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Saturday 26 May 2012

Single mum dating: 'Surely there are nice men out there?'

Recently, a single mum wanting to dip her toe into the dating scene wrote about her experiences, which definitely didn't go to plan. [Oh, if only it were all lovely 'The Brady Bunch'-style...] 

Have a read and see if you can relate:

She then delved further into actual dating disasters. And I do mean, disasters. Dangerous ones. Hurtful ones. Here is 'a word of warning' story, which is, at times, quite confronting:

"Well a year on and I was asked out for a coffee. ‘No harm in that’, I thought. He was a friend of some of my friends. We had a lovely time. Should I trust again? I agreed to a second and third date. During this time I kept it all from my children. I did not want them to feel the pain again and if this was someone I could go further with this time I had to be sure before introducing them. 

Things went badly when I went to his house for dinner. I had a drink, only one and started to feel strange. I am not a big drinker and NEVER have more than two drinks when out in public and having a meal. I was on my first drink and felt spaced and noticed I was getting tired. My balance was off as well. He became all handsy when I had clearly said I am in no rush or position to be more then friends at this point in time.  

I guess as an adult you know your body more than a teenager. I know how alcohol affects me. I know what is normal with ‘ME’. I swapped drinks. He passed out. I sat for hours fearing he would wake up but not thinking logically. I SHOULD have called friends to come and get me or the police, anyone. I didn’t. I was nearly 40 and for the first time I had been drugged. I had never even seen a joint, let alone anything else. 

When I thought I was right I drove home in the early hours of the morning. I shouldn’t have, I fell out of the car. With grazed knees I went to bed and cried. This was not what dating was meant to be about! Surely there are nice men out there? Maybe not, maybe they are taken and all the idiots are left. Either way the next night I looked at my daughter with deep fear at what she may face in this new world of dating. It is certainly a scary place now. How do I protect her? 

Education is the key. If I didn’t know about date drugs or known about how alcohol affects my body I could have been in real danger.

Again I stayed single for quite a while. However even though dating had not been going well, many of my friends had found their soul mates. There must be good men out there. Just not where I was looking! 

I did go on another date and for three months things went well. We decided for our families to meet the following weekend. I felt comfortable with that finally. The Thursday night before, I went to visit an old friend. She had also met someone new and we had not seen each other for months, so a good girly night was in order. It was holidays for us both and the children were with their dad so all was good in our worlds. 

She showed me a picture of him and yes as you can imagine my world was shocked again. It was the man I was seeing as well. She had met him on a date site. He had mentioned stuff about a girl he was ‘breaking up with’.. and that was me

My friend and I are very similar. We have similar interests, same jobs, same age but her children were older and she was thinner. It shouldn’t matter, I know, but there it was in his emails to her from the site all about my kids (even though he never met them) and my weight. 

My friend and I both confronted him that night and told him our thoughts. Friends stick together and we did. We were both devastated!

Right now I am single. I am not bitter or twisted but grateful for the lessons that I have learnt. Some I will share with my daughter when she is old enough to understand. I hope with knowledge she will be able to be safe in her dating journey and aware of what she may face. 

The fundamentals of boy meets girl has not changed. You meet and hopefully fall in love. Society I feel has changed. As a single parent with children who live with you, dating is very different. It is not just you, you need to think of. You have little people who watch your every move. If you fall, so do they. As scary as it sounds I am the only role model my daughter has and will build all her future relationships on. 

After these failed relationships I realised I was going about it all wrong. I thought I needed companionship. I was wrong. Even though we are fundamentally pack animals it is the strong that survive. To survive in this new era of dating and as an older single mum I needed to be happier within myself and who I am. I need to be strong enough to say ‘hey this is me, yes I come with baggage, we all do, its called life’. 

If you are okay with this, then we can grow together. If you are not, just be my friend. Be aware of what is out there. If you are on a site, meet in a public place. Watch your drink. I know we have heard all this before but now, at age 40, I did not think it would happen to me. You are NEVER too old to be drugged. 

Protect your children. They look up to you. You are their role models. Children grow up too fast as it is, they don’t need to know about your possible dates until you are sure. They hurt too when it falls apart. I look at my daughter now nearly in her teenage years. She has her head screwed on well. She is educated but has been protected as well. I kept these men from her and am glad that I did. 

She would have been devastated and untrusting as I was when this all happened. It is not fair to place that on her. I believe there are amazing people out there, you just need to be cautious. Love will come to me when I am ready. For now it is time to focus on my children and all the dreams I have for the coming years. I am surrounded by wonderful friends and family. 

I will never grow old alone and next time I am ready to try dating again, I will go in with an open mind, but with the knowledge of potential dangers that are out there. Education and knowledge are truly the key to dating safely and dating as an older, single mum in this present day."

Written by "G.A".

What are your dating-as-a-single-mum experiences? Share - anonymous if you prefer.

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