Dating a Single Mom, Part 1

by mssinglemama on November 15, 2007

Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
***UPDATE***

If you’re here to find out how to change your Facebook or MySpace relationship status, click here.

Once you’re done – come back and read this…

“A relationship isn’t official until it’s on Facebook!” a young co-worker told me this morning. “My friend got engaged and two weeks later the announcement still wasn’t on Facebook. We all thought she had called it off or something.” Virtual social networks have changed the dating landscape… forever.

After my divorce I created a MySpace page. I was an innocent to the social networking world and had no idea how much it would change my dating experiences. My single friend was over the other night venting about a frustrating experience she’s having with an ex boyfriend right now.

“I’m not sure if he’ll call me tonight or not. I left him a comment today asking if he was going out and haven’t heard back.”

MySpace and Facebook have now effectively changed the way we date. Now we can call, text, e-mail or better yet – leave a MySpace comment or give someone a Facebook poke.

Here’s my translation of the MySpace and Facebook Dating Codes.

  1. Add each other as friends. This is really no big deal and doesn’t mean much. But at least now you have unbridled access to their page, photos, blog, etc.
  2. Leave cute, flirty comments on each other’s page. A good sign. He’s writing on your page, you’re writing on his. All is well in the world.
  3. Move each other up to “top friend” status. This is a big step and could indicate a future relationship status change.
  4. Continue with more flirtatious comments like “last night was amazing, you make me crazy.” Getting closer.
  5. Change your relationship status. The biggest step. Now you’re taken. You’re off the virtual market and you’re shouting loud and proud to the rest of the world that you’re happy and committed.

In conversations with my single girlfriends the old burning questions like, “is he a good kisser?,” “does he call often?,” “does he make you laugh?” are still completely relevant but added into the mix are, “did he move you into his top friends?,” “who else is on his page?”

The Virtual Red Flag

Some men are all over your MySpace page while you’re dating…others will be silent, never leaving a comment or moving you into their top friends. Strange. A red flag. A new red flag. The virtual red flag.

The Relationship Status Change: Who brings it up…how does it happen?

A case in point: my current flame took matters into his own hands. Last night when we were falling asleep he said, “I changed my relationship status on Facebook.” What??? Wow!!! I didn’t know what to think. We’ve only been together for 3 weeks and now Facebook says we’re “in a relationship.”

“You want me to be your girlfriend?”

He says, “ya…is that okay?” He’s confused by my reaction. I mean, he’s a guy and he’s completely crazy about me. We’ve been seeing each other steadily for three weeks – why not change his status? Meanwhile my brain is on fire with a mix of happiness and fear. I feel like I’m in the 8th grade and a cute boy has just asked me out.

I can’t change my MySpace relationship status just yet- it’s too early. That page is like my temple of autonomy. I break the news to him, “I’ll change my Facebook account status, but not my MySpace account.” Hmmm….a virtual compromise.

This morning I go onto Facebook. Yep, there he is – “in a relationship.” I go to my profile and click in relationship (there is a special section for this). I change my status. Then Facebook asks me, “who are you in a relationship with?” I pick his name. Then it says, “Kris is now your boyfriend. We will be sending him a confirmation to see if he accepts your relationship request.”

What??? Oh my god…I have a boyfriend and they’re sending him a relationship request? I’m actually embarrassed. I call him immediately, “Facebook has just informed me that you’re my boyfriend, but you have to agree to it.” He laughed. “I’ll accept, I won’t leave you hanging. Later… girlfriend.” I feel like I’m 14 again.

A boy actually asked me out – even though he did it virtually I still think it’s absolutely adorable. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been asked out. Usually it’s me looking at the guy like, “so are you my boyfriend?”

See? This virtual world is good for something.

UPDATE/ Additional notes:

Crazy how MySpace and Facebook have changed the way we date. In just a few seconds you can scope out your ex’s relationship status, flirtatous comments and daily activities. Twitter makes it even worse. Maybe I should go on a delete binge tonight.

How often do you delete your the Ex-Profiles on MySpace? Can you do it? Do you think I can?

Deleting an ex is like permanently severing all ties…but then I think of the ex’s who were my friends – the ones I genuinely want to stay in touch with. And then I think of the sting when I see their “latest activity.”

I vote for delete.
Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
***UPDATE***

If you’re here to find out how to change your Facebook or MySpace relationship status, click here.

Once you’re done – come back and read this…

“A relationship isn’t official until it’s on Facebook!” a young co-worker told me this morning. “My friend got engaged and two weeks later the announcement still wasn’t on Facebook. We all thought she had called it off or something.” Virtual social networks have changed the dating landscape… forever.

After my divorce I created a MySpace page. I was an innocent to the social networking world and had no idea how much it would change my dating experiences. My single friend was over the other night venting about a frustrating experience she’s having with an ex boyfriend right now.

“I’m not sure if he’ll call me tonight or not. I left him a comment today asking if he was going out and haven’t heard back.”

MySpace and Facebook have now effectively changed the way we date. Now we can call, text, e-mail or better yet – leave a MySpace comment or give someone a Facebook poke.

Here’s my translation of the MySpace and Facebook Dating Codes.

  1. Add each other as friends. This is really no big deal and doesn’t mean much. But at least now you have unbridled access to their page, photos, blog, etc.
  2. Leave cute, flirty comments on each other’s page. A good sign. He’s writing on your page, you’re writing on his. All is well in the world.
  3. Move each other up to “top friend” status. This is a big step and could indicate a future relationship status change.
  4. Continue with more flirtatious comments like “last night was amazing, you make me crazy.” Getting closer.
  5. Change your relationship status. The biggest step. Now you’re taken. You’re off the virtual market and you’re shouting loud and proud to the rest of the world that you’re happy and committed.

In conversations with my single girlfriends the old burning questions like, “is he a good kisser?,” “does he call often?,” “does he make you laugh?” are still completely relevant but added into the mix are, “did he move you into his top friends?,” “who else is on his page?”

The Virtual Red Flag

Some men are all over your MySpace page while you’re dating…others will be silent, never leaving a comment or moving you into their top friends. Strange. A red flag. A new red flag. The virtual red flag.

The Relationship Status Change: Who brings it up…how does it happen?

A case in point: my current flame took matters into his own hands. Last night when we were falling asleep he said, “I changed my relationship status on Facebook.” What??? Wow!!! I didn’t know what to think. We’ve only been together for 3 weeks and now Facebook says we’re “in a relationship.”

“You want me to be your girlfriend?”

He says, “ya…is that okay?” He’s confused by my reaction. I mean, he’s a guy and he’s completely crazy about me. We’ve been seeing each other steadily for three weeks – why not change his status? Meanwhile my brain is on fire with a mix of happiness and fear. I feel like I’m in the 8th grade and a cute boy has just asked me out.

I can’t change my MySpace relationship status just yet- it’s too early. That page is like my temple of autonomy. I break the news to him, “I’ll change my Facebook account status, but not my MySpace account.” Hmmm….a virtual compromise.

This morning I go onto Facebook. Yep, there he is – “in a relationship.” I go to my profile and click in relationship (there is a special section for this). I change my status. Then Facebook asks me, “who are you in a relationship with?” I pick his name. Then it says, “Kris is now your boyfriend. We will be sending him a confirmation to see if he accepts your relationship request.”

What??? Oh my god…I have a boyfriend and they’re sending him a relationship request? I’m actually embarrassed. I call him immediately, “Facebook has just informed me that you’re my boyfriend, but you have to agree to it.” He laughed. “I’ll accept, I won’t leave you hanging. Later… girlfriend.” I feel like I’m 14 again.

A boy actually asked me out – even though he did it virtually I still think it’s absolutely adorable. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been asked out. Usually it’s me looking at the guy like, “so are you my boyfriend?”

See? This virtual world is good for something.

UPDATE/ Additional notes:

Crazy how MySpace and Facebook have changed the way we date. In just a few seconds you can scope out your ex’s relationship status, flirtatous comments and daily activities. Twitter makes it even worse. Maybe I should go on a delete binge tonight.

How often do you delete your the Ex-Profiles on MySpace? Can you do it? Do you think I can?

Deleting an ex is like permanently severing all ties…but then I think of the ex’s who were my friends – the ones I genuinely want to stay in touch with. And then I think of the sting when I see their “latest activity.”

I vote for delete.
Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
***UPDATE***

If you’re here to find out how to change your Facebook or MySpace relationship status, click here.

Once you’re done – come back and read this…

“A relationship isn’t official until it’s on Facebook!” a young co-worker told me this morning. “My friend got engaged and two weeks later the announcement still wasn’t on Facebook. We all thought she had called it off or something.” Virtual social networks have changed the dating landscape… forever.

After my divorce I created a MySpace page. I was an innocent to the social networking world and had no idea how much it would change my dating experiences. My single friend was over the other night venting about a frustrating experience she’s having with an ex boyfriend right now.

“I’m not sure if he’ll call me tonight or not. I left him a comment today asking if he was going out and haven’t heard back.”

MySpace and Facebook have now effectively changed the way we date. Now we can call, text, e-mail or better yet – leave a MySpace comment or give someone a Facebook poke.

Here’s my translation of the MySpace and Facebook Dating Codes.

  1. Add each other as friends. This is really no big deal and doesn’t mean much. But at least now you have unbridled access to their page, photos, blog, etc.
  2. Leave cute, flirty comments on each other’s page. A good sign. He’s writing on your page, you’re writing on his. All is well in the world.
  3. Move each other up to “top friend” status. This is a big step and could indicate a future relationship status change.
  4. Continue with more flirtatious comments like “last night was amazing, you make me crazy.” Getting closer.
  5. Change your relationship status. The biggest step. Now you’re taken. You’re off the virtual market and you’re shouting loud and proud to the rest of the world that you’re happy and committed.

In conversations with my single girlfriends the old burning questions like, “is he a good kisser?,” “does he call often?,” “does he make you laugh?” are still completely relevant but added into the mix are, “did he move you into his top friends?,” “who else is on his page?”

The Virtual Red Flag

Some men are all over your MySpace page while you’re dating…others will be silent, never leaving a comment or moving you into their top friends. Strange. A red flag. A new red flag. The virtual red flag.

The Relationship Status Change: Who brings it up…how does it happen?

A case in point: my current flame took matters into his own hands. Last night when we were falling asleep he said, “I changed my relationship status on Facebook.” What??? Wow!!! I didn’t know what to think. We’ve only been together for 3 weeks and now Facebook says we’re “in a relationship.”

“You want me to be your girlfriend?”

He says, “ya…is that okay?” He’s confused by my reaction. I mean, he’s a guy and he’s completely crazy about me. We’ve been seeing each other steadily for three weeks – why not change his status? Meanwhile my brain is on fire with a mix of happiness and fear. I feel like I’m in the 8th grade and a cute boy has just asked me out.

I can’t change my MySpace relationship status just yet- it’s too early. That page is like my temple of autonomy. I break the news to him, “I’ll change my Facebook account status, but not my MySpace account.” Hmmm….a virtual compromise.

This morning I go onto Facebook. Yep, there he is – “in a relationship.” I go to my profile and click in relationship (there is a special section for this). I change my status. Then Facebook asks me, “who are you in a relationship with?” I pick his name. Then it says, “Kris is now your boyfriend. We will be sending him a confirmation to see if he accepts your relationship request.”

What??? Oh my god…I have a boyfriend and they’re sending him a relationship request? I’m actually embarrassed. I call him immediately, “Facebook has just informed me that you’re my boyfriend, but you have to agree to it.” He laughed. “I’ll accept, I won’t leave you hanging. Later… girlfriend.” I feel like I’m 14 again.

A boy actually asked me out – even though he did it virtually I still think it’s absolutely adorable. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been asked out. Usually it’s me looking at the guy like, “so are you my boyfriend?”

See? This virtual world is good for something.

UPDATE/ Additional notes:

Crazy how MySpace and Facebook have changed the way we date. In just a few seconds you can scope out your ex’s relationship status, flirtatous comments and daily activities. Twitter makes it even worse. Maybe I should go on a delete binge tonight.

How often do you delete your the Ex-Profiles on MySpace? Can you do it? Do you think I can?

Deleting an ex is like permanently severing all ties…but then I think of the ex’s who were my friends – the ones I genuinely want to stay in touch with. And then I think of the sting when I see their “latest activity.”

I vote for delete.
I have seen a few google searches with this question pointing to my blog. Not sure why they’re taking you here, but it’s a very valid question. So here goes.

My friend Abby has been a single mom for over three years now and one night when we were on a crazy girls night, I had struck up a conversation with a charming dentist. He seemed interested so I thought, “better get it out on the table.” But this is how I phrased it, “Well, you’ll never actually be able to date me.” He looked surprised, “why not?”

“Because I have a baby.”

“Oh. Well, that must be fun.” After some awkward small talk he disappeared.

I ran up to Abby. “That guy just vanished after I told him about Benjamin!” She pulled me aside and whispered, “Oh no. You can’t tell them that right away. You’ve got to wait until at least a couple of dates.” What? I was floored. She just didn’t tell them.

“They have to fall for you first,” she insisted, “and then the baby thing is just like an added bonus – and ‘oh by the way, I do all of this and I’m an amazing single mom.’ It works!”

I am skeptical of Abbey’s theory. Here’s why, if the baby thing is too much for them to handle, why find that out two dates in? And wouldn’t that be a form of dishonesty?

I’ve decided that it depends on a few factors. If you are out for a night filled with multiple encounters with men on the dance floor or behind a bar – don’t mention it. Unless one of these men grabs your attention, you end up hitting it off and you feel like there’s potential for a future date – then dish. But make sure you frame it positively. The dentist was scared off because of the way I phrased it. I made it an obstacle when it really isn’t and I made it sound like Benjamin was a hinderance.

Having a baby or a child in your life is an amazing thing. Sure it’s an obstacle to dating men who don’t care about you, but not when you’re dating men who are genuinely into you. Beware of scaring off the good ones by making it sound like a bad thing, one of my nasty little habits.

Here’s a male perspective. My single friend Dave was out recently and called me the next day after bumping into a few single moms at a bar. “We were hitting it off and then they told me they have a baby. But they made it sound like it was a horrible thing. Their bad attitude was totally unattractive and I just had to walk away.”

When I told my new boyfriend about Benjamin it was the first night we met. But I waited until the end of the night, when I knew I would want to see him again. I brought it up within the flow of conversation and had a smile on my face. “So…I have a little bit of baggage, and he weighs 22 pounds. If you want to see me again, I just thought I should get that out there..so…” I trailed off and looked down into my lap, hoping I wouldn’t see fear in his eyes. “Do you have a picture?” He looked at Benjamin on my phone and smiled, a genuine smile. “He’s a cutie. Want to play another game of pool?”

My conclusion – having a child is as big of deal as you make it. And we can’t expect a man who’s never had a child before to possibly understand on a first date or on a first encounter. That comes later. But there’s no sense in not giving him a chance to understand.

When do you tell a man you’re a single mom?
Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
***UPDATE***

If you’re here to find out how to change your Facebook or MySpace relationship status, click here.

Once you’re done – come back and read this…

“A relationship isn’t official until it’s on Facebook!” a young co-worker told me this morning. “My friend got engaged and two weeks later the announcement still wasn’t on Facebook. We all thought she had called it off or something.” Virtual social networks have changed the dating landscape… forever.

After my divorce I created a MySpace page. I was an innocent to the social networking world and had no idea how much it would change my dating experiences. My single friend was over the other night venting about a frustrating experience she’s having with an ex boyfriend right now.

“I’m not sure if he’ll call me tonight or not. I left him a comment today asking if he was going out and haven’t heard back.”

MySpace and Facebook have now effectively changed the way we date. Now we can call, text, e-mail or better yet – leave a MySpace comment or give someone a Facebook poke.

Here’s my translation of the MySpace and Facebook Dating Codes.

  1. Add each other as friends. This is really no big deal and doesn’t mean much. But at least now you have unbridled access to their page, photos, blog, etc.
  2. Leave cute, flirty comments on each other’s page. A good sign. He’s writing on your page, you’re writing on his. All is well in the world.
  3. Move each other up to “top friend” status. This is a big step and could indicate a future relationship status change.
  4. Continue with more flirtatious comments like “last night was amazing, you make me crazy.” Getting closer.
  5. Change your relationship status. The biggest step. Now you’re taken. You’re off the virtual market and you’re shouting loud and proud to the rest of the world that you’re happy and committed.

In conversations with my single girlfriends the old burning questions like, “is he a good kisser?,” “does he call often?,” “does he make you laugh?” are still completely relevant but added into the mix are, “did he move you into his top friends?,” “who else is on his page?”

The Virtual Red Flag

Some men are all over your MySpace page while you’re dating…others will be silent, never leaving a comment or moving you into their top friends. Strange. A red flag. A new red flag. The virtual red flag.

The Relationship Status Change: Who brings it up…how does it happen?

A case in point: my current flame took matters into his own hands. Last night when we were falling asleep he said, “I changed my relationship status on Facebook.” What??? Wow!!! I didn’t know what to think. We’ve only been together for 3 weeks and now Facebook says we’re “in a relationship.”

“You want me to be your girlfriend?”

He says, “ya…is that okay?” He’s confused by my reaction. I mean, he’s a guy and he’s completely crazy about me. We’ve been seeing each other steadily for three weeks – why not change his status? Meanwhile my brain is on fire with a mix of happiness and fear. I feel like I’m in the 8th grade and a cute boy has just asked me out.

I can’t change my MySpace relationship status just yet- it’s too early. That page is like my temple of autonomy. I break the news to him, “I’ll change my Facebook account status, but not my MySpace account.” Hmmm….a virtual compromise.

This morning I go onto Facebook. Yep, there he is – “in a relationship.” I go to my profile and click in relationship (there is a special section for this). I change my status. Then Facebook asks me, “who are you in a relationship with?” I pick his name. Then it says, “Kris is now your boyfriend. We will be sending him a confirmation to see if he accepts your relationship request.”

What??? Oh my god…I have a boyfriend and they’re sending him a relationship request? I’m actually embarrassed. I call him immediately, “Facebook has just informed me that you’re my boyfriend, but you have to agree to it.” He laughed. “I’ll accept, I won’t leave you hanging. Later… girlfriend.” I feel like I’m 14 again.

A boy actually asked me out – even though he did it virtually I still think it’s absolutely adorable. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been asked out. Usually it’s me looking at the guy like, “so are you my boyfriend?”

See? This virtual world is good for something.

UPDATE/ Additional notes:

Crazy how MySpace and Facebook have changed the way we date. In just a few seconds you can scope out your ex’s relationship status, flirtatous comments and daily activities. Twitter makes it even worse. Maybe I should go on a delete binge tonight.

How often do you delete your the Ex-Profiles on MySpace? Can you do it? Do you think I can?

Deleting an ex is like permanently severing all ties…but then I think of the ex’s who were my friends – the ones I genuinely want to stay in touch with. And then I think of the sting when I see their “latest activity.”

I vote for delete.
Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
***UPDATE***

If you’re here to find out how to change your Facebook or MySpace relationship status, click here.

Once you’re done – come back and read this…

“A relationship isn’t official until it’s on Facebook!” a young co-worker told me this morning. “My friend got engaged and two weeks later the announcement still wasn’t on Facebook. We all thought she had called it off or something.” Virtual social networks have changed the dating landscape… forever.

After my divorce I created a MySpace page. I was an innocent to the social networking world and had no idea how much it would change my dating experiences. My single friend was over the other night venting about a frustrating experience she’s having with an ex boyfriend right now.

“I’m not sure if he’ll call me tonight or not. I left him a comment today asking if he was going out and haven’t heard back.”

MySpace and Facebook have now effectively changed the way we date. Now we can call, text, e-mail or better yet – leave a MySpace comment or give someone a Facebook poke.

Here’s my translation of the MySpace and Facebook Dating Codes.

  1. Add each other as friends. This is really no big deal and doesn’t mean much. But at least now you have unbridled access to their page, photos, blog, etc.
  2. Leave cute, flirty comments on each other’s page. A good sign. He’s writing on your page, you’re writing on his. All is well in the world.
  3. Move each other up to “top friend” status. This is a big step and could indicate a future relationship status change.
  4. Continue with more flirtatious comments like “last night was amazing, you make me crazy.” Getting closer.
  5. Change your relationship status. The biggest step. Now you’re taken. You’re off the virtual market and you’re shouting loud and proud to the rest of the world that you’re happy and committed.

In conversations with my single girlfriends the old burning questions like, “is he a good kisser?,” “does he call often?,” “does he make you laugh?” are still completely relevant but added into the mix are, “did he move you into his top friends?,” “who else is on his page?”

The Virtual Red Flag

Some men are all over your MySpace page while you’re dating…others will be silent, never leaving a comment or moving you into their top friends. Strange. A red flag. A new red flag. The virtual red flag.

The Relationship Status Change: Who brings it up…how does it happen?

A case in point: my current flame took matters into his own hands. Last night when we were falling asleep he said, “I changed my relationship status on Facebook.” What??? Wow!!! I didn’t know what to think. We’ve only been together for 3 weeks and now Facebook says we’re “in a relationship.”

“You want me to be your girlfriend?”

He says, “ya…is that okay?” He’s confused by my reaction. I mean, he’s a guy and he’s completely crazy about me. We’ve been seeing each other steadily for three weeks – why not change his status? Meanwhile my brain is on fire with a mix of happiness and fear. I feel like I’m in the 8th grade and a cute boy has just asked me out.

I can’t change my MySpace relationship status just yet- it’s too early. That page is like my temple of autonomy. I break the news to him, “I’ll change my Facebook account status, but not my MySpace account.” Hmmm….a virtual compromise.

This morning I go onto Facebook. Yep, there he is – “in a relationship.” I go to my profile and click in relationship (there is a special section for this). I change my status. Then Facebook asks me, “who are you in a relationship with?” I pick his name. Then it says, “Kris is now your boyfriend. We will be sending him a confirmation to see if he accepts your relationship request.”

What??? Oh my god…I have a boyfriend and they’re sending him a relationship request? I’m actually embarrassed. I call him immediately, “Facebook has just informed me that you’re my boyfriend, but you have to agree to it.” He laughed. “I’ll accept, I won’t leave you hanging. Later… girlfriend.” I feel like I’m 14 again.

A boy actually asked me out – even though he did it virtually I still think it’s absolutely adorable. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been asked out. Usually it’s me looking at the guy like, “so are you my boyfriend?”

See? This virtual world is good for something.

UPDATE/ Additional notes:

Crazy how MySpace and Facebook have changed the way we date. In just a few seconds you can scope out your ex’s relationship status, flirtatous comments and daily activities. Twitter makes it even worse. Maybe I should go on a delete binge tonight.

How often do you delete your the Ex-Profiles on MySpace? Can you do it? Do you think I can?

Deleting an ex is like permanently severing all ties…but then I think of the ex’s who were my friends – the ones I genuinely want to stay in touch with. And then I think of the sting when I see their “latest activity.”

I vote for delete.
I have seen a few google searches with this question pointing to my blog. Not sure why they’re taking you here, but it’s a very valid question. So here goes.

My friend Abby has been a single mom for over three years now and one night when we were on a crazy girls night, I had struck up a conversation with a charming dentist. He seemed interested so I thought, “better get it out on the table.” But this is how I phrased it, “Well, you’ll never actually be able to date me.” He looked surprised, “why not?”

“Because I have a baby.”

“Oh. Well, that must be fun.” After some awkward small talk he disappeared.

I ran up to Abby. “That guy just vanished after I told him about Benjamin!” She pulled me aside and whispered, “Oh no. You can’t tell them that right away. You’ve got to wait until at least a couple of dates.” What? I was floored. She just didn’t tell them.

“They have to fall for you first,” she insisted, “and then the baby thing is just like an added bonus – and ‘oh by the way, I do all of this and I’m an amazing single mom.’ It works!”

I am skeptical of Abbey’s theory. Here’s why, if the baby thing is too much for them to handle, why find that out two dates in? And wouldn’t that be a form of dishonesty?

I’ve decided that it depends on a few factors. If you are out for a night filled with multiple encounters with men on the dance floor or behind a bar – don’t mention it. Unless one of these men grabs your attention, you end up hitting it off and you feel like there’s potential for a future date – then dish. But make sure you frame it positively. The dentist was scared off because of the way I phrased it. I made it an obstacle when it really isn’t and I made it sound like Benjamin was a hinderance.

Having a baby or a child in your life is an amazing thing. Sure it’s an obstacle to dating men who don’t care about you, but not when you’re dating men who are genuinely into you. Beware of scaring off the good ones by making it sound like a bad thing, one of my nasty little habits.

Here’s a male perspective. My single friend Dave was out recently and called me the next day after bumping into a few single moms at a bar. “We were hitting it off and then they told me they have a baby. But they made it sound like it was a horrible thing. Their bad attitude was totally unattractive and I just had to walk away.”

When I told my new boyfriend about Benjamin it was the first night we met. But I waited until the end of the night, when I knew I would want to see him again. I brought it up within the flow of conversation and had a smile on my face. “So…I have a little bit of baggage, and he weighs 22 pounds. If you want to see me again, I just thought I should get that out there..so…” I trailed off and looked down into my lap, hoping I wouldn’t see fear in his eyes. “Do you have a picture?” He looked at Benjamin on my phone and smiled, a genuine smile. “He’s a cutie. Want to play another game of pool?”

My conclusion – having a child is as big of deal as you make it. And we can’t expect a man who’s never had a child before to possibly understand on a first date or on a first encounter. That comes later. But there’s no sense in not giving him a chance to understand.

When do you tell a man you’re a single mom?
Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
***UPDATE***

If you’re here to find out how to change your Facebook or MySpace relationship status, click here.

Once you’re done – come back and read this…

“A relationship isn’t official until it’s on Facebook!” a young co-worker told me this morning. “My friend got engaged and two weeks later the announcement still wasn’t on Facebook. We all thought she had called it off or something.” Virtual social networks have changed the dating landscape… forever.

After my divorce I created a MySpace page. I was an innocent to the social networking world and had no idea how much it would change my dating experiences. My single friend was over the other night venting about a frustrating experience she’s having with an ex boyfriend right now.

“I’m not sure if he’ll call me tonight or not. I left him a comment today asking if he was going out and haven’t heard back.”

MySpace and Facebook have now effectively changed the way we date. Now we can call, text, e-mail or better yet – leave a MySpace comment or give someone a Facebook poke.

Here’s my translation of the MySpace and Facebook Dating Codes.

  1. Add each other as friends. This is really no big deal and doesn’t mean much. But at least now you have unbridled access to their page, photos, blog, etc.
  2. Leave cute, flirty comments on each other’s page. A good sign. He’s writing on your page, you’re writing on his. All is well in the world.
  3. Move each other up to “top friend” status. This is a big step and could indicate a future relationship status change.
  4. Continue with more flirtatious comments like “last night was amazing, you make me crazy.” Getting closer.
  5. Change your relationship status. The biggest step. Now you’re taken. You’re off the virtual market and you’re shouting loud and proud to the rest of the world that you’re happy and committed.

In conversations with my single girlfriends the old burning questions like, “is he a good kisser?,” “does he call often?,” “does he make you laugh?” are still completely relevant but added into the mix are, “did he move you into his top friends?,” “who else is on his page?”

The Virtual Red Flag

Some men are all over your MySpace page while you’re dating…others will be silent, never leaving a comment or moving you into their top friends. Strange. A red flag. A new red flag. The virtual red flag.

The Relationship Status Change: Who brings it up…how does it happen?

A case in point: my current flame took matters into his own hands. Last night when we were falling asleep he said, “I changed my relationship status on Facebook.” What??? Wow!!! I didn’t know what to think. We’ve only been together for 3 weeks and now Facebook says we’re “in a relationship.”

“You want me to be your girlfriend?”

He says, “ya…is that okay?” He’s confused by my reaction. I mean, he’s a guy and he’s completely crazy about me. We’ve been seeing each other steadily for three weeks – why not change his status? Meanwhile my brain is on fire with a mix of happiness and fear. I feel like I’m in the 8th grade and a cute boy has just asked me out.

I can’t change my MySpace relationship status just yet- it’s too early. That page is like my temple of autonomy. I break the news to him, “I’ll change my Facebook account status, but not my MySpace account.” Hmmm….a virtual compromise.

This morning I go onto Facebook. Yep, there he is – “in a relationship.” I go to my profile and click in relationship (there is a special section for this). I change my status. Then Facebook asks me, “who are you in a relationship with?” I pick his name. Then it says, “Kris is now your boyfriend. We will be sending him a confirmation to see if he accepts your relationship request.”

What??? Oh my god…I have a boyfriend and they’re sending him a relationship request? I’m actually embarrassed. I call him immediately, “Facebook has just informed me that you’re my boyfriend, but you have to agree to it.” He laughed. “I’ll accept, I won’t leave you hanging. Later… girlfriend.” I feel like I’m 14 again.

A boy actually asked me out – even though he did it virtually I still think it’s absolutely adorable. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been asked out. Usually it’s me looking at the guy like, “so are you my boyfriend?”

See? This virtual world is good for something.

UPDATE/ Additional notes:

Crazy how MySpace and Facebook have changed the way we date. In just a few seconds you can scope out your ex’s relationship status, flirtatous comments and daily activities. Twitter makes it even worse. Maybe I should go on a delete binge tonight.

How often do you delete your the Ex-Profiles on MySpace? Can you do it? Do you think I can?

Deleting an ex is like permanently severing all ties…but then I think of the ex’s who were my friends – the ones I genuinely want to stay in touch with. And then I think of the sting when I see their “latest activity.”

I vote for delete.
I have seen a few google searches with this question pointing to my blog. Not sure why they’re taking you here, but it’s a very valid question. So here goes.

My friend Abby has been a single mom for over three years now and one night when we were on a crazy girls night, I had struck up a conversation with a charming dentist. He seemed interested so I thought, “better get it out on the table.” But this is how I phrased it, “Well, you’ll never actually be able to date me.” He looked surprised, “why not?”

“Because I have a baby.”

“Oh. Well, that must be fun.” After some awkward small talk he disappeared.

I ran up to Abby. “That guy just vanished after I told him about Benjamin!” She pulled me aside and whispered, “Oh no. You can’t tell them that right away. You’ve got to wait until at least a couple of dates.” What? I was floored. She just didn’t tell them.

“They have to fall for you first,” she insisted, “and then the baby thing is just like an added bonus – and ‘oh by the way, I do all of this and I’m an amazing single mom.’ It works!”

I am skeptical of Abbey’s theory. Here’s why, if the baby thing is too much for them to handle, why find that out two dates in? And wouldn’t that be a form of dishonesty?

I’ve decided that it depends on a few factors. If you are out for a night filled with multiple encounters with men on the dance floor or behind a bar – don’t mention it. Unless one of these men grabs your attention, you end up hitting it off and you feel like there’s potential for a future date – then dish. But make sure you frame it positively. The dentist was scared off because of the way I phrased it. I made it an obstacle when it really isn’t and I made it sound like Benjamin was a hinderance.

Having a baby or a child in your life is an amazing thing. Sure it’s an obstacle to dating men who don’t care about you, but not when you’re dating men who are genuinely into you. Beware of scaring off the good ones by making it sound like a bad thing, one of my nasty little habits.

Here’s a male perspective. My single friend Dave was out recently and called me the next day after bumping into a few single moms at a bar. “We were hitting it off and then they told me they have a baby. But they made it sound like it was a horrible thing. Their bad attitude was totally unattractive and I just had to walk away.”

When I told my new boyfriend about Benjamin it was the first night we met. But I waited until the end of the night, when I knew I would want to see him again. I brought it up within the flow of conversation and had a smile on my face. “So…I have a little bit of baggage, and he weighs 22 pounds. If you want to see me again, I just thought I should get that out there..so…” I trailed off and looked down into my lap, hoping I wouldn’t see fear in his eyes. “Do you have a picture?” He looked at Benjamin on my phone and smiled, a genuine smile. “He’s a cutie. Want to play another game of pool?”

My conclusion – having a child is as big of deal as you make it. And we can’t expect a man who’s never had a child before to possibly understand on a first date or on a first encounter. That comes later. But there’s no sense in not giving him a chance to understand.

When do you tell a man you’re a single mom?

It’s been two weeks now since Benjamin’s father has seen his son.

His car is broken down because he drove it without oil. Sigh.

Coincidentally Benjamin has also been sick, sick, sick. I have missed four days of work and will be missing two more. I am also broke because I’ve had to pay for an extra two days of childcare each week.

I called him today en route to the hospital today. Benjamin had a fever of 104.5 and I thought he should know about it.

“Oh,” he says, “Well, I’m in a meeting, I’ll call you back.” CLICK.

I called him tonight to vent a bit. I know, I know. Should have let it go. He’s completely out of our lives now but when I’m missing days upon days of work and he doesn’t even seem concerned or offer to take a day off from his job I get upset.

“I understand,” he says.

“No you don’t.” I snap. “You don’t understand. How could you understand? You have never, ever had to take a day off from work to take care of your son when he’s sick.”

What he says next blew my mind.

“If we were married I would. But, my boss is not going to give me a day off to take care of my ex-wife’s kid. We are not a family anymore.”

“What?!!! He’s your son. You mean he is less of a son to you because we’re not married? Your boss can’t think that unless you think that.”

I should have hung up at this point but I  didn’t. And then he drops this bomb (not the first time).

“It was your choice to leave me,” he says, “it was your choice and now you have to deal with it.”

Was it really my choice to be a single mom? Yes, in that the idea of actually still being with him, had I stayed, makes my skin crawl. Being a single mom is tough but being with a husband like him was a hell of a lot harder. He was cold, insensitive, hurtful and down right useless.

He’s now on month 9 of a relationship with another single mother. Her son is 6 and they’re now living together. Poor her. Poor kid.

If he would have had it his way, right now he would be sitting on MY couch, drinking MY beer, eating MY groceries and treating me like shit. I just wish he weren’t on another single mom’s couch right now. I wish I could warn her.

Conclusion = It was his choice to give me no choice.

Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
***UPDATE***

If you’re here to find out how to change your Facebook or MySpace relationship status, click here.

Once you’re done – come back and read this…

“A relationship isn’t official until it’s on Facebook!” a young co-worker told me this morning. “My friend got engaged and two weeks later the announcement still wasn’t on Facebook. We all thought she had called it off or something.” Virtual social networks have changed the dating landscape… forever.

After my divorce I created a MySpace page. I was an innocent to the social networking world and had no idea how much it would change my dating experiences. My single friend was over the other night venting about a frustrating experience she’s having with an ex boyfriend right now.

“I’m not sure if he’ll call me tonight or not. I left him a comment today asking if he was going out and haven’t heard back.”

MySpace and Facebook have now effectively changed the way we date. Now we can call, text, e-mail or better yet – leave a MySpace comment or give someone a Facebook poke.

Here’s my translation of the MySpace and Facebook Dating Codes.

  1. Add each other as friends. This is really no big deal and doesn’t mean much. But at least now you have unbridled access to their page, photos, blog, etc.
  2. Leave cute, flirty comments on each other’s page. A good sign. He’s writing on your page, you’re writing on his. All is well in the world.
  3. Move each other up to “top friend” status. This is a big step and could indicate a future relationship status change.
  4. Continue with more flirtatious comments like “last night was amazing, you make me crazy.” Getting closer.
  5. Change your relationship status. The biggest step. Now you’re taken. You’re off the virtual market and you’re shouting loud and proud to the rest of the world that you’re happy and committed.

In conversations with my single girlfriends the old burning questions like, “is he a good kisser?,” “does he call often?,” “does he make you laugh?” are still completely relevant but added into the mix are, “did he move you into his top friends?,” “who else is on his page?”

The Virtual Red Flag

Some men are all over your MySpace page while you’re dating…others will be silent, never leaving a comment or moving you into their top friends. Strange. A red flag. A new red flag. The virtual red flag.

The Relationship Status Change: Who brings it up…how does it happen?

A case in point: my current flame took matters into his own hands. Last night when we were falling asleep he said, “I changed my relationship status on Facebook.” What??? Wow!!! I didn’t know what to think. We’ve only been together for 3 weeks and now Facebook says we’re “in a relationship.”

“You want me to be your girlfriend?”

He says, “ya…is that okay?” He’s confused by my reaction. I mean, he’s a guy and he’s completely crazy about me. We’ve been seeing each other steadily for three weeks – why not change his status? Meanwhile my brain is on fire with a mix of happiness and fear. I feel like I’m in the 8th grade and a cute boy has just asked me out.

I can’t change my MySpace relationship status just yet- it’s too early. That page is like my temple of autonomy. I break the news to him, “I’ll change my Facebook account status, but not my MySpace account.” Hmmm….a virtual compromise.

This morning I go onto Facebook. Yep, there he is – “in a relationship.” I go to my profile and click in relationship (there is a special section for this). I change my status. Then Facebook asks me, “who are you in a relationship with?” I pick his name. Then it says, “Kris is now your boyfriend. We will be sending him a confirmation to see if he accepts your relationship request.”

What??? Oh my god…I have a boyfriend and they’re sending him a relationship request? I’m actually embarrassed. I call him immediately, “Facebook has just informed me that you’re my boyfriend, but you have to agree to it.” He laughed. “I’ll accept, I won’t leave you hanging. Later… girlfriend.” I feel like I’m 14 again.

A boy actually asked me out – even though he did it virtually I still think it’s absolutely adorable. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been asked out. Usually it’s me looking at the guy like, “so are you my boyfriend?”

See? This virtual world is good for something.

UPDATE/ Additional notes:

Crazy how MySpace and Facebook have changed the way we date. In just a few seconds you can scope out your ex’s relationship status, flirtatous comments and daily activities. Twitter makes it even worse. Maybe I should go on a delete binge tonight.

How often do you delete your the Ex-Profiles on MySpace? Can you do it? Do you think I can?

Deleting an ex is like permanently severing all ties…but then I think of the ex’s who were my friends – the ones I genuinely want to stay in touch with. And then I think of the sting when I see their “latest activity.”

I vote for delete.
Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
***UPDATE***

If you’re here to find out how to change your Facebook or MySpace relationship status, click here.

Once you’re done – come back and read this…

“A relationship isn’t official until it’s on Facebook!” a young co-worker told me this morning. “My friend got engaged and two weeks later the announcement still wasn’t on Facebook. We all thought she had called it off or something.” Virtual social networks have changed the dating landscape… forever.

After my divorce I created a MySpace page. I was an innocent to the social networking world and had no idea how much it would change my dating experiences. My single friend was over the other night venting about a frustrating experience she’s having with an ex boyfriend right now.

“I’m not sure if he’ll call me tonight or not. I left him a comment today asking if he was going out and haven’t heard back.”

MySpace and Facebook have now effectively changed the way we date. Now we can call, text, e-mail or better yet – leave a MySpace comment or give someone a Facebook poke.

Here’s my translation of the MySpace and Facebook Dating Codes.

  1. Add each other as friends. This is really no big deal and doesn’t mean much. But at least now you have unbridled access to their page, photos, blog, etc.
  2. Leave cute, flirty comments on each other’s page. A good sign. He’s writing on your page, you’re writing on his. All is well in the world.
  3. Move each other up to “top friend” status. This is a big step and could indicate a future relationship status change.
  4. Continue with more flirtatious comments like “last night was amazing, you make me crazy.” Getting closer.
  5. Change your relationship status. The biggest step. Now you’re taken. You’re off the virtual market and you’re shouting loud and proud to the rest of the world that you’re happy and committed.

In conversations with my single girlfriends the old burning questions like, “is he a good kisser?,” “does he call often?,” “does he make you laugh?” are still completely relevant but added into the mix are, “did he move you into his top friends?,” “who else is on his page?”

The Virtual Red Flag

Some men are all over your MySpace page while you’re dating…others will be silent, never leaving a comment or moving you into their top friends. Strange. A red flag. A new red flag. The virtual red flag.

The Relationship Status Change: Who brings it up…how does it happen?

A case in point: my current flame took matters into his own hands. Last night when we were falling asleep he said, “I changed my relationship status on Facebook.” What??? Wow!!! I didn’t know what to think. We’ve only been together for 3 weeks and now Facebook says we’re “in a relationship.”

“You want me to be your girlfriend?”

He says, “ya…is that okay?” He’s confused by my reaction. I mean, he’s a guy and he’s completely crazy about me. We’ve been seeing each other steadily for three weeks – why not change his status? Meanwhile my brain is on fire with a mix of happiness and fear. I feel like I’m in the 8th grade and a cute boy has just asked me out.

I can’t change my MySpace relationship status just yet- it’s too early. That page is like my temple of autonomy. I break the news to him, “I’ll change my Facebook account status, but not my MySpace account.” Hmmm….a virtual compromise.

This morning I go onto Facebook. Yep, there he is – “in a relationship.” I go to my profile and click in relationship (there is a special section for this). I change my status. Then Facebook asks me, “who are you in a relationship with?” I pick his name. Then it says, “Kris is now your boyfriend. We will be sending him a confirmation to see if he accepts your relationship request.”

What??? Oh my god…I have a boyfriend and they’re sending him a relationship request? I’m actually embarrassed. I call him immediately, “Facebook has just informed me that you’re my boyfriend, but you have to agree to it.” He laughed. “I’ll accept, I won’t leave you hanging. Later… girlfriend.” I feel like I’m 14 again.

A boy actually asked me out – even though he did it virtually I still think it’s absolutely adorable. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been asked out. Usually it’s me looking at the guy like, “so are you my boyfriend?”

See? This virtual world is good for something.

UPDATE/ Additional notes:

Crazy how MySpace and Facebook have changed the way we date. In just a few seconds you can scope out your ex’s relationship status, flirtatous comments and daily activities. Twitter makes it even worse. Maybe I should go on a delete binge tonight.

How often do you delete your the Ex-Profiles on MySpace? Can you do it? Do you think I can?

Deleting an ex is like permanently severing all ties…but then I think of the ex’s who were my friends – the ones I genuinely want to stay in touch with. And then I think of the sting when I see their “latest activity.”

I vote for delete.
I have seen a few google searches with this question pointing to my blog. Not sure why they’re taking you here, but it’s a very valid question. So here goes.

My friend Abby has been a single mom for over three years now and one night when we were on a crazy girls night, I had struck up a conversation with a charming dentist. He seemed interested so I thought, “better get it out on the table.” But this is how I phrased it, “Well, you’ll never actually be able to date me.” He looked surprised, “why not?”

“Because I have a baby.”

“Oh. Well, that must be fun.” After some awkward small talk he disappeared.

I ran up to Abby. “That guy just vanished after I told him about Benjamin!” She pulled me aside and whispered, “Oh no. You can’t tell them that right away. You’ve got to wait until at least a couple of dates.” What? I was floored. She just didn’t tell them.

“They have to fall for you first,” she insisted, “and then the baby thing is just like an added bonus – and ‘oh by the way, I do all of this and I’m an amazing single mom.’ It works!”

I am skeptical of Abbey’s theory. Here’s why, if the baby thing is too much for them to handle, why find that out two dates in? And wouldn’t that be a form of dishonesty?

I’ve decided that it depends on a few factors. If you are out for a night filled with multiple encounters with men on the dance floor or behind a bar – don’t mention it. Unless one of these men grabs your attention, you end up hitting it off and you feel like there’s potential for a future date – then dish. But make sure you frame it positively. The dentist was scared off because of the way I phrased it. I made it an obstacle when it really isn’t and I made it sound like Benjamin was a hinderance.

Having a baby or a child in your life is an amazing thing. Sure it’s an obstacle to dating men who don’t care about you, but not when you’re dating men who are genuinely into you. Beware of scaring off the good ones by making it sound like a bad thing, one of my nasty little habits.

Here’s a male perspective. My single friend Dave was out recently and called me the next day after bumping into a few single moms at a bar. “We were hitting it off and then they told me they have a baby. But they made it sound like it was a horrible thing. Their bad attitude was totally unattractive and I just had to walk away.”

When I told my new boyfriend about Benjamin it was the first night we met. But I waited until the end of the night, when I knew I would want to see him again. I brought it up within the flow of conversation and had a smile on my face. “So…I have a little bit of baggage, and he weighs 22 pounds. If you want to see me again, I just thought I should get that out there..so…” I trailed off and looked down into my lap, hoping I wouldn’t see fear in his eyes. “Do you have a picture?” He looked at Benjamin on my phone and smiled, a genuine smile. “He’s a cutie. Want to play another game of pool?”

My conclusion – having a child is as big of deal as you make it. And we can’t expect a man who’s never had a child before to possibly understand on a first date or on a first encounter. That comes later. But there’s no sense in not giving him a chance to understand.

When do you tell a man you’re a single mom?
Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
***UPDATE***

If you’re here to find out how to change your Facebook or MySpace relationship status, click here.

Once you’re done – come back and read this…

“A relationship isn’t official until it’s on Facebook!” a young co-worker told me this morning. “My friend got engaged and two weeks later the announcement still wasn’t on Facebook. We all thought she had called it off or something.” Virtual social networks have changed the dating landscape… forever.

After my divorce I created a MySpace page. I was an innocent to the social networking world and had no idea how much it would change my dating experiences. My single friend was over the other night venting about a frustrating experience she’s having with an ex boyfriend right now.

“I’m not sure if he’ll call me tonight or not. I left him a comment today asking if he was going out and haven’t heard back.”

MySpace and Facebook have now effectively changed the way we date. Now we can call, text, e-mail or better yet – leave a MySpace comment or give someone a Facebook poke.

Here’s my translation of the MySpace and Facebook Dating Codes.

  1. Add each other as friends. This is really no big deal and doesn’t mean much. But at least now you have unbridled access to their page, photos, blog, etc.
  2. Leave cute, flirty comments on each other’s page. A good sign. He’s writing on your page, you’re writing on his. All is well in the world.
  3. Move each other up to “top friend” status. This is a big step and could indicate a future relationship status change.
  4. Continue with more flirtatious comments like “last night was amazing, you make me crazy.” Getting closer.
  5. Change your relationship status. The biggest step. Now you’re taken. You’re off the virtual market and you’re shouting loud and proud to the rest of the world that you’re happy and committed.

In conversations with my single girlfriends the old burning questions like, “is he a good kisser?,” “does he call often?,” “does he make you laugh?” are still completely relevant but added into the mix are, “did he move you into his top friends?,” “who else is on his page?”

The Virtual Red Flag

Some men are all over your MySpace page while you’re dating…others will be silent, never leaving a comment or moving you into their top friends. Strange. A red flag. A new red flag. The virtual red flag.

The Relationship Status Change: Who brings it up…how does it happen?

A case in point: my current flame took matters into his own hands. Last night when we were falling asleep he said, “I changed my relationship status on Facebook.” What??? Wow!!! I didn’t know what to think. We’ve only been together for 3 weeks and now Facebook says we’re “in a relationship.”

“You want me to be your girlfriend?”

He says, “ya…is that okay?” He’s confused by my reaction. I mean, he’s a guy and he’s completely crazy about me. We’ve been seeing each other steadily for three weeks – why not change his status? Meanwhile my brain is on fire with a mix of happiness and fear. I feel like I’m in the 8th grade and a cute boy has just asked me out.

I can’t change my MySpace relationship status just yet- it’s too early. That page is like my temple of autonomy. I break the news to him, “I’ll change my Facebook account status, but not my MySpace account.” Hmmm….a virtual compromise.

This morning I go onto Facebook. Yep, there he is – “in a relationship.” I go to my profile and click in relationship (there is a special section for this). I change my status. Then Facebook asks me, “who are you in a relationship with?” I pick his name. Then it says, “Kris is now your boyfriend. We will be sending him a confirmation to see if he accepts your relationship request.”

What??? Oh my god…I have a boyfriend and they’re sending him a relationship request? I’m actually embarrassed. I call him immediately, “Facebook has just informed me that you’re my boyfriend, but you have to agree to it.” He laughed. “I’ll accept, I won’t leave you hanging. Later… girlfriend.” I feel like I’m 14 again.

A boy actually asked me out – even though he did it virtually I still think it’s absolutely adorable. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been asked out. Usually it’s me looking at the guy like, “so are you my boyfriend?”

See? This virtual world is good for something.

UPDATE/ Additional notes:

Crazy how MySpace and Facebook have changed the way we date. In just a few seconds you can scope out your ex’s relationship status, flirtatous comments and daily activities. Twitter makes it even worse. Maybe I should go on a delete binge tonight.

How often do you delete your the Ex-Profiles on MySpace? Can you do it? Do you think I can?

Deleting an ex is like permanently severing all ties…but then I think of the ex’s who were my friends – the ones I genuinely want to stay in touch with. And then I think of the sting when I see their “latest activity.”

I vote for delete.
I have seen a few google searches with this question pointing to my blog. Not sure why they’re taking you here, but it’s a very valid question. So here goes.

My friend Abby has been a single mom for over three years now and one night when we were on a crazy girls night, I had struck up a conversation with a charming dentist. He seemed interested so I thought, “better get it out on the table.” But this is how I phrased it, “Well, you’ll never actually be able to date me.” He looked surprised, “why not?”

“Because I have a baby.”

“Oh. Well, that must be fun.” After some awkward small talk he disappeared.

I ran up to Abby. “That guy just vanished after I told him about Benjamin!” She pulled me aside and whispered, “Oh no. You can’t tell them that right away. You’ve got to wait until at least a couple of dates.” What? I was floored. She just didn’t tell them.

“They have to fall for you first,” she insisted, “and then the baby thing is just like an added bonus – and ‘oh by the way, I do all of this and I’m an amazing single mom.’ It works!”

I am skeptical of Abbey’s theory. Here’s why, if the baby thing is too much for them to handle, why find that out two dates in? And wouldn’t that be a form of dishonesty?

I’ve decided that it depends on a few factors. If you are out for a night filled with multiple encounters with men on the dance floor or behind a bar – don’t mention it. Unless one of these men grabs your attention, you end up hitting it off and you feel like there’s potential for a future date – then dish. But make sure you frame it positively. The dentist was scared off because of the way I phrased it. I made it an obstacle when it really isn’t and I made it sound like Benjamin was a hinderance.

Having a baby or a child in your life is an amazing thing. Sure it’s an obstacle to dating men who don’t care about you, but not when you’re dating men who are genuinely into you. Beware of scaring off the good ones by making it sound like a bad thing, one of my nasty little habits.

Here’s a male perspective. My single friend Dave was out recently and called me the next day after bumping into a few single moms at a bar. “We were hitting it off and then they told me they have a baby. But they made it sound like it was a horrible thing. Their bad attitude was totally unattractive and I just had to walk away.”

When I told my new boyfriend about Benjamin it was the first night we met. But I waited until the end of the night, when I knew I would want to see him again. I brought it up within the flow of conversation and had a smile on my face. “So…I have a little bit of baggage, and he weighs 22 pounds. If you want to see me again, I just thought I should get that out there..so…” I trailed off and looked down into my lap, hoping I wouldn’t see fear in his eyes. “Do you have a picture?” He looked at Benjamin on my phone and smiled, a genuine smile. “He’s a cutie. Want to play another game of pool?”

My conclusion – having a child is as big of deal as you make it. And we can’t expect a man who’s never had a child before to possibly understand on a first date or on a first encounter. That comes later. But there’s no sense in not giving him a chance to understand.

When do you tell a man you’re a single mom?

It’s been two weeks now since Benjamin’s father has seen his son.

His car is broken down because he drove it without oil. Sigh.

Coincidentally Benjamin has also been sick, sick, sick. I have missed four days of work and will be missing two more. I am also broke because I’ve had to pay for an extra two days of childcare each week.

I called him today en route to the hospital today. Benjamin had a fever of 104.5 and I thought he should know about it.

“Oh,” he says, “Well, I’m in a meeting, I’ll call you back.” CLICK.

I called him tonight to vent a bit. I know, I know. Should have let it go. He’s completely out of our lives now but when I’m missing days upon days of work and he doesn’t even seem concerned or offer to take a day off from his job I get upset.

“I understand,” he says.

“No you don’t.” I snap. “You don’t understand. How could you understand? You have never, ever had to take a day off from work to take care of your son when he’s sick.”

What he says next blew my mind.

“If we were married I would. But, my boss is not going to give me a day off to take care of my ex-wife’s kid. We are not a family anymore.”

“What?!!! He’s your son. You mean he is less of a son to you because we’re not married? Your boss can’t think that unless you think that.”

I should have hung up at this point but I  didn’t. And then he drops this bomb (not the first time).

“It was your choice to leave me,” he says, “it was your choice and now you have to deal with it.”

Was it really my choice to be a single mom? Yes, in that the idea of actually still being with him, had I stayed, makes my skin crawl. Being a single mom is tough but being with a husband like him was a hell of a lot harder. He was cold, insensitive, hurtful and down right useless.

He’s now on month 9 of a relationship with another single mother. Her son is 6 and they’re now living together. Poor her. Poor kid.

If he would have had it his way, right now he would be sitting on MY couch, drinking MY beer, eating MY groceries and treating me like shit. I just wish he weren’t on another single mom’s couch right now. I wish I could warn her.

Conclusion = It was his choice to give me no choice.

Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
***UPDATE***

If you’re here to find out how to change your Facebook or MySpace relationship status, click here.

Once you’re done – come back and read this…

“A relationship isn’t official until it’s on Facebook!” a young co-worker told me this morning. “My friend got engaged and two weeks later the announcement still wasn’t on Facebook. We all thought she had called it off or something.” Virtual social networks have changed the dating landscape… forever.

After my divorce I created a MySpace page. I was an innocent to the social networking world and had no idea how much it would change my dating experiences. My single friend was over the other night venting about a frustrating experience she’s having with an ex boyfriend right now.

“I’m not sure if he’ll call me tonight or not. I left him a comment today asking if he was going out and haven’t heard back.”

MySpace and Facebook have now effectively changed the way we date. Now we can call, text, e-mail or better yet – leave a MySpace comment or give someone a Facebook poke.

Here’s my translation of the MySpace and Facebook Dating Codes.

  1. Add each other as friends. This is really no big deal and doesn’t mean much. But at least now you have unbridled access to their page, photos, blog, etc.
  2. Leave cute, flirty comments on each other’s page. A good sign. He’s writing on your page, you’re writing on his. All is well in the world.
  3. Move each other up to “top friend” status. This is a big step and could indicate a future relationship status change.
  4. Continue with more flirtatious comments like “last night was amazing, you make me crazy.” Getting closer.
  5. Change your relationship status. The biggest step. Now you’re taken. You’re off the virtual market and you’re shouting loud and proud to the rest of the world that you’re happy and committed.

In conversations with my single girlfriends the old burning questions like, “is he a good kisser?,” “does he call often?,” “does he make you laugh?” are still completely relevant but added into the mix are, “did he move you into his top friends?,” “who else is on his page?”

The Virtual Red Flag

Some men are all over your MySpace page while you’re dating…others will be silent, never leaving a comment or moving you into their top friends. Strange. A red flag. A new red flag. The virtual red flag.

The Relationship Status Change: Who brings it up…how does it happen?

A case in point: my current flame took matters into his own hands. Last night when we were falling asleep he said, “I changed my relationship status on Facebook.” What??? Wow!!! I didn’t know what to think. We’ve only been together for 3 weeks and now Facebook says we’re “in a relationship.”

“You want me to be your girlfriend?”

He says, “ya…is that okay?” He’s confused by my reaction. I mean, he’s a guy and he’s completely crazy about me. We’ve been seeing each other steadily for three weeks – why not change his status? Meanwhile my brain is on fire with a mix of happiness and fear. I feel like I’m in the 8th grade and a cute boy has just asked me out.

I can’t change my MySpace relationship status just yet- it’s too early. That page is like my temple of autonomy. I break the news to him, “I’ll change my Facebook account status, but not my MySpace account.” Hmmm….a virtual compromise.

This morning I go onto Facebook. Yep, there he is – “in a relationship.” I go to my profile and click in relationship (there is a special section for this). I change my status. Then Facebook asks me, “who are you in a relationship with?” I pick his name. Then it says, “Kris is now your boyfriend. We will be sending him a confirmation to see if he accepts your relationship request.”

What??? Oh my god…I have a boyfriend and they’re sending him a relationship request? I’m actually embarrassed. I call him immediately, “Facebook has just informed me that you’re my boyfriend, but you have to agree to it.” He laughed. “I’ll accept, I won’t leave you hanging. Later… girlfriend.” I feel like I’m 14 again.

A boy actually asked me out – even though he did it virtually I still think it’s absolutely adorable. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been asked out. Usually it’s me looking at the guy like, “so are you my boyfriend?”

See? This virtual world is good for something.

UPDATE/ Additional notes:

Crazy how MySpace and Facebook have changed the way we date. In just a few seconds you can scope out your ex’s relationship status, flirtatous comments and daily activities. Twitter makes it even worse. Maybe I should go on a delete binge tonight.

How often do you delete your the Ex-Profiles on MySpace? Can you do it? Do you think I can?

Deleting an ex is like permanently severing all ties…but then I think of the ex’s who were my friends – the ones I genuinely want to stay in touch with. And then I think of the sting when I see their “latest activity.”

I vote for delete.
I have seen a few google searches with this question pointing to my blog. Not sure why they’re taking you here, but it’s a very valid question. So here goes.

My friend Abby has been a single mom for over three years now and one night when we were on a crazy girls night, I had struck up a conversation with a charming dentist. He seemed interested so I thought, “better get it out on the table.” But this is how I phrased it, “Well, you’ll never actually be able to date me.” He looked surprised, “why not?”

“Because I have a baby.”

“Oh. Well, that must be fun.” After some awkward small talk he disappeared.

I ran up to Abby. “That guy just vanished after I told him about Benjamin!” She pulled me aside and whispered, “Oh no. You can’t tell them that right away. You’ve got to wait until at least a couple of dates.” What? I was floored. She just didn’t tell them.

“They have to fall for you first,” she insisted, “and then the baby thing is just like an added bonus – and ‘oh by the way, I do all of this and I’m an amazing single mom.’ It works!”

I am skeptical of Abbey’s theory. Here’s why, if the baby thing is too much for them to handle, why find that out two dates in? And wouldn’t that be a form of dishonesty?

I’ve decided that it depends on a few factors. If you are out for a night filled with multiple encounters with men on the dance floor or behind a bar – don’t mention it. Unless one of these men grabs your attention, you end up hitting it off and you feel like there’s potential for a future date – then dish. But make sure you frame it positively. The dentist was scared off because of the way I phrased it. I made it an obstacle when it really isn’t and I made it sound like Benjamin was a hinderance.

