Dating As A Single Mom: 5 Reasons I'm Not Right Now
So your ex is dating and seems to be super happy, now suddenly everyone wants to know when you are going to be dating. You’re not getting any younger. You know you are a catch, but yet, you can’t even begin to convince yourself to “get out there”. This is my current reality. Is it that my bed is just that comfortable and Netflix is just too enticing? Possibly. I’ve used the excuses “I’m just too busy. I don’t want to shave my legs. I don’t have the energy. I want to focus on myself.” All of those things are true, but lately I’ve been thinking about whether or not those are just the cover story. As I see some of my recently divorced friends happy to head into the dating seen or even starting full relationships and happy about it, I ask myself why I have zero desire to date, much less have a serious relationship.
As far as I can deduce, there are 5 reasons as to why I'm really not dating right now.
I joke about not wanting to shave my legs, but let’s be real, as women, there’s a lot of upkeep that needs to be done regularly when you’re dating that I truly don’t have a lot of desire to do. But there’s also the comfort of the “known”. When it’s just me I know what to expect. I am a caretaker by nature and when I’m single I can take all of my energy and put it into taking care of myself and my son. I am in my comfort zone, there’s no denying that and the thought of venturing out of it is scary, which leads me to my second reason.
2. Fear of Pain
This is an obvious one, but boy, oh boy is it huge! I ask myself if having a relationship is worth the risk of being hurt again and it’s an emphatic “NO”. I feel somewhat guilty about that response because I know that the only way to feel true love is to open your heart to it and that includes risking the pain, but that doesn’t really console me. I’ve felt true love. I’ve felt the pain. I don’t want to feel the pain ever again. So what now? I’m happy. In fact, the happiest I’ve been in awhile. Why would I do anything to risk that? I am fully aware that relationships are the most important things in life, but I can have plenty of relationships in my life to bring value without having a romantic relationship right?
3. My Son
Every major and some minor decisions that I make in my life involve asking the question of, “How will this affect my son?” When I think about dating, I immediately worry that it will somehow negatively impact him. The pivotal moment when I knew my marriage was over was when I realized how the stress of my relationship with his father was affecting my ability to be the best mom possible. So I guess it’s only natural that I worry about how any other relationship will affect him, but one thing I am quite certain of is that I will not put up with anything or anyone that ever hinders my ability to be the best mom to my son I can be.
4. Fear of Losing…Again
When I think about falling in love again, any butterfly feelings are quickly squashed by the fear of loss. When you put so much of yourself into a relationship and then fight for that relationship year after year only to see its eventual failure, it’s exhausting to think about pouring yourself into another relationship that may very well fail. I know that this sounds pessimistic and I’m sure Julia Roberts’ character in Eat, Pray Love would be sorely disappointed in my lack of enthusiasm for the love portion, but nevertheless, it’s where I am in this journey. I also worry about loss even more because it could impact my son. What if he gets close to this new love of mine and then it doesn’t work out? Then, he’s not only experienced his parents’ relationship fail, but now another heartbreak. I expressed this concern to my ex when he started dating and he was quick to remind me that our son will experience all kinds of loss in life and it’s not our job to shield him from it, but to teach him how to deal with it. Yeah…yeah…I know he’s right, but I still feel the need to protect my heart and my sons.
5. The Unknown
I am 37 years old and haven’t so much as kissed anyone, but my ex in the last, holy crap I just did the math, 12 years...TWELVE YEARS! If I wanted to start dating I don’t even know where I would begin! Not to mention, aren’t all the good ones taken by now? And listen, I know that I look pretty good for my age, but I’m still an almost 40 year old single mom who doesn’t like to shave her legs. At this point in my life, I’m afraid I’d rather wrestle a mountain lion than venture into the unknown dating world in hopes of finding love. Yet, there’s the nagging reality that I’m not getting younger.
The truth is that I know all of these reasons may very well be excuses and I know that love can be worth the pain and effort. I know that only with great risk comes great reward, but right now, this is my reality and that’s ok. There’s no time table saying exactly when you should start dating again. There’s no law saying that you even have to date again at all. Your journey is just that, yours. I feel like as a society we put so much value on being “with someone”, but I have found that a full and happy life CAN exist separate from being in a committed relationship. I am healing and growing in my own time. I am wholeheartedly enjoying my alone time and I refuse to feel pressure or guilt about this hairy legged part of my journey.