My imaginary husband

by mssinglemama on April 6, 2009

It’s been so long since I’ve had a husband, or even a steady boyfriend for that matter, that I now can only imagine what it would be like. There’s nothing tangible left, not even an old pair of boxer shorts. Just pictures like this one.

100_0159At first, when Benjamin was just four-months-old, the memories of having someone were fresh. It pained me to imagine being alone for one more day, let alone a lifetime. Now, nearly three years later, I’ve completely adapted to going it solo, 100% of the time.

With that said, I can’t say that my imaginary husband doesn’t pop into my head every once in a while. He teases me with visions of what it would be like to have some help in the form of a sexy man who I get all to myself forever and ever.

Sometimes I even write him letters.

This week his imaginary chores included:

  • Super gluing the shield of Benjamin’s toy knight back on.
  • Removing me from the bar after my third shot of tequila on my 30th birthday to save me from my drunk self.
  • Taking the garbage out (at least four times).
  • Figuring out how to get the water out of the car seat after I left the door open all night during a rainstorm.
  • Setting up the space heaters and then telling me a gas leak is no big deal and that everything would be okay.
  • Running to the store to pick up juice for Benjamin when he wanted it the other night.
  • Returning the videos to the library before we got $20.00 in late fees.
  • Teaching Benjamin how to pee standing up.
  • Watching Benjamin while I took a much deserved nap.
  • And giving me a back rub (at least four times).

I managed most of these by myself, except for the back rub, the late night grocery run, the drunken bar removal, the nap and the library returns.  It’s always in the oddest moments that the thoughts of my imaginary husband pop up. But that’s all they are – just thoughts, innocent and passive without even wistful regret. It’s been so long though. I mean, I may as well be imagining what it would be like to meet an alien or live in Africa.

And, yes, that scares me a little.

Should being in a relationship really feel like something so completely and totally foreign? Am I morphing into a hybrid single chick who is going to remain completely self-sufficient for the rest of her little life? That doesn’t sound so bad actually.That’s why I take my little imaginary husband daydreams as a very good sign.

Without them it would be easy to convince myself that men are superfluous and unnecessary distractions. And I think finding myself on that extreme would mean I could be missing out on something, even though I don’t know what that something is. Clearly there are women – a lot of them – who benefit from having a man around. I know, I’ve seen them – those good husbands and those happy wives.

Keep in mind I’ve never actually had a husband or a man who would have done all of those things for me without complaint. Dumb luck? Maybe. Bad judgment? Probably. A penchant for choosing men who need help instead of one who can carry his own weight? Definitely.

So keep that in mind. When you read about this woman who loves being single so very much, it may be because I’ve never really had a man who made my life better. Some of you have and that must be horrible not to have it anymore, whatever the reason.

I never missed mine. I had felt trapped, wanting to break free during most of our marriage. I was on the phone with my sister, my newborn sound asleep in his stroller when I finally decided I needed to end it.

“If this is what marriage is like,” I told her, “or what our marriage is like than I don’t want it – at all. Actually I’d rather be single. It would be easier than this!”

I was absolutely right. Someday our son is going to understand this. In fact, I think he’ll be one of those kids who just shakes his head and wonders how in the hell is parents even lasted long enough to create him. As hard as it was to become a single mom, as impossible as it seemed, it was – and still is – well worth every minute. And this is why I am so glad my imaginary husband is here. He’s much more fun than fear or bottled up resentment and he’s an amazing kisser.

Hey, at least I am making imaginary room for a man.

Major progress, people, major.

What chores do you have for your imaginary husband? How would he be different from your ex-husband? Dish it.

{ 57 comments… read them below or add one }

josie April 7, 2009 at 3:47 am

while i may not count because i do have a husband, i still have a chore list which is imaginary because he is military and works a lot.

that is why i know where all the tools are.

there is nothing weak about being fiercely independent, yet wanting someone to rub your back (even if you are puking from your 30th bday) or just let you nap. enjoy the progress, mama.

