coping with the dating scene and still being a good parent... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 05-21-2010, 05:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi everyone

I haven't posted on here for a while. I've been a single mother for 9 months now and am on the whole much happier than I was in my relationship, although it's hard work with my son who's 2 1/2 and very 'full on'. I had wanted out of my relationship for years before finally leaving, and recently I decided I was ready to tentatively start dating again - not looking necessarily for 'Mr Right', but just starting the process of seeing what's out there.

I joined some dating sites but have had no luck with them - think someone having a kid seems to put off 90 % of guys as my childless friends of similar attractiveness have been inundated with dates via the online route - and then randomly met someone recently and got in very deep, very fast. It ended when he made it clear he wasn't in love and didn't think it was going in that direction, while I knew I was falling in love...it's left me feeling in not such a good space. On a smaller scale a similar thing happened when I was quite fresh out of my relationship with my child's dad, only then it was just a weekend fling that ended badly. Still - a knock to the old self esteem. The whole 'dating scene' is actually really new to me in many ways as I always used to get together with people I met at work or through friends, and somehow that feels 'safer' than dating total strangers...it seems like a different world. I feel a bit scared to try again now. The emotional rollercoaster I've just been on has somehow made it feel harder than ever to be a mom - having to give, give, give, constantly to someone and feel frustrated, drained and tired a lot of the time... I'm not enjoying it. How do you do it without letting it take over your life? ? ? It's not fair on my son to have a grumpy or distant mom.

I could just do with some words of wisdom/encouragement/support from other single mothers who are dating, on how to navigate these tricky waters!

(by the way I had already decided not to let any man meet my son until it's been a couple of months and I feel sure of him)...
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#2 of 7 Old 05-21-2010, 10:41 PM
 
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Dating is a catch-22 for me and it all depends on how I am feeling about myself and my life.

When I am in a place of neediness, boredom or feeling like I am lacking something (which I often don't admit to until I am miserable and reflecting on my past actions)... dating becomes a high that frequently falls really fast and hard and leaves me feeling worse than I did initially.

Honestly, I have been in that place the majority of my life.

Currently, I am in a very different place and dating is easy, fun and full of interesting people. [Actually, I have a tea date with an interesting one tomorrow. He's an environmental investigative reporter for Bloomberg.]

What makes it different now: I am in an awesome place in my life and within myself. Dating is not a priority anymore. It is an extra-curricular activity that I could take or leave. I have made my life busy, fulfilling and exciting without a man. Therefore, I can be more objective and selective about any future partner, which I haven't been in the past. I am not looking for the high to fill the void anymore... the void doesn't exist, at least, not right now. Does that make sense?

I think that if you are feeling a little scared and just not enjoying the experience... take a break. Spend some time exploring what you makes you happy (outside of a relationship) and doing things, perhaps even new things, that give you a sense of a more fulfilled, exciting life.

And, foremost of all... be gentle with yourself. Matters of the heart are always a bit complicated and risky.
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#3 of 7 Old 05-23-2010, 12:18 AM
 
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such wisdom from holland73!

with such a young child mothering is going to take up such a huge part of your time and energy, i think you have to be very careful to make sure you are number one taking care of your own needs, and number two being selective about who you give your time/heart to.

i tend also to throw myself in very deeply very fast if there is a genuine connection, and i'm learning as a single mama i need to be more careful and really make sure i'm in a good place, emotionally, physically before i put myself in a vulnerable situation; and love IMO requires vulnerability.
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#4 of 7 Old 05-23-2010, 12:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, Holland73 - yes, it's so true...I was feeling this emptiness and boredom with my life lately, just before this recent guy came into it, and that's not a good place out of which to create a solid relationship! I guess it's just the unrelentingness of single parenthood and the way often it feels like I've got nothing exciting to look forward to. Sure, I do 'fun' things with my son and I have regular time off from him too when he goes to his dad, but somehow it's not enough...I seem to need that nurturance and physical affection from another adult. I feel like my life IS full and sometimes a bit TOO full - I'm studying part time, a course I love, I'm a writer and have good friendships and meet regularly with other like minded moms during the day with my son, I go to dance classes which I love - so it's not so much needing to fill my time, as needing to fill my heart and get some relief from feeling like it's just me struggling on day to day on my own.

Muse, good point: he is very young, and it's a very draining stage, so I do need to be careful what I put out energy wise. I like what you said about love requiring vulnerability, though, bc sometimes I beat myself up for being open, but actually there's not necessarily anything wrong with that - I just need to be careful WHO I allow in!
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#5 of 7 Old 05-23-2010, 12:23 PM
 
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Perhaps, you should check out Arielle Ford's The Soulmate Secret.

I have not personally read this book, as I am really not searching for a soulmate right now, but I have now spoken with 4 people who swear by her book. I imagine I will get to her book very soon, but right now I am on an existential journey of my own first.
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#6 of 7 Old 05-23-2010, 12:37 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Devaya View Post
T

Muse, good point: he is very young, and it's a very draining stage, so I do need to be careful what I put out energy wise.
I remember when ds was younger, infant to 4 years, and feeling very overwhelmed and needy. I felt like I was giving everything to ds and so desperately needed/wanted someone to give me something. It was a very difficult time for me and makes me very thankful to only have one, now that we are past that stage. But, my dating experiences/relationships during that time really showed how difficult of a time it was for me.

Just remember... it does get easier the older your dc gets and being aware of your state of mind will really help.
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#7 of 7 Old 05-23-2010, 05:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the book rec, that sounds just up my street! I think I AM looking for 'that one'...I dont want to trawl through the dating scene for years and years...I want to keep building stability in my life after a very long period of things being very very hard and tumultous for me... and part of that doesn't seem to be having different guys one after the other in my life. Though we will see what happens in reality!

It's so comforting to hear I am not alone in finding this stage of parenting so phenomenally hard. You've hit the nail on the head, Holland73, in what you said about needing someone to give to you when you're giving all the time... I also think I'm only going to have one (child), but sometimes I think if I found the right guy I'd want another...I don't know. I cant bear the thought of going through it all over again when I am just starting to get my 'freedom' back!
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