The intricacies of single mothering and dating

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When Luísa was a small baby, I talked to another single mom friend about dating. I said I didn´t think I would date anyone while I was breastfeeding and since I was planning on doing it for two years (which then became three), I thought it would take me that long. She just laughed at my naivety and said spontaneously: “Wow, you are really an optimistic.”

“I won´t date for two years?”. I thought she was exaggerating. And though I ended up finding myself a boyfriend when Luísa was 1,5 years, my friend was quite right. It can take much longer than we would think for a single mom to date.

For one thing, single moms lack of available time. We simply have no time to do the simple “selfish” things like exercise or have the infamous “me-time”, let alone find a window in the schedule to go out and date.

When we do find some time to go out, that doesn´t necessarily end up in a dating match. And if we want to have a good time, we shouldn´t aim to go out strictly to find a date, this would be the recipe for frustration.

Personally I don´t even enjoy much being out at night (the classic mating environment). I´m a day person. I wake up before 7am. I feel like sleeping by 9pm. This healthy lifestyle I put myself into is not really appropriate to meet single guys often.

In a single-mom´s forum where the topic was dating, I could read that many single moms out there have a lot of difficulties to date. The women were asking each other how they met guys, how they managed to date, how many others were in the long term not dating situations (some not dating for years) and so forth.

The living room date

What looks to be a common trend among single moms is that after all the luck and strategies we use to meet a guy, we are doomed to the living room date.

A living room date consists in inviting the guy over to date in our living room. We can find a babysitter to go out a few times, but around the second date, we have to invite the guy over. We can´t be spending all that money on a babysitter and many of us feel that we might be needed at home and so we should be there for our babies just in case.

The living room date brings us to some speed in the dating game. Single moms don´t want to go through all the hassle that is planning a date unless it is with a very nice guy. Dating losers is something in the past.

Now, as single moms, we learned to filter our relationships way more. We have a tight schedule, so we have to make relationships be worth our time. This includes the emotional turnarounds that dating can result in. We want to avoid being messed up emotionally, we really don´t have time for that (but sure it happens to).

Without planning on doing so, we will inevitably be analyzing the guy´s behavior to see if he accepts that we are mothers and have to put our family first. Women with no children can devote a lot of their time to their boyfriends, but it´s not like that when you have a child. Guys interested in us have to accept that they will always be second.

Alaina, a former single mom – on her way to a second wedding, used to have a cool tactic to check the guy´s response to dating a mother. She would check the guy´s reaction to some random toys left in the living room.

Making a remark about the toys or talk about the child when seeing the toys is the expected behavior. If a guy manages to go through seeing the toys and not talking about the kid whatsoever, oh oh, that could be a red sign.

If we realize a guy is not into kids at all, than it´s probably time to let him go. We are not looking for husbands and dads to our kids, but a big part of our lives is around our kids, we want to find guys that can have a good time with us (mom and kid).

Although we will fit many dates without our kids in our schedule, we are not interested in cutting the kids out of the scene completely. Many dates will be during the day and include entertaining our kids too.

This goes to tell a bit of how it works to date as a single mom. Of course, finding a steady boyfriend or the different settings and unconventional dates can be longer discussed in another post (or a series) :)

Photo Credit

This article was originally posted on Tripping Mom by Marilia Di Cesare on November 8, 2010. Republished with authorization. Click here for all other posts.

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