Thinking Out Loud – Dating After Divorce

 

I made sure we filled up some cups last night before the  Cinco De Mango Five Dollar Fill-Ups promotion ended.

cinco de mango

Don’t you just love this time of year? I always have.

Of course my love of springtime might have something to do with my birthday next week but even beyond that, I just love this season.

Whenever I am asked what time in my life I found to be the best, I often think back to when I turned twenty-two.

Just graduated college, staring at a bright future, beginning that first real job, getting engaged and planning a wedding.

Such a wonderful time in life that I get so excited to read so many of you posting about your graduations, post-college lives and even some wedding planning!

I swear I live vicariously through Sarah each morning and I am truly looking forward to seeing Liz’s wedding recap.

Of course having my son is the best thing ever to happen to me (he’s my partner in overflowing Red Mango cups and dropping toppings everywhere you know) but the innocence and promise of the happy future and what lies ahead when you are twenty-two is just a magical feeling.

Life for me over the last bunch of years has been very different from it was back in my early twenties which I certainly didn’t foresee in my picket fence encased crystal ball.

I still feel so youthful (which may have something do with still wearing my jeans shorts which may not qualify as mom shorts) yet when I reflect on all I have been through, I am tired like an old lady.

Getting divorced was not something I ever thought would happen.

I have been living as a single mother for easily over five years now. It’s a tiring position yet at the same time, I decided it totally keeps you young simply because you are out there dating again.

Only this time, as a mother.

I have been wanting to share my thoughts on dating with you for a while now.

I recently wrote a dating after divorce post for the organization I work closely with, About The Children, and decided to share a good portion of that post with you this morning.

Thinking-Out-Loud

I always loved Carrie Bradshaw and the gang. I tend to get philosophical like Carrie, have been labeled a goodie-two-shoes like Charlotte yet have also been known to enjoy myself like Samantha and eat cake out of the garbage like Miranda. Oh come on, don’t tell me you haven’t.

The thing is though, I met my ex-husband during college therefore I never fully understood, appreciated or related to their dating experiences until after my divorce.

Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined what it truly feels like to be part of the dating scene but having to experience dating as a divorced mother? Yikes.

Dating is tough enough for all of us but balancing your emotions, trying to figure out and understand men, juggling the good dates, bad dates and heartbreak—all while trying to raise a child as a single parent?

 

  • Finding a great guy (or so you think) and trying to decide when it is appropriate to introduce your child to your new friend?
  • Trying to decide if your new friend is even worthy of meeting your child? Envisioning how they would fit into your already established family?
  • Will your child like this person? Will this person like your child? What if they don’t along? What if they do get along and one day you break up?
  • How soon is too soon to even introduce them? How long is too long to wait?

The older I get, the more I have come to realize that certain situations are just not black and white.

There is so much gray area to dating after divorce as well as so many different scenarios and situations within where the answer may be right in one moment and wrong the next.

The only thing that has remained clear and true to me regarding this area of my life is best summed up by my favorite quote:

goodparent

While I didn’t grow up in a divorced home, I always try my best to put myself in my son’s shoes and see things from his perspective.

As awful as the divorce process can be for us adults, it’s worse in a way for the children.

No child wants to see their parents apart. I know my son still wishes we were together; he still fantasizes about it and reminds me on an almost daily basis.

I would probably have felt the same way at his age which is exactly why I have been so careful about keeping my dating life to myself.

It was easy at first; he was young and unaware. I planned my dates around the weekends he was with his dad as well as other times that he would not be with me.

It’s getting a bit harder now as he gets older though. As he begins to show interest in girls, as he learns more about love and dating and relationships, he begins to question if I date, if I plan to get remarried and how he fits into the equation.

I have yet to bring anyone from my dating life into my son’s life. People have commented on this and questioned why I feel the need to keep things so separate.

My reasons have been this:

  • What’s the rush? Dating should be fun and new and adventurous…..and children free. Don’t you agree?

Think about it; when we first start dating, we don’t have kids. Throwing our children into our dating life doesn’t give us the time to really get to know and enjoy someone, to act like children ourselves and spend uninterrupted time together.

