My Boyfriend

by mssinglemama on July 19, 2009

Just when I thought I had mastered all of the awkward single mom phrases, learning to say things like “ex-husband” or “visitation” without flinching, another term comes my way – boyfriend.

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Single mom or not, I have never been a fan of the word. Boyfriend just seems so juvenile, to call a boy your friend who is clearly much more than that. But saying it when your child is running around right next to you gives the word an entirely new feeling.Last week a neighbor’s dog wandered into our yard to play with Murphy. When her owner popped over to take her back we were chatting about dog stuff. I told her Murphy was my boyfriend’s dog while Benjamin’s head bobbed between their furry little bodies. I could almost see the thoughts running behind her eyes. Yes, I suppose saying, “my boyfriend” is another way of saying, “I am a single mom.” But why then does saying “I am a single mom” seem so much more acceptable than saying “I am a single mom and I have a boyfriend”?

To us everything feels so natural. John Bear hasn’t flinched over my single motherhood since the very beginning. When we’re at weddings or parties meeting strangers and a Benjamin story comes to his mind, he’s the first to say, “Alaina has a son.” Even though I’ve had boyfriends before this is the first who feels like so much more than a just a boyfriend, maybe that’s why the word feel so unnatural.

I can’t begin to answer any of the questions I’m raising here as this is entirely new territory for me but I can tell you I will continue to proudly brag about my adorable sweet man to anyone who will listen, because single mom or not – I’ve never been one to censor myself for fear of judgment. And, besides, anyone who would judge this isn’t anyone I’d ever want to meet. I am a single mom and I have a boyfriend. And next to my son, he’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me.

[P.S. This is a picture of John Bear and I after our fashion makeovers at Dr. Mojoe for Ford Fiesta Movement, Mission 3. Stay tuned for the awesome video - coming soon to a blog near you.]

Related posts:

  1. “Is your blog your boyfriend?”, etc.
  2. Boyfriend + toddler + work = tired single mama
  3. So there’s this dog…

{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Erin July 19, 2009 at 10:11 pm

That picture is absolutely adorable! Screw naysayers about single moms and boyfriends and blah blah blah. You are a single mama with a boyfriend and I am excited and happy for you both!

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Gitte Gorzelak July 19, 2009 at 10:30 pm

What a wonderful picture and you two seem to have something really special going between you so forget about other people. Enjoy your happiness ;-)

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Mz Mami July 19, 2009 at 11:13 pm

I’m very excited for your e book! Don’t know when I’ll be able to get it (I just put my credit cards in the freezer a couple weeks ago though I only have one to pay off). Anyway, I’ll get it when I can. Can’t wait to read the good stuff! You should just come out with a paper back. Have you ever heard of iuniverse? You should check it out..it’s a self publishing website. I think it’s iuniverse.com. Otherwise just google it?

You and JB are very cute and I love how it just seems like you guys are meant to be. You should never have to censor your feelings.

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Mz Mami July 19, 2009 at 11:15 pm

Oh that might have came off a bit off.. I’m not trying to say that what you’ve already been writing ISN’T good!! :)

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Sheila July 20, 2009 at 12:53 am

You are in LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE. :) It’s adorable.

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Canadian Bald Guy July 20, 2009 at 2:30 am

VERY happy for you, Alaina. So glad you found a great guy to call your own.

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C July 20, 2009 at 4:16 am

I get uncomfortable using the term when I’m around my kids or talking to someone who knows I am a parent. It just makes me imagine what they are thinking… Yes, people, that means I’m a single mom. Maybe even a divorcee. Wha’da’ya’want?
I guess the truth is, I’m embarrassed by my divorce. On some level, I see it as a failure on my part. And using the term “boyfriend” reminds me that I divorced my kids’ dad. (But I know that any sane person would have done the same. lol)

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Victoria July 20, 2009 at 5:26 am

I haven’t gotten to “boyfriend” yet; if/when I do, I’m hoping to say it with pride, but who knows.

C, I’m in a slump these days, so I’m with ya on “On some level, I see it as a failure on my part” Even if it’s not true, it still feels that way sometimes.

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Amanda July 20, 2009 at 5:49 am

When my daughter could not talk, the “boyfriend” term was much easier to use. I guess I felt like she didn’t know what I was talking about, and couldn’t run around saying “mommy has a boyfriend” like a maniac.

She is now 2 1/2 and loves to talk. But the word coming out her mouth is not boyfriend, it’s Daddy. My girl was 6 months old when I met my now fiance…I suppose my story is different from yours in many aspects. But still I get the weird feelings myself and I sense the awkward looks from people when my daughter sometimes lets “Michael” slip out instead of “Daddy”. He is all she has ever known, (and will know I hope)

I am so very happy for Miz A. I’ve been following for a few months now. JB seems so sweet and caring and patient and fun – some of the best things life has to offer! I wish you many happy days and nights!

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arscuore July 20, 2009 at 6:34 am

Yup, the term “boyfriend” is weird. Especially weird when/if he’s older than you. Let’s create an alternative!!

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debra July 20, 2009 at 6:54 am

“my adorable sweet man” has a nice ring to it, but might make the men in our lives blush!

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mssinglemama July 20, 2009 at 7:15 am

How about Man Person instead?

It’s a term I have used in the past on this blog for just about every other guy. For John Bear Benjamin and I like “My John Bear” or “Our John Bear” we don’t even use the term boyfriend unless talking to strangers. Benjamin hasn’t heard it yet.

xoxo

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Nakia July 20, 2009 at 8:03 am

Cute pic! You know, “Man Person” has a nice ring to it. It’s awesome that you and John Bear have found one another. Definitely an inspiration to other single moms. :)

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JohnBear July 20, 2009 at 8:06 am

I like Mantastic Friend

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Laura July 20, 2009 at 8:35 am

It’s so exciting. I’m sure your giant smile tells the whole story. I love “Mantastic Friend!!”

