Dating. Sort Of.

I’ve been dating.

Sort of.

I was coffee dating, here and there, off and on, carving out a small pocket of time, when I could. It wasn’t much. Yet I told myself I would give it a go again, say yes again, say yes to everything (within reason). And so I have.

But coffee dating – this time?

Nowheresville.

And of course, life has a way of intervening. Kids need attention. Even teenagers preparing for college require a firm hand.

And then there’s money. Money to be made no matter what, money to be channeled into essentials, money not available for sites and services, for dolling up and dining out.

Romance Readiness

Single mother? Older mother?

Adult social life?

It gets set aside.

For later.

For someday.

For whenever.

But sometimes there are surprises.

A romance, sort of.

A relationship, sort of.

Aging out?

Apparently not.

Sometimes it’s a matter of patience. A matter of putting yourself out there. A matter of luck.

Time and Timing

Some say that timing is everything. I’m more inclined to say that time is everything – or at the very least – a critical factor. I am surprised at how much energy it takes to go out, and I had forgotten how much time it takes to actively participate in a relationship – especially when you are in the early stages and truly getting to know someone. And wanting that person to know you – without guile or guise.

But nothing is simple. Especially when you’re busy, you’re stressed, you’re still raising your children. When you’re juggling, which is usual in any mother’s life, and more so for the single or solo mother.

In this process I have reoriented and re-prioritized, stumbled more than once or twice, and remained determined to establish a different type of relationship from the marriage that I once lived.

A relationship in which communication flows, in which games hold no place, in which physical presence is a necessity; one in which my priorities are on a par with his – and in some instances, more urgently tended to.

But it’s complicated.

It’s tiring.

At times, I know I’m not easy to love.

And then there are logistics and issues that cannot be conquered by a smile, by a conversation, or even by the gentlest touch of a hand or the most passionate evening. There are conflicting emotions. Clashing priorities. There are tough moments. Very different lives.

  • He’s on vacation; I’m not.
  • He has regular employment; I don’t.
  • His children are grown; mine aren’t.

Time is the perpetual problem. Worries become an obstacle. But values in common, chemistry-a-plenty, a little maturity, a great deal of appreciation – these ease the rough patches.

As for the rest?

There’s the beauty of a good man.

There’s feeling alive.

There’s taking each day.



© D A Wolf

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Comments

  1. I am just the opposite of you and more like the man in this story. I, too, am shifting priorities after a 10 year on and off relationship. Might put myself out there again but not with much enthusiasm. Depends on my mood. I love my life so much it is hard to include someone in it. Love your blogs.

    • BigLittleWolf says:

      Thank you for your kind words, Madgew. Love your life? I say – don’t fix what ain’t broken!

  2. This is so normal!

    As a single parent, we barely have time for ourselves unless we make it. So making time for our children, our household, ourselves AND someone else becomes even more challenging. Sometimes, I found my time to myself was then given to the new person in my life. The good news is that it is temporary. You’ll get to know each other. You’ll learn to trust. You’ll find a rhythm. Then you’ll find it’s not as difficult as it was.

    I’m excited for you. Can’t wait to hear more!

    • BigLittleWolf says:

      I think you get it, T. You’re right – we end up giving the other person the tiny slice of time that was for a “self.” And that makes things harder, not easier, though a good relationship makes everything brighter and so much more vibrant. A bit of a Catch-22, especially when there are no “weekends off” from the parenting duties. That said, any kind of social life with someone you care about can be glorious.

  3. For me, the downsides of including another person into my life right now are exactly the reasons why I’m not putting myself out there, as they say. I suppose, if the right person came along, it wouldn’t feel like a sacrifice, but then again, if I don’t have to sacrifice anything for something I don’t even miss, then why not keep the status quo?

    • BigLittleWolf says:

      @April – re those downsides to dating or being “involved,” I think popular culture (and literature) really does us a disservice by downplaying them. In other words, it’s a tremendous investment in time to know yourself, then to know another person, and to know what you are like as a “couple.” The expectation that we would be able to do that easily (or should) is unrealistic and worrisome. Perhaps part of the reason for rapid remarriage and subsequent failure?

      And of course, those of us who carry the full load (or close) in raising our kids have little time even for casual dating – unless you have the money for sitters or family and friends to help. Frankly, by the time the day is over – who has the energy anyway?

      All that said, when kids are older and take their own independence, the balance begins to shift and with it, the desire for connections of a romantic sort may be back. At least, that’s what I have found – and continue to find.

  4. I’m slightly giddy for you. Ignoring the logistics and work of an fledgling relationship, the romance of it is beautiful.

  5. I ventured into the territory of dating someone with whom I knew from high school just recently. This was after a six year hiatus in dating or even wanting to consider dating. My kids come first; they were here first and need to be nourished.

    Unfortunately, it didn’t work out. In the long run, that’s a good thing because perspective has put a spin on why it wouldn’t have worked in the long run. However, I have to say, it wasn’t because I wanted out that it didn’t work. It was because he, divorced 10 yrs as well and childless, couldn’t handle the situation and take care of his selfish wants. I’m simplifying this for the purpose of space; however, I do know conclusively that I don’t have time nor energy for a relationship that ultimately is founded on being with yet another emotionally and mentally immature man.

    One child is graduating high school this year and needs my focus as much as I need to cling to having one more year with her in my home. The younger child is just beginning high school and has interests that require my interaction as well as struggles academically and needs my constant attention to make sure he stays on top of things now that GPA matters.

    My reflection is this: time does amazing things. We are rewarded for what we put into life. The “God” I believe in fully knows my need to not be alone once the kids move into their adult lives. Four more years of not having a man won’t kill me. And, if for some reason God deems it perfect timing, the effort of having him in my life won’t seem like something that is taking away from me but adding to life for me and my kids.

    To me, what’s the rush?! I can wait for the love of a lifetime and, for that man, how lucky he will be with that timing!

    • BigLittleWolf says:

      Oh Tina – I hear you! And the struggles in high school can be very weighty for our kids, and therefore for us. I’ve been going through this the past several years, and unfortunately – there is no handbook.

      I’ve also found that there is a huge difference between men with children and men without. Those who are fathers “get it” – at least they get it more than those who have never had kids. And I understand that. What man or woman could possibly know how we love our children – biological or adopted – unless they have lived it?

      I certainly didn’t know before I had children.

  6. I am bubbling inside for you. There is an unscripted excitement about a new romantic relationship. Even though sometimes it can seem like really hard work.

  7. I say there’s a novel here, someday.

  8. When your son is off to school time will once again be your friend. As for luck; no such thing! Enjoy the excitement of this new beginning…and just go with it!

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