  • My son has a father. I am not looking to replace him nor I am looking for someone to lean on or have with us to do things so that we appear as a family unit. My son and I are already a family; should I find a good partner for myself and my son, this man will only enhance our already established unit.
  • I want my son to grow up as carefree as possible. After the trauma of divorce, he does not need to deal with another man entering our home until I know for sure that this person will be around for the long haul.
  • I want to know that the person I am involved with loves me unconditionally before they enter my son’s world.

And while nothing is ever a guarantee, once I really  trust someone’s feelings and our situation, I will still hold out a bit longer before letting my worlds collide. Anyone else watch Seinfeld?

You know I tend to lead with my heart but when it comes to my son, I must let my head take charge a bit more often.

I have been in a few situations where I did want to collide my worlds only to hold out and then see things fall apart making me ever so happy to have kept my son out of it.

carrie-bradshaw-quote

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Be sure to check out what everyone else is thinking about today!

****

Are you more like Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda or Samantha?

Ever eat cake out of the garbage?

Favorite time period in your life?

If you are divorced with kids, how do you handle your dating life?

 

 

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{ 19 comments… add one }

  • Carmy May 29, 2014, 6:43 am

    You’re a good mama bear. I honestly do not look forward to ever being single because hearing about dating seems so stressful/ foreign to me!

    No I’ve never eaten cake from the garbage but I have eaten it right out from the box (along with the tub for ice cream… proof: my tweet about eating gelato from the tub last night haha)
    Carmy recently posted…StrideBox Unboxing!! (May 2014)My Profile

    • The Cookie ChRUNicles May 29, 2014, 12:53 pm

      I wonder if there is a person in this world who has ever actually scooped ice cream out into a bowl without taking a spoonful straight from the carton. If they claim to never have done so, they are laying. Or just weird. lol

  • Tina Muir May 29, 2014, 6:44 am

    This is a great time of year! I am so so jealous of all these red mango trips you seem to have! Living the life, thats for sure!! I am right there with you, this is the best time of year, and I love seeing all the happiness in our little community! It is contagious right? Glad you have found peace with yourself, and realize how special you are. We all do!
    Tina Muir recently posted…Nuun Hydration Review and Thinking Out Loud Florida StyleMy Profile

    • The Cookie ChRUNicles May 29, 2014, 12:52 pm

      You are so sweet, thank you…I do love our little community and watching everyone go through big moments in life. Amazing how strong the bond can be without ever meeting face-to-face.

  • Jaclyn @ BumpSweat May 29, 2014, 7:16 am

    It’s fun to reflect on your favorite time of life. For me, that was late college. But even though I look back on that time with fondness now, it didn’t come without it’s own challenges. I think that’s how all of life goes, it just depends on what aspects we choose to focus on and let define the various seasons of our lives.
    Jaclyn @ BumpSweat recently posted…10 Lessons Learned Exercising Through the 2nd Trimester of PregnancyMy Profile

    • The Cookie ChRUNicles May 29, 2014, 12:51 pm

      Agree with you totally.It’s amazing when you look back on your life and see things you may or may not have noticed while you were living it.

  • Sarah @pickyrunner May 29, 2014, 7:26 am

    I’m glad you live vicariously through me because I do the same thing with you and your frozen yogurt combos :) I’m not even married yet (obviously) and I feel the same way about dating and introducing people to my friends. I’m pretty sure my family thinks I am hopeless or never going to find someone because I haven’t told them about anyone except the one guy I dated for two years that was somewhat serious. So there’s absolutely no point to this post but I think you’re a great mom and I love that you care enough about your son to keep him distant from your dating life. And now after reading this I’m craving cake for breakfast, so there’s that.

    • The Cookie ChRUNicles May 29, 2014, 12:50 pm

      I love that inspire cake for breakfast lol. I am the same way – I don’t bring someone around or even discuss them until I decide it is serious enough to make it worth it…And really, this summer we must meet up half way at a Cold Stone. Or somewhere that serves cake.