Having a baby or a child in your life is an amazing thing. Sure it’s an obstacle to dating men who don’t care about you, but not when you’re dating men who are genuinely into you. Beware of scaring off the good ones by making it sound like a bad thing, one of my nasty little habits.

Here’s a male perspective. My single friend Dave was out recently and called me the next day after bumping into a few single moms at a bar. “We were hitting it off and then they told me they have a baby. But they made it sound like it was a horrible thing. Their bad attitude was totally unattractive and I just had to walk away.”

When I told my new boyfriend about Benjamin it was the first night we met. But I waited until the end of the night, when I knew I would want to see him again. I brought it up within the flow of conversation and had a smile on my face. “So…I have a little bit of baggage, and he weighs 22 pounds. If you want to see me again, I just thought I should get that out there..so…” I trailed off and looked down into my lap, hoping I wouldn’t see fear in his eyes. “Do you have a picture?” He looked at Benjamin on my phone and smiled, a genuine smile. “He’s a cutie. Want to play another game of pool?”

My conclusion – having a child is as big of deal as you make it. And we can’t expect a man who’s never had a child before to possibly understand on a first date or on a first encounter. That comes later. But there’s no sense in not giving him a chance to understand.

When do you tell a man you’re a single mom?

It’s been two weeks now since Benjamin’s father has seen his son.

His car is broken down because he drove it without oil. Sigh.

Coincidentally Benjamin has also been sick, sick, sick. I have missed four days of work and will be missing two more. I am also broke because I’ve had to pay for an extra two days of childcare each week.

I called him today en route to the hospital today. Benjamin had a fever of 104.5 and I thought he should know about it.

“Oh,” he says, “Well, I’m in a meeting, I’ll call you back.” CLICK.

I called him tonight to vent a bit. I know, I know. Should have let it go. He’s completely out of our lives now but when I’m missing days upon days of work and he doesn’t even seem concerned or offer to take a day off from his job I get upset.

“I understand,” he says.

“No you don’t.” I snap. “You don’t understand. How could you understand? You have never, ever had to take a day off from work to take care of your son when he’s sick.”

What he says next blew my mind.

“If we were married I would. But, my boss is not going to give me a day off to take care of my ex-wife’s kid. We are not a family anymore.”

“What?!!! He’s your son. You mean he is less of a son to you because we’re not married? Your boss can’t think that unless you think that.”

I should have hung up at this point but I  didn’t. And then he drops this bomb (not the first time).

“It was your choice to leave me,” he says, “it was your choice and now you have to deal with it.”

Was it really my choice to be a single mom? Yes, in that the idea of actually still being with him, had I stayed, makes my skin crawl. Being a single mom is tough but being with a husband like him was a hell of a lot harder. He was cold, insensitive, hurtful and down right useless.

He’s now on month 9 of a relationship with another single mother. Her son is 6 and they’re now living together. Poor her. Poor kid.

If he would have had it his way, right now he would be sitting on MY couch, drinking MY beer, eating MY groceries and treating me like shit. I just wish he weren’t on another single mom’s couch right now. I wish I could warn her.

Conclusion = It was his choice to give me no choice.

Clare, the co-founder of iHeart Single Parents, made an appearance on Fox’s Morning Show this week.

Click here to watch Clare’s interview.

I’m so excited that iHeartSingleParents.com is finally getting the attention it deserves.

Morning Show hosts Mike and Juliet say, at the start of this piece, that 40% of new mothers in the U.S. are unmarried and of those the fastest growing group is women in their late 20’s. Not sure where they got that statistic (and it is Fox) but could that be true? Forty percent!

Mike and Juliet also ask Clare if she would recommend that other women choose to be a single mom. In her blog post, Clare says they sprung these questions on her – “They didn’t ask the questions that the producer and I practiced on at all.”

I can’t speak for Clare but being a single mother is seldom a choice for any of us. It’s something that happens. We choose to go on as single moms… but we certainly didn’t choose this path? Or did we? I chose to leave my husband. Does that mean I chose to be a single mom? I’ve written about this here.

Food for thought. And evidence that talk show hosts will always go for the controversial chord of any conversation.

Regardless, Clare did a fantastic job representing! And if you haven’t been over to iHeart lately, get over there because there are hundreds of new members joining every day… and as Clare says in this interview, having a single parent social network to turn to really makes you feel less alone.

[Photo: Clare and her 2-year-old son, Colby]

P.S. Proves my point that Single Moms are on Fire!

Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
***UPDATE***

If you’re here to find out how to change your Facebook or MySpace relationship status, click here.

Once you’re done – come back and read this…

“A relationship isn’t official until it’s on Facebook!” a young co-worker told me this morning. “My friend got engaged and two weeks later the announcement still wasn’t on Facebook. We all thought she had called it off or something.” Virtual social networks have changed the dating landscape… forever.

After my divorce I created a MySpace page. I was an innocent to the social networking world and had no idea how much it would change my dating experiences. My single friend was over the other night venting about a frustrating experience she’s having with an ex boyfriend right now.

“I’m not sure if he’ll call me tonight or not. I left him a comment today asking if he was going out and haven’t heard back.”

MySpace and Facebook have now effectively changed the way we date. Now we can call, text, e-mail or better yet – leave a MySpace comment or give someone a Facebook poke.

Here’s my translation of the MySpace and Facebook Dating Codes.

  1. Add each other as friends. This is really no big deal and doesn’t mean much. But at least now you have unbridled access to their page, photos, blog, etc.
  2. Leave cute, flirty comments on each other’s page. A good sign. He’s writing on your page, you’re writing on his. All is well in the world.
  3. Move each other up to “top friend” status. This is a big step and could indicate a future relationship status change.
  4. Continue with more flirtatious comments like “last night was amazing, you make me crazy.” Getting closer.
  5. Change your relationship status. The biggest step. Now you’re taken. You’re off the virtual market and you’re shouting loud and proud to the rest of the world that you’re happy and committed.

In conversations with my single girlfriends the old burning questions like, “is he a good kisser?,” “does he call often?,” “does he make you laugh?” are still completely relevant but added into the mix are, “did he move you into his top friends?,” “who else is on his page?”

The Virtual Red Flag

Some men are all over your MySpace page while you’re dating…others will be silent, never leaving a comment or moving you into their top friends. Strange. A red flag. A new red flag. The virtual red flag.

The Relationship Status Change: Who brings it up…how does it happen?

A case in point: my current flame took matters into his own hands. Last night when we were falling asleep he said, “I changed my relationship status on Facebook.” What??? Wow!!! I didn’t know what to think. We’ve only been together for 3 weeks and now Facebook says we’re “in a relationship.”

“You want me to be your girlfriend?”

He says, “ya…is that okay?” He’s confused by my reaction. I mean, he’s a guy and he’s completely crazy about me. We’ve been seeing each other steadily for three weeks – why not change his status? Meanwhile my brain is on fire with a mix of happiness and fear. I feel like I’m in the 8th grade and a cute boy has just asked me out.

I can’t change my MySpace relationship status just yet- it’s too early. That page is like my temple of autonomy. I break the news to him, “I’ll change my Facebook account status, but not my MySpace account.” Hmmm….a virtual compromise.

This morning I go onto Facebook. Yep, there he is – “in a relationship.” I go to my profile and click in relationship (there is a special section for this). I change my status. Then Facebook asks me, “who are you in a relationship with?” I pick his name. Then it says, “Kris is now your boyfriend. We will be sending him a confirmation to see if he accepts your relationship request.”

What??? Oh my god…I have a boyfriend and they’re sending him a relationship request? I’m actually embarrassed. I call him immediately, “Facebook has just informed me that you’re my boyfriend, but you have to agree to it.” He laughed. “I’ll accept, I won’t leave you hanging. Later… girlfriend.” I feel like I’m 14 again.

A boy actually asked me out – even though he did it virtually I still think it’s absolutely adorable. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been asked out. Usually it’s me looking at the guy like, “so are you my boyfriend?”

See? This virtual world is good for something.

UPDATE/ Additional notes:

Crazy how MySpace and Facebook have changed the way we date. In just a few seconds you can scope out your ex’s relationship status, flirtatous comments and daily activities. Twitter makes it even worse. Maybe I should go on a delete binge tonight.

How often do you delete your the Ex-Profiles on MySpace? Can you do it? Do you think I can?

Deleting an ex is like permanently severing all ties…but then I think of the ex’s who were my friends – the ones I genuinely want to stay in touch with. And then I think of the sting when I see their “latest activity.”

I vote for delete.
Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
***UPDATE***

If you’re here to find out how to change your Facebook or MySpace relationship status, click here.

Once you’re done – come back and read this…

“A relationship isn’t official until it’s on Facebook!” a young co-worker told me this morning. “My friend got engaged and two weeks later the announcement still wasn’t on Facebook. We all thought she had called it off or something.” Virtual social networks have changed the dating landscape… forever.

After my divorce I created a MySpace page. I was an innocent to the social networking world and had no idea how much it would change my dating experiences. My single friend was over the other night venting about a frustrating experience she’s having with an ex boyfriend right now.

“I’m not sure if he’ll call me tonight or not. I left him a comment today asking if he was going out and haven’t heard back.”

MySpace and Facebook have now effectively changed the way we date. Now we can call, text, e-mail or better yet – leave a MySpace comment or give someone a Facebook poke.

Here’s my translation of the MySpace and Facebook Dating Codes.

  1. Add each other as friends. This is really no big deal and doesn’t mean much. But at least now you have unbridled access to their page, photos, blog, etc.
  2. Leave cute, flirty comments on each other’s page. A good sign. He’s writing on your page, you’re writing on his. All is well in the world.
  3. Move each other up to “top friend” status. This is a big step and could indicate a future relationship status change.
  4. Continue with more flirtatious comments like “last night was amazing, you make me crazy.” Getting closer.
  5. Change your relationship status. The biggest step. Now you’re taken. You’re off the virtual market and you’re shouting loud and proud to the rest of the world that you’re happy and committed.

In conversations with my single girlfriends the old burning questions like, “is he a good kisser?,” “does he call often?,” “does he make you laugh?” are still completely relevant but added into the mix are, “did he move you into his top friends?,” “who else is on his page?”

The Virtual Red Flag

Some men are all over your MySpace page while you’re dating…others will be silent, never leaving a comment or moving you into their top friends. Strange. A red flag. A new red flag. The virtual red flag.

The Relationship Status Change: Who brings it up…how does it happen?

A case in point: my current flame took matters into his own hands. Last night when we were falling asleep he said, “I changed my relationship status on Facebook.” What??? Wow!!! I didn’t know what to think. We’ve only been together for 3 weeks and now Facebook says we’re “in a relationship.”

“You want me to be your girlfriend?”

He says, “ya…is that okay?” He’s confused by my reaction. I mean, he’s a guy and he’s completely crazy about me. We’ve been seeing each other steadily for three weeks – why not change his status? Meanwhile my brain is on fire with a mix of happiness and fear. I feel like I’m in the 8th grade and a cute boy has just asked me out.

I can’t change my MySpace relationship status just yet- it’s too early. That page is like my temple of autonomy. I break the news to him, “I’ll change my Facebook account status, but not my MySpace account.” Hmmm….a virtual compromise.

This morning I go onto Facebook. Yep, there he is – “in a relationship.” I go to my profile and click in relationship (there is a special section for this). I change my status. Then Facebook asks me, “who are you in a relationship with?” I pick his name. Then it says, “Kris is now your boyfriend. We will be sending him a confirmation to see if he accepts your relationship request.”

What??? Oh my god…I have a boyfriend and they’re sending him a relationship request? I’m actually embarrassed. I call him immediately, “Facebook has just informed me that you’re my boyfriend, but you have to agree to it.” He laughed. “I’ll accept, I won’t leave you hanging. Later… girlfriend.” I feel like I’m 14 again.

A boy actually asked me out – even though he did it virtually I still think it’s absolutely adorable. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been asked out. Usually it’s me looking at the guy like, “so are you my boyfriend?”

See? This virtual world is good for something.

UPDATE/ Additional notes:

Crazy how MySpace and Facebook have changed the way we date. In just a few seconds you can scope out your ex’s relationship status, flirtatous comments and daily activities. Twitter makes it even worse. Maybe I should go on a delete binge tonight.

How often do you delete your the Ex-Profiles on MySpace? Can you do it? Do you think I can?

Deleting an ex is like permanently severing all ties…but then I think of the ex’s who were my friends – the ones I genuinely want to stay in touch with. And then I think of the sting when I see their “latest activity.”

I vote for delete.
I have seen a few google searches with this question pointing to my blog. Not sure why they’re taking you here, but it’s a very valid question. So here goes.

My friend Abby has been a single mom for over three years now and one night when we were on a crazy girls night, I had struck up a conversation with a charming dentist. He seemed interested so I thought, “better get it out on the table.” But this is how I phrased it, “Well, you’ll never actually be able to date me.” He looked surprised, “why not?”

“Because I have a baby.”

“Oh. Well, that must be fun.” After some awkward small talk he disappeared.

I ran up to Abby. “That guy just vanished after I told him about Benjamin!” She pulled me aside and whispered, “Oh no. You can’t tell them that right away. You’ve got to wait until at least a couple of dates.” What? I was floored. She just didn’t tell them.

“They have to fall for you first,” she insisted, “and then the baby thing is just like an added bonus – and ‘oh by the way, I do all of this and I’m an amazing single mom.’ It works!”

I am skeptical of Abbey’s theory. Here’s why, if the baby thing is too much for them to handle, why find that out two dates in? And wouldn’t that be a form of dishonesty?

I’ve decided that it depends on a few factors. If you are out for a night filled with multiple encounters with men on the dance floor or behind a bar – don’t mention it. Unless one of these men grabs your attention, you end up hitting it off and you feel like there’s potential for a future date – then dish. But make sure you frame it positively. The dentist was scared off because of the way I phrased it. I made it an obstacle when it really isn’t and I made it sound like Benjamin was a hinderance.

Having a baby or a child in your life is an amazing thing. Sure it’s an obstacle to dating men who don’t care about you, but not when you’re dating men who are genuinely into you. Beware of scaring off the good ones by making it sound like a bad thing, one of my nasty little habits.

Here’s a male perspective. My single friend Dave was out recently and called me the next day after bumping into a few single moms at a bar. “We were hitting it off and then they told me they have a baby. But they made it sound like it was a horrible thing. Their bad attitude was totally unattractive and I just had to walk away.”

When I told my new boyfriend about Benjamin it was the first night we met. But I waited until the end of the night, when I knew I would want to see him again. I brought it up within the flow of conversation and had a smile on my face. “So…I have a little bit of baggage, and he weighs 22 pounds. If you want to see me again, I just thought I should get that out there..so…” I trailed off and looked down into my lap, hoping I wouldn’t see fear in his eyes. “Do you have a picture?” He looked at Benjamin on my phone and smiled, a genuine smile. “He’s a cutie. Want to play another game of pool?”

My conclusion – having a child is as big of deal as you make it. And we can’t expect a man who’s never had a child before to possibly understand on a first date or on a first encounter. That comes later. But there’s no sense in not giving him a chance to understand.

When do you tell a man you’re a single mom?
Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
***UPDATE***

If you’re here to find out how to change your Facebook or MySpace relationship status, click here.

Once you’re done – come back and read this…

“A relationship isn’t official until it’s on Facebook!” a young co-worker told me this morning. “My friend got engaged and two weeks later the announcement still wasn’t on Facebook. We all thought she had called it off or something.” Virtual social networks have changed the dating landscape… forever.

After my divorce I created a MySpace page. I was an innocent to the social networking world and had no idea how much it would change my dating experiences. My single friend was over the other night venting about a frustrating experience she’s having with an ex boyfriend right now.

“I’m not sure if he’ll call me tonight or not. I left him a comment today asking if he was going out and haven’t heard back.”

MySpace and Facebook have now effectively changed the way we date. Now we can call, text, e-mail or better yet – leave a MySpace comment or give someone a Facebook poke.

Here’s my translation of the MySpace and Facebook Dating Codes.

  1. Add each other as friends. This is really no big deal and doesn’t mean much. But at least now you have unbridled access to their page, photos, blog, etc.
  2. Leave cute, flirty comments on each other’s page. A good sign. He’s writing on your page, you’re writing on his. All is well in the world.
  3. Move each other up to “top friend” status. This is a big step and could indicate a future relationship status change.
  4. Continue with more flirtatious comments like “last night was amazing, you make me crazy.” Getting closer.
  5. Change your relationship status. The biggest step. Now you’re taken. You’re off the virtual market and you’re shouting loud and proud to the rest of the world that you’re happy and committed.

In conversations with my single girlfriends the old burning questions like, “is he a good kisser?,” “does he call often?,” “does he make you laugh?” are still completely relevant but added into the mix are, “did he move you into his top friends?,” “who else is on his page?”

The Virtual Red Flag

Some men are all over your MySpace page while you’re dating…others will be silent, never leaving a comment or moving you into their top friends. Strange. A red flag. A new red flag. The virtual red flag.

The Relationship Status Change: Who brings it up…how does it happen?

A case in point: my current flame took matters into his own hands. Last night when we were falling asleep he said, “I changed my relationship status on Facebook.” What??? Wow!!! I didn’t know what to think. We’ve only been together for 3 weeks and now Facebook says we’re “in a relationship.”

“You want me to be your girlfriend?”

He says, “ya…is that okay?” He’s confused by my reaction. I mean, he’s a guy and he’s completely crazy about me. We’ve been seeing each other steadily for three weeks – why not change his status? Meanwhile my brain is on fire with a mix of happiness and fear. I feel like I’m in the 8th grade and a cute boy has just asked me out.

I can’t change my MySpace relationship status just yet- it’s too early. That page is like my temple of autonomy. I break the news to him, “I’ll change my Facebook account status, but not my MySpace account.” Hmmm….a virtual compromise.

This morning I go onto Facebook. Yep, there he is – “in a relationship.” I go to my profile and click in relationship (there is a special section for this). I change my status. Then Facebook asks me, “who are you in a relationship with?” I pick his name. Then it says, “Kris is now your boyfriend. We will be sending him a confirmation to see if he accepts your relationship request.”

What??? Oh my god…I have a boyfriend and they’re sending him a relationship request? I’m actually embarrassed. I call him immediately, “Facebook has just informed me that you’re my boyfriend, but you have to agree to it.” He laughed. “I’ll accept, I won’t leave you hanging. Later… girlfriend.” I feel like I’m 14 again.

A boy actually asked me out – even though he did it virtually I still think it’s absolutely adorable. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been asked out. Usually it’s me looking at the guy like, “so are you my boyfriend?”

See? This virtual world is good for something.

UPDATE/ Additional notes:

Crazy how MySpace and Facebook have changed the way we date. In just a few seconds you can scope out your ex’s relationship status, flirtatous comments and daily activities. Twitter makes it even worse. Maybe I should go on a delete binge tonight.

How often do you delete your the Ex-Profiles on MySpace? Can you do it? Do you think I can?

Deleting an ex is like permanently severing all ties…but then I think of the ex’s who were my friends – the ones I genuinely want to stay in touch with. And then I think of the sting when I see their “latest activity.”

I vote for delete.
I have seen a few google searches with this question pointing to my blog. Not sure why they’re taking you here, but it’s a very valid question. So here goes.

My friend Abby has been a single mom for over three years now and one night when we were on a crazy girls night, I had struck up a conversation with a charming dentist. He seemed interested so I thought, “better get it out on the table.” But this is how I phrased it, “Well, you’ll never actually be able to date me.” He looked surprised, “why not?”

“Because I have a baby.”

“Oh. Well, that must be fun.” After some awkward small talk he disappeared.

I ran up to Abby. “That guy just vanished after I told him about Benjamin!” She pulled me aside and whispered, “Oh no. You can’t tell them that right away. You’ve got to wait until at least a couple of dates.” What? I was floored. She just didn’t tell them.

“They have to fall for you first,” she insisted, “and then the baby thing is just like an added bonus – and ‘oh by the way, I do all of this and I’m an amazing single mom.’ It works!”

I am skeptical of Abbey’s theory. Here’s why, if the baby thing is too much for them to handle, why find that out two dates in? And wouldn’t that be a form of dishonesty?

I’ve decided that it depends on a few factors. If you are out for a night filled with multiple encounters with men on the dance floor or behind a bar – don’t mention it. Unless one of these men grabs your attention, you end up hitting it off and you feel like there’s potential for a future date – then dish. But make sure you frame it positively. The dentist was scared off because of the way I phrased it. I made it an obstacle when it really isn’t and I made it sound like Benjamin was a hinderance.

Having a baby or a child in your life is an amazing thing. Sure it’s an obstacle to dating men who don’t care about you, but not when you’re dating men who are genuinely into you. Beware of scaring off the good ones by making it sound like a bad thing, one of my nasty little habits.

Here’s a male perspective. My single friend Dave was out recently and called me the next day after bumping into a few single moms at a bar. “We were hitting it off and then they told me they have a baby. But they made it sound like it was a horrible thing. Their bad attitude was totally unattractive and I just had to walk away.”

When I told my new boyfriend about Benjamin it was the first night we met. But I waited until the end of the night, when I knew I would want to see him again. I brought it up within the flow of conversation and had a smile on my face. “So…I have a little bit of baggage, and he weighs 22 pounds. If you want to see me again, I just thought I should get that out there..so…” I trailed off and looked down into my lap, hoping I wouldn’t see fear in his eyes. “Do you have a picture?” He looked at Benjamin on my phone and smiled, a genuine smile. “He’s a cutie. Want to play another game of pool?”

My conclusion – having a child is as big of deal as you make it. And we can’t expect a man who’s never had a child before to possibly understand on a first date or on a first encounter. That comes later. But there’s no sense in not giving him a chance to understand.

When do you tell a man you’re a single mom?

It’s been two weeks now since Benjamin’s father has seen his son.

His car is broken down because he drove it without oil. Sigh.

Coincidentally Benjamin has also been sick, sick, sick. I have missed four days of work and will be missing two more. I am also broke because I’ve had to pay for an extra two days of childcare each week.

I called him today en route to the hospital today. Benjamin had a fever of 104.5 and I thought he should know about it.

“Oh,” he says, “Well, I’m in a meeting, I’ll call you back.” CLICK.

I called him tonight to vent a bit. I know, I know. Should have let it go. He’s completely out of our lives now but when I’m missing days upon days of work and he doesn’t even seem concerned or offer to take a day off from his job I get upset.

“I understand,” he says.

“No you don’t.” I snap. “You don’t understand. How could you understand? You have never, ever had to take a day off from work to take care of your son when he’s sick.”

What he says next blew my mind.

“If we were married I would. But, my boss is not going to give me a day off to take care of my ex-wife’s kid. We are not a family anymore.”

“What?!!! He’s your son. You mean he is less of a son to you because we’re not married? Your boss can’t think that unless you think that.”

I should have hung up at this point but I  didn’t. And then he drops this bomb (not the first time).

“It was your choice to leave me,” he says, “it was your choice and now you have to deal with it.”

Was it really my choice to be a single mom? Yes, in that the idea of actually still being with him, had I stayed, makes my skin crawl. Being a single mom is tough but being with a husband like him was a hell of a lot harder. He was cold, insensitive, hurtful and down right useless.

He’s now on month 9 of a relationship with another single mother. Her son is 6 and they’re now living together. Poor her. Poor kid.

If he would have had it his way, right now he would be sitting on MY couch, drinking MY beer, eating MY groceries and treating me like shit. I just wish he weren’t on another single mom’s couch right now. I wish I could warn her.

Conclusion = It was his choice to give me no choice.

Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
***UPDATE***

If you’re here to find out how to change your Facebook or MySpace relationship status, click here.

Once you’re done – come back and read this…

“A relationship isn’t official until it’s on Facebook!” a young co-worker told me this morning. “My friend got engaged and two weeks later the announcement still wasn’t on Facebook. We all thought she had called it off or something.” Virtual social networks have changed the dating landscape… forever.

After my divorce I created a MySpace page. I was an innocent to the social networking world and had no idea how much it would change my dating experiences. My single friend was over the other night venting about a frustrating experience she’s having with an ex boyfriend right now.

“I’m not sure if he’ll call me tonight or not. I left him a comment today asking if he was going out and haven’t heard back.”

MySpace and Facebook have now effectively changed the way we date. Now we can call, text, e-mail or better yet – leave a MySpace comment or give someone a Facebook poke.

Here’s my translation of the MySpace and Facebook Dating Codes.

  1. Add each other as friends. This is really no big deal and doesn’t mean much. But at least now you have unbridled access to their page, photos, blog, etc.
  2. Leave cute, flirty comments on each other’s page. A good sign. He’s writing on your page, you’re writing on his. All is well in the world.
  3. Move each other up to “top friend” status. This is a big step and could indicate a future relationship status change.
  4. Continue with more flirtatious comments like “last night was amazing, you make me crazy.” Getting closer.
  5. Change your relationship status. The biggest step. Now you’re taken. You’re off the virtual market and you’re shouting loud and proud to the rest of the world that you’re happy and committed.

In conversations with my single girlfriends the old burning questions like, “is he a good kisser?,” “does he call often?,” “does he make you laugh?” are still completely relevant but added into the mix are, “did he move you into his top friends?,” “who else is on his page?”

The Virtual Red Flag

Some men are all over your MySpace page while you’re dating…others will be silent, never leaving a comment or moving you into their top friends. Strange. A red flag. A new red flag. The virtual red flag.

The Relationship Status Change: Who brings it up…how does it happen?

A case in point: my current flame took matters into his own hands. Last night when we were falling asleep he said, “I changed my relationship status on Facebook.” What??? Wow!!! I didn’t know what to think. We’ve only been together for 3 weeks and now Facebook says we’re “in a relationship.”

“You want me to be your girlfriend?”

He says, “ya…is that okay?” He’s confused by my reaction. I mean, he’s a guy and he’s completely crazy about me. We’ve been seeing each other steadily for three weeks – why not change his status? Meanwhile my brain is on fire with a mix of happiness and fear. I feel like I’m in the 8th grade and a cute boy has just asked me out.

I can’t change my MySpace relationship status just yet- it’s too early. That page is like my temple of autonomy. I break the news to him, “I’ll change my Facebook account status, but not my MySpace account.” Hmmm….a virtual compromise.

This morning I go onto Facebook. Yep, there he is – “in a relationship.” I go to my profile and click in relationship (there is a special section for this). I change my status. Then Facebook asks me, “who are you in a relationship with?” I pick his name. Then it says, “Kris is now your boyfriend. We will be sending him a confirmation to see if he accepts your relationship request.”

What??? Oh my god…I have a boyfriend and they’re sending him a relationship request? I’m actually embarrassed. I call him immediately, “Facebook has just informed me that you’re my boyfriend, but you have to agree to it.” He laughed. “I’ll accept, I won’t leave you hanging. Later… girlfriend.” I feel like I’m 14 again.

A boy actually asked me out – even though he did it virtually I still think it’s absolutely adorable. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been asked out. Usually it’s me looking at the guy like, “so are you my boyfriend?”

See? This virtual world is good for something.

UPDATE/ Additional notes:

Crazy how MySpace and Facebook have changed the way we date. In just a few seconds you can scope out your ex’s relationship status, flirtatous comments and daily activities. Twitter makes it even worse. Maybe I should go on a delete binge tonight.

How often do you delete your the Ex-Profiles on MySpace? Can you do it? Do you think I can?

Deleting an ex is like permanently severing all ties…but then I think of the ex’s who were my friends – the ones I genuinely want to stay in touch with. And then I think of the sting when I see their “latest activity.”

I vote for delete.
I have seen a few google searches with this question pointing to my blog. Not sure why they’re taking you here, but it’s a very valid question. So here goes.

My friend Abby has been a single mom for over three years now and one night when we were on a crazy girls night, I had struck up a conversation with a charming dentist. He seemed interested so I thought, “better get it out on the table.” But this is how I phrased it, “Well, you’ll never actually be able to date me.” He looked surprised, “why not?”

“Because I have a baby.”

“Oh. Well, that must be fun.” After some awkward small talk he disappeared.

I ran up to Abby. “That guy just vanished after I told him about Benjamin!” She pulled me aside and whispered, “Oh no. You can’t tell them that right away. You’ve got to wait until at least a couple of dates.” What? I was floored. She just didn’t tell them.

“They have to fall for you first,” she insisted, “and then the baby thing is just like an added bonus – and ‘oh by the way, I do all of this and I’m an amazing single mom.’ It works!”

I am skeptical of Abbey’s theory. Here’s why, if the baby thing is too much for them to handle, why find that out two dates in? And wouldn’t that be a form of dishonesty?

I’ve decided that it depends on a few factors. If you are out for a night filled with multiple encounters with men on the dance floor or behind a bar – don’t mention it. Unless one of these men grabs your attention, you end up hitting it off and you feel like there’s potential for a future date – then dish. But make sure you frame it positively. The dentist was scared off because of the way I phrased it. I made it an obstacle when it really isn’t and I made it sound like Benjamin was a hinderance.

Having a baby or a child in your life is an amazing thing. Sure it’s an obstacle to dating men who don’t care about you, but not when you’re dating men who are genuinely into you. Beware of scaring off the good ones by making it sound like a bad thing, one of my nasty little habits.

Here’s a male perspective. My single friend Dave was out recently and called me the next day after bumping into a few single moms at a bar. “We were hitting it off and then they told me they have a baby. But they made it sound like it was a horrible thing. Their bad attitude was totally unattractive and I just had to walk away.”

When I told my new boyfriend about Benjamin it was the first night we met. But I waited until the end of the night, when I knew I would want to see him again. I brought it up within the flow of conversation and had a smile on my face. “So…I have a little bit of baggage, and he weighs 22 pounds. If you want to see me again, I just thought I should get that out there..so…” I trailed off and looked down into my lap, hoping I wouldn’t see fear in his eyes. “Do you have a picture?” He looked at Benjamin on my phone and smiled, a genuine smile. “He’s a cutie. Want to play another game of pool?”

My conclusion – having a child is as big of deal as you make it. And we can’t expect a man who’s never had a child before to possibly understand on a first date or on a first encounter. That comes later. But there’s no sense in not giving him a chance to understand.

When do you tell a man you’re a single mom?

It’s been two weeks now since Benjamin’s father has seen his son.

His car is broken down because he drove it without oil. Sigh.

Coincidentally Benjamin has also been sick, sick, sick. I have missed four days of work and will be missing two more. I am also broke because I’ve had to pay for an extra two days of childcare each week.

I called him today en route to the hospital today. Benjamin had a fever of 104.5 and I thought he should know about it.

“Oh,” he says, “Well, I’m in a meeting, I’ll call you back.” CLICK.

I called him tonight to vent a bit. I know, I know. Should have let it go. He’s completely out of our lives now but when I’m missing days upon days of work and he doesn’t even seem concerned or offer to take a day off from his job I get upset.

“I understand,” he says.

“No you don’t.” I snap. “You don’t understand. How could you understand? You have never, ever had to take a day off from work to take care of your son when he’s sick.”

What he says next blew my mind.

“If we were married I would. But, my boss is not going to give me a day off to take care of my ex-wife’s kid. We are not a family anymore.”

“What?!!! He’s your son. You mean he is less of a son to you because we’re not married? Your boss can’t think that unless you think that.”

I should have hung up at this point but I  didn’t. And then he drops this bomb (not the first time).

“It was your choice to leave me,” he says, “it was your choice and now you have to deal with it.”

Was it really my choice to be a single mom? Yes, in that the idea of actually still being with him, had I stayed, makes my skin crawl. Being a single mom is tough but being with a husband like him was a hell of a lot harder. He was cold, insensitive, hurtful and down right useless.

He’s now on month 9 of a relationship with another single mother. Her son is 6 and they’re now living together. Poor her. Poor kid.

If he would have had it his way, right now he would be sitting on MY couch, drinking MY beer, eating MY groceries and treating me like shit. I just wish he weren’t on another single mom’s couch right now. I wish I could warn her.

Conclusion = It was his choice to give me no choice.

Clare, the co-founder of iHeart Single Parents, made an appearance on Fox’s Morning Show this week.

Click here to watch Clare’s interview.

I’m so excited that iHeartSingleParents.com is finally getting the attention it deserves.

Morning Show hosts Mike and Juliet say, at the start of this piece, that 40% of new mothers in the U.S. are unmarried and of those the fastest growing group is women in their late 20’s. Not sure where they got that statistic (and it is Fox) but could that be true? Forty percent!

Mike and Juliet also ask Clare if she would recommend that other women choose to be a single mom. In her blog post, Clare says they sprung these questions on her – “They didn’t ask the questions that the producer and I practiced on at all.”

I can’t speak for Clare but being a single mother is seldom a choice for any of us. It’s something that happens. We choose to go on as single moms… but we certainly didn’t choose this path? Or did we? I chose to leave my husband. Does that mean I chose to be a single mom? I’ve written about this here.

Food for thought. And evidence that talk show hosts will always go for the controversial chord of any conversation.

Regardless, Clare did a fantastic job representing! And if you haven’t been over to iHeart lately, get over there because there are hundreds of new members joining every day… and as Clare says in this interview, having a single parent social network to turn to really makes you feel less alone.

[Photo: Clare and her 2-year-old son, Colby]

P.S. Proves my point that Single Moms are on Fire!

Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
***UPDATE***

If you’re here to find out how to change your Facebook or MySpace relationship status, click here.

Once you’re done – come back and read this…

“A relationship isn’t official until it’s on Facebook!” a young co-worker told me this morning. “My friend got engaged and two weeks later the announcement still wasn’t on Facebook. We all thought she had called it off or something.” Virtual social networks have changed the dating landscape… forever.

After my divorce I created a MySpace page. I was an innocent to the social networking world and had no idea how much it would change my dating experiences. My single friend was over the other night venting about a frustrating experience she’s having with an ex boyfriend right now.

“I’m not sure if he’ll call me tonight or not. I left him a comment today asking if he was going out and haven’t heard back.”

MySpace and Facebook have now effectively changed the way we date. Now we can call, text, e-mail or better yet – leave a MySpace comment or give someone a Facebook poke.

Here’s my translation of the MySpace and Facebook Dating Codes.

  1. Add each other as friends. This is really no big deal and doesn’t mean much. But at least now you have unbridled access to their page, photos, blog, etc.
  2. Leave cute, flirty comments on each other’s page. A good sign. He’s writing on your page, you’re writing on his. All is well in the world.
  3. Move each other up to “top friend” status. This is a big step and could indicate a future relationship status change.
  4. Continue with more flirtatious comments like “last night was amazing, you make me crazy.” Getting closer.
  5. Change your relationship status. The biggest step. Now you’re taken. You’re off the virtual market and you’re shouting loud and proud to the rest of the world that you’re happy and committed.

In conversations with my single girlfriends the old burning questions like, “is he a good kisser?,” “does he call often?,” “does he make you laugh?” are still completely relevant but added into the mix are, “did he move you into his top friends?,” “who else is on his page?”

The Virtual Red Flag

Some men are all over your MySpace page while you’re dating…others will be silent, never leaving a comment or moving you into their top friends. Strange. A red flag. A new red flag. The virtual red flag.

The Relationship Status Change: Who brings it up…how does it happen?

A case in point: my current flame took matters into his own hands. Last night when we were falling asleep he said, “I changed my relationship status on Facebook.” What??? Wow!!! I didn’t know what to think. We’ve only been together for 3 weeks and now Facebook says we’re “in a relationship.”

“You want me to be your girlfriend?”

He says, “ya…is that okay?” He’s confused by my reaction. I mean, he’s a guy and he’s completely crazy about me. We’ve been seeing each other steadily for three weeks – why not change his status? Meanwhile my brain is on fire with a mix of happiness and fear. I feel like I’m in the 8th grade and a cute boy has just asked me out.

I can’t change my MySpace relationship status just yet- it’s too early. That page is like my temple of autonomy. I break the news to him, “I’ll change my Facebook account status, but not my MySpace account.” Hmmm….a virtual compromise.

This morning I go onto Facebook. Yep, there he is – “in a relationship.” I go to my profile and click in relationship (there is a special section for this). I change my status. Then Facebook asks me, “who are you in a relationship with?” I pick his name. Then it says, “Kris is now your boyfriend. We will be sending him a confirmation to see if he accepts your relationship request.”

What??? Oh my god…I have a boyfriend and they’re sending him a relationship request? I’m actually embarrassed. I call him immediately, “Facebook has just informed me that you’re my boyfriend, but you have to agree to it.” He laughed. “I’ll accept, I won’t leave you hanging. Later… girlfriend.” I feel like I’m 14 again.

A boy actually asked me out – even though he did it virtually I still think it’s absolutely adorable. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been asked out. Usually it’s me looking at the guy like, “so are you my boyfriend?”

See? This virtual world is good for something.

UPDATE/ Additional notes:

Crazy how MySpace and Facebook have changed the way we date. In just a few seconds you can scope out your ex’s relationship status, flirtatous comments and daily activities. Twitter makes it even worse. Maybe I should go on a delete binge tonight.

How often do you delete your the Ex-Profiles on MySpace? Can you do it? Do you think I can?

Deleting an ex is like permanently severing all ties…but then I think of the ex’s who were my friends – the ones I genuinely want to stay in touch with. And then I think of the sting when I see their “latest activity.”

I vote for delete.
I have seen a few google searches with this question pointing to my blog. Not sure why they’re taking you here, but it’s a very valid question. So here goes.

My friend Abby has been a single mom for over three years now and one night when we were on a crazy girls night, I had struck up a conversation with a charming dentist. He seemed interested so I thought, “better get it out on the table.” But this is how I phrased it, “Well, you’ll never actually be able to date me.” He looked surprised, “why not?”

“Because I have a baby.”

“Oh. Well, that must be fun.” After some awkward small talk he disappeared.

I ran up to Abby. “That guy just vanished after I told him about Benjamin!” She pulled me aside and whispered, “Oh no. You can’t tell them that right away. You’ve got to wait until at least a couple of dates.” What? I was floored. She just didn’t tell them.

“They have to fall for you first,” she insisted, “and then the baby thing is just like an added bonus – and ‘oh by the way, I do all of this and I’m an amazing single mom.’ It works!”

I am skeptical of Abbey’s theory. Here’s why, if the baby thing is too much for them to handle, why find that out two dates in? And wouldn’t that be a form of dishonesty?

I’ve decided that it depends on a few factors. If you are out for a night filled with multiple encounters with men on the dance floor or behind a bar – don’t mention it. Unless one of these men grabs your attention, you end up hitting it off and you feel like there’s potential for a future date – then dish. But make sure you frame it positively. The dentist was scared off because of the way I phrased it. I made it an obstacle when it really isn’t and I made it sound like Benjamin was a hinderance.

Having a baby or a child in your life is an amazing thing. Sure it’s an obstacle to dating men who don’t care about you, but not when you’re dating men who are genuinely into you. Beware of scaring off the good ones by making it sound like a bad thing, one of my nasty little habits.

Here’s a male perspective. My single friend Dave was out recently and called me the next day after bumping into a few single moms at a bar. “We were hitting it off and then they told me they have a baby. But they made it sound like it was a horrible thing. Their bad attitude was totally unattractive and I just had to walk away.”

When I told my new boyfriend about Benjamin it was the first night we met. But I waited until the end of the night, when I knew I would want to see him again. I brought it up within the flow of conversation and had a smile on my face. “So…I have a little bit of baggage, and he weighs 22 pounds. If you want to see me again, I just thought I should get that out there..so…” I trailed off and looked down into my lap, hoping I wouldn’t see fear in his eyes. “Do you have a picture?” He looked at Benjamin on my phone and smiled, a genuine smile. “He’s a cutie. Want to play another game of pool?”

My conclusion – having a child is as big of deal as you make it. And we can’t expect a man who’s never had a child before to possibly understand on a first date or on a first encounter. That comes later. But there’s no sense in not giving him a chance to understand.

When do you tell a man you’re a single mom?

It’s been two weeks now since Benjamin’s father has seen his son.

His car is broken down because he drove it without oil. Sigh.

Coincidentally Benjamin has also been sick, sick, sick. I have missed four days of work and will be missing two more. I am also broke because I’ve had to pay for an extra two days of childcare each week.

I called him today en route to the hospital today. Benjamin had a fever of 104.5 and I thought he should know about it.

“Oh,” he says, “Well, I’m in a meeting, I’ll call you back.” CLICK.

I called him tonight to vent a bit. I know, I know. Should have let it go. He’s completely out of our lives now but when I’m missing days upon days of work and he doesn’t even seem concerned or offer to take a day off from his job I get upset.

“I understand,” he says.

“No you don’t.” I snap. “You don’t understand. How could you understand? You have never, ever had to take a day off from work to take care of your son when he’s sick.”

What he says next blew my mind.

“If we were married I would. But, my boss is not going to give me a day off to take care of my ex-wife’s kid. We are not a family anymore.”

“What?!!! He’s your son. You mean he is less of a son to you because we’re not married? Your boss can’t think that unless you think that.”

I should have hung up at this point but I  didn’t. And then he drops this bomb (not the first time).

“It was your choice to leave me,” he says, “it was your choice and now you have to deal with it.”

Was it really my choice to be a single mom? Yes, in that the idea of actually still being with him, had I stayed, makes my skin crawl. Being a single mom is tough but being with a husband like him was a hell of a lot harder. He was cold, insensitive, hurtful and down right useless.

He’s now on month 9 of a relationship with another single mother. Her son is 6 and they’re now living together. Poor her. Poor kid.

If he would have had it his way, right now he would be sitting on MY couch, drinking MY beer, eating MY groceries and treating me like shit. I just wish he weren’t on another single mom’s couch right now. I wish I could warn her.

Conclusion = It was his choice to give me no choice.

Clare, the co-founder of iHeart Single Parents, made an appearance on Fox’s Morning Show this week.

Click here to watch Clare’s interview.

I’m so excited that iHeartSingleParents.com is finally getting the attention it deserves.

Morning Show hosts Mike and Juliet say, at the start of this piece, that 40% of new mothers in the U.S. are unmarried and of those the fastest growing group is women in their late 20’s. Not sure where they got that statistic (and it is Fox) but could that be true? Forty percent!

Mike and Juliet also ask Clare if she would recommend that other women choose to be a single mom. In her blog post, Clare says they sprung these questions on her – “They didn’t ask the questions that the producer and I practiced on at all.”

I can’t speak for Clare but being a single mother is seldom a choice for any of us. It’s something that happens. We choose to go on as single moms… but we certainly didn’t choose this path? Or did we? I chose to leave my husband. Does that mean I chose to be a single mom? I’ve written about this here.

Food for thought. And evidence that talk show hosts will always go for the controversial chord of any conversation.

Regardless, Clare did a fantastic job representing! And if you haven’t been over to iHeart lately, get over there because there are hundreds of new members joining every day… and as Clare says in this interview, having a single parent social network to turn to really makes you feel less alone.

[Photo: Clare and her 2-year-old son, Colby]

P.S. Proves my point that Single Moms are on Fire!

It’s been four weeks now.

My new relationship status is beginning to sink in.

I have a boyfriend, and I’m actually enjoying it immensely. Usually at this point fear takes over and I start pushing them away. I slowly eject them from my life, or cut it clean depending on my mood. But this time, I’m not feeling that way. I’m not stressed at all. I’m completely comfortable with him and totally into him. So far, the feeling is mutual.

I had him over for dinner on Thursday night. Benjamin was still awake. Kris has seen Benjamin in the mornings briefly but this would be his first evening with us, usually the highlight of my day because Benjamin is chipper, happy and ready to play.

Kris walks in, gives me a hug and then crouches down on his knees, “And, how are you?” He looks at Benjamin and Benjmain stares back. This is odd, usually he flashes a smile and runs away but he can’t take his eyes off of Kris.

Kris leads him into the living room and opens his toy chest. This is a first. Of all of the men I’ve dated since the divorce not one has genuinely just sat down and played with my kid. This used to surprise me because I thought – “If they’re trying to win me over wouldn’t they want to at least try to play with him?” To their credit, some would try, but it was awkward and forced. “I’ve never been around kids,” they would say. “I don’t know what to do.” Kris has never been around kids either, he’s actually only 23. Five years younger than me.

While I’m in the kitchen cooking dinner, I hear Kris talking to Benjamin, he’s calm, assuring and playful. A few hours later I take Benjamin up for bedtime. I come downstairs and all of his toys are cleaned up. Kris had tidied up my living room. I’m now pinching myself.

Kris is still there in the morning. We all eat pancakes together. There’s lots of laughter, more playing and the entire time Benjamin is following Kris around like a little puppy. I put Benjamin down for his nap and say good bye to Kris, we both have to work.

When Benjamin wakes up four hours later (he has a nasty cold which is why I’m home on a Friday) he searches the house for Kris. He’s going from room to room. As soon as he realizes Kris is gone – he starts crying…hard. My heart breaks. What am I doing? What if this doesn’t work out? Where will we be then? Benjamin is clearly well into toddlerhood (20 months) and now he is very well aware of what’s up.

The single mom dating conundrum:

When a man enters our life we want to see how they would fit into our family, or if they can even handle it. But we can’t do it without introducing them to the kids.

The solution:

When Benjamin was a teeny tiny baby, this wasn’t an issue. So everything I’m about to say clearly depends on the age of the children.

I’m not big on the idea of waiting six months to bring a man into my daily routine. I guess it’s because I’m afraid he would be shocked at the reality of how hard it is to raise a toddler and then split. Then I would have invested six months of my time in a guy who wasn’t really there for the right reasons.

The other problem. I am a working single mother. Not bringing him around Benjamin leaves me only a few hours in the late evening. Period. This can get old and can also hurt a budding relationship.

I have learned from my past mishaps not to raise this issue too early. Why? Because there is no way he or you actually know how long this will last yet, and you shouldn’t presume to know that. Once I actually told a guy I was dating, “the only way I can date you is if there’s potential – potential that one day we might get married.” We had only been dating for a few months. I didn’t even want to marry him. Isn’t that crazy? I just had to rationalize why I was spending time away from my son – to myself. In the end that one just fizzled out but the moral of the story is – it could have been more fun if I would have left my drama in my head. I’m thinking this is probably a good conversation to have 6-8 months in to a relationship. Just a hunch, but to each his own.

My solution: I am going to keep Kris’ encounters with Benjamin to a minimum for the next few months, but he will have a few. Because I also want someone to fall in love with my son, not just me…we are a package deal.
Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
***UPDATE***

If you’re here to find out how to change your Facebook or MySpace relationship status, click here.

Once you’re done – come back and read this…

“A relationship isn’t official until it’s on Facebook!” a young co-worker told me this morning. “My friend got engaged and two weeks later the announcement still wasn’t on Facebook. We all thought she had called it off or something.” Virtual social networks have changed the dating landscape… forever.

After my divorce I created a MySpace page. I was an innocent to the social networking world and had no idea how much it would change my dating experiences. My single friend was over the other night venting about a frustrating experience she’s having with an ex boyfriend right now.

“I’m not sure if he’ll call me tonight or not. I left him a comment today asking if he was going out and haven’t heard back.”

MySpace and Facebook have now effectively changed the way we date. Now we can call, text, e-mail or better yet – leave a MySpace comment or give someone a Facebook poke.

Here’s my translation of the MySpace and Facebook Dating Codes.

  1. Add each other as friends. This is really no big deal and doesn’t mean much. But at least now you have unbridled access to their page, photos, blog, etc.
  2. Leave cute, flirty comments on each other’s page. A good sign. He’s writing on your page, you’re writing on his. All is well in the world.
  3. Move each other up to “top friend” status. This is a big step and could indicate a future relationship status change.
  4. Continue with more flirtatious comments like “last night was amazing, you make me crazy.” Getting closer.
  5. Change your relationship status. The biggest step. Now you’re taken. You’re off the virtual market and you’re shouting loud and proud to the rest of the world that you’re happy and committed.

In conversations with my single girlfriends the old burning questions like, “is he a good kisser?,” “does he call often?,” “does he make you laugh?” are still completely relevant but added into the mix are, “did he move you into his top friends?,” “who else is on his page?”

The Virtual Red Flag

Some men are all over your MySpace page while you’re dating…others will be silent, never leaving a comment or moving you into their top friends. Strange. A red flag. A new red flag. The virtual red flag.

The Relationship Status Change: Who brings it up…how does it happen?

A case in point: my current flame took matters into his own hands. Last night when we were falling asleep he said, “I changed my relationship status on Facebook.” What??? Wow!!! I didn’t know what to think. We’ve only been together for 3 weeks and now Facebook says we’re “in a relationship.”

“You want me to be your girlfriend?”

He says, “ya…is that okay?” He’s confused by my reaction. I mean, he’s a guy and he’s completely crazy about me. We’ve been seeing each other steadily for three weeks – why not change his status? Meanwhile my brain is on fire with a mix of happiness and fear. I feel like I’m in the 8th grade and a cute boy has just asked me out.

I can’t change my MySpace relationship status just yet- it’s too early. That page is like my temple of autonomy. I break the news to him, “I’ll change my Facebook account status, but not my MySpace account.” Hmmm….a virtual compromise.

This morning I go onto Facebook. Yep, there he is – “in a relationship.” I go to my profile and click in relationship (there is a special section for this). I change my status. Then Facebook asks me, “who are you in a relationship with?” I pick his name. Then it says, “Kris is now your boyfriend. We will be sending him a confirmation to see if he accepts your relationship request.”

What??? Oh my god…I have a boyfriend and they’re sending him a relationship request? I’m actually embarrassed. I call him immediately, “Facebook has just informed me that you’re my boyfriend, but you have to agree to it.” He laughed. “I’ll accept, I won’t leave you hanging. Later… girlfriend.” I feel like I’m 14 again.

A boy actually asked me out – even though he did it virtually I still think it’s absolutely adorable. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been asked out. Usually it’s me looking at the guy like, “so are you my boyfriend?”

See? This virtual world is good for something.

UPDATE/ Additional notes:

Crazy how MySpace and Facebook have changed the way we date. In just a few seconds you can scope out your ex’s relationship status, flirtatous comments and daily activities. Twitter makes it even worse. Maybe I should go on a delete binge tonight.

How often do you delete your the Ex-Profiles on MySpace? Can you do it? Do you think I can?

Deleting an ex is like permanently severing all ties…but then I think of the ex’s who were my friends – the ones I genuinely want to stay in touch with. And then I think of the sting when I see their “latest activity.”

I vote for delete.
Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
***UPDATE***

If you’re here to find out how to change your Facebook or MySpace relationship status, click here.

Once you’re done – come back and read this…

“A relationship isn’t official until it’s on Facebook!” a young co-worker told me this morning. “My friend got engaged and two weeks later the announcement still wasn’t on Facebook. We all thought she had called it off or something.” Virtual social networks have changed the dating landscape… forever.

After my divorce I created a MySpace page. I was an innocent to the social networking world and had no idea how much it would change my dating experiences. My single friend was over the other night venting about a frustrating experience she’s having with an ex boyfriend right now.

“I’m not sure if he’ll call me tonight or not. I left him a comment today asking if he was going out and haven’t heard back.”

MySpace and Facebook have now effectively changed the way we date. Now we can call, text, e-mail or better yet – leave a MySpace comment or give someone a Facebook poke.

Here’s my translation of the MySpace and Facebook Dating Codes.

  1. Add each other as friends. This is really no big deal and doesn’t mean much. But at least now you have unbridled access to their page, photos, blog, etc.
  2. Leave cute, flirty comments on each other’s page. A good sign. He’s writing on your page, you’re writing on his. All is well in the world.
  3. Move each other up to “top friend” status. This is a big step and could indicate a future relationship status change.
  4. Continue with more flirtatious comments like “last night was amazing, you make me crazy.” Getting closer.
  5. Change your relationship status. The biggest step. Now you’re taken. You’re off the virtual market and you’re shouting loud and proud to the rest of the world that you’re happy and committed.

In conversations with my single girlfriends the old burning questions like, “is he a good kisser?,” “does he call often?,” “does he make you laugh?” are still completely relevant but added into the mix are, “did he move you into his top friends?,” “who else is on his page?”

The Virtual Red Flag

Some men are all over your MySpace page while you’re dating…others will be silent, never leaving a comment or moving you into their top friends. Strange. A red flag. A new red flag. The virtual red flag.

The Relationship Status Change: Who brings it up…how does it happen?

A case in point: my current flame took matters into his own hands. Last night when we were falling asleep he said, “I changed my relationship status on Facebook.” What??? Wow!!! I didn’t know what to think. We’ve only been together for 3 weeks and now Facebook says we’re “in a relationship.”

“You want me to be your girlfriend?”

He says, “ya…is that okay?” He’s confused by my reaction. I mean, he’s a guy and he’s completely crazy about me. We’ve been seeing each other steadily for three weeks – why not change his status? Meanwhile my brain is on fire with a mix of happiness and fear. I feel like I’m in the 8th grade and a cute boy has just asked me out.

I can’t change my MySpace relationship status just yet- it’s too early. That page is like my temple of autonomy. I break the news to him, “I’ll change my Facebook account status, but not my MySpace account.” Hmmm….a virtual compromise.

This morning I go onto Facebook. Yep, there he is – “in a relationship.” I go to my profile and click in relationship (there is a special section for this). I change my status. Then Facebook asks me, “who are you in a relationship with?” I pick his name. Then it says, “Kris is now your boyfriend. We will be sending him a confirmation to see if he accepts your relationship request.”

What??? Oh my god…I have a boyfriend and they’re sending him a relationship request? I’m actually embarrassed. I call him immediately, “Facebook has just informed me that you’re my boyfriend, but you have to agree to it.” He laughed. “I’ll accept, I won’t leave you hanging. Later… girlfriend.” I feel like I’m 14 again.

A boy actually asked me out – even though he did it virtually I still think it’s absolutely adorable. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been asked out. Usually it’s me looking at the guy like, “so are you my boyfriend?”

See? This virtual world is good for something.

UPDATE/ Additional notes:

Crazy how MySpace and Facebook have changed the way we date. In just a few seconds you can scope out your ex’s relationship status, flirtatous comments and daily activities. Twitter makes it even worse. Maybe I should go on a delete binge tonight.

How often do you delete your the Ex-Profiles on MySpace? Can you do it? Do you think I can?

Deleting an ex is like permanently severing all ties…but then I think of the ex’s who were my friends – the ones I genuinely want to stay in touch with. And then I think of the sting when I see their “latest activity.”

I vote for delete.
I have seen a few google searches with this question pointing to my blog. Not sure why they’re taking you here, but it’s a very valid question. So here goes.

My friend Abby has been a single mom for over three years now and one night when we were on a crazy girls night, I had struck up a conversation with a charming dentist. He seemed interested so I thought, “better get it out on the table.” But this is how I phrased it, “Well, you’ll never actually be able to date me.” He looked surprised, “why not?”

“Because I have a baby.”

“Oh. Well, that must be fun.” After some awkward small talk he disappeared.

I ran up to Abby. “That guy just vanished after I told him about Benjamin!” She pulled me aside and whispered, “Oh no. You can’t tell them that right away. You’ve got to wait until at least a couple of dates.” What? I was floored. She just didn’t tell them.

“They have to fall for you first,” she insisted, “and then the baby thing is just like an added bonus – and ‘oh by the way, I do all of this and I’m an amazing single mom.’ It works!”

I am skeptical of Abbey’s theory. Here’s why, if the baby thing is too much for them to handle, why find that out two dates in? And wouldn’t that be a form of dishonesty?

I’ve decided that it depends on a few factors. If you are out for a night filled with multiple encounters with men on the dance floor or behind a bar – don’t mention it. Unless one of these men grabs your attention, you end up hitting it off and you feel like there’s potential for a future date – then dish. But make sure you frame it positively. The dentist was scared off because of the way I phrased it. I made it an obstacle when it really isn’t and I made it sound like Benjamin was a hinderance.

Having a baby or a child in your life is an amazing thing. Sure it’s an obstacle to dating men who don’t care about you, but not when you’re dating men who are genuinely into you. Beware of scaring off the good ones by making it sound like a bad thing, one of my nasty little habits.

Here’s a male perspective. My single friend Dave was out recently and called me the next day after bumping into a few single moms at a bar. “We were hitting it off and then they told me they have a baby. But they made it sound like it was a horrible thing. Their bad attitude was totally unattractive and I just had to walk away.”

When I told my new boyfriend about Benjamin it was the first night we met. But I waited until the end of the night, when I knew I would want to see him again. I brought it up within the flow of conversation and had a smile on my face. “So…I have a little bit of baggage, and he weighs 22 pounds. If you want to see me again, I just thought I should get that out there..so…” I trailed off and looked down into my lap, hoping I wouldn’t see fear in his eyes. “Do you have a picture?” He looked at Benjamin on my phone and smiled, a genuine smile. “He’s a cutie. Want to play another game of pool?”

My conclusion – having a child is as big of deal as you make it. And we can’t expect a man who’s never had a child before to possibly understand on a first date or on a first encounter. That comes later. But there’s no sense in not giving him a chance to understand.

When do you tell a man you’re a single mom?
Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
***UPDATE***

If you’re here to find out how to change your Facebook or MySpace relationship status, click here.

Once you’re done – come back and read this…

“A relationship isn’t official until it’s on Facebook!” a young co-worker told me this morning. “My friend got engaged and two weeks later the announcement still wasn’t on Facebook. We all thought she had called it off or something.” Virtual social networks have changed the dating landscape… forever.

After my divorce I created a MySpace page. I was an innocent to the social networking world and had no idea how much it would change my dating experiences. My single friend was over the other night venting about a frustrating experience she’s having with an ex boyfriend right now.

“I’m not sure if he’ll call me tonight or not. I left him a comment today asking if he was going out and haven’t heard back.”

MySpace and Facebook have now effectively changed the way we date. Now we can call, text, e-mail or better yet – leave a MySpace comment or give someone a Facebook poke.

Here’s my translation of the MySpace and Facebook Dating Codes.

  1. Add each other as friends. This is really no big deal and doesn’t mean much. But at least now you have unbridled access to their page, photos, blog, etc.
  2. Leave cute, flirty comments on each other’s page. A good sign. He’s writing on your page, you’re writing on his. All is well in the world.
  3. Move each other up to “top friend” status. This is a big step and could indicate a future relationship status change.
  4. Continue with more flirtatious comments like “last night was amazing, you make me crazy.” Getting closer.
  5. Change your relationship status. The biggest step. Now you’re taken. You’re off the virtual market and you’re shouting loud and proud to the rest of the world that you’re happy and committed.

