In 2009, my relationship with my ex came to a close. Between our personality differences and his lack of involvement in parenting and disciplining our two daughters effectively, I knew it was no longer an ideal environment for me or my children.
Additionally, my split showed me exactly what I do not want in a companion. One of those things was being in a relationship with a man who did not want or like the idea of me being an involved mother.
Post break-up, I took about a year to get into the groove of solo parenting. I didn’t date or bring men around my daughters during this time. When I was ready to consider dating seriously, a friend told me about how her someone she knows found her now-husband on OkCupid.
So, in 2012, I decided to give the site a shot.
I kept my profile short, saying up-front that I am a single mom of two little girls. My photos were all tasteful, never suggestive, and my self-descriptions were brief but detailed.
As you can imagine, I dodged a lot of morons looking to only get lucky for the night. Then, I met those few that may actually be worth meeting for a date. One of those few was Douglas.*
Douglas was ideal to me right away. We both had military-centric careers, we both lived in the same metro region, we were both homebodies (so I thought), and best of all, we were both single parents.
I was pretty hyped to chat with Doug. I took the initiative to chat with some guys on OkCupid who never responded or straight up told me they were not interested in a woman with kids, so it was refreshing to meet someone who understands my life.
Our weeks of online chatter turned into calls and texts. He loved that he finally had a friend who was a single parent like him, because none of his other friends were. He once called me the "perfect" woman.
On one date, we chatted about my car’s brakes and how hideously painful they sounded when I pressed them. Doug offered to change them for free. A single dad and a handy man! I was in heaven!
Doug and I never officially became boyfriend and girlfriend. We really took things slowly, spending time together and getting to know each other. Was he entertaining other women? Perhaps, but I didn’t mind because rushing our friendship was not my goal. And I was really enjoying his company, thinking he could be someone I could eventually take seriously.
Finally, I thought, a man that accepts me for the single parent that I am. It was nice knowing a man found me desirable and worth the time.
Or so I thought.
During an outing some time later, we had a lovely time, but he said something that gave me a little pause. On my way home, he called just to make sure I was OK, and then during idle chat, he made a comment that caught me off guard: a very blunt and flat-out "I’m sexually attracted to you."
In the short time of hanging with Doug, we never got physical once, never sent each other naked pics, never sexted each other, none of that. So, while I was a little taken aback by his confession and we were not even exclusive, I simply acknowledged it, chatted a little more, and said goodnight on a good note.
Then I thought, well, maybe he does what to become physical. We’ve been dating for a few months; it’s only natural to have some physical attraction.
That ultimately proved to be red flag #1.
Red flag #2 was his sudden inability to return my calls and not sounding as interested as he once was in chatting with me. Doug used to love hearing about my writing and other creative passions I had. We use to chat and text for hours about our interests, but now, those texts turned into a simple "OK," or "That’s cool."
I also noticed he was getting slower at returning my calls. Sometimes, he wouldn’t return them at all. His excuse, when he even gave an excuse, was that he was partying with his military buddies all night long.
Remember, he had said he was a homebody.
And it turned out Doug was, in fact, chatting with other women. A partial red flag #3 was his confession to chatting with another woman, who, conveniently, had no kids and lived closer to him than I did.
Bottom line: he said she was more desirable because she was more available.
Wow, I thought. A single dad dissing a single mom for being... well… a single mom.
Even with this piercing diss, I still honestly was not too upset because he and I were not exclusive.
On what would be our final outing a few weeks later, Doug and I had an uncomfortable chat where he basically told me he wanted to date this single woman with no kids exclusively. A tiny part of me was disappointed, but at the same time, he was not a bad guy (yet). I get my obligations as a single mom are not desirable to many men (even though this asshole was originally over the moon about me being one) and I accepted that.
But here’s the complete picture to red flag #3. On my drive home, he had the audacity to say the following to me:
"Monica, I think you’re awesome. I really do. I want to date Jessica*, but I mean, you and me can still ‘kick it’ and have fun, ya know?"
Kick it? Have fun? This guy, who’s sexually attracted to me, wants to "kick it" and "have fun" outside the company of his new girlfriend!
I was so disgusted by Douglas, the sweet guy that I chatted with for hours about our families and our passions, the sweet guy that fixed my brakes for free, the sweet guy that told me I was "perfect," the sweet guy that thought I was pretty great for being another single parent he could call a companion.
That sweet guy that basically implied he’d like to keep me around as a potential jump-off while he enjoys his new girlfriend. I simply told him I rather not speak to him again. And I never did.
I was great enough to spend time with. I was great enough to be a friend to but I was not great enough to have a relationship with because of the very fact he claimed to have liked so much about me in the first place. I was secretly hurt and very angry with Douglas, though I never told him. The fact that he found another woman is not what really did me in; it’s that what made me great to him was suddenly less desirable, leaving me in the fuck-buddy zone.
Single parents (especially single moms) often don’t have the best luck in love. Many men see our children as obligations and barriers to them getting more of what they want from us. They see themselves as eventually having to becoming some kid’s daddy, a responsibility many simply don’t want. Others see us as nothing more than a bowl full of drama, not worthy of anything outside of an occasional hook-up.
Are there men out there that would take the chance on a single mom? Yes, of course. Do all single moms come with drama and problems? Hell no! But the dating game is already riddled with the emotional time and toil of weeding out the bad from the good. And sometimes, the art of dating becomes more of an overbearing household chore than something to really enjoy.
My experience with Douglas, once again, showed me what I didn’t want in my life. I don’t need someone admiring me for being a great mother just to turn around and diss me for it. Single moms, just like anyone else, want to be loved and appreciated and understood.
If you cannot find value in that, get lost, because you serve no purpose in her life.