A big part of dating as a single mom is coming to the realization that you will never have a partner who’s life is identical to yours. Ever. No, seriously. NEVER.
It doesn’t matter how much they love your kids, or how many things they do to help you. When it’s bedtime and the devil spawn are asleep… they’re not trapped in the house. They can go out. Drink 100 beers. High five their friends. Buy sixteen lap dances from eight strippers. If you split up, they can move on with their lives and are in no way obligated to maintain contact with you or your children. If they want to join a traveling circus, well, those might be hard to find nowadays but they’re welcome to try. If they want to run away to Australia and live with poisonous everythings, y’know, they’re fucking crazy but they’re allowed.
I’ve spent a lot of time bouncing between jealousy and anger and guilt in relationships, wanting and expecting people to give up their free time and spend it with me and my kids – and then feeling terrible for making people do that – and of course then emotionally pushing them away with the expectation that they’ll leave eventually anyways.
Nobody is obligated to live the life you choose for yourself, and so you can either fit theirs into it and around yours – or you can be alone. And this means having to find the line between compromising and settling. If you can find a partner who’s willing to give a little to get a little, and the meeting in the middle involves a lot of love and maybe some heavy petting, I think you’ve found a winner. If you find yourself giving a lot and getting very little? If anything? Get the fuck out. Being a single mom doesn’t make you damaged goods, or a stray cat begging for scraps. You created life, you dumbass. LIFE. So you deserve to have an awesome one.