Dating is hard enough, but dating as a single mom makes it nearly impossible. Once my divorce was final, I vowed that I was going to focus on my kids who were at a tough age to raise even without navigating the emotions of watching their family dissolve. Raging hormones, confusion and the lack of introspection to verbalize their pain. I was the punching bag. I was the one that was there to pick up the pieces and take the brunt of the typical teenager’s lashing out. Trying to deal with my own pain and disillusionment, I took on the blame and felt like a big fat failure as a mom. I knew I wasn’t completely to blame for our marriage falling apart, but I questioned whether or not I made the right decision or a selfish one.
I wanted to protect my kids and learn to find myself again, but the two clashed. You see, mothers tend to put their children before themselves. (A big part of why I stayed in my marriage so long). Looking back, I pushed away the possibility of love and a relationship with someone new, because I couldn’t imagine bringing another man into their lives. I cringed at the thought of bringing a guy around my kids never mind the eventual progression of having someone in my bed again. No way…no how!
Even to this day, six years later and having grown kids that have processed the divorce, I just can’t picture bringing someone into our inner circle. He’s going to have to be an amazing guy to break down that barrier. Especially with my older son. Just the other day my daughter and I were cracking up laughing about the creepy dudes messaging me on that useless dating site I joined and my son glanced at one of the photos. He said, “I have to be able to beat these guys up, so you can’t date a big guy.” We chuckled at the thought–seeing as my son is 6’1” and weighs 130 pounds soaking wet. I get it—sons are protective of their mothers and I find it very sweet, until I realize that the reality of having a man in my life, is full of complications.
I know that I can’t let that prevent me from finding my one true love, but it certainly puts a little crimp in it. Of course, when I do meet my caring, tall, handsome, successful, romantic love…screw the kids! Lol! Hell, if it were up to my son’s, I’d be an old maid for the rest of my life. My daughter, on the other hand, wants me to find that special someone—almost as much as I do. She’s yelled at her brother’s for saying that they don’t want me to date. She calls them hypocrites for accepting the fact that their dad dated quickly after the divorce, but when it comes to me–it’s out of the question. I think this is the reason I’m so picky about who I date and why I haven’t dated in years. I’m always questioning how they will get along with my kids. Will this person fit in with my friends? Will my family like them? I’m so worried about making the wrong choice of who I fall in love with, that I put the kibosh on it before it even has a chance. I guess this is why it’s so difficult to date as a single mother. You have more to protect than just your heart. You have to protect your kids too.
I’m perfectly content being single and being able to do whatever I want without answering to anyone, but every once in a while, I do long for that special someone in my life to share moments with and make new memories. I know the time will come, but I wonder if there is still a big part of me holding back because of my kids. I like our little inner circle and I don’t want anyone to mess that up. Soon my boys will be out of the house and it’ll be just me and the dog (which is totally depressing), so I want to find someone to share my time with, but I have so little time to give.
I’m not one of those helicopter moms, by any means. I’ve raised my kids to be very independent, but I do consider their feelings above my own. That’s why I want to have a cordial relationship with their father and his wife. I don’t want them to feel the tension or any animosity between us. I want them to see what a mature healthy relationship after divorce looks like and demonstrate how to put aside the pettiness. It’s not always perfect, but we do a pretty good job. We just sat down and had dinner after my son’s college graduation and I have to say it was fairly pleasant. We were and always will be family after all and now the family is going to be a little bigger, as they will be gaining a baby brother in a few months. Yes, it’s weird for them, considering there’s a massive age difference between them and it will be a major adjustment seeing their old man (I mean that figuratively and literally) having a kid with someone else; but like I said to them, once the baby is here, they will love that baby and one day he will look up to them.
It’s all going to be fine and I’m surprisingly accepting of the whole situation. I sat across from the both of them and realized that I have absolutely no feelings of envy or jealousy towards their relationship and that is growth! I’m pretty proud of how we’ve managed through our divorce and how we’ve put our kids first. Yes, we’ve had some bumps along the way, but mostly because of financial differences. Overall, we get along and I wish him well. Even if I get a kick out of needling him for being a father again at 50 and I love rubbing it in how old he is to have a baby, we can still laugh about it and move on.
That’s how I know I’m ready to find my own partner in life. I’ve let go of the past. I’m looking to the future with a positive frame of mind even with all of the uncertainty. I’m finding gratitude for every day I grow closer to my dreams becoming reality and accept that I’ve gained wisdom through all the heart break. I just saw the best quote…
“The heart has to be broken to open…” ~Jhene Aiko
I believe this to be true. The walls have to be broken down in order to let someone in and you are the only one that can do the work in order to make that happen. Your love won’t come if the walls are too high to see over. They will go around and find another willing to show them what love means. So, start chipping away at those walls you’ve built up. Beginning with acceptance and forgiveness. That is the first step to walking into your future.
With Faith, Hope and Love