In conversations with my single girlfriends the old burning questions like, “is he a good kisser?,” “does he call often?,” “does he make you laugh?” are still completely relevant but added into the mix are, “did he move you into his top friends?,” “who else is on his page?”

The Virtual Red Flag

Some men are all over your MySpace page while you’re dating…others will be silent, never leaving a comment or moving you into their top friends. Strange. A red flag. A new red flag. The virtual red flag.

The Relationship Status Change: Who brings it up…how does it happen?

A case in point: my current flame took matters into his own hands. Last night when we were falling asleep he said, “I changed my relationship status on Facebook.” What??? Wow!!! I didn’t know what to think. We’ve only been together for 3 weeks and now Facebook says we’re “in a relationship.”

“You want me to be your girlfriend?”

He says, “ya…is that okay?” He’s confused by my reaction. I mean, he’s a guy and he’s completely crazy about me. We’ve been seeing each other steadily for three weeks – why not change his status? Meanwhile my brain is on fire with a mix of happiness and fear. I feel like I’m in the 8th grade and a cute boy has just asked me out.

I can’t change my MySpace relationship status just yet- it’s too early. That page is like my temple of autonomy. I break the news to him, “I’ll change my Facebook account status, but not my MySpace account.” Hmmm….a virtual compromise.

This morning I go onto Facebook. Yep, there he is – “in a relationship.” I go to my profile and click in relationship (there is a special section for this). I change my status. Then Facebook asks me, “who are you in a relationship with?” I pick his name. Then it says, “Kris is now your boyfriend. We will be sending him a confirmation to see if he accepts your relationship request.”

What??? Oh my god…I have a boyfriend and they’re sending him a relationship request? I’m actually embarrassed. I call him immediately, “Facebook has just informed me that you’re my boyfriend, but you have to agree to it.” He laughed. “I’ll accept, I won’t leave you hanging. Later… girlfriend.” I feel like I’m 14 again.

A boy actually asked me out – even though he did it virtually I still think it’s absolutely adorable. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been asked out. Usually it’s me looking at the guy like, “so are you my boyfriend?”

See? This virtual world is good for something.

UPDATE/ Additional notes:

Crazy how MySpace and Facebook have changed the way we date. In just a few seconds you can scope out your ex’s relationship status, flirtatous comments and daily activities. Twitter makes it even worse. Maybe I should go on a delete binge tonight.

How often do you delete your the Ex-Profiles on MySpace? Can you do it? Do you think I can?

Deleting an ex is like permanently severing all ties…but then I think of the ex’s who were my friends – the ones I genuinely want to stay in touch with. And then I think of the sting when I see their “latest activity.”

I vote for delete.
I have seen a few google searches with this question pointing to my blog. Not sure why they’re taking you here, but it’s a very valid question. So here goes.

My friend Abby has been a single mom for over three years now and one night when we were on a crazy girls night, I had struck up a conversation with a charming dentist. He seemed interested so I thought, “better get it out on the table.” But this is how I phrased it, “Well, you’ll never actually be able to date me.” He looked surprised, “why not?”

“Because I have a baby.”

“Oh. Well, that must be fun.” After some awkward small talk he disappeared.

I ran up to Abby. “That guy just vanished after I told him about Benjamin!” She pulled me aside and whispered, “Oh no. You can’t tell them that right away. You’ve got to wait until at least a couple of dates.” What? I was floored. She just didn’t tell them.

“They have to fall for you first,” she insisted, “and then the baby thing is just like an added bonus – and ‘oh by the way, I do all of this and I’m an amazing single mom.’ It works!”

I am skeptical of Abbey’s theory. Here’s why, if the baby thing is too much for them to handle, why find that out two dates in? And wouldn’t that be a form of dishonesty?

I’ve decided that it depends on a few factors. If you are out for a night filled with multiple encounters with men on the dance floor or behind a bar – don’t mention it. Unless one of these men grabs your attention, you end up hitting it off and you feel like there’s potential for a future date – then dish. But make sure you frame it positively. The dentist was scared off because of the way I phrased it. I made it an obstacle when it really isn’t and I made it sound like Benjamin was a hinderance.

Having a baby or a child in your life is an amazing thing. Sure it’s an obstacle to dating men who don’t care about you, but not when you’re dating men who are genuinely into you. Beware of scaring off the good ones by making it sound like a bad thing, one of my nasty little habits.

Here’s a male perspective. My single friend Dave was out recently and called me the next day after bumping into a few single moms at a bar. “We were hitting it off and then they told me they have a baby. But they made it sound like it was a horrible thing. Their bad attitude was totally unattractive and I just had to walk away.”

When I told my new boyfriend about Benjamin it was the first night we met. But I waited until the end of the night, when I knew I would want to see him again. I brought it up within the flow of conversation and had a smile on my face. “So…I have a little bit of baggage, and he weighs 22 pounds. If you want to see me again, I just thought I should get that out there..so…” I trailed off and looked down into my lap, hoping I wouldn’t see fear in his eyes. “Do you have a picture?” He looked at Benjamin on my phone and smiled, a genuine smile. “He’s a cutie. Want to play another game of pool?”

My conclusion – having a child is as big of deal as you make it. And we can’t expect a man who’s never had a child before to possibly understand on a first date or on a first encounter. That comes later. But there’s no sense in not giving him a chance to understand.

When do you tell a man you’re a single mom?

It’s been two weeks now since Benjamin’s father has seen his son.

His car is broken down because he drove it without oil. Sigh.

Coincidentally Benjamin has also been sick, sick, sick. I have missed four days of work and will be missing two more. I am also broke because I’ve had to pay for an extra two days of childcare each week.

I called him today en route to the hospital today. Benjamin had a fever of 104.5 and I thought he should know about it.

“Oh,” he says, “Well, I’m in a meeting, I’ll call you back.” CLICK.

I called him tonight to vent a bit. I know, I know. Should have let it go. He’s completely out of our lives now but when I’m missing days upon days of work and he doesn’t even seem concerned or offer to take a day off from his job I get upset.

“I understand,” he says.

“No you don’t.” I snap. “You don’t understand. How could you understand? You have never, ever had to take a day off from work to take care of your son when he’s sick.”

What he says next blew my mind.

“If we were married I would. But, my boss is not going to give me a day off to take care of my ex-wife’s kid. We are not a family anymore.”

“What?!!! He’s your son. You mean he is less of a son to you because we’re not married? Your boss can’t think that unless you think that.”

I should have hung up at this point but I  didn’t. And then he drops this bomb (not the first time).

“It was your choice to leave me,” he says, “it was your choice and now you have to deal with it.”

Was it really my choice to be a single mom? Yes, in that the idea of actually still being with him, had I stayed, makes my skin crawl. Being a single mom is tough but being with a husband like him was a hell of a lot harder. He was cold, insensitive, hurtful and down right useless.

He’s now on month 9 of a relationship with another single mother. Her son is 6 and they’re now living together. Poor her. Poor kid.

If he would have had it his way, right now he would be sitting on MY couch, drinking MY beer, eating MY groceries and treating me like shit. I just wish he weren’t on another single mom’s couch right now. I wish I could warn her.

Conclusion = It was his choice to give me no choice.

Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
***UPDATE***

If you’re here to find out how to change your Facebook or MySpace relationship status, click here.

Once you’re done – come back and read this…

“A relationship isn’t official until it’s on Facebook!” a young co-worker told me this morning. “My friend got engaged and two weeks later the announcement still wasn’t on Facebook. We all thought she had called it off or something.” Virtual social networks have changed the dating landscape… forever.

After my divorce I created a MySpace page. I was an innocent to the social networking world and had no idea how much it would change my dating experiences. My single friend was over the other night venting about a frustrating experience she’s having with an ex boyfriend right now.

“I’m not sure if he’ll call me tonight or not. I left him a comment today asking if he was going out and haven’t heard back.”

MySpace and Facebook have now effectively changed the way we date. Now we can call, text, e-mail or better yet – leave a MySpace comment or give someone a Facebook poke.

Here’s my translation of the MySpace and Facebook Dating Codes.

  1. Add each other as friends. This is really no big deal and doesn’t mean much. But at least now you have unbridled access to their page, photos, blog, etc.
  2. Leave cute, flirty comments on each other’s page. A good sign. He’s writing on your page, you’re writing on his. All is well in the world.
  3. Move each other up to “top friend” status. This is a big step and could indicate a future relationship status change.
  4. Continue with more flirtatious comments like “last night was amazing, you make me crazy.” Getting closer.
  5. Change your relationship status. The biggest step. Now you’re taken. You’re off the virtual market and you’re shouting loud and proud to the rest of the world that you’re happy and committed.

In conversations with my single girlfriends the old burning questions like, “is he a good kisser?,” “does he call often?,” “does he make you laugh?” are still completely relevant but added into the mix are, “did he move you into his top friends?,” “who else is on his page?”

The Virtual Red Flag

Some men are all over your MySpace page while you’re dating…others will be silent, never leaving a comment or moving you into their top friends. Strange. A red flag. A new red flag. The virtual red flag.

The Relationship Status Change: Who brings it up…how does it happen?

A case in point: my current flame took matters into his own hands. Last night when we were falling asleep he said, “I changed my relationship status on Facebook.” What??? Wow!!! I didn’t know what to think. We’ve only been together for 3 weeks and now Facebook says we’re “in a relationship.”

“You want me to be your girlfriend?”

He says, “ya…is that okay?” He’s confused by my reaction. I mean, he’s a guy and he’s completely crazy about me. We’ve been seeing each other steadily for three weeks – why not change his status? Meanwhile my brain is on fire with a mix of happiness and fear. I feel like I’m in the 8th grade and a cute boy has just asked me out.

I can’t change my MySpace relationship status just yet- it’s too early. That page is like my temple of autonomy. I break the news to him, “I’ll change my Facebook account status, but not my MySpace account.” Hmmm….a virtual compromise.

This morning I go onto Facebook. Yep, there he is – “in a relationship.” I go to my profile and click in relationship (there is a special section for this). I change my status. Then Facebook asks me, “who are you in a relationship with?” I pick his name. Then it says, “Kris is now your boyfriend. We will be sending him a confirmation to see if he accepts your relationship request.”

What??? Oh my god…I have a boyfriend and they’re sending him a relationship request? I’m actually embarrassed. I call him immediately, “Facebook has just informed me that you’re my boyfriend, but you have to agree to it.” He laughed. “I’ll accept, I won’t leave you hanging. Later… girlfriend.” I feel like I’m 14 again.

A boy actually asked me out – even though he did it virtually I still think it’s absolutely adorable. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been asked out. Usually it’s me looking at the guy like, “so are you my boyfriend?”

See? This virtual world is good for something.

UPDATE/ Additional notes:

Crazy how MySpace and Facebook have changed the way we date. In just a few seconds you can scope out your ex’s relationship status, flirtatous comments and daily activities. Twitter makes it even worse. Maybe I should go on a delete binge tonight.

How often do you delete your the Ex-Profiles on MySpace? Can you do it? Do you think I can?

Deleting an ex is like permanently severing all ties…but then I think of the ex’s who were my friends – the ones I genuinely want to stay in touch with. And then I think of the sting when I see their “latest activity.”

I vote for delete.
I have seen a few google searches with this question pointing to my blog. Not sure why they’re taking you here, but it’s a very valid question. So here goes.

My friend Abby has been a single mom for over three years now and one night when we were on a crazy girls night, I had struck up a conversation with a charming dentist. He seemed interested so I thought, “better get it out on the table.” But this is how I phrased it, “Well, you’ll never actually be able to date me.” He looked surprised, “why not?”

“Because I have a baby.”

“Oh. Well, that must be fun.” After some awkward small talk he disappeared.

I ran up to Abby. “That guy just vanished after I told him about Benjamin!” She pulled me aside and whispered, “Oh no. You can’t tell them that right away. You’ve got to wait until at least a couple of dates.” What? I was floored. She just didn’t tell them.

“They have to fall for you first,” she insisted, “and then the baby thing is just like an added bonus – and ‘oh by the way, I do all of this and I’m an amazing single mom.’ It works!”

I am skeptical of Abbey’s theory. Here’s why, if the baby thing is too much for them to handle, why find that out two dates in? And wouldn’t that be a form of dishonesty?

I’ve decided that it depends on a few factors. If you are out for a night filled with multiple encounters with men on the dance floor or behind a bar – don’t mention it. Unless one of these men grabs your attention, you end up hitting it off and you feel like there’s potential for a future date – then dish. But make sure you frame it positively. The dentist was scared off because of the way I phrased it. I made it an obstacle when it really isn’t and I made it sound like Benjamin was a hinderance.

Having a baby or a child in your life is an amazing thing. Sure it’s an obstacle to dating men who don’t care about you, but not when you’re dating men who are genuinely into you. Beware of scaring off the good ones by making it sound like a bad thing, one of my nasty little habits.

Here’s a male perspective. My single friend Dave was out recently and called me the next day after bumping into a few single moms at a bar. “We were hitting it off and then they told me they have a baby. But they made it sound like it was a horrible thing. Their bad attitude was totally unattractive and I just had to walk away.”

When I told my new boyfriend about Benjamin it was the first night we met. But I waited until the end of the night, when I knew I would want to see him again. I brought it up within the flow of conversation and had a smile on my face. “So…I have a little bit of baggage, and he weighs 22 pounds. If you want to see me again, I just thought I should get that out there..so…” I trailed off and looked down into my lap, hoping I wouldn’t see fear in his eyes. “Do you have a picture?” He looked at Benjamin on my phone and smiled, a genuine smile. “He’s a cutie. Want to play another game of pool?”

My conclusion – having a child is as big of deal as you make it. And we can’t expect a man who’s never had a child before to possibly understand on a first date or on a first encounter. That comes later. But there’s no sense in not giving him a chance to understand.

When do you tell a man you’re a single mom?

It’s been two weeks now since Benjamin’s father has seen his son.

His car is broken down because he drove it without oil. Sigh.

Coincidentally Benjamin has also been sick, sick, sick. I have missed four days of work and will be missing two more. I am also broke because I’ve had to pay for an extra two days of childcare each week.

I called him today en route to the hospital today. Benjamin had a fever of 104.5 and I thought he should know about it.

“Oh,” he says, “Well, I’m in a meeting, I’ll call you back.” CLICK.

I called him tonight to vent a bit. I know, I know. Should have let it go. He’s completely out of our lives now but when I’m missing days upon days of work and he doesn’t even seem concerned or offer to take a day off from his job I get upset.

“I understand,” he says.

“No you don’t.” I snap. “You don’t understand. How could you understand? You have never, ever had to take a day off from work to take care of your son when he’s sick.”

What he says next blew my mind.

“If we were married I would. But, my boss is not going to give me a day off to take care of my ex-wife’s kid. We are not a family anymore.”

“What?!!! He’s your son. You mean he is less of a son to you because we’re not married? Your boss can’t think that unless you think that.”

I should have hung up at this point but I  didn’t. And then he drops this bomb (not the first time).

“It was your choice to leave me,” he says, “it was your choice and now you have to deal with it.”

Was it really my choice to be a single mom? Yes, in that the idea of actually still being with him, had I stayed, makes my skin crawl. Being a single mom is tough but being with a husband like him was a hell of a lot harder. He was cold, insensitive, hurtful and down right useless.

He’s now on month 9 of a relationship with another single mother. Her son is 6 and they’re now living together. Poor her. Poor kid.

If he would have had it his way, right now he would be sitting on MY couch, drinking MY beer, eating MY groceries and treating me like shit. I just wish he weren’t on another single mom’s couch right now. I wish I could warn her.

Conclusion = It was his choice to give me no choice.

Clare, the co-founder of iHeart Single Parents, made an appearance on Fox’s Morning Show this week.

Click here to watch Clare’s interview.

I’m so excited that iHeartSingleParents.com is finally getting the attention it deserves.

Morning Show hosts Mike and Juliet say, at the start of this piece, that 40% of new mothers in the U.S. are unmarried and of those the fastest growing group is women in their late 20’s. Not sure where they got that statistic (and it is Fox) but could that be true? Forty percent!

Mike and Juliet also ask Clare if she would recommend that other women choose to be a single mom. In her blog post, Clare says they sprung these questions on her – “They didn’t ask the questions that the producer and I practiced on at all.”

I can’t speak for Clare but being a single mother is seldom a choice for any of us. It’s something that happens. We choose to go on as single moms… but we certainly didn’t choose this path? Or did we? I chose to leave my husband. Does that mean I chose to be a single mom? I’ve written about this here.

Food for thought. And evidence that talk show hosts will always go for the controversial chord of any conversation.

Regardless, Clare did a fantastic job representing! And if you haven’t been over to iHeart lately, get over there because there are hundreds of new members joining every day… and as Clare says in this interview, having a single parent social network to turn to really makes you feel less alone.

[Photo: Clare and her 2-year-old son, Colby]

P.S. Proves my point that Single Moms are on Fire!

Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
***UPDATE***

If you’re here to find out how to change your Facebook or MySpace relationship status, click here.

Once you’re done – come back and read this…

“A relationship isn’t official until it’s on Facebook!” a young co-worker told me this morning. “My friend got engaged and two weeks later the announcement still wasn’t on Facebook. We all thought she had called it off or something.” Virtual social networks have changed the dating landscape… forever.

After my divorce I created a MySpace page. I was an innocent to the social networking world and had no idea how much it would change my dating experiences. My single friend was over the other night venting about a frustrating experience she’s having with an ex boyfriend right now.

“I’m not sure if he’ll call me tonight or not. I left him a comment today asking if he was going out and haven’t heard back.”

MySpace and Facebook have now effectively changed the way we date. Now we can call, text, e-mail or better yet – leave a MySpace comment or give someone a Facebook poke.

Here’s my translation of the MySpace and Facebook Dating Codes.

  1. Add each other as friends. This is really no big deal and doesn’t mean much. But at least now you have unbridled access to their page, photos, blog, etc.
  2. Leave cute, flirty comments on each other’s page. A good sign. He’s writing on your page, you’re writing on his. All is well in the world.
  3. Move each other up to “top friend” status. This is a big step and could indicate a future relationship status change.
  4. Continue with more flirtatious comments like “last night was amazing, you make me crazy.” Getting closer.
  5. Change your relationship status. The biggest step. Now you’re taken. You’re off the virtual market and you’re shouting loud and proud to the rest of the world that you’re happy and committed.

In conversations with my single girlfriends the old burning questions like, “is he a good kisser?,” “does he call often?,” “does he make you laugh?” are still completely relevant but added into the mix are, “did he move you into his top friends?,” “who else is on his page?”

The Virtual Red Flag

Some men are all over your MySpace page while you’re dating…others will be silent, never leaving a comment or moving you into their top friends. Strange. A red flag. A new red flag. The virtual red flag.

The Relationship Status Change: Who brings it up…how does it happen?

A case in point: my current flame took matters into his own hands. Last night when we were falling asleep he said, “I changed my relationship status on Facebook.” What??? Wow!!! I didn’t know what to think. We’ve only been together for 3 weeks and now Facebook says we’re “in a relationship.”

“You want me to be your girlfriend?”

He says, “ya…is that okay?” He’s confused by my reaction. I mean, he’s a guy and he’s completely crazy about me. We’ve been seeing each other steadily for three weeks – why not change his status? Meanwhile my brain is on fire with a mix of happiness and fear. I feel like I’m in the 8th grade and a cute boy has just asked me out.

I can’t change my MySpace relationship status just yet- it’s too early. That page is like my temple of autonomy. I break the news to him, “I’ll change my Facebook account status, but not my MySpace account.” Hmmm….a virtual compromise.

This morning I go onto Facebook. Yep, there he is – “in a relationship.” I go to my profile and click in relationship (there is a special section for this). I change my status. Then Facebook asks me, “who are you in a relationship with?” I pick his name. Then it says, “Kris is now your boyfriend. We will be sending him a confirmation to see if he accepts your relationship request.”

What??? Oh my god…I have a boyfriend and they’re sending him a relationship request? I’m actually embarrassed. I call him immediately, “Facebook has just informed me that you’re my boyfriend, but you have to agree to it.” He laughed. “I’ll accept, I won’t leave you hanging. Later… girlfriend.” I feel like I’m 14 again.

A boy actually asked me out – even though he did it virtually I still think it’s absolutely adorable. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been asked out. Usually it’s me looking at the guy like, “so are you my boyfriend?”

See? This virtual world is good for something.

UPDATE/ Additional notes:

Crazy how MySpace and Facebook have changed the way we date. In just a few seconds you can scope out your ex’s relationship status, flirtatous comments and daily activities. Twitter makes it even worse. Maybe I should go on a delete binge tonight.

How often do you delete your the Ex-Profiles on MySpace? Can you do it? Do you think I can?

Deleting an ex is like permanently severing all ties…but then I think of the ex’s who were my friends – the ones I genuinely want to stay in touch with. And then I think of the sting when I see their “latest activity.”

I vote for delete.
I have seen a few google searches with this question pointing to my blog. Not sure why they’re taking you here, but it’s a very valid question. So here goes.

My friend Abby has been a single mom for over three years now and one night when we were on a crazy girls night, I had struck up a conversation with a charming dentist. He seemed interested so I thought, “better get it out on the table.” But this is how I phrased it, “Well, you’ll never actually be able to date me.” He looked surprised, “why not?”

“Because I have a baby.”

“Oh. Well, that must be fun.” After some awkward small talk he disappeared.

I ran up to Abby. “That guy just vanished after I told him about Benjamin!” She pulled me aside and whispered, “Oh no. You can’t tell them that right away. You’ve got to wait until at least a couple of dates.” What? I was floored. She just didn’t tell them.

“They have to fall for you first,” she insisted, “and then the baby thing is just like an added bonus – and ‘oh by the way, I do all of this and I’m an amazing single mom.’ It works!”

I am skeptical of Abbey’s theory. Here’s why, if the baby thing is too much for them to handle, why find that out two dates in? And wouldn’t that be a form of dishonesty?

I’ve decided that it depends on a few factors. If you are out for a night filled with multiple encounters with men on the dance floor or behind a bar – don’t mention it. Unless one of these men grabs your attention, you end up hitting it off and you feel like there’s potential for a future date – then dish. But make sure you frame it positively. The dentist was scared off because of the way I phrased it. I made it an obstacle when it really isn’t and I made it sound like Benjamin was a hinderance.

Having a baby or a child in your life is an amazing thing. Sure it’s an obstacle to dating men who don’t care about you, but not when you’re dating men who are genuinely into you. Beware of scaring off the good ones by making it sound like a bad thing, one of my nasty little habits.

Here’s a male perspective. My single friend Dave was out recently and called me the next day after bumping into a few single moms at a bar. “We were hitting it off and then they told me they have a baby. But they made it sound like it was a horrible thing. Their bad attitude was totally unattractive and I just had to walk away.”

When I told my new boyfriend about Benjamin it was the first night we met. But I waited until the end of the night, when I knew I would want to see him again. I brought it up within the flow of conversation and had a smile on my face. “So…I have a little bit of baggage, and he weighs 22 pounds. If you want to see me again, I just thought I should get that out there..so…” I trailed off and looked down into my lap, hoping I wouldn’t see fear in his eyes. “Do you have a picture?” He looked at Benjamin on my phone and smiled, a genuine smile. “He’s a cutie. Want to play another game of pool?”

My conclusion – having a child is as big of deal as you make it. And we can’t expect a man who’s never had a child before to possibly understand on a first date or on a first encounter. That comes later. But there’s no sense in not giving him a chance to understand.

When do you tell a man you’re a single mom?

It’s been two weeks now since Benjamin’s father has seen his son.

His car is broken down because he drove it without oil. Sigh.

Coincidentally Benjamin has also been sick, sick, sick. I have missed four days of work and will be missing two more. I am also broke because I’ve had to pay for an extra two days of childcare each week.

I called him today en route to the hospital today. Benjamin had a fever of 104.5 and I thought he should know about it.

“Oh,” he says, “Well, I’m in a meeting, I’ll call you back.” CLICK.

I called him tonight to vent a bit. I know, I know. Should have let it go. He’s completely out of our lives now but when I’m missing days upon days of work and he doesn’t even seem concerned or offer to take a day off from his job I get upset.

“I understand,” he says.

“No you don’t.” I snap. “You don’t understand. How could you understand? You have never, ever had to take a day off from work to take care of your son when he’s sick.”

What he says next blew my mind.

“If we were married I would. But, my boss is not going to give me a day off to take care of my ex-wife’s kid. We are not a family anymore.”

“What?!!! He’s your son. You mean he is less of a son to you because we’re not married? Your boss can’t think that unless you think that.”

I should have hung up at this point but I  didn’t. And then he drops this bomb (not the first time).

“It was your choice to leave me,” he says, “it was your choice and now you have to deal with it.”

Was it really my choice to be a single mom? Yes, in that the idea of actually still being with him, had I stayed, makes my skin crawl. Being a single mom is tough but being with a husband like him was a hell of a lot harder. He was cold, insensitive, hurtful and down right useless.

He’s now on month 9 of a relationship with another single mother. Her son is 6 and they’re now living together. Poor her. Poor kid.

If he would have had it his way, right now he would be sitting on MY couch, drinking MY beer, eating MY groceries and treating me like shit. I just wish he weren’t on another single mom’s couch right now. I wish I could warn her.

Conclusion = It was his choice to give me no choice.

Clare, the co-founder of iHeart Single Parents, made an appearance on Fox’s Morning Show this week.

Click here to watch Clare’s interview.

I’m so excited that iHeartSingleParents.com is finally getting the attention it deserves.

Morning Show hosts Mike and Juliet say, at the start of this piece, that 40% of new mothers in the U.S. are unmarried and of those the fastest growing group is women in their late 20’s. Not sure where they got that statistic (and it is Fox) but could that be true? Forty percent!

Mike and Juliet also ask Clare if she would recommend that other women choose to be a single mom. In her blog post, Clare says they sprung these questions on her – “They didn’t ask the questions that the producer and I practiced on at all.”

I can’t speak for Clare but being a single mother is seldom a choice for any of us. It’s something that happens. We choose to go on as single moms… but we certainly didn’t choose this path? Or did we? I chose to leave my husband. Does that mean I chose to be a single mom? I’ve written about this here.

Food for thought. And evidence that talk show hosts will always go for the controversial chord of any conversation.

Regardless, Clare did a fantastic job representing! And if you haven’t been over to iHeart lately, get over there because there are hundreds of new members joining every day… and as Clare says in this interview, having a single parent social network to turn to really makes you feel less alone.

[Photo: Clare and her 2-year-old son, Colby]

P.S. Proves my point that Single Moms are on Fire!

It’s been four weeks now.

My new relationship status is beginning to sink in.

I have a boyfriend, and I’m actually enjoying it immensely. Usually at this point fear takes over and I start pushing them away. I slowly eject them from my life, or cut it clean depending on my mood. But this time, I’m not feeling that way. I’m not stressed at all. I’m completely comfortable with him and totally into him. So far, the feeling is mutual.

I had him over for dinner on Thursday night. Benjamin was still awake. Kris has seen Benjamin in the mornings briefly but this would be his first evening with us, usually the highlight of my day because Benjamin is chipper, happy and ready to play.

Kris walks in, gives me a hug and then crouches down on his knees, “And, how are you?” He looks at Benjamin and Benjmain stares back. This is odd, usually he flashes a smile and runs away but he can’t take his eyes off of Kris.

Kris leads him into the living room and opens his toy chest. This is a first. Of all of the men I’ve dated since the divorce not one has genuinely just sat down and played with my kid. This used to surprise me because I thought – “If they’re trying to win me over wouldn’t they want to at least try to play with him?” To their credit, some would try, but it was awkward and forced. “I’ve never been around kids,” they would say. “I don’t know what to do.” Kris has never been around kids either, he’s actually only 23. Five years younger than me.

While I’m in the kitchen cooking dinner, I hear Kris talking to Benjamin, he’s calm, assuring and playful. A few hours later I take Benjamin up for bedtime. I come downstairs and all of his toys are cleaned up. Kris had tidied up my living room. I’m now pinching myself.

Kris is still there in the morning. We all eat pancakes together. There’s lots of laughter, more playing and the entire time Benjamin is following Kris around like a little puppy. I put Benjamin down for his nap and say good bye to Kris, we both have to work.

When Benjamin wakes up four hours later (he has a nasty cold which is why I’m home on a Friday) he searches the house for Kris. He’s going from room to room. As soon as he realizes Kris is gone – he starts crying…hard. My heart breaks. What am I doing? What if this doesn’t work out? Where will we be then? Benjamin is clearly well into toddlerhood (20 months) and now he is very well aware of what’s up.

The single mom dating conundrum:

When a man enters our life we want to see how they would fit into our family, or if they can even handle it. But we can’t do it without introducing them to the kids.

The solution:

When Benjamin was a teeny tiny baby, this wasn’t an issue. So everything I’m about to say clearly depends on the age of the children.

I’m not big on the idea of waiting six months to bring a man into my daily routine. I guess it’s because I’m afraid he would be shocked at the reality of how hard it is to raise a toddler and then split. Then I would have invested six months of my time in a guy who wasn’t really there for the right reasons.

The other problem. I am a working single mother. Not bringing him around Benjamin leaves me only a few hours in the late evening. Period. This can get old and can also hurt a budding relationship.

I have learned from my past mishaps not to raise this issue too early. Why? Because there is no way he or you actually know how long this will last yet, and you shouldn’t presume to know that. Once I actually told a guy I was dating, “the only way I can date you is if there’s potential – potential that one day we might get married.” We had only been dating for a few months. I didn’t even want to marry him. Isn’t that crazy? I just had to rationalize why I was spending time away from my son – to myself. In the end that one just fizzled out but the moral of the story is – it could have been more fun if I would have left my drama in my head. I’m thinking this is probably a good conversation to have 6-8 months in to a relationship. Just a hunch, but to each his own.

My solution: I am going to keep Kris’ encounters with Benjamin to a minimum for the next few months, but he will have a few. Because I also want someone to fall in love with my son, not just me…we are a package deal.
Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
***UPDATE***

If you’re here to find out how to change your Facebook or MySpace relationship status, click here.

Once you’re done – come back and read this…

“A relationship isn’t official until it’s on Facebook!” a young co-worker told me this morning. “My friend got engaged and two weeks later the announcement still wasn’t on Facebook. We all thought she had called it off or something.” Virtual social networks have changed the dating landscape… forever.

After my divorce I created a MySpace page. I was an innocent to the social networking world and had no idea how much it would change my dating experiences. My single friend was over the other night venting about a frustrating experience she’s having with an ex boyfriend right now.

“I’m not sure if he’ll call me tonight or not. I left him a comment today asking if he was going out and haven’t heard back.”

MySpace and Facebook have now effectively changed the way we date. Now we can call, text, e-mail or better yet – leave a MySpace comment or give someone a Facebook poke.

Here’s my translation of the MySpace and Facebook Dating Codes.

  1. Add each other as friends. This is really no big deal and doesn’t mean much. But at least now you have unbridled access to their page, photos, blog, etc.
  2. Leave cute, flirty comments on each other’s page. A good sign. He’s writing on your page, you’re writing on his. All is well in the world.
  3. Move each other up to “top friend” status. This is a big step and could indicate a future relationship status change.
  4. Continue with more flirtatious comments like “last night was amazing, you make me crazy.” Getting closer.
  5. Change your relationship status. The biggest step. Now you’re taken. You’re off the virtual market and you’re shouting loud and proud to the rest of the world that you’re happy and committed.

In conversations with my single girlfriends the old burning questions like, “is he a good kisser?,” “does he call often?,” “does he make you laugh?” are still completely relevant but added into the mix are, “did he move you into his top friends?,” “who else is on his page?”

The Virtual Red Flag

Some men are all over your MySpace page while you’re dating…others will be silent, never leaving a comment or moving you into their top friends. Strange. A red flag. A new red flag. The virtual red flag.

The Relationship Status Change: Who brings it up…how does it happen?

A case in point: my current flame took matters into his own hands. Last night when we were falling asleep he said, “I changed my relationship status on Facebook.” What??? Wow!!! I didn’t know what to think. We’ve only been together for 3 weeks and now Facebook says we’re “in a relationship.”

“You want me to be your girlfriend?”

He says, “ya…is that okay?” He’s confused by my reaction. I mean, he’s a guy and he’s completely crazy about me. We’ve been seeing each other steadily for three weeks – why not change his status? Meanwhile my brain is on fire with a mix of happiness and fear. I feel like I’m in the 8th grade and a cute boy has just asked me out.

I can’t change my MySpace relationship status just yet- it’s too early. That page is like my temple of autonomy. I break the news to him, “I’ll change my Facebook account status, but not my MySpace account.” Hmmm….a virtual compromise.

This morning I go onto Facebook. Yep, there he is – “in a relationship.” I go to my profile and click in relationship (there is a special section for this). I change my status. Then Facebook asks me, “who are you in a relationship with?” I pick his name. Then it says, “Kris is now your boyfriend. We will be sending him a confirmation to see if he accepts your relationship request.”

What??? Oh my god…I have a boyfriend and they’re sending him a relationship request? I’m actually embarrassed. I call him immediately, “Facebook has just informed me that you’re my boyfriend, but you have to agree to it.” He laughed. “I’ll accept, I won’t leave you hanging. Later… girlfriend.” I feel like I’m 14 again.

A boy actually asked me out – even though he did it virtually I still think it’s absolutely adorable. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been asked out. Usually it’s me looking at the guy like, “so are you my boyfriend?”

See? This virtual world is good for something.

UPDATE/ Additional notes:

Crazy how MySpace and Facebook have changed the way we date. In just a few seconds you can scope out your ex’s relationship status, flirtatous comments and daily activities. Twitter makes it even worse. Maybe I should go on a delete binge tonight.

How often do you delete your the Ex-Profiles on MySpace? Can you do it? Do you think I can?

Deleting an ex is like permanently severing all ties…but then I think of the ex’s who were my friends – the ones I genuinely want to stay in touch with. And then I think of the sting when I see their “latest activity.”

I vote for delete.
I have seen a few google searches with this question pointing to my blog. Not sure why they’re taking you here, but it’s a very valid question. So here goes.

My friend Abby has been a single mom for over three years now and one night when we were on a crazy girls night, I had struck up a conversation with a charming dentist. He seemed interested so I thought, “better get it out on the table.” But this is how I phrased it, “Well, you’ll never actually be able to date me.” He looked surprised, “why not?”

“Because I have a baby.”

“Oh. Well, that must be fun.” After some awkward small talk he disappeared.

I ran up to Abby. “That guy just vanished after I told him about Benjamin!” She pulled me aside and whispered, “Oh no. You can’t tell them that right away. You’ve got to wait until at least a couple of dates.” What? I was floored. She just didn’t tell them.

“They have to fall for you first,” she insisted, “and then the baby thing is just like an added bonus – and ‘oh by the way, I do all of this and I’m an amazing single mom.’ It works!”

I am skeptical of Abbey’s theory. Here’s why, if the baby thing is too much for them to handle, why find that out two dates in? And wouldn’t that be a form of dishonesty?

I’ve decided that it depends on a few factors. If you are out for a night filled with multiple encounters with men on the dance floor or behind a bar – don’t mention it. Unless one of these men grabs your attention, you end up hitting it off and you feel like there’s potential for a future date – then dish. But make sure you frame it positively. The dentist was scared off because of the way I phrased it. I made it an obstacle when it really isn’t and I made it sound like Benjamin was a hinderance.

Having a baby or a child in your life is an amazing thing. Sure it’s an obstacle to dating men who don’t care about you, but not when you’re dating men who are genuinely into you. Beware of scaring off the good ones by making it sound like a bad thing, one of my nasty little habits.

Here’s a male perspective. My single friend Dave was out recently and called me the next day after bumping into a few single moms at a bar. “We were hitting it off and then they told me they have a baby. But they made it sound like it was a horrible thing. Their bad attitude was totally unattractive and I just had to walk away.”

When I told my new boyfriend about Benjamin it was the first night we met. But I waited until the end of the night, when I knew I would want to see him again. I brought it up within the flow of conversation and had a smile on my face. “So…I have a little bit of baggage, and he weighs 22 pounds. If you want to see me again, I just thought I should get that out there..so…” I trailed off and looked down into my lap, hoping I wouldn’t see fear in his eyes. “Do you have a picture?” He looked at Benjamin on my phone and smiled, a genuine smile. “He’s a cutie. Want to play another game of pool?”

My conclusion – having a child is as big of deal as you make it. And we can’t expect a man who’s never had a child before to possibly understand on a first date or on a first encounter. That comes later. But there’s no sense in not giving him a chance to understand.

When do you tell a man you’re a single mom?

It’s been two weeks now since Benjamin’s father has seen his son.

His car is broken down because he drove it without oil. Sigh.

Coincidentally Benjamin has also been sick, sick, sick. I have missed four days of work and will be missing two more. I am also broke because I’ve had to pay for an extra two days of childcare each week.

I called him today en route to the hospital today. Benjamin had a fever of 104.5 and I thought he should know about it.

“Oh,” he says, “Well, I’m in a meeting, I’ll call you back.” CLICK.

I called him tonight to vent a bit. I know, I know. Should have let it go. He’s completely out of our lives now but when I’m missing days upon days of work and he doesn’t even seem concerned or offer to take a day off from his job I get upset.

“I understand,” he says.

“No you don’t.” I snap. “You don’t understand. How could you understand? You have never, ever had to take a day off from work to take care of your son when he’s sick.”

What he says next blew my mind.

“If we were married I would. But, my boss is not going to give me a day off to take care of my ex-wife’s kid. We are not a family anymore.”

“What?!!! He’s your son. You mean he is less of a son to you because we’re not married? Your boss can’t think that unless you think that.”

I should have hung up at this point but I  didn’t. And then he drops this bomb (not the first time).

“It was your choice to leave me,” he says, “it was your choice and now you have to deal with it.”

Was it really my choice to be a single mom? Yes, in that the idea of actually still being with him, had I stayed, makes my skin crawl. Being a single mom is tough but being with a husband like him was a hell of a lot harder. He was cold, insensitive, hurtful and down right useless.

He’s now on month 9 of a relationship with another single mother. Her son is 6 and they’re now living together. Poor her. Poor kid.

If he would have had it his way, right now he would be sitting on MY couch, drinking MY beer, eating MY groceries and treating me like shit. I just wish he weren’t on another single mom’s couch right now. I wish I could warn her.

Conclusion = It was his choice to give me no choice.

Clare, the co-founder of iHeart Single Parents, made an appearance on Fox’s Morning Show this week.

Click here to watch Clare’s interview.

I’m so excited that iHeartSingleParents.com is finally getting the attention it deserves.

Morning Show hosts Mike and Juliet say, at the start of this piece, that 40% of new mothers in the U.S. are unmarried and of those the fastest growing group is women in their late 20’s. Not sure where they got that statistic (and it is Fox) but could that be true? Forty percent!

Mike and Juliet also ask Clare if she would recommend that other women choose to be a single mom. In her blog post, Clare says they sprung these questions on her – “They didn’t ask the questions that the producer and I practiced on at all.”

I can’t speak for Clare but being a single mother is seldom a choice for any of us. It’s something that happens. We choose to go on as single moms… but we certainly didn’t choose this path? Or did we? I chose to leave my husband. Does that mean I chose to be a single mom? I’ve written about this here.

Food for thought. And evidence that talk show hosts will always go for the controversial chord of any conversation.

Regardless, Clare did a fantastic job representing! And if you haven’t been over to iHeart lately, get over there because there are hundreds of new members joining every day… and as Clare says in this interview, having a single parent social network to turn to really makes you feel less alone.

[Photo: Clare and her 2-year-old son, Colby]

P.S. Proves my point that Single Moms are on Fire!

It’s been four weeks now.

My new relationship status is beginning to sink in.

I have a boyfriend, and I’m actually enjoying it immensely. Usually at this point fear takes over and I start pushing them away. I slowly eject them from my life, or cut it clean depending on my mood. But this time, I’m not feeling that way. I’m not stressed at all. I’m completely comfortable with him and totally into him. So far, the feeling is mutual.

I had him over for dinner on Thursday night. Benjamin was still awake. Kris has seen Benjamin in the mornings briefly but this would be his first evening with us, usually the highlight of my day because Benjamin is chipper, happy and ready to play.

Kris walks in, gives me a hug and then crouches down on his knees, “And, how are you?” He looks at Benjamin and Benjmain stares back. This is odd, usually he flashes a smile and runs away but he can’t take his eyes off of Kris.

Kris leads him into the living room and opens his toy chest. This is a first. Of all of the men I’ve dated since the divorce not one has genuinely just sat down and played with my kid. This used to surprise me because I thought – “If they’re trying to win me over wouldn’t they want to at least try to play with him?” To their credit, some would try, but it was awkward and forced. “I’ve never been around kids,” they would say. “I don’t know what to do.” Kris has never been around kids either, he’s actually only 23. Five years younger than me.

While I’m in the kitchen cooking dinner, I hear Kris talking to Benjamin, he’s calm, assuring and playful. A few hours later I take Benjamin up for bedtime. I come downstairs and all of his toys are cleaned up. Kris had tidied up my living room. I’m now pinching myself.

Kris is still there in the morning. We all eat pancakes together. There’s lots of laughter, more playing and the entire time Benjamin is following Kris around like a little puppy. I put Benjamin down for his nap and say good bye to Kris, we both have to work.

When Benjamin wakes up four hours later (he has a nasty cold which is why I’m home on a Friday) he searches the house for Kris. He’s going from room to room. As soon as he realizes Kris is gone – he starts crying…hard. My heart breaks. What am I doing? What if this doesn’t work out? Where will we be then? Benjamin is clearly well into toddlerhood (20 months) and now he is very well aware of what’s up.

The single mom dating conundrum:

When a man enters our life we want to see how they would fit into our family, or if they can even handle it. But we can’t do it without introducing them to the kids.

The solution:

When Benjamin was a teeny tiny baby, this wasn’t an issue. So everything I’m about to say clearly depends on the age of the children.

I’m not big on the idea of waiting six months to bring a man into my daily routine. I guess it’s because I’m afraid he would be shocked at the reality of how hard it is to raise a toddler and then split. Then I would have invested six months of my time in a guy who wasn’t really there for the right reasons.

The other problem. I am a working single mother. Not bringing him around Benjamin leaves me only a few hours in the late evening. Period. This can get old and can also hurt a budding relationship.

I have learned from my past mishaps not to raise this issue too early. Why? Because there is no way he or you actually know how long this will last yet, and you shouldn’t presume to know that. Once I actually told a guy I was dating, “the only way I can date you is if there’s potential – potential that one day we might get married.” We had only been dating for a few months. I didn’t even want to marry him. Isn’t that crazy? I just had to rationalize why I was spending time away from my son – to myself. In the end that one just fizzled out but the moral of the story is – it could have been more fun if I would have left my drama in my head. I’m thinking this is probably a good conversation to have 6-8 months in to a relationship. Just a hunch, but to each his own.

My solution: I am going to keep Kris’ encounters with Benjamin to a minimum for the next few months, but he will have a few. Because I also want someone to fall in love with my son, not just me…we are a package deal.
My new boyfriend and I decided to quit smoking – together. It’s the first time I’ve done something together, as a couple in years. Well, if you count my divorce, it’s been nearly a year. Knowing Saturday night was going to be a baby-free all-nighter we pick Sunday to go cold turkey. I’m scared. Scared to quit smoking and scared to enter into a verbal contract with someone – a commitment.

I started smoking the day I realized I was going to leave my husband. He had come home and said he’d been fired from yet another job and that he didn’t want to work again, that he wanted to be a stay at home dad. We didn’t have the money for this scenario and I insisted he go out and look for more work. He refused. At this point he was bailing on me and my baby – that’s when I knew it was completely over. I heard my neighbor walking through the driveway. It was Abby, a single mom. Her daughter was just three at the time.

“Abby? Is that you?” I asked over the fence.

“Ya,” she said. We’d only talked a few times here and there, nothing too in depth. We were just friendly neighbors. She was the single mom, I was the married mom with the newborn, supposed to be completely happy.

“I need to have a cigarrette, and you need to tell me what it’s like to be a single mom because I’m about to be one.” She came running into my yard.

“Oh my god. I’ll be right back.”

It was in this moment as she went on and on about the trials and tribulations but about how ultimately, it was the right thing to do, that I realized the bond single mothers have with each other. Perhaps because we are the only ones – the only ones – who truly understand what the other is going through.

Leaving him, moving back in with my mother and leaving my career was the single most challenging thing I’ve ever done – I needed friends and I chose cigarrettes. Now, one and a half years later, I’m back on my feet. Have my career back, have my real friends and my life back. I don’t need them anymore.

On Sunday morning we quit together, as promised. But then today, Monday, I head into work and feel awful. I actually feel like I’m going to get sick all over my desk. Am I pregant? Nope. Definitely not. Could it be the smoking? I Google it. Yep. Smoking cessation can cause nausea. Weird.

I make it until 5:00 pm and then I have one. I just can’t do this. I can’t go pick up Benjamin like this. This nausea has got to go. The cigarrette doesn’t help. I get home and take my temperature – it’s 101.1. Oh my god. I’m sick. I’ve been home from work nursing Benjamin for weeks, have missed six work days and now I’m sick.

I call Kris. “I cheated. I just couldn’t stand it. I can’t be this sick. I thought it was nausea from not smoking, but I’m just actually sick as hell.”

“Do you really want to quit or not?” He sounds disappointed. I try to defend myself.

“But, I’m a single working mom. Any kind of stress relief I can get is worth it. I can’t be in withdraw around Benjamin. And tonight, being so sick, I nearly broke down in tears.”

(I actually had broken down in tears but didn’t want to tell him this). He still sounds pissed. And he should be – I broke a promise. I call him back later, he apologizes for being “difficult” and I apologize for cheating.

“Do you want me to come over? I can make you some tea, cuddle you down.” He offers.

“Nope…maybe tomorrow night.” Step by step, I tell myself. I can quit smoking with someone, sleep with them, even become emotionally attached to them, but it will be a long, long time before I’m ready to actually ask a man for help. I just can’t. I should call Abby and ask her why.

(P.S., I never smoke around Benjamin or in the house, which is why I really want to quit – it’s getting cold out).
Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
***UPDATE***

If you’re here to find out how to change your Facebook or MySpace relationship status, click here.

Once you’re done – come back and read this…

“A relationship isn’t official until it’s on Facebook!” a young co-worker told me this morning. “My friend got engaged and two weeks later the announcement still wasn’t on Facebook. We all thought she had called it off or something.” Virtual social networks have changed the dating landscape… forever.

After my divorce I created a MySpace page. I was an innocent to the social networking world and had no idea how much it would change my dating experiences. My single friend was over the other night venting about a frustrating experience she’s having with an ex boyfriend right now.

“I’m not sure if he’ll call me tonight or not. I left him a comment today asking if he was going out and haven’t heard back.”

MySpace and Facebook have now effectively changed the way we date. Now we can call, text, e-mail or better yet – leave a MySpace comment or give someone a Facebook poke.

Here’s my translation of the MySpace and Facebook Dating Codes.

  1. Add each other as friends. This is really no big deal and doesn’t mean much. But at least now you have unbridled access to their page, photos, blog, etc.
  2. Leave cute, flirty comments on each other’s page. A good sign. He’s writing on your page, you’re writing on his. All is well in the world.
  3. Move each other up to “top friend” status. This is a big step and could indicate a future relationship status change.
  4. Continue with more flirtatious comments like “last night was amazing, you make me crazy.” Getting closer.
  5. Change your relationship status. The biggest step. Now you’re taken. You’re off the virtual market and you’re shouting loud and proud to the rest of the world that you’re happy and committed.

In conversations with my single girlfriends the old burning questions like, “is he a good kisser?,” “does he call often?,” “does he make you laugh?” are still completely relevant but added into the mix are, “did he move you into his top friends?,” “who else is on his page?”

The Virtual Red Flag

Some men are all over your MySpace page while you’re dating…others will be silent, never leaving a comment or moving you into their top friends. Strange. A red flag. A new red flag. The virtual red flag.

The Relationship Status Change: Who brings it up…how does it happen?

A case in point: my current flame took matters into his own hands. Last night when we were falling asleep he said, “I changed my relationship status on Facebook.” What??? Wow!!! I didn’t know what to think. We’ve only been together for 3 weeks and now Facebook says we’re “in a relationship.”

“You want me to be your girlfriend?”

He says, “ya…is that okay?” He’s confused by my reaction. I mean, he’s a guy and he’s completely crazy about me. We’ve been seeing each other steadily for three weeks – why not change his status? Meanwhile my brain is on fire with a mix of happiness and fear. I feel like I’m in the 8th grade and a cute boy has just asked me out.

I can’t change my MySpace relationship status just yet- it’s too early. That page is like my temple of autonomy. I break the news to him, “I’ll change my Facebook account status, but not my MySpace account.” Hmmm….a virtual compromise.

This morning I go onto Facebook. Yep, there he is – “in a relationship.” I go to my profile and click in relationship (there is a special section for this). I change my status. Then Facebook asks me, “who are you in a relationship with?” I pick his name. Then it says, “Kris is now your boyfriend. We will be sending him a confirmation to see if he accepts your relationship request.”

What??? Oh my god…I have a boyfriend and they’re sending him a relationship request? I’m actually embarrassed. I call him immediately, “Facebook has just informed me that you’re my boyfriend, but you have to agree to it.” He laughed. “I’ll accept, I won’t leave you hanging. Later… girlfriend.” I feel like I’m 14 again.

A boy actually asked me out – even though he did it virtually I still think it’s absolutely adorable. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been asked out. Usually it’s me looking at the guy like, “so are you my boyfriend?”

See? This virtual world is good for something.

UPDATE/ Additional notes:

Crazy how MySpace and Facebook have changed the way we date. In just a few seconds you can scope out your ex’s relationship status, flirtatous comments and daily activities. Twitter makes it even worse. Maybe I should go on a delete binge tonight.

How often do you delete your the Ex-Profiles on MySpace? Can you do it? Do you think I can?

Deleting an ex is like permanently severing all ties…but then I think of the ex’s who were my friends – the ones I genuinely want to stay in touch with. And then I think of the sting when I see their “latest activity.”

I vote for delete.
Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
***UPDATE***

If you’re here to find out how to change your Facebook or MySpace relationship status, click here.

Once you’re done – come back and read this…

“A relationship isn’t official until it’s on Facebook!” a young co-worker told me this morning. “My friend got engaged and two weeks later the announcement still wasn’t on Facebook. We all thought she had called it off or something.” Virtual social networks have changed the dating landscape… forever.

After my divorce I created a MySpace page. I was an innocent to the social networking world and had no idea how much it would change my dating experiences. My single friend was over the other night venting about a frustrating experience she’s having with an ex boyfriend right now.

“I’m not sure if he’ll call me tonight or not. I left him a comment today asking if he was going out and haven’t heard back.”

MySpace and Facebook have now effectively changed the way we date. Now we can call, text, e-mail or better yet – leave a MySpace comment or give someone a Facebook poke.

Here’s my translation of the MySpace and Facebook Dating Codes.

  1. Add each other as friends. This is really no big deal and doesn’t mean much. But at least now you have unbridled access to their page, photos, blog, etc.
  2. Leave cute, flirty comments on each other’s page. A good sign. He’s writing on your page, you’re writing on his. All is well in the world.
  3. Move each other up to “top friend” status. This is a big step and could indicate a future relationship status change.
  4. Continue with more flirtatious comments like “last night was amazing, you make me crazy.” Getting closer.
  5. Change your relationship status. The biggest step. Now you’re taken. You’re off the virtual market and you’re shouting loud and proud to the rest of the world that you’re happy and committed.

In conversations with my single girlfriends the old burning questions like, “is he a good kisser?,” “does he call often?,” “does he make you laugh?” are still completely relevant but added into the mix are, “did he move you into his top friends?,” “who else is on his page?”

The Virtual Red Flag

Some men are all over your MySpace page while you’re dating…others will be silent, never leaving a comment or moving you into their top friends. Strange. A red flag. A new red flag. The virtual red flag.

The Relationship Status Change: Who brings it up…how does it happen?

A case in point: my current flame took matters into his own hands. Last night when we were falling asleep he said, “I changed my relationship status on Facebook.” What??? Wow!!! I didn’t know what to think. We’ve only been together for 3 weeks and now Facebook says we’re “in a relationship.”

“You want me to be your girlfriend?”

He says, “ya…is that okay?” He’s confused by my reaction. I mean, he’s a guy and he’s completely crazy about me. We’ve been seeing each other steadily for three weeks – why not change his status? Meanwhile my brain is on fire with a mix of happiness and fear. I feel like I’m in the 8th grade and a cute boy has just asked me out.

I can’t change my MySpace relationship status just yet- it’s too early. That page is like my temple of autonomy. I break the news to him, “I’ll change my Facebook account status, but not my MySpace account.” Hmmm….a virtual compromise.

This morning I go onto Facebook. Yep, there he is – “in a relationship.” I go to my profile and click in relationship (there is a special section for this). I change my status. Then Facebook asks me, “who are you in a relationship with?” I pick his name. Then it says, “Kris is now your boyfriend. We will be sending him a confirmation to see if he accepts your relationship request.”

What??? Oh my god…I have a boyfriend and they’re sending him a relationship request? I’m actually embarrassed. I call him immediately, “Facebook has just informed me that you’re my boyfriend, but you have to agree to it.” He laughed. “I’ll accept, I won’t leave you hanging. Later… girlfriend.” I feel like I’m 14 again.

A boy actually asked me out – even though he did it virtually I still think it’s absolutely adorable. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been asked out. Usually it’s me looking at the guy like, “so are you my boyfriend?”

See? This virtual world is good for something.

UPDATE/ Additional notes:

Crazy how MySpace and Facebook have changed the way we date. In just a few seconds you can scope out your ex’s relationship status, flirtatous comments and daily activities. Twitter makes it even worse. Maybe I should go on a delete binge tonight.

How often do you delete your the Ex-Profiles on MySpace? Can you do it? Do you think I can?

Deleting an ex is like permanently severing all ties…but then I think of the ex’s who were my friends – the ones I genuinely want to stay in touch with. And then I think of the sting when I see their “latest activity.”

I vote for delete.
I have seen a few google searches with this question pointing to my blog. Not sure why they’re taking you here, but it’s a very valid question. So here goes.

My friend Abby has been a single mom for over three years now and one night when we were on a crazy girls night, I had struck up a conversation with a charming dentist. He seemed interested so I thought, “better get it out on the table.” But this is how I phrased it, “Well, you’ll never actually be able to date me.” He looked surprised, “why not?”

“Because I have a baby.”

“Oh. Well, that must be fun.” After some awkward small talk he disappeared.

I ran up to Abby. “That guy just vanished after I told him about Benjamin!” She pulled me aside and whispered, “Oh no. You can’t tell them that right away. You’ve got to wait until at least a couple of dates.” What? I was floored. She just didn’t tell them.

“They have to fall for you first,” she insisted, “and then the baby thing is just like an added bonus – and ‘oh by the way, I do all of this and I’m an amazing single mom.’ It works!”

I am skeptical of Abbey’s theory. Here’s why, if the baby thing is too much for them to handle, why find that out two dates in? And wouldn’t that be a form of dishonesty?

I’ve decided that it depends on a few factors. If you are out for a night filled with multiple encounters with men on the dance floor or behind a bar – don’t mention it. Unless one of these men grabs your attention, you end up hitting it off and you feel like there’s potential for a future date – then dish. But make sure you frame it positively. The dentist was scared off because of the way I phrased it. I made it an obstacle when it really isn’t and I made it sound like Benjamin was a hinderance.

Having a baby or a child in your life is an amazing thing. Sure it’s an obstacle to dating men who don’t care about you, but not when you’re dating men who are genuinely into you. Beware of scaring off the good ones by making it sound like a bad thing, one of my nasty little habits.

Here’s a male perspective. My single friend Dave was out recently and called me the next day after bumping into a few single moms at a bar. “We were hitting it off and then they told me they have a baby. But they made it sound like it was a horrible thing. Their bad attitude was totally unattractive and I just had to walk away.”

When I told my new boyfriend about Benjamin it was the first night we met. But I waited until the end of the night, when I knew I would want to see him again. I brought it up within the flow of conversation and had a smile on my face. “So…I have a little bit of baggage, and he weighs 22 pounds. If you want to see me again, I just thought I should get that out there..so…” I trailed off and looked down into my lap, hoping I wouldn’t see fear in his eyes. “Do you have a picture?” He looked at Benjamin on my phone and smiled, a genuine smile. “He’s a cutie. Want to play another game of pool?”

My conclusion – having a child is as big of deal as you make it. And we can’t expect a man who’s never had a child before to possibly understand on a first date or on a first encounter. That comes later. But there’s no sense in not giving him a chance to understand.

When do you tell a man you’re a single mom?
Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
***UPDATE***

If you’re here to find out how to change your Facebook or MySpace relationship status, click here.

Once you’re done – come back and read this…

“A relationship isn’t official until it’s on Facebook!” a young co-worker told me this morning. “My friend got engaged and two weeks later the announcement still wasn’t on Facebook. We all thought she had called it off or something.” Virtual social networks have changed the dating landscape… forever.

After my divorce I created a MySpace page. I was an innocent to the social networking world and had no idea how much it would change my dating experiences. My single friend was over the other night venting about a frustrating experience she’s having with an ex boyfriend right now.

“I’m not sure if he’ll call me tonight or not. I left him a comment today asking if he was going out and haven’t heard back.”

MySpace and Facebook have now effectively changed the way we date. Now we can call, text, e-mail or better yet – leave a MySpace comment or give someone a Facebook poke.

Here’s my translation of the MySpace and Facebook Dating Codes.

  1. Add each other as friends. This is really no big deal and doesn’t mean much. But at least now you have unbridled access to their page, photos, blog, etc.
  2. Leave cute, flirty comments on each other’s page. A good sign. He’s writing on your page, you’re writing on his. All is well in the world.
  3. Move each other up to “top friend” status. This is a big step and could indicate a future relationship status change.
  4. Continue with more flirtatious comments like “last night was amazing, you make me crazy.” Getting closer.
  5. Change your relationship status. The biggest step. Now you’re taken. You’re off the virtual market and you’re shouting loud and proud to the rest of the world that you’re happy and committed.

In conversations with my single girlfriends the old burning questions like, “is he a good kisser?,” “does he call often?,” “does he make you laugh?” are still completely relevant but added into the mix are, “did he move you into his top friends?,” “who else is on his page?”

