This beautiful and honest piece was received as a comment to a recent relationship question/answer on our “Ask the Guys” page. The post was entitled, “Dating in my 20s as a single mother.” Also, read, “Will guys date single mothers?” for more information.
Thank you Sabrina for sharing your experiences.
Dating in my 20s as a single mother by Sabrina
I can offer up the firsthand view and experience of dating in single motherhood…
I wanted to get married and start a family at a young age, and I did just that; less than a week after turning 18 I married my high school boyfriend of eight months. Almost two years into our marriage, I gave birth to our daughter, and by the time she was two and a half and just shy of our 4 year anniversary, we were divorced. Like Paul and The Guys above state, I was looking to fill a void. Not by having my daughter, but by having the whole ‘happy and complete’ family fantasy that I never had growing up. Of course it’s taken me many years to honestly see and admit that fact.
My dad wasn’t around like he should have been because he was military, and he was busy with other women behind my mothers’ back for the 17 years they were married. I love my dad, we are better now than we were when I was a kid, but he wasn’t the shining male example I should have had and it has caused me to fall for and accept men of similar, bad treatment towards the women they claim to love.
When I decided I deserved someone who truly wanted to be a husband and proper example of a man, I asked my husband for a divorce even though the worry crossed my mind about being so young and a single parent that no one would want the ‘baggage’ I would be carrying when dating again. I decided though that I would rather be happy and back on my own and most likely single for some time to come, than in a marriage that would never work. My advice is this;
As a single mother, the few men I have dated over the 5+ years I’ve been single now have been losers. The first I dated was very brief, only a couple months. He lied, met women behind my back, begged for a loan that he promised he’d pay back, and then took that loan and flew back to his hometown of Vegas.
After him, I ended up in an abusive relationship for four years with someone younger (you can never know the difficulty of leaving something as such until you experience it yourself, believe you me). When my daughter grew to an age where she could truly comprehend the difference between good and bad treatment, I finally got the courage to leave and set the example for my daughter —he was very good to her, but horrid to me—I booted him for good. It was one of the most difficult things to have her understand when he had been involved with us for so long; but when I was able to tell her and show her that when you love someone you are not cruel and unkind, she understood.
I have been so used to being with a man that I jumped from that relationship right into another who honestly DID seem to be what I had been missing. He professed love for my daughter and we integrated our lives quickly; I was convinced I had finally met ‘The One.’ We were together almost a year when last November he left me for his high school flame whom he never dated but always wondered ‘what if’ about when she relocated back over from Eastern Washington. My daughter and I were crushed. She’s almost 8, and damn it, I’m almost 30 and I’m tired of the games men keep playing. And that last one was even 30, so some men aren’t even mature and ready by their 30′s! It’s literally luck and chance of meeting the right person who means what they say and will forever stick around.
I’ve been refraining from dating until a new year since my ex left, and I’ve been surprisingly happy with the break. 20 is so young, and really, you are going to change so much over the next decade. I’m 27 and amazed at how my taste and desires have manifested over the years, and it’s taken all of my experiences to get it. Being a single mother is a rough road and being so young can make it feel like the end of the world and you’ll always be alone. But here’s the thing; you won’t. There are men who will be involved with a single mother, but unfortunately, a great deal of them will be wrong for you. You have to take your time with everything and approach relationships far more slowly and carefully now that you are one plus a little one. It’s going to feel like an eternity, and you’re going to feel lonely A LOT. But when the right man eventually makes his way into your life, the patience will all have been worth it.
Focus on you, living an amazing life, and be a shining example of a strong independent woman for your daughter. Mine asked me the other day if this year I was going to have a boyfriend. I giggled and looked at her with a grin on my face and said, ”Maybe, anything can happen. But you know what, if it happens, great, and if it doesn’t, then that’s okay too. When I’m supposed to be with the right person, it will happen, but right now, I’m very happy with how things are.” And I meant every word. Her response, “Right Mom, we are happy together!” I feel wonderful knowing my daughter is seeing and feeling such positiveness from my choices. Love/Relationships/Dating/Marriage is just a piece of the lives we live and lead, don’t let it be your all consuming focus. What’s meant to happen, will. Don’t give up hope, be strong, and know that good things come to those who deserve it :]
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