6 New Rules to Dating When You’re A Single Mommy
I was never good at dating. I never understood the rules, wasn’t a fan of the whole ambiguous “we’re just talking phase,” and I definitely hated having to experience the awkwardness of all the “firsts.” I guess this might partially explain why I stayed in terrible relationships for so long. At either rate, I digress.
I became a single mother almost two years ago. I knew before I discovered that I was pregnant that my relationship with my son’s father was beyond dead and I needed to move on. That feeling didn’t change when I discovered I was pregnant. By the end of my second trimester, I decided to call it quits with him and in turn dating.
For almost 16 months, I avoided talking, dating, socializing, or whatever term you want to give it. I originally took the time because I wanted to: A. focus on my new role as a mother and B. I needed to grieve the loss of a three-year relationship and process through my emotions. Before I knew it, I became comfortable being a mommy and alone. My team was a team of two and I was fine with no one else joining.
Until that one night, in April, when I let my co-worker talk me into going to a Speed Dating event. A piece of advice, your married friends/co-workers/family members want to live vicariously through you and your “singleness.” Take their advice and suggestions about dating with a grain of salt.
I wasn’t impressed with the event or the crowd at ALL. I met a Kirk Franklin Look-a-like, a recent immigrant from Nigeria looking for a Green Card, and an Asian doctor who was just, well… strange. By the time I got to the last person, I was expecting the next Ted Bundy.
He turned out to be anything but. He was handsome, insanely intelligent, and decent man who seemed to have his life together. That night we talked for three hours and all of a sudden it was like something that was once dead in me was alive again. I realized what I had been missing. Mommy wanted a playmate of her own. So after that encounter I found myself back in the dating world.
And man was it something that can be described simply as post apocalyptic. Remember, I was in a relationship for three years and happily albeit ignorantly single for a year and a half. Being a side chick had become cool, saying “hello” was considered thirsty, and expecting a man to open the doors for you was considered stuck up. Add to that, I was a mommy, living in a large metropolitan city alone with my son, and no real support network. Not only did I have to navigate the 2013 dating pool, I had to re-learn the game and lingo and balance that with my new role as mom.
Along the way, I failed. And depending on who you ask, I am probably still failing. However, here are some rules/tips/nuggets of advice I’ve discovered along the way.
- Admit you have a child, but don’t push your child on the other person
- The 90 day rule is stupid. If you think you’re ready and you can handle the consequences, positive or negative, go for it.
- Keep him hidden until you decide if he’s worth the endless questions that are bound to come from your best friend, cousin, mother, old aunties, etc.
- Stop listening to your mother and old aunties. What worked for them and their generation probably won’t work for you.
- Have fun! Although you may long for the family unit, the person you’re dating might not be the one best suited for the job. As a single mother, having adult fun is a rare treat. So when I get to go out (which is very very rare) and let loose, I enjoy every moment of fun even if I know he ain’t he one. And if he isn’t…
- Keep your options open, but your legs closed. I don’t know about you, but one is enough!
And in case you’re wondering what happened to the insanely smart and handsome guy from the speed dating event, he’s around, but remember tip number 6.
Do you have any rules that you would add to the list for dating as a Single Mommy?
Written by Contributor, Bella Darcel