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When I became a single mother by
choice, I pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I wouldn't be dating for
a while. After all, most married
couples struggle to maintain the romance in the first few years after a baby is
born—how in the heck was I supposed to try to kindle anything new while knee-deep in baby diapers and surviving on next to zero sleep?
In my world, it just felt impossible.
So, for the first two years of my daughter's little life, I remained mostly
content with my singledom. It was a good day if I got a shower in. I certainly
didn't have time for all that goes into dating.
Still, in the last six months or so, I started
coming around to the possibility of getting out there again. I even set up an
online dating profile; something I always swore I would never do. I kind of missed
the butterflies, and I realized I like the idea of having that partner.
But so far, dating has been mostly a
joke. I have yet to introduce a single man to my daughter, mostly because not a
one has actually piqued my interest to that extent. This might have something
to do with some of the "lines" I have heard from my gentleman suitors since I
decided to dip my toes back into that dating pool.
1. "I don't really want kids, but it's cool that you have one."
Is this a result of the Tinder generation—dating to get naked with no real intention of anything long-term? Because honestly, I don't have time for that.
When a guy told me this, I kept thinking, If you don't want kids, why are we on this date?!? You realize my daughter isn't going anywhere, right? And if we were to end up together, she would be a big part of the package … Why are we here?!? Is this a result of the Tinder generation—dating to get naked with no real intention of anything long-term? Because honestly, I don't have time for that. I mean, I miss getting naked and all, but finding out a dude doesn't want kids is actually a huge turn off for me these days. Check please.
2. "I would love to meet your daughter! I totally understand how difficult it must be to be a single mom, and I am fine with taking both of you ladies out so that we can all get to know each other! I've always wanted to be a dad."
On the opposite end of that spectrum was the guy who opened that way. Whoa, buddy! Too much, too soon. I honestly couldn't tell if this was creepy, or just an example of trying too hard, but any guy who is trying to fast track meeting my kid is probably not for me. I get that this may create an unfair paradox; I want them to want kids and to be interested in being a part of my daughter's life, should we get to that point, but I don't want them to be so eager to jump there that it seems they may be dating me for her. Still, I have to believe there is a happy medium there. And anything on either end of those extremes is just not the way to impress me.
3. "I think it's so admirable that you adopted your little girl. But you want some of your own too, right?"
I cringe every time. This isn't actually just a first date thing—plenty of people have said similar things to me upon finding out that I adopted my daughter. I don't think any of them are trying to be rude, but it always makes me want to scream: she IS my own! I couldn't possibly love that child any more, and there is nothing admirable about my adopting her; she is the best blessing I have ever received. So when this one comes up on a date, I immediately know there is no hope of a love connection. Not only because I would never want to be with someone who couldn't get that, but also because I'm infertile. Adoption will always be the only path to motherhood for me. And I'm OK with that. But any guy who would make this comment right out of the gate is clearly angling for babies of "his own," which means we are not a match.
4. "Hey, I'm at a bar downtown and I want to see you! Come meet me!"
That was the text I got from a guy on a Sunday night, a few days before what was meant to be our first date. And it was just depressing. There was a time when I could drop everything and meet a guy out at a bar on a whim—a time when I probably would have jumped at the chance. But now, life is not that flexible. And what did this guy think I was doing at 6 p.m. on a Sunday anyway? He knew I had a child, and that I'm a single mom. Did he not realize that CPS generally looks down on leaving toddlers home alone while Mommy jets off for a drink?
5. Finally, there was the guy who stood me up
OK, so technically this wasn't a "line," but it was a douche move. I went to the effort of getting a sitter, taking a shower, putting on makeup and getting dressed—and then he cancels at the last minute? Fuck you. Don't do that to a single mom. There is WAY too much preparation involved.
So, here I am. I actually deleted my dating
profile a few weeks ago, after only three months of trying. I'm still open to
meeting someone, but no longer willing to extend that much time or energy to
the search. Maybe that means I don't want it badly enough. Or perhaps it just
means that most nights, I would rather be home playing with my girl.
Because let's be real, the bad dates
just can't compete with her. And even the good dates would probably be hard-pressed to try.