  • Amanda @ .running with spoons. May 29, 2014, 7:54 am

    Your love and commitment to your son seriously make me misty eyed — you’re an amazing mother.

    Dating in your later teens (and I imagine in your 30’s as well) is hard enough… I couldn’t even imagine throwing a child into the mix. And I think you’re doing the right thing by leaving him out of it. It’s easy to see that you go out of your way to make sure that you two are already “complete,” as it were, so there’s no need to introduce someone that might not even be around in a few months. Heck… I never even used to tell my parents who I was dating unless I was sure it was super serious and had a future.

    • The Cookie ChRUNicles May 29, 2014, 12:48 pm

      I was the same way with telling my parents who I was dating – never unless serious. I know my mother is always dying to know what is going on in my life but I stay mum about anything and everything until it is worth discussing.

  • Kaitlin May 29, 2014, 7:54 am

    That is a very interesting analysis and observation. I have really enjoyed my time in the city, practically carefree. I definitely feel like dating in general has become less black and white – everyone bringing in all these “rules” of communication. Ugh, that’s all I have to say. I definitely am a goodie girl like Charlotte and yes, guilty of eating just as you said out of the trash ;) maybe past expired cookies or frost bitten ice cream.
    Kaitlin recently posted…Sights & Sounds of the Sea ShoreMy Profile

  • Davida @ The Healthy Maven May 29, 2014, 8:57 am

    Ohhhh Carrie Bradshaw! It’s like she knows me ;) I spent the better part of my teen and early 20s worrying about the future. Ironically with age (and I know I have a wayyssss to go), I’ve learned to chill out and let the chips fall as they may. Spending too much time worrying always leads to stress and disappointment. I don’t want to waste the rest of my 20s doing that!

    As for divorce, I can’t speak to it having not experienced it myself but an observation and in speaking with my friends who have, they all agree it was way easier that their parents got divorced when they were young rather than when they got older. Kids can so easily adapt but as we age, this becomes much less so. My best friend’s parents got divorced when we were 21 and she has always said she wished it had happened earlier.

    Of course I am in no position to speak with authority on this matter. The important thing is that you are doing what is best for you and your son, and from what I see you are doing a damn good job at it!
    Davida @ The Healthy Maven recently posted…Strawberry Cornbread Muffins {Gluten-Free & Vegan}My Profile

    • The Cookie ChRUNicles May 29, 2014, 12:46 pm

      I always say it is so much better that my divorce happened when my son was younger. Had it even happened now, he would have a much harder time with it than just a few years ago.

    • The Cookie ChRUNicles May 29, 2014, 12:46 pm

      I always say it is so much better that my divorce happened when my son was younger. Had it even happened now, he would have a much harder time with it than just a few years ago.

  • Frank May 29, 2014, 10:53 am

    Miranda.
    Yes.
    Now?
    Divorced; no kids. Six years after the break-up of a different long-term relationship, still involved with ex’s now college-aged Joe. And I wonder what he’d think about me dating.

  • Lauren @ LoveChocolateLife May 29, 2014, 10:55 am

    I really love this post, thanks for sharing! I agree with your thoughts on not bringing someone into your son’s life yet.. you want to get to know the person and act like you are young and dating !! My parents divorced when I was in middle school which was hard.. and I definitely acted like a “B” to anyone they brought around, I really was mean.. i feel so bad about it looking back but as a child its hard to understand what is really going on. Once I was older, senior in high school and college then I was ok with my parents moving on, I wanted them to finally be happy ! But those are tough years, kuddos to you as it must be very difficult!!!
    Lauren @ LoveChocolateLife recently posted…First Half Marathon Complete !My Profile

    • The Cookie ChRUNicles May 29, 2014, 12:45 pm

      I can only imagine what it was like to see your parents split and dating. That’s what I always think about. I had a few friends with divorced parents, nothing like the divorce rate now but it wasn’t easy for them either. Don’t blame you for being a B, I would have been too!

  • Lish May 29, 2014, 4:24 pm

    I am definitely more carrie like :)

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