single parent dating

single parent dating January 10, 2015

… As long as we live in a social climate that treats children as commodities that we are entitled to as opposed to blessings we welcome and receive then I have to reconcile with myself the truth I seem to recognize but failed to accept in the past; single parents should not date. Ever.

The reason I say I fail to accept this is because I’d be a flat out hypocrite to make they bold charge against single parents and dating without acknowledging my own past dating activities, such was my desire to love and be loved. I wanted nothing more than to get remarried and have more children. I wanted the big Catholic family to show off in the pews. I loathe going to mass alone… surrounded by families. It sucks. Being lonely sucks. Being the sole financial provider sucks too. So I actively sought a mate. I dated. A lot.

Notice anything striking about the above paragraph? My longings were desires I wanted for myself, not desires God wanted for me. Re-reading it, the selfishness in my thought processing is quite clear. I wanted a husband and a larger family for the qualities they could provide for me. I can, and have in the past, spend a lot of time trying to rationale these desires, convincing myself that dating as a single parent was/is a good idea.

1) I deserve to be loved. God made man and woman for each other. He doesn’t want us to be alone.
2) I’d be doing my son a favor, getting re-married and providing a father for him
3) Financial stability, a spouse would ease the stress and I’d be a happier person
4) I’d be a happier person and a better mom without all the struggles
5) I am tired of being poor and lonely and doing it all by myself, I need help

These are all excuse I’ve used in the past to rationalize my activities. They really aren’t bad reasons in and of themselves. These are in fact quite legitimate reasons to get married; marriage perks if you will. Marriage is good. I encourage marriage and big Catholic families. Because these reasons aren’t bad reasons for wishing to get married it is easy to use them as a single parent to condone dating. These are tempting excuses we can use to continue on our path of selfishness, whether we even realize the selfishness of our actions or not.

I’m going to lay it out as plainly as I can. If you are a single parent you sole priority is that of your children. Their needs trump your desires and wants. You may want something so bad and indeed believe it is for the good of the family, but believing something is good doesn’t make it so. I realized, about two years ago, that if God wanted me re-married it would have happened by now. I’ll spare you a rehash of every failed relationship since my divorce in 2004, just to note that one lasted almost 3 years followed by a period lasting several years of superficial relationships that lasted roughly 4-6 months each. They were all wrong; they for me and I for them… obviously, as I married none of them. Two are now married themselves and are with the people they belong with, which is to say was not me.

The only good thing I can say about all that is I managed to do one thing right… I never introduced any of those men to my son. Except for the one I dated for close to three years, because I seriously thought we would get married, my son was spared witnessing men coming and going from my life. That decision was made directly after the boyfriend of three years. It was hard enough explaining to my son the loss of his biological father but to have to explain the loss of my now ex-boyfriend really sucked. I felt like a schmuck… a selfish schmuck to put my son through that. He may have been only six at that time but kids understand more than we give them credit for. And with my son now ten… no, it’s time to accept this true fact… single parent’s should not date. Ever.

I came to this decision officially two years ago. I wanted to write about it for some time now but, well… I may have made and accepted the decision but I still secretly held out hope of remarriage and in my silly girl mind I thought if I publicly made it known that I feel the way I do I would jinx whatever remaining long shot, chance in hell I had of getting remarried. I’m stubborn like that. Just because we accept something doesn’t automatically remove a desire that’s been held onto for almost all our adult lives. Heck, I still kind of secretly hope though I’ve long given up actively seeking it. So what was the final prompting that made me sit down and write this anti-dating manifesto? This bit of self indulgent bile

A few months after I turned 40, a friend set me up with a guy she thought I’d like. She gave me a quick rundown: 50, former drummer now with a desk job, father of a 9-month-old girl. “Wait, he has a 9-month-old?” I exclaimed. “What happened to the wife?”

There is no wife, she assured me. He’d gotten a woman pregnant after a brief period of dating; they now shared custody of their daughter.

Though I’d never dated a man with kids, I badly wanted children. With my eggs in their last viable years, I knew I’d never have the three or four children I’d dreamed of. But if this relationship worked, at least my future child would have an older sibling.

Most of all, I wanted a partner. No — I wanted a husband. For years I’d tried to pretend I was O.K. with my single status. I fought the clichés, but each eventually applied: I was tired of carrying the financial burden of my life alone. I felt depressed every time I had to check “single” on a form and when I sat down for a fancy meal I’d prepared for one.

Notice the familiar tone that I myself used; I want, I want, I want. Good grief, this woman is such a basket case she hadn’t even met the man and was mentally objecting his daughter by how the daughter could fill the void of multiple children to her non-existent future siblings. Ms. Sandell doesn’t need a husband or a child, she needs a pet. If you get through the rest of the self appeasing bile she wrote you won’t be the least bit surprised to learn she gets artificially inseminated. It’s all about her and what she wants with zero consideration for what is best for the child. Again, to reiterate my first sentence; we live in a social climate that objects children as commodities.

Surprisingly though, my beef is not entirely with the author of this article. She shares the blame for this pathetic folly with her ex-boyfriend, the father of the two year old she is forced to “break up” with after their relationship dissolves. And if the little girl’s mother knew about her child’s father’s dating activities I would say she too shares in the blame. The only blameless person in that sad article is the poor little girl surrounded by selfish adults that don’t put her as their priority.

Single parents should not date.

Yes, yes. I know single parents get married all the time. Many are even happily married. Gasp! So you ask, do I think they are selfish? I’m not entirely sure. I want to say “No” but I want to say “no” only because their dating seemed to have the successful end result of marriage. However, as a divorcee I am not naive enough to pretend for a second that I believe every marriage is a dating success. Horrible marriages exist. And I know from seeing my friends struggle with blended families how hard a second marriage can be on the children. Just because the spouses are happily married, if it’s at the emotionally expense of the children’s well being then it would be an accurate example of adults acting selfishly in their own best interests and not that of their child’s.

I just want to be clear. I know it probably sounds like I am just jealous of other peoples marriages, and I would be lying if I said I never felt jealous, but my decision is not based on irrational emotions like jealousy or frustration over my repeated relationship failures. These emotions, while strongly felt, did cause me to reevaluate the decisions I was making but they were not the determining factors. To illustrate this I want to break down and counter each of the excuses I used to rationalize my unhealthy behavior.

1) I deserve to be loved. God made man and woman for each other. He doesn’t want us to be alone.

Yes, I deserve love. You know who loves me more than any spouse ever could, and whose love is unconditional? Yup. You guessed it. God. You know who else loves me? My son. And my parents. And the rest of my family. And all of my friends. My goodness, I am oozing love from all facets of my life. I just needed to accept this love, not compare it to spousal love and place a lower value on it in comparison. It also helps to realize being alone isn’t the same thing as loneliness.

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