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josie April 7, 2009 at 3:47 am

hell yeah! i was first!

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melissa April 7, 2009 at 3:48 am

I actually have a boyfriend who lives with me but the ideas and dreams I have had of someday getting married are almost gone.Wehave not been intimate in over 9 months and we just walk around like zombies..me doing crafts and cooking and him building bikes and remodeling the house. An existance that is getting so tired. I am afraid that my one year old is seeing me sad for too long. So to answer your question,I'd have him take me out and have a cup of coffee and conversation..simple but it's what I need.Just to talk.God I miss conversation with a grown-up,with a man.

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Melissa April 7, 2009 at 4:52 am

I am divorced, no kids. But you all have to see Fireproof.

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J-Fo April 8, 2009 at 12:29 am

This is an extraordinary movie… for those who are not Christian, it may be a little much, but I'm a single mom and DEFINITELY love this movie.

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Melissa April 8, 2009 at 1:37 am

I am Christian, but I dont necessarily think that the Christian parts about it are the important parts. Its about how you are supposed to treat your partner.

And I agree, Its an awesome movie!

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baby prams April 7, 2009 at 5:29 am

i like how you always keep your mind open and stay positive.
great post.
it's really true that as human beings we can adapt to anything.. there are so many examples of this if you look back at history and in our own lives.

i do have a husband but every girl's gotta have an imaginary chore list for him… shhh

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Sheila April 7, 2009 at 5:44 am

One thing I envy so much about my married friends is when they tell me they take early morning walks on the weekend and their husbands stay home to watch the kids. What a luxury! It's just about having that extra set of hands to do stuff so you can get stuff done sometimes.

My ex WAS a very good handyman (after I nagged him enough), and there are times I need those kinds of services, like now when 2 lights are out and they're too high up for me to reach, or with this new printer I can't figure out. Aaargh!

But, also, he was immensly lazy, which is a major reason I'm now a single mama!

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tina April 7, 2009 at 5:50 am

my imaginary man would lay on the couch and watch sports and add some noise to my lovely quiet quaint apartment w/my 2 lil ones sleeping.. and me playing on the laptop.. or be home so I could go to spin class at 6 am and get back and make everyone breakfast w/out waking anyone. mm thanks for the thought of an imaginary man, I love your imagination skills!!!

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Nancy April 7, 2009 at 8:12 am

Came here from Matt's blog…and just started reading your blog…so far, I am enjoying it! Thanks!!

I'm shopping for a baby potty and came across this and it made me laugh (I have a little guy too)..not sure if you've heard/seen it yet, but so far, it looks to be decently reviewed… maybe Benjamin will like it?
http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productI

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Speedgirl April 7, 2009 at 3:56 pm

Nancy, this "training urinal" is HILARIOUS. I have never seen this before!

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mssinglemama April 7, 2009 at 4:44 pm

I have seen one – I wrote about it once! Here's the link to that post:

http://mssinglemama.com/2008/03/26/okay-i-have-a-

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paula April 7, 2009 at 8:55 am

This topics seems very interesting.We should give more concern to it .I have posted some related topics on kissBBW.c o m.

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Canadian Bald Guy April 7, 2009 at 9:17 am

I feel like I'm going through a similar experience.

I want the feel of a woman next to me…her touch…her gaze…her scent…yet I find myself more comfortable, at the moment at least, being alone.

Being single for me used to be a tedious, lonely time. Now? Now it's a choice. Options are there…and it's very nice to have them. But I'm beginning to discover that I don't really need companionship at this point in my life. I need to worry about me and the continuing relationships with my son and my daughter first and foremost. "Dating" isn't high on my list of priorities right now.

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Canadian Bald Guy April 7, 2009 at 9:18 am

I feel like I'm going through a similar experience.

I want the feel of a woman next to me…her touch…her gaze…her scent…yet I find myself more comfortable, at the moment at least, being alone.

