If you’re dating again, some hope

by singlemomseeking on January 8, 2011

Whenever anyone says to me, “I’m so happy for you,” I nod and smile. But more often than not, I think to myself, “You have no idea what a road it has been.”

I don’t like to write about what that road — what it looked like like or how it felt to walk it — before I met Chris. (And don’t get me wrong, my marriage is really showing me just how much work, intention, and trust a healthy, loving relationship really does take.) Yet sometimes, I browse back through these old blog posts and remember how hopeless I felt about love exactly four years ago.

In 2007, I was off on my book tour — and in the middle of an emotional break-up. (Okay, what break-up isn’t emotional?) It was tough to answer questions about dating and love. I figured that if I talked out loud about being hopeful, maybe it would really sink in.

In the meantime, I got a new job. I started kick boxing three nights a week. I had girlfriends over for dinner. I launched Singlemommyhood. I read a lot. I felt lonely. I wrote in my journal. I cried. And I said “No” to dating.

Then, in late 2008, T from Life’s a Classroom, encouraged me to write a post about “The man I hope to love.” As I wrote a list of all the traits I hoped to find in a man, T reminded me that I needed to BE this list. “We only get what we give away,” she said.

Well, he came into my life a few months later. Coincidence? Maybe not.

I’d love to know:

If you are dating again in the New Year, have you written down the traits you hope to find in a man (or woman)?

Or, have you made an intention to stay single and focus on yourself?

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Liv January 8, 2011 at 5:48 pm

I’m so glad you posed this question. I made a vision board about 2 years ago even though I was absolutely a skeptic, and was truly amazed when some things I put on the board (a new home with a light, new kitchen — a woman bathing a baby in the sink of that kitchen) came true within months, even though some (the new home) were not planned. A friend encouraged me to make a list like the one you described for the same reason and said to list 100 qualities. It felt counter-intuitive in some ways, b/c I feel like single woman are constantly told they are ‘too picky’. But I did it and hope that this man will appear in my life in 2011 (optimism is good, right?).
.-= Liv´s last blog ..When the Going Gets Tough =-.

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T January 8, 2011 at 8:02 pm

Oh girl, this made me tear up a bit.

We both connected on that level, didn’t we? We both wanted to find that one and made our lists and were so hopeful. And voila!

It does take a lot of work. It will balance out. We wished for growth and strength and love. It is a road we chose and exactly what we asked for.

Now to allow, trust, have faith…

I love you, your precious daughter and your wonderful husband. Very VERY proud to know you all.
.-= T´s last blog ..T Powers Activate! =-.

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soontobesinglemom January 8, 2011 at 9:34 pm

As you may remember, I *just* got divorced a couple weeks ago. I definitely intend on being single for a while. Sure a casual FWB would be perfectly fine ;) but I do not want a serious relationship for quite a while. Not only do I want to work on myself and figure out my greatest traits…I want to take advantage of coming and going as I please on the weekends (when I don’t have Peanut), not sharing the remote, and being by myself since I have never been alone as an adult (Peanut’s dad and I started dating when I was 19, he was 18).

However when the time comes, I will be making my list of traits. I know what didn’t work the first time around so I’m hoping I can learn from that.

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Kate D. January 9, 2011 at 10:07 am

Wow, I love hearing this. I too have had a hard time dating or even beginning to now how to date as a single parent. I’ve finally found someone worth being with but obviously it’s a challenge quite often due to the single parenthood responsibilities (father being overseas – little to no help). I think it’ll always be a challenge to a degree but hoping it’ll be worth it all (to everyone involved) in the long run :)

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Amy January 10, 2011 at 7:46 am

First off Rachel I am also so happy for you! And I have been around for a while so I remember some of this.

As for me, 2011 is my year for being done with the the whole idea of dating and relationships. I don’t know what finally snapped in me – but I just simply decided that it is no longer worth it. I have never jumped into “seeking” with both feet – but rather just dipped my toe in. However, that was enough. I haven’t been with anyone since July and over the months since then I have just come to the conclusion that I am better off without.

So this year – is year of freedom – no more wanting and longing – just living!

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Danielle January 10, 2011 at 11:55 am

I love this. I was just told via a comment that I needed to do this kind of list too. I realized lately that I date men that are unavailable and don’t listen to the red flags if I can help them. I am going to do this list right now!

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BlueBella January 11, 2011 at 8:53 am

Wow. Over the past weekend MM & I prepared to paint our bedroom. When we moved the bed two folded up pieces of paper were found – I hesitantly opened them to find they were letters/prayers I had written a few years back envisioning the life I wanted and the man who fit into that life. I had tucked them under my pillow and forgotten about them as they slipped between the wall and the bed.

It was amazing to know every single one of those things had come true for me!!!!!

For all of you dating, take the time to envision your future and live your life like you want it to be. You can’t get to where you want to go unless you actually try to get there.
.-= BlueBella´s last blog ..Happy Birthday MM =-.

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Tabi January 12, 2011 at 6:26 am

I’ve been single for almost a year now and a mom for 5 1/2 months… I started reading your book last night (and got half way through it before I realized I had to be up in five hours…) and I have to say it is making me feel a lot better about my situation.

Like you, I have always had a tendency of rushing into both intimacy and relationships. I’ve been that “one-night-stand” girl, and it was always on my terms when I recognized it as such, but when I meet a guy I like I fall hard and fast.

I am terrified of making this mistake (I also tend to fall hard and fast for all the wrong men) and having it impact my son’s life in a negative way. I have made a list on many occasions of traits a man “must” have for me to be with him, but it always seems to fall to the wayside when I meet Mr. Wrong.

