Dating Single Parents: Can it Work?

by mssinglemama on September 27, 2008

Cabin Man and I have been texting and e-mailing daily.

Talking on the phone is tough because during my available times, at night, he’s in a low cell service.

It’s frustrating to say the least. And he wanted to make a trip here during the work week but it just can’t fly. He has a job and on top of that – no car. But on the weekends, when I can visit him, he has his kids.

That leaves us ZERO options to see each other. Last weekend’s date was a fluke. He didn’t have the kids because it was his ex-wife’s birthday and she kept them.

He is all for a camping trip and introducing me to his children but, in the two years since his separation, I would be the first woman they meet. His theory is to introduce each other as friends, to not make a big deal out of it and to keep our hands off of each other.

In his eyes the positives of our kids having fun together and seeing happy parents far outweighs any negatives. But he admits this is new territory for him and completely respects my decision not to bring the kids into the mix.

Bottom line:

This is not going to be a long term relationship, from what I can sense, so I am just going to have to throw in the towel pre-maturely. Why? Because there won’t be a chance to see him again – EVER – if I can’t bring Benjamin.

The questions:

What if, in trying to spare Benjamin from future psychological problems, I miss out on a potentially rewarding and fulfilling relationship (even a temporary one) that makes both of us happy? Or at the very least, an awesome camping trip?

My belief:

The child of a single parent does not have a “typical” family life and ultimately sees his parents with different people. This does not mean they will all be screwed up for the rest of their lives.

I believe it depends on how the parent handles these relationships and communicates their beginning or end to the children. I do not believe single parents should relationship hop, bringing men or women in and out of their lives, and involve their children in the drama surrounding these relationships. For example, I dated Kris on and off for nearly one year but he rarely saw Benjamin and we never even thought about moving in together. When it ended Benjamin was fine. I carefully phased Kris out, cutting his visits from once or twice a week to once or twice every two weeks and so on.

I also believe that single parents who deny themselves the right to date may harbor resentment toward their situation and may be denying themselves the freedom to date without guilt, which in turn can affect the kids negatively.

I know you are all divided on this.

And I hate to beat a dead horse, but I think this one is still kicking. And I’m assuming this is not a new issue for any single dating parent or one that any of us can truly understand or hold authority on because every situation is different.

All of your comments to Cabin Fever, Part 3 are unique and each with a different perspective. Here’s a recap.

“No Way!”

Amy Nathan said, “Leave all the kids out of it, please. Bringing them into it under the pretense of ‘it’s neutral’ or ‘they will have fun’ is bull, in my opinion. For the two of you, you deserve it to be all about you if this is something good.” Single dad, Jonathan of the Resolve note agrees with Amy, although he wasn’t quite as blunt. Kit Kat 4 Real would wait until the relationship has been tested, “Are you there? Is it serious enough to introduce the kids?”

“Bring friends.”

Single Parent Dad and Leslie think I should invite other friends on the camping trip to gloss it over and Ian adds, “While it is vital to protect your children, and you can’t, or shouldn’t, introduce people willy-nilly into their lives. You can’t stop living yours, and surely you can find a way to take this further.”

This is a fantastic idea but I don’t have a huge group of friends to invite. They’re all busy and I’m not sure if I want to bring people just to bring people. And then there’s a mess of you who are just telling me to do it.

“Do it!”

Laura and April think I should follow my gut… and Laura said, “I would do it! Really I would go on the camping trip! You would have seperate tents etc – so really WHAT is the harm?”

She has a point. Benjamin meets new people A LOT. Including new male friends and new female friends. I can see what the long-term damage would be if I saw Cabin Man every single weekend. But the warm weather is quickly fading and camping would be fricking awesome. And we’d be in a new place – not in our own home.

Amy in Sedona said, “I’ve been reading your posts since the end of June when I became a single mama and all I can tell you is go out there and have fun! Don’t worry about the rules, you need to take control of your life and do it for yourself! I’m sure Benjamin will have a blast too!”

And now here I am digesting all of this advice…

and have found that it’s clouding my gut. My gut says, “You know your son and you know yourself and this wouldn’t harm him in any way.” But my head says, “You shouldn’t do this because the rules say you can’t.”

For those who think a night of camping with a new person would be absolutely selfish and catastrophic I ask – what are your personal experiences? Does one bad experience in introducing a man to your children mean you should isolate yourself from others forever?

What about other single parent friends who come and go? Do you keep them away as well?

Do you feel like, in the name of protecting your children, you may actually be hurting them by denying yourself your own happiness?

And I want to hear from more of you lurkers like Amy in Sedona. Sign in anonymously if you want…

UPDATE: Read about how my trip to visit Cabin Man ended up. Was Benjamin permanently scarred?

Related posts:

  1. A car full of single parents.
  2. iHeart Single Parents on Fox!
  3. The Single Mom Dating Conundrum.
  4. Boyfriend + toddler + work = tired single mama
  5. Dating a Single Mom, Part 1

{ 2 trackbacks }

Single Minded Women » Blog Archive » Is Becoming a Single Mom the Latest Trend to Hit Hollywood?
September 28, 2008 at 8:56 am
Cabin Fever, Part 4
October 6, 2008 at 4:53 pm

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