Being single for me used to be a tedious, lonely time. Now? Now it's a choice. Options are there…and it's very nice to have them. But I'm beginning to discover that I don't really NEED companionship at this point in my life. I need to worry about me and the continuing relationships with my son and my daughter first and foremost. "Dating" isn't high on my list of priorities right now.

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thewarriorpoets April 7, 2009 at 11:13 am

You really don't have to teach him how to pee standing up. We kind of just do that on our own.

But then again, leaving the seat up is so you can take a nice dip in the cold toilet water at 3 a.m. comes naturally too, so just remember that when he's 7.

You know what I figure? At this point in my life, were I single again, the first thing I'd look for is a girl is someone who doesn't need a man in her life, but still wants one. I think that's about the healthiest place a person could be.

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won April 7, 2009 at 12:17 pm

I was asked once if I was married or happy. I answer the latter.

After ten years of being single, I am believing more and more that I will die this way. And that's not a bad thing.

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mom2threeinmd April 7, 2009 at 5:17 am

You know, if I had a husband, the simplest things would be HUGE for me … like having a husband who does the dishes while I put my three to bed. It just SUCKS big-time to work all day, come home and spend three hours playing with/bathing/teeth-brushing/reading/snuggling three kids, then go downstairs to a sink full of dishes from hours before. Ugh.

That, and I just hate the thought that if Mr. Right Husband doesn't appear, my kids will grow up not knowing what a solid relationship looks like between two adults. I worry that they won't know what to look for when they are old enough to contemplate marriage. God knows they won't see it with their father, who is 40 and living with a 21-year-old …. just two days ago my girls (who are 4) asked if Daddy and I were ever married. They don't even know what it's like to have two parents in the same house, and that makes me so, so sad.

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jodi April 7, 2009 at 1:29 pm

I'm fairly new at the single game. I have been living apart from my husband for almost a year. I have had a few dates in this year…and one semi-relationship…the worst part is, the semi-relationship dude was by no stretch of the imagination, a good guy. He wouldn't hold the door, or walk beside me. He wouldn't think to get me a glass of water at the same time he got himself one. He didn't kiss my belly or make me giggle. He didn't ask how my day was or call me cute nicknames. Those are things that my imaginary husband/boyfriend (I don't want to jump into anything, imaginary or not!) would do. He would also take the garbage out. Start my car when it is snowing. He would love that I snort when I laugh too hard. He would think my inability to focus long enough to read the directions is cute and help me put together the grill. He would know that I love my back rubbed and my hair played with and do it. He would call me on the day that my company announced layoffs, to see if I am ok. He would do the things for me, that I would do for him.
Oh. And the sex would be OFF. THE. HOOK! (it is imaginary, right?!)

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MamaJennifer April 7, 2009 at 1:34 pm

I relate so much to your webiste but this … this is exactly what I have been thinking about lately! I think it's because I've been reading Twilight and it's such a love story – albeit about vampires, but hey, it's fiction! My imaginary husband is … a fabulous father, attentive to myself and my kids, understanding, helpful, funny … a million different things. Oh his chore list is: figuring out how to take the cover off of the kids' ceiling fan so I can change the lightbulb, fixing the bathtub drain thingy so the kids can take a bath instead of a shower, sweeping all the damn pollen off the porch, mop the floors (I hate mopping), spoon me at night – but only *after* I fall asleep, and … some other things I won't mention here!!! I think it's wonderful to be independent but I love dreaming of my "prince" just like my 5 year old does everytime she watches Sleeping Beauty! btw, peeing standing up is 2nd nature to boys – my ex-husband didn't teach my son but somehow he figured it out. The problem is now that he's 7, I don't know how to teach him to aim it in the toilet, not all over the seat!!!

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Shannon April 7, 2009 at 2:09 pm

This is how I felt the first time I dated my now-husband. And it's why we didn't work the first time. I was very cool with being just B and I. Now, a few years later…I'm ok with being a couple, but it seriously is a huge adjustment. There will always be things I miss about living alone-but it sure is nice to have that helping hand. He's out there Alaina. 😉

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LAK April 7, 2009 at 2:24 pm

First time reading and posting and I really don't know what to say…

7 years married, 3 month old beautiful son who makes me cry out of pure joy and constant worry, now I feel torn as to what to do. I see a lot of similarities (minus the physical violence) and just booked a therapy session to maybe give me insight.

