For starters, I am a single mother. (If it is not clear, by now)
I got divorced more than 10 years ago.
People laugh at me or gasp in disbelief when I share that I have not dated for over 10 years.
It is only recently that I’ve come out of my “cold storage” to re-join the dating world, so-to-speak.
It was not for the lack of offers that I did not date for a decade or so.
It was not for the lack of trying either. I just didn’t find the dating scene to be remotely inspiring.
To be honest, I found many people to be quite fake and they put on their best “performances” at the dates. No different from presenting their well crafted resumes for a job interview. All their flaws and weaknesses are carefully disguised as other “strengths”. No one comes clean.
Some were just downright “slimey” and gross, while others were only interested in FWB (Friends With Benefits), casual sex and flings. Prior to this, I did not even know what FWB meant.
The worst were those who liked to play “games”. Be it mind games, emotional games or the money games. I really cannot bring myself to participate at all.
Honestly, I cannot imagine any woman (single mothers or just single women) would want to date any of the above.
The question I keep asking myself is this – What happened to the real people on this planet? Did they get shipped to Mars or something? Or may be they are all happily married – in which case, lucky them! They do not need to come out into this cess-pool of dating ever, I pray.
Of course, I do realise that just because I have not had a pleasant experience with dating (or marriage), it doesn’t mean it is all that bad for everyone else out there. Hence, let’s set the record straight. Yes, this is from my personal perspective and yes, it does not represent every single mother out there. It only represents single mothers like me. Now, that is out of the way, let’s dispel the myths.
1) THE MYTH THAT SINGLE MOTHERS SEEK FINANCIAL BACKERS
No, we will not date guys who just throw money at us and think that we can be bought like everything else he has acquired in his life. Guys who use money to get a girl should fully expect that the girl will demand that he pays for everything “ever after”. He should not be surprised when it happens, because he has sealed his fate by his own actions. All self-respecting independent single mothers celebrate the fact that they are no longer dependent on a man for anything – especially, money. Because many women have been controlled by their wealthy ex-husbands in this very “monetary” manner, so they will never ever venture down this path again. No free bird would deliberately put herself back into a cage, no matter how gilded and bling-out that cage may be. So, NO, not all single able mothers would be desperately looking for a man to financially support her and her child/children. She has been doing fine on her own in all this time. She would rather turn in her grave than have her wings clipped, stuffed and hung like a trophy over some fire-place.
2) THE MYTH THAT SINGLE MOTHERS ARE CLINGY
As independent single mothers have been doing it on their own for so long, the last thing they would do is become clingy. She would not even know how clingy looks like if it slapped her in the face. I’ll tell you what single mothers would not need – it’s another clingy man-child who expects her to do all the work, bring home the bacon and cook it as well. No sane single mother would want to bring home another “child” to look after. That is the last thing she needs or wants. My marriage broke down because I had to do almost everything on my own. I worked, I kept the house, I cooked and cleaned. I even took care of our chid and him, while he supposedly went on a “sabbatical”. In a way, he “trained” me to do everything on my own. When I became more self-reliant, he drifted further from our daily life. Eventually, he took himself out of our marriage as well by not being there with me, or for me. Hence, I was trained to be a single mother way before I got divorced. So, there is no way any single mother of sound mind would invite another “man-child” into her life or family. She has enough on her plate as it is.
Here, please do not misunderstand. I am not bashing my ex-husband. He was a different person then, just as I was a different person at that time as well. I am sharing how single mothers will not ever want to repeat any of their “nightmares” in the realms of personal relationships.
However, this is how some relationships start to break down – when two people are no longer involved in each other’s lives and do not participate in the marriage. People will drift apart when they do not do anything to salvage their relationship, or what’s left of it.
Many people gripe about how marriage is a sham because they have lost faith in the concept of marriage, and the high divorce rates do not help either.
