Ah, the world of dating! It can be an exciting experience – full of hope, positive human connection, and increased levels of serotonin. It can also be one of the most frustrating, time-sucking, and self-defeating experiences there are. As a single mother, a thought might have crossed your mind that the dating scene was no longer for you. I definitely go through phases of wanting to meet the right man to running away from all things “dating.” It doesn’t help that most of my attempts at dating as a single mother have been far from ideal.
Dating as a single mother is different. Your ex could have been an emotional vampire, a deadbeat father, or even a sociopath. Or you have been in one of those relationships where your ex was a ghost of a husband, existing in some other dimension, leaving you to deal with the fullness of daily life alone. Whatever the scenario, at some point you were let down deeply by the one you trusted to have kids with. As such, dating is full of additional challenges for single mothers.
In this post, I want to share some takeaways from my dating experience as a single mother. Perhaps it will help you see that you are not alone in struggling to meet the right person. Or maybe, you are just starting to think about re-entering the world of dating, and this will save you some headaches along your journey. So here it goes!
The Dating Pool Is Both Big and Small.
So the above title might not make sense at first, but that’s the best definition for the dating pool. There are a lot of men, with and without kids of their own, who are seeking romance. However, many of them are not actually ready to have a serious relationship or build something more meaningful and lasting.
From having numerous conversations, I have discovered that only a tiny percentage of men have actually done internal work, healing from the past, and preparing for a new healthy relationship. Not to mention having an actual game plan on how dating as a single parent will work logistically. Many men don’t have a clue but will express an interest anyway, leaving you feeling confused and annoyed.
The best way to weed out men who are not ready internally or externally is to actually state your expectations in dating clearly and without feeling apologetic. You don’t want to spend time, effort, and emotions on someone who does not take finding a mate seriously enough to get ready for it before taking the plunge.
Single Mothers Are Just As Desirable
One of the biggest lies that have been propagated since old age is that being a single mother is somehow shameful and undesirable. Maybe it was true for the men of the old, but nowadays single mothers are not only desirable but also often preferred on the dating scene. For men who have been through a divorce themselves and have kids, being with someone who had a similar experience is preferable to meeting someone who doesn’t know anything about parenting or going through highs and lows in a marriage.
When you open up to a new relationship as a single mother, be assured that you have nothing to be ashamed of. You also do not need to lower your standards, feel apologetic, or rush into any relationship that is less than you know would make you feel truly fulfilled and appreciated.
It is OK Not To Feel Compatible With 99% Of Men Out There
Entering a dating scene can be rough. Most likely, you haven’t been dating for some time, and going back in will feel both exciting and weird at the same time. After you talk to/meet a few men, you might find yourself feeling depressed that none so far was anywhere close to who you are looking for.
It could have happened for two reasons. First, you might not have been open or clear enough from the start as to who you are looking for, and what kind of relationship you desire. It needs to be clear to you first to communicate it well to others later. Second, there are people who are like chameleons. They are good at fitting into your expectations, at first, just to get “through the door” so to speak. While it is quite natural to want to put your best foot forward when meeting someone new, it is not healthy to pretend to be someone you are not. For this reason, it is best to have a set of questions to ask your potential date to test true compatibility.
In my experience, finding a really great match is possible if you are patient and know what you want. It might take years, or days for some, but it is worth the wait. At this stage of my life, no matter how attracted I might be to someone, or how lonely some of my nights may get, I am not willing to let the wrong person into my (and my kids’) life. While I have met some good men via dating sites before and invested my time and effort to connect with them, I did not see any one of them as my potential life partner. I do not blame myself for not being the right match for 99% of men out there, because, after all, I am a unique person with a unique life. It takes a special man to be my life partner, and I am willing to accept that.
You Can Take a Break And Come Back Later
If you have tried online dating sites, or going on in-person dates, and are just not getting anywhere, it might be a good time to take a break. Give yourself time to enjoy your own company and take a break from the initial chit-chat required to get to know someone. The latter can be tiring, as it means having many repeat conversations with random strangers about your and their previous relationships, interests, and the kind of relationship you want to build.
I will be honest, sometimes I just get drained from the energy required to be on the dating scene. There is such a thing as dating fatigue. So I give myself a break, sometimes as long as a few months to just completely forget about dating. When I come back to it later on, I feel more emotionally equipped to try another round of meeting people.
One positive thing that happened after trying to date again as a single mother for a few years is that it takes me less time now to see through a person than it did before. I already know what questions I want to ask the person, and what red and green flags to pay attention to. You might have a different experience, and be blessed to me someone truly great for you early on (I hope you do!), but if not, don’t be hard on yourself. You want to be in a relationship that enriches your heart and life, even if in the end it might mean that relationship is with yourself.