The dating post, redux


I’m back, with more thoughts on this whole dating business.

There’s one thing I’ve noticed since becoming a single mom: there seem to be (at least) two paths that women take when they become single with children. There are those who get into committed long-term relationships within the first year, and there are those who do not.

I am very obviously one of those who did not. It’s been almost 7 years since separating from my children’s father, and I can’t say I’ve really had a single relationship in that time. I’ve gone on more than one date with a few people, and had a few friends with lucrative benefits. I’ve found myself falling every once in a while (I’m assuming that anyone who watches Grey’s Anatomy will recognize the subliminal “Your heart is in your vagina” reference in that sentence), but nothing has stuck.

I’m making better choices now, and listening to my gut a lot more than I did 5 years ago. I’ve taken some time to navel gaze, to figure out how to unpack my baggage before involving other people in my complicated life. Had I not waited, not worked through a bunch of the interpersonal-related bullshit I’ve built up since adolescence, I could have been one of those folks who ends up ass over teakettle and down the aisle within the year.

It would have been a BAD idea.

For me.

I’ve seen some amazing relationships come out within the first year post-family-beak-up. I’ve seen more total clusterfucks, though. I guarantee you that I would have been among the clusterfucks. No question. I was NOT ready to engage in a healthy relationship, and thankfully, I suck at lying. I was likely broadcasting on all frequencies to anyone in range that I had no idea what I was doing or what I wanted.

There’s one drawback to staying uninvolved for this long that I hadn’t anticipated: I’ve become very set in my ways. I’ve done everything on my own for so long that I don’t know if I want to have to consult with someone else. I don’t know if I can trust someone else with shared financial matters. I certainly don’t want to have to figure out the boundaries of how to actively parent with/around someone else. The thought of all of that makes my head spin.

I gotta say, though, sometimes it’s not enough. I admit it: I’m human, and I get lonely. Having another adult as a full-time part of my life would be nice, and not just for the in-house sex (though, come on, that’s a huge perk).

On a bit of a tangent, but somewhat related to that last sentence, I would love to stop feeling like my babysitter is my pimp: a third party broker I have to pay in order to have sex. Okay, so she’s only brokering the time, and not the sex itself, but it’s impossible to have one without the other, so it’s really hard to not frame it that way. I have no issues with sex and currency being used together. It would just be nice to not have to. A return to hourly rate-free spontaneity would be lovely, wouldn’t it?

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4 Comments

  1. April 17, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    Re: Living alone and getting set in your ways:

    Words out of my own head. I’ve gotten to the point where I anticipate staying single until my son is a grown up. Not without serious negotiations, a pre-nup and ILA so I can protect my assets and debt-load. After 12 yrs of supporting a child, with another 8 to go, I will NOT risk having to pay alimony to an ex-partner because we cohabited for a year and they decide to be

    I don’t’ want to clean up after a second person, or feed three people: I stopped at one child for a reason, and I can’t imagine meeting someone who cleans and cooks – I’m not that lucky.

    After 12 years living alone (or with a platonic roommate) I just can’t imaging bending enough to make room for someone to join our lives, and I can’t trust that someone is going to be as responsible as I need them to be, even if that’s not a rational opinion.

    Yes, this life, alone, can be lonely, but I don’t have the ability to bounce back if I screw up big enough.

    • April 18, 2010 at 7:19 am

      That should read “I wouldn’t get into a long term live-in relationship without serious negotiations, a pre-nup . . . “

  2. Margie said,

    April 18, 2010 at 11:11 pm

    Words from my head, too: “I’ve become very set in my ways. I’ve done everything on my own for so long that I don’t know if I want to have to consult with someone else. I don’t know if I can trust someone else with shared financial matters. I certainly don’t want to have to figure out the boundaries of how to actively parent with/around someone else. The thought of all of that makes my head spin.”

    Heck, even just the idea of negotiating “what to do this weekend” with another person seems like it would be challenging, to me.

  3. Nick H said,

    April 30, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    I absolutely loved reading this and was laughing and nodding my head the whole time.

    As a recently single dad (< 6 months) who has only started dating casually I find it already difficult to revert back into that dating mindset. The soft shell some folks have and the space left in my head after thinking about my 3 kids, myself and work will mean I may miss some of the subtler moments and triggers and suggestions.

    This may suggest I am not ready for a serious relationship and probably need to focus on finding the parts of me I put away so long ago. But the thought of eventually finding a shared life with someone makes me smile


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