Tag Archives: single parent

You do you; I’ll do me

“Dating: The process of going to social appointments, engagements, or occasions which are arranged beforehand with another person with which one is romantically interested in.”

Dating can be just for fun with no intention of seeking a lifelong partner, or it can be for the purpose of just that.

Dating is often notoriously frustrating or difficult.

Dating as a single parent of two kids can be even more difficult.

If you had asked me 10 years ago, I never thought I would be in the position of being a single parent, back in the dating pool. I have dated off and on during the last 6 years. There are periods of time when I was content not dating at all, not interested. Other times I would be upset with the whole process and actively boycotted the whole idea. And yet other times, I would date several people in a row. There is no clear set of instructions.

Dating can feel like this. Super easy to navigate, right? 😉

There are a lot of pressures surrounding dating. Pressure from friends, family, society, and from myself. Even in my mid-30s, I wonder, “What would my friends think of this person? What would my parents say? What will they object to? Am I going to be put under heavy criticism and scrutiny?” And I think that’s natural to think about. With dating, not only are you often trying to match yourself with another individual first and foremost, but in a long-term partner, you are also seeing how they fit with the rest of your life…with your peers, family, lifestyle.

There are conflicting messages too. For example, you’ll hear things like this:

“Choosing the person you marry is probably one the most important decisions of your life.”

vs

“You just need to stop being so picky. Nobody is perfect.”

I want to commiserate with any single person who has ever heard this. They are both valid points, but the balance is so tricky.

The hardest part of dating, as I’ve struggled to make choices that were right for me, is hearing the comments, judgmental statements, and feeling negative vibes from others.

Here are some things I want the people to keep in mind:

  1. You do not have all the information: this is on purpose, as I generally try keep my personal aspects of my life as personal as I can, in order to decrease the flow of criticism and protect myself. People can’t critique what they don’t know.
  2. People make mistakes: People are not only GOING to make mistakes, but they are allowed to make mistakes. That’s how we learn.
  3. Sometimes what is perceived as a mistake, is not.
  4. Put yourself in my shoes (or whoever’s shoes): would you want other people judging you?
  5. Most people need love and acceptance a lot more than they need advice.  — Bob Goff

The important thing is…(and I’m telling this to myself as well) make the choices that are right for YOU. People will criticize you no matter what you choose, so you might as well make your decisions for you and not base them off what you *think* you should be doing because of something someone else said.

Single ladies! (and men)
Single ladies! (and men)
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I do all my own stunts.

Last night I had a smorgasbord of feels. (Yes, I actually had to look up how to spell that word.)

I tend to spend a long time collecting information, experiencing, dissecting and assembling, and then eventually it all bubbles to the surface as a [semi] complete thought. Although I went to bed at 9:30 (I know, I know…) last night my brain had the timely audacity to choose 10pm-12am to do its bubbling.
*furrowed brow*

Insomnia.
Insomnia.

In the tangles of blankets that were too restrictive, and pajamas that were too heavy, I found myself reviewing the past 10 years or so, spending most of my energy systematically picking apart the last 5 years of dating.

I categorized negative events I don’t want to repeat or experience again, and singled out parts that I want to assimilate into my future. Being at this age and stage (30-something and single with two chilluns) I think about this kind of thing a lot. While pondering, I also noticed that I go through cycles of “Katie the Hermit” and “Dating Flurry” with sometimes a rare moderate dating period in between.

I have found myself thinking things like,
“I don’t need to date.” (which is technically true, I don’t)
“I’ll just be single the rest of my life, that’s ok. I’m independent and I do well on my own.”
Which is not really a feasible concept if I want to find love and companionship. Which of course I do. Don’t most people want that?

So the Almosts and Mishaps have shaped me and helped solidify in my mind what I don’t want…therefore it has helped flesh out, via negative space, what I DO want.

BUT
this caused me to think about the the difference between allowing something to be created/decided by way of happenstance…and actually taking action and creating it myself.

So I ask myself again “What do you want? How are you going to get there? What goals are you going to set?”

a_sea_of_feels-14111
Yes, once in awhile I get entrenched in a sea of feels and I wade around in the receding tide for awhile…and then I come around to the fact that I have power and I can create my own life and love and good vibes.

The phrase: “Don’t like it? Change it. Or change your attitude.” always seemed so bossy and smirky to me…but in reality it’s an extremely empowering statement. You are in charge of your life! Take the reins and start steering.

Things I have learned (and re-learned) in the past week

Utah has fantastic sunsets.

My fan club will be there when I need it.

Big change will be weird and difficult for a period of time, it’s uncomfortable, and it’ll give you some hellishly freaky dreams, but that’s ok.

Wounds from random parts of life can be healed when you least expect it.

Forgiveness is a welcome and beautiful thing. I feel like there was forgiveness going all different ways, between multiple people this past week. It’s reassuring.

Other thoughts on dating:

One of my single parent friends says that she won’t date anyone who has never been married, or who doesn’t have kids. Which surprised me, and was a foreign concept at the time. At that point, I had never dated anyone with kids even though I have two myself. Actually, come to think of it…I still haven’t.

But I’m starting to understand why. As a single parent, I have discovered that I have little to no patience when it comes to dating and waiting to see if it’s ok with a guy that I have kids. Which has happened on several occasions. If I date someone who has been married or who has kids, we can automatically relate on those two levels and it’s a less scary topic. I see how that can be a protection for both people involved. I am 34. Life marches on, and I don’t have the emotional energy to wait for someone to be ok with it. What can I do when someone struggles? Nothing. It’s a big thing I can’t really help with. Someday I’ll meet the guy who is already ready and who will take me as the whole awesome package.

I’m guessing us moms see things in more black and white…gimme feedback if you single moms agree 😉

I love being a mom. It’s a special part of my identity, and a part of who I am. Although my kiddos need me just as much, they are older now, don’t wake up a million times a night, and require less immediate hands-on direction than infants or toddlers. Which frees up a lot of my mental space to think about these things and to wonder. Haha…

Several years ago.
Several years ago. ❤