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Why The Thought Of Dating As A Single Mom Terrifies Me

As someone who married at the ripe old age of 18 to the man I had been with since I was 14, I’m a little bit rusty to the whole idea of dating. One could even say that I’ve never truly dated, and that would be a valid point to make as my ex-husband was the only person I was ever with. I would’ve sworn up and down that he was the one, and for a long time, he was. The thought of being with anyone else was inconceivable(queue the Princess Bride quotes). Now, dating is a little bit different than it was before as now I’m an adult and I’m also a single mom. There’s a little bit of baggage there.

Dating has definitely entered my mind. I loved being married, and I always wanted my daughter to see a functioning marital relationship that she could refer back to in her mind if she chooses to get married one day. Believe it or not though, I am not looking for a father for her, but a partner for myself. The thought of dating though certainly isn’t one that gives me warm and fuzzy feelings. I feel like I’m doing a huge disservice to my daughter all because I desire a relationship. Shouldn’t all of my time be focused on her? How is one even supposed to date post divorce and with a baby involved? Most of my memories are with my ex-husband! How do I even begin to answer questions without bringing up my ex? Am I supposed to pretend he doesn’t exist? Also, how do I breach the child topic? “Oh, by the way, I have a child with another man who isn’t involved, so I hope you know that by dating me, you’re saying you’re cool with that." I don’t think that’ll fly.

When my ex first left, I felt incapable of anything, and now, the thought of handing over the reigns to someone else sends my mind into a tizzy. There is an immense amount of organization is takes to be a working, single mama. You’re constantly in the shuffle of having to pick up your child, get back to work, make sure that you keep you and your child fed, and HEAVEN FORBID you get off schedule. Also, will a guy even think I’m attractive? I’m currently wandering around wearing a dress with spit up on it, and it’s been a solid minute since I last washed my hair. So hot.

The world sees a single mom dating and spouts off one of two, very polarized opinions: One of acceptance, and one that shouts "how could you be so selfish? How could you take that time away from your child? You should wait until she is grown up! You shouldn’t want to be happy and in fulfilled in that way anymore! This isn’t a time for you to want things for you!” It leads to me over and over again, talking myself out of dating because at the root of it all, I’m so scared. It doesn’t just affect me any more! I have another human being involved. What if I screw up? What if I pick someone who decides to up and leave when I need him the most like my ex-husband did? This time, I have a baby girl who is watching them leave. It no longer becomes a story I tell her about one day, but a memory for her to relieve. I don’t want to relive my sordid tale of a relationship that started out like a dream and ended as a nightmare. Dating is no longer this cute little romantic comedy because I have a sweet little girl that takes up my time and energy. I don’t have the time or patience to deal with drama and the “game” that some people turn dating into.

The thought of letting someone else have sway in our life makes me twitch a little because I feel comfortable where I’m at right now… but God never intended for us to be comfortable, did He? My prayer lately has been one of Your Will Be Done. If Your desire is that I marry again, then prepare me for that, prepare whomever this man is, and prepare my daughter to have an present earthly Papa Bear. I’ve also been praying that if that isn’t in the cards that God would take that desire away, and what do you know? It’s. Still. Here.

A large part of me kind of hoped it would go away, but here it is and now, I stand, in preparation. I’m in counseling. There you go, I’ve said it. Counseling. I need to work through everything that has happened in the last few years. Between being married, infertility, miscarriage, stillbirth, a rainbow baby, all followed by my spouse having an affair and abandoning me. I’ve got a lot of emotions to work through. This is hard work, and honestly I don’t need an extra two hours taken out of my week. I can barely keep my head out of water as it is, but I want to be the best person I can be for myself, my daughter, and our little family.

Now that I’ve admitted to myself the dreadful truth: I want to be in a relationship again, I’ve begun to think about what I want in a person. The list is long, but here are just a few things. I want someone who is so insanely passionate about his relationship with God. I don’t want to settle. I want someone that I respect, someone that is trustworthy, someone who sees my past and says that it’s okay and he accepts me even with the crazy. I want intensity and passion, but I also want to watch Netflix and sleep(actually sleep). I want someone who eventually-way down the road- might possibly want to make more babies with me.

All of this was so much easier before I became a Mom.

Maybe I should just become a cat lady.

Or maybe I’ll just pray that God gives me the wisdom; that He would help me to be content in my singleness, and to be ready and willing for possibility of a partner when that time comes. The desire to be in a relationship again is still there, but for now, I’m going to enjoy this time-the first time being single in ten years. I’m praying for you, whomever you are, future husband, but right now:

It’s me time.

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