The Virtual Red Flag

Some men are all over your MySpace page while you’re dating…others will be silent, never leaving a comment or moving you into their top friends. Strange. A red flag. A new red flag. The virtual red flag.

The Relationship Status Change: Who brings it up…how does it happen?

A case in point: my current flame took matters into his own hands. Last night when we were falling asleep he said, “I changed my relationship status on Facebook.” What??? Wow!!! I didn’t know what to think. We’ve only been together for 3 weeks and now Facebook says we’re “in a relationship.”

“You want me to be your girlfriend?”

He says, “ya…is that okay?” He’s confused by my reaction. I mean, he’s a guy and he’s completely crazy about me. We’ve been seeing each other steadily for three weeks – why not change his status? Meanwhile my brain is on fire with a mix of happiness and fear. I feel like I’m in the 8th grade and a cute boy has just asked me out.

I can’t change my MySpace relationship status just yet- it’s too early. That page is like my temple of autonomy. I break the news to him, “I’ll change my Facebook account status, but not my MySpace account.” Hmmm….a virtual compromise.

This morning I go onto Facebook. Yep, there he is – “in a relationship.” I go to my profile and click in relationship (there is a special section for this). I change my status. Then Facebook asks me, “who are you in a relationship with?” I pick his name. Then it says, “Kris is now your boyfriend. We will be sending him a confirmation to see if he accepts your relationship request.”

What??? Oh my god…I have a boyfriend and they’re sending him a relationship request? I’m actually embarrassed. I call him immediately, “Facebook has just informed me that you’re my boyfriend, but you have to agree to it.” He laughed. “I’ll accept, I won’t leave you hanging. Later… girlfriend.” I feel like I’m 14 again.

A boy actually asked me out – even though he did it virtually I still think it’s absolutely adorable. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been asked out. Usually it’s me looking at the guy like, “so are you my boyfriend?”

See? This virtual world is good for something.

UPDATE/ Additional notes:

Crazy how MySpace and Facebook have changed the way we date. In just a few seconds you can scope out your ex’s relationship status, flirtatous comments and daily activities. Twitter makes it even worse. Maybe I should go on a delete binge tonight.

How often do you delete your the Ex-Profiles on MySpace? Can you do it? Do you think I can?

Deleting an ex is like permanently severing all ties…but then I think of the ex’s who were my friends – the ones I genuinely want to stay in touch with. And then I think of the sting when I see their “latest activity.”

I vote for delete.
I have seen a few google searches with this question pointing to my blog. Not sure why they’re taking you here, but it’s a very valid question. So here goes.

My friend Abby has been a single mom for over three years now and one night when we were on a crazy girls night, I had struck up a conversation with a charming dentist. He seemed interested so I thought, “better get it out on the table.” But this is how I phrased it, “Well, you’ll never actually be able to date me.” He looked surprised, “why not?”

“Because I have a baby.”

“Oh. Well, that must be fun.” After some awkward small talk he disappeared.

I ran up to Abby. “That guy just vanished after I told him about Benjamin!” She pulled me aside and whispered, “Oh no. You can’t tell them that right away. You’ve got to wait until at least a couple of dates.” What? I was floored. She just didn’t tell them.

“They have to fall for you first,” she insisted, “and then the baby thing is just like an added bonus – and ‘oh by the way, I do all of this and I’m an amazing single mom.’ It works!”

I am skeptical of Abbey’s theory. Here’s why, if the baby thing is too much for them to handle, why find that out two dates in? And wouldn’t that be a form of dishonesty?

I’ve decided that it depends on a few factors. If you are out for a night filled with multiple encounters with men on the dance floor or behind a bar – don’t mention it. Unless one of these men grabs your attention, you end up hitting it off and you feel like there’s potential for a future date – then dish. But make sure you frame it positively. The dentist was scared off because of the way I phrased it. I made it an obstacle when it really isn’t and I made it sound like Benjamin was a hinderance.

Having a baby or a child in your life is an amazing thing. Sure it’s an obstacle to dating men who don’t care about you, but not when you’re dating men who are genuinely into you. Beware of scaring off the good ones by making it sound like a bad thing, one of my nasty little habits.

Here’s a male perspective. My single friend Dave was out recently and called me the next day after bumping into a few single moms at a bar. “We were hitting it off and then they told me they have a baby. But they made it sound like it was a horrible thing. Their bad attitude was totally unattractive and I just had to walk away.”

When I told my new boyfriend about Benjamin it was the first night we met. But I waited until the end of the night, when I knew I would want to see him again. I brought it up within the flow of conversation and had a smile on my face. “So…I have a little bit of baggage, and he weighs 22 pounds. If you want to see me again, I just thought I should get that out there..so…” I trailed off and looked down into my lap, hoping I wouldn’t see fear in his eyes. “Do you have a picture?” He looked at Benjamin on my phone and smiled, a genuine smile. “He’s a cutie. Want to play another game of pool?”

My conclusion – having a child is as big of deal as you make it. And we can’t expect a man who’s never had a child before to possibly understand on a first date or on a first encounter. That comes later. But there’s no sense in not giving him a chance to understand.

When do you tell a man you’re a single mom?

It’s been two weeks now since Benjamin’s father has seen his son.

His car is broken down because he drove it without oil. Sigh.

Coincidentally Benjamin has also been sick, sick, sick. I have missed four days of work and will be missing two more. I am also broke because I’ve had to pay for an extra two days of childcare each week.

I called him today en route to the hospital today. Benjamin had a fever of 104.5 and I thought he should know about it.

“Oh,” he says, “Well, I’m in a meeting, I’ll call you back.” CLICK.

I called him tonight to vent a bit. I know, I know. Should have let it go. He’s completely out of our lives now but when I’m missing days upon days of work and he doesn’t even seem concerned or offer to take a day off from his job I get upset.

“I understand,” he says.

“No you don’t.” I snap. “You don’t understand. How could you understand? You have never, ever had to take a day off from work to take care of your son when he’s sick.”

What he says next blew my mind.

“If we were married I would. But, my boss is not going to give me a day off to take care of my ex-wife’s kid. We are not a family anymore.”

“What?!!! He’s your son. You mean he is less of a son to you because we’re not married? Your boss can’t think that unless you think that.”

I should have hung up at this point but I  didn’t. And then he drops this bomb (not the first time).

“It was your choice to leave me,” he says, “it was your choice and now you have to deal with it.”

Was it really my choice to be a single mom? Yes, in that the idea of actually still being with him, had I stayed, makes my skin crawl. Being a single mom is tough but being with a husband like him was a hell of a lot harder. He was cold, insensitive, hurtful and down right useless.

He’s now on month 9 of a relationship with another single mother. Her son is 6 and they’re now living together. Poor her. Poor kid.

If he would have had it his way, right now he would be sitting on MY couch, drinking MY beer, eating MY groceries and treating me like shit. I just wish he weren’t on another single mom’s couch right now. I wish I could warn her.

Conclusion = It was his choice to give me no choice.

Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
***UPDATE***

If you’re here to find out how to change your Facebook or MySpace relationship status, click here.

Once you’re done – come back and read this…

“A relationship isn’t official until it’s on Facebook!” a young co-worker told me this morning. “My friend got engaged and two weeks later the announcement still wasn’t on Facebook. We all thought she had called it off or something.” Virtual social networks have changed the dating landscape… forever.

After my divorce I created a MySpace page. I was an innocent to the social networking world and had no idea how much it would change my dating experiences. My single friend was over the other night venting about a frustrating experience she’s having with an ex boyfriend right now.

“I’m not sure if he’ll call me tonight or not. I left him a comment today asking if he was going out and haven’t heard back.”

MySpace and Facebook have now effectively changed the way we date. Now we can call, text, e-mail or better yet – leave a MySpace comment or give someone a Facebook poke.

Here’s my translation of the MySpace and Facebook Dating Codes.

  1. Add each other as friends. This is really no big deal and doesn’t mean much. But at least now you have unbridled access to their page, photos, blog, etc.
  2. Leave cute, flirty comments on each other’s page. A good sign. He’s writing on your page, you’re writing on his. All is well in the world.
  3. Move each other up to “top friend” status. This is a big step and could indicate a future relationship status change.
  4. Continue with more flirtatious comments like “last night was amazing, you make me crazy.” Getting closer.
  5. Change your relationship status. The biggest step. Now you’re taken. You’re off the virtual market and you’re shouting loud and proud to the rest of the world that you’re happy and committed.

In conversations with my single girlfriends the old burning questions like, “is he a good kisser?,” “does he call often?,” “does he make you laugh?” are still completely relevant but added into the mix are, “did he move you into his top friends?,” “who else is on his page?”

The Virtual Red Flag

Some men are all over your MySpace page while you’re dating…others will be silent, never leaving a comment or moving you into their top friends. Strange. A red flag. A new red flag. The virtual red flag.

The Relationship Status Change: Who brings it up…how does it happen?

A case in point: my current flame took matters into his own hands. Last night when we were falling asleep he said, “I changed my relationship status on Facebook.” What??? Wow!!! I didn’t know what to think. We’ve only been together for 3 weeks and now Facebook says we’re “in a relationship.”

“You want me to be your girlfriend?”

He says, “ya…is that okay?” He’s confused by my reaction. I mean, he’s a guy and he’s completely crazy about me. We’ve been seeing each other steadily for three weeks – why not change his status? Meanwhile my brain is on fire with a mix of happiness and fear. I feel like I’m in the 8th grade and a cute boy has just asked me out.

I can’t change my MySpace relationship status just yet- it’s too early. That page is like my temple of autonomy. I break the news to him, “I’ll change my Facebook account status, but not my MySpace account.” Hmmm….a virtual compromise.

This morning I go onto Facebook. Yep, there he is – “in a relationship.” I go to my profile and click in relationship (there is a special section for this). I change my status. Then Facebook asks me, “who are you in a relationship with?” I pick his name. Then it says, “Kris is now your boyfriend. We will be sending him a confirmation to see if he accepts your relationship request.”

What??? Oh my god…I have a boyfriend and they’re sending him a relationship request? I’m actually embarrassed. I call him immediately, “Facebook has just informed me that you’re my boyfriend, but you have to agree to it.” He laughed. “I’ll accept, I won’t leave you hanging. Later… girlfriend.” I feel like I’m 14 again.

A boy actually asked me out – even though he did it virtually I still think it’s absolutely adorable. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been asked out. Usually it’s me looking at the guy like, “so are you my boyfriend?”

See? This virtual world is good for something.

UPDATE/ Additional notes:

Crazy how MySpace and Facebook have changed the way we date. In just a few seconds you can scope out your ex’s relationship status, flirtatous comments and daily activities. Twitter makes it even worse. Maybe I should go on a delete binge tonight.

How often do you delete your the Ex-Profiles on MySpace? Can you do it? Do you think I can?

Deleting an ex is like permanently severing all ties…but then I think of the ex’s who were my friends – the ones I genuinely want to stay in touch with. And then I think of the sting when I see their “latest activity.”

I vote for delete.
I have seen a few google searches with this question pointing to my blog. Not sure why they’re taking you here, but it’s a very valid question. So here goes.

My friend Abby has been a single mom for over three years now and one night when we were on a crazy girls night, I had struck up a conversation with a charming dentist. He seemed interested so I thought, “better get it out on the table.” But this is how I phrased it, “Well, you’ll never actually be able to date me.” He looked surprised, “why not?”

“Because I have a baby.”

“Oh. Well, that must be fun.” After some awkward small talk he disappeared.

I ran up to Abby. “That guy just vanished after I told him about Benjamin!” She pulled me aside and whispered, “Oh no. You can’t tell them that right away. You’ve got to wait until at least a couple of dates.” What? I was floored. She just didn’t tell them.

“They have to fall for you first,” she insisted, “and then the baby thing is just like an added bonus – and ‘oh by the way, I do all of this and I’m an amazing single mom.’ It works!”

I am skeptical of Abbey’s theory. Here’s why, if the baby thing is too much for them to handle, why find that out two dates in? And wouldn’t that be a form of dishonesty?

I’ve decided that it depends on a few factors. If you are out for a night filled with multiple encounters with men on the dance floor or behind a bar – don’t mention it. Unless one of these men grabs your attention, you end up hitting it off and you feel like there’s potential for a future date – then dish. But make sure you frame it positively. The dentist was scared off because of the way I phrased it. I made it an obstacle when it really isn’t and I made it sound like Benjamin was a hinderance.

Having a baby or a child in your life is an amazing thing. Sure it’s an obstacle to dating men who don’t care about you, but not when you’re dating men who are genuinely into you. Beware of scaring off the good ones by making it sound like a bad thing, one of my nasty little habits.

Here’s a male perspective. My single friend Dave was out recently and called me the next day after bumping into a few single moms at a bar. “We were hitting it off and then they told me they have a baby. But they made it sound like it was a horrible thing. Their bad attitude was totally unattractive and I just had to walk away.”

When I told my new boyfriend about Benjamin it was the first night we met. But I waited until the end of the night, when I knew I would want to see him again. I brought it up within the flow of conversation and had a smile on my face. “So…I have a little bit of baggage, and he weighs 22 pounds. If you want to see me again, I just thought I should get that out there..so…” I trailed off and looked down into my lap, hoping I wouldn’t see fear in his eyes. “Do you have a picture?” He looked at Benjamin on my phone and smiled, a genuine smile. “He’s a cutie. Want to play another game of pool?”

My conclusion – having a child is as big of deal as you make it. And we can’t expect a man who’s never had a child before to possibly understand on a first date or on a first encounter. That comes later. But there’s no sense in not giving him a chance to understand.

When do you tell a man you’re a single mom?

It’s been two weeks now since Benjamin’s father has seen his son.

His car is broken down because he drove it without oil. Sigh.

Coincidentally Benjamin has also been sick, sick, sick. I have missed four days of work and will be missing two more. I am also broke because I’ve had to pay for an extra two days of childcare each week.

I called him today en route to the hospital today. Benjamin had a fever of 104.5 and I thought he should know about it.

“Oh,” he says, “Well, I’m in a meeting, I’ll call you back.” CLICK.

I called him tonight to vent a bit. I know, I know. Should have let it go. He’s completely out of our lives now but when I’m missing days upon days of work and he doesn’t even seem concerned or offer to take a day off from his job I get upset.

“I understand,” he says.

“No you don’t.” I snap. “You don’t understand. How could you understand? You have never, ever had to take a day off from work to take care of your son when he’s sick.”

What he says next blew my mind.

“If we were married I would. But, my boss is not going to give me a day off to take care of my ex-wife’s kid. We are not a family anymore.”

“What?!!! He’s your son. You mean he is less of a son to you because we’re not married? Your boss can’t think that unless you think that.”

I should have hung up at this point but I  didn’t. And then he drops this bomb (not the first time).

“It was your choice to leave me,” he says, “it was your choice and now you have to deal with it.”

Was it really my choice to be a single mom? Yes, in that the idea of actually still being with him, had I stayed, makes my skin crawl. Being a single mom is tough but being with a husband like him was a hell of a lot harder. He was cold, insensitive, hurtful and down right useless.

He’s now on month 9 of a relationship with another single mother. Her son is 6 and they’re now living together. Poor her. Poor kid.

If he would have had it his way, right now he would be sitting on MY couch, drinking MY beer, eating MY groceries and treating me like shit. I just wish he weren’t on another single mom’s couch right now. I wish I could warn her.

Conclusion = It was his choice to give me no choice.

Clare, the co-founder of iHeart Single Parents, made an appearance on Fox’s Morning Show this week.

Click here to watch Clare’s interview.

I’m so excited that iHeartSingleParents.com is finally getting the attention it deserves.

Morning Show hosts Mike and Juliet say, at the start of this piece, that 40% of new mothers in the U.S. are unmarried and of those the fastest growing group is women in their late 20’s. Not sure where they got that statistic (and it is Fox) but could that be true? Forty percent!

Mike and Juliet also ask Clare if she would recommend that other women choose to be a single mom. In her blog post, Clare says they sprung these questions on her – “They didn’t ask the questions that the producer and I practiced on at all.”

I can’t speak for Clare but being a single mother is seldom a choice for any of us. It’s something that happens. We choose to go on as single moms… but we certainly didn’t choose this path? Or did we? I chose to leave my husband. Does that mean I chose to be a single mom? I’ve written about this here.

Food for thought. And evidence that talk show hosts will always go for the controversial chord of any conversation.

Regardless, Clare did a fantastic job representing! And if you haven’t been over to iHeart lately, get over there because there are hundreds of new members joining every day… and as Clare says in this interview, having a single parent social network to turn to really makes you feel less alone.

[Photo: Clare and her 2-year-old son, Colby]

P.S. Proves my point that Single Moms are on Fire!

Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
***UPDATE***

If you’re here to find out how to change your Facebook or MySpace relationship status, click here.

Once you’re done – come back and read this…

“A relationship isn’t official until it’s on Facebook!” a young co-worker told me this morning. “My friend got engaged and two weeks later the announcement still wasn’t on Facebook. We all thought she had called it off or something.” Virtual social networks have changed the dating landscape… forever.

After my divorce I created a MySpace page. I was an innocent to the social networking world and had no idea how much it would change my dating experiences. My single friend was over the other night venting about a frustrating experience she’s having with an ex boyfriend right now.

“I’m not sure if he’ll call me tonight or not. I left him a comment today asking if he was going out and haven’t heard back.”

MySpace and Facebook have now effectively changed the way we date. Now we can call, text, e-mail or better yet – leave a MySpace comment or give someone a Facebook poke.

Here’s my translation of the MySpace and Facebook Dating Codes.

  1. Add each other as friends. This is really no big deal and doesn’t mean much. But at least now you have unbridled access to their page, photos, blog, etc.
  2. Leave cute, flirty comments on each other’s page. A good sign. He’s writing on your page, you’re writing on his. All is well in the world.
  3. Move each other up to “top friend” status. This is a big step and could indicate a future relationship status change.
  4. Continue with more flirtatious comments like “last night was amazing, you make me crazy.” Getting closer.
  5. Change your relationship status. The biggest step. Now you’re taken. You’re off the virtual market and you’re shouting loud and proud to the rest of the world that you’re happy and committed.

In conversations with my single girlfriends the old burning questions like, “is he a good kisser?,” “does he call often?,” “does he make you laugh?” are still completely relevant but added into the mix are, “did he move you into his top friends?,” “who else is on his page?”

The Virtual Red Flag

Some men are all over your MySpace page while you’re dating…others will be silent, never leaving a comment or moving you into their top friends. Strange. A red flag. A new red flag. The virtual red flag.

The Relationship Status Change: Who brings it up…how does it happen?

A case in point: my current flame took matters into his own hands. Last night when we were falling asleep he said, “I changed my relationship status on Facebook.” What??? Wow!!! I didn’t know what to think. We’ve only been together for 3 weeks and now Facebook says we’re “in a relationship.”

“You want me to be your girlfriend?”

He says, “ya…is that okay?” He’s confused by my reaction. I mean, he’s a guy and he’s completely crazy about me. We’ve been seeing each other steadily for three weeks – why not change his status? Meanwhile my brain is on fire with a mix of happiness and fear. I feel like I’m in the 8th grade and a cute boy has just asked me out.

I can’t change my MySpace relationship status just yet- it’s too early. That page is like my temple of autonomy. I break the news to him, “I’ll change my Facebook account status, but not my MySpace account.” Hmmm….a virtual compromise.

This morning I go onto Facebook. Yep, there he is – “in a relationship.” I go to my profile and click in relationship (there is a special section for this). I change my status. Then Facebook asks me, “who are you in a relationship with?” I pick his name. Then it says, “Kris is now your boyfriend. We will be sending him a confirmation to see if he accepts your relationship request.”

What??? Oh my god…I have a boyfriend and they’re sending him a relationship request? I’m actually embarrassed. I call him immediately, “Facebook has just informed me that you’re my boyfriend, but you have to agree to it.” He laughed. “I’ll accept, I won’t leave you hanging. Later… girlfriend.” I feel like I’m 14 again.

A boy actually asked me out – even though he did it virtually I still think it’s absolutely adorable. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been asked out. Usually it’s me looking at the guy like, “so are you my boyfriend?”

See? This virtual world is good for something.

UPDATE/ Additional notes:

Crazy how MySpace and Facebook have changed the way we date. In just a few seconds you can scope out your ex’s relationship status, flirtatous comments and daily activities. Twitter makes it even worse. Maybe I should go on a delete binge tonight.

How often do you delete your the Ex-Profiles on MySpace? Can you do it? Do you think I can?

Deleting an ex is like permanently severing all ties…but then I think of the ex’s who were my friends – the ones I genuinely want to stay in touch with. And then I think of the sting when I see their “latest activity.”

I vote for delete.
I have seen a few google searches with this question pointing to my blog. Not sure why they’re taking you here, but it’s a very valid question. So here goes.

My friend Abby has been a single mom for over three years now and one night when we were on a crazy girls night, I had struck up a conversation with a charming dentist. He seemed interested so I thought, “better get it out on the table.” But this is how I phrased it, “Well, you’ll never actually be able to date me.” He looked surprised, “why not?”

“Because I have a baby.”

“Oh. Well, that must be fun.” After some awkward small talk he disappeared.

I ran up to Abby. “That guy just vanished after I told him about Benjamin!” She pulled me aside and whispered, “Oh no. You can’t tell them that right away. You’ve got to wait until at least a couple of dates.” What? I was floored. She just didn’t tell them.

“They have to fall for you first,” she insisted, “and then the baby thing is just like an added bonus – and ‘oh by the way, I do all of this and I’m an amazing single mom.’ It works!”

I am skeptical of Abbey’s theory. Here’s why, if the baby thing is too much for them to handle, why find that out two dates in? And wouldn’t that be a form of dishonesty?

I’ve decided that it depends on a few factors. If you are out for a night filled with multiple encounters with men on the dance floor or behind a bar – don’t mention it. Unless one of these men grabs your attention, you end up hitting it off and you feel like there’s potential for a future date – then dish. But make sure you frame it positively. The dentist was scared off because of the way I phrased it. I made it an obstacle when it really isn’t and I made it sound like Benjamin was a hinderance.

Having a baby or a child in your life is an amazing thing. Sure it’s an obstacle to dating men who don’t care about you, but not when you’re dating men who are genuinely into you. Beware of scaring off the good ones by making it sound like a bad thing, one of my nasty little habits.

Here’s a male perspective. My single friend Dave was out recently and called me the next day after bumping into a few single moms at a bar. “We were hitting it off and then they told me they have a baby. But they made it sound like it was a horrible thing. Their bad attitude was totally unattractive and I just had to walk away.”

When I told my new boyfriend about Benjamin it was the first night we met. But I waited until the end of the night, when I knew I would want to see him again. I brought it up within the flow of conversation and had a smile on my face. “So…I have a little bit of baggage, and he weighs 22 pounds. If you want to see me again, I just thought I should get that out there..so…” I trailed off and looked down into my lap, hoping I wouldn’t see fear in his eyes. “Do you have a picture?” He looked at Benjamin on my phone and smiled, a genuine smile. “He’s a cutie. Want to play another game of pool?”

My conclusion – having a child is as big of deal as you make it. And we can’t expect a man who’s never had a child before to possibly understand on a first date or on a first encounter. That comes later. But there’s no sense in not giving him a chance to understand.

When do you tell a man you’re a single mom?

It’s been two weeks now since Benjamin’s father has seen his son.

His car is broken down because he drove it without oil. Sigh.

Coincidentally Benjamin has also been sick, sick, sick. I have missed four days of work and will be missing two more. I am also broke because I’ve had to pay for an extra two days of childcare each week.

I called him today en route to the hospital today. Benjamin had a fever of 104.5 and I thought he should know about it.

“Oh,” he says, “Well, I’m in a meeting, I’ll call you back.” CLICK.

I called him tonight to vent a bit. I know, I know. Should have let it go. He’s completely out of our lives now but when I’m missing days upon days of work and he doesn’t even seem concerned or offer to take a day off from his job I get upset.

“I understand,” he says.

“No you don’t.” I snap. “You don’t understand. How could you understand? You have never, ever had to take a day off from work to take care of your son when he’s sick.”

What he says next blew my mind.

“If we were married I would. But, my boss is not going to give me a day off to take care of my ex-wife’s kid. We are not a family anymore.”

“What?!!! He’s your son. You mean he is less of a son to you because we’re not married? Your boss can’t think that unless you think that.”

I should have hung up at this point but I  didn’t. And then he drops this bomb (not the first time).

“It was your choice to leave me,” he says, “it was your choice and now you have to deal with it.”

Was it really my choice to be a single mom? Yes, in that the idea of actually still being with him, had I stayed, makes my skin crawl. Being a single mom is tough but being with a husband like him was a hell of a lot harder. He was cold, insensitive, hurtful and down right useless.

He’s now on month 9 of a relationship with another single mother. Her son is 6 and they’re now living together. Poor her. Poor kid.

If he would have had it his way, right now he would be sitting on MY couch, drinking MY beer, eating MY groceries and treating me like shit. I just wish he weren’t on another single mom’s couch right now. I wish I could warn her.

Conclusion = It was his choice to give me no choice.

Clare, the co-founder of iHeart Single Parents, made an appearance on Fox’s Morning Show this week.

Click here to watch Clare’s interview.

I’m so excited that iHeartSingleParents.com is finally getting the attention it deserves.

Morning Show hosts Mike and Juliet say, at the start of this piece, that 40% of new mothers in the U.S. are unmarried and of those the fastest growing group is women in their late 20’s. Not sure where they got that statistic (and it is Fox) but could that be true? Forty percent!

Mike and Juliet also ask Clare if she would recommend that other women choose to be a single mom. In her blog post, Clare says they sprung these questions on her – “They didn’t ask the questions that the producer and I practiced on at all.”

I can’t speak for Clare but being a single mother is seldom a choice for any of us. It’s something that happens. We choose to go on as single moms… but we certainly didn’t choose this path? Or did we? I chose to leave my husband. Does that mean I chose to be a single mom? I’ve written about this here.

Food for thought. And evidence that talk show hosts will always go for the controversial chord of any conversation.

Regardless, Clare did a fantastic job representing! And if you haven’t been over to iHeart lately, get over there because there are hundreds of new members joining every day… and as Clare says in this interview, having a single parent social network to turn to really makes you feel less alone.

[Photo: Clare and her 2-year-old son, Colby]

P.S. Proves my point that Single Moms are on Fire!

It’s been four weeks now.

My new relationship status is beginning to sink in.

I have a boyfriend, and I’m actually enjoying it immensely. Usually at this point fear takes over and I start pushing them away. I slowly eject them from my life, or cut it clean depending on my mood. But this time, I’m not feeling that way. I’m not stressed at all. I’m completely comfortable with him and totally into him. So far, the feeling is mutual.

I had him over for dinner on Thursday night. Benjamin was still awake. Kris has seen Benjamin in the mornings briefly but this would be his first evening with us, usually the highlight of my day because Benjamin is chipper, happy and ready to play.

Kris walks in, gives me a hug and then crouches down on his knees, “And, how are you?” He looks at Benjamin and Benjmain stares back. This is odd, usually he flashes a smile and runs away but he can’t take his eyes off of Kris.

Kris leads him into the living room and opens his toy chest. This is a first. Of all of the men I’ve dated since the divorce not one has genuinely just sat down and played with my kid. This used to surprise me because I thought – “If they’re trying to win me over wouldn’t they want to at least try to play with him?” To their credit, some would try, but it was awkward and forced. “I’ve never been around kids,” they would say. “I don’t know what to do.” Kris has never been around kids either, he’s actually only 23. Five years younger than me.

While I’m in the kitchen cooking dinner, I hear Kris talking to Benjamin, he’s calm, assuring and playful. A few hours later I take Benjamin up for bedtime. I come downstairs and all of his toys are cleaned up. Kris had tidied up my living room. I’m now pinching myself.

Kris is still there in the morning. We all eat pancakes together. There’s lots of laughter, more playing and the entire time Benjamin is following Kris around like a little puppy. I put Benjamin down for his nap and say good bye to Kris, we both have to work.

When Benjamin wakes up four hours later (he has a nasty cold which is why I’m home on a Friday) he searches the house for Kris. He’s going from room to room. As soon as he realizes Kris is gone – he starts crying…hard. My heart breaks. What am I doing? What if this doesn’t work out? Where will we be then? Benjamin is clearly well into toddlerhood (20 months) and now he is very well aware of what’s up.

The single mom dating conundrum:

When a man enters our life we want to see how they would fit into our family, or if they can even handle it. But we can’t do it without introducing them to the kids.

The solution:

When Benjamin was a teeny tiny baby, this wasn’t an issue. So everything I’m about to say clearly depends on the age of the children.

I’m not big on the idea of waiting six months to bring a man into my daily routine. I guess it’s because I’m afraid he would be shocked at the reality of how hard it is to raise a toddler and then split. Then I would have invested six months of my time in a guy who wasn’t really there for the right reasons.

The other problem. I am a working single mother. Not bringing him around Benjamin leaves me only a few hours in the late evening. Period. This can get old and can also hurt a budding relationship.

I have learned from my past mishaps not to raise this issue too early. Why? Because there is no way he or you actually know how long this will last yet, and you shouldn’t presume to know that. Once I actually told a guy I was dating, “the only way I can date you is if there’s potential – potential that one day we might get married.” We had only been dating for a few months. I didn’t even want to marry him. Isn’t that crazy? I just had to rationalize why I was spending time away from my son – to myself. In the end that one just fizzled out but the moral of the story is – it could have been more fun if I would have left my drama in my head. I’m thinking this is probably a good conversation to have 6-8 months in to a relationship. Just a hunch, but to each his own.

My solution: I am going to keep Kris’ encounters with Benjamin to a minimum for the next few months, but he will have a few. Because I also want someone to fall in love with my son, not just me…we are a package deal.
Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
***UPDATE***

If you’re here to find out how to change your Facebook or MySpace relationship status, click here.

Once you’re done – come back and read this…

“A relationship isn’t official until it’s on Facebook!” a young co-worker told me this morning. “My friend got engaged and two weeks later the announcement still wasn’t on Facebook. We all thought she had called it off or something.” Virtual social networks have changed the dating landscape… forever.

After my divorce I created a MySpace page. I was an innocent to the social networking world and had no idea how much it would change my dating experiences. My single friend was over the other night venting about a frustrating experience she’s having with an ex boyfriend right now.

“I’m not sure if he’ll call me tonight or not. I left him a comment today asking if he was going out and haven’t heard back.”

MySpace and Facebook have now effectively changed the way we date. Now we can call, text, e-mail or better yet – leave a MySpace comment or give someone a Facebook poke.

Here’s my translation of the MySpace and Facebook Dating Codes.

  1. Add each other as friends. This is really no big deal and doesn’t mean much. But at least now you have unbridled access to their page, photos, blog, etc.
  2. Leave cute, flirty comments on each other’s page. A good sign. He’s writing on your page, you’re writing on his. All is well in the world.
  3. Move each other up to “top friend” status. This is a big step and could indicate a future relationship status change.
  4. Continue with more flirtatious comments like “last night was amazing, you make me crazy.” Getting closer.
  5. Change your relationship status. The biggest step. Now you’re taken. You’re off the virtual market and you’re shouting loud and proud to the rest of the world that you’re happy and committed.

In conversations with my single girlfriends the old burning questions like, “is he a good kisser?,” “does he call often?,” “does he make you laugh?” are still completely relevant but added into the mix are, “did he move you into his top friends?,” “who else is on his page?”

The Virtual Red Flag

Some men are all over your MySpace page while you’re dating…others will be silent, never leaving a comment or moving you into their top friends. Strange. A red flag. A new red flag. The virtual red flag.

The Relationship Status Change: Who brings it up…how does it happen?

A case in point: my current flame took matters into his own hands. Last night when we were falling asleep he said, “I changed my relationship status on Facebook.” What??? Wow!!! I didn’t know what to think. We’ve only been together for 3 weeks and now Facebook says we’re “in a relationship.”

“You want me to be your girlfriend?”

He says, “ya…is that okay?” He’s confused by my reaction. I mean, he’s a guy and he’s completely crazy about me. We’ve been seeing each other steadily for three weeks – why not change his status? Meanwhile my brain is on fire with a mix of happiness and fear. I feel like I’m in the 8th grade and a cute boy has just asked me out.

I can’t change my MySpace relationship status just yet- it’s too early. That page is like my temple of autonomy. I break the news to him, “I’ll change my Facebook account status, but not my MySpace account.” Hmmm….a virtual compromise.

This morning I go onto Facebook. Yep, there he is – “in a relationship.” I go to my profile and click in relationship (there is a special section for this). I change my status. Then Facebook asks me, “who are you in a relationship with?” I pick his name. Then it says, “Kris is now your boyfriend. We will be sending him a confirmation to see if he accepts your relationship request.”

What??? Oh my god…I have a boyfriend and they’re sending him a relationship request? I’m actually embarrassed. I call him immediately, “Facebook has just informed me that you’re my boyfriend, but you have to agree to it.” He laughed. “I’ll accept, I won’t leave you hanging. Later… girlfriend.” I feel like I’m 14 again.

A boy actually asked me out – even though he did it virtually I still think it’s absolutely adorable. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been asked out. Usually it’s me looking at the guy like, “so are you my boyfriend?”

See? This virtual world is good for something.

UPDATE/ Additional notes:

Crazy how MySpace and Facebook have changed the way we date. In just a few seconds you can scope out your ex’s relationship status, flirtatous comments and daily activities. Twitter makes it even worse. Maybe I should go on a delete binge tonight.

How often do you delete your the Ex-Profiles on MySpace? Can you do it? Do you think I can?

Deleting an ex is like permanently severing all ties…but then I think of the ex’s who were my friends – the ones I genuinely want to stay in touch with. And then I think of the sting when I see their “latest activity.”

I vote for delete.
I have seen a few google searches with this question pointing to my blog. Not sure why they’re taking you here, but it’s a very valid question. So here goes.

My friend Abby has been a single mom for over three years now and one night when we were on a crazy girls night, I had struck up a conversation with a charming dentist. He seemed interested so I thought, “better get it out on the table.” But this is how I phrased it, “Well, you’ll never actually be able to date me.” He looked surprised, “why not?”

“Because I have a baby.”

“Oh. Well, that must be fun.” After some awkward small talk he disappeared.

I ran up to Abby. “That guy just vanished after I told him about Benjamin!” She pulled me aside and whispered, “Oh no. You can’t tell them that right away. You’ve got to wait until at least a couple of dates.” What? I was floored. She just didn’t tell them.

“They have to fall for you first,” she insisted, “and then the baby thing is just like an added bonus – and ‘oh by the way, I do all of this and I’m an amazing single mom.’ It works!”

I am skeptical of Abbey’s theory. Here’s why, if the baby thing is too much for them to handle, why find that out two dates in? And wouldn’t that be a form of dishonesty?

I’ve decided that it depends on a few factors. If you are out for a night filled with multiple encounters with men on the dance floor or behind a bar – don’t mention it. Unless one of these men grabs your attention, you end up hitting it off and you feel like there’s potential for a future date – then dish. But make sure you frame it positively. The dentist was scared off because of the way I phrased it. I made it an obstacle when it really isn’t and I made it sound like Benjamin was a hinderance.

Having a baby or a child in your life is an amazing thing. Sure it’s an obstacle to dating men who don’t care about you, but not when you’re dating men who are genuinely into you. Beware of scaring off the good ones by making it sound like a bad thing, one of my nasty little habits.

Here’s a male perspective. My single friend Dave was out recently and called me the next day after bumping into a few single moms at a bar. “We were hitting it off and then they told me they have a baby. But they made it sound like it was a horrible thing. Their bad attitude was totally unattractive and I just had to walk away.”

When I told my new boyfriend about Benjamin it was the first night we met. But I waited until the end of the night, when I knew I would want to see him again. I brought it up within the flow of conversation and had a smile on my face. “So…I have a little bit of baggage, and he weighs 22 pounds. If you want to see me again, I just thought I should get that out there..so…” I trailed off and looked down into my lap, hoping I wouldn’t see fear in his eyes. “Do you have a picture?” He looked at Benjamin on my phone and smiled, a genuine smile. “He’s a cutie. Want to play another game of pool?”

My conclusion – having a child is as big of deal as you make it. And we can’t expect a man who’s never had a child before to possibly understand on a first date or on a first encounter. That comes later. But there’s no sense in not giving him a chance to understand.

When do you tell a man you’re a single mom?

It’s been two weeks now since Benjamin’s father has seen his son.

His car is broken down because he drove it without oil. Sigh.

Coincidentally Benjamin has also been sick, sick, sick. I have missed four days of work and will be missing two more. I am also broke because I’ve had to pay for an extra two days of childcare each week.

I called him today en route to the hospital today. Benjamin had a fever of 104.5 and I thought he should know about it.

“Oh,” he says, “Well, I’m in a meeting, I’ll call you back.” CLICK.

I called him tonight to vent a bit. I know, I know. Should have let it go. He’s completely out of our lives now but when I’m missing days upon days of work and he doesn’t even seem concerned or offer to take a day off from his job I get upset.

“I understand,” he says.

“No you don’t.” I snap. “You don’t understand. How could you understand? You have never, ever had to take a day off from work to take care of your son when he’s sick.”

What he says next blew my mind.

“If we were married I would. But, my boss is not going to give me a day off to take care of my ex-wife’s kid. We are not a family anymore.”

“What?!!! He’s your son. You mean he is less of a son to you because we’re not married? Your boss can’t think that unless you think that.”

I should have hung up at this point but I  didn’t. And then he drops this bomb (not the first time).

“It was your choice to leave me,” he says, “it was your choice and now you have to deal with it.”

Was it really my choice to be a single mom? Yes, in that the idea of actually still being with him, had I stayed, makes my skin crawl. Being a single mom is tough but being with a husband like him was a hell of a lot harder. He was cold, insensitive, hurtful and down right useless.

He’s now on month 9 of a relationship with another single mother. Her son is 6 and they’re now living together. Poor her. Poor kid.

If he would have had it his way, right now he would be sitting on MY couch, drinking MY beer, eating MY groceries and treating me like shit. I just wish he weren’t on another single mom’s couch right now. I wish I could warn her.

Conclusion = It was his choice to give me no choice.

Clare, the co-founder of iHeart Single Parents, made an appearance on Fox’s Morning Show this week.

Click here to watch Clare’s interview.

I’m so excited that iHeartSingleParents.com is finally getting the attention it deserves.

Morning Show hosts Mike and Juliet say, at the start of this piece, that 40% of new mothers in the U.S. are unmarried and of those the fastest growing group is women in their late 20’s. Not sure where they got that statistic (and it is Fox) but could that be true? Forty percent!

Mike and Juliet also ask Clare if she would recommend that other women choose to be a single mom. In her blog post, Clare says they sprung these questions on her – “They didn’t ask the questions that the producer and I practiced on at all.”

I can’t speak for Clare but being a single mother is seldom a choice for any of us. It’s something that happens. We choose to go on as single moms… but we certainly didn’t choose this path? Or did we? I chose to leave my husband. Does that mean I chose to be a single mom? I’ve written about this here.

Food for thought. And evidence that talk show hosts will always go for the controversial chord of any conversation.

Regardless, Clare did a fantastic job representing! And if you haven’t been over to iHeart lately, get over there because there are hundreds of new members joining every day… and as Clare says in this interview, having a single parent social network to turn to really makes you feel less alone.

[Photo: Clare and her 2-year-old son, Colby]

P.S. Proves my point that Single Moms are on Fire!

It’s been four weeks now.

My new relationship status is beginning to sink in.

I have a boyfriend, and I’m actually enjoying it immensely. Usually at this point fear takes over and I start pushing them away. I slowly eject them from my life, or cut it clean depending on my mood. But this time, I’m not feeling that way. I’m not stressed at all. I’m completely comfortable with him and totally into him. So far, the feeling is mutual.

I had him over for dinner on Thursday night. Benjamin was still awake. Kris has seen Benjamin in the mornings briefly but this would be his first evening with us, usually the highlight of my day because Benjamin is chipper, happy and ready to play.

Kris walks in, gives me a hug and then crouches down on his knees, “And, how are you?” He looks at Benjamin and Benjmain stares back. This is odd, usually he flashes a smile and runs away but he can’t take his eyes off of Kris.

Kris leads him into the living room and opens his toy chest. This is a first. Of all of the men I’ve dated since the divorce not one has genuinely just sat down and played with my kid. This used to surprise me because I thought – “If they’re trying to win me over wouldn’t they want to at least try to play with him?” To their credit, some would try, but it was awkward and forced. “I’ve never been around kids,” they would say. “I don’t know what to do.” Kris has never been around kids either, he’s actually only 23. Five years younger than me.

While I’m in the kitchen cooking dinner, I hear Kris talking to Benjamin, he’s calm, assuring and playful. A few hours later I take Benjamin up for bedtime. I come downstairs and all of his toys are cleaned up. Kris had tidied up my living room. I’m now pinching myself.

Kris is still there in the morning. We all eat pancakes together. There’s lots of laughter, more playing and the entire time Benjamin is following Kris around like a little puppy. I put Benjamin down for his nap and say good bye to Kris, we both have to work.

When Benjamin wakes up four hours later (he has a nasty cold which is why I’m home on a Friday) he searches the house for Kris. He’s going from room to room. As soon as he realizes Kris is gone – he starts crying…hard. My heart breaks. What am I doing? What if this doesn’t work out? Where will we be then? Benjamin is clearly well into toddlerhood (20 months) and now he is very well aware of what’s up.

The single mom dating conundrum:

When a man enters our life we want to see how they would fit into our family, or if they can even handle it. But we can’t do it without introducing them to the kids.

The solution:

When Benjamin was a teeny tiny baby, this wasn’t an issue. So everything I’m about to say clearly depends on the age of the children.

I’m not big on the idea of waiting six months to bring a man into my daily routine. I guess it’s because I’m afraid he would be shocked at the reality of how hard it is to raise a toddler and then split. Then I would have invested six months of my time in a guy who wasn’t really there for the right reasons.

The other problem. I am a working single mother. Not bringing him around Benjamin leaves me only a few hours in the late evening. Period. This can get old and can also hurt a budding relationship.

I have learned from my past mishaps not to raise this issue too early. Why? Because there is no way he or you actually know how long this will last yet, and you shouldn’t presume to know that. Once I actually told a guy I was dating, “the only way I can date you is if there’s potential – potential that one day we might get married.” We had only been dating for a few months. I didn’t even want to marry him. Isn’t that crazy? I just had to rationalize why I was spending time away from my son – to myself. In the end that one just fizzled out but the moral of the story is – it could have been more fun if I would have left my drama in my head. I’m thinking this is probably a good conversation to have 6-8 months in to a relationship. Just a hunch, but to each his own.

My solution: I am going to keep Kris’ encounters with Benjamin to a minimum for the next few months, but he will have a few. Because I also want someone to fall in love with my son, not just me…we are a package deal.
My new boyfriend and I decided to quit smoking – together. It’s the first time I’ve done something together, as a couple in years. Well, if you count my divorce, it’s been nearly a year. Knowing Saturday night was going to be a baby-free all-nighter we pick Sunday to go cold turkey. I’m scared. Scared to quit smoking and scared to enter into a verbal contract with someone – a commitment.

I started smoking the day I realized I was going to leave my husband. He had come home and said he’d been fired from yet another job and that he didn’t want to work again, that he wanted to be a stay at home dad. We didn’t have the money for this scenario and I insisted he go out and look for more work. He refused. At this point he was bailing on me and my baby – that’s when I knew it was completely over. I heard my neighbor walking through the driveway. It was Abby, a single mom. Her daughter was just three at the time.

“Abby? Is that you?” I asked over the fence.

“Ya,” she said. We’d only talked a few times here and there, nothing too in depth. We were just friendly neighbors. She was the single mom, I was the married mom with the newborn, supposed to be completely happy.

“I need to have a cigarrette, and you need to tell me what it’s like to be a single mom because I’m about to be one.” She came running into my yard.

“Oh my god. I’ll be right back.”

It was in this moment as she went on and on about the trials and tribulations but about how ultimately, it was the right thing to do, that I realized the bond single mothers have with each other. Perhaps because we are the only ones – the only ones – who truly understand what the other is going through.

Leaving him, moving back in with my mother and leaving my career was the single most challenging thing I’ve ever done – I needed friends and I chose cigarrettes. Now, one and a half years later, I’m back on my feet. Have my career back, have my real friends and my life back. I don’t need them anymore.

On Sunday morning we quit together, as promised. But then today, Monday, I head into work and feel awful. I actually feel like I’m going to get sick all over my desk. Am I pregant? Nope. Definitely not. Could it be the smoking? I Google it. Yep. Smoking cessation can cause nausea. Weird.

I make it until 5:00 pm and then I have one. I just can’t do this. I can’t go pick up Benjamin like this. This nausea has got to go. The cigarrette doesn’t help. I get home and take my temperature – it’s 101.1. Oh my god. I’m sick. I’ve been home from work nursing Benjamin for weeks, have missed six work days and now I’m sick.

I call Kris. “I cheated. I just couldn’t stand it. I can’t be this sick. I thought it was nausea from not smoking, but I’m just actually sick as hell.”

“Do you really want to quit or not?” He sounds disappointed. I try to defend myself.

“But, I’m a single working mom. Any kind of stress relief I can get is worth it. I can’t be in withdraw around Benjamin. And tonight, being so sick, I nearly broke down in tears.”

(I actually had broken down in tears but didn’t want to tell him this). He still sounds pissed. And he should be – I broke a promise. I call him back later, he apologizes for being “difficult” and I apologize for cheating.

“Do you want me to come over? I can make you some tea, cuddle you down.” He offers.

“Nope…maybe tomorrow night.” Step by step, I tell myself. I can quit smoking with someone, sleep with them, even become emotionally attached to them, but it will be a long, long time before I’m ready to actually ask a man for help. I just can’t. I should call Abby and ask her why.

(P.S., I never smoke around Benjamin or in the house, which is why I really want to quit – it’s getting cold out).
Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
***UPDATE***

If you’re here to find out how to change your Facebook or MySpace relationship status, click here.

Once you’re done – come back and read this…

“A relationship isn’t official until it’s on Facebook!” a young co-worker told me this morning. “My friend got engaged and two weeks later the announcement still wasn’t on Facebook. We all thought she had called it off or something.” Virtual social networks have changed the dating landscape… forever.

After my divorce I created a MySpace page. I was an innocent to the social networking world and had no idea how much it would change my dating experiences. My single friend was over the other night venting about a frustrating experience she’s having with an ex boyfriend right now.

“I’m not sure if he’ll call me tonight or not. I left him a comment today asking if he was going out and haven’t heard back.”

MySpace and Facebook have now effectively changed the way we date. Now we can call, text, e-mail or better yet – leave a MySpace comment or give someone a Facebook poke.

Here’s my translation of the MySpace and Facebook Dating Codes.

  1. Add each other as friends. This is really no big deal and doesn’t mean much. But at least now you have unbridled access to their page, photos, blog, etc.
  2. Leave cute, flirty comments on each other’s page. A good sign. He’s writing on your page, you’re writing on his. All is well in the world.
  3. Move each other up to “top friend” status. This is a big step and could indicate a future relationship status change.
  4. Continue with more flirtatious comments like “last night was amazing, you make me crazy.” Getting closer.
  5. Change your relationship status. The biggest step. Now you’re taken. You’re off the virtual market and you’re shouting loud and proud to the rest of the world that you’re happy and committed.

In conversations with my single girlfriends the old burning questions like, “is he a good kisser?,” “does he call often?,” “does he make you laugh?” are still completely relevant but added into the mix are, “did he move you into his top friends?,” “who else is on his page?”

The Virtual Red Flag

Some men are all over your MySpace page while you’re dating…others will be silent, never leaving a comment or moving you into their top friends. Strange. A red flag. A new red flag. The virtual red flag.

The Relationship Status Change: Who brings it up…how does it happen?

A case in point: my current flame took matters into his own hands. Last night when we were falling asleep he said, “I changed my relationship status on Facebook.” What??? Wow!!! I didn’t know what to think. We’ve only been together for 3 weeks and now Facebook says we’re “in a relationship.”

“You want me to be your girlfriend?”

He says, “ya…is that okay?” He’s confused by my reaction. I mean, he’s a guy and he’s completely crazy about me. We’ve been seeing each other steadily for three weeks – why not change his status? Meanwhile my brain is on fire with a mix of happiness and fear. I feel like I’m in the 8th grade and a cute boy has just asked me out.

I can’t change my MySpace relationship status just yet- it’s too early. That page is like my temple of autonomy. I break the news to him, “I’ll change my Facebook account status, but not my MySpace account.” Hmmm….a virtual compromise.

This morning I go onto Facebook. Yep, there he is – “in a relationship.” I go to my profile and click in relationship (there is a special section for this). I change my status. Then Facebook asks me, “who are you in a relationship with?” I pick his name. Then it says, “Kris is now your boyfriend. We will be sending him a confirmation to see if he accepts your relationship request.”

What??? Oh my god…I have a boyfriend and they’re sending him a relationship request? I’m actually embarrassed. I call him immediately, “Facebook has just informed me that you’re my boyfriend, but you have to agree to it.” He laughed. “I’ll accept, I won’t leave you hanging. Later… girlfriend.” I feel like I’m 14 again.

A boy actually asked me out – even though he did it virtually I still think it’s absolutely adorable. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been asked out. Usually it’s me looking at the guy like, “so are you my boyfriend?”

See? This virtual world is good for something.

UPDATE/ Additional notes:

Crazy how MySpace and Facebook have changed the way we date. In just a few seconds you can scope out your ex’s relationship status, flirtatous comments and daily activities. Twitter makes it even worse. Maybe I should go on a delete binge tonight.

How often do you delete your the Ex-Profiles on MySpace? Can you do it? Do you think I can?

Deleting an ex is like permanently severing all ties…but then I think of the ex’s who were my friends – the ones I genuinely want to stay in touch with. And then I think of the sting when I see their “latest activity.”

I vote for delete.
I have seen a few google searches with this question pointing to my blog. Not sure why they’re taking you here, but it’s a very valid question. So here goes.

My friend Abby has been a single mom for over three years now and one night when we were on a crazy girls night, I had struck up a conversation with a charming dentist. He seemed interested so I thought, “better get it out on the table.” But this is how I phrased it, “Well, you’ll never actually be able to date me.” He looked surprised, “why not?”

“Because I have a baby.”

“Oh. Well, that must be fun.” After some awkward small talk he disappeared.

I ran up to Abby. “That guy just vanished after I told him about Benjamin!” She pulled me aside and whispered, “Oh no. You can’t tell them that right away. You’ve got to wait until at least a couple of dates.” What? I was floored. She just didn’t tell them.

“They have to fall for you first,” she insisted, “and then the baby thing is just like an added bonus – and ‘oh by the way, I do all of this and I’m an amazing single mom.’ It works!”

I am skeptical of Abbey’s theory. Here’s why, if the baby thing is too much for them to handle, why find that out two dates in? And wouldn’t that be a form of dishonesty?

I’ve decided that it depends on a few factors. If you are out for a night filled with multiple encounters with men on the dance floor or behind a bar – don’t mention it. Unless one of these men grabs your attention, you end up hitting it off and you feel like there’s potential for a future date – then dish. But make sure you frame it positively. The dentist was scared off because of the way I phrased it. I made it an obstacle when it really isn’t and I made it sound like Benjamin was a hinderance.

Having a baby or a child in your life is an amazing thing. Sure it’s an obstacle to dating men who don’t care about you, but not when you’re dating men who are genuinely into you. Beware of scaring off the good ones by making it sound like a bad thing, one of my nasty little habits.

Here’s a male perspective. My single friend Dave was out recently and called me the next day after bumping into a few single moms at a bar. “We were hitting it off and then they told me they have a baby. But they made it sound like it was a horrible thing. Their bad attitude was totally unattractive and I just had to walk away.”

When I told my new boyfriend about Benjamin it was the first night we met. But I waited until the end of the night, when I knew I would want to see him again. I brought it up within the flow of conversation and had a smile on my face. “So…I have a little bit of baggage, and he weighs 22 pounds. If you want to see me again, I just thought I should get that out there..so…” I trailed off and looked down into my lap, hoping I wouldn’t see fear in his eyes. “Do you have a picture?” He looked at Benjamin on my phone and smiled, a genuine smile. “He’s a cutie. Want to play another game of pool?”

My conclusion – having a child is as big of deal as you make it. And we can’t expect a man who’s never had a child before to possibly understand on a first date or on a first encounter. That comes later. But there’s no sense in not giving him a chance to understand.

When do you tell a man you’re a single mom?

It’s been two weeks now since Benjamin’s father has seen his son.

His car is broken down because he drove it without oil. Sigh.

Coincidentally Benjamin has also been sick, sick, sick. I have missed four days of work and will be missing two more. I am also broke because I’ve had to pay for an extra two days of childcare each week.

I called him today en route to the hospital today. Benjamin had a fever of 104.5 and I thought he should know about it.

“Oh,” he says, “Well, I’m in a meeting, I’ll call you back.” CLICK.

I called him tonight to vent a bit. I know, I know. Should have let it go. He’s completely out of our lives now but when I’m missing days upon days of work and he doesn’t even seem concerned or offer to take a day off from his job I get upset.

“I understand,” he says.

“No you don’t.” I snap. “You don’t understand. How could you understand? You have never, ever had to take a day off from work to take care of your son when he’s sick.”

What he says next blew my mind.

“If we were married I would. But, my boss is not going to give me a day off to take care of my ex-wife’s kid. We are not a family anymore.”

“What?!!! He’s your son. You mean he is less of a son to you because we’re not married? Your boss can’t think that unless you think that.”

I should have hung up at this point but I  didn’t. And then he drops this bomb (not the first time).

“It was your choice to leave me,” he says, “it was your choice and now you have to deal with it.”

Was it really my choice to be a single mom? Yes, in that the idea of actually still being with him, had I stayed, makes my skin crawl. Being a single mom is tough but being with a husband like him was a hell of a lot harder. He was cold, insensitive, hurtful and down right useless.

He’s now on month 9 of a relationship with another single mother. Her son is 6 and they’re now living together. Poor her. Poor kid.

If he would have had it his way, right now he would be sitting on MY couch, drinking MY beer, eating MY groceries and treating me like shit. I just wish he weren’t on another single mom’s couch right now. I wish I could warn her.

Conclusion = It was his choice to give me no choice.

Clare, the co-founder of iHeart Single Parents, made an appearance on Fox’s Morning Show this week.

Click here to watch Clare’s interview.

I’m so excited that iHeartSingleParents.com is finally getting the attention it deserves.

Morning Show hosts Mike and Juliet say, at the start of this piece, that 40% of new mothers in the U.S. are unmarried and of those the fastest growing group is women in their late 20’s. Not sure where they got that statistic (and it is Fox) but could that be true? Forty percent!

Mike and Juliet also ask Clare if she would recommend that other women choose to be a single mom. In her blog post, Clare says they sprung these questions on her – “They didn’t ask the questions that the producer and I practiced on at all.”

I can’t speak for Clare but being a single mother is seldom a choice for any of us. It’s something that happens. We choose to go on as single moms… but we certainly didn’t choose this path? Or did we? I chose to leave my husband. Does that mean I chose to be a single mom? I’ve written about this here.

Food for thought. And evidence that talk show hosts will always go for the controversial chord of any conversation.

Regardless, Clare did a fantastic job representing! And if you haven’t been over to iHeart lately, get over there because there are hundreds of new members joining every day… and as Clare says in this interview, having a single parent social network to turn to really makes you feel less alone.

[Photo: Clare and her 2-year-old son, Colby]

P.S. Proves my point that Single Moms are on Fire!

It’s been four weeks now.

My new relationship status is beginning to sink in.

I have a boyfriend, and I’m actually enjoying it immensely. Usually at this point fear takes over and I start pushing them away. I slowly eject them from my life, or cut it clean depending on my mood. But this time, I’m not feeling that way. I’m not stressed at all. I’m completely comfortable with him and totally into him. So far, the feeling is mutual.

I had him over for dinner on Thursday night. Benjamin was still awake. Kris has seen Benjamin in the mornings briefly but this would be his first evening with us, usually the highlight of my day because Benjamin is chipper, happy and ready to play.

Kris walks in, gives me a hug and then crouches down on his knees, “And, how are you?” He looks at Benjamin and Benjmain stares back. This is odd, usually he flashes a smile and runs away but he can’t take his eyes off of Kris.

Kris leads him into the living room and opens his toy chest. This is a first. Of all of the men I’ve dated since the divorce not one has genuinely just sat down and played with my kid. This used to surprise me because I thought – “If they’re trying to win me over wouldn’t they want to at least try to play with him?” To their credit, some would try, but it was awkward and forced. “I’ve never been around kids,” they would say. “I don’t know what to do.” Kris has never been around kids either, he’s actually only 23. Five years younger than me.

While I’m in the kitchen cooking dinner, I hear Kris talking to Benjamin, he’s calm, assuring and playful. A few hours later I take Benjamin up for bedtime. I come downstairs and all of his toys are cleaned up. Kris had tidied up my living room. I’m now pinching myself.

Kris is still there in the morning. We all eat pancakes together. There’s lots of laughter, more playing and the entire time Benjamin is following Kris around like a little puppy. I put Benjamin down for his nap and say good bye to Kris, we both have to work.

When Benjamin wakes up four hours later (he has a nasty cold which is why I’m home on a Friday) he searches the house for Kris. He’s going from room to room. As soon as he realizes Kris is gone – he starts crying…hard. My heart breaks. What am I doing? What if this doesn’t work out? Where will we be then? Benjamin is clearly well into toddlerhood (20 months) and now he is very well aware of what’s up.

The single mom dating conundrum:

When a man enters our life we want to see how they would fit into our family, or if they can even handle it. But we can’t do it without introducing them to the kids.

The solution:

When Benjamin was a teeny tiny baby, this wasn’t an issue. So everything I’m about to say clearly depends on the age of the children.

I’m not big on the idea of waiting six months to bring a man into my daily routine. I guess it’s because I’m afraid he would be shocked at the reality of how hard it is to raise a toddler and then split. Then I would have invested six months of my time in a guy who wasn’t really there for the right reasons.

The other problem. I am a working single mother. Not bringing him around Benjamin leaves me only a few hours in the late evening. Period. This can get old and can also hurt a budding relationship.

