into the mom of a friend of mine from my childhood. I hadn’t see her in almost 10 years and general chit chat ensued. The conversation quickly turned to my divorce and being a single mom, she knew the circumstances of my separation and appeared to be on a gossip-seeking expedition.
Then the question came that most single moms don’t like to hear, “So have you re-partnered or dating anyone special?”. I hate this question. I answered with my usual, “No, not at the moment.” and she replied, “Oh well, you’ll find someone special soon. But it will be tough you know, being a single mom of 3.” Maybe I despise this conversation so much because I’m not in a relationship, nor am I dating anyone particularly special at this point in my life. But this is a very common question I am asked – did I mention I hate it?
To set things straight, I have dated more since my divorce than I did prior to getting married. I was a young bride at 20 years of age and had my first child when I was 23. In my youth I was a rather traditional person, so getting married to the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with was the natural thing to do. After my divorce I chose not to date for almost a year, I didn’t feel like it. I was too busy setting up my new life as a solo mom and rediscovering who ‘I’ was as an individual after 17 years with the same man. Dating was low on my priority list.
When I did get back into dating, I was in a relationship with someone for a while – but that went wildly pear-shaped and I had my fingers burnt once again. This turned me off dating completely for several months. Since then, I have been on some really lovely dates with a few different men. And although these guys were nice people, none of them had values that were aligned with mine and I chose not to pursue a relationship with them. By the way, all of these men knew I was a single mom with 3 kids (I’m always upfront about this) and it did not affect them asking me out. Two of them also had children of their own and were divorced.
My theory behind dating as a single mom is simple; Unless you know who you are, have defined your personal values and are comfortable being a single person, getting into a relationship with someone is not a good idea. I learnt this the hard way. When I entered into my first committed relationship after divorce, I was still healing. I hadn’t found my feet as a single mom and was dealing with issues stemming from the demise of my marriage. I attracted a person who was also struggling terribly in their personal life. The good old Law of Attraction! Now there’s nothing wrong with casual dating, but a solid partnership is not the way to go at this point.
When you are comfortable with the concept of a committed relationship, when you are confident parenting solo and when you have defined your personal values – you will have a much better chance of attracting a quality person into your life. But in the meantime, don’t settle for something less than ideal (been there, done that) just to prove it’s possible to be in a relationship as a single mom. You deserve better, I deserve better and so does every single mom out there.
Forget the opinions of others, the only opinion that counts is yours. And please don’t let it get you down, you’ll be ready to date when YOU’RE ready!