Dating...is...horribly awkward. In the past, I would spend hours fretting and asking myself (and others):
What should I wear? Does my hair look okay? Is the cut of my shirt saying "Hi, I'm not a slut, but I do like to have fun?", Does my breath smell okay? Are these shoes right? Am I interesting enough? Should I laugh at his jokes even if they aren't funny? If things go well, am I ready for commitment? etc.
After bringing a child into this world, and ending up a single-mom, dating became 1000x more difficult...and a bit more awkward. In addition to the above questions, I now must ask myself:
Should I tell him right away that I have a kid? Does he like kids? Would Maddox like him? Would he like Maddox? Could he accept me and my child? When would it be acceptable for me to let him meet Maddox? Is he okay with not going out all the time? Does he have experience with children? Is he a family man? etc.
Some of these questions should be addressed on the first date...ya know...somewhere between all of the other awkward interview-like questions that are asked on a typical first date.
Some of these questions should be addressed because when you date (or do anything) as a single-mother you can no longer worry about just yourself. With EVERYTHING you do, you must keep your child in mind. When you find a guy, you need to make sure he understands that you and your little one are a package deal!
Being 22 and finding a man my age that accepts the package deal is rare. No man in his early twenties seems to want to settle down. And hell...I don't blame them! It's like...go out to a trendy club, or watch Doc Mcstuffins with me and my kid? Probably not a tough choice to make, right?
Now I'm not saying it's impossible to find someone, there are guys out there (I currently have one), but they are rare. No matter how rare they are though, do not accept just anyone because you're lonely...you'll regret it.
My advice for single-moms on the dating scene:
- Be upfront about having a kid...if that scares/bothers him too much, he's not the one.
- Wait until YOU are sure about the relationship BEFORE you introduce him to your child. It is TERRIBLE to allow any attachment to occur between your guy and the child only to break-up a week later.
- Let your guy know that your child is your NUMBER ONE priority. If he can't respect that, keep it movin'!
- Once things are getting serious between you and your guy, plan some activities with the three of you (or more if you have more kids) and observe how your guy interacts with the kid(s) and how your kid(s) react to him. It's very important that they get along and like each other for things to go well. While the first time you get together may not go perfectly, 3 more times should give you an adequate amount of information to reflect on.
- Talk to your kid(s) about him, and LISTEN to what they have to say.
- & Lastly, BE PATIENT! I know it's tough but you're bound to find someone...in the meantime focus on loving yourself and taking care of your little one(s)...and then continue to do so even when you've found Mr. Right! ;)
Thanks for reading!