Dating is complicated enough on its own, but add kids to the mix and it feels downright impossible. As a single mom, finding love is more of a struggle than it ever was when I was child-free. I’m happy being a parent but it certainly comes with its fair share of challenges when it comes to meeting guys.
I know it’s not an ideal situation. I didn’t ask to be a single mom but I’m embracing it. I know that in regards to relationships, it’s not necessarily an ideal situation but that doesn’t mean I don’t deserve happiness and the potential to find love too. I have the utmost respect for any man who comes into my life and treats this situation as a bonus and not a burden.
I constantly feel judged. When a single mom starts dating, it feels as though everyone is judging. You know the phrase, “It takes a village to raise a kid?” It feels like that equally applies to dating a single parent. I know that my friends and family are going to judge my choices when it comes to dating and they’re going to judge the man I choose as well, but they do have good intentions. I know his family and friends are going to be judging me in the same ways. Sure, this might happen to anyone with someone they’re dating, but it’s definitely intensified as a single mom.
My kid comes first. I know that can be tough to hear and it won’t always be like this, but for now, being a mom is my number one priority. I value a romantic relationship, but I need anyone I date to know that until we’re married, my kid will always come first. That can be a real struggle with men, and that’s OK—they’re clearly not the right ones.
I need to take the relationship seriously. This doesn’t mean that I’m trying to take every man to the altar right away, but it does mean that I’m going to be serious about the expectations I have in regards to dating. I have zero tolerance for games, and I certainly don’t want to waste my time putting forth effort into something that isn’t reciprocated when I could be spending that time with my kid.
My time is precious because it’s not just mine. This is one struggle of dating as a single mom that I can’t stress enough. At the risk of sounding like a brat, I have to be selective about how I spend my time. I can’t be with someone who gets upset that I’m not tied to my phone 24/7, dangling on their every word, nor can I date someone who wants to come into my life and immediately hijack all of my time because my time isn’t just my own. I have to have time for my child, and that’s just how it goes.
Guys run when they hear that I have a kid. No, not all men get easily scared off, but it’s more common than not. I’ve also found, particularly with online dating, that if a guy is trying to narrow down the women in his dating pool, the single moms usually don’t make the final cut. I know I’m better off, but it’s a struggle that stings a bit sometimes.
I have to get a babysitter before a date. Whether it’s our family, friends, or hired help, going on a date requires more planning than someone who isn’t a parent. We have to tap into our trusted pool of resources and pick the right babysitter every time we want to go out on a date with a man. Imagine the frustration (but sometimes the relief) if a date gets canceled!
I’m extra stressed out. This isn’t to discredit anyone else because we all have stressors, but being a single mom requires extra effort towards all aspects of life while balancing the life of a tiny human. It’s triggered because we don’t have the chance to be selfish, and our needs have to come second to our kids’ without a daily trade-off with a significant other that relieves some of the tension. It’s incredibly stressful and can sometimes take away from the excitement towards dating.
It’s terrifying to think of bringing someone new into my kid’s life. I just want to make sure that I’m picking someone who will be a positive addition to not only my life, but my child’s as well if the relationship goes that far. It’s terrifying that my kid could get attached to someone that could potentially walk away and never return if we break up, so that’s something I have to be cautious of in even the beginning stages of dating.
Addressing the “dad role” can be… complicated. I think that men tend to worry about this initially, but the truth is if we get serious, it’s going to take time to ease into a healthy, balanced relationship. I’ll never expect a guy to fit into any role that they don’t feel comfortable with. Most of us single moms aren’t looking for another “parent” for our kids anyway—we’re simply looking for a partner for ourselves. That being said, we’ll figure out a system when the time is right, but most of us single moms won’t pressure a guy into any form of “dad role” from the get-go.
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