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How Does a Single Mom Find Mr. Right?

I suck at relationships. It’s true. Ask anyone who knows me. I am the title character of every romantic comedy you have ever seen—the girl who just can’t pull it together romantically. Only, my two hours must not be up yet, because Mr. Right has so far failed to swoop in and love me despite all my flaws.

Don’t get me wrong, I excel in a lot of other areas. I like to think I am a fantastic friend and I know I am pretty kick ass mother. I get to do this thing called writing for a living, a dream of mine that I still feel blessed every single day to have seen come to fruition. And for the most part, I live a life that is full of happiness and love.

Just not the kind of love people write movies about.

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I am 31 years old and the truth is, I don’t know if I have ever really been “in” love. There have been a few times where I have thought…“maybe.” But each of those occasions have promptly blown up in my face soon after, leaving me to question whether I ever really knew the men I had allowed myself to start falling for in the first place. The only thing I know for sure is that there isn’t a single man from my past that I would actually want to be with today.

Which leads me to believe, I have horrible taste in men.

I was never that girl who dreamed about her wedding day. In fact, I can pretty confidently say at this point that I would be just fine if I never got married. But love? That’s another story. I really would still like to find that; the companionship and comfort that comes with tracking down that person you are supposed to be with.

The problem is, I wonder sometimes if that person even exists for me. I’m not always sure there is a Mr. Right in my future, and the older I get the more I wonder if it may be just asking too much to hope to find him.

Because the reality is, I do have so much. Including this little girl I spent years fearing I would never find. Being her mommy is the best thing to ever happen to me, and her adoption was a miracle that no one could have predicted.

Of course, the ways in which she has flipped my world upside down have made dating seem that much more overwhelming, so there is that now too. I’m a single mommy who doesn’t have an ex carrying half the weight. I don’t get every other week off (not that I would ever want that) and going out involves babysitters and coordination and spending time away from my little girl, when I would normally just rather be with her.

Perhaps I am too independent, or too intense, or too quirky.

It isn’t about just one date. Dating, falling in love and finding the one takes time. It’s a commitment, just to even be looking. And since she was born, it hasn’t been a commitment I have been willing to make. I can’t convince myself to take that time away from her to search.

Part of that is just new motherhood, I’m sure. My daughter is my favorite person and I genuinely am at my happiest when I am with her. The idea of dating, and taking those hours away from her, kind of still sounds miserable to me right now.

But the other part is fear. As much as I would love to find that perfect match, and as much as it would mean to me for my daughter to be able to grow up with a father figure—I don’t trust myself to pick the right man for her or for me at this point. I have made horrible dating decisions since I was a teenager, chasing after who knows what and often valuing lust above all else, usually to my own detriment. Now, the stakes are so much higher. It isn’t just about having fun and making out with strangers. There is another person in the mix—another person I am responsible for protecting. And the man who I allow into her life has to be a hell of a lot better than any man I ever previously would have allowed into mine.

Which feels like a lot of pressure. Particularly when you consider the fact that I’m happy right now. Really, truly, happy. How scary is it to mess with that?

Then again, how much more scary would it be not to?

As you can see, I’m a bit all over the map these days when it comes to this whole dating thing. I don’t know what I should be looking for or how much I should be willing to give. I feel so far behind the curve, looking at my friends who all married years ago and wondering if I may have just missed the boat.

After all, I spent years clearly looking for Mr. Wrong. What if the right guy, the one I was supposed to be with, walked right past me and married someone else when I was too busy being a hot mess to notice? Or what if he is right in front of me now, but I still have my blinders on and just can’t see him yet? How would I even know at this point?

So the other day, I took to Facebook and I asked some of my followers what their favorite thing about their partner is—the most valuable quality in this person they have chosen to love. I thought maybe it would help me to start formulating my own list of what I should be looking for.

The responses were truly incredible. People describing respect and kindness, genuine hearts and intense connections that they felt from early on. They gushed about their partners, and it was beautiful to read, because so often we get caught up in the negative of life and we forget to acknowledge our blessings. It was a pretty spectacular thing to be a part of.

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But reading those testimonials splashed across my Facebook page only made me realize that I had never felt anything like some of what these women were describing. And at a certain point, you have wonder if maybe you aren’t the one to blame for that. Perhaps I am too independent, or too intense, or too quirky. I don’t know.

I don’t if there is a Mr. Right for me. I just know that at this point, it is hard to imagine ever being that in love. Hard to conceptualize something I have never experienced before.

Some days it feels like Mr. Right is a unicorn; this mythical creature who surely can’t be real. And the only hope that lingers in the back of my mind is the reminder my daughter gives me every day; the reminder that sometimes, you can be blessed beyond your wildest dreams when you least expect it to happen.

So maybe he’s out there, and maybe one day I’ll find him. But how will I know when I’ve met my very own unicorn?

How did you know when you met yours?

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