How do single parents find romance?

single parents romance

Every so often my daughter says “Mommy I am going to marry Ben tomorrow, because he is my boyfriend and he said so”.   Its sweet and I earnestly pray that for her love is indeed that simple.

As a single parent, love and dating are such complicated issues.  On the  one hand I am an easy date because of my hassled lifestyle.  Anything that doesn’t include me cooking and begging someone to eat, far away from the constant cries of “mommy, mommy” would be my idea of a romantic date. So on a bad day, a drive to McDonalds with an adult man, just the two of us would be romantic.

But on the other hand, because I am a single parent, I am the toughest client to please.  People always assume that when someone has a child its harder to get back into the dating game. It’s a correct assumption.  But the mistake they make is thinking the child is the hindrance to them having a social or a love life – the opposite is true, it’s us, the parents, who get in the way.

As a single mom I have become even more cautious and critical when approaching the dating game, because I now have a little life and heart I am responsible for.  I no longer have the luxury to just “kick it” and see how it goes. People say I am too picky but I have to be!  The minute someone shows interest it would be remiss for me as a mother to not gauge how they would be as a parent.  It’s too risky getting attached to someone who cannot connect with your child.

Trust is another big issue because unfortunately the world we live in is cruel and dark. Everyone has read those devastating stories of sexual and physical child abuse at the hands of those we loved, trusted and let into our lives.  How do you protect your child from that?

And that’s not all! Logistical factors also come into play. When do you introduce your child to a “suitor?”  Do you do it early in the game, before you get attached, so you can test it out but risk your child being introduced to lots of different men should it not work out or do you wait until you are sure, which has its own disadvantages should they not get along and you have already fallen in love.

All these things rush through my head the minute someone asks for my number and it may seem psychotic, but it’s my reality and these fears and issues are real and sometimes too daunting to even face for “dinner and a maybe”.

Which would probably explain why this Valentines I will be having dinner and dancing with the love of my life (read: forcing a 4year old to eat and then jumping around to Boogie Beebies).

But I will sleep happy, content and in love.

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Brendah Nyakudya

Brendah Nyakudya

Brendah Nyakudya,  a single mum to a 4yr old girl. Admittedly not the best cook, but loves exploring the outdoors with her little one. She works for management consultants in Johannesburg.

5 Responses

  1. Thank you all for your comments. It really does help to know I am not alone in the stress. Ronel I hear what you are saying about not wanting to go out of your routine to meet a potential partner. It would be ideal to be able to meet him in the day to day activities. Barrie I think to a large extent it would be the same concerns whether its a single mom or a single dad, because these issues are more about making sure our children get acceptance, security and love from whomever we give our hearts to. Its all very interesting.

  2. Thanks Brenda for some honest and insightful reflections on being a single mom.

    As I read I wondered if it’s different for a single dad? I wondered what their reflections and experiences would be? And how they might be different? Is being a single dad different simply because women are different? Are they that different? Challenge is finding those dad’s who are the primary care-givers. It’s not ‘the norm’, especially in divorce.

    My own paradigm is, perhaps incorrectly, that it is different for a single dad who is primary care-giver. I cannot comment accurately because I don’t fit that demographic.

    But mostly what i’m curious about, is that if it’s different, why is it different?

    Here’s hoping a single dad / primary care-giver will weigh in and let us know…

  3. Wow Brenda thank God you are sharing this with us. Its too complicated even agreeing to a date and suddenly thinking about the little darlings I left at home. My girls night out are more adjustable but I cannot see myself not thinking about the little darlings while out for a date. Actually I end up talking about my 2 angels more to see how the male counterpart reacts to this. If I irritate him with sharing about my kids then that slowly gives away his intentions. I only enjoy our girly time now. I also have a 4 year old and making them eat their food is a problem on its own.

    1. Nice to see I am not the only one with this problem. I have been divorced for 10 years. Had 2 relationships that suited me well. Saw the men every second weekend when the kids were with daddy. During the week I had the kids for myself. Perfect relationships for a single mother – until they want to get serious. As you say – as a 45 year old (and there is nothing wrong with me) – we are more mature and more clever. I don’t want to waste my time going out with somebody who I can already see before the first date that I do not want a relationship with him. I love the space I am in at the moment, independent, social and a great career. But do we want to be single for the rest of our lives?? And ….. where do you meet decent men – I don’t go to pubs after work, I go straight home to my children – and furthermore – I definitely do not want to post my photo on a single’s club ……

  4. Great post and so true. It is a totally different story dating as a 40 year old single parent of three little girls than when I did it the last time around: unencumbered and 20! And it is not just our parenthood to consider. Work, ex-spouses and the man’s children are all part of the scenario. However, despite all of the obstacles and fears in navigating through this new territory, I find myself much more sure of myself, where I am in life and able to evaluate with whom I spend my time which is, of course, a theory as we all know that we have no time for dating!

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