Do you remember a blog post I wrote last week about a guy from a dating site that felt he could only date me if I kept my children very separate from him? I’ve been turning that around and around in my head all week, trying to make sense of it. I have written about dating as a single parent before but as my children get older, I’ve been wondering whether my situation has changed at all in the time that I’ve been single.
Ben is now 20 and halfway through his degree. He will be home for a year in June, but won’t be living with me. Dexter is 10 and the ultimate tween. His moods are slightly rollercoaster-esque, but I take comfort from knowing that I’ve been through this before and came out the other side relatively unscathed. I’m not scared of what adolescence may bring because I’m confident in my skills as a single parent. (*disclaimer – I’m not in any way saying that it’s easy, I just know, for the most part, what to expect!)
The reason I’m saying this is because the guy that didn’t want anything to do with my children made me question just what it is I’m looking for in a man. My children have nothing or very little to do with their fathers and from an outsider’s point of view, I wonder whether potential dates might wonder whether I am looking for someone to fulfil that role?
This is 100% not the case.
I have never been happier with who I am, what I have and where I’m going and as much as I wish I was fitter and richer, and some of my dreams for my future have had to be … re-evaluated somewhat, the fact is I’m doing great as I am. But I think that from a man’s point of view, that can be seen as a negative. I’m generalising somewhat, but in my experience men need to feel needed and I just don’t need a man.
Dexter said to me yesterday, in one of his increasingly rarer sweet moments, “If I have half the courage you have when I grow up Mum, I’ll be a really happy person.” *sniff* The point is that he sees me a certain way and it’s a wonderfully positive thing, but for some men, seeing a strong woman having her act together is a complete turn off.
I can’t pretend to be something I’m not – but I need to point out that there is a HUGE difference between needing and wanting a man.
Falling in love as a single mum has turned out to be a lot harder than I thought it would be and I know that blending a family is a complex series of negotiations that I am ready for, when the time is right. But one thing is crystal clear, to me at least … I am a great mum. I find that quite difficult to say out loud normally, but it’s International Women’s Day today and it just felt right to be outspoken about that point. I’ve been a parent for 20 years, a lot of those years on my own, and I’m doing OK. But I know Dexter is ready for me to find love again, which makes my life a whole lot easier.
Lots of people are rooting for me to fall in love. People in real life and even readers of my blog. In fact, even Match.com got in touch and gave me a month’s free subscription because they want me to fall in love too!
One day it would be nice to share my awesome family with somebody I love. (Personally, I think any man would be extremely lucky to be a part of not only my life, but my childrens’ lives, and if they can’t see that then they’re not right for me.) and I guess I don’t want to get to my ’50s, for my children to have flown the nest and for me to have not found love again.
So here are some thoughts about dating me, a single parent:
- I am hardened, not hard. I may have developed a thicker skin, but I have a soft centre – bit like a Minstrel. (Mmm … Minstrels.)
- I didn’t take drama lessons at school for a reason … I HATE DRAMA.
- The only games I like to play are naked Twister and Trivial Pursuits.
- The thought of having another baby is petrifying/terrifying. So don’t worry, nappies are a definite no-no.
- In the 3 years I’ve been single, I’ve never introduced any date/partner to my children. That will only happen if I’m pretty serious about someone.
- I have a lot of patience, just not for bad behaviour … that goes for partners as well as kids.
- I can do it all, but an occasional helping hand is always appreciated.
- I am fiercely protective of everyone I love.
- I take relationships seriously, but that doesn’t mean I’m a serious person.
- When I love, I love hard.
I had provisional plans to go out for a date tonight with a guy I’d been speaking to, but when he took nearly 24 hours to respond to a text because he’d ‘forgotten’ his phone, I knew I wouldn’t be turning up. He messaged me last night to see if our date was still on and I was completely honest with him. I said that I got the feeling he really wasn’t that bothered either way and so I wouldn’t be wasting my time meeting him. He assured me that wasn’t the case and recognised he should have been a bit more ‘consistent’ in responding and that it was a shame. And it was. But this isn’t me playing hard to get. I just don’t have the time/can’t be bothered to meet someone that is half-hearted. Apathy is a huge turn-off.
I think all of the above probably sums up why I’m still single. The 20 year-old and 30 year-old me would have just settled. The 40 year-old and 50 year-old me won’t. It’s a common misconception that single mums are looking for someone to be a Dad to their kids and I can only speak from my own experience when I say that I’m doing a good job parenting on my own.
But a little woo’ing wouldn’t go amiss!