Everybody knows dating's tough. Or at least that seems to be the general consensus amongst my friends. When do I call? What do I say? What if she talks about marriage on the first date? What if he's only after sex? When is it okay to have the DTR? Can I touch her there? What if he touches that? The questions are endless. So, imagine how much more difficult it can be when you throw in the whole "I've got kids."
I've been a single parent for 6 years. For awhile, I didn't do much dating, then I did a lot of dating, and now I'm back to not doing it again. I've learned a few things, and I've definitely watched a lot of people date and seen their reactions.
Here's 10 things I've learned, some single mom related, some not.
1. It has the potential to suck.
a. But no matter how much it sucks, we always do it again, even when we swear we won't.
b. Because honestly? I don't think humans were made to be alone forever. Just for awhile. Sometimes long whiles.
2. You get your feelings hurt.
a. You WILL recover. She/he may not come back, but someone else will be better. Don't give up.
b. If they call you fat or ugly, that's not hurting your feelings, that's plain mean. Don't put up with it.
c. When you're hurting someone, remember how much it sucks when you get hurt. So be gentle, and don't burn any bridges.
d. If you never get your feelings hurt, you are not human.
3. Women are way too emotional.
a. Come on girls, drop it. Don't over analyze every single thing. Sometimes, just let things be. Let it go.
b. However, we wouldn't be women if we weren't emotional.
c. Men are emotional - just in their own way. Like, after their favorite team loses. Girls, zip it when this happens.
d. Men, sometimes women just need you to listen. And act like you care. And hold us. This probably means we don't need your commentary about how we overreacted or how we should just get over it.
e. Insane women, please do not give us normal or even not typical women a bad name.
f. Don't let sex ruin your relationship. Don't lead anyone on. Don't use anyone. Not cool.
4. When you drop the "I have two kids," men tend to get skiddish.
a. I think this is slightly unfair. I mean, it doesn't change who am I at my core.
b. Just because I have kids doesn't mean I want to marry you. It seems men seem to think this automatically means I'm looking for something serious. It doesn't. It just means... I have two kids.
c. In fact, it doesn't even mean I want to ever speak to you again.
d. My kids are cool, but no, you do not get to meet them.
e. Yes, I think it's something that should be told upfront, no matter the intent of the relationship. Just being honest.
5. You can't change people.
a. You shouldn't want to change people.
b. Let people be themselves.
c. You shouldn't change who you are for someone else.
6. My kids have to come first.
a. It's not that I don't care about you. It's that I care about them more. You'll understand someday when you have children.
b. Please don't make me choose. That's wrong.
c. Don't ask me to pay a babysitter to go with you to something unnecessary. If it's your granny's 90th birthday party, okay. If it's to sit around and look at each other, no.
7. My kids already have a dad. They don't need another one.
a. He is their daddy. You will not be. There are boundaries here.
b. If you get to meet my children, consider it a privilege, not a right.
8. I do not need you. (as a general rule, see 8f)
a. I am a successful, independent woman. The last thing I need is you.
b. I pay my bills, I enjoy my life. Don't think that you are doing me any favors. I am not a charity case just because I am a single mom.
c. I have an incredible circle of close friends. I do need them.
e. I am a grown-ass woman.
f. Sometimes, I may need your support. This is different than needing you.
9. If you're in my life, it's because I want you there.
a. Don't flatter yourself. I got this.
b. See 8c. Those friends? They will always be in my life. Deal with it.
c. I have a career, I have hobbies, and I have friends. Let me do mine, you do yours. We don't need to be around each other all the time - what fun is that?
10. It is supposed to be fun!
a. Sure, it's never going to be perfect, but if it's never fun, it isn't worth it. Life is too short.
b. If it's constant dread, it's not right. Do yourself both a favor, and get out.