And I thought dating was hard…

by mssinglemama on December 7, 2007

Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant
Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant
Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant
I am a self-professed dating expert (I’ve been around the block way too many times) but by no means am I a relationship expert. My marriage was a whirlwind green card wedding and resulted in the longest relationship I’ve ever had – two years, but only because we were legally bound. If not I would have run away screaming after just four or five months. Relationships scare me to death.

I want what my parents had, but I don’t know how to make it happen. How many years does it take? I would imagine quite a few. There’s no walking off in to the sunset fairytale ending. Relationships take work, time and nurturing. So how in the hell is a single mother supposed to manage a relationship on top of everything else?

The thing is, I think my current boyfriend is by far the most worthy of me giving it everything I have. The others were quickly tossed aside because they just didn’t fit and there was no long term potential. Sounds harsh but I know every single mom would understand that. So, here I am, in my first serious relationship since the divorce and I don’t really know what to do. I also fear I’m slipping into my “okay – it’s getting a little bit tough so sabotage the hell out of it until he dumps me” mode.

There’s something else, another reason why I may be more relationship phobic than most. My father died of cancer when I was just 21. The pain was immeasurable and eventually just became this numbness in my heart. I lost a part of myself when he died. I never want to feel that pain again. If I feel myself becoming close to someone I think this numbness inside of me actually only lets it get so far – before I push it away – as a defense mechanism. I don’t want to lose someone again.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

irene adler December 8, 2007 at 1:38 am

hello ms. single mama,

it is so good hear such similar feelings. it sounds trite, i know. but i don’t have any other single mum friends to share with. your posts make me realize how isolated i’ve been with all the complicated feelings i have about being a single mum.

i have a new wonderful love in my life. it’s been 6 months. i am completely in love, and he is wonderful with the kids. and he is wonderful to me too. but i find i’m lonely as i still go through my parenting/house keeping days by myself, and i’m dumping those feelings on him. part of me feels i’m being unfair and that i may want what is impossible to have – the truly whole family i was denied, with him taking responsibility domestically for children that are not his own. you know it’s just little things i want – company within the work of it all. or maybe i am deluding myself – don’t we all want it all? am i expecting too much from him?

i also completely feel the same about the pushing away part. i am so afraid that’s what i’ve begun. my father didn’t die, but i lost him emotionally when i was 15 – and this was followed up by the betrayal of a completely controlling dickhead good-for-nothing husband. i just couldn’t stand it if i unconsciously let my fear ruin something so wonderful, even in its imperfection.

i think i’m just too immature to accept completely my single mama status WITHIN a relationship. it would mean taking complete responsibility for my own happiness and the work of my life with kids, and then being able to truly enjoy what this wonderful man has to offer…without being needy of him.

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mssinglemama December 8, 2007 at 2:32 am

Oh my gosh, it’s like you read my mind and finished my post for me. I actually wrote this one in a hurry (have been very busy lately – busier than usual). But that’s another major concern I have – what the future holds as far as him assuming household duties, taking my son on as he would his own, etc. And a few things come to mind – just some advice on your situation if I may be so bold. For us single moms, when we invite a man into our life we don’t want to scare him off by immediately asking him to assume responsibilities around the house. This would be insane, right? We want to date them and welcome the – no pressure, yada yada. But then as the relationship develops we may forget that it could be time to ask him to start stepping up – to start making your life easier. We are also completely in control of our life and our child’s lives and men can sense that. Perhaps he is a bit intimidated by this. Have you talked to him about it? I’m sure if you did – telling him 1. you’ve been pushing him away 2. because you are scared of what’s to come but that 3. you want him in your life more than anything and finally 4. if he does want to be in your life for the long haul you would like to see him assume more of the daily household responsibilities. Tell him that any little thing would help…the right man will understand and make an effort to help a bit. I don’t think you’re expecting to much – not at all – I think it’s completely fair. Just as childless couples fall in love, they each assume responsibilities for each other’s lives … and they naturally would each help each other out with their daily duties. I would hope anyway. We just happen to also have kids to take care of which creates twice as much housework. And lastly, I think it’s okay to need someone – I am just hoping that when the time comes I can relinquish some control and really need someone. This defiant independence I’ve created is hard to shake – because it took me so long to get here. Good luck! Please keep in touch and let us know how it goes.

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