When I decided to become a single mom by choice, the thought of possibly never dating again terrified me. Would I ever have time to go out and meet new people? And even if I did, would my single mom status be a total turn off to men?
From my point of view at that time, dating as a single mom looked like an uphill battle against an endless shortage of time, money and energy!
But, it turns out, I was wrong. Sure, enjoying a vibrant dating life while child-rearing solo isn't easy, but being a single mom actually helps me navigate the dating world better! So, if you're a single mom looking for love, too, here's why you have an advantage over other women out there:
1. Your intuition for screening online profiles is sharper.
Because time and money are precious, we rarely have time to surf the web to analyze online dating profiles. I, for one, have honed my skills at culling through dating profiles with fine precision. I cut to the chase quickly and make what might sometimes feel like brutal decisions regarding who is worth my time. My gut is in charge.
My intuition kicks into high gear and picks up on subtle details in a man's profile that I may not even consciously register. He's either "in" or "out." I make quick decisions, not based on a detailed analysis, but instead, a snap instinctive decision in those few seconds I'm online.
2. You're not looking for a baby daddy.
It wasn’t until I decided to have a baby alone that I realized that, previously, I’d been dating to find a baby daddy. Only, no man I met was worthy of being that baby daddy. Unconsciously, I held men up to an impossible and amorphous standard. I rejected them all for not being perfect in every category.
Now that I have a baby, I realize that I can date for myself. I can date because it’s fun. I can date men that make me happy. I can date them for being good lovers, or because they make me laugh or because they're simply fun to hang out with. (All of which are better compatibility criteria in the long run.)
I didn’t realize I was a commitment-phobe until I stopped needing to find a life partner with whom to raise children. Now, I tell myself I don’t have to date someone forever. I can date someone until it no longer makes sense. Easing that pressure to make it work "forever" liberated me. I’m way more open-minded about whom I date now.
Ironically, this approach is more likely to help me find a man worthy of being in my life for the long-term (and in my son's life).
3. Men find mamas super attractive.
It’s true. I thought having a child would prevent me from finding a mate. I assumed that all men either want their own kids or none at all. I envisioned men running away, scared of my life and all that having a child on my own entails.
But actually, I've found that some men find me sexier. They see the love and care I give to my son, and they want some of that! One man explained that seeing a woman with a baby ignites an instinct in him. It’s an instant turn on for him.
4. You don't have time to waste with boneheads
I always said I was very picky and it’s true. I probably turned down a second date with a lot of wonderful men for really bad and superficial reasons. But before I became a single mom, I also stayed with some serious boneheads because they were sexy or funny or just 'the bad boy.'
Now, I, like most single moms, have NO time to spend with someone who doesn't make me feel amazing. Every minute of our time is precious, so we won’t stick around to date someone who doesn’t treat us well or help us feel good about ourselves.
5. You don't wait for his call.
The days I can spend hours analyzing a guy’s every move are long gone. This means I’m more inclined to take what a man says and does at face value.
Is he gonna call? What did be mean by that text? Single moms just don't have time to get worked up about that stuff. We can't put our life on hold wondering. Heck, we're lucky if we even notice he called.
6. You get over guys faster.
In general, being a single mom has made me more grounded simply because I don’t have time to get in a funk over a guy if things don't work out. I have to take care of my baby. So, I hunker down and deal. I can’t get stuck in my head worrying about the past or the future. I stay in the moment most of the time, dealing with poop, food, tantrums and play dates. Nope, maybe that's not glamorous, but it’s made me super stable.
Very few things can rock my world. And, so the ups and downs of dating affect me less.
7. You date with a clear purpose.
In my case, being a mom has aligned me with a sense of purpose and rightness. I know who I am and what’s important to me. It's easier to see the things that really matter. That translates into my decisions around men too. I have clarity about my goals and what’s good for me ... and my son. Again, very useful in weeding out boneheads.
8. You have no choice but to take things slow.
With a toddler at home, it’s not easy to have 'adult sleepovers' or stay out all night for hot and heavy make-out sessions in. And so, engaging in physical intimacy is often a much slower process for single moms. I’m super protective of my son’s well-being, so I’m cautious about who I bring home or how involved I get with someone in those early days.
This allows true emotional intimacy to grow with a man before throwing myself into sexual intimacy. It makes me feel a bit old-fashioned perhaps. But, let’s face it, the build up of sexual tension is super sexy!
My point here ladies, is not to spend so much time worrying about dating as a single mom. While the logistics are tricky, there is a silver lining to having less time and a little person to protect.
Rather than assuming you'll fall into celibate oblivion, you may just find you're actually a no-nonsense, stable, loving, sexy woman who knows what she wants. And that can make dating healthier and way more fun.
Sarah Kowalski is a single mom by choice, Fertility Doula, Life Coach, author and founder of Motherhood Reimagined. She helps women who are contemplating single motherhood, facing fertility issues, and/or raising children alone. Join her private Facebook page for juicy discussions and support, or follow her on Twitter.