I separated from my husband in January 2011. I was quite happy being on my own, in my own house with everything how I wanted it with my my three boys. By the six month mark, I was becoming lonely on the nights I didn’t have the boys (my ex husband and I have shared care), spending time with my friends wasn’t cutting it and I had started craving the love and affection I was missing when I was married. I joined a few dating sites and had some failed dates (online dating is rather a scary business! You have guys after sex, kinky sex and send weird requests (even when your profile says dating or relationship only!), those that weren’t over their ex’s, those with enough baggage to sink a ship, the really desperate ones who send you a barrage of messages… you get the gist), so I quickly gave up on the dating idea and tweeted so on Twitter. One of my long time online friends (who I had been friends with on Facebook and Twitter for a few years) reassured me that it wasn’t me and I just hadn’t met the right one yet, he also said he was reluctant to get into dating either, especially after his recently failed relationship with a scary, psycho woman (we won’t go there!) and maybe we should finally catch up for a coffee and chat about our woes. What was supposed to be a quick coffee turned into a day spent together with a quick hug and a peck at the end of the date, when he had walked me back to my car (he is and always has been a gentleman).
During the week, I messaged him to thank him for a lovely day and we should catch up again some time. He said he wasn’t sure if I had been interested in him or not, I assured him that I thought we got along well and maybe we should plan another ‘catch up’. So, another date was planned for that Friday night (dinner at an Italian restaurant at Southbank, Melbourne and our first kiss was shortly after at the Eureka Tower observation deck) and we have been together ever since. That was eighteen months ago and we couldn’t be happier. It is scary how well my partner knows and understands me. Something this incredibly independent, reserved person has taken a while to adjust to but it is working well. My son’s didn’t meet my partner until we had been together for six months. I wanted to be sure we were in a long term relationship and didn’t want to rush the boys into meeting someone when we weren’t ready to go further than just dating. I didn’t want them to become attached to someone and then that person leaving their life. The boys didn’t need the upset and confusion. My partner is great with the boys and they get along well with him, I think they love him nearly as much as I do.
My advice for single Mums:
Don’t rush into trying to find someone else straight after divorce/separation/ losing your partner. Get to know yourself first and be happy with who you are. You can’t attract the right person if you are not happy with yourself or your life.
Always tell a friend where you are going on a date
Things have changed in the from when you met your last partner and online dating can be quite dangerous. Go with your gut instinct and don’t believe everything they say. Yes I am skeptical, I know but it is always better to be safe than sorry.
If you arrange a date, don’t let them pick you up from home.
Never, ever bring a guy to your house until you are confident with the relationship.
If you must stay over, do so at their house. If the guy ends up being a tad NQR (ie.. Not Quite Right and there are quite a few of those obsessive, scary guys around), then you don’t want him knowing where you live especially when you have children.
Wait a while before introducing the children to your new partner, maybe six months? You don’t want the kids becoming attached to someone and then the person leaving their life. You also don’t want a lot of people coming in and out of the children’s life, so be sure the relationship is long term before introducing the kids to your partner.
When introducing your new partner, the best place is in a neutral place like the zoo, museum etc somewhere fun the kids will enjoy.
Let the children get to know the person for a while and ease them into getting to know the person before having ‘sleep overs’ when the children are home. Maybe just let your partner come for dinners, movie time etc so the children can warm to them before it becomes too serious.