But who knows, your blog might be the best free insight this mamma can ever get.

All I know is I'm scared about the unknown and the choices. Which one is the right one to make?

I hope to keep reading and thank you for putting your story out there.

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Derek April 7, 2009 at 4:25 pm

My g/f and I are worried right now about her almost-4-year old. Lots of tantrums, outbursts, violence. We're trying to give him the consistency he's lacking and we hope to have a place of our own so he can start to have that consistency before he starts Kindergarten in 18 months. It's tough, there's no doubt about that, but your son will come around and you'll get it together.

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mssinglemama April 7, 2009 at 4:42 pm

I'm assuming you've already read my post on Should I Leave My Husband? You can find it here:

http://mssinglemama.com/2008/05/02/should-i-leave

Good luck. I know I waffled on my decision for – well – my entire marriage until I finally just decided. And what's funny is that when I told him I was leaving, and he let me go so easily – that's when knew I had made the right decision.

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notasoccermom April 7, 2009 at 3:14 pm

I love this post. I have been divorced for 11 years now and have nearly raised my children to adulthood on my own. Time really flies when you are working fulltime, attending school most nights and juggling homework and kids activities in the hours that are left.
I had a 6 yr relationship but we didnt live together so even then I ran the house.
It is a lot of work, and many things come up that cause stress and that is when the imaginary husband tends to show up.
But all the trials I have been through in those years has made me so strong. I did not ask for the divorce but really thank my lucky stars that it did happen. I am a different person than I was in my marriage. For the better. And honestly I think that my kids are also better.
I am not against marriage. I love the thought of being married again. But I will never settle again.
Good for you! and truly 3 years is a drop in the bucket!

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Speedgirl April 7, 2009 at 4:09 pm

I went on a horribly boring date a few weeks ago, but it was the best thing for me. It made me realize what I want in a man. And also that I am not going to date just for the sake of dating. I am ok being "alone". I don't need a man, and most of the time, like you, I don't even know how one would fit into this single-mom-of-two-who-works-full-time-plus life I have now. But, like you, I still find myself thinking about the qualities Mr. Right will have. There are days I long for someone to get the kids ready for bed so I can do my work and get to sleep before midnight. Someone who will rub my shoulders at the end of a stressful day. Someone who, with me, will model a strong and healthy marriage for my son and daughter.

The best part of my daydreams is that there IS a possibility that they can come true now. When I was married, I was stuck. Now, I have options….

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Derek April 7, 2009 at 4:23 pm

My girlfriend is getting used to having me around. I do work around the house while she puts her kids to bed. I fix her car when it needs work, because the three most important people in the world to me are in that car on a daily basis, going to school, day care, etc. I changed her oil and fixed her transmission last month; coming up, we've got brakes and a tune-up.

She's used to being independent, and I love that — but I'm trying to teach her that being with the right person doesn't mean sacrificing independence, merely sharing the load.

I like to give her back rubs, in the car while she's driving, at night before we put her kids to bed, whenever. I try to make every day in her life better than the last. She's coming off of a marriage with a guy who did NOTHING and doesn't even come around to see the kids on most of his designated days.

I hope someday soon we are living together, we've talked about it, and it's just a question of timing…Because the hardest thing for me at night is to leave her and the kids behind.

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mssinglemama April 7, 2009 at 4:45 pm

I agree… I think – as long as you're happy – that's how I feel right now, completely content. And if I'm still single in 20 years or 30 – so be it.

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Spruce Hill April 7, 2009 at 5:54 pm

I am a happily married Mama but sometimes when I want my hubby to do a chore for me I tell him that maybe I will call my boyfriend and get him to do it. It always gets a smile and a head shake but he usually ends up doing it 🙂

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thewarriorpoets April 7, 2009 at 11:16 am

You really don't have to teach him how to pee standing up. We kind of just do that on our own.