I have learned from my past mishaps not to raise this issue too early. Why? Because there is no way he or you actually know how long this will last yet, and you shouldn’t presume to know that. Once I actually told a guy I was dating, “the only way I can date you is if there’s potential – potential that one day we might get married.” We had only been dating for a few months. I didn’t even want to marry him. Isn’t that crazy? I just had to rationalize why I was spending time away from my son – to myself. In the end that one just fizzled out but the moral of the story is – it could have been more fun if I would have left my drama in my head. I’m thinking this is probably a good conversation to have 6-8 months in to a relationship. Just a hunch, but to each his own.

My solution: I am going to keep Kris’ encounters with Benjamin to a minimum for the next few months, but he will have a few. Because I also want someone to fall in love with my son, not just me…we are a package deal.
My new boyfriend and I decided to quit smoking – together. It’s the first time I’ve done something together, as a couple in years. Well, if you count my divorce, it’s been nearly a year. Knowing Saturday night was going to be a baby-free all-nighter we pick Sunday to go cold turkey. I’m scared. Scared to quit smoking and scared to enter into a verbal contract with someone – a commitment.

I started smoking the day I realized I was going to leave my husband. He had come home and said he’d been fired from yet another job and that he didn’t want to work again, that he wanted to be a stay at home dad. We didn’t have the money for this scenario and I insisted he go out and look for more work. He refused. At this point he was bailing on me and my baby – that’s when I knew it was completely over. I heard my neighbor walking through the driveway. It was Abby, a single mom. Her daughter was just three at the time.

“Abby? Is that you?” I asked over the fence.

“Ya,” she said. We’d only talked a few times here and there, nothing too in depth. We were just friendly neighbors. She was the single mom, I was the married mom with the newborn, supposed to be completely happy.

“I need to have a cigarrette, and you need to tell me what it’s like to be a single mom because I’m about to be one.” She came running into my yard.

“Oh my god. I’ll be right back.”

It was in this moment as she went on and on about the trials and tribulations but about how ultimately, it was the right thing to do, that I realized the bond single mothers have with each other. Perhaps because we are the only ones – the only ones – who truly understand what the other is going through.

Leaving him, moving back in with my mother and leaving my career was the single most challenging thing I’ve ever done – I needed friends and I chose cigarrettes. Now, one and a half years later, I’m back on my feet. Have my career back, have my real friends and my life back. I don’t need them anymore.

On Sunday morning we quit together, as promised. But then today, Monday, I head into work and feel awful. I actually feel like I’m going to get sick all over my desk. Am I pregant? Nope. Definitely not. Could it be the smoking? I Google it. Yep. Smoking cessation can cause nausea. Weird.

I make it until 5:00 pm and then I have one. I just can’t do this. I can’t go pick up Benjamin like this. This nausea has got to go. The cigarrette doesn’t help. I get home and take my temperature – it’s 101.1. Oh my god. I’m sick. I’ve been home from work nursing Benjamin for weeks, have missed six work days and now I’m sick.

I call Kris. “I cheated. I just couldn’t stand it. I can’t be this sick. I thought it was nausea from not smoking, but I’m just actually sick as hell.”

“Do you really want to quit or not?” He sounds disappointed. I try to defend myself.

“But, I’m a single working mom. Any kind of stress relief I can get is worth it. I can’t be in withdraw around Benjamin. And tonight, being so sick, I nearly broke down in tears.”

(I actually had broken down in tears but didn’t want to tell him this). He still sounds pissed. And he should be – I broke a promise. I call him back later, he apologizes for being “difficult” and I apologize for cheating.

“Do you want me to come over? I can make you some tea, cuddle you down.” He offers.

“Nope…maybe tomorrow night.” Step by step, I tell myself. I can quit smoking with someone, sleep with them, even become emotionally attached to them, but it will be a long, long time before I’m ready to actually ask a man for help. I just can’t. I should call Abby and ask her why.

(P.S., I never smoke around Benjamin or in the house, which is why I really want to quit – it’s getting cold out).
I’ve been an online dating “lurker” since my divorce. I joined eHarmony on last year’s very depressing Valentine’s Day.

I was still living at my mom’s house which is out in the woods. There were no men in sight except for the biker across the street.

I took the eHarmony personality test. Be careful with this, because once you take it – you never get another chance. Make sure you’re awake, relatively chipper and feeling completely open and honest with yourself.

After the test eHarmony served up my first seven matches. I was excited – “Look, an inbox full of men! Just for me!” But I couldn’t see the photos. They wanted my money. But at the time it wasn’t in the budget – at all – so I started sifting through the descriptions.

One guy actually sneaked his e-mail into his profile, “EHarmony is expensive,” he wrote, “E-mail me at dude@dude.com.” Yay! A guy who likes to beat the system. I like that so I sent him a lonely Valentine’s Day e-mail. Days later there’s still no response. I had even attached a picture. Hmmmm. I forget about it and try to stomach my first virtual rejection. It stings a little.

Three months later I get a response, “Hi, this is Carlise, Dan’s friend. I am checking his e-mail because he actually died in a car accident last October.”

My heart cries for Dan for a moment and then my sympathy for he and his family is replaced wtih anger at eHarmony. How could they do that? Then it hits me. The “matches” on eHarmony are not paying members. Many just popped in, took the personality test, and then never returned – or even worse – died.

I still became a paying member. I’m was too tempted by all of those new “matches” they e-mail you every morning. So after I spent over $100 to activate my account I was like a kid at a candy store – hurrying to scope out every man’s photograph.

I didn’t think one of them was cute. I e-mail a few any way but never got responses – because they’re probably inactive accounts. I e-mailed eHarmony asking for a refund. They told me my matching preferences weren’t broad enough, that I should be open to dating people of all ages from all over the world.

After receiving over 155 matches, only one led to a lunch date, and that was a complete failure.

Bottom line: don’t waste your money on eHarmony.

My friend Abby, my bestest single mom friend, had three very interesting and very good looking dates from Yahoo Personals last week.

The reason Yahoo and Match are better online dating sites than eHarmony:

1. They’re inexpensive.

2. You can see rough dates of when matches last logged in (although both sites should improve this feature).

3. You can control your searches, don’t let a computer match you – especially if 80% of those matches aren’t even active on the site.

See my other online dating entries for more background on this and some very important online dating tips.
Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
***UPDATE***

If you’re here to find out how to change your Facebook or MySpace relationship status, click here.

Once you’re done – come back and read this…

“A relationship isn’t official until it’s on Facebook!” a young co-worker told me this morning. “My friend got engaged and two weeks later the announcement still wasn’t on Facebook. We all thought she had called it off or something.” Virtual social networks have changed the dating landscape… forever.

After my divorce I created a MySpace page. I was an innocent to the social networking world and had no idea how much it would change my dating experiences. My single friend was over the other night venting about a frustrating experience she’s having with an ex boyfriend right now.

“I’m not sure if he’ll call me tonight or not. I left him a comment today asking if he was going out and haven’t heard back.”

MySpace and Facebook have now effectively changed the way we date. Now we can call, text, e-mail or better yet – leave a MySpace comment or give someone a Facebook poke.

Here’s my translation of the MySpace and Facebook Dating Codes.

  1. Add each other as friends. This is really no big deal and doesn’t mean much. But at least now you have unbridled access to their page, photos, blog, etc.
  2. Leave cute, flirty comments on each other’s page. A good sign. He’s writing on your page, you’re writing on his. All is well in the world.
  3. Move each other up to “top friend” status. This is a big step and could indicate a future relationship status change.
  4. Continue with more flirtatious comments like “last night was amazing, you make me crazy.” Getting closer.
  5. Change your relationship status. The biggest step. Now you’re taken. You’re off the virtual market and you’re shouting loud and proud to the rest of the world that you’re happy and committed.

In conversations with my single girlfriends the old burning questions like, “is he a good kisser?,” “does he call often?,” “does he make you laugh?” are still completely relevant but added into the mix are, “did he move you into his top friends?,” “who else is on his page?”

The Virtual Red Flag

Some men are all over your MySpace page while you’re dating…others will be silent, never leaving a comment or moving you into their top friends. Strange. A red flag. A new red flag. The virtual red flag.

The Relationship Status Change: Who brings it up…how does it happen?

A case in point: my current flame took matters into his own hands. Last night when we were falling asleep he said, “I changed my relationship status on Facebook.” What??? Wow!!! I didn’t know what to think. We’ve only been together for 3 weeks and now Facebook says we’re “in a relationship.”

“You want me to be your girlfriend?”

He says, “ya…is that okay?” He’s confused by my reaction. I mean, he’s a guy and he’s completely crazy about me. We’ve been seeing each other steadily for three weeks – why not change his status? Meanwhile my brain is on fire with a mix of happiness and fear. I feel like I’m in the 8th grade and a cute boy has just asked me out.

I can’t change my MySpace relationship status just yet- it’s too early. That page is like my temple of autonomy. I break the news to him, “I’ll change my Facebook account status, but not my MySpace account.” Hmmm….a virtual compromise.

This morning I go onto Facebook. Yep, there he is – “in a relationship.” I go to my profile and click in relationship (there is a special section for this). I change my status. Then Facebook asks me, “who are you in a relationship with?” I pick his name. Then it says, “Kris is now your boyfriend. We will be sending him a confirmation to see if he accepts your relationship request.”

What??? Oh my god…I have a boyfriend and they’re sending him a relationship request? I’m actually embarrassed. I call him immediately, “Facebook has just informed me that you’re my boyfriend, but you have to agree to it.” He laughed. “I’ll accept, I won’t leave you hanging. Later… girlfriend.” I feel like I’m 14 again.

A boy actually asked me out – even though he did it virtually I still think it’s absolutely adorable. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been asked out. Usually it’s me looking at the guy like, “so are you my boyfriend?”

See? This virtual world is good for something.

UPDATE/ Additional notes:

Crazy how MySpace and Facebook have changed the way we date. In just a few seconds you can scope out your ex’s relationship status, flirtatous comments and daily activities. Twitter makes it even worse. Maybe I should go on a delete binge tonight.

How often do you delete your the Ex-Profiles on MySpace? Can you do it? Do you think I can?

Deleting an ex is like permanently severing all ties…but then I think of the ex’s who were my friends – the ones I genuinely want to stay in touch with. And then I think of the sting when I see their “latest activity.”

I vote for delete.
Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
***UPDATE***

If you’re here to find out how to change your Facebook or MySpace relationship status, click here.

Once you’re done – come back and read this…

“A relationship isn’t official until it’s on Facebook!” a young co-worker told me this morning. “My friend got engaged and two weeks later the announcement still wasn’t on Facebook. We all thought she had called it off or something.” Virtual social networks have changed the dating landscape… forever.

After my divorce I created a MySpace page. I was an innocent to the social networking world and had no idea how much it would change my dating experiences. My single friend was over the other night venting about a frustrating experience she’s having with an ex boyfriend right now.

“I’m not sure if he’ll call me tonight or not. I left him a comment today asking if he was going out and haven’t heard back.”

MySpace and Facebook have now effectively changed the way we date. Now we can call, text, e-mail or better yet – leave a MySpace comment or give someone a Facebook poke.

Here’s my translation of the MySpace and Facebook Dating Codes.

  1. Add each other as friends. This is really no big deal and doesn’t mean much. But at least now you have unbridled access to their page, photos, blog, etc.
  2. Leave cute, flirty comments on each other’s page. A good sign. He’s writing on your page, you’re writing on his. All is well in the world.
  3. Move each other up to “top friend” status. This is a big step and could indicate a future relationship status change.
  4. Continue with more flirtatious comments like “last night was amazing, you make me crazy.” Getting closer.
  5. Change your relationship status. The biggest step. Now you’re taken. You’re off the virtual market and you’re shouting loud and proud to the rest of the world that you’re happy and committed.

In conversations with my single girlfriends the old burning questions like, “is he a good kisser?,” “does he call often?,” “does he make you laugh?” are still completely relevant but added into the mix are, “did he move you into his top friends?,” “who else is on his page?”

The Virtual Red Flag

Some men are all over your MySpace page while you’re dating…others will be silent, never leaving a comment or moving you into their top friends. Strange. A red flag. A new red flag. The virtual red flag.

The Relationship Status Change: Who brings it up…how does it happen?

A case in point: my current flame took matters into his own hands. Last night when we were falling asleep he said, “I changed my relationship status on Facebook.” What??? Wow!!! I didn’t know what to think. We’ve only been together for 3 weeks and now Facebook says we’re “in a relationship.”

“You want me to be your girlfriend?”

He says, “ya…is that okay?” He’s confused by my reaction. I mean, he’s a guy and he’s completely crazy about me. We’ve been seeing each other steadily for three weeks – why not change his status? Meanwhile my brain is on fire with a mix of happiness and fear. I feel like I’m in the 8th grade and a cute boy has just asked me out.

I can’t change my MySpace relationship status just yet- it’s too early. That page is like my temple of autonomy. I break the news to him, “I’ll change my Facebook account status, but not my MySpace account.” Hmmm….a virtual compromise.

This morning I go onto Facebook. Yep, there he is – “in a relationship.” I go to my profile and click in relationship (there is a special section for this). I change my status. Then Facebook asks me, “who are you in a relationship with?” I pick his name. Then it says, “Kris is now your boyfriend. We will be sending him a confirmation to see if he accepts your relationship request.”

What??? Oh my god…I have a boyfriend and they’re sending him a relationship request? I’m actually embarrassed. I call him immediately, “Facebook has just informed me that you’re my boyfriend, but you have to agree to it.” He laughed. “I’ll accept, I won’t leave you hanging. Later… girlfriend.” I feel like I’m 14 again.

A boy actually asked me out – even though he did it virtually I still think it’s absolutely adorable. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been asked out. Usually it’s me looking at the guy like, “so are you my boyfriend?”

See? This virtual world is good for something.

UPDATE/ Additional notes:

Crazy how MySpace and Facebook have changed the way we date. In just a few seconds you can scope out your ex’s relationship status, flirtatous comments and daily activities. Twitter makes it even worse. Maybe I should go on a delete binge tonight.

How often do you delete your the Ex-Profiles on MySpace? Can you do it? Do you think I can?

Deleting an ex is like permanently severing all ties…but then I think of the ex’s who were my friends – the ones I genuinely want to stay in touch with. And then I think of the sting when I see their “latest activity.”

I vote for delete.
I have seen a few google searches with this question pointing to my blog. Not sure why they’re taking you here, but it’s a very valid question. So here goes.

My friend Abby has been a single mom for over three years now and one night when we were on a crazy girls night, I had struck up a conversation with a charming dentist. He seemed interested so I thought, “better get it out on the table.” But this is how I phrased it, “Well, you’ll never actually be able to date me.” He looked surprised, “why not?”

“Because I have a baby.”

“Oh. Well, that must be fun.” After some awkward small talk he disappeared.

I ran up to Abby. “That guy just vanished after I told him about Benjamin!” She pulled me aside and whispered, “Oh no. You can’t tell them that right away. You’ve got to wait until at least a couple of dates.” What? I was floored. She just didn’t tell them.

“They have to fall for you first,” she insisted, “and then the baby thing is just like an added bonus – and ‘oh by the way, I do all of this and I’m an amazing single mom.’ It works!”

I am skeptical of Abbey’s theory. Here’s why, if the baby thing is too much for them to handle, why find that out two dates in? And wouldn’t that be a form of dishonesty?

I’ve decided that it depends on a few factors. If you are out for a night filled with multiple encounters with men on the dance floor or behind a bar – don’t mention it. Unless one of these men grabs your attention, you end up hitting it off and you feel like there’s potential for a future date – then dish. But make sure you frame it positively. The dentist was scared off because of the way I phrased it. I made it an obstacle when it really isn’t and I made it sound like Benjamin was a hinderance.

Having a baby or a child in your life is an amazing thing. Sure it’s an obstacle to dating men who don’t care about you, but not when you’re dating men who are genuinely into you. Beware of scaring off the good ones by making it sound like a bad thing, one of my nasty little habits.

Here’s a male perspective. My single friend Dave was out recently and called me the next day after bumping into a few single moms at a bar. “We were hitting it off and then they told me they have a baby. But they made it sound like it was a horrible thing. Their bad attitude was totally unattractive and I just had to walk away.”

When I told my new boyfriend about Benjamin it was the first night we met. But I waited until the end of the night, when I knew I would want to see him again. I brought it up within the flow of conversation and had a smile on my face. “So…I have a little bit of baggage, and he weighs 22 pounds. If you want to see me again, I just thought I should get that out there..so…” I trailed off and looked down into my lap, hoping I wouldn’t see fear in his eyes. “Do you have a picture?” He looked at Benjamin on my phone and smiled, a genuine smile. “He’s a cutie. Want to play another game of pool?”

My conclusion – having a child is as big of deal as you make it. And we can’t expect a man who’s never had a child before to possibly understand on a first date or on a first encounter. That comes later. But there’s no sense in not giving him a chance to understand.

When do you tell a man you’re a single mom?
Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
***UPDATE***

If you’re here to find out how to change your Facebook or MySpace relationship status, click here.

Once you’re done – come back and read this…

“A relationship isn’t official until it’s on Facebook!” a young co-worker told me this morning. “My friend got engaged and two weeks later the announcement still wasn’t on Facebook. We all thought she had called it off or something.” Virtual social networks have changed the dating landscape… forever.

After my divorce I created a MySpace page. I was an innocent to the social networking world and had no idea how much it would change my dating experiences. My single friend was over the other night venting about a frustrating experience she’s having with an ex boyfriend right now.

“I’m not sure if he’ll call me tonight or not. I left him a comment today asking if he was going out and haven’t heard back.”

MySpace and Facebook have now effectively changed the way we date. Now we can call, text, e-mail or better yet – leave a MySpace comment or give someone a Facebook poke.

Here’s my translation of the MySpace and Facebook Dating Codes.

  1. Add each other as friends. This is really no big deal and doesn’t mean much. But at least now you have unbridled access to their page, photos, blog, etc.
  2. Leave cute, flirty comments on each other’s page. A good sign. He’s writing on your page, you’re writing on his. All is well in the world.
  3. Move each other up to “top friend” status. This is a big step and could indicate a future relationship status change.
  4. Continue with more flirtatious comments like “last night was amazing, you make me crazy.” Getting closer.
  5. Change your relationship status. The biggest step. Now you’re taken. You’re off the virtual market and you’re shouting loud and proud to the rest of the world that you’re happy and committed.

In conversations with my single girlfriends the old burning questions like, “is he a good kisser?,” “does he call often?,” “does he make you laugh?” are still completely relevant but added into the mix are, “did he move you into his top friends?,” “who else is on his page?”

The Virtual Red Flag

Some men are all over your MySpace page while you’re dating…others will be silent, never leaving a comment or moving you into their top friends. Strange. A red flag. A new red flag. The virtual red flag.

The Relationship Status Change: Who brings it up…how does it happen?

A case in point: my current flame took matters into his own hands. Last night when we were falling asleep he said, “I changed my relationship status on Facebook.” What??? Wow!!! I didn’t know what to think. We’ve only been together for 3 weeks and now Facebook says we’re “in a relationship.”

“You want me to be your girlfriend?”

He says, “ya…is that okay?” He’s confused by my reaction. I mean, he’s a guy and he’s completely crazy about me. We’ve been seeing each other steadily for three weeks – why not change his status? Meanwhile my brain is on fire with a mix of happiness and fear. I feel like I’m in the 8th grade and a cute boy has just asked me out.

I can’t change my MySpace relationship status just yet- it’s too early. That page is like my temple of autonomy. I break the news to him, “I’ll change my Facebook account status, but not my MySpace account.” Hmmm….a virtual compromise.

This morning I go onto Facebook. Yep, there he is – “in a relationship.” I go to my profile and click in relationship (there is a special section for this). I change my status. Then Facebook asks me, “who are you in a relationship with?” I pick his name. Then it says, “Kris is now your boyfriend. We will be sending him a confirmation to see if he accepts your relationship request.”

What??? Oh my god…I have a boyfriend and they’re sending him a relationship request? I’m actually embarrassed. I call him immediately, “Facebook has just informed me that you’re my boyfriend, but you have to agree to it.” He laughed. “I’ll accept, I won’t leave you hanging. Later… girlfriend.” I feel like I’m 14 again.

A boy actually asked me out – even though he did it virtually I still think it’s absolutely adorable. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been asked out. Usually it’s me looking at the guy like, “so are you my boyfriend?”

See? This virtual world is good for something.

UPDATE/ Additional notes:

Crazy how MySpace and Facebook have changed the way we date. In just a few seconds you can scope out your ex’s relationship status, flirtatous comments and daily activities. Twitter makes it even worse. Maybe I should go on a delete binge tonight.

How often do you delete your the Ex-Profiles on MySpace? Can you do it? Do you think I can?

Deleting an ex is like permanently severing all ties…but then I think of the ex’s who were my friends – the ones I genuinely want to stay in touch with. And then I think of the sting when I see their “latest activity.”

I vote for delete.
I have seen a few google searches with this question pointing to my blog. Not sure why they’re taking you here, but it’s a very valid question. So here goes.

My friend Abby has been a single mom for over three years now and one night when we were on a crazy girls night, I had struck up a conversation with a charming dentist. He seemed interested so I thought, “better get it out on the table.” But this is how I phrased it, “Well, you’ll never actually be able to date me.” He looked surprised, “why not?”

“Because I have a baby.”

“Oh. Well, that must be fun.” After some awkward small talk he disappeared.

I ran up to Abby. “That guy just vanished after I told him about Benjamin!” She pulled me aside and whispered, “Oh no. You can’t tell them that right away. You’ve got to wait until at least a couple of dates.” What? I was floored. She just didn’t tell them.

“They have to fall for you first,” she insisted, “and then the baby thing is just like an added bonus – and ‘oh by the way, I do all of this and I’m an amazing single mom.’ It works!”

I am skeptical of Abbey’s theory. Here’s why, if the baby thing is too much for them to handle, why find that out two dates in? And wouldn’t that be a form of dishonesty?

I’ve decided that it depends on a few factors. If you are out for a night filled with multiple encounters with men on the dance floor or behind a bar – don’t mention it. Unless one of these men grabs your attention, you end up hitting it off and you feel like there’s potential for a future date – then dish. But make sure you frame it positively. The dentist was scared off because of the way I phrased it. I made it an obstacle when it really isn’t and I made it sound like Benjamin was a hinderance.

Having a baby or a child in your life is an amazing thing. Sure it’s an obstacle to dating men who don’t care about you, but not when you’re dating men who are genuinely into you. Beware of scaring off the good ones by making it sound like a bad thing, one of my nasty little habits.

Here’s a male perspective. My single friend Dave was out recently and called me the next day after bumping into a few single moms at a bar. “We were hitting it off and then they told me they have a baby. But they made it sound like it was a horrible thing. Their bad attitude was totally unattractive and I just had to walk away.”

When I told my new boyfriend about Benjamin it was the first night we met. But I waited until the end of the night, when I knew I would want to see him again. I brought it up within the flow of conversation and had a smile on my face. “So…I have a little bit of baggage, and he weighs 22 pounds. If you want to see me again, I just thought I should get that out there..so…” I trailed off and looked down into my lap, hoping I wouldn’t see fear in his eyes. “Do you have a picture?” He looked at Benjamin on my phone and smiled, a genuine smile. “He’s a cutie. Want to play another game of pool?”

My conclusion – having a child is as big of deal as you make it. And we can’t expect a man who’s never had a child before to possibly understand on a first date or on a first encounter. That comes later. But there’s no sense in not giving him a chance to understand.

When do you tell a man you’re a single mom?

It’s been two weeks now since Benjamin’s father has seen his son.

His car is broken down because he drove it without oil. Sigh.

Coincidentally Benjamin has also been sick, sick, sick. I have missed four days of work and will be missing two more. I am also broke because I’ve had to pay for an extra two days of childcare each week.

I called him today en route to the hospital today. Benjamin had a fever of 104.5 and I thought he should know about it.

“Oh,” he says, “Well, I’m in a meeting, I’ll call you back.” CLICK.

I called him tonight to vent a bit. I know, I know. Should have let it go. He’s completely out of our lives now but when I’m missing days upon days of work and he doesn’t even seem concerned or offer to take a day off from his job I get upset.

“I understand,” he says.

“No you don’t.” I snap. “You don’t understand. How could you understand? You have never, ever had to take a day off from work to take care of your son when he’s sick.”

What he says next blew my mind.

“If we were married I would. But, my boss is not going to give me a day off to take care of my ex-wife’s kid. We are not a family anymore.”

“What?!!! He’s your son. You mean he is less of a son to you because we’re not married? Your boss can’t think that unless you think that.”

I should have hung up at this point but I  didn’t. And then he drops this bomb (not the first time).

“It was your choice to leave me,” he says, “it was your choice and now you have to deal with it.”

Was it really my choice to be a single mom? Yes, in that the idea of actually still being with him, had I stayed, makes my skin crawl. Being a single mom is tough but being with a husband like him was a hell of a lot harder. He was cold, insensitive, hurtful and down right useless.

He’s now on month 9 of a relationship with another single mother. Her son is 6 and they’re now living together. Poor her. Poor kid.

If he would have had it his way, right now he would be sitting on MY couch, drinking MY beer, eating MY groceries and treating me like shit. I just wish he weren’t on another single mom’s couch right now. I wish I could warn her.

Conclusion = It was his choice to give me no choice.

Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
***UPDATE***

If you’re here to find out how to change your Facebook or MySpace relationship status, click here.

Once you’re done – come back and read this…

“A relationship isn’t official until it’s on Facebook!” a young co-worker told me this morning. “My friend got engaged and two weeks later the announcement still wasn’t on Facebook. We all thought she had called it off or something.” Virtual social networks have changed the dating landscape… forever.

After my divorce I created a MySpace page. I was an innocent to the social networking world and had no idea how much it would change my dating experiences. My single friend was over the other night venting about a frustrating experience she’s having with an ex boyfriend right now.

“I’m not sure if he’ll call me tonight or not. I left him a comment today asking if he was going out and haven’t heard back.”

MySpace and Facebook have now effectively changed the way we date. Now we can call, text, e-mail or better yet – leave a MySpace comment or give someone a Facebook poke.

Here’s my translation of the MySpace and Facebook Dating Codes.

  1. Add each other as friends. This is really no big deal and doesn’t mean much. But at least now you have unbridled access to their page, photos, blog, etc.
  2. Leave cute, flirty comments on each other’s page. A good sign. He’s writing on your page, you’re writing on his. All is well in the world.
  3. Move each other up to “top friend” status. This is a big step and could indicate a future relationship status change.
  4. Continue with more flirtatious comments like “last night was amazing, you make me crazy.” Getting closer.
  5. Change your relationship status. The biggest step. Now you’re taken. You’re off the virtual market and you’re shouting loud and proud to the rest of the world that you’re happy and committed.

In conversations with my single girlfriends the old burning questions like, “is he a good kisser?,” “does he call often?,” “does he make you laugh?” are still completely relevant but added into the mix are, “did he move you into his top friends?,” “who else is on his page?”

The Virtual Red Flag

Some men are all over your MySpace page while you’re dating…others will be silent, never leaving a comment or moving you into their top friends. Strange. A red flag. A new red flag. The virtual red flag.

The Relationship Status Change: Who brings it up…how does it happen?

A case in point: my current flame took matters into his own hands. Last night when we were falling asleep he said, “I changed my relationship status on Facebook.” What??? Wow!!! I didn’t know what to think. We’ve only been together for 3 weeks and now Facebook says we’re “in a relationship.”

“You want me to be your girlfriend?”

He says, “ya…is that okay?” He’s confused by my reaction. I mean, he’s a guy and he’s completely crazy about me. We’ve been seeing each other steadily for three weeks – why not change his status? Meanwhile my brain is on fire with a mix of happiness and fear. I feel like I’m in the 8th grade and a cute boy has just asked me out.

I can’t change my MySpace relationship status just yet- it’s too early. That page is like my temple of autonomy. I break the news to him, “I’ll change my Facebook account status, but not my MySpace account.” Hmmm….a virtual compromise.

This morning I go onto Facebook. Yep, there he is – “in a relationship.” I go to my profile and click in relationship (there is a special section for this). I change my status. Then Facebook asks me, “who are you in a relationship with?” I pick his name. Then it says, “Kris is now your boyfriend. We will be sending him a confirmation to see if he accepts your relationship request.”

What??? Oh my god…I have a boyfriend and they’re sending him a relationship request? I’m actually embarrassed. I call him immediately, “Facebook has just informed me that you’re my boyfriend, but you have to agree to it.” He laughed. “I’ll accept, I won’t leave you hanging. Later… girlfriend.” I feel like I’m 14 again.

A boy actually asked me out – even though he did it virtually I still think it’s absolutely adorable. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been asked out. Usually it’s me looking at the guy like, “so are you my boyfriend?”

See? This virtual world is good for something.

UPDATE/ Additional notes:

Crazy how MySpace and Facebook have changed the way we date. In just a few seconds you can scope out your ex’s relationship status, flirtatous comments and daily activities. Twitter makes it even worse. Maybe I should go on a delete binge tonight.

How often do you delete your the Ex-Profiles on MySpace? Can you do it? Do you think I can?

Deleting an ex is like permanently severing all ties…but then I think of the ex’s who were my friends – the ones I genuinely want to stay in touch with. And then I think of the sting when I see their “latest activity.”

I vote for delete.
I have seen a few google searches with this question pointing to my blog. Not sure why they’re taking you here, but it’s a very valid question. So here goes.

My friend Abby has been a single mom for over three years now and one night when we were on a crazy girls night, I had struck up a conversation with a charming dentist. He seemed interested so I thought, “better get it out on the table.” But this is how I phrased it, “Well, you’ll never actually be able to date me.” He looked surprised, “why not?”

“Because I have a baby.”

“Oh. Well, that must be fun.” After some awkward small talk he disappeared.

I ran up to Abby. “That guy just vanished after I told him about Benjamin!” She pulled me aside and whispered, “Oh no. You can’t tell them that right away. You’ve got to wait until at least a couple of dates.” What? I was floored. She just didn’t tell them.

“They have to fall for you first,” she insisted, “and then the baby thing is just like an added bonus – and ‘oh by the way, I do all of this and I’m an amazing single mom.’ It works!”

I am skeptical of Abbey’s theory. Here’s why, if the baby thing is too much for them to handle, why find that out two dates in? And wouldn’t that be a form of dishonesty?

I’ve decided that it depends on a few factors. If you are out for a night filled with multiple encounters with men on the dance floor or behind a bar – don’t mention it. Unless one of these men grabs your attention, you end up hitting it off and you feel like there’s potential for a future date – then dish. But make sure you frame it positively. The dentist was scared off because of the way I phrased it. I made it an obstacle when it really isn’t and I made it sound like Benjamin was a hinderance.

Having a baby or a child in your life is an amazing thing. Sure it’s an obstacle to dating men who don’t care about you, but not when you’re dating men who are genuinely into you. Beware of scaring off the good ones by making it sound like a bad thing, one of my nasty little habits.

Here’s a male perspective. My single friend Dave was out recently and called me the next day after bumping into a few single moms at a bar. “We were hitting it off and then they told me they have a baby. But they made it sound like it was a horrible thing. Their bad attitude was totally unattractive and I just had to walk away.”

When I told my new boyfriend about Benjamin it was the first night we met. But I waited until the end of the night, when I knew I would want to see him again. I brought it up within the flow of conversation and had a smile on my face. “So…I have a little bit of baggage, and he weighs 22 pounds. If you want to see me again, I just thought I should get that out there..so…” I trailed off and looked down into my lap, hoping I wouldn’t see fear in his eyes. “Do you have a picture?” He looked at Benjamin on my phone and smiled, a genuine smile. “He’s a cutie. Want to play another game of pool?”

My conclusion – having a child is as big of deal as you make it. And we can’t expect a man who’s never had a child before to possibly understand on a first date or on a first encounter. That comes later. But there’s no sense in not giving him a chance to understand.

When do you tell a man you’re a single mom?

It’s been two weeks now since Benjamin’s father has seen his son.

His car is broken down because he drove it without oil. Sigh.

Coincidentally Benjamin has also been sick, sick, sick. I have missed four days of work and will be missing two more. I am also broke because I’ve had to pay for an extra two days of childcare each week.

I called him today en route to the hospital today. Benjamin had a fever of 104.5 and I thought he should know about it.

“Oh,” he says, “Well, I’m in a meeting, I’ll call you back.” CLICK.

I called him tonight to vent a bit. I know, I know. Should have let it go. He’s completely out of our lives now but when I’m missing days upon days of work and he doesn’t even seem concerned or offer to take a day off from his job I get upset.

“I understand,” he says.

“No you don’t.” I snap. “You don’t understand. How could you understand? You have never, ever had to take a day off from work to take care of your son when he’s sick.”

What he says next blew my mind.

“If we were married I would. But, my boss is not going to give me a day off to take care of my ex-wife’s kid. We are not a family anymore.”

“What?!!! He’s your son. You mean he is less of a son to you because we’re not married? Your boss can’t think that unless you think that.”

I should have hung up at this point but I  didn’t. And then he drops this bomb (not the first time).

“It was your choice to leave me,” he says, “it was your choice and now you have to deal with it.”

Was it really my choice to be a single mom? Yes, in that the idea of actually still being with him, had I stayed, makes my skin crawl. Being a single mom is tough but being with a husband like him was a hell of a lot harder. He was cold, insensitive, hurtful and down right useless.

He’s now on month 9 of a relationship with another single mother. Her son is 6 and they’re now living together. Poor her. Poor kid.

If he would have had it his way, right now he would be sitting on MY couch, drinking MY beer, eating MY groceries and treating me like shit. I just wish he weren’t on another single mom’s couch right now. I wish I could warn her.

Conclusion = It was his choice to give me no choice.

Clare, the co-founder of iHeart Single Parents, made an appearance on Fox’s Morning Show this week.

Click here to watch Clare’s interview.

I’m so excited that iHeartSingleParents.com is finally getting the attention it deserves.

Morning Show hosts Mike and Juliet say, at the start of this piece, that 40% of new mothers in the U.S. are unmarried and of those the fastest growing group is women in their late 20’s. Not sure where they got that statistic (and it is Fox) but could that be true? Forty percent!

Mike and Juliet also ask Clare if she would recommend that other women choose to be a single mom. In her blog post, Clare says they sprung these questions on her – “They didn’t ask the questions that the producer and I practiced on at all.”

I can’t speak for Clare but being a single mother is seldom a choice for any of us. It’s something that happens. We choose to go on as single moms… but we certainly didn’t choose this path? Or did we? I chose to leave my husband. Does that mean I chose to be a single mom? I’ve written about this here.

Food for thought. And evidence that talk show hosts will always go for the controversial chord of any conversation.

Regardless, Clare did a fantastic job representing! And if you haven’t been over to iHeart lately, get over there because there are hundreds of new members joining every day… and as Clare says in this interview, having a single parent social network to turn to really makes you feel less alone.

[Photo: Clare and her 2-year-old son, Colby]

P.S. Proves my point that Single Moms are on Fire!

Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
***UPDATE***

If you’re here to find out how to change your Facebook or MySpace relationship status, click here.

Once you’re done – come back and read this…

“A relationship isn’t official until it’s on Facebook!” a young co-worker told me this morning. “My friend got engaged and two weeks later the announcement still wasn’t on Facebook. We all thought she had called it off or something.” Virtual social networks have changed the dating landscape… forever.

After my divorce I created a MySpace page. I was an innocent to the social networking world and had no idea how much it would change my dating experiences. My single friend was over the other night venting about a frustrating experience she’s having with an ex boyfriend right now.

“I’m not sure if he’ll call me tonight or not. I left him a comment today asking if he was going out and haven’t heard back.”

MySpace and Facebook have now effectively changed the way we date. Now we can call, text, e-mail or better yet – leave a MySpace comment or give someone a Facebook poke.

Here’s my translation of the MySpace and Facebook Dating Codes.

  1. Add each other as friends. This is really no big deal and doesn’t mean much. But at least now you have unbridled access to their page, photos, blog, etc.
  2. Leave cute, flirty comments on each other’s page. A good sign. He’s writing on your page, you’re writing on his. All is well in the world.
  3. Move each other up to “top friend” status. This is a big step and could indicate a future relationship status change.
  4. Continue with more flirtatious comments like “last night was amazing, you make me crazy.” Getting closer.
  5. Change your relationship status. The biggest step. Now you’re taken. You’re off the virtual market and you’re shouting loud and proud to the rest of the world that you’re happy and committed.

In conversations with my single girlfriends the old burning questions like, “is he a good kisser?,” “does he call often?,” “does he make you laugh?” are still completely relevant but added into the mix are, “did he move you into his top friends?,” “who else is on his page?”

The Virtual Red Flag

Some men are all over your MySpace page while you’re dating…others will be silent, never leaving a comment or moving you into their top friends. Strange. A red flag. A new red flag. The virtual red flag.

The Relationship Status Change: Who brings it up…how does it happen?

A case in point: my current flame took matters into his own hands. Last night when we were falling asleep he said, “I changed my relationship status on Facebook.” What??? Wow!!! I didn’t know what to think. We’ve only been together for 3 weeks and now Facebook says we’re “in a relationship.”

“You want me to be your girlfriend?”

He says, “ya…is that okay?” He’s confused by my reaction. I mean, he’s a guy and he’s completely crazy about me. We’ve been seeing each other steadily for three weeks – why not change his status? Meanwhile my brain is on fire with a mix of happiness and fear. I feel like I’m in the 8th grade and a cute boy has just asked me out.

I can’t change my MySpace relationship status just yet- it’s too early. That page is like my temple of autonomy. I break the news to him, “I’ll change my Facebook account status, but not my MySpace account.” Hmmm….a virtual compromise.

This morning I go onto Facebook. Yep, there he is – “in a relationship.” I go to my profile and click in relationship (there is a special section for this). I change my status. Then Facebook asks me, “who are you in a relationship with?” I pick his name. Then it says, “Kris is now your boyfriend. We will be sending him a confirmation to see if he accepts your relationship request.”

What??? Oh my god…I have a boyfriend and they’re sending him a relationship request? I’m actually embarrassed. I call him immediately, “Facebook has just informed me that you’re my boyfriend, but you have to agree to it.” He laughed. “I’ll accept, I won’t leave you hanging. Later… girlfriend.” I feel like I’m 14 again.

A boy actually asked me out – even though he did it virtually I still think it’s absolutely adorable. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been asked out. Usually it’s me looking at the guy like, “so are you my boyfriend?”

See? This virtual world is good for something.

UPDATE/ Additional notes:

Crazy how MySpace and Facebook have changed the way we date. In just a few seconds you can scope out your ex’s relationship status, flirtatous comments and daily activities. Twitter makes it even worse. Maybe I should go on a delete binge tonight.

How often do you delete your the Ex-Profiles on MySpace? Can you do it? Do you think I can?

Deleting an ex is like permanently severing all ties…but then I think of the ex’s who were my friends – the ones I genuinely want to stay in touch with. And then I think of the sting when I see their “latest activity.”

I vote for delete.
I have seen a few google searches with this question pointing to my blog. Not sure why they’re taking you here, but it’s a very valid question. So here goes.

My friend Abby has been a single mom for over three years now and one night when we were on a crazy girls night, I had struck up a conversation with a charming dentist. He seemed interested so I thought, “better get it out on the table.” But this is how I phrased it, “Well, you’ll never actually be able to date me.” He looked surprised, “why not?”

“Because I have a baby.”

“Oh. Well, that must be fun.” After some awkward small talk he disappeared.

I ran up to Abby. “That guy just vanished after I told him about Benjamin!” She pulled me aside and whispered, “Oh no. You can’t tell them that right away. You’ve got to wait until at least a couple of dates.” What? I was floored. She just didn’t tell them.

“They have to fall for you first,” she insisted, “and then the baby thing is just like an added bonus – and ‘oh by the way, I do all of this and I’m an amazing single mom.’ It works!”

I am skeptical of Abbey’s theory. Here’s why, if the baby thing is too much for them to handle, why find that out two dates in? And wouldn’t that be a form of dishonesty?

I’ve decided that it depends on a few factors. If you are out for a night filled with multiple encounters with men on the dance floor or behind a bar – don’t mention it. Unless one of these men grabs your attention, you end up hitting it off and you feel like there’s potential for a future date – then dish. But make sure you frame it positively. The dentist was scared off because of the way I phrased it. I made it an obstacle when it really isn’t and I made it sound like Benjamin was a hinderance.

Having a baby or a child in your life is an amazing thing. Sure it’s an obstacle to dating men who don’t care about you, but not when you’re dating men who are genuinely into you. Beware of scaring off the good ones by making it sound like a bad thing, one of my nasty little habits.

Here’s a male perspective. My single friend Dave was out recently and called me the next day after bumping into a few single moms at a bar. “We were hitting it off and then they told me they have a baby. But they made it sound like it was a horrible thing. Their bad attitude was totally unattractive and I just had to walk away.”

When I told my new boyfriend about Benjamin it was the first night we met. But I waited until the end of the night, when I knew I would want to see him again. I brought it up within the flow of conversation and had a smile on my face. “So…I have a little bit of baggage, and he weighs 22 pounds. If you want to see me again, I just thought I should get that out there..so…” I trailed off and looked down into my lap, hoping I wouldn’t see fear in his eyes. “Do you have a picture?” He looked at Benjamin on my phone and smiled, a genuine smile. “He’s a cutie. Want to play another game of pool?”

My conclusion – having a child is as big of deal as you make it. And we can’t expect a man who’s never had a child before to possibly understand on a first date or on a first encounter. That comes later. But there’s no sense in not giving him a chance to understand.

When do you tell a man you’re a single mom?

It’s been two weeks now since Benjamin’s father has seen his son.

His car is broken down because he drove it without oil. Sigh.

Coincidentally Benjamin has also been sick, sick, sick. I have missed four days of work and will be missing two more. I am also broke because I’ve had to pay for an extra two days of childcare each week.

I called him today en route to the hospital today. Benjamin had a fever of 104.5 and I thought he should know about it.

“Oh,” he says, “Well, I’m in a meeting, I’ll call you back.” CLICK.

I called him tonight to vent a bit. I know, I know. Should have let it go. He’s completely out of our lives now but when I’m missing days upon days of work and he doesn’t even seem concerned or offer to take a day off from his job I get upset.

“I understand,” he says.

“No you don’t.” I snap. “You don’t understand. How could you understand? You have never, ever had to take a day off from work to take care of your son when he’s sick.”

What he says next blew my mind.

“If we were married I would. But, my boss is not going to give me a day off to take care of my ex-wife’s kid. We are not a family anymore.”

“What?!!! He’s your son. You mean he is less of a son to you because we’re not married? Your boss can’t think that unless you think that.”

I should have hung up at this point but I  didn’t. And then he drops this bomb (not the first time).

“It was your choice to leave me,” he says, “it was your choice and now you have to deal with it.”

Was it really my choice to be a single mom? Yes, in that the idea of actually still being with him, had I stayed, makes my skin crawl. Being a single mom is tough but being with a husband like him was a hell of a lot harder. He was cold, insensitive, hurtful and down right useless.

He’s now on month 9 of a relationship with another single mother. Her son is 6 and they’re now living together. Poor her. Poor kid.

If he would have had it his way, right now he would be sitting on MY couch, drinking MY beer, eating MY groceries and treating me like shit. I just wish he weren’t on another single mom’s couch right now. I wish I could warn her.

Conclusion = It was his choice to give me no choice.

Clare, the co-founder of iHeart Single Parents, made an appearance on Fox’s Morning Show this week.

Click here to watch Clare’s interview.

I’m so excited that iHeartSingleParents.com is finally getting the attention it deserves.

Morning Show hosts Mike and Juliet say, at the start of this piece, that 40% of new mothers in the U.S. are unmarried and of those the fastest growing group is women in their late 20’s. Not sure where they got that statistic (and it is Fox) but could that be true? Forty percent!

Mike and Juliet also ask Clare if she would recommend that other women choose to be a single mom. In her blog post, Clare says they sprung these questions on her – “They didn’t ask the questions that the producer and I practiced on at all.”

I can’t speak for Clare but being a single mother is seldom a choice for any of us. It’s something that happens. We choose to go on as single moms… but we certainly didn’t choose this path? Or did we? I chose to leave my husband. Does that mean I chose to be a single mom? I’ve written about this here.

Food for thought. And evidence that talk show hosts will always go for the controversial chord of any conversation.

Regardless, Clare did a fantastic job representing! And if you haven’t been over to iHeart lately, get over there because there are hundreds of new members joining every day… and as Clare says in this interview, having a single parent social network to turn to really makes you feel less alone.

[Photo: Clare and her 2-year-old son, Colby]

P.S. Proves my point that Single Moms are on Fire!

It’s been four weeks now.

My new relationship status is beginning to sink in.

I have a boyfriend, and I’m actually enjoying it immensely. Usually at this point fear takes over and I start pushing them away. I slowly eject them from my life, or cut it clean depending on my mood. But this time, I’m not feeling that way. I’m not stressed at all. I’m completely comfortable with him and totally into him. So far, the feeling is mutual.

I had him over for dinner on Thursday night. Benjamin was still awake. Kris has seen Benjamin in the mornings briefly but this would be his first evening with us, usually the highlight of my day because Benjamin is chipper, happy and ready to play.

Kris walks in, gives me a hug and then crouches down on his knees, “And, how are you?” He looks at Benjamin and Benjmain stares back. This is odd, usually he flashes a smile and runs away but he can’t take his eyes off of Kris.

Kris leads him into the living room and opens his toy chest. This is a first. Of all of the men I’ve dated since the divorce not one has genuinely just sat down and played with my kid. This used to surprise me because I thought – “If they’re trying to win me over wouldn’t they want to at least try to play with him?” To their credit, some would try, but it was awkward and forced. “I’ve never been around kids,” they would say. “I don’t know what to do.” Kris has never been around kids either, he’s actually only 23. Five years younger than me.

While I’m in the kitchen cooking dinner, I hear Kris talking to Benjamin, he’s calm, assuring and playful. A few hours later I take Benjamin up for bedtime. I come downstairs and all of his toys are cleaned up. Kris had tidied up my living room. I’m now pinching myself.

Kris is still there in the morning. We all eat pancakes together. There’s lots of laughter, more playing and the entire time Benjamin is following Kris around like a little puppy. I put Benjamin down for his nap and say good bye to Kris, we both have to work.

When Benjamin wakes up four hours later (he has a nasty cold which is why I’m home on a Friday) he searches the house for Kris. He’s going from room to room. As soon as he realizes Kris is gone – he starts crying…hard. My heart breaks. What am I doing? What if this doesn’t work out? Where will we be then? Benjamin is clearly well into toddlerhood (20 months) and now he is very well aware of what’s up.

The single mom dating conundrum:

When a man enters our life we want to see how they would fit into our family, or if they can even handle it. But we can’t do it without introducing them to the kids.

The solution:

When Benjamin was a teeny tiny baby, this wasn’t an issue. So everything I’m about to say clearly depends on the age of the children.

I’m not big on the idea of waiting six months to bring a man into my daily routine. I guess it’s because I’m afraid he would be shocked at the reality of how hard it is to raise a toddler and then split. Then I would have invested six months of my time in a guy who wasn’t really there for the right reasons.

The other problem. I am a working single mother. Not bringing him around Benjamin leaves me only a few hours in the late evening. Period. This can get old and can also hurt a budding relationship.

I have learned from my past mishaps not to raise this issue too early. Why? Because there is no way he or you actually know how long this will last yet, and you shouldn’t presume to know that. Once I actually told a guy I was dating, “the only way I can date you is if there’s potential – potential that one day we might get married.” We had only been dating for a few months. I didn’t even want to marry him. Isn’t that crazy? I just had to rationalize why I was spending time away from my son – to myself. In the end that one just fizzled out but the moral of the story is – it could have been more fun if I would have left my drama in my head. I’m thinking this is probably a good conversation to have 6-8 months in to a relationship. Just a hunch, but to each his own.

My solution: I am going to keep Kris’ encounters with Benjamin to a minimum for the next few months, but he will have a few. Because I also want someone to fall in love with my son, not just me…we are a package deal.
Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
***UPDATE***

If you’re here to find out how to change your Facebook or MySpace relationship status, click here.

Once you’re done – come back and read this…

“A relationship isn’t official until it’s on Facebook!” a young co-worker told me this morning. “My friend got engaged and two weeks later the announcement still wasn’t on Facebook. We all thought she had called it off or something.” Virtual social networks have changed the dating landscape… forever.

After my divorce I created a MySpace page. I was an innocent to the social networking world and had no idea how much it would change my dating experiences. My single friend was over the other night venting about a frustrating experience she’s having with an ex boyfriend right now.

“I’m not sure if he’ll call me tonight or not. I left him a comment today asking if he was going out and haven’t heard back.”

MySpace and Facebook have now effectively changed the way we date. Now we can call, text, e-mail or better yet – leave a MySpace comment or give someone a Facebook poke.

Here’s my translation of the MySpace and Facebook Dating Codes.

  1. Add each other as friends. This is really no big deal and doesn’t mean much. But at least now you have unbridled access to their page, photos, blog, etc.
  2. Leave cute, flirty comments on each other’s page. A good sign. He’s writing on your page, you’re writing on his. All is well in the world.
  3. Move each other up to “top friend” status. This is a big step and could indicate a future relationship status change.
  4. Continue with more flirtatious comments like “last night was amazing, you make me crazy.” Getting closer.
  5. Change your relationship status. The biggest step. Now you’re taken. You’re off the virtual market and you’re shouting loud and proud to the rest of the world that you’re happy and committed.

In conversations with my single girlfriends the old burning questions like, “is he a good kisser?,” “does he call often?,” “does he make you laugh?” are still completely relevant but added into the mix are, “did he move you into his top friends?,” “who else is on his page?”

The Virtual Red Flag

Some men are all over your MySpace page while you’re dating…others will be silent, never leaving a comment or moving you into their top friends. Strange. A red flag. A new red flag. The virtual red flag.

The Relationship Status Change: Who brings it up…how does it happen?

A case in point: my current flame took matters into his own hands. Last night when we were falling asleep he said, “I changed my relationship status on Facebook.” What??? Wow!!! I didn’t know what to think. We’ve only been together for 3 weeks and now Facebook says we’re “in a relationship.”

“You want me to be your girlfriend?”

He says, “ya…is that okay?” He’s confused by my reaction. I mean, he’s a guy and he’s completely crazy about me. We’ve been seeing each other steadily for three weeks – why not change his status? Meanwhile my brain is on fire with a mix of happiness and fear. I feel like I’m in the 8th grade and a cute boy has just asked me out.

I can’t change my MySpace relationship status just yet- it’s too early. That page is like my temple of autonomy. I break the news to him, “I’ll change my Facebook account status, but not my MySpace account.” Hmmm….a virtual compromise.

This morning I go onto Facebook. Yep, there he is – “in a relationship.” I go to my profile and click in relationship (there is a special section for this). I change my status. Then Facebook asks me, “who are you in a relationship with?” I pick his name. Then it says, “Kris is now your boyfriend. We will be sending him a confirmation to see if he accepts your relationship request.”

What??? Oh my god…I have a boyfriend and they’re sending him a relationship request? I’m actually embarrassed. I call him immediately, “Facebook has just informed me that you’re my boyfriend, but you have to agree to it.” He laughed. “I’ll accept, I won’t leave you hanging. Later… girlfriend.” I feel like I’m 14 again.

A boy actually asked me out – even though he did it virtually I still think it’s absolutely adorable. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been asked out. Usually it’s me looking at the guy like, “so are you my boyfriend?”

See? This virtual world is good for something.

UPDATE/ Additional notes:

Crazy how MySpace and Facebook have changed the way we date. In just a few seconds you can scope out your ex’s relationship status, flirtatous comments and daily activities. Twitter makes it even worse. Maybe I should go on a delete binge tonight.

How often do you delete your the Ex-Profiles on MySpace? Can you do it? Do you think I can?

Deleting an ex is like permanently severing all ties…but then I think of the ex’s who were my friends – the ones I genuinely want to stay in touch with. And then I think of the sting when I see their “latest activity.”

I vote for delete.
I have seen a few google searches with this question pointing to my blog. Not sure why they’re taking you here, but it’s a very valid question. So here goes.

My friend Abby has been a single mom for over three years now and one night when we were on a crazy girls night, I had struck up a conversation with a charming dentist. He seemed interested so I thought, “better get it out on the table.” But this is how I phrased it, “Well, you’ll never actually be able to date me.” He looked surprised, “why not?”

“Because I have a baby.”

“Oh. Well, that must be fun.” After some awkward small talk he disappeared.

I ran up to Abby. “That guy just vanished after I told him about Benjamin!” She pulled me aside and whispered, “Oh no. You can’t tell them that right away. You’ve got to wait until at least a couple of dates.” What? I was floored. She just didn’t tell them.

“They have to fall for you first,” she insisted, “and then the baby thing is just like an added bonus – and ‘oh by the way, I do all of this and I’m an amazing single mom.’ It works!”

I am skeptical of Abbey’s theory. Here’s why, if the baby thing is too much for them to handle, why find that out two dates in? And wouldn’t that be a form of dishonesty?

I’ve decided that it depends on a few factors. If you are out for a night filled with multiple encounters with men on the dance floor or behind a bar – don’t mention it. Unless one of these men grabs your attention, you end up hitting it off and you feel like there’s potential for a future date – then dish. But make sure you frame it positively. The dentist was scared off because of the way I phrased it. I made it an obstacle when it really isn’t and I made it sound like Benjamin was a hinderance.

Having a baby or a child in your life is an amazing thing. Sure it’s an obstacle to dating men who don’t care about you, but not when you’re dating men who are genuinely into you. Beware of scaring off the good ones by making it sound like a bad thing, one of my nasty little habits.

Here’s a male perspective. My single friend Dave was out recently and called me the next day after bumping into a few single moms at a bar. “We were hitting it off and then they told me they have a baby. But they made it sound like it was a horrible thing. Their bad attitude was totally unattractive and I just had to walk away.”

When I told my new boyfriend about Benjamin it was the first night we met. But I waited until the end of the night, when I knew I would want to see him again. I brought it up within the flow of conversation and had a smile on my face. “So…I have a little bit of baggage, and he weighs 22 pounds. If you want to see me again, I just thought I should get that out there..so…” I trailed off and looked down into my lap, hoping I wouldn’t see fear in his eyes. “Do you have a picture?” He looked at Benjamin on my phone and smiled, a genuine smile. “He’s a cutie. Want to play another game of pool?”

My conclusion – having a child is as big of deal as you make it. And we can’t expect a man who’s never had a child before to possibly understand on a first date or on a first encounter. That comes later. But there’s no sense in not giving him a chance to understand.

When do you tell a man you’re a single mom?

It’s been two weeks now since Benjamin’s father has seen his son.

His car is broken down because he drove it without oil. Sigh.

Coincidentally Benjamin has also been sick, sick, sick. I have missed four days of work and will be missing two more. I am also broke because I’ve had to pay for an extra two days of childcare each week.

I called him today en route to the hospital today. Benjamin had a fever of 104.5 and I thought he should know about it.

“Oh,” he says, “Well, I’m in a meeting, I’ll call you back.” CLICK.

I called him tonight to vent a bit. I know, I know. Should have let it go. He’s completely out of our lives now but when I’m missing days upon days of work and he doesn’t even seem concerned or offer to take a day off from his job I get upset.

“I understand,” he says.

“No you don’t.” I snap. “You don’t understand. How could you understand? You have never, ever had to take a day off from work to take care of your son when he’s sick.”

What he says next blew my mind.

“If we were married I would. But, my boss is not going to give me a day off to take care of my ex-wife’s kid. We are not a family anymore.”

“What?!!! He’s your son. You mean he is less of a son to you because we’re not married? Your boss can’t think that unless you think that.”

I should have hung up at this point but I  didn’t. And then he drops this bomb (not the first time).

“It was your choice to leave me,” he says, “it was your choice and now you have to deal with it.”

Was it really my choice to be a single mom? Yes, in that the idea of actually still being with him, had I stayed, makes my skin crawl. Being a single mom is tough but being with a husband like him was a hell of a lot harder. He was cold, insensitive, hurtful and down right useless.

He’s now on month 9 of a relationship with another single mother. Her son is 6 and they’re now living together. Poor her. Poor kid.

If he would have had it his way, right now he would be sitting on MY couch, drinking MY beer, eating MY groceries and treating me like shit. I just wish he weren’t on another single mom’s couch right now. I wish I could warn her.

Conclusion = It was his choice to give me no choice.

Clare, the co-founder of iHeart Single Parents, made an appearance on Fox’s Morning Show this week.

Click here to watch Clare’s interview.

I’m so excited that iHeartSingleParents.com is finally getting the attention it deserves.

Morning Show hosts Mike and Juliet say, at the start of this piece, that 40% of new mothers in the U.S. are unmarried and of those the fastest growing group is women in their late 20’s. Not sure where they got that statistic (and it is Fox) but could that be true? Forty percent!

Mike and Juliet also ask Clare if she would recommend that other women choose to be a single mom. In her blog post, Clare says they sprung these questions on her – “They didn’t ask the questions that the producer and I practiced on at all.”

I can’t speak for Clare but being a single mother is seldom a choice for any of us. It’s something that happens. We choose to go on as single moms… but we certainly didn’t choose this path? Or did we? I chose to leave my husband. Does that mean I chose to be a single mom? I’ve written about this here.

Food for thought. And evidence that talk show hosts will always go for the controversial chord of any conversation.

Regardless, Clare did a fantastic job representing! And if you haven’t been over to iHeart lately, get over there because there are hundreds of new members joining every day… and as Clare says in this interview, having a single parent social network to turn to really makes you feel less alone.

[Photo: Clare and her 2-year-old son, Colby]

P.S. Proves my point that Single Moms are on Fire!

It’s been four weeks now.

My new relationship status is beginning to sink in.

I have a boyfriend, and I’m actually enjoying it immensely. Usually at this point fear takes over and I start pushing them away. I slowly eject them from my life, or cut it clean depending on my mood. But this time, I’m not feeling that way. I’m not stressed at all. I’m completely comfortable with him and totally into him. So far, the feeling is mutual.

I had him over for dinner on Thursday night. Benjamin was still awake. Kris has seen Benjamin in the mornings briefly but this would be his first evening with us, usually the highlight of my day because Benjamin is chipper, happy and ready to play.

