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 never fully understood, appreciated or related to their dating experiences until after my divorce.
I met my ex husband while we were still in college. Anyone I dated before the age of 20 really doesn't count, right?
Getting divorced changed alot of things for me including but not limited to the marital status box I check off, my living arrangements, emotional state and financial status.
Perhaps larger than all of these changes, getting divorced threw me back into a world I was never really a part of – dating.
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?
This is just another one of those topics where I have tons of questions and very few answers.
And even when I think I have the answers, I question if they are the right answers.
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:
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. Even if you didn't get along with your ex, your ex will forever be the other parent to your child.
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 can understand. 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 realize that everyone has their own set of personal rules and regulations, their own reasons for why they do what they do or what they feel is best for their children.
I have found that this dating method of mine has worked so far; 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.
I do hope that one day my worlds can collide, that my head and heart can come to an agreement and we can all live happily ever after.
Yes, even after all I have been through, I still believe happily ever after is possible.
Meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles