'Sleepless in Seattle' - ah if only all single parent dating experiences were like this.
Read this real-life story from a single mum who tries dating for the first time:
"If someone had of told me as a teenager that I would be divorced with two young children by 36 I would have laughed at them. “Not me!" would have been my reply. A good Catholic girl, who has her whole life mapped out to the smallest detail. No way was this going to happen to me. I was to meet my prince in shining armour at 24, marry the following year, and have my first child at 29. That was after I had completed university, bought a house, travelled overseas at least once and owned a car. Yes I did everything to a 'T'. So why would I ever think that it would all come to an end. Oh how wrong I was!
At 36 my marriage fell apart and suddenly I was faced with raising two children under age eight, alone. Naturally, it was very daunting. For about a year, I kept it all together, though saddened when my children went to stay with their dad for the weekend. The blow came when he informed me he had met someone new. I went through the stages of anger and decided that maybe it was time to venture out into the world to seek a new partner. Oh my gosh - the dating scene ahhh!! Where to start, though? I went out with a few girlfriends to a local club but that was just pathetic. People drunk and pawing you… this was not where I could find a man to introduce to my children. There it hit me... it is not just me I need to consider here; I had to be selective for their sakes as well as my need for adult companionship.
A friend suggested I try a dating site. It all seemed overwhelming, like checking through a catalogue for that perfect bargain. So… which men are on sale today? Very odd and scary, as I imagined them doing the same to me. For a month I put my profile up and was swarmed with interest; that just freaked me out and I hid my profile again. Finally in the second month I decided to try again. A few people sent a ‘Kiss’. I accepted and started to chat with three different men. They all seemed nice but I guess anyone can from a computer screen. They all asked me for a meal. Hmmm, I guess I had to go.
Now to freak out! Dates and times were set… a busy weekend ahead, but exciting. I dressed for a lunch date, the first one. Now, what to wear? My five year old child came in, “Mum, why does your bum wobble?” Grrr, I think I need to change! Kids can be so cruel. I wish their father would come so I can finish getting ready.
I feel nervous; what if he didn’t like me? What if he thought I was ugly, dull or fat? Oh my God! It was high school all over again. Those feelings you get when you think you are not good enough or you may get judged came flooding back. Here I was, now 38, going on my first date and feeling like a teenager. It was awful, I didn’t have the rapport, I didn’t know him, he was a stranger… maybe a criminal… okay, the imagination was going wild!
I decided to meet in a public place to ease those thoughts of becoming a crime statistic. It was awkward, he was boring, and he only talked about how great he was to the human race… and I ran like hell. The same for the next date, but the third was different.
We seemed to hit it off. We talked for hours and feelings grew. I felt so comfortable with him. Even his family loved me, and mine didn’t try to turn the sprinklers on him when he entered the yard, so it was great all ‘round. Six months had passed and our children had met. They got on at first, and after nine months, we moved in together.
Then the cracks grew. It became an ‘us against them’ mentality which caused us great stress. It became too much and we parted after a year and a half. Still friends, but too hurt to ever try again. My children were hurt as well. It was awful; I had put them through another break up, and I felt as low as you could get.
My children will always come first and as a single mum we are a package and they are and will always be the most important people in my life. It was something I had not thought about - the impact of my search for companionship would have on them. I stayed single for a year after that."
Written by "G.A".