Kris walks in, gives me a hug and then crouches down on his knees, “And, how are you?” He looks at Benjamin and Benjmain stares back. This is odd, usually he flashes a smile and runs away but he can’t take his eyes off of Kris.

Kris leads him into the living room and opens his toy chest. This is a first. Of all of the men I’ve dated since the divorce not one has genuinely just sat down and played with my kid. This used to surprise me because I thought – “If they’re trying to win me over wouldn’t they want to at least try to play with him?” To their credit, some would try, but it was awkward and forced. “I’ve never been around kids,” they would say. “I don’t know what to do.” Kris has never been around kids either, he’s actually only 23. Five years younger than me.

While I’m in the kitchen cooking dinner, I hear Kris talking to Benjamin, he’s calm, assuring and playful. A few hours later I take Benjamin up for bedtime. I come downstairs and all of his toys are cleaned up. Kris had tidied up my living room. I’m now pinching myself.

Kris is still there in the morning. We all eat pancakes together. There’s lots of laughter, more playing and the entire time Benjamin is following Kris around like a little puppy. I put Benjamin down for his nap and say good bye to Kris, we both have to work.

When Benjamin wakes up four hours later (he has a nasty cold which is why I’m home on a Friday) he searches the house for Kris. He’s going from room to room. As soon as he realizes Kris is gone – he starts crying…hard. My heart breaks. What am I doing? What if this doesn’t work out? Where will we be then? Benjamin is clearly well into toddlerhood (20 months) and now he is very well aware of what’s up.

The single mom dating conundrum:

When a man enters our life we want to see how they would fit into our family, or if they can even handle it. But we can’t do it without introducing them to the kids.

The solution:

When Benjamin was a teeny tiny baby, this wasn’t an issue. So everything I’m about to say clearly depends on the age of the children.

I’m not big on the idea of waiting six months to bring a man into my daily routine. I guess it’s because I’m afraid he would be shocked at the reality of how hard it is to raise a toddler and then split. Then I would have invested six months of my time in a guy who wasn’t really there for the right reasons.

The other problem. I am a working single mother. Not bringing him around Benjamin leaves me only a few hours in the late evening. Period. This can get old and can also hurt a budding relationship.

I have learned from my past mishaps not to raise this issue too early. Why? Because there is no way he or you actually know how long this will last yet, and you shouldn’t presume to know that. Once I actually told a guy I was dating, “the only way I can date you is if there’s potential – potential that one day we might get married.” We had only been dating for a few months. I didn’t even want to marry him. Isn’t that crazy? I just had to rationalize why I was spending time away from my son – to myself. In the end that one just fizzled out but the moral of the story is – it could have been more fun if I would have left my drama in my head. I’m thinking this is probably a good conversation to have 6-8 months in to a relationship. Just a hunch, but to each his own.

My solution: I am going to keep Kris’ encounters with Benjamin to a minimum for the next few months, but he will have a few. Because I also want someone to fall in love with my son, not just me…we are a package deal.
My new boyfriend and I decided to quit smoking – together. It’s the first time I’ve done something together, as a couple in years. Well, if you count my divorce, it’s been nearly a year. Knowing Saturday night was going to be a baby-free all-nighter we pick Sunday to go cold turkey. I’m scared. Scared to quit smoking and scared to enter into a verbal contract with someone – a commitment.

I started smoking the day I realized I was going to leave my husband. He had come home and said he’d been fired from yet another job and that he didn’t want to work again, that he wanted to be a stay at home dad. We didn’t have the money for this scenario and I insisted he go out and look for more work. He refused. At this point he was bailing on me and my baby – that’s when I knew it was completely over. I heard my neighbor walking through the driveway. It was Abby, a single mom. Her daughter was just three at the time.

“Abby? Is that you?” I asked over the fence.

“Ya,” she said. We’d only talked a few times here and there, nothing too in depth. We were just friendly neighbors. She was the single mom, I was the married mom with the newborn, supposed to be completely happy.

“I need to have a cigarrette, and you need to tell me what it’s like to be a single mom because I’m about to be one.” She came running into my yard.

“Oh my god. I’ll be right back.”

It was in this moment as she went on and on about the trials and tribulations but about how ultimately, it was the right thing to do, that I realized the bond single mothers have with each other. Perhaps because we are the only ones – the only ones – who truly understand what the other is going through.

Leaving him, moving back in with my mother and leaving my career was the single most challenging thing I’ve ever done – I needed friends and I chose cigarrettes. Now, one and a half years later, I’m back on my feet. Have my career back, have my real friends and my life back. I don’t need them anymore.

On Sunday morning we quit together, as promised. But then today, Monday, I head into work and feel awful. I actually feel like I’m going to get sick all over my desk. Am I pregant? Nope. Definitely not. Could it be the smoking? I Google it. Yep. Smoking cessation can cause nausea. Weird.

I make it until 5:00 pm and then I have one. I just can’t do this. I can’t go pick up Benjamin like this. This nausea has got to go. The cigarrette doesn’t help. I get home and take my temperature – it’s 101.1. Oh my god. I’m sick. I’ve been home from work nursing Benjamin for weeks, have missed six work days and now I’m sick.

I call Kris. “I cheated. I just couldn’t stand it. I can’t be this sick. I thought it was nausea from not smoking, but I’m just actually sick as hell.”

“Do you really want to quit or not?” He sounds disappointed. I try to defend myself.

“But, I’m a single working mom. Any kind of stress relief I can get is worth it. I can’t be in withdraw around Benjamin. And tonight, being so sick, I nearly broke down in tears.”

(I actually had broken down in tears but didn’t want to tell him this). He still sounds pissed. And he should be – I broke a promise. I call him back later, he apologizes for being “difficult” and I apologize for cheating.

“Do you want me to come over? I can make you some tea, cuddle you down.” He offers.

“Nope…maybe tomorrow night.” Step by step, I tell myself. I can quit smoking with someone, sleep with them, even become emotionally attached to them, but it will be a long, long time before I’m ready to actually ask a man for help. I just can’t. I should call Abby and ask her why.

(P.S., I never smoke around Benjamin or in the house, which is why I really want to quit – it’s getting cold out).
Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
***UPDATE***

If you’re here to find out how to change your Facebook or MySpace relationship status, click here.

Once you’re done – come back and read this…

“A relationship isn’t official until it’s on Facebook!” a young co-worker told me this morning. “My friend got engaged and two weeks later the announcement still wasn’t on Facebook. We all thought she had called it off or something.” Virtual social networks have changed the dating landscape… forever.

After my divorce I created a MySpace page. I was an innocent to the social networking world and had no idea how much it would change my dating experiences. My single friend was over the other night venting about a frustrating experience she’s having with an ex boyfriend right now.

“I’m not sure if he’ll call me tonight or not. I left him a comment today asking if he was going out and haven’t heard back.”

MySpace and Facebook have now effectively changed the way we date. Now we can call, text, e-mail or better yet – leave a MySpace comment or give someone a Facebook poke.

Here’s my translation of the MySpace and Facebook Dating Codes.

  1. Add each other as friends. This is really no big deal and doesn’t mean much. But at least now you have unbridled access to their page, photos, blog, etc.
  2. Leave cute, flirty comments on each other’s page. A good sign. He’s writing on your page, you’re writing on his. All is well in the world.
  3. Move each other up to “top friend” status. This is a big step and could indicate a future relationship status change.
  4. Continue with more flirtatious comments like “last night was amazing, you make me crazy.” Getting closer.
  5. Change your relationship status. The biggest step. Now you’re taken. You’re off the virtual market and you’re shouting loud and proud to the rest of the world that you’re happy and committed.

In conversations with my single girlfriends the old burning questions like, “is he a good kisser?,” “does he call often?,” “does he make you laugh?” are still completely relevant but added into the mix are, “did he move you into his top friends?,” “who else is on his page?”

The Virtual Red Flag

Some men are all over your MySpace page while you’re dating…others will be silent, never leaving a comment or moving you into their top friends. Strange. A red flag. A new red flag. The virtual red flag.

The Relationship Status Change: Who brings it up…how does it happen?

A case in point: my current flame took matters into his own hands. Last night when we were falling asleep he said, “I changed my relationship status on Facebook.” What??? Wow!!! I didn’t know what to think. We’ve only been together for 3 weeks and now Facebook says we’re “in a relationship.”

“You want me to be your girlfriend?”

He says, “ya…is that okay?” He’s confused by my reaction. I mean, he’s a guy and he’s completely crazy about me. We’ve been seeing each other steadily for three weeks – why not change his status? Meanwhile my brain is on fire with a mix of happiness and fear. I feel like I’m in the 8th grade and a cute boy has just asked me out.

I can’t change my MySpace relationship status just yet- it’s too early. That page is like my temple of autonomy. I break the news to him, “I’ll change my Facebook account status, but not my MySpace account.” Hmmm….a virtual compromise.

This morning I go onto Facebook. Yep, there he is – “in a relationship.” I go to my profile and click in relationship (there is a special section for this). I change my status. Then Facebook asks me, “who are you in a relationship with?” I pick his name. Then it says, “Kris is now your boyfriend. We will be sending him a confirmation to see if he accepts your relationship request.”

What??? Oh my god…I have a boyfriend and they’re sending him a relationship request? I’m actually embarrassed. I call him immediately, “Facebook has just informed me that you’re my boyfriend, but you have to agree to it.” He laughed. “I’ll accept, I won’t leave you hanging. Later… girlfriend.” I feel like I’m 14 again.

A boy actually asked me out – even though he did it virtually I still think it’s absolutely adorable. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been asked out. Usually it’s me looking at the guy like, “so are you my boyfriend?”

See? This virtual world is good for something.

UPDATE/ Additional notes:

Crazy how MySpace and Facebook have changed the way we date. In just a few seconds you can scope out your ex’s relationship status, flirtatous comments and daily activities. Twitter makes it even worse. Maybe I should go on a delete binge tonight.

How often do you delete your the Ex-Profiles on MySpace? Can you do it? Do you think I can?

Deleting an ex is like permanently severing all ties…but then I think of the ex’s who were my friends – the ones I genuinely want to stay in touch with. And then I think of the sting when I see their “latest activity.”

I vote for delete.
I have seen a few google searches with this question pointing to my blog. Not sure why they’re taking you here, but it’s a very valid question. So here goes.

My friend Abby has been a single mom for over three years now and one night when we were on a crazy girls night, I had struck up a conversation with a charming dentist. He seemed interested so I thought, “better get it out on the table.” But this is how I phrased it, “Well, you’ll never actually be able to date me.” He looked surprised, “why not?”

“Because I have a baby.”

“Oh. Well, that must be fun.” After some awkward small talk he disappeared.

I ran up to Abby. “That guy just vanished after I told him about Benjamin!” She pulled me aside and whispered, “Oh no. You can’t tell them that right away. You’ve got to wait until at least a couple of dates.” What? I was floored. She just didn’t tell them.

“They have to fall for you first,” she insisted, “and then the baby thing is just like an added bonus – and ‘oh by the way, I do all of this and I’m an amazing single mom.’ It works!”

I am skeptical of Abbey’s theory. Here’s why, if the baby thing is too much for them to handle, why find that out two dates in? And wouldn’t that be a form of dishonesty?

I’ve decided that it depends on a few factors. If you are out for a night filled with multiple encounters with men on the dance floor or behind a bar – don’t mention it. Unless one of these men grabs your attention, you end up hitting it off and you feel like there’s potential for a future date – then dish. But make sure you frame it positively. The dentist was scared off because of the way I phrased it. I made it an obstacle when it really isn’t and I made it sound like Benjamin was a hinderance.

Having a baby or a child in your life is an amazing thing. Sure it’s an obstacle to dating men who don’t care about you, but not when you’re dating men who are genuinely into you. Beware of scaring off the good ones by making it sound like a bad thing, one of my nasty little habits.

Here’s a male perspective. My single friend Dave was out recently and called me the next day after bumping into a few single moms at a bar. “We were hitting it off and then they told me they have a baby. But they made it sound like it was a horrible thing. Their bad attitude was totally unattractive and I just had to walk away.”

When I told my new boyfriend about Benjamin it was the first night we met. But I waited until the end of the night, when I knew I would want to see him again. I brought it up within the flow of conversation and had a smile on my face. “So…I have a little bit of baggage, and he weighs 22 pounds. If you want to see me again, I just thought I should get that out there..so…” I trailed off and looked down into my lap, hoping I wouldn’t see fear in his eyes. “Do you have a picture?” He looked at Benjamin on my phone and smiled, a genuine smile. “He’s a cutie. Want to play another game of pool?”

My conclusion – having a child is as big of deal as you make it. And we can’t expect a man who’s never had a child before to possibly understand on a first date or on a first encounter. That comes later. But there’s no sense in not giving him a chance to understand.

When do you tell a man you’re a single mom?

It’s been two weeks now since Benjamin’s father has seen his son.

His car is broken down because he drove it without oil. Sigh.

Coincidentally Benjamin has also been sick, sick, sick. I have missed four days of work and will be missing two more. I am also broke because I’ve had to pay for an extra two days of childcare each week.

I called him today en route to the hospital today. Benjamin had a fever of 104.5 and I thought he should know about it.

“Oh,” he says, “Well, I’m in a meeting, I’ll call you back.” CLICK.

I called him tonight to vent a bit. I know, I know. Should have let it go. He’s completely out of our lives now but when I’m missing days upon days of work and he doesn’t even seem concerned or offer to take a day off from his job I get upset.

“I understand,” he says.

“No you don’t.” I snap. “You don’t understand. How could you understand? You have never, ever had to take a day off from work to take care of your son when he’s sick.”

What he says next blew my mind.

“If we were married I would. But, my boss is not going to give me a day off to take care of my ex-wife’s kid. We are not a family anymore.”

“What?!!! He’s your son. You mean he is less of a son to you because we’re not married? Your boss can’t think that unless you think that.”

I should have hung up at this point but I  didn’t. And then he drops this bomb (not the first time).

“It was your choice to leave me,” he says, “it was your choice and now you have to deal with it.”

Was it really my choice to be a single mom? Yes, in that the idea of actually still being with him, had I stayed, makes my skin crawl. Being a single mom is tough but being with a husband like him was a hell of a lot harder. He was cold, insensitive, hurtful and down right useless.

He’s now on month 9 of a relationship with another single mother. Her son is 6 and they’re now living together. Poor her. Poor kid.

If he would have had it his way, right now he would be sitting on MY couch, drinking MY beer, eating MY groceries and treating me like shit. I just wish he weren’t on another single mom’s couch right now. I wish I could warn her.

Conclusion = It was his choice to give me no choice.

Clare, the co-founder of iHeart Single Parents, made an appearance on Fox’s Morning Show this week.

Click here to watch Clare’s interview.

I’m so excited that iHeartSingleParents.com is finally getting the attention it deserves.

Morning Show hosts Mike and Juliet say, at the start of this piece, that 40% of new mothers in the U.S. are unmarried and of those the fastest growing group is women in their late 20’s. Not sure where they got that statistic (and it is Fox) but could that be true? Forty percent!

Mike and Juliet also ask Clare if she would recommend that other women choose to be a single mom. In her blog post, Clare says they sprung these questions on her – “They didn’t ask the questions that the producer and I practiced on at all.”

I can’t speak for Clare but being a single mother is seldom a choice for any of us. It’s something that happens. We choose to go on as single moms… but we certainly didn’t choose this path? Or did we? I chose to leave my husband. Does that mean I chose to be a single mom? I’ve written about this here.

Food for thought. And evidence that talk show hosts will always go for the controversial chord of any conversation.

Regardless, Clare did a fantastic job representing! And if you haven’t been over to iHeart lately, get over there because there are hundreds of new members joining every day… and as Clare says in this interview, having a single parent social network to turn to really makes you feel less alone.

[Photo: Clare and her 2-year-old son, Colby]

P.S. Proves my point that Single Moms are on Fire!

It’s been four weeks now.

My new relationship status is beginning to sink in.

I have a boyfriend, and I’m actually enjoying it immensely. Usually at this point fear takes over and I start pushing them away. I slowly eject them from my life, or cut it clean depending on my mood. But this time, I’m not feeling that way. I’m not stressed at all. I’m completely comfortable with him and totally into him. So far, the feeling is mutual.

I had him over for dinner on Thursday night. Benjamin was still awake. Kris has seen Benjamin in the mornings briefly but this would be his first evening with us, usually the highlight of my day because Benjamin is chipper, happy and ready to play.

Kris walks in, gives me a hug and then crouches down on his knees, “And, how are you?” He looks at Benjamin and Benjmain stares back. This is odd, usually he flashes a smile and runs away but he can’t take his eyes off of Kris.

Kris leads him into the living room and opens his toy chest. This is a first. Of all of the men I’ve dated since the divorce not one has genuinely just sat down and played with my kid. This used to surprise me because I thought – “If they’re trying to win me over wouldn’t they want to at least try to play with him?” To their credit, some would try, but it was awkward and forced. “I’ve never been around kids,” they would say. “I don’t know what to do.” Kris has never been around kids either, he’s actually only 23. Five years younger than me.

While I’m in the kitchen cooking dinner, I hear Kris talking to Benjamin, he’s calm, assuring and playful. A few hours later I take Benjamin up for bedtime. I come downstairs and all of his toys are cleaned up. Kris had tidied up my living room. I’m now pinching myself.

Kris is still there in the morning. We all eat pancakes together. There’s lots of laughter, more playing and the entire time Benjamin is following Kris around like a little puppy. I put Benjamin down for his nap and say good bye to Kris, we both have to work.

When Benjamin wakes up four hours later (he has a nasty cold which is why I’m home on a Friday) he searches the house for Kris. He’s going from room to room. As soon as he realizes Kris is gone – he starts crying…hard. My heart breaks. What am I doing? What if this doesn’t work out? Where will we be then? Benjamin is clearly well into toddlerhood (20 months) and now he is very well aware of what’s up.

The single mom dating conundrum:

When a man enters our life we want to see how they would fit into our family, or if they can even handle it. But we can’t do it without introducing them to the kids.

The solution:

When Benjamin was a teeny tiny baby, this wasn’t an issue. So everything I’m about to say clearly depends on the age of the children.

I’m not big on the idea of waiting six months to bring a man into my daily routine. I guess it’s because I’m afraid he would be shocked at the reality of how hard it is to raise a toddler and then split. Then I would have invested six months of my time in a guy who wasn’t really there for the right reasons.

The other problem. I am a working single mother. Not bringing him around Benjamin leaves me only a few hours in the late evening. Period. This can get old and can also hurt a budding relationship.

I have learned from my past mishaps not to raise this issue too early. Why? Because there is no way he or you actually know how long this will last yet, and you shouldn’t presume to know that. Once I actually told a guy I was dating, “the only way I can date you is if there’s potential – potential that one day we might get married.” We had only been dating for a few months. I didn’t even want to marry him. Isn’t that crazy? I just had to rationalize why I was spending time away from my son – to myself. In the end that one just fizzled out but the moral of the story is – it could have been more fun if I would have left my drama in my head. I’m thinking this is probably a good conversation to have 6-8 months in to a relationship. Just a hunch, but to each his own.

My solution: I am going to keep Kris’ encounters with Benjamin to a minimum for the next few months, but he will have a few. Because I also want someone to fall in love with my son, not just me…we are a package deal.
My new boyfriend and I decided to quit smoking – together. It’s the first time I’ve done something together, as a couple in years. Well, if you count my divorce, it’s been nearly a year. Knowing Saturday night was going to be a baby-free all-nighter we pick Sunday to go cold turkey. I’m scared. Scared to quit smoking and scared to enter into a verbal contract with someone – a commitment.

I started smoking the day I realized I was going to leave my husband. He had come home and said he’d been fired from yet another job and that he didn’t want to work again, that he wanted to be a stay at home dad. We didn’t have the money for this scenario and I insisted he go out and look for more work. He refused. At this point he was bailing on me and my baby – that’s when I knew it was completely over. I heard my neighbor walking through the driveway. It was Abby, a single mom. Her daughter was just three at the time.

“Abby? Is that you?” I asked over the fence.

“Ya,” she said. We’d only talked a few times here and there, nothing too in depth. We were just friendly neighbors. She was the single mom, I was the married mom with the newborn, supposed to be completely happy.

“I need to have a cigarrette, and you need to tell me what it’s like to be a single mom because I’m about to be one.” She came running into my yard.

“Oh my god. I’ll be right back.”

It was in this moment as she went on and on about the trials and tribulations but about how ultimately, it was the right thing to do, that I realized the bond single mothers have with each other. Perhaps because we are the only ones – the only ones – who truly understand what the other is going through.

Leaving him, moving back in with my mother and leaving my career was the single most challenging thing I’ve ever done – I needed friends and I chose cigarrettes. Now, one and a half years later, I’m back on my feet. Have my career back, have my real friends and my life back. I don’t need them anymore.

On Sunday morning we quit together, as promised. But then today, Monday, I head into work and feel awful. I actually feel like I’m going to get sick all over my desk. Am I pregant? Nope. Definitely not. Could it be the smoking? I Google it. Yep. Smoking cessation can cause nausea. Weird.

I make it until 5:00 pm and then I have one. I just can’t do this. I can’t go pick up Benjamin like this. This nausea has got to go. The cigarrette doesn’t help. I get home and take my temperature – it’s 101.1. Oh my god. I’m sick. I’ve been home from work nursing Benjamin for weeks, have missed six work days and now I’m sick.

I call Kris. “I cheated. I just couldn’t stand it. I can’t be this sick. I thought it was nausea from not smoking, but I’m just actually sick as hell.”

“Do you really want to quit or not?” He sounds disappointed. I try to defend myself.

“But, I’m a single working mom. Any kind of stress relief I can get is worth it. I can’t be in withdraw around Benjamin. And tonight, being so sick, I nearly broke down in tears.”

(I actually had broken down in tears but didn’t want to tell him this). He still sounds pissed. And he should be – I broke a promise. I call him back later, he apologizes for being “difficult” and I apologize for cheating.

“Do you want me to come over? I can make you some tea, cuddle you down.” He offers.

“Nope…maybe tomorrow night.” Step by step, I tell myself. I can quit smoking with someone, sleep with them, even become emotionally attached to them, but it will be a long, long time before I’m ready to actually ask a man for help. I just can’t. I should call Abby and ask her why.

(P.S., I never smoke around Benjamin or in the house, which is why I really want to quit – it’s getting cold out).
I’ve been an online dating “lurker” since my divorce. I joined eHarmony on last year’s very depressing Valentine’s Day.

I was still living at my mom’s house which is out in the woods. There were no men in sight except for the biker across the street.

I took the eHarmony personality test. Be careful with this, because once you take it – you never get another chance. Make sure you’re awake, relatively chipper and feeling completely open and honest with yourself.

After the test eHarmony served up my first seven matches. I was excited – “Look, an inbox full of men! Just for me!” But I couldn’t see the photos. They wanted my money. But at the time it wasn’t in the budget – at all – so I started sifting through the descriptions.

One guy actually sneaked his e-mail into his profile, “EHarmony is expensive,” he wrote, “E-mail me at dude@dude.com.” Yay! A guy who likes to beat the system. I like that so I sent him a lonely Valentine’s Day e-mail. Days later there’s still no response. I had even attached a picture. Hmmmm. I forget about it and try to stomach my first virtual rejection. It stings a little.

Three months later I get a response, “Hi, this is Carlise, Dan’s friend. I am checking his e-mail because he actually died in a car accident last October.”

My heart cries for Dan for a moment and then my sympathy for he and his family is replaced wtih anger at eHarmony. How could they do that? Then it hits me. The “matches” on eHarmony are not paying members. Many just popped in, took the personality test, and then never returned – or even worse – died.

I still became a paying member. I’m was too tempted by all of those new “matches” they e-mail you every morning. So after I spent over $100 to activate my account I was like a kid at a candy store – hurrying to scope out every man’s photograph.

I didn’t think one of them was cute. I e-mail a few any way but never got responses – because they’re probably inactive accounts. I e-mailed eHarmony asking for a refund. They told me my matching preferences weren’t broad enough, that I should be open to dating people of all ages from all over the world.

After receiving over 155 matches, only one led to a lunch date, and that was a complete failure.

Bottom line: don’t waste your money on eHarmony.

My friend Abby, my bestest single mom friend, had three very interesting and very good looking dates from Yahoo Personals last week.

The reason Yahoo and Match are better online dating sites than eHarmony:

1. They’re inexpensive.

2. You can see rough dates of when matches last logged in (although both sites should improve this feature).

3. You can control your searches, don’t let a computer match you – especially if 80% of those matches aren’t even active on the site.

See my other online dating entries for more background on this and some very important online dating tips.
Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
***UPDATE***

If you’re here to find out how to change your Facebook or MySpace relationship status, click here.

Once you’re done – come back and read this…

“A relationship isn’t official until it’s on Facebook!” a young co-worker told me this morning. “My friend got engaged and two weeks later the announcement still wasn’t on Facebook. We all thought she had called it off or something.” Virtual social networks have changed the dating landscape… forever.

After my divorce I created a MySpace page. I was an innocent to the social networking world and had no idea how much it would change my dating experiences. My single friend was over the other night venting about a frustrating experience she’s having with an ex boyfriend right now.

“I’m not sure if he’ll call me tonight or not. I left him a comment today asking if he was going out and haven’t heard back.”

MySpace and Facebook have now effectively changed the way we date. Now we can call, text, e-mail or better yet – leave a MySpace comment or give someone a Facebook poke.

Here’s my translation of the MySpace and Facebook Dating Codes.

  1. Add each other as friends. This is really no big deal and doesn’t mean much. But at least now you have unbridled access to their page, photos, blog, etc.
  2. Leave cute, flirty comments on each other’s page. A good sign. He’s writing on your page, you’re writing on his. All is well in the world.
  3. Move each other up to “top friend” status. This is a big step and could indicate a future relationship status change.
  4. Continue with more flirtatious comments like “last night was amazing, you make me crazy.” Getting closer.
  5. Change your relationship status. The biggest step. Now you’re taken. You’re off the virtual market and you’re shouting loud and proud to the rest of the world that you’re happy and committed.

In conversations with my single girlfriends the old burning questions like, “is he a good kisser?,” “does he call often?,” “does he make you laugh?” are still completely relevant but added into the mix are, “did he move you into his top friends?,” “who else is on his page?”

The Virtual Red Flag

Some men are all over your MySpace page while you’re dating…others will be silent, never leaving a comment or moving you into their top friends. Strange. A red flag. A new red flag. The virtual red flag.

The Relationship Status Change: Who brings it up…how does it happen?

A case in point: my current flame took matters into his own hands. Last night when we were falling asleep he said, “I changed my relationship status on Facebook.” What??? Wow!!! I didn’t know what to think. We’ve only been together for 3 weeks and now Facebook says we’re “in a relationship.”

“You want me to be your girlfriend?”

He says, “ya…is that okay?” He’s confused by my reaction. I mean, he’s a guy and he’s completely crazy about me. We’ve been seeing each other steadily for three weeks – why not change his status? Meanwhile my brain is on fire with a mix of happiness and fear. I feel like I’m in the 8th grade and a cute boy has just asked me out.

I can’t change my MySpace relationship status just yet- it’s too early. That page is like my temple of autonomy. I break the news to him, “I’ll change my Facebook account status, but not my MySpace account.” Hmmm….a virtual compromise.

This morning I go onto Facebook. Yep, there he is – “in a relationship.” I go to my profile and click in relationship (there is a special section for this). I change my status. Then Facebook asks me, “who are you in a relationship with?” I pick his name. Then it says, “Kris is now your boyfriend. We will be sending him a confirmation to see if he accepts your relationship request.”

What??? Oh my god…I have a boyfriend and they’re sending him a relationship request? I’m actually embarrassed. I call him immediately, “Facebook has just informed me that you’re my boyfriend, but you have to agree to it.” He laughed. “I’ll accept, I won’t leave you hanging. Later… girlfriend.” I feel like I’m 14 again.

A boy actually asked me out – even though he did it virtually I still think it’s absolutely adorable. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been asked out. Usually it’s me looking at the guy like, “so are you my boyfriend?”

See? This virtual world is good for something.

UPDATE/ Additional notes:

Crazy how MySpace and Facebook have changed the way we date. In just a few seconds you can scope out your ex’s relationship status, flirtatous comments and daily activities. Twitter makes it even worse. Maybe I should go on a delete binge tonight.

How often do you delete your the Ex-Profiles on MySpace? Can you do it? Do you think I can?

Deleting an ex is like permanently severing all ties…but then I think of the ex’s who were my friends – the ones I genuinely want to stay in touch with. And then I think of the sting when I see their “latest activity.”

I vote for delete.
I have seen a few google searches with this question pointing to my blog. Not sure why they’re taking you here, but it’s a very valid question. So here goes.

My friend Abby has been a single mom for over three years now and one night when we were on a crazy girls night, I had struck up a conversation with a charming dentist. He seemed interested so I thought, “better get it out on the table.” But this is how I phrased it, “Well, you’ll never actually be able to date me.” He looked surprised, “why not?”

“Because I have a baby.”

“Oh. Well, that must be fun.” After some awkward small talk he disappeared.

I ran up to Abby. “That guy just vanished after I told him about Benjamin!” She pulled me aside and whispered, “Oh no. You can’t tell them that right away. You’ve got to wait until at least a couple of dates.” What? I was floored. She just didn’t tell them.

“They have to fall for you first,” she insisted, “and then the baby thing is just like an added bonus – and ‘oh by the way, I do all of this and I’m an amazing single mom.’ It works!”

I am skeptical of Abbey’s theory. Here’s why, if the baby thing is too much for them to handle, why find that out two dates in? And wouldn’t that be a form of dishonesty?

I’ve decided that it depends on a few factors. If you are out for a night filled with multiple encounters with men on the dance floor or behind a bar – don’t mention it. Unless one of these men grabs your attention, you end up hitting it off and you feel like there’s potential for a future date – then dish. But make sure you frame it positively. The dentist was scared off because of the way I phrased it. I made it an obstacle when it really isn’t and I made it sound like Benjamin was a hinderance.

Having a baby or a child in your life is an amazing thing. Sure it’s an obstacle to dating men who don’t care about you, but not when you’re dating men who are genuinely into you. Beware of scaring off the good ones by making it sound like a bad thing, one of my nasty little habits.

Here’s a male perspective. My single friend Dave was out recently and called me the next day after bumping into a few single moms at a bar. “We were hitting it off and then they told me they have a baby. But they made it sound like it was a horrible thing. Their bad attitude was totally unattractive and I just had to walk away.”

When I told my new boyfriend about Benjamin it was the first night we met. But I waited until the end of the night, when I knew I would want to see him again. I brought it up within the flow of conversation and had a smile on my face. “So…I have a little bit of baggage, and he weighs 22 pounds. If you want to see me again, I just thought I should get that out there..so…” I trailed off and looked down into my lap, hoping I wouldn’t see fear in his eyes. “Do you have a picture?” He looked at Benjamin on my phone and smiled, a genuine smile. “He’s a cutie. Want to play another game of pool?”

My conclusion – having a child is as big of deal as you make it. And we can’t expect a man who’s never had a child before to possibly understand on a first date or on a first encounter. That comes later. But there’s no sense in not giving him a chance to understand.

When do you tell a man you’re a single mom?

It’s been two weeks now since Benjamin’s father has seen his son.

His car is broken down because he drove it without oil. Sigh.

Coincidentally Benjamin has also been sick, sick, sick. I have missed four days of work and will be missing two more. I am also broke because I’ve had to pay for an extra two days of childcare each week.

I called him today en route to the hospital today. Benjamin had a fever of 104.5 and I thought he should know about it.

“Oh,” he says, “Well, I’m in a meeting, I’ll call you back.” CLICK.

I called him tonight to vent a bit. I know, I know. Should have let it go. He’s completely out of our lives now but when I’m missing days upon days of work and he doesn’t even seem concerned or offer to take a day off from his job I get upset.

“I understand,” he says.

“No you don’t.” I snap. “You don’t understand. How could you understand? You have never, ever had to take a day off from work to take care of your son when he’s sick.”

What he says next blew my mind.

“If we were married I would. But, my boss is not going to give me a day off to take care of my ex-wife’s kid. We are not a family anymore.”

“What?!!! He’s your son. You mean he is less of a son to you because we’re not married? Your boss can’t think that unless you think that.”

I should have hung up at this point but I  didn’t. And then he drops this bomb (not the first time).

“It was your choice to leave me,” he says, “it was your choice and now you have to deal with it.”

Was it really my choice to be a single mom? Yes, in that the idea of actually still being with him, had I stayed, makes my skin crawl. Being a single mom is tough but being with a husband like him was a hell of a lot harder. He was cold, insensitive, hurtful and down right useless.

He’s now on month 9 of a relationship with another single mother. Her son is 6 and they’re now living together. Poor her. Poor kid.

If he would have had it his way, right now he would be sitting on MY couch, drinking MY beer, eating MY groceries and treating me like shit. I just wish he weren’t on another single mom’s couch right now. I wish I could warn her.

Conclusion = It was his choice to give me no choice.

Clare, the co-founder of iHeart Single Parents, made an appearance on Fox’s Morning Show this week.

Click here to watch Clare’s interview.

I’m so excited that iHeartSingleParents.com is finally getting the attention it deserves.

Morning Show hosts Mike and Juliet say, at the start of this piece, that 40% of new mothers in the U.S. are unmarried and of those the fastest growing group is women in their late 20’s. Not sure where they got that statistic (and it is Fox) but could that be true? Forty percent!

Mike and Juliet also ask Clare if she would recommend that other women choose to be a single mom. In her blog post, Clare says they sprung these questions on her – “They didn’t ask the questions that the producer and I practiced on at all.”

I can’t speak for Clare but being a single mother is seldom a choice for any of us. It’s something that happens. We choose to go on as single moms… but we certainly didn’t choose this path? Or did we? I chose to leave my husband. Does that mean I chose to be a single mom? I’ve written about this here.

Food for thought. And evidence that talk show hosts will always go for the controversial chord of any conversation.

Regardless, Clare did a fantastic job representing! And if you haven’t been over to iHeart lately, get over there because there are hundreds of new members joining every day… and as Clare says in this interview, having a single parent social network to turn to really makes you feel less alone.

[Photo: Clare and her 2-year-old son, Colby]

P.S. Proves my point that Single Moms are on Fire!

It’s been four weeks now.

My new relationship status is beginning to sink in.

I have a boyfriend, and I’m actually enjoying it immensely. Usually at this point fear takes over and I start pushing them away. I slowly eject them from my life, or cut it clean depending on my mood. But this time, I’m not feeling that way. I’m not stressed at all. I’m completely comfortable with him and totally into him. So far, the feeling is mutual.

I had him over for dinner on Thursday night. Benjamin was still awake. Kris has seen Benjamin in the mornings briefly but this would be his first evening with us, usually the highlight of my day because Benjamin is chipper, happy and ready to play.

Kris walks in, gives me a hug and then crouches down on his knees, “And, how are you?” He looks at Benjamin and Benjmain stares back. This is odd, usually he flashes a smile and runs away but he can’t take his eyes off of Kris.

Kris leads him into the living room and opens his toy chest. This is a first. Of all of the men I’ve dated since the divorce not one has genuinely just sat down and played with my kid. This used to surprise me because I thought – “If they’re trying to win me over wouldn’t they want to at least try to play with him?” To their credit, some would try, but it was awkward and forced. “I’ve never been around kids,” they would say. “I don’t know what to do.” Kris has never been around kids either, he’s actually only 23. Five years younger than me.

While I’m in the kitchen cooking dinner, I hear Kris talking to Benjamin, he’s calm, assuring and playful. A few hours later I take Benjamin up for bedtime. I come downstairs and all of his toys are cleaned up. Kris had tidied up my living room. I’m now pinching myself.

Kris is still there in the morning. We all eat pancakes together. There’s lots of laughter, more playing and the entire time Benjamin is following Kris around like a little puppy. I put Benjamin down for his nap and say good bye to Kris, we both have to work.

When Benjamin wakes up four hours later (he has a nasty cold which is why I’m home on a Friday) he searches the house for Kris. He’s going from room to room. As soon as he realizes Kris is gone – he starts crying…hard. My heart breaks. What am I doing? What if this doesn’t work out? Where will we be then? Benjamin is clearly well into toddlerhood (20 months) and now he is very well aware of what’s up.

The single mom dating conundrum:

When a man enters our life we want to see how they would fit into our family, or if they can even handle it. But we can’t do it without introducing them to the kids.

The solution:

When Benjamin was a teeny tiny baby, this wasn’t an issue. So everything I’m about to say clearly depends on the age of the children.

I’m not big on the idea of waiting six months to bring a man into my daily routine. I guess it’s because I’m afraid he would be shocked at the reality of how hard it is to raise a toddler and then split. Then I would have invested six months of my time in a guy who wasn’t really there for the right reasons.

The other problem. I am a working single mother. Not bringing him around Benjamin leaves me only a few hours in the late evening. Period. This can get old and can also hurt a budding relationship.

I have learned from my past mishaps not to raise this issue too early. Why? Because there is no way he or you actually know how long this will last yet, and you shouldn’t presume to know that. Once I actually told a guy I was dating, “the only way I can date you is if there’s potential – potential that one day we might get married.” We had only been dating for a few months. I didn’t even want to marry him. Isn’t that crazy? I just had to rationalize why I was spending time away from my son – to myself. In the end that one just fizzled out but the moral of the story is – it could have been more fun if I would have left my drama in my head. I’m thinking this is probably a good conversation to have 6-8 months in to a relationship. Just a hunch, but to each his own.

My solution: I am going to keep Kris’ encounters with Benjamin to a minimum for the next few months, but he will have a few. Because I also want someone to fall in love with my son, not just me…we are a package deal.
My new boyfriend and I decided to quit smoking – together. It’s the first time I’ve done something together, as a couple in years. Well, if you count my divorce, it’s been nearly a year. Knowing Saturday night was going to be a baby-free all-nighter we pick Sunday to go cold turkey. I’m scared. Scared to quit smoking and scared to enter into a verbal contract with someone – a commitment.

I started smoking the day I realized I was going to leave my husband. He had come home and said he’d been fired from yet another job and that he didn’t want to work again, that he wanted to be a stay at home dad. We didn’t have the money for this scenario and I insisted he go out and look for more work. He refused. At this point he was bailing on me and my baby – that’s when I knew it was completely over. I heard my neighbor walking through the driveway. It was Abby, a single mom. Her daughter was just three at the time.

“Abby? Is that you?” I asked over the fence.

“Ya,” she said. We’d only talked a few times here and there, nothing too in depth. We were just friendly neighbors. She was the single mom, I was the married mom with the newborn, supposed to be completely happy.

“I need to have a cigarrette, and you need to tell me what it’s like to be a single mom because I’m about to be one.” She came running into my yard.

“Oh my god. I’ll be right back.”

It was in this moment as she went on and on about the trials and tribulations but about how ultimately, it was the right thing to do, that I realized the bond single mothers have with each other. Perhaps because we are the only ones – the only ones – who truly understand what the other is going through.

Leaving him, moving back in with my mother and leaving my career was the single most challenging thing I’ve ever done – I needed friends and I chose cigarrettes. Now, one and a half years later, I’m back on my feet. Have my career back, have my real friends and my life back. I don’t need them anymore.

On Sunday morning we quit together, as promised. But then today, Monday, I head into work and feel awful. I actually feel like I’m going to get sick all over my desk. Am I pregant? Nope. Definitely not. Could it be the smoking? I Google it. Yep. Smoking cessation can cause nausea. Weird.

I make it until 5:00 pm and then I have one. I just can’t do this. I can’t go pick up Benjamin like this. This nausea has got to go. The cigarrette doesn’t help. I get home and take my temperature – it’s 101.1. Oh my god. I’m sick. I’ve been home from work nursing Benjamin for weeks, have missed six work days and now I’m sick.

I call Kris. “I cheated. I just couldn’t stand it. I can’t be this sick. I thought it was nausea from not smoking, but I’m just actually sick as hell.”

“Do you really want to quit or not?” He sounds disappointed. I try to defend myself.

“But, I’m a single working mom. Any kind of stress relief I can get is worth it. I can’t be in withdraw around Benjamin. And tonight, being so sick, I nearly broke down in tears.”

(I actually had broken down in tears but didn’t want to tell him this). He still sounds pissed. And he should be – I broke a promise. I call him back later, he apologizes for being “difficult” and I apologize for cheating.

“Do you want me to come over? I can make you some tea, cuddle you down.” He offers.

“Nope…maybe tomorrow night.” Step by step, I tell myself. I can quit smoking with someone, sleep with them, even become emotionally attached to them, but it will be a long, long time before I’m ready to actually ask a man for help. I just can’t. I should call Abby and ask her why.

(P.S., I never smoke around Benjamin or in the house, which is why I really want to quit – it’s getting cold out).
I’ve been an online dating “lurker” since my divorce. I joined eHarmony on last year’s very depressing Valentine’s Day.

I was still living at my mom’s house which is out in the woods. There were no men in sight except for the biker across the street.

I took the eHarmony personality test. Be careful with this, because once you take it – you never get another chance. Make sure you’re awake, relatively chipper and feeling completely open and honest with yourself.

After the test eHarmony served up my first seven matches. I was excited – “Look, an inbox full of men! Just for me!” But I couldn’t see the photos. They wanted my money. But at the time it wasn’t in the budget – at all – so I started sifting through the descriptions.

One guy actually sneaked his e-mail into his profile, “EHarmony is expensive,” he wrote, “E-mail me at dude@dude.com.” Yay! A guy who likes to beat the system. I like that so I sent him a lonely Valentine’s Day e-mail. Days later there’s still no response. I had even attached a picture. Hmmmm. I forget about it and try to stomach my first virtual rejection. It stings a little.

Three months later I get a response, “Hi, this is Carlise, Dan’s friend. I am checking his e-mail because he actually died in a car accident last October.”

My heart cries for Dan for a moment and then my sympathy for he and his family is replaced wtih anger at eHarmony. How could they do that? Then it hits me. The “matches” on eHarmony are not paying members. Many just popped in, took the personality test, and then never returned – or even worse – died.

I still became a paying member. I’m was too tempted by all of those new “matches” they e-mail you every morning. So after I spent over $100 to activate my account I was like a kid at a candy store – hurrying to scope out every man’s photograph.

I didn’t think one of them was cute. I e-mail a few any way but never got responses – because they’re probably inactive accounts. I e-mailed eHarmony asking for a refund. They told me my matching preferences weren’t broad enough, that I should be open to dating people of all ages from all over the world.

After receiving over 155 matches, only one led to a lunch date, and that was a complete failure.

Bottom line: don’t waste your money on eHarmony.

My friend Abby, my bestest single mom friend, had three very interesting and very good looking dates from Yahoo Personals last week.

The reason Yahoo and Match are better online dating sites than eHarmony:

1. They’re inexpensive.

2. You can see rough dates of when matches last logged in (although both sites should improve this feature).

3. You can control your searches, don’t let a computer match you – especially if 80% of those matches aren’t even active on the site.

See my other online dating entries for more background on this and some very important online dating tips.
I don’t know about you, but movies just aren’t the same anymore. A lot of things aren’t. If I am going to take a few hours to sit down and watch one it better be good, or I flip it off within the first 20 minutes.

Last night I watched Paris, Je Taime (Paris, I Love You). It was unbelievable. There are 18, maybe more, short 5 minute love stories from Paris. Love stories you wouldn’t expect. Love between divorced couples, old couples, young couples, friends and a few on the love between a mother and her child. Some made me cry, some made me laugh and some made me believe in love again.
One story shows the strong will and determination of a single mother, completely driven by her love for her son. Warning. This might make you cry.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/v/RzaIQWQTARo&rel=1]

And the best single mom movie ever…Chocalot, take a peak. This movie has it all. The stresses of being a single mother and the huge benefits. Sex. Love. Chocolate. Johnny Depp. What more could you ask for? And it’s probably one of the most beautiful movies I’ve ever seen. Here’s the original preview.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/v/dLAuf4-a0I4&rel=1]

What are your favorite single mama movies? What about movies for the kids? Do share.
Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
***UPDATE***

If you’re here to find out how to change your Facebook or MySpace relationship status, click here.

Once you’re done – come back and read this…

“A relationship isn’t official until it’s on Facebook!” a young co-worker told me this morning. “My friend got engaged and two weeks later the announcement still wasn’t on Facebook. We all thought she had called it off or something.” Virtual social networks have changed the dating landscape… forever.

After my divorce I created a MySpace page. I was an innocent to the social networking world and had no idea how much it would change my dating experiences. My single friend was over the other night venting about a frustrating experience she’s having with an ex boyfriend right now.

“I’m not sure if he’ll call me tonight or not. I left him a comment today asking if he was going out and haven’t heard back.”

MySpace and Facebook have now effectively changed the way we date. Now we can call, text, e-mail or better yet – leave a MySpace comment or give someone a Facebook poke.

Here’s my translation of the MySpace and Facebook Dating Codes.

  1. Add each other as friends. This is really no big deal and doesn’t mean much. But at least now you have unbridled access to their page, photos, blog, etc.
  2. Leave cute, flirty comments on each other’s page. A good sign. He’s writing on your page, you’re writing on his. All is well in the world.
  3. Move each other up to “top friend” status. This is a big step and could indicate a future relationship status change.
  4. Continue with more flirtatious comments like “last night was amazing, you make me crazy.” Getting closer.
  5. Change your relationship status. The biggest step. Now you’re taken. You’re off the virtual market and you’re shouting loud and proud to the rest of the world that you’re happy and committed.

In conversations with my single girlfriends the old burning questions like, “is he a good kisser?,” “does he call often?,” “does he make you laugh?” are still completely relevant but added into the mix are, “did he move you into his top friends?,” “who else is on his page?”

The Virtual Red Flag

Some men are all over your MySpace page while you’re dating…others will be silent, never leaving a comment or moving you into their top friends. Strange. A red flag. A new red flag. The virtual red flag.

The Relationship Status Change: Who brings it up…how does it happen?

A case in point: my current flame took matters into his own hands. Last night when we were falling asleep he said, “I changed my relationship status on Facebook.” What??? Wow!!! I didn’t know what to think. We’ve only been together for 3 weeks and now Facebook says we’re “in a relationship.”

“You want me to be your girlfriend?”

He says, “ya…is that okay?” He’s confused by my reaction. I mean, he’s a guy and he’s completely crazy about me. We’ve been seeing each other steadily for three weeks – why not change his status? Meanwhile my brain is on fire with a mix of happiness and fear. I feel like I’m in the 8th grade and a cute boy has just asked me out.

I can’t change my MySpace relationship status just yet- it’s too early. That page is like my temple of autonomy. I break the news to him, “I’ll change my Facebook account status, but not my MySpace account.” Hmmm….a virtual compromise.

This morning I go onto Facebook. Yep, there he is – “in a relationship.” I go to my profile and click in relationship (there is a special section for this). I change my status. Then Facebook asks me, “who are you in a relationship with?” I pick his name. Then it says, “Kris is now your boyfriend. We will be sending him a confirmation to see if he accepts your relationship request.”

What??? Oh my god…I have a boyfriend and they’re sending him a relationship request? I’m actually embarrassed. I call him immediately, “Facebook has just informed me that you’re my boyfriend, but you have to agree to it.” He laughed. “I’ll accept, I won’t leave you hanging. Later… girlfriend.” I feel like I’m 14 again.

A boy actually asked me out – even though he did it virtually I still think it’s absolutely adorable. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been asked out. Usually it’s me looking at the guy like, “so are you my boyfriend?”

See? This virtual world is good for something.

UPDATE/ Additional notes:

Crazy how MySpace and Facebook have changed the way we date. In just a few seconds you can scope out your ex’s relationship status, flirtatous comments and daily activities. Twitter makes it even worse. Maybe I should go on a delete binge tonight.

How often do you delete your the Ex-Profiles on MySpace? Can you do it? Do you think I can?

Deleting an ex is like permanently severing all ties…but then I think of the ex’s who were my friends – the ones I genuinely want to stay in touch with. And then I think of the sting when I see their “latest activity.”

I vote for delete.
Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
***UPDATE***

If you’re here to find out how to change your Facebook or MySpace relationship status, click here.

Once you’re done – come back and read this…

“A relationship isn’t official until it’s on Facebook!” a young co-worker told me this morning. “My friend got engaged and two weeks later the announcement still wasn’t on Facebook. We all thought she had called it off or something.” Virtual social networks have changed the dating landscape… forever.

After my divorce I created a MySpace page. I was an innocent to the social networking world and had no idea how much it would change my dating experiences. My single friend was over the other night venting about a frustrating experience she’s having with an ex boyfriend right now.

“I’m not sure if he’ll call me tonight or not. I left him a comment today asking if he was going out and haven’t heard back.”

MySpace and Facebook have now effectively changed the way we date. Now we can call, text, e-mail or better yet – leave a MySpace comment or give someone a Facebook poke.

Here’s my translation of the MySpace and Facebook Dating Codes.

  1. Add each other as friends. This is really no big deal and doesn’t mean much. But at least now you have unbridled access to their page, photos, blog, etc.
  2. Leave cute, flirty comments on each other’s page. A good sign. He’s writing on your page, you’re writing on his. All is well in the world.
  3. Move each other up to “top friend” status. This is a big step and could indicate a future relationship status change.
  4. Continue with more flirtatious comments like “last night was amazing, you make me crazy.” Getting closer.
  5. Change your relationship status. The biggest step. Now you’re taken. You’re off the virtual market and you’re shouting loud and proud to the rest of the world that you’re happy and committed.

In conversations with my single girlfriends the old burning questions like, “is he a good kisser?,” “does he call often?,” “does he make you laugh?” are still completely relevant but added into the mix are, “did he move you into his top friends?,” “who else is on his page?”

The Virtual Red Flag

Some men are all over your MySpace page while you’re dating…others will be silent, never leaving a comment or moving you into their top friends. Strange. A red flag. A new red flag. The virtual red flag.

The Relationship Status Change: Who brings it up…how does it happen?

A case in point: my current flame took matters into his own hands. Last night when we were falling asleep he said, “I changed my relationship status on Facebook.” What??? Wow!!! I didn’t know what to think. We’ve only been together for 3 weeks and now Facebook says we’re “in a relationship.”

“You want me to be your girlfriend?”

He says, “ya…is that okay?” He’s confused by my reaction. I mean, he’s a guy and he’s completely crazy about me. We’ve been seeing each other steadily for three weeks – why not change his status? Meanwhile my brain is on fire with a mix of happiness and fear. I feel like I’m in the 8th grade and a cute boy has just asked me out.

I can’t change my MySpace relationship status just yet- it’s too early. That page is like my temple of autonomy. I break the news to him, “I’ll change my Facebook account status, but not my MySpace account.” Hmmm….a virtual compromise.

This morning I go onto Facebook. Yep, there he is – “in a relationship.” I go to my profile and click in relationship (there is a special section for this). I change my status. Then Facebook asks me, “who are you in a relationship with?” I pick his name. Then it says, “Kris is now your boyfriend. We will be sending him a confirmation to see if he accepts your relationship request.”

What??? Oh my god…I have a boyfriend and they’re sending him a relationship request? I’m actually embarrassed. I call him immediately, “Facebook has just informed me that you’re my boyfriend, but you have to agree to it.” He laughed. “I’ll accept, I won’t leave you hanging. Later… girlfriend.” I feel like I’m 14 again.

A boy actually asked me out – even though he did it virtually I still think it’s absolutely adorable. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been asked out. Usually it’s me looking at the guy like, “so are you my boyfriend?”

See? This virtual world is good for something.

UPDATE/ Additional notes:

Crazy how MySpace and Facebook have changed the way we date. In just a few seconds you can scope out your ex’s relationship status, flirtatous comments and daily activities. Twitter makes it even worse. Maybe I should go on a delete binge tonight.

How often do you delete your the Ex-Profiles on MySpace? Can you do it? Do you think I can?

Deleting an ex is like permanently severing all ties…but then I think of the ex’s who were my friends – the ones I genuinely want to stay in touch with. And then I think of the sting when I see their “latest activity.”

I vote for delete.
I have seen a few google searches with this question pointing to my blog. Not sure why they’re taking you here, but it’s a very valid question. So here goes.

My friend Abby has been a single mom for over three years now and one night when we were on a crazy girls night, I had struck up a conversation with a charming dentist. He seemed interested so I thought, “better get it out on the table.” But this is how I phrased it, “Well, you’ll never actually be able to date me.” He looked surprised, “why not?”

“Because I have a baby.”

“Oh. Well, that must be fun.” After some awkward small talk he disappeared.

I ran up to Abby. “That guy just vanished after I told him about Benjamin!” She pulled me aside and whispered, “Oh no. You can’t tell them that right away. You’ve got to wait until at least a couple of dates.” What? I was floored. She just didn’t tell them.

“They have to fall for you first,” she insisted, “and then the baby thing is just like an added bonus – and ‘oh by the way, I do all of this and I’m an amazing single mom.’ It works!”

I am skeptical of Abbey’s theory. Here’s why, if the baby thing is too much for them to handle, why find that out two dates in? And wouldn’t that be a form of dishonesty?

I’ve decided that it depends on a few factors. If you are out for a night filled with multiple encounters with men on the dance floor or behind a bar – don’t mention it. Unless one of these men grabs your attention, you end up hitting it off and you feel like there’s potential for a future date – then dish. But make sure you frame it positively. The dentist was scared off because of the way I phrased it. I made it an obstacle when it really isn’t and I made it sound like Benjamin was a hinderance.

Having a baby or a child in your life is an amazing thing. Sure it’s an obstacle to dating men who don’t care about you, but not when you’re dating men who are genuinely into you. Beware of scaring off the good ones by making it sound like a bad thing, one of my nasty little habits.

Here’s a male perspective. My single friend Dave was out recently and called me the next day after bumping into a few single moms at a bar. “We were hitting it off and then they told me they have a baby. But they made it sound like it was a horrible thing. Their bad attitude was totally unattractive and I just had to walk away.”

When I told my new boyfriend about Benjamin it was the first night we met. But I waited until the end of the night, when I knew I would want to see him again. I brought it up within the flow of conversation and had a smile on my face. “So…I have a little bit of baggage, and he weighs 22 pounds. If you want to see me again, I just thought I should get that out there..so…” I trailed off and looked down into my lap, hoping I wouldn’t see fear in his eyes. “Do you have a picture?” He looked at Benjamin on my phone and smiled, a genuine smile. “He’s a cutie. Want to play another game of pool?”

My conclusion – having a child is as big of deal as you make it. And we can’t expect a man who’s never had a child before to possibly understand on a first date or on a first encounter. That comes later. But there’s no sense in not giving him a chance to understand.

When do you tell a man you’re a single mom?
Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
***UPDATE***

If you’re here to find out how to change your Facebook or MySpace relationship status, click here.

Once you’re done – come back and read this…

“A relationship isn’t official until it’s on Facebook!” a young co-worker told me this morning. “My friend got engaged and two weeks later the announcement still wasn’t on Facebook. We all thought she had called it off or something.” Virtual social networks have changed the dating landscape… forever.

After my divorce I created a MySpace page. I was an innocent to the social networking world and had no idea how much it would change my dating experiences. My single friend was over the other night venting about a frustrating experience she’s having with an ex boyfriend right now.

“I’m not sure if he’ll call me tonight or not. I left him a comment today asking if he was going out and haven’t heard back.”

MySpace and Facebook have now effectively changed the way we date. Now we can call, text, e-mail or better yet – leave a MySpace comment or give someone a Facebook poke.

Here’s my translation of the MySpace and Facebook Dating Codes.

  1. Add each other as friends. This is really no big deal and doesn’t mean much. But at least now you have unbridled access to their page, photos, blog, etc.
  2. Leave cute, flirty comments on each other’s page. A good sign. He’s writing on your page, you’re writing on his. All is well in the world.
  3. Move each other up to “top friend” status. This is a big step and could indicate a future relationship status change.
  4. Continue with more flirtatious comments like “last night was amazing, you make me crazy.” Getting closer.
  5. Change your relationship status. The biggest step. Now you’re taken. You’re off the virtual market and you’re shouting loud and proud to the rest of the world that you’re happy and committed.

In conversations with my single girlfriends the old burning questions like, “is he a good kisser?,” “does he call often?,” “does he make you laugh?” are still completely relevant but added into the mix are, “did he move you into his top friends?,” “who else is on his page?”

The Virtual Red Flag

Some men are all over your MySpace page while you’re dating…others will be silent, never leaving a comment or moving you into their top friends. Strange. A red flag. A new red flag. The virtual red flag.

The Relationship Status Change: Who brings it up…how does it happen?

A case in point: my current flame took matters into his own hands. Last night when we were falling asleep he said, “I changed my relationship status on Facebook.” What??? Wow!!! I didn’t know what to think. We’ve only been together for 3 weeks and now Facebook says we’re “in a relationship.”

“You want me to be your girlfriend?”

He says, “ya…is that okay?” He’s confused by my reaction. I mean, he’s a guy and he’s completely crazy about me. We’ve been seeing each other steadily for three weeks – why not change his status? Meanwhile my brain is on fire with a mix of happiness and fear. I feel like I’m in the 8th grade and a cute boy has just asked me out.

I can’t change my MySpace relationship status just yet- it’s too early. That page is like my temple of autonomy. I break the news to him, “I’ll change my Facebook account status, but not my MySpace account.” Hmmm….a virtual compromise.

This morning I go onto Facebook. Yep, there he is – “in a relationship.” I go to my profile and click in relationship (there is a special section for this). I change my status. Then Facebook asks me, “who are you in a relationship with?” I pick his name. Then it says, “Kris is now your boyfriend. We will be sending him a confirmation to see if he accepts your relationship request.”

What??? Oh my god…I have a boyfriend and they’re sending him a relationship request? I’m actually embarrassed. I call him immediately, “Facebook has just informed me that you’re my boyfriend, but you have to agree to it.” He laughed. “I’ll accept, I won’t leave you hanging. Later… girlfriend.” I feel like I’m 14 again.

A boy actually asked me out – even though he did it virtually I still think it’s absolutely adorable. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been asked out. Usually it’s me looking at the guy like, “so are you my boyfriend?”

See? This virtual world is good for something.

UPDATE/ Additional notes:

Crazy how MySpace and Facebook have changed the way we date. In just a few seconds you can scope out your ex’s relationship status, flirtatous comments and daily activities. Twitter makes it even worse. Maybe I should go on a delete binge tonight.