But then again, leaving the seat up is so you can take a nice dip in the cold toilet water at 3 a.m. comes naturally too, so just remember that when he's 7.

You know what I figure? Like Canadian Bald Guy alluded to, at this point in my life, were I single again, the first thing I'd look for in a girl is someone who doesn't need a man in her life, but still wants one. I think that's about the healthiest place a person could be.

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Emily April 7, 2009 at 6:34 pm

Mostly I imagine arms. Arms that would wrap around me from behind in a hug, arms that would squeeze around my waist, and then pull the dish towel out of my hands so he could dry while I washed, and we would just stand together. Arms that would suddenly sweep me up dancing during a slow moment cooking dinner. Arms that would hold me as I fell asleep, or pull the covers over me when I was sick, or carry my son when I'm tired. Arms that I would recognize as love, even without seeing the face they were attached to.

And a voice. A soothing, loving voice that would murmur sweet things as the arms did their thing.

Not to describe Frankenstein! But my imagination works better when I don't try to pair someday man with faces 😉

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mssinglemama April 7, 2009 at 6:40 pm

Wow. This is really beautiful. I totally get the no face thing. Thanks so much for sharing this.

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Derek April 7, 2009 at 7:08 pm

Funny you mention that. My girlfriend said one of the things that turn her on most about me are my hands. "So big and strong, yet so gentle, when you touch me, it's like I'm fragile and you're afraid to break me."

I never thought about that before, or noticed that about myself.

These hands have built a house, fixed countless cars, held a torch cutting up bulldozers, cradled her children, caressed her face…never realized what that meant.

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christine April 7, 2009 at 8:29 pm

A penchant for choosing men who need help instead of one who can carry his own weight? Definitely.

YES. i am not even in a place of being ready to date again, but this is number one on the list i am constantly writing in my head: a man who carries his own weight.

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Lauren April 7, 2009 at 8:32 pm

That's so crazy that you wrote about husbands because I have a draft of a post that's been sitting around for the past week about the same thing. Well, it's not about an imaginary husband, but it's about having a husband. I just don't want all the comments telling me that I shouldn't be thinking the way that I am. (I guess now that I've mentioned it I should just get around to posting it…)

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Janet April 7, 2009 at 9:52 pm

Honestly? I think the thing I imagine most is simply having a partner. Just coming home at the end of the day and knowing someone else is in this with me.

So simple and yet so huge, you know?

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Rebecca K. April 8, 2009 at 1:41 am

When I first became a single mom, I reached out to other single moms for support and understanding. I discovered that many had already given up on men since they were often left disappointed when dating. I promised myself that I didn't want to become one of those single moms that just gave up on men and let the kids dictate their life after marriage. I felt and still feel that you leave the bad marriage behind because you want to 'take care of yourself" for once. Taking care of myself is meeting my needs and that includes being loved in the way I want to be loved by a man. Does this make sense?

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Melissa April 8, 2009 at 3:07 am

I am right there with ya, I mean, the EXACT same spot! I turned 30 last month and my son is 6. We are very independant and i don't need a man, but sometimes I want one and have my fantasy…hey, a girl's entitled to a dream, right? I have to agree with others…the arms, the adult to come home to…and the whole peeing standing up thing, well, i was fine to let D do it sitting down and save me the mess. Now grandpa taught him to stand and it's been all downhill from there. I love my life, but sometimes, it's lonely with my buddy in school all day and after he goes to bed. I too went out on my 30th and realized I was SO not into that scene any more. Two drinks down and I was ready to go home. I hope I'm not settling into a rut and maybe someday I'll find that sexy man with great arms and a cute accent, tall, dark, handsome, excellent kisser, and plays wonderfully with my boy, carefree as they laugh together because what's sexier than a man who gets along great with your kid…ah…my heart does flutter so…..There'll always be room for Mr. Perfect in my mind.

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mssinglemama April 8, 2009 at 4:58 am

Definitely makes sense!