I’ve been on a total of two dates since I had my son and I have to say I’ve been getting very discouraged with men. It also doesn’t help that I moved for a new job two and a half hours away from my safety net, so on those days and nights where I get lonely I can’t just head over to a girlfriend’s house and watch chick flicks and eat bad movies. So I clean. Cleaning is my cure for dating frustration.

I hope to eventually find that someone special, and I really truly believe I will (I have to believe…), but until then I have my son, and my vacuum.
.-= Tabi´s last blog ..Unsure =-.

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singlemomseeking January 12, 2011 at 6:59 am

@Tabi: Ah, thanks for your comment! Here’s to cleaning to relieve those dating frustrations… Exercise is good, too. Keep me in touch about reaching out and making a new single mom friend. They’re out there!

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How Does She Do It Mom January 13, 2011 at 8:32 am

I love reading your posts,….mostly because you are always reflecting on something that I have in the past as well.

When I was in the whole single mom dating world I didn’t really stop to reflect on it too much but looking back now I see that it was quite the journey. When I left my ex husband I vowed NOT to get involved with anyone unless I was truly interested. I decided to focus on me and be happy and trust if “he” was meant to be my life that love would find me.

So I spent three years learning…not really doing much official dating (a lot of playing however) I learned in those three years what I wanted in a man…everything from looks to intelligence.

When my now fiancée (and gag me…soulmate) walked into my life I realized that he had all the attributes that I loved of the varying men I met along the way…I knew what I wanted and it found me. I am to this day convinced that it found me because of where I was in my life..happy!
.-= How Does She Do It Mom´s last blog ..14 Hours Gone In A Flash =-.

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Mike January 13, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Writing? LOL. I have an Excel spreadsheet. My therapist told me that after I separated from my ex that I would never be able to go to from her to a healthy relationship. So I charted my progress using adjectives of their good and bad points. After my last 2 girl friends I realized that I had swung to far to one side with them being to individual. So in coming back into the middle I met my present girlfriend of 7 months now. Who I have actually started an engagement ring fund for.
.-= Mike´s last blog ..Mental Health Day =-.

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singlemomseeking January 17, 2011 at 12:04 pm

Mike: An Excel spreadsheet to map out what path to a loving relationship? I LOVE It!!

P.S. What your therapist told you sounds harsh… but I guess she meant that you’d need to go through some transitions and bumps before being ready for a healthy relationship?

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Mike January 18, 2011 at 1:35 pm

It was realistic to where I was a the time and I appreciated the honesty. Also it helped me realize that Miss Special wouldn’t be showing up for a while which was freeing.

Have to say the Excel sheet wasn’t my idea. It was from Harville Hendrix. Well the idea was his, but I found Excel to work the best.
.-= Mike´s last blog ..Mental Health Day =-.

Mommy to the Monsters January 16, 2011 at 4:10 pm

Reading your post made me tear up a lil bit too….

I embarked on a a journey to open myself up to dating last year (2010) and it has been an interesting journey. It took me a while to even go on an actual date. But, I have been dating a guy since October that I known for 4 years.

It was going great at first, but now ummmm I think we would be better off being friends now….(I need to update my blog to reflect that..lol)

Just today as I was mulling over just shutting myself all together and focusing on JUST BEING SINGLE, I read this post and it reminded myself that there is hope. If I truly want to be married one day, shutting myself off from the world definitely is not the answer. After all how the heck is he going to find me, especially when I work from home 90% of the time and I not really that sociable.

So now I am going to go in with more clear goals of the traits I want in a man. I am going to update my vision board, make sure that I am making myself available and pray and trust God that one day it my prince will come…

Thanks Rachel….
.-= Mommy to the Monsters´s last blog ..The Chronicles of Nausea- Part 2- Prince Mister Man =-.

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Natalie January 17, 2011 at 10:29 am

Rachael…I just finished reading your book and I was wondering what happened with the “Israeli” ??
I loved the book be they way! Your struggle with you daughters father etc, is much like mine with my son (allow it seems that you have moved on from that) and I hope to be at that place someday VERY soon!
I truly need to find more mommy friends and single mommy friends would be even better, but it seems so hard. Any suggestions? I found that your circle of friends seemed to really make a difference in your life and I think that is very important.
As far as dating I am on the fence. I am very interested in it in some ways but also feel there is better use of my time. But my son is 3 now and I have been taking a little more time for myself. You have inspired me to write a list. Maybe I won’t act on it right away, but as at least it will get the ball rolling. I just want to be happy with or without a man.

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singlemomseeking January 17, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Natalie: Thanks for making my day… Here’s to facing that old pain and moving on. You’re right: girlfriends really do make a difference. Even one good woman friend who’s there to listen. Please keep me in touch about your year, ok?
You might be interested in this post that Dr. Leah and I wrote about your “chosen” family: http://www.singlemommyhood.com/2010/12/your-chosen-family/

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Natalie January 28, 2011 at 8:50 pm

Thanks for the suggestion. I will check it out. I should probably just change my number so my son’s father cannot contact me, it’s the same song and dance. I know better I do ;) I will keep in touch. Here’s to a year of new beginnings and growth (:

Mama Dharma January 17, 2011 at 9:21 pm

Wow! Without having read this, I did just this very thing tonight. I came up with three S’s, that might get refined at some point: sweet, stable, and slow (in pace, not in intellect). :)
.-= Mama Dharma´s last blog ..Revisiting “I HATE Married People” =-.

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MsV1959 January 18, 2011 at 11:28 am

Oh my.
This post resonates.
You inspired me to write…

Thank you.

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singlemomseeking January 18, 2011 at 11:37 am

Well, Ms. V, you continue to inspire me to find the time (and energy!) to work out… hard. Thank you.

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