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C July 20, 2009 at 8:42 am

How about “Man-gasm?” Or maybe that’s too much? You think?? lol :P

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T July 20, 2009 at 9:37 am

LOVE the pic!

Enjoy it girl! And yes, I like “manstastic friend” too! :)

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Shawna July 20, 2009 at 9:46 am

Mmm… spent 8 years living alone as single mom, and in a relationship now for a year and a half. I was FINALLY getting used to the “boyfriend” phrase… and we went and changed it to “fiance”. I’m really stumbling over that one. Partly, I think, because even after we get married… I can’t really see myself changing the parenting style and attitudes that I think of a single-mom-ish. At times, I really feel like a fish out of water – I know how to be alone and rely on myself. I’ve forgotten how to let someone else help.

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Barry July 20, 2009 at 9:58 am

I think whenever you show up somewhere and introduce him, people pretty much get the idea. This is John , works perfect. My guess after seeing the way the two of you interact, it will be a dead giveaway! Although it appears he is voting for Mantastic Friend, why not!

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Stacy July 20, 2009 at 12:40 pm

I can totally relate to this! I even said just the other day, as I was telling a story about my boyfriend to some friends, that I feel silly calling him my “boyfriend.” Like I’m suddenly 16 again and I giggle as the word comes out of my mouth. But that’s what he is…he is my boyfriend. I have no issues telling people I am a single mom, I say it with pride actually. But to say “boyfriend” almost takes away my credibility as a mature adult. Silly, I know, but real nonetheless.

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wyliekat July 20, 2009 at 1:03 pm

Re: awkward phrases. I always liked my mother’s suggested measurement for post-divorce references. She said you’ll know you’re in a happy place when your ex stops being “my ex” and starts being “child’s father” in your conversation.

Smart woman.

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Gypsymama July 20, 2009 at 1:30 pm

Maybe try significant other? Always works(ed) for me ! Although, on second thought maybe it didn’t…I’m sill single! Lol

My website for single moms and single pregnant women – You and Me Kid

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Elisabeth July 20, 2009 at 3:01 pm

I love, love, LOVE this picture of you two. You have your eyes closed kissing the man you obviously adore. And he’s looking at us like “isn’t she just the best thing ever?” And of course your boyfriend is right :)

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arscuore July 20, 2009 at 6:35 pm

@wyliekat: Nah, “the ex” won’t turn into “my child’s father” until he starts acting like it… You gotta earn your title.

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famejane July 20, 2009 at 6:44 pm

I don’t think there is anything at all wrong with proudly shouting, “HE’S MY BOYFRIEND!”. Or how about simply, “He’s my man!” Be proud of it. If anyone has a problem with it, it’s their problem.

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mssinglemama July 20, 2009 at 6:53 pm

@arscuore – that’s a really, really good point. @wyliekat – she does have a point but I love what your mother said – speaks volumes when your labels evolve in your own mind to making it about the child and not about your relationship to him/her.

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Bobbi Janay July 20, 2009 at 8:30 pm

I have to go with John Bear mantastic friend sounds quite awesome.

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Speedgirl July 21, 2009 at 5:58 am

For me, the thought of using the term “boyfriend” seems awkward too. I think part of it is being labeled myself (you know the stereotype of the single-mom who serial-dates and is constantly in and out of ‘serious’ relationships) The other thing I thought of while reading this is that we are so much more mature now. “Boyfriend” seems juvenile at times. But maybe that is because I teach high school and hear it thrown around in that context so often. What do you think? Is t of the awkwardness because we are not teenagers any more?

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MommaSunshine July 21, 2009 at 11:10 am

For some reason I find myself stumbling over the word “boyfriend”…it does feel juvenile, and simply….not “enough”.

But as for being a single momma with a boyfriend….screw anyone who looks down on that. I’m right there with ya, girl! :)

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TorontoMama July 23, 2009 at 9:53 am

How cute are you two? :)

You have hit the nail right on the head. Getting used to saying “TheEx” or “my daughter’s father” to people and reading their reaction, and then saying “my boyfriend,” it’s just a whole different dimension.

Words are just words though, and at the end of the day, we are all human with very basic needs.

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Heather July 30, 2009 at 12:40 pm

Just happened upon your blog and, particularily, this post and I am so happy to have found you!

I have also struggled with the boyfriend label. It feels like it lessens the seriousness of our relationship and plays into too many stereotypes and judgements of single mamas with boyfriends. Additionally, I found I would immediately add, “We’ve been together for so-so many months/years”, so as to validify our relationship.

He just recently moved in with me and my 6 year old son, so calling him my boyfriends feels even less appropriate now. When I call him my partner, most people think I am a lesbian, which I don’t have a problem with… its just not true of my situation.

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Allison July 30, 2009 at 1:53 pm

When Tommy & I hit this level in our relationship, we both giggled at the boyfriend/girlfriend label. Both of us had been married, cheated on & divorced & the label felt silly & weird. I don’t shudder any more when I hear it but I just don’t use the term very often. My kids call him all kinds of goofy little names but “mom’s boyfriend” is not one of them. :)

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Fire Detection April 17, 2011 at 11:29 am

i’m totally agree, before a mom, we are human beings and we have the right to have a BOYFRIEND a HUSBAND a FRIEND or anything.
and no one besides us and the kids can;t mess up with us

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