Sent from my iPhone

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Queen Lindsay April 8, 2009 at 6:08 am

I stayed in relationships for almost 15 years. A year and a half ago was my first time EVER to be single, a single mom at that. I was so terrified. Now, I actually wouldn't mind being single. I found out that I enjoyed my alone time, my free time!

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Gruvey April 8, 2009 at 8:16 am

so happiness !!!

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newsinglemama April 8, 2009 at 2:19 pm

I'm not at the point where I hate men. I hope I never get there.
I feel great being on my own, but there is still tons of room for a man in my life, but a man that can carry his own weight.

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Derek April 8, 2009 at 4:34 pm

I'm glad you don't hate men. We're not all bad. Most of the guys in my generation are just that, GUYS. There are very few MEN.

"Don't be a guy, Lloyd — the world's full of guys. Be a MAN." — Say Anything

With luck you'll meet the right one sooner rather than later so you can enjoy every minute with him that you have.

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ModernSingleMomma April 8, 2009 at 5:04 pm

You know what is funny?

I was having the exact opposite thought the other day….how I had almost completely forgotten what single life was like. ..and there was some things I was missing about it, you know?

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mssinglemama April 8, 2009 at 5:09 pm

Oh I know… those imaginary thoughts come with the imaginary husband thoughts and that's when I realize just how nice it is to be single.

; )

I am just in love with being single I suppose.

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Bob April 8, 2009 at 6:37 pm

You talk about what your imaginary husband would do for you.

What would you do for him?

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Derek April 8, 2009 at 6:55 pm

Thinking like this is the difference between a guy, and a man.

When you love someone, it doesn't matter what they can do for you. You get out of a relationship only what you put in. The other person has to come first, and there has to be communication. You don't have to be a doormat, but you have to put yourself out there far enough that your needs are secondary.

In our current situation, my girlfriend can't always "do for me" because of her schedule. She makes time for me, I help out with the housework. She cooks me a nice meal, I change the transmission fluid in her car. She uses her membership to the Aquarium to get us in for free, I buy Chick-Fil-A for her and the kids that night. She bought me two pairs of jeans the other night because mine were ragged…I've given countless back rubs in the time since we've met without asking or expecting anything in return.

True love is selfless devotion to another person. It's not easy and it doesn't happen often. You have to work at it — but with the right person it shouldn't feel like work at all…

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NotADad April 12, 2009 at 3:31 pm

Bob: I wondered this too. From her article, Mssinglemama's imaginary husband seems to be a live-in unpaid handyman/masseuse. He fixes all things, takes out the garbage and gives back rubs. Jeez, I want one of those also! (Do I have to turn gay to get one?) In what sense is he also a person with needs that she enjoys meeting? None, apparently. I have no doubt that he is also able to remove big black spiders, clobbers brontosauruses and other manly duties. Perhaps what Mssinglemama really needs is a Philippino houseboy, or – even better – a well-programmed domestic robot. I'm not trying to be mean, it's just that these fantasies sound self-centered and not at all about a relationship.

Derek: I think you're idealizing a bit there. Spiritual, poetic love is indeed selfless. But romantic love is little more of a negotiation, once the neurotransmitter cocktail wears off and you're not going into orbit and having huge erections at the mere mention of her name. I agree the most mature thing is to not expect returns on our investment – and that is true of life in general, ask any great enlightened being. But since most of us are not Jesus, Buddha or even Ghandi, we don't always reach this enlightened state of selfless giving and, even unconsciously, we love to be in love because of the enormous high it gives and the incredible sense of fusion and purpose (which is a good reason to miss it). Love is motivated by the rewards it brings, that's just biology, otherwise we would not bother reproducing. Which does not mean that we cannot be giving or that selflessness is not the highest form of love. In truth, most of us un-evolved creatures expect a bit of tit for tat (no pun intended). Yes, I'll do the foot and back rubs but (for eg) an extra long, expert slow BJ would not go astray and does a huge amount for the bonding process. (Any man who leaves a woman who does great long slow BJs is a fool indeed). Or just a sympathetic listen to his insecurities after a harrowing day at work without judging him to be a non-brontosaurus-clobbering arachnophobic wimp.

