Tag Archives: dating as a single mom

Get a Life!

My life is a work in progress.  I am constantly learning from my mistakes, even when I think I’ve finally gotten it right.  Probably the most important thing I’ve learned from dating is how important it is to have a life of your own, outside of any potential relationship.

When I lived in NH I had family and friends.  It was easy for me to find things to do and I actually appreciated the rare moments when I had a few free minutes.  To be honest this is one of the main reasons I was able to stay married as long as I did.  After moving to FL everything changed.  I tried to make friends and meet people but that took a back seat to the other things going on in my life (specifically my divorce).

So when I entered my first relationship I had no other commitments, nothing to keep me from focusing all my time and attention on this person.  When he had things he wanted to do I waited patiently for him to be free.  I failed to make plans of my own in case he became available.  Eventually when this relationship ended I continued this pattern with other people I met.  Until one day I finally got it.

See, I felt like I had to keep time available in order to have a relationship.  Being a single mother, a good deal of my free time is spent with my kids.  Any time I wasn’t with them I kept open for finding or building a relationship.  At the time this seemed logical.  If being in a relationship was important to me then it made sense that I had to make time to work on that.

Except that made me dependent on a relationship to make me feel complete when I wasn’t with my kids.  This also made me come across as needy.  Plus when I met someone I was interested in I didn’t have anything to talk about outside of work and my kids which did not make me seem appealing.  I made myself too available, too accommodating.  It sounds cliché but men like the chase – and I did not require chasing since I would bend over backward for anyone willing to spend time with me.

I knew I had to change.  I knew I needed to get a life.  Admitting you have a problem is the first step but how do you fix it?

I had been part of groups on meetup.com for a while but had never made the effort to attend the events.  I was part of a couple of parents groups, a walking group and an “adventure” group so I had the opportunity to meet people and do things, but going to events where I didn’t know anyone pushed me out of my comfort zone so I made excuses not to go. I decided that I would start responding yes to any event I was even a little interested in.  If I changed my mind or couldn’t go I could always change my response to no later, but simply responding yes suddenly had me getting out more.

And when all else failed I started going out alone.  Yes, I said it.  Alone.  Many people are shocked, or at least surprised, when I tell them I go out alone.  For many the idea of going out alone would never cross their mind.  I was the same way, but I met someone who changed that for me (I’ll go into this in a different post).  So I found a local bar that I was comfortable in alone.  There was live music that was often very good and to my surprise I started meeting people.  About half the time I went in I would end up having a conversation with someone, or several people.  I probably would have met more but some nights I left after only a short time, especially in the beginning.  If you can master this it is very liberating.

Gradually the time I spent without my kids was filled up with fun and exciting things.  When I had my kids I got us all out among other people.  I started meeting people and making friends, some with kids, some without.  I still had time or could make time to date, but I was no longer focused on finding someone to be with.  I had many, many people to be with.

Now my life is full and complete.  I love every aspect of it whether my kids are with me or not.  I still haven’t found that person I want to share it with but eventually I will, and until then I am happy, happier than I ever thought I could be.

It’s Called a Breakup Because It’s Broken

When dealing with divorce, or the end of any relationship, it’s easy let sadness and self pity overwhelm us. As I’ve mentioned, I used a new relationship to help me avoid dealing with my divorce. As soon as that relationship ended I started looking for a new one. I was in a self destructive pattern that ultimately would lead me nowhere.

I came to this realization on my lunch break at work following a text conversation with the person I thought I was dating at the time. I had seen him a total of 8 hours in 3 weeks, amidst promises that his time would free up sooner rather than later. Here is how it went:

Me: “Can I ask you something?” (brilliant opening line – but at least makes sure that he is available to respond)

Him: “Yes”

Me: “Are you still interested?”

Him: “I am but…”

Me: “But?”

Him: “I don’t think I can give you what you need.”

Me: “So, you’re interested but I’m too needy?”

And I never heard from him again. To my credit I deleted the conversation and never attempted to contact him again.

Devastated that I was still alone, I finally went looking for answers outside of a new relationship. I love to read so I searched for books on dating, realizing the problem was me and knowing that the answer had to be out there somewhere.

I found many books and will post about the best (and worst) ones. There was one book that really helped me put this relationship into perspective: It’s Called a Breakup Because It’s Broken: The Smart Girl’s Break-Up Buddy.

Co-authored by Greg Behrendt and Amiira Ruotola-Behrendt, it truly let me see the folly in trying to have a relationship with this man. This is a book I return to after every big breakup and it has helped me focus on improving myself instead of wishing for something that just wasn’t there.

Try it out for yourself and post a comment letting us know what you thought!