For 27 years of my life I lived in the midwest. I was married twice, both times jumping at the chance to settle down, thinking if I didn't find someone to marry while I was young, I was destined to be single forever, some sad wind chime collecting, tired eyed single mother chain smoking after a Denny's shift, cursing the driveway I'd have to shovel myself out of every blustery Wisconsin day.
And then I left my second husband after a trip to San Francisco. I've heard that San Francisco has a pretty life changing effect on a lot of people, and I can now pinpoint that trip as the first time I'd considered not just that I needed to get out of the midwest, but also that I was young, vibrant, and desirable.
When I first began to date after that, I was still so used to being married, that I kept up on my impulse to seek long term, serious relationships, but I treated them that way from the very first date, and that's something I still tend to do.
by Brian Gilbert
I mean, I've been "serious" with my current boyfriend for four months, and I'm just the sort of person who prefers monogamy to dating around. Don't get me wrong, when I don't have a boyfriend I do a good deal of dating. It just wears me out.
Probably because of my desires for something in between marriage and one night stands, the biggest complication in my dating life is the fact that I have three children. When proposing to a man I'm dating that we up the ante on our relationship, they have a lot to consider.
What will their friends and family think of me having three kids, all from different fathers? What do they think of that? Are they ready to spend time with me as a mother? Are they ready to get to know three kids?
I don't deny that it can be a lot to consider, but something I've come to understand lately is that one of the big freak out factors for these guys- what's best for the children, and what will their role be?- isn't something they need to freak out over.
My kids don't look at every new person in my life or the lives of their fathers as a new parent. If the guy is around and they get along, they may consider him a new friend, and those friendships have tended to stay intact post break up. They're not traumatized, nor do they see me as some sort of a broken person because I date.
I'm not saying my way is the best way, or the only way to be a single parent who dates. But I am saying that maybe everyone should calm down a little bit when it comes to that big introduction of someone new. The more you, the parent, make it a huge big deal, the more uncomfortable it will be for your kids and for your date. Everybody chill out. Take time to enjoy yourself and let things move at a natural pace. And that's what I've learned.