As a dating mom, you do not have the luxury of finding a fixer-upper. For the sake of your children, who need a competent adult in their lives, you can’t waste time on a potential partner who comes in a box labeled “assembly-required”. You need an already put-together, mature, capable, caring partner who is ready to step in and be what they need to be for you and your family. Period. Point blank.
Your children, who are innocent, deserve it, and so do you—whether you truly believe it or not. If you doubt, on any level, that you deserve a partner who isn’t already 100% adult, 100% mature and 100% capable of acting like a mature adult (I think you get my point), then you may need to take a break until you feel that you are completely deserving of one.
Now, don’t confuse knowing that you deserve more than a fixer-upper with the need to be flexible and compromise in a relationship. The ability to compromise, be tolerant and overlook a (couple) of faults every now and again in a decent, mature human being is essential. If we all required perfection from our partners, no one would ever even hook up, much less get married and forget about staying married! In a relationship, you have to be tolerant of each other and forgive your partner’s flaws, obviously.
But as a dating mom, remember, you have more than your own welfare to think about. You have little people in the mix who depend on you to make the right decisions. Making the decision to insert a potentially new parental figure into their lives is a huge decision that impacts their happiness as much as it does yours. You have to think about their happiness and what is best for them, too.
If you’re dating or contemplating dating a fixer-upper—someone who’s got some pretty serious flaws in the area of the sane, mature, emotionally-healthy adult department—don’t think that you’re the only one who notices it. Kids are very perceptive—no matter what their age. And they can’t be fooled. If you decide that all your fixer-upper needs is a little TLC to get it together, don’t think that your children won’t notice that you’ve acquired a “new project” or a “new kid”. Children are extremely sensitive and attuned to their mothers. After all, they lived in your insides the first forty weeks of their life. They know you—inside and out.
When your mood changes, they can feel it—even if you try to hide it. Your kids will certainly know if your new “project” is causing you stress or contributing to your frustration. Every time your “project” disappoints you or lets you down, your children will sense your frustration—even as you try to silently (and without complaining) pick up the pieces. When you are stressed and disappointed, your children are stressed. Your children will bear the brunt of your emotions, so you must be wise in choosing a partner or potential partner. If he is not ready to be one of the best things to ever happen in your kids’ life, he’s not one of the best things to ever happen in yours. Make finding a new partner worth it.