Personally, I still believe in marriage but I do not believe that marriage is the only way for two people to be together. At this day and age, there are many ways for two people to design their own relationship and marriage. It is about what works best for them, and no one can or should judge. In the same respect, people are more educated these days. They have options. They do not need to suffer a bad marriage if they can help it. It is not a sign that marriage is bad. It is merely a sign that marriage was not right for them. May be not at that time, or not with that person.
In the past, people did stay together for a mountain of reasons. Women were more dependent on men, and there were the children to consider. Even today, many women or men stay in their loveless marriage for the sake of their children. However, in the past – there were not as many distractions and the options available were not really a second chance at life. It was more like ostracized for life. Hence, divorce rates were low. Yes, I am simplifying here. But I am sure you do get the picture.
High divorce rates or low marriage rates should not imply that marriage is an outdated concept. We just need to redefine what marriage really means at this day and age. Most of all, we as a society should allow individuals to define their own terms of marriage, love and dating. One set formula may not work for all the rest. Each person, or couple are different and they have very different priorities.
ALL I KNOW IS THIS –
Some people rush into marriage or relationship too soon or for all the wrong reasons. And some stay in a marriage or relationship for all the wrong reasons. Hence, everyone needs to find their own right reasons for doing what they really want. Bear in mind, these reasons could change with time.
For me, dating is like going to a buffet in a fancy restaurant. I get to sample many dishes and desserts. It is such a fanfare. However, I’d never really get to know the calibre of the chef or get deep and personal with one particular dish. Therefore, I feel dating may not really be my thing. Because I like getting to know the real person behind the mask, the eyes, and the smile. I like to know what made them the way they are today, without them feeling the need to hide. I’d want to know every breadth, width and angle to his life story. And only then can I decide if I want to be a part of his life story. I do not want to waste precious time in shallow, superficial B.S, only to later find out that he is not what I imagined him to be. And vice versa.
And yes, I would like to fall in love again. But I do not believe that love is some whimsical chemically induced euphoria that strikes a person at first glance. I believe true love takes time. And it only shows itself, and its strength in times of trouble. I remembered the day I knew in my heart that it was all over for my ex-husband and myself when we stopped being there for one another during the hard times. We only stood by, watching the other fall apart. Before too long, we stopped loving one another altogether. It showed in the way we spoke, in the way we behaved and even in our silence. If someone cannot be there for you during the tough times, that in itself is a telling sign. Deep in my heart, I know that with the right person, the world does seem brighter and extra special. However, with the wrong person – even the Heavens can become Hell. Hence, I believe that true love is one that grows with age and time because a deeper understanding is reached at every level. In this way, we just grow to love that person more each day.
At my age (and after all that I have experienced), I want something more fulfilling than casual flings, trivial dates and meaningless fucks. Because I know exactly how I would feel when I’ve opened up myself to someone and given myself to him, but he turns out to be a**hole. I know I’ll be the one crying in the shower, scrubbing myself raw to cleanse myself from every stain of him. This is what we women do, because we’d feel totally violated by our own stupid mistake. Hence, taking the time in getting to really know each other is crucial. Above all, it has to be someone who will appreciate what we have to offer. This applies to us appreciating what they have to offer as well.
Everyone loves waking up next to the person they care about, and knowing that this is the same person who would stand by them no matter. We value the person who makes us smile when times are down, and makes us laugh when times are tense. In return, we would do our best in showering that person with our love and care as well. Truth is, all of us treasure genuine tender loving gestures. The trick is in finding the right match.
Before I go, I’d like to share one of my favourite poems from one of my fave poets – William Butler Yeats
It summarizes how I truly feel and think about love and marriage.
I WHISPERED, ‘I am too young,’
And then, ‘I am old enough’;
Wherefore I threw a penny
To find out if I might love.
‘Go and love, go and love, young man,
If the lady be young and fair.’
Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny,
I am looped in the loops of her hair.
O love is the crooked thing,
There is nobody wise enough
To find out all that is in it,
For he would be thinking of love
Till the stars had run away
And the shadows eaten the moon.
Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny,
One cannot begin it too soon.
Spread the love and peace to all!