Photo credit @ Lauren Denise Photography
Dating | The overwhelming, scary, exhausting (yet exciting and exhilarating) adventure once again in front of me. As previously mentioned in other posts, I’ve never been married. I was not with my daughter’s father at the time of her birth or after. However, until just recently, I was in a serious/long-term relationship. I thought I had found the man and partner I would spend my life with; I was wrong. So now, I am back to square one. Starting over, again. Re-entering the dating field at the closer side of 30, as a single mother, living in a rural area where the number of available men within a reasonable age frame of my own can be counted on the number of fingers I have on my two hands. To say the idea of dating right now is overwhelming, would be an understatement.
I think back to when I was younger–in my technical “prime” with respect to dating–in my early 20’s, not a parent, no serious responsibilities, and even then dating was an anxiety-invoking process. I was bad at it then; when I was actively dating for a number of years, living in a more metropolitan area with opportunities to date, and was regularly groomed like a normal human being. Now, as a single mother, I am always tired, have what feels like zero dating opportunities, and normally look like a walking zombie. The idea of starting the dating process again just makes me want to take a nap at this point. However, I am a pro-active kind of individual and would choose not to sit idly by and twiddle my thumbs. So, here I am, re-entering the dating field with an optimistic and open heart. And, in doing so, there have been some primary things I have been thinking about.
Finding the time | For me, finding the time to begin dating again, or even go on a date, is a challenge in and of itself. I have sole legal and physical custody of my daughter. The only time we are currently apart is when she has court ordered visitation with her dad. Although the schedule varies, it’s typically a couple nights every other week. Finding a balance during her time away has been an adjustment. It’s a time I use to rest and reset. I also work during her time away regularly. Additionally, it’s time to try and catch up on my never-ending “to-do” list. So, how to balance those three time-consuming components, and find time for a social life with friends and potential dating adventures (within a 48-60 hour time frame) is hard. But, the time my daughter is away is my ideal time to date, so it’s my intent to utilize this time to it’s fullest potential in the future. I believe (no matter how busy I am) if I want to make time for something, I will. Where there is a will, there is a way.
Typically, when my daughter is away, I’ve been reserving one evening to be social with friends; this also creates opportunities to meet new people. I’ve been setting aside half a day to rest (a full day if I don’t have to work). The remainder of the time, I try and be on a mission of productivity. In the future, I would have an open evening during her time away to go on a date if I so wished. Yes, I realize I could have my incredible parents watch my daughter for me to go on a date a night she is home. She has a bedtime between 7-7:30 pm, so it wouldn’t be difficult to arrange things so she would be sleeping for the time I would be gone on a hypothetical date. However, since my daughter has struggled with her visitations away from home, she often wakes and needs me during the night. At this time, it would not be my personal preference to be gone from her (even when she is sleeping) for a new date. If I began to date someone more seriously and exclusively, this would be a subject to readdress. But, in short sum (for me), my child takes priority over my social life and dating opportunities.
Where to look | Dating has changed since my early 20s, and I have changed as a woman. I am older, wiser, a parent, and an overall more self-respecting and self-confident woman. I am not about to try and hit up the college bar scene to find a potential life partner, HELL-to-the-NO. First off, by the time people even start getting ready to go out to the bars or clubs, I am usually in bed for the night. Second, I can’t drink and party like I am 21 anymore. And, since I rarely do drink, I would likely get a hangover after only a couple. I personally don’t wish to waste my limited “mission productivity” time the next day being hungover. Third, I am wise enough to know the chances of finding a life partner are not at midnight, at a bar, with younger people simply looking to “have a good time for the night.” Like I said, dating has changed, I have changed, so how I date must change.
When considering this, I’ve not discovered lots of ways to meet new people yet. I hope to be able to share more with you on this in the future. However, at present, one thing I have learned is “happy hour can be a happy time” to meet new people. By this I mean, a casual drink (and appetizer if hungry) with a friend after work–in the late afternoon/early evening, at an adult bar or restaurant–is a much more suitable way for me to try and meet new people right now. I can still be home at a decent time to get things done and be in bed at a normal hour. It’s casual, relaxed, and with people sharing similar schedules. Now, I don’t mean for this to make me sound like a complete party pooper. Of course, there are occasions I would enjoy celebrating in a bigger fashion and into the night. My point is, I am no longer 21 and don’t wish to be at a bar late at night however many nights a week.
Intro to kids | This is a difficult choice. When is the right time to introduce someone to your kid? How soon is too soon? How long is too long? I can’t answer that question for everyone else. I feel this is a very personal decision. I believe this decision should be based off an individual child’s personality, needs, and age.
Personally, I have made some decisions on what I plan to do. I plan to wait for approximately 10-12 dates (or roughly three months) to introduce someone to my daughter. She is still young. I do not want to bring a string of different men home for her to meet. At her age that would only be confusing. I would like that three months to decide if the person I have been seeing has the potential to become something more. If I believe it has reached such a point, I would then like time to prepare my daughter for the “new friend” I enjoy spending time with. My child needs a lot of preparation for transitions, especially things that are new.
On another note, I don’t plan to wait six months to make an introduction either. My thought behind this being, if I date someone for six months, that person and my child are introduced, and things don’t work out well because of it……..then six months were just wasted. Additionally, moving forward, I plan to wait closer to a year for my child to really become involved in any future relationship. If I believe I have found a life partner, I then plan to let my daughter have the opportunity to bond with that person. But, I do not wish to have my daughter get attached to another person with whom a long-term relationship becomes unlikely. Because of this, after the initial introduction, I still plan to be careful about lots of involvement until a later date.
In review | The time my daughter is away is my ideal time to date, so it’s my intent to utilize this time to it’s fullest potential in the future. I believe (no matter how busy I am) if I want to make time for something, I will. Where there is a will, there is a way. However, that being said, my child still takes priority over my social life and dating opportunities any day of the week. Also, dating has changed since my early 20s, and I have changed as a woman. I am older, wiser, a parent, and an overall more self-respecting and self-confident woman. Dating has changed since I was last active in the dating world, I have changed, so how I date must change. And, lastly, I plan to wait a certain period of time before introducing my daughter to anyone. After such initial introduction, I still plan to be careful about lots of involvement between my daughter and someone I am seeing until a later date.
Wish me luck on this adventure I am beginning! I could use all the prayers and luck people are willing to send my way 🙂 I hope to give ya’ll some updates in the coming months!
Look details: Tory Burch hangbag (additional link here and here) | KUT from the cloth jeans (similar style here and here) | Vince Camuto top (similar style here, here, and here) | suede pumps (similar styles here and here) | belt (similar here, here, and here) | Kate Spade earrings (additional links here and here) |
Happy Date Look Ya’ll!