Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Dating Dilemma

I think it's safe to say this is one of the most popular topics in single parent convos. I never really knew anyone in a similar situation to learn from or take any advice. It ended up just being a learning experience along the way, and whether I did the right things or not, I had to figure it out for myself.

Any single parent who is looking to date wants to meet someone they connect with. Bringing a child into the picture changes everything. I remember getting back out there and it wasn't easy. First and foremost, I was and am always a proud parent. Being upfront about having a child is so key. I know this sounds a little dumb, as if I'm pointing out the obvious. You'd be surprised there are single parents who may not want to mention it in the first place in order not to "scare off" a certain someone. If you feel uncomfortable to mention your own child(ren) to someone, fearing they'll lose interest, then this is not someone worth dating. Single parents are package deals and that was always my M.O.

I'm always asked, "What is the one thing you miss before becoming a mom?" Now, I love my life and Aliyah means the absolute world to me. If you think about it, there's not much that I can't do (now or eventually) just because I'm a mom. My simple answer to that question is spontaneity. Getting to pick up and go doesn't sound like a luxury, but you start to realize this with dating. Chances are, if you find yourself in a dating relationship, eventually this person will want more of your time and attention. This was probably the hardest part from my experience. My availability to go out sans child is limited. Of course, I had my share of babysitters (ok more so it was either my mom or dad) and for the most part I had certain routine days to myself. I knew when I'd be available and that's it.

Dating someone who was cool with me having a child was great. Made me feel accepted. That is, they weren't brought around my daughter, nor did I want to. I wasn't ready for that, but the truth is... it's just hard for someone to TRULY accept something like that. Dating a mom is just dating until this comes to light. I would never want Aliyah to feel as if she were a burden, and likewise I would never want to feel like my package deal is a burden to another.

Now, not every single mom is dating to find someone to co-parent and that is often a misconception from single men. I always hated this misconception. I find people read into things too quickly and like to assume. Being upfront about it can be key so no one feels uncomfortable. Sometimes dating doesn't need any long-term intentions and it's just to go with the flow and see how things go, how people get along, going out and enjoying yourselves.

I could write a book on this topic since I barely touched the surface here. What are some dating dilemmas out there that you've experienced?

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