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Karen April 8, 2009 at 10:46 pm

Right?!?! I am approaching my 30th and trying to find someone to take the girls for the night and next day so i wont worry about drinking. Yeah my Imaginary Husband. He would let me sleep in at least once a week, Help me with moving, Build a table with me. I really want to date again, to get married, but i'm holding myself out, because of fear. That and watching SO many love movies knowing any guy i meet isn't going to kiss me like the first kiss in these movies.

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Amy April 8, 2009 at 11:05 pm

I am coming at this from a different angle. I am divorced and dearly want a kid(s). I tried to become a single mom by choice – but after miscarriages, a tube removal and a failed IVF, I am don't know if biological kids are in my future. Most of the time, I am content with my life – fabulous family, great friends, being a kick-a$$ aunt. But there are times I want a partner…mainly when I wake up in the middle of the night after a bad dream or have a "couple-thing" coming up (wedding, etc). While I would love to have someone to share my life with, I am content with my independence…sometimes grudgingly, but mostly content.

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mssinglemama April 8, 2009 at 11:31 pm

Can you adopt? You may want to check out O Solo Mama's blog – she adopted and is a single mom by choice… http://osolomama.wordpress.com/
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Take care and thanks for the comment.

See… I am so glad I'm single with child only because

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jenn April 9, 2009 at 3:05 am

Interesting timing. April 6th was three years for me. (And I blogged about it today.) I liked what you said about always picking the needy men. That's what I've done in the past, and why I'm still single right now. Because I don't trust my judgement when it comes to men. I know how to be a single mom now. I can do that. I don't know if I can handle another relationship.

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NotADad April 11, 2009 at 7:23 pm

Well, single mums can be difficult to have a relationship with. Most times I have become interested in a single mum, I've found it difficult to get and keep their attention for significant lengths of time. They are always working or dealing with the demands of their kids and studying as well in one case I remember. You have to compete with the kids for their time, and it's a losing battle. And I usually like kids, the kids aren't a problem in themselves, it's the complexity that they add to simply trying to build a relationship. They also often already have a support network of their mother and sister and whatnot. I can remember many a time of the potential for and intimate moment just going out the window because they suddenly have a crisis with the kids. If you (the man) try to win the kids affection and succeed, that can be a big mistake as well. After all, the primary relationship is with the mother, she want you to be interested in *her*. Then you have to be careful not to cross any boundaries and assume you have any role in raising the kids, since, after all, you are just a boyfriend (if that). Can you see what we are up against?
If that weren't enough, a number of times I have realized that I offered exactly what they said they needed – warmth, caring, education, financial stability etc – but that is not actually what they wanted. They tended to eventually take up with a wife beating ignorant no-good bastard who hated kids exactly the one they left in the first place.

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mssinglemama April 11, 2009 at 8:29 pm

Well, that's what I'm trying to change. We're all ex- bad boy addicts here. Ex being the key word.

And I don't think anyone ever said dating a single mom is easy. Far from it, I would imagine dating a single mom is incredibly challenging. Patience is above all the most important thing.

Thanks for all of the comments.

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NotADad April 12, 2009 at 11:39 am

It's true that patience has not been one of my strong points in those relationships, and I (and a think some other men I have known) do not like having to continue to try winning some sort of priority in a woman's life after having done all of the initial approaching and risk taking as per the tedious prevailing courtship norms. Having to always be the one that compromises – and ask "can I see you Friday?" – it feels humiliating, and we don't feel valued – which feels like a rejection is forthcoming. I know in a few cases that feeling has led me to get angry and consequently find myself sabotaging the relationship (often with later regrets) rather than risk being rejected. Anyway these are my issues.

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Tyson Stieb October 17, 2013 at 11:43 pm

Thanks Getty! We will not wait for getting started out!

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