How often do you delete your the Ex-Profiles on MySpace? Can you do it? Do you think I can?

Deleting an ex is like permanently severing all ties…but then I think of the ex’s who were my friends – the ones I genuinely want to stay in touch with. And then I think of the sting when I see their “latest activity.”

I vote for delete.
I have seen a few google searches with this question pointing to my blog. Not sure why they’re taking you here, but it’s a very valid question. So here goes.

My friend Abby has been a single mom for over three years now and one night when we were on a crazy girls night, I had struck up a conversation with a charming dentist. He seemed interested so I thought, “better get it out on the table.” But this is how I phrased it, “Well, you’ll never actually be able to date me.” He looked surprised, “why not?”

“Because I have a baby.”

“Oh. Well, that must be fun.” After some awkward small talk he disappeared.

I ran up to Abby. “That guy just vanished after I told him about Benjamin!” She pulled me aside and whispered, “Oh no. You can’t tell them that right away. You’ve got to wait until at least a couple of dates.” What? I was floored. She just didn’t tell them.

“They have to fall for you first,” she insisted, “and then the baby thing is just like an added bonus – and ‘oh by the way, I do all of this and I’m an amazing single mom.’ It works!”

I am skeptical of Abbey’s theory. Here’s why, if the baby thing is too much for them to handle, why find that out two dates in? And wouldn’t that be a form of dishonesty?

I’ve decided that it depends on a few factors. If you are out for a night filled with multiple encounters with men on the dance floor or behind a bar – don’t mention it. Unless one of these men grabs your attention, you end up hitting it off and you feel like there’s potential for a future date – then dish. But make sure you frame it positively. The dentist was scared off because of the way I phrased it. I made it an obstacle when it really isn’t and I made it sound like Benjamin was a hinderance.

Having a baby or a child in your life is an amazing thing. Sure it’s an obstacle to dating men who don’t care about you, but not when you’re dating men who are genuinely into you. Beware of scaring off the good ones by making it sound like a bad thing, one of my nasty little habits.

Here’s a male perspective. My single friend Dave was out recently and called me the next day after bumping into a few single moms at a bar. “We were hitting it off and then they told me they have a baby. But they made it sound like it was a horrible thing. Their bad attitude was totally unattractive and I just had to walk away.”

When I told my new boyfriend about Benjamin it was the first night we met. But I waited until the end of the night, when I knew I would want to see him again. I brought it up within the flow of conversation and had a smile on my face. “So…I have a little bit of baggage, and he weighs 22 pounds. If you want to see me again, I just thought I should get that out there..so…” I trailed off and looked down into my lap, hoping I wouldn’t see fear in his eyes. “Do you have a picture?” He looked at Benjamin on my phone and smiled, a genuine smile. “He’s a cutie. Want to play another game of pool?”

My conclusion – having a child is as big of deal as you make it. And we can’t expect a man who’s never had a child before to possibly understand on a first date or on a first encounter. That comes later. But there’s no sense in not giving him a chance to understand.

When do you tell a man you’re a single mom?

It’s been two weeks now since Benjamin’s father has seen his son.

His car is broken down because he drove it without oil. Sigh.

Coincidentally Benjamin has also been sick, sick, sick. I have missed four days of work and will be missing two more. I am also broke because I’ve had to pay for an extra two days of childcare each week.

I called him today en route to the hospital today. Benjamin had a fever of 104.5 and I thought he should know about it.

“Oh,” he says, “Well, I’m in a meeting, I’ll call you back.” CLICK.

I called him tonight to vent a bit. I know, I know. Should have let it go. He’s completely out of our lives now but when I’m missing days upon days of work and he doesn’t even seem concerned or offer to take a day off from his job I get upset.

“I understand,” he says.

“No you don’t.” I snap. “You don’t understand. How could you understand? You have never, ever had to take a day off from work to take care of your son when he’s sick.”

What he says next blew my mind.

“If we were married I would. But, my boss is not going to give me a day off to take care of my ex-wife’s kid. We are not a family anymore.”

“What?!!! He’s your son. You mean he is less of a son to you because we’re not married? Your boss can’t think that unless you think that.”

I should have hung up at this point but I  didn’t. And then he drops this bomb (not the first time).

“It was your choice to leave me,” he says, “it was your choice and now you have to deal with it.”

Was it really my choice to be a single mom? Yes, in that the idea of actually still being with him, had I stayed, makes my skin crawl. Being a single mom is tough but being with a husband like him was a hell of a lot harder. He was cold, insensitive, hurtful and down right useless.

He’s now on month 9 of a relationship with another single mother. Her son is 6 and they’re now living together. Poor her. Poor kid.

If he would have had it his way, right now he would be sitting on MY couch, drinking MY beer, eating MY groceries and treating me like shit. I just wish he weren’t on another single mom’s couch right now. I wish I could warn her.

Conclusion = It was his choice to give me no choice.

Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
***UPDATE***

If you’re here to find out how to change your Facebook or MySpace relationship status, click here.

Once you’re done – come back and read this…

“A relationship isn’t official until it’s on Facebook!” a young co-worker told me this morning. “My friend got engaged and two weeks later the announcement still wasn’t on Facebook. We all thought she had called it off or something.” Virtual social networks have changed the dating landscape… forever.

After my divorce I created a MySpace page. I was an innocent to the social networking world and had no idea how much it would change my dating experiences. My single friend was over the other night venting about a frustrating experience she’s having with an ex boyfriend right now.

“I’m not sure if he’ll call me tonight or not. I left him a comment today asking if he was going out and haven’t heard back.”

MySpace and Facebook have now effectively changed the way we date. Now we can call, text, e-mail or better yet – leave a MySpace comment or give someone a Facebook poke.

Here’s my translation of the MySpace and Facebook Dating Codes.

  1. Add each other as friends. This is really no big deal and doesn’t mean much. But at least now you have unbridled access to their page, photos, blog, etc.
  2. Leave cute, flirty comments on each other’s page. A good sign. He’s writing on your page, you’re writing on his. All is well in the world.
  3. Move each other up to “top friend” status. This is a big step and could indicate a future relationship status change.
  4. Continue with more flirtatious comments like “last night was amazing, you make me crazy.” Getting closer.
  5. Change your relationship status. The biggest step. Now you’re taken. You’re off the virtual market and you’re shouting loud and proud to the rest of the world that you’re happy and committed.

In conversations with my single girlfriends the old burning questions like, “is he a good kisser?,” “does he call often?,” “does he make you laugh?” are still completely relevant but added into the mix are, “did he move you into his top friends?,” “who else is on his page?”

The Virtual Red Flag

Some men are all over your MySpace page while you’re dating…others will be silent, never leaving a comment or moving you into their top friends. Strange. A red flag. A new red flag. The virtual red flag.

The Relationship Status Change: Who brings it up…how does it happen?

A case in point: my current flame took matters into his own hands. Last night when we were falling asleep he said, “I changed my relationship status on Facebook.” What??? Wow!!! I didn’t know what to think. We’ve only been together for 3 weeks and now Facebook says we’re “in a relationship.”

“You want me to be your girlfriend?”

He says, “ya…is that okay?” He’s confused by my reaction. I mean, he’s a guy and he’s completely crazy about me. We’ve been seeing each other steadily for three weeks – why not change his status? Meanwhile my brain is on fire with a mix of happiness and fear. I feel like I’m in the 8th grade and a cute boy has just asked me out.

I can’t change my MySpace relationship status just yet- it’s too early. That page is like my temple of autonomy. I break the news to him, “I’ll change my Facebook account status, but not my MySpace account.” Hmmm….a virtual compromise.

This morning I go onto Facebook. Yep, there he is – “in a relationship.” I go to my profile and click in relationship (there is a special section for this). I change my status. Then Facebook asks me, “who are you in a relationship with?” I pick his name. Then it says, “Kris is now your boyfriend. We will be sending him a confirmation to see if he accepts your relationship request.”

What??? Oh my god…I have a boyfriend and they’re sending him a relationship request? I’m actually embarrassed. I call him immediately, “Facebook has just informed me that you’re my boyfriend, but you have to agree to it.” He laughed. “I’ll accept, I won’t leave you hanging. Later… girlfriend.” I feel like I’m 14 again.

A boy actually asked me out – even though he did it virtually I still think it’s absolutely adorable. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been asked out. Usually it’s me looking at the guy like, “so are you my boyfriend?”

See? This virtual world is good for something.

UPDATE/ Additional notes:

Crazy how MySpace and Facebook have changed the way we date. In just a few seconds you can scope out your ex’s relationship status, flirtatous comments and daily activities. Twitter makes it even worse. Maybe I should go on a delete binge tonight.

How often do you delete your the Ex-Profiles on MySpace? Can you do it? Do you think I can?

Deleting an ex is like permanently severing all ties…but then I think of the ex’s who were my friends – the ones I genuinely want to stay in touch with. And then I think of the sting when I see their “latest activity.”

I vote for delete.
I have seen a few google searches with this question pointing to my blog. Not sure why they’re taking you here, but it’s a very valid question. So here goes.

My friend Abby has been a single mom for over three years now and one night when we were on a crazy girls night, I had struck up a conversation with a charming dentist. He seemed interested so I thought, “better get it out on the table.” But this is how I phrased it, “Well, you’ll never actually be able to date me.” He looked surprised, “why not?”

“Because I have a baby.”

“Oh. Well, that must be fun.” After some awkward small talk he disappeared.

I ran up to Abby. “That guy just vanished after I told him about Benjamin!” She pulled me aside and whispered, “Oh no. You can’t tell them that right away. You’ve got to wait until at least a couple of dates.” What? I was floored. She just didn’t tell them.

“They have to fall for you first,” she insisted, “and then the baby thing is just like an added bonus – and ‘oh by the way, I do all of this and I’m an amazing single mom.’ It works!”

I am skeptical of Abbey’s theory. Here’s why, if the baby thing is too much for them to handle, why find that out two dates in? And wouldn’t that be a form of dishonesty?

I’ve decided that it depends on a few factors. If you are out for a night filled with multiple encounters with men on the dance floor or behind a bar – don’t mention it. Unless one of these men grabs your attention, you end up hitting it off and you feel like there’s potential for a future date – then dish. But make sure you frame it positively. The dentist was scared off because of the way I phrased it. I made it an obstacle when it really isn’t and I made it sound like Benjamin was a hinderance.

Having a baby or a child in your life is an amazing thing. Sure it’s an obstacle to dating men who don’t care about you, but not when you’re dating men who are genuinely into you. Beware of scaring off the good ones by making it sound like a bad thing, one of my nasty little habits.

Here’s a male perspective. My single friend Dave was out recently and called me the next day after bumping into a few single moms at a bar. “We were hitting it off and then they told me they have a baby. But they made it sound like it was a horrible thing. Their bad attitude was totally unattractive and I just had to walk away.”

When I told my new boyfriend about Benjamin it was the first night we met. But I waited until the end of the night, when I knew I would want to see him again. I brought it up within the flow of conversation and had a smile on my face. “So…I have a little bit of baggage, and he weighs 22 pounds. If you want to see me again, I just thought I should get that out there..so…” I trailed off and looked down into my lap, hoping I wouldn’t see fear in his eyes. “Do you have a picture?” He looked at Benjamin on my phone and smiled, a genuine smile. “He’s a cutie. Want to play another game of pool?”

My conclusion – having a child is as big of deal as you make it. And we can’t expect a man who’s never had a child before to possibly understand on a first date or on a first encounter. That comes later. But there’s no sense in not giving him a chance to understand.

When do you tell a man you’re a single mom?

It’s been two weeks now since Benjamin’s father has seen his son.

His car is broken down because he drove it without oil. Sigh.

Coincidentally Benjamin has also been sick, sick, sick. I have missed four days of work and will be missing two more. I am also broke because I’ve had to pay for an extra two days of childcare each week.

I called him today en route to the hospital today. Benjamin had a fever of 104.5 and I thought he should know about it.

“Oh,” he says, “Well, I’m in a meeting, I’ll call you back.” CLICK.

I called him tonight to vent a bit. I know, I know. Should have let it go. He’s completely out of our lives now but when I’m missing days upon days of work and he doesn’t even seem concerned or offer to take a day off from his job I get upset.

“I understand,” he says.

“No you don’t.” I snap. “You don’t understand. How could you understand? You have never, ever had to take a day off from work to take care of your son when he’s sick.”

What he says next blew my mind.

“If we were married I would. But, my boss is not going to give me a day off to take care of my ex-wife’s kid. We are not a family anymore.”

“What?!!! He’s your son. You mean he is less of a son to you because we’re not married? Your boss can’t think that unless you think that.”

I should have hung up at this point but I  didn’t. And then he drops this bomb (not the first time).

“It was your choice to leave me,” he says, “it was your choice and now you have to deal with it.”

Was it really my choice to be a single mom? Yes, in that the idea of actually still being with him, had I stayed, makes my skin crawl. Being a single mom is tough but being with a husband like him was a hell of a lot harder. He was cold, insensitive, hurtful and down right useless.

He’s now on month 9 of a relationship with another single mother. Her son is 6 and they’re now living together. Poor her. Poor kid.

If he would have had it his way, right now he would be sitting on MY couch, drinking MY beer, eating MY groceries and treating me like shit. I just wish he weren’t on another single mom’s couch right now. I wish I could warn her.

Conclusion = It was his choice to give me no choice.

Clare, the co-founder of iHeart Single Parents, made an appearance on Fox’s Morning Show this week.

Click here to watch Clare’s interview.

I’m so excited that iHeartSingleParents.com is finally getting the attention it deserves.

Morning Show hosts Mike and Juliet say, at the start of this piece, that 40% of new mothers in the U.S. are unmarried and of those the fastest growing group is women in their late 20’s. Not sure where they got that statistic (and it is Fox) but could that be true? Forty percent!

Mike and Juliet also ask Clare if she would recommend that other women choose to be a single mom. In her blog post, Clare says they sprung these questions on her – “They didn’t ask the questions that the producer and I practiced on at all.”

I can’t speak for Clare but being a single mother is seldom a choice for any of us. It’s something that happens. We choose to go on as single moms… but we certainly didn’t choose this path? Or did we? I chose to leave my husband. Does that mean I chose to be a single mom? I’ve written about this here.

Food for thought. And evidence that talk show hosts will always go for the controversial chord of any conversation.

Regardless, Clare did a fantastic job representing! And if you haven’t been over to iHeart lately, get over there because there are hundreds of new members joining every day… and as Clare says in this interview, having a single parent social network to turn to really makes you feel less alone.

[Photo: Clare and her 2-year-old son, Colby]

P.S. Proves my point that Single Moms are on Fire!

Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
***UPDATE***

If you’re here to find out how to change your Facebook or MySpace relationship status, click here.

Once you’re done – come back and read this…

“A relationship isn’t official until it’s on Facebook!” a young co-worker told me this morning. “My friend got engaged and two weeks later the announcement still wasn’t on Facebook. We all thought she had called it off or something.” Virtual social networks have changed the dating landscape… forever.

After my divorce I created a MySpace page. I was an innocent to the social networking world and had no idea how much it would change my dating experiences. My single friend was over the other night venting about a frustrating experience she’s having with an ex boyfriend right now.

“I’m not sure if he’ll call me tonight or not. I left him a comment today asking if he was going out and haven’t heard back.”

MySpace and Facebook have now effectively changed the way we date. Now we can call, text, e-mail or better yet – leave a MySpace comment or give someone a Facebook poke.

Here’s my translation of the MySpace and Facebook Dating Codes.

  1. Add each other as friends. This is really no big deal and doesn’t mean much. But at least now you have unbridled access to their page, photos, blog, etc.
  2. Leave cute, flirty comments on each other’s page. A good sign. He’s writing on your page, you’re writing on his. All is well in the world.
  3. Move each other up to “top friend” status. This is a big step and could indicate a future relationship status change.
  4. Continue with more flirtatious comments like “last night was amazing, you make me crazy.” Getting closer.
  5. Change your relationship status. The biggest step. Now you’re taken. You’re off the virtual market and you’re shouting loud and proud to the rest of the world that you’re happy and committed.

In conversations with my single girlfriends the old burning questions like, “is he a good kisser?,” “does he call often?,” “does he make you laugh?” are still completely relevant but added into the mix are, “did he move you into his top friends?,” “who else is on his page?”

The Virtual Red Flag

Some men are all over your MySpace page while you’re dating…others will be silent, never leaving a comment or moving you into their top friends. Strange. A red flag. A new red flag. The virtual red flag.

The Relationship Status Change: Who brings it up…how does it happen?

A case in point: my current flame took matters into his own hands. Last night when we were falling asleep he said, “I changed my relationship status on Facebook.” What??? Wow!!! I didn’t know what to think. We’ve only been together for 3 weeks and now Facebook says we’re “in a relationship.”

“You want me to be your girlfriend?”

He says, “ya…is that okay?” He’s confused by my reaction. I mean, he’s a guy and he’s completely crazy about me. We’ve been seeing each other steadily for three weeks – why not change his status? Meanwhile my brain is on fire with a mix of happiness and fear. I feel like I’m in the 8th grade and a cute boy has just asked me out.

I can’t change my MySpace relationship status just yet- it’s too early. That page is like my temple of autonomy. I break the news to him, “I’ll change my Facebook account status, but not my MySpace account.” Hmmm….a virtual compromise.

This morning I go onto Facebook. Yep, there he is – “in a relationship.” I go to my profile and click in relationship (there is a special section for this). I change my status. Then Facebook asks me, “who are you in a relationship with?” I pick his name. Then it says, “Kris is now your boyfriend. We will be sending him a confirmation to see if he accepts your relationship request.”

What??? Oh my god…I have a boyfriend and they’re sending him a relationship request? I’m actually embarrassed. I call him immediately, “Facebook has just informed me that you’re my boyfriend, but you have to agree to it.” He laughed. “I’ll accept, I won’t leave you hanging. Later… girlfriend.” I feel like I’m 14 again.

A boy actually asked me out – even though he did it virtually I still think it’s absolutely adorable. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been asked out. Usually it’s me looking at the guy like, “so are you my boyfriend?”

See? This virtual world is good for something.

UPDATE/ Additional notes:

Crazy how MySpace and Facebook have changed the way we date. In just a few seconds you can scope out your ex’s relationship status, flirtatous comments and daily activities. Twitter makes it even worse. Maybe I should go on a delete binge tonight.

How often do you delete your the Ex-Profiles on MySpace? Can you do it? Do you think I can?

Deleting an ex is like permanently severing all ties…but then I think of the ex’s who were my friends – the ones I genuinely want to stay in touch with. And then I think of the sting when I see their “latest activity.”

I vote for delete.
I have seen a few google searches with this question pointing to my blog. Not sure why they’re taking you here, but it’s a very valid question. So here goes.

My friend Abby has been a single mom for over three years now and one night when we were on a crazy girls night, I had struck up a conversation with a charming dentist. He seemed interested so I thought, “better get it out on the table.” But this is how I phrased it, “Well, you’ll never actually be able to date me.” He looked surprised, “why not?”

“Because I have a baby.”

“Oh. Well, that must be fun.” After some awkward small talk he disappeared.

I ran up to Abby. “That guy just vanished after I told him about Benjamin!” She pulled me aside and whispered, “Oh no. You can’t tell them that right away. You’ve got to wait until at least a couple of dates.” What? I was floored. She just didn’t tell them.

“They have to fall for you first,” she insisted, “and then the baby thing is just like an added bonus – and ‘oh by the way, I do all of this and I’m an amazing single mom.’ It works!”

I am skeptical of Abbey’s theory. Here’s why, if the baby thing is too much for them to handle, why find that out two dates in? And wouldn’t that be a form of dishonesty?

I’ve decided that it depends on a few factors. If you are out for a night filled with multiple encounters with men on the dance floor or behind a bar – don’t mention it. Unless one of these men grabs your attention, you end up hitting it off and you feel like there’s potential for a future date – then dish. But make sure you frame it positively. The dentist was scared off because of the way I phrased it. I made it an obstacle when it really isn’t and I made it sound like Benjamin was a hinderance.

Having a baby or a child in your life is an amazing thing. Sure it’s an obstacle to dating men who don’t care about you, but not when you’re dating men who are genuinely into you. Beware of scaring off the good ones by making it sound like a bad thing, one of my nasty little habits.

Here’s a male perspective. My single friend Dave was out recently and called me the next day after bumping into a few single moms at a bar. “We were hitting it off and then they told me they have a baby. But they made it sound like it was a horrible thing. Their bad attitude was totally unattractive and I just had to walk away.”

When I told my new boyfriend about Benjamin it was the first night we met. But I waited until the end of the night, when I knew I would want to see him again. I brought it up within the flow of conversation and had a smile on my face. “So…I have a little bit of baggage, and he weighs 22 pounds. If you want to see me again, I just thought I should get that out there..so…” I trailed off and looked down into my lap, hoping I wouldn’t see fear in his eyes. “Do you have a picture?” He looked at Benjamin on my phone and smiled, a genuine smile. “He’s a cutie. Want to play another game of pool?”

My conclusion – having a child is as big of deal as you make it. And we can’t expect a man who’s never had a child before to possibly understand on a first date or on a first encounter. That comes later. But there’s no sense in not giving him a chance to understand.

When do you tell a man you’re a single mom?

It’s been two weeks now since Benjamin’s father has seen his son.

His car is broken down because he drove it without oil. Sigh.

Coincidentally Benjamin has also been sick, sick, sick. I have missed four days of work and will be missing two more. I am also broke because I’ve had to pay for an extra two days of childcare each week.

I called him today en route to the hospital today. Benjamin had a fever of 104.5 and I thought he should know about it.

“Oh,” he says, “Well, I’m in a meeting, I’ll call you back.” CLICK.

I called him tonight to vent a bit. I know, I know. Should have let it go. He’s completely out of our lives now but when I’m missing days upon days of work and he doesn’t even seem concerned or offer to take a day off from his job I get upset.

“I understand,” he says.

“No you don’t.” I snap. “You don’t understand. How could you understand? You have never, ever had to take a day off from work to take care of your son when he’s sick.”

What he says next blew my mind.

“If we were married I would. But, my boss is not going to give me a day off to take care of my ex-wife’s kid. We are not a family anymore.”

“What?!!! He’s your son. You mean he is less of a son to you because we’re not married? Your boss can’t think that unless you think that.”

I should have hung up at this point but I  didn’t. And then he drops this bomb (not the first time).

“It was your choice to leave me,” he says, “it was your choice and now you have to deal with it.”

Was it really my choice to be a single mom? Yes, in that the idea of actually still being with him, had I stayed, makes my skin crawl. Being a single mom is tough but being with a husband like him was a hell of a lot harder. He was cold, insensitive, hurtful and down right useless.

He’s now on month 9 of a relationship with another single mother. Her son is 6 and they’re now living together. Poor her. Poor kid.

If he would have had it his way, right now he would be sitting on MY couch, drinking MY beer, eating MY groceries and treating me like shit. I just wish he weren’t on another single mom’s couch right now. I wish I could warn her.

Conclusion = It was his choice to give me no choice.

Clare, the co-founder of iHeart Single Parents, made an appearance on Fox’s Morning Show this week.

Click here to watch Clare’s interview.

I’m so excited that iHeartSingleParents.com is finally getting the attention it deserves.

Morning Show hosts Mike and Juliet say, at the start of this piece, that 40% of new mothers in the U.S. are unmarried and of those the fastest growing group is women in their late 20’s. Not sure where they got that statistic (and it is Fox) but could that be true? Forty percent!

Mike and Juliet also ask Clare if she would recommend that other women choose to be a single mom. In her blog post, Clare says they sprung these questions on her – “They didn’t ask the questions that the producer and I practiced on at all.”

I can’t speak for Clare but being a single mother is seldom a choice for any of us. It’s something that happens. We choose to go on as single moms… but we certainly didn’t choose this path? Or did we? I chose to leave my husband. Does that mean I chose to be a single mom? I’ve written about this here.

Food for thought. And evidence that talk show hosts will always go for the controversial chord of any conversation.

Regardless, Clare did a fantastic job representing! And if you haven’t been over to iHeart lately, get over there because there are hundreds of new members joining every day… and as Clare says in this interview, having a single parent social network to turn to really makes you feel less alone.

[Photo: Clare and her 2-year-old son, Colby]

P.S. Proves my point that Single Moms are on Fire!

It’s been four weeks now.

My new relationship status is beginning to sink in.

I have a boyfriend, and I’m actually enjoying it immensely. Usually at this point fear takes over and I start pushing them away. I slowly eject them from my life, or cut it clean depending on my mood. But this time, I’m not feeling that way. I’m not stressed at all. I’m completely comfortable with him and totally into him. So far, the feeling is mutual.

I had him over for dinner on Thursday night. Benjamin was still awake. Kris has seen Benjamin in the mornings briefly but this would be his first evening with us, usually the highlight of my day because Benjamin is chipper, happy and ready to play.

Kris walks in, gives me a hug and then crouches down on his knees, “And, how are you?” He looks at Benjamin and Benjmain stares back. This is odd, usually he flashes a smile and runs away but he can’t take his eyes off of Kris.

Kris leads him into the living room and opens his toy chest. This is a first. Of all of the men I’ve dated since the divorce not one has genuinely just sat down and played with my kid. This used to surprise me because I thought – “If they’re trying to win me over wouldn’t they want to at least try to play with him?” To their credit, some would try, but it was awkward and forced. “I’ve never been around kids,” they would say. “I don’t know what to do.” Kris has never been around kids either, he’s actually only 23. Five years younger than me.

While I’m in the kitchen cooking dinner, I hear Kris talking to Benjamin, he’s calm, assuring and playful. A few hours later I take Benjamin up for bedtime. I come downstairs and all of his toys are cleaned up. Kris had tidied up my living room. I’m now pinching myself.

Kris is still there in the morning. We all eat pancakes together. There’s lots of laughter, more playing and the entire time Benjamin is following Kris around like a little puppy. I put Benjamin down for his nap and say good bye to Kris, we both have to work.

When Benjamin wakes up four hours later (he has a nasty cold which is why I’m home on a Friday) he searches the house for Kris. He’s going from room to room. As soon as he realizes Kris is gone – he starts crying…hard. My heart breaks. What am I doing? What if this doesn’t work out? Where will we be then? Benjamin is clearly well into toddlerhood (20 months) and now he is very well aware of what’s up.

The single mom dating conundrum:

When a man enters our life we want to see how they would fit into our family, or if they can even handle it. But we can’t do it without introducing them to the kids.

The solution:

When Benjamin was a teeny tiny baby, this wasn’t an issue. So everything I’m about to say clearly depends on the age of the children.

I’m not big on the idea of waiting six months to bring a man into my daily routine. I guess it’s because I’m afraid he would be shocked at the reality of how hard it is to raise a toddler and then split. Then I would have invested six months of my time in a guy who wasn’t really there for the right reasons.

The other problem. I am a working single mother. Not bringing him around Benjamin leaves me only a few hours in the late evening. Period. This can get old and can also hurt a budding relationship.

I have learned from my past mishaps not to raise this issue too early. Why? Because there is no way he or you actually know how long this will last yet, and you shouldn’t presume to know that. Once I actually told a guy I was dating, “the only way I can date you is if there’s potential – potential that one day we might get married.” We had only been dating for a few months. I didn’t even want to marry him. Isn’t that crazy? I just had to rationalize why I was spending time away from my son – to myself. In the end that one just fizzled out but the moral of the story is – it could have been more fun if I would have left my drama in my head. I’m thinking this is probably a good conversation to have 6-8 months in to a relationship. Just a hunch, but to each his own.

My solution: I am going to keep Kris’ encounters with Benjamin to a minimum for the next few months, but he will have a few. Because I also want someone to fall in love with my son, not just me…we are a package deal.
Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
***UPDATE***

If you’re here to find out how to change your Facebook or MySpace relationship status, click here.

Once you’re done – come back and read this…

“A relationship isn’t official until it’s on Facebook!” a young co-worker told me this morning. “My friend got engaged and two weeks later the announcement still wasn’t on Facebook. We all thought she had called it off or something.” Virtual social networks have changed the dating landscape… forever.

After my divorce I created a MySpace page. I was an innocent to the social networking world and had no idea how much it would change my dating experiences. My single friend was over the other night venting about a frustrating experience she’s having with an ex boyfriend right now.

“I’m not sure if he’ll call me tonight or not. I left him a comment today asking if he was going out and haven’t heard back.”

MySpace and Facebook have now effectively changed the way we date. Now we can call, text, e-mail or better yet – leave a MySpace comment or give someone a Facebook poke.

Here’s my translation of the MySpace and Facebook Dating Codes.

  1. Add each other as friends. This is really no big deal and doesn’t mean much. But at least now you have unbridled access to their page, photos, blog, etc.
  2. Leave cute, flirty comments on each other’s page. A good sign. He’s writing on your page, you’re writing on his. All is well in the world.
  3. Move each other up to “top friend” status. This is a big step and could indicate a future relationship status change.
  4. Continue with more flirtatious comments like “last night was amazing, you make me crazy.” Getting closer.
  5. Change your relationship status. The biggest step. Now you’re taken. You’re off the virtual market and you’re shouting loud and proud to the rest of the world that you’re happy and committed.

In conversations with my single girlfriends the old burning questions like, “is he a good kisser?,” “does he call often?,” “does he make you laugh?” are still completely relevant but added into the mix are, “did he move you into his top friends?,” “who else is on his page?”

The Virtual Red Flag

Some men are all over your MySpace page while you’re dating…others will be silent, never leaving a comment or moving you into their top friends. Strange. A red flag. A new red flag. The virtual red flag.

The Relationship Status Change: Who brings it up…how does it happen?

A case in point: my current flame took matters into his own hands. Last night when we were falling asleep he said, “I changed my relationship status on Facebook.” What??? Wow!!! I didn’t know what to think. We’ve only been together for 3 weeks and now Facebook says we’re “in a relationship.”

“You want me to be your girlfriend?”

He says, “ya…is that okay?” He’s confused by my reaction. I mean, he’s a guy and he’s completely crazy about me. We’ve been seeing each other steadily for three weeks – why not change his status? Meanwhile my brain is on fire with a mix of happiness and fear. I feel like I’m in the 8th grade and a cute boy has just asked me out.

I can’t change my MySpace relationship status just yet- it’s too early. That page is like my temple of autonomy. I break the news to him, “I’ll change my Facebook account status, but not my MySpace account.” Hmmm….a virtual compromise.

This morning I go onto Facebook. Yep, there he is – “in a relationship.” I go to my profile and click in relationship (there is a special section for this). I change my status. Then Facebook asks me, “who are you in a relationship with?” I pick his name. Then it says, “Kris is now your boyfriend. We will be sending him a confirmation to see if he accepts your relationship request.”

What??? Oh my god…I have a boyfriend and they’re sending him a relationship request? I’m actually embarrassed. I call him immediately, “Facebook has just informed me that you’re my boyfriend, but you have to agree to it.” He laughed. “I’ll accept, I won’t leave you hanging. Later… girlfriend.” I feel like I’m 14 again.

A boy actually asked me out – even though he did it virtually I still think it’s absolutely adorable. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been asked out. Usually it’s me looking at the guy like, “so are you my boyfriend?”

See? This virtual world is good for something.

UPDATE/ Additional notes:

Crazy how MySpace and Facebook have changed the way we date. In just a few seconds you can scope out your ex’s relationship status, flirtatous comments and daily activities. Twitter makes it even worse. Maybe I should go on a delete binge tonight.

How often do you delete your the Ex-Profiles on MySpace? Can you do it? Do you think I can?

Deleting an ex is like permanently severing all ties…but then I think of the ex’s who were my friends – the ones I genuinely want to stay in touch with. And then I think of the sting when I see their “latest activity.”

I vote for delete.
I have seen a few google searches with this question pointing to my blog. Not sure why they’re taking you here, but it’s a very valid question. So here goes.

My friend Abby has been a single mom for over three years now and one night when we were on a crazy girls night, I had struck up a conversation with a charming dentist. He seemed interested so I thought, “better get it out on the table.” But this is how I phrased it, “Well, you’ll never actually be able to date me.” He looked surprised, “why not?”

“Because I have a baby.”

“Oh. Well, that must be fun.” After some awkward small talk he disappeared.

I ran up to Abby. “That guy just vanished after I told him about Benjamin!” She pulled me aside and whispered, “Oh no. You can’t tell them that right away. You’ve got to wait until at least a couple of dates.” What? I was floored. She just didn’t tell them.

“They have to fall for you first,” she insisted, “and then the baby thing is just like an added bonus – and ‘oh by the way, I do all of this and I’m an amazing single mom.’ It works!”

I am skeptical of Abbey’s theory. Here’s why, if the baby thing is too much for them to handle, why find that out two dates in? And wouldn’t that be a form of dishonesty?

I’ve decided that it depends on a few factors. If you are out for a night filled with multiple encounters with men on the dance floor or behind a bar – don’t mention it. Unless one of these men grabs your attention, you end up hitting it off and you feel like there’s potential for a future date – then dish. But make sure you frame it positively. The dentist was scared off because of the way I phrased it. I made it an obstacle when it really isn’t and I made it sound like Benjamin was a hinderance.

Having a baby or a child in your life is an amazing thing. Sure it’s an obstacle to dating men who don’t care about you, but not when you’re dating men who are genuinely into you. Beware of scaring off the good ones by making it sound like a bad thing, one of my nasty little habits.

Here’s a male perspective. My single friend Dave was out recently and called me the next day after bumping into a few single moms at a bar. “We were hitting it off and then they told me they have a baby. But they made it sound like it was a horrible thing. Their bad attitude was totally unattractive and I just had to walk away.”

When I told my new boyfriend about Benjamin it was the first night we met. But I waited until the end of the night, when I knew I would want to see him again. I brought it up within the flow of conversation and had a smile on my face. “So…I have a little bit of baggage, and he weighs 22 pounds. If you want to see me again, I just thought I should get that out there..so…” I trailed off and looked down into my lap, hoping I wouldn’t see fear in his eyes. “Do you have a picture?” He looked at Benjamin on my phone and smiled, a genuine smile. “He’s a cutie. Want to play another game of pool?”

My conclusion – having a child is as big of deal as you make it. And we can’t expect a man who’s never had a child before to possibly understand on a first date or on a first encounter. That comes later. But there’s no sense in not giving him a chance to understand.

When do you tell a man you’re a single mom?

It’s been two weeks now since Benjamin’s father has seen his son.

His car is broken down because he drove it without oil. Sigh.

Coincidentally Benjamin has also been sick, sick, sick. I have missed four days of work and will be missing two more. I am also broke because I’ve had to pay for an extra two days of childcare each week.

I called him today en route to the hospital today. Benjamin had a fever of 104.5 and I thought he should know about it.

“Oh,” he says, “Well, I’m in a meeting, I’ll call you back.” CLICK.

I called him tonight to vent a bit. I know, I know. Should have let it go. He’s completely out of our lives now but when I’m missing days upon days of work and he doesn’t even seem concerned or offer to take a day off from his job I get upset.

“I understand,” he says.

“No you don’t.” I snap. “You don’t understand. How could you understand? You have never, ever had to take a day off from work to take care of your son when he’s sick.”

What he says next blew my mind.

“If we were married I would. But, my boss is not going to give me a day off to take care of my ex-wife’s kid. We are not a family anymore.”

“What?!!! He’s your son. You mean he is less of a son to you because we’re not married? Your boss can’t think that unless you think that.”

I should have hung up at this point but I  didn’t. And then he drops this bomb (not the first time).

“It was your choice to leave me,” he says, “it was your choice and now you have to deal with it.”

Was it really my choice to be a single mom? Yes, in that the idea of actually still being with him, had I stayed, makes my skin crawl. Being a single mom is tough but being with a husband like him was a hell of a lot harder. He was cold, insensitive, hurtful and down right useless.

He’s now on month 9 of a relationship with another single mother. Her son is 6 and they’re now living together. Poor her. Poor kid.

If he would have had it his way, right now he would be sitting on MY couch, drinking MY beer, eating MY groceries and treating me like shit. I just wish he weren’t on another single mom’s couch right now. I wish I could warn her.

Conclusion = It was his choice to give me no choice.

Clare, the co-founder of iHeart Single Parents, made an appearance on Fox’s Morning Show this week.

Click here to watch Clare’s interview.

I’m so excited that iHeartSingleParents.com is finally getting the attention it deserves.

Morning Show hosts Mike and Juliet say, at the start of this piece, that 40% of new mothers in the U.S. are unmarried and of those the fastest growing group is women in their late 20’s. Not sure where they got that statistic (and it is Fox) but could that be true? Forty percent!

Mike and Juliet also ask Clare if she would recommend that other women choose to be a single mom. In her blog post, Clare says they sprung these questions on her – “They didn’t ask the questions that the producer and I practiced on at all.”

I can’t speak for Clare but being a single mother is seldom a choice for any of us. It’s something that happens. We choose to go on as single moms… but we certainly didn’t choose this path? Or did we? I chose to leave my husband. Does that mean I chose to be a single mom? I’ve written about this here.

Food for thought. And evidence that talk show hosts will always go for the controversial chord of any conversation.

Regardless, Clare did a fantastic job representing! And if you haven’t been over to iHeart lately, get over there because there are hundreds of new members joining every day… and as Clare says in this interview, having a single parent social network to turn to really makes you feel less alone.

[Photo: Clare and her 2-year-old son, Colby]

P.S. Proves my point that Single Moms are on Fire!

It’s been four weeks now.

My new relationship status is beginning to sink in.

I have a boyfriend, and I’m actually enjoying it immensely. Usually at this point fear takes over and I start pushing them away. I slowly eject them from my life, or cut it clean depending on my mood. But this time, I’m not feeling that way. I’m not stressed at all. I’m completely comfortable with him and totally into him. So far, the feeling is mutual.

I had him over for dinner on Thursday night. Benjamin was still awake. Kris has seen Benjamin in the mornings briefly but this would be his first evening with us, usually the highlight of my day because Benjamin is chipper, happy and ready to play.

Kris walks in, gives me a hug and then crouches down on his knees, “And, how are you?” He looks at Benjamin and Benjmain stares back. This is odd, usually he flashes a smile and runs away but he can’t take his eyes off of Kris.

Kris leads him into the living room and opens his toy chest. This is a first. Of all of the men I’ve dated since the divorce not one has genuinely just sat down and played with my kid. This used to surprise me because I thought – “If they’re trying to win me over wouldn’t they want to at least try to play with him?” To their credit, some would try, but it was awkward and forced. “I’ve never been around kids,” they would say. “I don’t know what to do.” Kris has never been around kids either, he’s actually only 23. Five years younger than me.

While I’m in the kitchen cooking dinner, I hear Kris talking to Benjamin, he’s calm, assuring and playful. A few hours later I take Benjamin up for bedtime. I come downstairs and all of his toys are cleaned up. Kris had tidied up my living room. I’m now pinching myself.

Kris is still there in the morning. We all eat pancakes together. There’s lots of laughter, more playing and the entire time Benjamin is following Kris around like a little puppy. I put Benjamin down for his nap and say good bye to Kris, we both have to work.

When Benjamin wakes up four hours later (he has a nasty cold which is why I’m home on a Friday) he searches the house for Kris. He’s going from room to room. As soon as he realizes Kris is gone – he starts crying…hard. My heart breaks. What am I doing? What if this doesn’t work out? Where will we be then? Benjamin is clearly well into toddlerhood (20 months) and now he is very well aware of what’s up.

The single mom dating conundrum:

When a man enters our life we want to see how they would fit into our family, or if they can even handle it. But we can’t do it without introducing them to the kids.

The solution:

When Benjamin was a teeny tiny baby, this wasn’t an issue. So everything I’m about to say clearly depends on the age of the children.

I’m not big on the idea of waiting six months to bring a man into my daily routine. I guess it’s because I’m afraid he would be shocked at the reality of how hard it is to raise a toddler and then split. Then I would have invested six months of my time in a guy who wasn’t really there for the right reasons.

The other problem. I am a working single mother. Not bringing him around Benjamin leaves me only a few hours in the late evening. Period. This can get old and can also hurt a budding relationship.

I have learned from my past mishaps not to raise this issue too early. Why? Because there is no way he or you actually know how long this will last yet, and you shouldn’t presume to know that. Once I actually told a guy I was dating, “the only way I can date you is if there’s potential – potential that one day we might get married.” We had only been dating for a few months. I didn’t even want to marry him. Isn’t that crazy? I just had to rationalize why I was spending time away from my son – to myself. In the end that one just fizzled out but the moral of the story is – it could have been more fun if I would have left my drama in my head. I’m thinking this is probably a good conversation to have 6-8 months in to a relationship. Just a hunch, but to each his own.

My solution: I am going to keep Kris’ encounters with Benjamin to a minimum for the next few months, but he will have a few. Because I also want someone to fall in love with my son, not just me…we are a package deal.
My new boyfriend and I decided to quit smoking – together. It’s the first time I’ve done something together, as a couple in years. Well, if you count my divorce, it’s been nearly a year. Knowing Saturday night was going to be a baby-free all-nighter we pick Sunday to go cold turkey. I’m scared. Scared to quit smoking and scared to enter into a verbal contract with someone – a commitment.

I started smoking the day I realized I was going to leave my husband. He had come home and said he’d been fired from yet another job and that he didn’t want to work again, that he wanted to be a stay at home dad. We didn’t have the money for this scenario and I insisted he go out and look for more work. He refused. At this point he was bailing on me and my baby – that’s when I knew it was completely over. I heard my neighbor walking through the driveway. It was Abby, a single mom. Her daughter was just three at the time.

“Abby? Is that you?” I asked over the fence.

“Ya,” she said. We’d only talked a few times here and there, nothing too in depth. We were just friendly neighbors. She was the single mom, I was the married mom with the newborn, supposed to be completely happy.

“I need to have a cigarrette, and you need to tell me what it’s like to be a single mom because I’m about to be one.” She came running into my yard.

“Oh my god. I’ll be right back.”

It was in this moment as she went on and on about the trials and tribulations but about how ultimately, it was the right thing to do, that I realized the bond single mothers have with each other. Perhaps because we are the only ones – the only ones – who truly understand what the other is going through.

Leaving him, moving back in with my mother and leaving my career was the single most challenging thing I’ve ever done – I needed friends and I chose cigarrettes. Now, one and a half years later, I’m back on my feet. Have my career back, have my real friends and my life back. I don’t need them anymore.

On Sunday morning we quit together, as promised. But then today, Monday, I head into work and feel awful. I actually feel like I’m going to get sick all over my desk. Am I pregant? Nope. Definitely not. Could it be the smoking? I Google it. Yep. Smoking cessation can cause nausea. Weird.

I make it until 5:00 pm and then I have one. I just can’t do this. I can’t go pick up Benjamin like this. This nausea has got to go. The cigarrette doesn’t help. I get home and take my temperature – it’s 101.1. Oh my god. I’m sick. I’ve been home from work nursing Benjamin for weeks, have missed six work days and now I’m sick.

I call Kris. “I cheated. I just couldn’t stand it. I can’t be this sick. I thought it was nausea from not smoking, but I’m just actually sick as hell.”

“Do you really want to quit or not?” He sounds disappointed. I try to defend myself.

“But, I’m a single working mom. Any kind of stress relief I can get is worth it. I can’t be in withdraw around Benjamin. And tonight, being so sick, I nearly broke down in tears.”

(I actually had broken down in tears but didn’t want to tell him this). He still sounds pissed. And he should be – I broke a promise. I call him back later, he apologizes for being “difficult” and I apologize for cheating.

“Do you want me to come over? I can make you some tea, cuddle you down.” He offers.

“Nope…maybe tomorrow night.” Step by step, I tell myself. I can quit smoking with someone, sleep with them, even become emotionally attached to them, but it will be a long, long time before I’m ready to actually ask a man for help. I just can’t. I should call Abby and ask her why.

(P.S., I never smoke around Benjamin or in the house, which is why I really want to quit – it’s getting cold out).
Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
***UPDATE***

If you’re here to find out how to change your Facebook or MySpace relationship status, click here.

Once you’re done – come back and read this…

“A relationship isn’t official until it’s on Facebook!” a young co-worker told me this morning. “My friend got engaged and two weeks later the announcement still wasn’t on Facebook. We all thought she had called it off or something.” Virtual social networks have changed the dating landscape… forever.

After my divorce I created a MySpace page. I was an innocent to the social networking world and had no idea how much it would change my dating experiences. My single friend was over the other night venting about a frustrating experience she’s having with an ex boyfriend right now.

“I’m not sure if he’ll call me tonight or not. I left him a comment today asking if he was going out and haven’t heard back.”

MySpace and Facebook have now effectively changed the way we date. Now we can call, text, e-mail or better yet – leave a MySpace comment or give someone a Facebook poke.

Here’s my translation of the MySpace and Facebook Dating Codes.

  1. Add each other as friends. This is really no big deal and doesn’t mean much. But at least now you have unbridled access to their page, photos, blog, etc.
  2. Leave cute, flirty comments on each other’s page. A good sign. He’s writing on your page, you’re writing on his. All is well in the world.
  3. Move each other up to “top friend” status. This is a big step and could indicate a future relationship status change.
  4. Continue with more flirtatious comments like “last night was amazing, you make me crazy.” Getting closer.
  5. Change your relationship status. The biggest step. Now you’re taken. You’re off the virtual market and you’re shouting loud and proud to the rest of the world that you’re happy and committed.

In conversations with my single girlfriends the old burning questions like, “is he a good kisser?,” “does he call often?,” “does he make you laugh?” are still completely relevant but added into the mix are, “did he move you into his top friends?,” “who else is on his page?”

The Virtual Red Flag

Some men are all over your MySpace page while you’re dating…others will be silent, never leaving a comment or moving you into their top friends. Strange. A red flag. A new red flag. The virtual red flag.

The Relationship Status Change: Who brings it up…how does it happen?

A case in point: my current flame took matters into his own hands. Last night when we were falling asleep he said, “I changed my relationship status on Facebook.” What??? Wow!!! I didn’t know what to think. We’ve only been together for 3 weeks and now Facebook says we’re “in a relationship.”

“You want me to be your girlfriend?”

He says, “ya…is that okay?” He’s confused by my reaction. I mean, he’s a guy and he’s completely crazy about me. We’ve been seeing each other steadily for three weeks – why not change his status? Meanwhile my brain is on fire with a mix of happiness and fear. I feel like I’m in the 8th grade and a cute boy has just asked me out.

I can’t change my MySpace relationship status just yet- it’s too early. That page is like my temple of autonomy. I break the news to him, “I’ll change my Facebook account status, but not my MySpace account.” Hmmm….a virtual compromise.

This morning I go onto Facebook. Yep, there he is – “in a relationship.” I go to my profile and click in relationship (there is a special section for this). I change my status. Then Facebook asks me, “who are you in a relationship with?” I pick his name. Then it says, “Kris is now your boyfriend. We will be sending him a confirmation to see if he accepts your relationship request.”

What??? Oh my god…I have a boyfriend and they’re sending him a relationship request? I’m actually embarrassed. I call him immediately, “Facebook has just informed me that you’re my boyfriend, but you have to agree to it.” He laughed. “I’ll accept, I won’t leave you hanging. Later… girlfriend.” I feel like I’m 14 again.

A boy actually asked me out – even though he did it virtually I still think it’s absolutely adorable. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been asked out. Usually it’s me looking at the guy like, “so are you my boyfriend?”

See? This virtual world is good for something.

UPDATE/ Additional notes:

Crazy how MySpace and Facebook have changed the way we date. In just a few seconds you can scope out your ex’s relationship status, flirtatous comments and daily activities. Twitter makes it even worse. Maybe I should go on a delete binge tonight.

How often do you delete your the Ex-Profiles on MySpace? Can you do it? Do you think I can?

Deleting an ex is like permanently severing all ties…but then I think of the ex’s who were my friends – the ones I genuinely want to stay in touch with. And then I think of the sting when I see their “latest activity.”

I vote for delete.
I have seen a few google searches with this question pointing to my blog. Not sure why they’re taking you here, but it’s a very valid question. So here goes.

My friend Abby has been a single mom for over three years now and one night when we were on a crazy girls night, I had struck up a conversation with a charming dentist. He seemed interested so I thought, “better get it out on the table.” But this is how I phrased it, “Well, you’ll never actually be able to date me.” He looked surprised, “why not?”

“Because I have a baby.”

“Oh. Well, that must be fun.” After some awkward small talk he disappeared.

I ran up to Abby. “That guy just vanished after I told him about Benjamin!” She pulled me aside and whispered, “Oh no. You can’t tell them that right away. You’ve got to wait until at least a couple of dates.” What? I was floored. She just didn’t tell them.

“They have to fall for you first,” she insisted, “and then the baby thing is just like an added bonus – and ‘oh by the way, I do all of this and I’m an amazing single mom.’ It works!”

I am skeptical of Abbey’s theory. Here’s why, if the baby thing is too much for them to handle, why find that out two dates in? And wouldn’t that be a form of dishonesty?

I’ve decided that it depends on a few factors. If you are out for a night filled with multiple encounters with men on the dance floor or behind a bar – don’t mention it. Unless one of these men grabs your attention, you end up hitting it off and you feel like there’s potential for a future date – then dish. But make sure you frame it positively. The dentist was scared off because of the way I phrased it. I made it an obstacle when it really isn’t and I made it sound like Benjamin was a hinderance.

Having a baby or a child in your life is an amazing thing. Sure it’s an obstacle to dating men who don’t care about you, but not when you’re dating men who are genuinely into you. Beware of scaring off the good ones by making it sound like a bad thing, one of my nasty little habits.

Here’s a male perspective. My single friend Dave was out recently and called me the next day after bumping into a few single moms at a bar. “We were hitting it off and then they told me they have a baby. But they made it sound like it was a horrible thing. Their bad attitude was totally unattractive and I just had to walk away.”

When I told my new boyfriend about Benjamin it was the first night we met. But I waited until the end of the night, when I knew I would want to see him again. I brought it up within the flow of conversation and had a smile on my face. “So…I have a little bit of baggage, and he weighs 22 pounds. If you want to see me again, I just thought I should get that out there..so…” I trailed off and looked down into my lap, hoping I wouldn’t see fear in his eyes. “Do you have a picture?” He looked at Benjamin on my phone and smiled, a genuine smile. “He’s a cutie. Want to play another game of pool?”

My conclusion – having a child is as big of deal as you make it. And we can’t expect a man who’s never had a child before to possibly understand on a first date or on a first encounter. That comes later. But there’s no sense in not giving him a chance to understand.

When do you tell a man you’re a single mom?

It’s been two weeks now since Benjamin’s father has seen his son.

His car is broken down because he drove it without oil. Sigh.

Coincidentally Benjamin has also been sick, sick, sick. I have missed four days of work and will be missing two more. I am also broke because I’ve had to pay for an extra two days of childcare each week.

I called him today en route to the hospital today. Benjamin had a fever of 104.5 and I thought he should know about it.

“Oh,” he says, “Well, I’m in a meeting, I’ll call you back.” CLICK.

I called him tonight to vent a bit. I know, I know. Should have let it go. He’s completely out of our lives now but when I’m missing days upon days of work and he doesn’t even seem concerned or offer to take a day off from his job I get upset.

“I understand,” he says.

“No you don’t.” I snap. “You don’t understand. How could you understand? You have never, ever had to take a day off from work to take care of your son when he’s sick.”

What he says next blew my mind.

“If we were married I would. But, my boss is not going to give me a day off to take care of my ex-wife’s kid. We are not a family anymore.”

“What?!!! He’s your son. You mean he is less of a son to you because we’re not married? Your boss can’t think that unless you think that.”

I should have hung up at this point but I  didn’t. And then he drops this bomb (not the first time).

“It was your choice to leave me,” he says, “it was your choice and now you have to deal with it.”

Was it really my choice to be a single mom? Yes, in that the idea of actually still being with him, had I stayed, makes my skin crawl. Being a single mom is tough but being with a husband like him was a hell of a lot harder. He was cold, insensitive, hurtful and down right useless.

He’s now on month 9 of a relationship with another single mother. Her son is 6 and they’re now living together. Poor her. Poor kid.

If he would have had it his way, right now he would be sitting on MY couch, drinking MY beer, eating MY groceries and treating me like shit. I just wish he weren’t on another single mom’s couch right now. I wish I could warn her.

Conclusion = It was his choice to give me no choice.

Clare, the co-founder of iHeart Single Parents, made an appearance on Fox’s Morning Show this week.

Click here to watch Clare’s interview.

I’m so excited that iHeartSingleParents.com is finally getting the attention it deserves.

Morning Show hosts Mike and Juliet say, at the start of this piece, that 40% of new mothers in the U.S. are unmarried and of those the fastest growing group is women in their late 20’s. Not sure where they got that statistic (and it is Fox) but could that be true? Forty percent!

Mike and Juliet also ask Clare if she would recommend that other women choose to be a single mom. In her blog post, Clare says they sprung these questions on her – “They didn’t ask the questions that the producer and I practiced on at all.”

I can’t speak for Clare but being a single mother is seldom a choice for any of us. It’s something that happens. We choose to go on as single moms… but we certainly didn’t choose this path? Or did we? I chose to leave my husband. Does that mean I chose to be a single mom? I’ve written about this here.

Food for thought. And evidence that talk show hosts will always go for the controversial chord of any conversation.

Regardless, Clare did a fantastic job representing! And if you haven’t been over to iHeart lately, get over there because there are hundreds of new members joining every day… and as Clare says in this interview, having a single parent social network to turn to really makes you feel less alone.

[Photo: Clare and her 2-year-old son, Colby]

P.S. Proves my point that Single Moms are on Fire!

It’s been four weeks now.

My new relationship status is beginning to sink in.

I have a boyfriend, and I’m actually enjoying it immensely. Usually at this point fear takes over and I start pushing them away. I slowly eject them from my life, or cut it clean depending on my mood. But this time, I’m not feeling that way. I’m not stressed at all. I’m completely comfortable with him and totally into him. So far, the feeling is mutual.

I had him over for dinner on Thursday night. Benjamin was still awake. Kris has seen Benjamin in the mornings briefly but this would be his first evening with us, usually the highlight of my day because Benjamin is chipper, happy and ready to play.

Kris walks in, gives me a hug and then crouches down on his knees, “And, how are you?” He looks at Benjamin and Benjmain stares back. This is odd, usually he flashes a smile and runs away but he can’t take his eyes off of Kris.

Kris leads him into the living room and opens his toy chest. This is a first. Of all of the men I’ve dated since the divorce not one has genuinely just sat down and played with my kid. This used to surprise me because I thought – “If they’re trying to win me over wouldn’t they want to at least try to play with him?” To their credit, some would try, but it was awkward and forced. “I’ve never been around kids,” they would say. “I don’t know what to do.” Kris has never been around kids either, he’s actually only 23. Five years younger than me.

While I’m in the kitchen cooking dinner, I hear Kris talking to Benjamin, he’s calm, assuring and playful. A few hours later I take Benjamin up for bedtime. I come downstairs and all of his toys are cleaned up. Kris had tidied up my living room. I’m now pinching myself.

Kris is still there in the morning. We all eat pancakes together. There’s lots of laughter, more playing and the entire time Benjamin is following Kris around like a little puppy. I put Benjamin down for his nap and say good bye to Kris, we both have to work.

When Benjamin wakes up four hours later (he has a nasty cold which is why I’m home on a Friday) he searches the house for Kris. He’s going from room to room. As soon as he realizes Kris is gone – he starts crying…hard. My heart breaks. What am I doing? What if this doesn’t work out? Where will we be then? Benjamin is clearly well into toddlerhood (20 months) and now he is very well aware of what’s up.

The single mom dating conundrum:

When a man enters our life we want to see how they would fit into our family, or if they can even handle it. But we can’t do it without introducing them to the kids.

The solution:

When Benjamin was a teeny tiny baby, this wasn’t an issue. So everything I’m about to say clearly depends on the age of the children.

I’m not big on the idea of waiting six months to bring a man into my daily routine. I guess it’s because I’m afraid he would be shocked at the reality of how hard it is to raise a toddler and then split. Then I would have invested six months of my time in a guy who wasn’t really there for the right reasons.

The other problem. I am a working single mother. Not bringing him around Benjamin leaves me only a few hours in the late evening. Period. This can get old and can also hurt a budding relationship.

I have learned from my past mishaps not to raise this issue too early. Why? Because there is no way he or you actually know how long this will last yet, and you shouldn’t presume to know that. Once I actually told a guy I was dating, “the only way I can date you is if there’s potential – potential that one day we might get married.” We had only been dating for a few months. I didn’t even want to marry him. Isn’t that crazy? I just had to rationalize why I was spending time away from my son – to myself. In the end that one just fizzled out but the moral of the story is – it could have been more fun if I would have left my drama in my head. I’m thinking this is probably a good conversation to have 6-8 months in to a relationship. Just a hunch, but to each his own.

My solution: I am going to keep Kris’ encounters with Benjamin to a minimum for the next few months, but he will have a few. Because I also want someone to fall in love with my son, not just me…we are a package deal.
My new boyfriend and I decided to quit smoking – together. It’s the first time I’ve done something together, as a couple in years. Well, if you count my divorce, it’s been nearly a year. Knowing Saturday night was going to be a baby-free all-nighter we pick Sunday to go cold turkey. I’m scared. Scared to quit smoking and scared to enter into a verbal contract with someone – a commitment.

I started smoking the day I realized I was going to leave my husband. He had come home and said he’d been fired from yet another job and that he didn’t want to work again, that he wanted to be a stay at home dad. We didn’t have the money for this scenario and I insisted he go out and look for more work. He refused. At this point he was bailing on me and my baby – that’s when I knew it was completely over. I heard my neighbor walking through the driveway. It was Abby, a single mom. Her daughter was just three at the time.

“Abby? Is that you?” I asked over the fence.

“Ya,” she said. We’d only talked a few times here and there, nothing too in depth. We were just friendly neighbors. She was the single mom, I was the married mom with the newborn, supposed to be completely happy.

“I need to have a cigarrette, and you need to tell me what it’s like to be a single mom because I’m about to be one.” She came running into my yard.

“Oh my god. I’ll be right back.”

It was in this moment as she went on and on about the trials and tribulations but about how ultimately, it was the right thing to do, that I realized the bond single mothers have with each other. Perhaps because we are the only ones – the only ones – who truly understand what the other is going through.

Leaving him, moving back in with my mother and leaving my career was the single most challenging thing I’ve ever done – I needed friends and I chose cigarrettes. Now, one and a half years later, I’m back on my feet. Have my career back, have my real friends and my life back. I don’t need them anymore.

On Sunday morning we quit together, as promised. But then today, Monday, I head into work and feel awful. I actually feel like I’m going to get sick all over my desk. Am I pregant? Nope. Definitely not. Could it be the smoking? I Google it. Yep. Smoking cessation can cause nausea. Weird.

I make it until 5:00 pm and then I have one. I just can’t do this. I can’t go pick up Benjamin like this. This nausea has got to go. The cigarrette doesn’t help. I get home and take my temperature – it’s 101.1. Oh my god. I’m sick. I’ve been home from work nursing Benjamin for weeks, have missed six work days and now I’m sick.

I call Kris. “I cheated. I just couldn’t stand it. I can’t be this sick. I thought it was nausea from not smoking, but I’m just actually sick as hell.”

“Do you really want to quit or not?” He sounds disappointed. I try to defend myself.

“But, I’m a single working mom. Any kind of stress relief I can get is worth it. I can’t be in withdraw around Benjamin. And tonight, being so sick, I nearly broke down in tears.”

(I actually had broken down in tears but didn’t want to tell him this). He still sounds pissed. And he should be – I broke a promise. I call him back later, he apologizes for being “difficult” and I apologize for cheating.

“Do you want me to come over? I can make you some tea, cuddle you down.” He offers.

“Nope…maybe tomorrow night.” Step by step, I tell myself. I can quit smoking with someone, sleep with them, even become emotionally attached to them, but it will be a long, long time before I’m ready to actually ask a man for help. I just can’t. I should call Abby and ask her why.

(P.S., I never smoke around Benjamin or in the house, which is why I really want to quit – it’s getting cold out).
I’ve been an online dating “lurker” since my divorce. I joined eHarmony on last year’s very depressing Valentine’s Day.

I was still living at my mom’s house which is out in the woods. There were no men in sight except for the biker across the street.

I took the eHarmony personality test. Be careful with this, because once you take it – you never get another chance. Make sure you’re awake, relatively chipper and feeling completely open and honest with yourself.

After the test eHarmony served up my first seven matches. I was excited – “Look, an inbox full of men! Just for me!” But I couldn’t see the photos. They wanted my money. But at the time it wasn’t in the budget – at all – so I started sifting through the descriptions.

One guy actually sneaked his e-mail into his profile, “EHarmony is expensive,” he wrote, “E-mail me at dude@dude.com.” Yay! A guy who likes to beat the system. I like that so I sent him a lonely Valentine’s Day e-mail. Days later there’s still no response. I had even attached a picture. Hmmmm. I forget about it and try to stomach my first virtual rejection. It stings a little.

Three months later I get a response, “Hi, this is Carlise, Dan’s friend. I am checking his e-mail because he actually died in a car accident last October.”

My heart cries for Dan for a moment and then my sympathy for he and his family is replaced wtih anger at eHarmony. How could they do that? Then it hits me. The “matches” on eHarmony are not paying members. Many just popped in, took the personality test, and then never returned – or even worse – died.

I still became a paying member. I’m was too tempted by all of those new “matches” they e-mail you every morning. So after I spent over $100 to activate my account I was like a kid at a candy store – hurrying to scope out every man’s photograph.

I didn’t think one of them was cute. I e-mail a few any way but never got responses – because they’re probably inactive accounts. I e-mailed eHarmony asking for a refund. They told me my matching preferences weren’t broad enough, that I should be open to dating people of all ages from all over the world.

After receiving over 155 matches, only one led to a lunch date, and that was a complete failure.

Bottom line: don’t waste your money on eHarmony.

My friend Abby, my bestest single mom friend, had three very interesting and very good looking dates from Yahoo Personals last week.

The reason Yahoo and Match are better online dating sites than eHarmony:

1. They’re inexpensive.

2. You can see rough dates of when matches last logged in (although both sites should improve this feature).

3. You can control your searches, don’t let a computer match you – especially if 80% of those matches aren’t even active on the site.

See my other online dating entries for more background on this and some very important online dating tips.
Six weeks ago I had reached a point of complete contentment with being single.

Over the past year and a half I have been looking, searching for someone. There was a pattern. I liked a guy. We hit it off. I scared him off. My friends told me, “You’re calling him too much.”

“What? I have a child. Do I really have to play these dating games anymore?”

“Great,” I said, “Then I’ll get rid of him quickly. If he doesn’t want a phone call from me, why would I want to be with him?” It was like a reflex, something inside of me trying to protect our little life from being broken.

“There are rules,” my friends would say. Rules? Oh, yeah. Those damn rules. I used to play by the rules. I used to be a dating diva, often dating more than one guy at once. It was my independence that attracted them. But after being married for two years and a mother for nearly two years I have completely lost my edge. It just can’t happen.

I can’t see myself ever returning to those days of care free dating.

So, what’s a single mom to do? Forget about it. And that’s what I did. I decided not to date a guy who makes me feel like I have to play by the rules. No more games. They are either completely into me or they aren’t. And I have to be completely into them because this single thing is actually pretty damn cool.

I was at a coffee shop, enjoying my new found indifference when fate took over.

My phone rang. It was an old friend and she desperately needed a ride out to a bar in the suburbs. A place where I never venture past dark. I hate the suburbs, especially bars in the suburbs.

I can’t say no – she’s desperate.We get there and I find out she’s meeting two completely drunk men in their late 50’s. Not my bag. I head outside for a cigarette.

I’m still enjoying my own company, not striking up conversations with any of the men around me – completely content. And then a guy sits down at my table. He starts up a conversation. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m happy because I just don’t care. And then his friend walks in, “This is Kris,” he says.

Oh no. Oh God, he’s cute, really cute. He’s wearing a vintage suit, he is tall, thick dark brown hair, big green eyes. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better guy for me – just based on looks. I still didn’t care. But I wanted to find out – is he intelligent, is he funny? I can’t go back inside and talk to the old creepy men.

So I test the waters with some witty comments a guy for me would understand. He sits up in his chair.

“We’ve got a smart one here,” his buddy says to him. He nods. His eyes are light now, his smile is huge and he’s actually excited… so am I. Damn it. 

From this point on it’s all over. We were laughing and talking all night. Before I left the bar I got his number, called his phone so he had mine and invited them out for Friday night. When we left, Kris grabbed me in a big hug. A hug that was so incredibly refreshing. He’s young, he’s innocent, he doesn’t have any baggage. He just wants to be with me. There were no rules in that hug.

That night I had a dream – about him.

We were kissing, we were together. What??? I had a dream about a man? This never happens. I was married for two years and had only a few dreams about my own husband. I woke up and decided to text him. That dream was an incredible tease.

“Thanks for the hug.”

He wrote back, “No problem, you’re a sweetie and very hugable. I’ve got class until 8:00 – after that I’ll be feeling like calling you.” He called at 8:15. No stress. Completely adorable and now it’s been three weeks. We talk on the phone at least two times day, we see each other two nights a week. I don’t feel myself losing control because this time around I am gauging this relationship against my content single frame of mind.

Note to self – you can not be happy with someone else, unless you are completely happy with yourself.

Getting there is the tough part.

**UPDATE**

To find out what happened with Kris, click here.
***UPDATE***

If you’re here to find out how to change your Facebook or MySpace relationship status, click here.

Once you’re done – come back and read this…

“A relationship isn’t official until it’s on Facebook!” a young co-worker told me this morning. “My friend got engaged and two weeks later the announcement still wasn’t on Facebook. We all thought she had called it off or something.” Virtual social networks have changed the dating landscape… forever.

After my divorce I created a MySpace page. I was an innocent to the social networking world and had no idea how much it would change my dating experiences. My single friend was over the other night venting about a frustrating experience she’s having with an ex boyfriend right now.

“I’m not sure if he’ll call me tonight or not. I left him a comment today asking if he was going out and haven’t heard back.”

MySpace and Facebook have now effectively changed the way we date. Now we can call, text, e-mail or better yet – leave a MySpace comment or give someone a Facebook poke.

Here’s my translation of the MySpace and Facebook Dating Codes.

  1. Add each other as friends. This is really no big deal and doesn’t mean much. But at least now you have unbridled access to their page, photos, blog, etc.
  2. Leave cute, flirty comments on each other’s page. A good sign. He’s writing on your page, you’re writing on his. All is well in the world.
  3. Move each other up to “top friend” status. This is a big step and could indicate a future relationship status change.
  4. Continue with more flirtatious comments like “last night was amazing, you make me crazy.” Getting closer.
  5. Change your relationship status. The biggest step. Now you’re taken. You’re off the virtual market and you’re shouting loud and proud to the rest of the world that you’re happy and committed.

In conversations with my single girlfriends the old burning questions like, “is he a good kisser?,” “does he call often?,” “does he make you laugh?” are still completely relevant but added into the mix are, “did he move you into his top friends?,” “who else is on his page?”

The Virtual Red Flag

Some men are all over your MySpace page while you’re dating…others will be silent, never leaving a comment or moving you into their top friends. Strange. A red flag. A new red flag. The virtual red flag.

The Relationship Status Change: Who brings it up…how does it happen?

A case in point: my current flame took matters into his own hands. Last night when we were falling asleep he said, “I changed my relationship status on Facebook.” What??? Wow!!! I didn’t know what to think. We’ve only been together for 3 weeks and now Facebook says we’re “in a relationship.”

“You want me to be your girlfriend?”

He says, “ya…is that okay?” He’s confused by my reaction. I mean, he’s a guy and he’s completely crazy about me. We’ve been seeing each other steadily for three weeks – why not change his status? Meanwhile my brain is on fire with a mix of happiness and fear. I feel like I’m in the 8th grade and a cute boy has just asked me out.

I can’t change my MySpace relationship status just yet- it’s too early. That page is like my temple of autonomy. I break the news to him, “I’ll change my Facebook account status, but not my MySpace account.” Hmmm….a virtual compromise.

This morning I go onto Facebook. Yep, there he is – “in a relationship.” I go to my profile and click in relationship (there is a special section for this). I change my status. Then Facebook asks me, “who are you in a relationship with?” I pick his name. Then it says, “Kris is now your boyfriend. We will be sending him a confirmation to see if he accepts your relationship request.”

What??? Oh my god…I have a boyfriend and they’re sending him a relationship request? I’m actually embarrassed. I call him immediately, “Facebook has just informed me that you’re my boyfriend, but you have to agree to it.” He laughed. “I’ll accept, I won’t leave you hanging. Later… girlfriend.” I feel like I’m 14 again.

A boy actually asked me out – even though he did it virtually I still think it’s absolutely adorable. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been asked out. Usually it’s me looking at the guy like, “so are you my boyfriend?”

See? This virtual world is good for something.

UPDATE/ Additional notes:

Crazy how MySpace and Facebook have changed the way we date. In just a few seconds you can scope out your ex’s relationship status, flirtatous comments and daily activities. Twitter makes it even worse. Maybe I should go on a delete binge tonight.

How often do you delete your the Ex-Profiles on MySpace? Can you do it? Do you think I can?

Deleting an ex is like permanently severing all ties…but then I think of the ex’s who were my friends – the ones I genuinely want to stay in touch with. And then I think of the sting when I see their “latest activity.”

I vote for delete.
I have seen a few google searches with this question pointing to my blog. Not sure why they’re taking you here, but it’s a very valid question. So here goes.

My friend Abby has been a single mom for over three years now and one night when we were on a crazy girls night, I had struck up a conversation with a charming dentist. He seemed interested so I thought, “better get it out on the table.” But this is how I phrased it, “Well, you’ll never actually be able to date me.” He looked surprised, “why not?”

“Because I have a baby.”

“Oh. Well, that must be fun.” After some awkward small talk he disappeared.

I ran up to Abby. “That guy just vanished after I told him about Benjamin!” She pulled me aside and whispered, “Oh no. You can’t tell them that right away. You’ve got to wait until at least a couple of dates.” What? I was floored. She just didn’t tell them.

“They have to fall for you first,” she insisted, “and then the baby thing is just like an added bonus – and ‘oh by the way, I do all of this and I’m an amazing single mom.’ It works!”

I am skeptical of Abbey’s theory. Here’s why, if the baby thing is too much for them to handle, why find that out two dates in? And wouldn’t that be a form of dishonesty?

I’ve decided that it depends on a few factors. If you are out for a night filled with multiple encounters with men on the dance floor or behind a bar – don’t mention it. Unless one of these men grabs your attention, you end up hitting it off and you feel like there’s potential for a future date – then dish. But make sure you frame it positively. The dentist was scared off because of the way I phrased it. I made it an obstacle when it really isn’t and I made it sound like Benjamin was a hinderance.

Having a baby or a child in your life is an amazing thing. Sure it’s an obstacle to dating men who don’t care about you, but not when you’re dating men who are genuinely into you. Beware of scaring off the good ones by making it sound like a bad thing, one of my nasty little habits.

Here’s a male perspective. My single friend Dave was out recently and called me the next day after bumping into a few single moms at a bar. “We were hitting it off and then they told me they have a baby. But they made it sound like it was a horrible thing. Their bad attitude was totally unattractive and I just had to walk away.”

When I told my new boyfriend about Benjamin it was the first night we met. But I waited until the end of the night, when I knew I would want to see him again. I brought it up within the flow of conversation and had a smile on my face. “So…I have a little bit of baggage, and he weighs 22 pounds. If you want to see me again, I just thought I should get that out there..so…” I trailed off and looked down into my lap, hoping I wouldn’t see fear in his eyes. “Do you have a picture?” He looked at Benjamin on my phone and smiled, a genuine smile. “He’s a cutie. Want to play another game of pool?”

My conclusion – having a child is as big of deal as you make it. And we can’t expect a man who’s never had a child before to possibly understand on a first date or on a first encounter. That comes later. But there’s no sense in not giving him a chance to understand.

When do you tell a man you’re a single mom?

It’s been two weeks now since Benjamin’s father has seen his son.

His car is broken down because he drove it without oil. Sigh.

Coincidentally Benjamin has also been sick, sick, sick. I have missed four days of work and will be missing two more. I am also broke because I’ve had to pay for an extra two days of childcare each week.

I called him today en route to the hospital today. Benjamin had a fever of 104.5 and I thought he should know about it.

“Oh,” he says, “Well, I’m in a meeting, I’ll call you back.” CLICK.

I called him tonight to vent a bit. I know, I know. Should have let it go. He’s completely out of our lives now but when I’m missing days upon days of work and he doesn’t even seem concerned or offer to take a day off from his job I get upset.

“I understand,” he says.

“No you don’t.” I snap. “You don’t understand. How could you understand? You have never, ever had to take a day off from work to take care of your son when he’s sick.”

What he says next blew my mind.

“If we were married I would. But, my boss is not going to give me a day off to take care of my ex-wife’s kid. We are not a family anymore.”

“What?!!! He’s your son. You mean he is less of a son to you because we’re not married? Your boss can’t think that unless you think that.”

I should have hung up at this point but I  didn’t. And then he drops this bomb (not the first time).

“It was your choice to leave me,” he says, “it was your choice and now you have to deal with it.”

Was it really my choice to be a single mom? Yes, in that the idea of actually still being with him, had I stayed, makes my skin crawl. Being a single mom is tough but being with a husband like him was a hell of a lot harder. He was cold, insensitive, hurtful and down right useless.

He’s now on month 9 of a relationship with another single mother. Her son is 6 and they’re now living together. Poor her. Poor kid.

If he would have had it his way, right now he would be sitting on MY couch, drinking MY beer, eating MY groceries and treating me like shit. I just wish he weren’t on another single mom’s couch right now. I wish I could warn her.

Conclusion = It was his choice to give me no choice.

Clare, the co-founder of iHeart Single Parents, made an appearance on Fox’s Morning Show this week.

Click here to watch Clare’s interview.

I’m so excited that iHeartSingleParents.com is finally getting the attention it deserves.

Morning Show hosts Mike and Juliet say, at the start of this piece, that 40% of new mothers in the U.S. are unmarried and of those the fastest growing group is women in their late 20’s. Not sure where they got that statistic (and it is Fox) but could that be true? Forty percent!

Mike and Juliet also ask Clare if she would recommend that other women choose to be a single mom. In her blog post, Clare says they sprung these questions on her – “They didn’t ask the questions that the producer and I practiced on at all.”

I can’t speak for Clare but being a single mother is seldom a choice for any of us. It’s something that happens. We choose to go on as single moms… but we certainly didn’t choose this path? Or did we? I chose to leave my husband. Does that mean I chose to be a single mom? I’ve written about this here.

Food for thought. And evidence that talk show hosts will always go for the controversial chord of any conversation.

Regardless, Clare did a fantastic job representing! And if you haven’t been over to iHeart lately, get over there because there are hundreds of new members joining every day… and as Clare says in this interview, having a single parent social network to turn to really makes you feel less alone.

[Photo: Clare and her 2-year-old son, Colby]

P.S. Proves my point that Single Moms are on Fire!

It’s been four weeks now.

My new relationship status is beginning to sink in.

I have a boyfriend, and I’m actually enjoying it immensely. Usually at this point fear takes over and I start pushing them away. I slowly eject them from my life, or cut it clean depending on my mood. But this time, I’m not feeling that way. I’m not stressed at all. I’m completely comfortable with him and totally into him. So far, the feeling is mutual.

I had him over for dinner on Thursday night. Benjamin was still awake. Kris has seen Benjamin in the mornings briefly but this would be his first evening with us, usually the highlight of my day because Benjamin is chipper, happy and ready to play.

Kris walks in, gives me a hug and then crouches down on his knees, “And, how are you?” He looks at Benjamin and Benjmain stares back. This is odd, usually he flashes a smile and runs away but he can’t take his eyes off of Kris.

Kris leads him into the living room and opens his toy chest. This is a first. Of all of the men I’ve dated since the divorce not one has genuinely just sat down and played with my kid. This used to surprise me because I thought – “If they’re trying to win me over wouldn’t they want to at least try to play with him?” To their credit, some would try, but it was awkward and forced. “I’ve never been around kids,” they would say. “I don’t know what to do.” Kris has never been around kids either, he’s actually only 23. Five years younger than me.

While I’m in the kitchen cooking dinner, I hear Kris talking to Benjamin, he’s calm, assuring and playful. A few hours later I take Benjamin up for bedtime. I come downstairs and all of his toys are cleaned up. Kris had tidied up my living room. I’m now pinching myself.

Kris is still there in the morning. We all eat pancakes together. There’s lots of laughter, more playing and the entire time Benjamin is following Kris around like a little puppy. I put Benjamin down for his nap and say good bye to Kris, we both have to work.

When Benjamin wakes up four hours later (he has a nasty cold which is why I’m home on a Friday) he searches the house for Kris. He’s going from room to room. As soon as he realizes Kris is gone – he starts crying…hard. My heart breaks. What am I doing? What if this doesn’t work out? Where will we be then? Benjamin is clearly well into toddlerhood (20 months) and now he is very well aware of what’s up.

The single mom dating conundrum:

When a man enters our life we want to see how they would fit into our family, or if they can even handle it. But we can’t do it without introducing them to the kids.

The solution:

When Benjamin was a teeny tiny baby, this wasn’t an issue. So everything I’m about to say clearly depends on the age of the children.

I’m not big on the idea of waiting six months to bring a man into my daily routine. I guess it’s because I’m afraid he would be shocked at the reality of how hard it is to raise a toddler and then split. Then I would have invested six months of my time in a guy who wasn’t really there for the right reasons.

The other problem. I am a working single mother. Not bringing him around Benjamin leaves me only a few hours in the late evening. Period. This can get old and can also hurt a budding relationship.

I have learned from my past mishaps not to raise this issue too early. Why? Because there is no way he or you actually know how long this will last yet, and you shouldn’t presume to know that. Once I actually told a guy I was dating, “the only way I can date you is if there’s potential – potential that one day we might get married.” We had only been dating for a few months. I didn’t even want to marry him. Isn’t that crazy? I just had to rationalize why I was spending time away from my son – to myself. In the end that one just fizzled out but the moral of the story is – it could have been more fun if I would have left my drama in my head. I’m thinking this is probably a good conversation to have 6-8 months in to a relationship. Just a hunch, but to each his own.

My solution: I am going to keep Kris’ encounters with Benjamin to a minimum for the next few months, but he will have a few. Because I also want someone to fall in love with my son, not just me…we are a package deal.
My new boyfriend and I decided to quit smoking – together. It’s the first time I’ve done something together, as a couple in years. Well, if you count my divorce, it’s been nearly a year. Knowing Saturday night was going to be a baby-free all-nighter we pick Sunday to go cold turkey. I’m scared. Scared to quit smoking and scared to enter into a verbal contract with someone – a commitment.

I started smoking the day I realized I was going to leave my husband. He had come home and said he’d been fired from yet another job and that he didn’t want to work again, that he wanted to be a stay at home dad. We didn’t have the money for this scenario and I insisted he go out and look for more work. He refused. At this point he was bailing on me and my baby – that’s when I knew it was completely over. I heard my neighbor walking through the driveway. It was Abby, a single mom. Her daughter was just three at the time.

“Abby? Is that you?” I asked over the fence.

“Ya,” she said. We’d only talked a few times here and there, nothing too in depth. We were just friendly neighbors. She was the single mom, I was the married mom with the newborn, supposed to be completely happy.

“I need to have a cigarrette, and you need to tell me what it’s like to be a single mom because I’m about to be one.” She came running into my yard.

“Oh my god. I’ll be right back.”

It was in this moment as she went on and on about the trials and tribulations but about how ultimately, it was the right thing to do, that I realized the bond single mothers have with each other. Perhaps because we are the only ones – the only ones – who truly understand what the other is going through.

Leaving him, moving back in with my mother and leaving my career was the single most challenging thing I’ve ever done – I needed friends and I chose cigarrettes. Now, one and a half years later, I’m back on my feet. Have my career back, have my real friends and my life back. I don’t need them anymore.

On Sunday morning we quit together, as promised. But then today, Monday, I head into work and feel awful. I actually feel like I’m going to get sick all over my desk. Am I pregant? Nope. Definitely not. Could it be the smoking? I Google it. Yep. Smoking cessation can cause nausea. Weird.

I make it until 5:00 pm and then I have one. I just can’t do this. I can’t go pick up Benjamin like this. This nausea has got to go. The cigarrette doesn’t help. I get home and take my temperature – it’s 101.1. Oh my god. I’m sick. I’ve been home from work nursing Benjamin for weeks, have missed six work days and now I’m sick.

I call Kris. “I cheated. I just couldn’t stand it. I can’t be this sick. I thought it was nausea from not smoking, but I’m just actually sick as hell.”

“Do you really want to quit or not?” He sounds disappointed. I try to defend myself.

“But, I’m a single working mom. Any kind of stress relief I can get is worth it. I can’t be in withdraw around Benjamin. And tonight, being so sick, I nearly broke down in tears.”

(I actually had broken down in tears but didn’t want to tell him this). He still sounds pissed. And he should be – I broke a promise. I call him back later, he apologizes for being “difficult” and I apologize for cheating.

“Do you want me to come over? I can make you some tea, cuddle you down.” He offers.

“Nope…maybe tomorrow night.” Step by step, I tell myself. I can quit smoking with someone, sleep with them, even become emotionally attached to them, but it will be a long, long time before I’m ready to actually ask a man for help. I just can’t. I should call Abby and ask her why.

(P.S., I never smoke around Benjamin or in the house, which is why I really want to quit – it’s getting cold out).
I’ve been an online dating “lurker” since my divorce. I joined eHarmony on last year’s very depressing Valentine’s Day.

I was still living at my mom’s house which is out in the woods. There were no men in sight except for the biker across the street.

I took the eHarmony personality test. Be careful with this, because once you take it – you never get another chance. Make sure you’re awake, relatively chipper and feeling completely open and honest with yourself.

After the test eHarmony served up my first seven matches. I was excited – “Look, an inbox full of men! Just for me!” But I couldn’t see the photos. They wanted my money. But at the time it wasn’t in the budget – at all – so I started sifting through the descriptions.

One guy actually sneaked his e-mail into his profile, “EHarmony is expensive,” he wrote, “E-mail me at dude@dude.com.” Yay! A guy who likes to beat the system. I like that so I sent him a lonely Valentine’s Day e-mail. Days later there’s still no response. I had even attached a picture. Hmmmm. I forget about it and try to stomach my first virtual rejection. It stings a little.

Three months later I get a response, “Hi, this is Carlise, Dan’s friend. I am checking his e-mail because he actually died in a car accident last October.”

My heart cries for Dan for a moment and then my sympathy for he and his family is replaced wtih anger at eHarmony. How could they do that? Then it hits me. The “matches” on eHarmony are not paying members. Many just popped in, took the personality test, and then never returned – or even worse – died.

I still became a paying member. I’m was too tempted by all of those new “matches” they e-mail you every morning. So after I spent over $100 to activate my account I was like a kid at a candy store – hurrying to scope out every man’s photograph.

I didn’t think one of them was cute. I e-mail a few any way but never got responses – because they’re probably inactive accounts. I e-mailed eHarmony asking for a refund. They told me my matching preferences weren’t broad enough, that I should be open to dating people of all ages from all over the world.

After receiving over 155 matches, only one led to a lunch date, and that was a complete failure.

Bottom line: don’t waste your money on eHarmony.

My friend Abby, my bestest single mom friend, had three very interesting and very good looking dates from Yahoo Personals last week.

The reason Yahoo and Match are better online dating sites than eHarmony:

1. They’re inexpensive.

2. You can see rough dates of when matches last logged in (although both sites should improve this feature).

3. You can control your searches, don’t let a computer match you – especially if 80% of those matches aren’t even active on the site.

See my other online dating entries for more background on this and some very important online dating tips.
I don’t know about you, but movies just aren’t the same anymore. A lot of things aren’t. If I am going to take a few hours to sit down and watch one it better be good, or I flip it off within the first 20 minutes.

Last night I watched Paris, Je Taime (Paris, I Love You). It was unbelievable. There are 18, maybe more, short 5 minute love stories from Paris. Love stories you wouldn’t expect. Love between divorced couples, old couples, young couples, friends and a few on the love between a mother and her child. Some made me cry, some made me laugh and some made me believe in love again.
One story shows the strong will and determination of a single mother, completely driven by her love for her son. Warning. This might make you cry.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/v/RzaIQWQTARo&rel=1]

And the best single mom movie ever…Chocalot, take a peak. This movie has it all. The stresses of being a single mother and the huge benefits. Sex. Love. Chocolate. Johnny Depp. What more could you ask for? And it’s probably one of the most beautiful movies I’ve ever seen. Here’s the original preview.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/v/dLAuf4-a0I4&rel=1]

What are your favorite single mama movies? What about movies for the kids? Do share.

datingsinglemom.jpg

Hi guys. So you’re dating a single mom? I don’t blame you. You’ve found a woman who has been put to one of life’s hardest tests – on her own – and survived. Single mothers are amazing.

But, she’s created a life for her and her little ones and letting anyone in could be risky. If you want in, you’ve got to be patient, understanding and respectful.

You may be feeling a bit overwhelmed. I’m hoping these tips will help you out. But first, let me preface it with this…

One guy dating my best single mom friend, Abby, told me, “someone needs to write a book about dating a single mom.” I shook my head, “no, someone needs to write a book about dating Abby.” With or without her daughter, Abby is Abby and she’s a firecracker.

My point… Yes, we are single moms. But kids or no kids, we are still the same people. We still have the same communication issues, the same baggage, the same heart aches, the same dreams, the same goals, the same desires.

With that in mind here are some single mom dating tips for the guys. Moms, check out my single mom dating tips here.

  1. Be patient. She may seem rough around the edges – that’s her finely tuned defense mechanism. Don’t worry, in time, that tough cookie will crack and you’ll discover a well of the most rewarding love you’ve ever imagined. But until she can completely trust you – hang on for the ride.
  2. No experience with kids? Who cares. We’re all big kids inside. Were you ever a kid? So you do have some experience! Don’t be afraid to get down on your hands and knees and run around with her little ones. Experience or not. If you love her, loving her kids will come naturally. Just because she’s a single mom doesn’t mean she’s looking for Mr. Super Dad. She’s looking for someone who has the ability to completely and totally love her children.
  3. She’s testing you. Yes, she’s testing you. She has to. Think about it. Would you want to date a single mom who didn’t have high expectations for who she let’s into her child’s life? Don’t stress out about the tests. Chances are you won’t even notice them. Just be yourself and you’ll pass. The most important thing is to try to understand why she needs to test you. Understand it, respect it and once again, be patient.
  4. If she hasn’t introduced you to her kids… don’t pressure her and don’t think it means she’s not serious about the relationship. This is not about you. She’s doing what she has to do to protect her family. Once again, understand it, respect it and be patient. Your reaction to these obstacles and your patience will mean everything to her.
  5. Don’t play games. Single moms don’t have time to play games. If you wait three days to call her play any other dating games she’ll lose patience and probably drop you before you have a chance to hurt her.
  6. If you aren’t into her – tell her right away. If you don’t have serious intentions or if you don’t think there’s a chance in hell you would ever “settle down” with her than for god’s sake – tell her. You never know, she might be totally up for a casual relationship too. If not, at least you weren’t messing with a single mom, that’s just wrong.
  7. Treat her like a princess. This applies to dating all women, moms or not. Just didn’t want you to forget it.
  8. Talk to her about her kids. Ask her how they’re doing. Ask how she’s doing. And listen to her answers.
  9. If you’re a control freak…you might want to move on. You’re dating a single mom. She’s in control and you might just have to follow her lead for a while before she relinquishes any.
  10. If you really want to be with her… prove your worth. Not with money, although money is always nice to have. But with actions. What do you bring to the table? These are questions and tests you usually don’t have to ask yourself when dating single, childless women. But with a single mom, life is happening – right now. How will you handle it? Can you clean? Can you cook? No? You better learn or at least try.
  11. Make her life easier. Single moms don’t like asking for help. Take the initiative. Make her life easier. Maybe it’s making her smile, hugging her, taking out her garbage or bringing over some treats for the kids. Bottom line – if you’re making her life easier you’re in.

What you’ll get in return…you get the girl. And what an amazing girl she is. Good luck!

Here are more tips on How to Date a Single Mom:

Single Mom Dating, Part 2

Single Mom Dating, Part 3

Single Mom Dating, Part 4

[Photo credit: PlanetPersonals.com]

{ 20 trackbacks }

The Fine Art of Dumping. « Ms. Single Mama
January 21, 2008 at 3:44 am
What women really want. « Ms. Single Mama
January 24, 2008 at 7:17 pm
What advice would you give a man dating a single mom? « Ms. Single Mama
February 21, 2008 at 1:50 am
To my readers: « Ms. Single Mama
February 24, 2008 at 1:45 am
Single moms and the men who love us. « Ms. Single Mama
March 6, 2008 at 1:32 am
Date night. « Ms. Single Mama
March 17, 2008 at 3:53 am
Man up fellas…why? Because you’re the man, damn it. « Ms. Single Mama
April 2, 2008 at 2:11 am
Single Mama Signing Off (for a few days) « Ms. Single Mama
May 16, 2008 at 5:20 pm
How to Date a Single Mom, Part 3. « Ms. Single Mama
May 29, 2008 at 9:41 am
How to date a single mom, part 4 | Ms. Single Mama
August 12, 2008 at 6:54 pm
How to Date a Single Mom, Part 2 | Ms. Single Mama
August 12, 2008 at 6:58 pm
Date Night with a Single Mom | Ms. Single Mama
August 13, 2008 at 6:41 pm
How to Date a Single Mom, Part 5.
September 2, 2008 at 4:01 pm
Loovya » Blog Archive » How to Date a Single Mom
September 2, 2008 at 4:35 pm
How to Date a Single Mom, Part 4 « Ms. Single Mama
September 4, 2008 at 9:26 am
How to Date a Single Mom, Part 2 « Ms. Single Mama
September 4, 2008 at 9:28 am
Cabin Fever, Part 3
September 22, 2008 at 8:31 pm
…on dating a single mom « Pickles & Pedicures
February 7, 2009 at 8:57 pm
The beginning.
May 10, 2009 at 8:05 pm
Single Mom Manifesto
August 21, 2010 at 10:03 pm

{ 68 comments… read them below or add one }

Arm Jerker J. November 18, 2007 at 3:50 am

Wow. Way to bring it to the table! Wanna write on MY blog?!!

Reply

Duane in Valdosta, GA. December 4, 2007 at 9:41 pm

WOW ! ……. This is one of the greatest blogs I have ever read !

I stumbled upon this through an eharmony.com sucks google search ……. go figure !

What a shame that you women are not treated as God commanded the husband to do both before and after becoming married.

Read the book “Love must be Tough” by Dr. James Dobson and make sure the one you are with or considering to date does so as well !

Blessings to all of you ” Single Mom’s ”

Duane

Reply

Healing Mom December 21, 2007 at 10:55 pm

You hit the nail on the head! You’ve articulated what I know in my head but couldn’t put into words. Thank you.

Reply

Kenny January 3, 2008 at 4:22 am

I’ve always believed that single moms are very special though I never understood them. If only I’d stumbled upon this blog a few years ago; maybe I wouldn’t have blown it with a very special lady. My loss. Oh, found this site the same way, ehar……sux….

Reply

George January 14, 2008 at 9:20 pm

Hey Mssinglemama,

You’ve made some great points that just
emphasize to me that single mothers
deserve more respect for having the most
important job in the world. To me, the only
“luggage” they bring is extra wisdom and
proper values!

I also have a free advise site for single
parents re-entering the dating world. Would
love to exchange blogroll links with you.
Please email me and keep handing out
those great tips!

George

Reply

milo February 18, 2008 at 2:30 pm

Stumbled upon this site in my attempt to understand the single mom’s point of view, and I have found it o be the most eye-opening and informative site I have come across.
This is all brand-new to me – I have been pursuing the greatest woman I’ve met in years only to find out she has a wonderful 2-year-old…which explains why part of why she is so amazing herself. I asked her out, to which she replied that she needs to be friends first and really establish trust. At first I thought I was being blown-off…I get it now. Patience, understanding, and sincerity pay off I guess – no matter how long it takes. And just as I told her, I’m not going anywhere.
Thanks for providing a service to not only all you strong, independent single mom’s out there, but to the formally clueless guys who love them.

Reply

mssinglemama February 18, 2008 at 2:35 pm

Milo – wow! What a compliment…thank you and you have no idea how much this means to me.

I really wish you the best of luck – and yes, be patient. By not going anywhere there’s a good chance you’ll win her over. She needs to trust you. I like her already. Nice catch!

Reply

milo February 18, 2008 at 3:01 pm

Thanks – that’s a compliment right back 🙂
I am 29, and forever I have been the one-woman, no ability to BS kinda guy…every girl I’ve ever dated has told me I have no game whatsoever…which I learned to take as a compliment.
The greatest thing about her is that between full-time work, school, and her daughter, she has no time for “game” – what a relief for a guy like me!
I’ll keep you updated, for I now feel myself indebted to you for helping me wrap my head around this.
Wish me luck 🙂

Reply

Anonymous November 26, 2009 at 3:34 pm

hey i really like this website has so much information to help am glad i find it
and i been reading milo post which is a situation very similar to mine so i wanna ask you if you wanna chat with me to help me understand how get close to this single mom i met i leave my email so let me know okay
regards

Reply

milo February 18, 2008 at 4:44 pm

And no, this is not online talk…this is true…I love this girl. And I’m willing to do whatever it takes.
Thank you again for the insight.

Reply

mssinglemama February 18, 2008 at 10:24 pm

You’ve got it Milo – we don’t have the time nor the patience for games. As my boyfriend has told me – dating a single mom is like nothing he’s ever experienced before – “you’re just you..all of the time,” he says.

Yes – keep us in touch!!! Can’t wait to hear how it turns out.

Reply

milo February 19, 2008 at 1:18 am

“”“you’re just you..all of the time,” he says. “”

wow…that’s exactly why I fell for her….

What else can you ask for in a relationship? And I’ve gotten nothing but pure honesty from her…and I love it.
And don’t get me wrong – I’ve met plenty of single moms in the past…a few that don’t have their heads screwed on tight, but that’s the same of all women/men/people.

But she’s different….

I’ll never stop thanking you for the insight…and yes, I’ll keep you updated. 🙂

Reply

Finch February 29, 2008 at 10:49 am

misssinglemama, i, as well, cannot possibly thank you enough for such wonderful eye-opening advice. and milo, your thoughts are almost EXACTLY like mine.

Dating a single mom never even crossed my mind until my current relationship just fell into my lap. Now I couldn’t be happier. We’ve only been dating two months, and I’ve already fallen hard for her. And her three-year-old daughter? Icing on the cake! This relationship actually made me realize that I love kids!

And yes, one thing I love about her more than anything is the complete lack of bullshit games that younger women typically play. I’m not looking at a fake plastic mask, I’m looking at her. just her. No sugarcoating. That’s a bigger turn-on than anything. Because I, like you Milo, have no game. and oh what a relief this is.

I’m still getting used to having to remind her that I am not her ex husband. But That’s a small price to pay. I knew going into this that there will be “baby-daddy drama” and for some strange reason it doesn’t bother me the least.

So thank you for a great column and I hope more guys step up and talk about their experiences with single moms. The more people we hear from the more it’ll help those of us that are new to this.

Reply

mssinglemama February 29, 2008 at 1:08 pm

Thanks Finch!!! I’m SO happy for you … like Milo has promised – please keep us posted. You bring up a great point…the men need to speak up a bit. I want to know more on what it’s like for you guys to date us….

Reply

Ben January 11, 2011 at 12:29 am

read my post ive had quite and exprerience as of late

Reply

whatmenthink March 31, 2008 at 1:18 am

This seems like great advice for someone dating a single mother for the first time. I’m sure I may run into it in the near future, but as of yet I haven’t.

Reply

Doug February 4, 2015 at 8:52 am

we are one of the few cultures (meaning the USA) that is mvonig towards accepting homosexuality (other than Europe as far as I know).but anyway they think they are discriminated against. which to some degree is true.

Reply

Dan May 15, 2008 at 3:52 am

>
3. She’s testing you.
>

..how does she know? just when i’m about to give up, blam! there’s a text or voicemail..friggin’ mindreader she is.

Reply

mssinglemama May 15, 2008 at 11:57 am

Dan: We’re crafty like that…

Reply

whatmenthink May 18, 2008 at 6:39 am

“If you’re a control freak…you might want to move on”

This is KEY!

Reply

whatmenthink May 18, 2008 at 6:40 am

“Treat her like a princess”

Apologies… This is MORE KEY!

Reply

AlLaf May 29, 2008 at 2:15 pm

Single mothers who will follow these advices will remain single forever or they will settle for less with with some loser they don’t really like.

In order for a relationship to work, both parties need to feel that it’s equal and balance. That’s been proven time and time again.

Living with a single mother requires a lot of sacrifices from a man (a man without kids that is). It’s concessions 24/7 for a kid that isn’t his. THAT is key. Everyday, he has to accept TWO people in his life because he wanted to be with ONE. The mother therefore has to double her efforts to make the man in question feel happy. Simple math really.

Face it, for most men who aren’t losers and have other options, kids are a turn off. But for some reason, many single moms react like fat women with that bizarre logic of “We’re better once you get to appreciate us” Well, no, that makes no sense. You’re fat, deal with it. Just like you have a kid, which for most men, I repeat, is a turn off.

So what are your options?

Act like a princess? Be picky and demanding?

No. Your option is to be extra nice, extra open-minded, extra comprehensive, extra everything so that the man doesn’t run away as soon as you tell him about your child or eventually, after living with both of you. Just like a guy with a short dick, you start with a handicap. The sooner you accept it, the more likely you are to attract men who are worthy of being called that and not just desperate dudes looking to settle down.

My girlfriend, a single mother, understood that. As soon as she realized I could date any younger, hotter girl without kids. Everyday she makes sure to remind me how lucky she is to be with me, and in return, I feel lucky to have found her as well. But you can be sure, I wouldn’t practically raise her kid, pay for both of them or even spend half a second there if she was as needy as a teenager who thinks she’s rare gem. I might as well go out and find myself one that has no kid if I’m gonna have problems.

I guess what I’m saying to single moms is: don’t pretend you’re great, be great. Otherwise, enjoy that fat guy with no character who’s 10 years older than you.

I’m younger than my girlfriend. I take good care of my body. Everybody says I’m good-looking. I make a lot more money than people my age. I run my own business. I’m smart. I even do most the chores around the house cuz I like cooking a lot.

You might think I’m pretentious. But my girlfriend is AWESOME and she deserves me (or better) in every way. Most single mothers deserve to be…well, single because they treat men like babysitting dildos. Good luck with that.

Reply

mssinglemama May 29, 2008 at 2:38 pm

AILaf – I feel really sorry for your girlfriend … you sound like a royal asshole…and a conceited one at that.

Reply

AlLaf May 29, 2008 at 2:57 pm

Well, for starters english isn’t my first language. So I might be a little direct.

Second, I am not an asshole. I just say things like they are.

Would you date a guy with no money who has no ambition and looks ordinary? Probably not.

So why should any guy complicate his life with a kid that isn’t is?

Simple logic.

I’m not conceited either. I know what I’m worth. I know there are girls out there that would be hard for me to “access”. I’m not perfect. Single mothers should realize they are less attractive on the “market”. It’s normal. Nothing to do with being conceited.

No need to feel sorry for her. She seems quite happy.
Our only problems are ones that we laugh at.

Reply

mssinglemama May 29, 2008 at 3:07 pm

So you are saying that being a single mom is as “bad” on the market as being a low-life guy who makes no money and has no ambition.

I know quite a few men who would have a serious argument with your logic.

And, I can NOT believe you are actually saying that your girlfriend (b/c she’s a single mom) has a handicap.

Having a kid that’s “not yours” is seen by some men as a bonus to the wonderful woman they’ve found. Read more of my blog and you’ll figure that out.

Single moms are THE most courageous, beautiful and loving souls out there … and any man would be lucky to have us and our children.

Reply

AlLaf May 29, 2008 at 3:19 pm

If my girlfriend was single, any guy who would hear the words “I have a son” would back away. I know I did.

Of course, I was 23 back then. I’m not some 37 year old balding dude with a beer belly who dreams of settling down and will pretend other kids are his cuz he didn’t have any.

My girlfriend herself tells me that it’s very hard to find decent guys when you have a kid. I didn’t invent anything. That’s what I meant with my comparisons with fat girls in denial “Why won’t guys like me!” The answer is pretty obvious but they prefer making up excuses about men being conceited and not needing them even though deep down, just like everybody, they’re looking for a soul mate.

Please explain me how you are a more courageous, beautiful and loving soul than a girl with no kid or a girl with a kid who’s still with the father? Because I met some single moms who were horrible bitches. Just like I know 20 years old girls with no kids who fit how you describe yourself. It’s a question of individuals and their values.

I’m sorry, having kids and being single doesn’t warrant all those qualities.

Like I said, stop pretending and start being.

Reply

dadshouse May 29, 2008 at 6:03 pm

As a single dad, I’ve been told by women who date me (some with kids, some without) that I’m nicer, more caring, accepting, understanding, and nurturing than single men who don’t have children. And I’m not balding or have a beer belly.

I think Ms Single Mama’s point is that single parents bring a lot of great qualities to the table. I realize some single people see us having kids as us having baggage, and those people probably aren’t right for us to date. But others see the kids as a positive. To each his own.

Reply

Ben January 11, 2011 at 12:35 am

You all have to remembe your single life in the past was fun you had yours …… a person is sacrificing theirs and is wanting to move up to the big leauges with you. Fore go all the small play and to work around YOUR SCHEDULE! Cut the single folks a break its not about money it has to be about love or want of love or we are all in the wrong spot to beging with! If you people with kids cannot acknowledge that somone is giving up something else its not cuz you have baggage or issues its because your worth it IN SPITE of haveing a child.

Reply

AlLaf May 30, 2008 at 8:51 am

As much as you want to convince yourselves, being a parent doesn’t improve one qualities, education, values, manners…etc.

I see little relation between the two.

If you happen to be more caring, accepting, understanding…etc, all the more power to you, but it’s your personality not because you happen to be a parent.

Some people see kids as a positive, I will agree but those are either very rare or desperate from my experience…especially for men. But having kids doesn’t award you instant qualities, that’s just a lie for people who want to make up for the fact they’re not as attractive on the market.

It’s as if I went jobless tomorrow and I claimed that sitting around all day doing nothing makes me a very relax cool kind of guy and that this brings a lot of to the table. It just makes no sense.

The least a single parent can do is realize what baggage he/she carries. Once that person recognizes that, she can start dating otherwise those dates are all gonna grow unsastified one way or another.

Life isn’t Jerry McGuire.

Reply

collins July 9, 2008 at 6:23 am

hi
i am looking for a single mom to date,interested contact

Reply

cisforcow July 23, 2008 at 4:37 pm

AlLaf, it’s men like you that keep me inside my house on a saturday night with a glass of wine that doesn’t talk back to me.

Reply

Ms. Single Mama July 23, 2008 at 4:42 pm

CisforCow – don’t listen to him.

Just avoid guys like that – that’s all. If anyone sees your child as baggage he’s not worth your time. I think what AiLaf is trying to say is that we, as single parents, need to see dating us through the eyes of someone without a child.

But I hear you on the glass of wine thing – much easier than dating.

Reply

David Paye September 10, 2008 at 12:55 pm

AILaf can be forgiven as English is a second langauge, but wether a person is single or a lone parent, I have found it easier to love someone else, but to love anothers kids is very hard, and in the past I have had relationships flounder as I always put my daughter first, two early relationships finished as untill I was sure that it was long term ,never put myself in the position of my little girl seeing me in bed with someone new ,so some girls found it to be insulting that after the passion to be asked to take to the spare room !

Reply

singlemomdater February 19, 2009 at 10:55 pm

Well, I speak for most men when I say that it is very difficult to accept a son of other person as your own. Of course, they are men who see it as a bonus, but it is a minority of men.

No offense meant. I am not perfect either. It's only for setting the record straight. It is better to accept reality than to live wishful thinking. Wishful thinking is sweet but if you are not rooted in reality you will make bad decisions. And bad decisions is the key of unhappiness.

If your experience dating men is that they are thrilled about the perspective of dating single moms, good for you! Enjoy it and be happy!

But if this is not your experience, please don't think it's something personal. I know that the love you have for your kids is so big and they seem so wonderful to you that you cannot imagine that somebody could label them as "baggage" (awful word, I know). But if this is so, it's better to know it and prove to the people you date that it is not this way. Living in the fantasy goes nowhere.

Althoug AlLaf can be too harsh and offensive, he is right in essence: in average, you have to be nicer than the childless women. I know: it sucks. I don't want you to feel bad. I only want for you to have good dating strategies.

If you think I am wrong, please forget this post. But I think that, even if you dismiss me and insult me, your dating will prove that I am right. If your dating proves that I am wrong, great! Enjoy it and be happy!

Reply

Brian May 13, 2009 at 11:57 pm

I stumbled upon this website seeking some guidance and I'm thrilled at what I've read thus far. I've been dating a single mom for about a year now and though it may have some points of frustration (learning curve), it has been rewarding.

I wanted to make a point regarding "AlLaf"'s post on how being a parent does not improve their qualities. You seem like a logical person, so take this piece of logic.

With each choice anyone and everyone makes comes an experience. More often than not, small or large, the experience, whether good or bad, changes one's ability and characteristic. Becoming a parent is a choice, a choice that pushes the loving parent by human nature to make decisions to ensure that their child(ren) has everything they need and to create a beautiful life ahead of them.

If anything at all, they are wiser in decisions they make (which trickles down to other traits) because they have to. I know this does not necessarily apply to all single parents as I do know there are single parents out there that are completely irresponsible, but to generalize all single parents is judgmental, unfair, and short-sighted.

Your statement about personality…you're really going to tell me that your personality is EXACTLY the same throughout your entire life? I do believe that people don't change over night, but to say that they don't change at all especially with becoming a parent is just ludicrous to say the least.

Reply

Tom August 10, 2009 at 4:47 pm

Thanks for writing this. I was honestly confused before reading this. There were things I didn’t quite get before but now i understand why. Just getting to know her was hard enough. Now i see it will take time, but she is well worth it.

Reply

John November 18, 2009 at 9:26 am

Its sad but true. If you decide to date a single mother, you’d better beware. To many, this seems cold and callous, but there are far more problems with dating single mothers than you’d think.
Single mothers are first and foremost dedicated to their children, (as it should be). If she isn’t, you’ve got an entirely different problem on your hands. You’ll be the one that took her attention away from her kids in the eyes of her family and friends – the “bad guy”. No matter what, you’ll never be “top banana” in her life.
All too often, single mothers are looking for a man to 1) be the father to their children, to help raise them and care for them, 2) to pay the bills, and 3) to give her freedom from the kids for awhile. If the kids have to go to the doctor, she may not be able to afford it and may not have insurance – so you’ll have to pony up. If they need braces, have to go to summer camp, need money for a school trip, etc., she’s likely going to be pretty tight that month. So to look good in her eyes, you’re going to wind up paying these bills. This is a lot to ask someone that isn’t even related to the children!
When you two go out, she’s going to have to find a babysitter for the kids. She can’t do this too often, so your “outings” are going to be limited. Further, this gets very expensive, very quickly – so, instead of getting a sitter, she will begin to include them in your time together. You’ll be paying for meals, theatre tickets, plane trips, and any other expense that comes up while you are together.
Forget anything spontaneous, and absolutely forget sleep-overs. How is she going to find a sitter that will watch the kids until the morning? If you’re at her place, you’re not going to be able to sleep there either. It is rather awkward to wake up and see the kids faces wondering what you’re doing there in the morning!
When it comes to actually raising the children (which includes discipline), you probably won’t have a say. Again, you’re not the father – and the kids know it! Unless the woman is willing to get behind you 100% and to support your decisions in discipline, you’re out of luck.
The women is probably separated or divorced from the children’s father, but you will always have this man’s influence in your life – after all these are his children – not yours. He and she probably have their own battles and you’re going to be right in the middle of them. Also consider, that your values probably will not match his. This means that you will always be at odds with him.
Further, she probably has personal problems with this man, and again, you’re going to be the one listening to it all, supporting her and her problems with him, and you’re not going to have much of a say at all.
In short, unless you’re just dying to have a pre-made family, and can’t make them yourself, you’re in for a real shock. Think twice about it, then think about it again. You better be ready if you decide to take this plunge! Better yet, find a woman without kids – they ARE out there!

Reply

John November 18, 2009 at 9:27 am

Ok, you won’t listen to reason, what should you do?
If you’ve decided to take the plunge head-long into parenthood, or you’re already in that situation, here’s what you should do immediately:
1) Decide what role you’re willing to play with the kids. Be specific and don’t “give over” to what you think the mother would want. You need to decide for yourself.
2) Have a discussion with the mother. You need to work out some specific issues:
• What are her expectation of you with her kids?
• What authority do you have (remember – in your house, YOU get to set the rules), and will she back you up?
• What are her “core values” – those she wants to pass on to her kids?
• What will she tell them about your relationship?
• How does she expect to handle things as you get closer – does she have a plan, or is she going to “wing it”?
3) If you can, meet with the kid’s father. Start by telling him that you’re not trying to compete with him for the kid’s affection, and that you recognize the problems involved. Then, ask him what his “core values” are. As long as they’re not contrary to the mother’s, tell him you’ll try to pass these along when you’re with his kids.
4) Have a discussion with the kids and their mother. Explain that you’re not trying to replace “daddy” – he is a very special person in their lives. But, you and mommy are together and you want to be their friends too. Tell them that you expect them to listen to you (and have mommy agree in front of them!) And, don’t make promises or deals with the kids – this is just to get them involved. Group hug time!
My friend – remember, this is a very difficult thing to pull off – and relationships with unencumbered women are difficult enough. If you succeed, you’re definitely one survivor among many dead.

Ignorance is bliss, but reality is real. Life is hard, but we make it harder by not accepting reality.

Reply

Christopher November 18, 2009 at 8:56 pm

“What you’ll get in return…you get the girl. And what an amazing girl she is.”

Sounds like someone learned all they know about relationships through Hope Floats, Crossroads, and The Notebook.

I’m sure you’ll be very successful.

Reply

sander December 16, 2009 at 7:18 pm

I don’t know how to thank you for this article. Like some men, i too have fallen for the grace, power and elegance of a single mother. As we all have different positions and situations nothing is more important than having the power to put thyself in the shoes of the other. Being quite young (23) and not having had the expercience of life as most of your beloved readers (and you) have had, i find myself at the doors of an entire different world.

None the less i try to be all that i can be for the other. And have learned that with time and patience the mulberry leaf becomes a silk gown.

Momentarily (after having dated for a couple of months) she told me that she wants to be friends for now, her ex out of a sudden-after having left her all alone from the start wants to take part in the childs life. At first i was, logically, hurt by the fact of being ‘just’ friends, but soon understood (also with thanks to this article) to always stay postive. I thoughtfully chose her, and with her comes all that she has been through.

What i can give her is my undevoted attention, my empathy, love and all possible possivity. My strength won’t even come close to hers but even so i try to take my role.

Again, thanks for all the articles.

Reply

JOSEPHINE REYES November 5, 2010 at 7:14 am

IM JOSEHINE 31 YRS OLD FRM PHILIPINES IM SINGLE MOM,

Reply

Gregory February 27, 2011 at 2:43 am

Like most men I found this site by doing a Google search about dating single moms. I am currently dating a single mom, and I have fallen hard for her. She has fallen hard for me too, and that is the point.

While I think the author of this blog makes some good points, this all seems to be one sided advice. With all of this talk of treating her like a princess, where is there talk of her treating him like a prince? Yes, it takes a lot to be a single mom, but it also takes a huge commitment for a single guy to want to raise children that aren’t his, and I believe single moms should be grateful to have a single man who does. I love my girlfriend’s daughter, she is the sweetest little girl, and my girlfriend in turn is so grateful that I agreed to be the father to her she never had from the biological dad.

So I guess my point is, I think the blog writer needs to come down from her pulpit and realize a relationship like anything is a two way street, and the respect, love, trust, and work that goes into it is a two way street, regardless of one party being a single parent. My girlfriend is not American, she is South American, and she doesn’t have the typical American woman attitude that they should all be treated like princesses. I do anyway because I love her so much, but she didn’t come into the relationship expecting it, demanding it, the way American women seem to. A woman who thinks like that, and expects that, is creating a great recipe for single hood, which is why I encounter so many bitter, single American woman. They are all expecting lots of “stuff” from a man, and don’t feel they have any obligation to give in return, and that is not the way a healthy relationship is supposed to work.

Best of luck to the blog writer. Again, some good advice for dating a single mom, but in its current form the advice is lopsided. It’s not just what the single mom should expect from her boyfriend, but what the boyfriend should expect from the single mom/woman in his life too.

Reply

singlemum fuker May 9, 2011 at 5:56 am

why shouldn’t you mess around and string along single mums, there high level of insecurity about their baggage and stretch marks makes them a perfect target>? ]:-)

Reply

Tin tin June 13, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Hi, I came across this site by chance. I’m a single mum. I want to hightlight that not all single mum marry cos they want their kid to have an instant father and start paying fir the kids stuff. I personally feel that my child is my responsibility. I don expect my new partner to pay for her expenses, not even travel expenses. Single mum dating needs lot of time management. Although this is tough, but this is not impossible. Single mums out there, please do not devalue yourself. I hate what AlLaf’s post. He think he is so great. Just another loser who wants to devalue others to make himself look great. Come on! Face it loser! I bet your girlfriend will not stay with you so long, unless she is a retard. Amen single mums!

Reply

pointofview June 24, 2011 at 5:46 pm

tried dating a single mom. too much insecurity, too many issues. manageable, i don’t think so. her former bf who bump her a kid the last 10 yrs as if just happened yesterday. can’t seem to have an identity of my own, always mistrusts me as and even described as similar to her past bf. paranoia i suppose.

i give up its a useless effort. its probably best it worked out this way. could be more problems later, and i will not spare time for someone who is obviously emotionally tangled. charge to experience. better look for some nice uncommitted lady.

Reply

Justin July 14, 2011 at 12:50 pm

I found your sight looking for answers and I got great answers! I still need some guidance or advice though. Me and the single mom have been talking for a bit and she let me meet her two little boys, ages 3 years and 9 moths, for ice cream.
The first thing her oldest did he when he got out of the car was to ask, “daddy?” I just laughed and she apologized. She told me she was a smart ass so after we laughed I said kinda loudly, “WHAT this explains why they don’t look like me.” She laughed even harder and we got ice cream. A day latter she invited me to help her paint her new house. I jumped on the opportunity. I also got to meet her mother there too. We did this for three days, and she told me the second day her mom asked her if she was sure I didn’t have kids because every time the 9 month old made a weird noise I was there to check on him. So I got points with grandmama and her. Also she told me that the youngest had stranger anxiety and by the second and third day he was allowing me to pick him up and he even started to fall asleep with me holding him. That made me fell good. We got to talk during those three days and the third day as we packed up to leave, her oldest and I looked out back because he wanted to show me the deer tracks he found, he was good at finding them too! I help her buckle him in and said my good byes to the boys. She gave me a big hug while asking me, “how did you get my boys attached already?” I just smiled and told her I was just being me. Then she gave me a kiss. Best payment for painting ever!
She didn’t talk to me for a day or two after all this and I just waited it out. She messaged me on the phone and all was good. It seams that we will get close and end up kissing she spooks for a day or so. I know I’m supposes to be just wait but I don’t understand why this happens. We are both going to school still, she is 26 and I’m 24. I am about to move back to school, an hour down the road, and I’m home on weekends to work and have plenty of time to come home. We talked and she said she wants to still keep talking which makes me happy. She is real all the time and just everything I have not been able to find in anyone else. I forgot to mention I have been coaching gymnastics since ’05 and parents tell me all the time I need to have my own kids so I had a leg up when I met up with her boys. The question I guess I’m asking is how do I react to her being spooked every time we get close or kiss?

Reply

Paul August 16, 2011 at 2:05 am

Wow, thank you so much for this awesome BLOG. It is very informative and I will take what I have learnt to my first date with a wonderful single Mum I met online. We have been conversing via email now for about 2 months and next month she is coming back to Australia to live again. When she gets here and settles in she will be inviting me to dinner so we may meet in person. I am almost 40 never been married or have kids and have had few relationships