I know what it feels like to be a single mom trying to find love with a vulnerable heart and the most valuable and time consuming responsibility weighing on your shoulders (a.k.a. your kids). Its vulnerability and risk taking at its best! Behind your beautiful smile is a fragile life with everything to lose. This fragile life is your children, your self-respect and dignity, your safety walls that you have put up to protect all you have. So to let someone in and trust them is a big deal for you!
Besides dating and nonexclusive relationships, I’ve pretty much been single for the last 3 years of my life. I’ve had men tell me they don’t want to start anything with me because I have kids, I’ve had men tell me they’re in love with me and I’m the only one for them only to leave me the next week and I’ve had men who’ve convinced me to allow them into the most sacred parts of my life only to find out they were lying to me the whole time. These situations have happened to me over and over and with every one I’ve had to fight to keep from giving up. I’ve had to fight myself to keep from convincing myself that life is better without a man by my side. Many times I’ve wanted to throw my hands in the air and tell any man that even looked my way to stay away! I still fight this every time a guy shows interest in me. It’s hard because time and time again, men have proven to me that all they can give me is a bunch of tears and another broken heart. Not to mention they’ve done a lot of damage to my faith and hope in love. So why haven’t I given up? How do I still allow my heart to be open and hopeful that I will fall in love one day and that when I do, it’ll finally be right?
Just like everything else in life that is worth having, finding a happy loving relationship is tough! If it were easy, chances are a lot of us wouldn’t be “single moms”. However, what counts is not giving up. Sure, I have my walls up and I honestly don’t know that anyone will ever completely be able to break them down but despite my fears, I still put myself out there. I still allow myself to explore connections I have with men to see where they may go. I still allow myself to trust and be vulnerable and even fall in love again because I know one day it’ll be worth it! One day the love I have will make all the scars and failed efforts worthy. Remember, it’s easier to give up than it is to keep trying but you’re worth it!
Leave your grudges in the past. I know it’s hard to not play the blame game when someone has hurt you. Have you ever noticed how the man haters out there practically become red faced and break out in an adrenaline rush ready to kick some ass at the slightest mention of dating? It’s because they still hold onto all the grudges they hold against the men in their past. But what good does this do? Think about you for a minute! Holding grudges does absolutely nothing good for you. All it does is causes you is so much more unnecessary pain and crowds your heart so that no other man has a chance with you.
I’ve spent my fair share of time blaming men for hurting me and holding grudges against them and I learned the hard way that all I was doing was creating my own pain. So I’ve learned that once a man is no longer good for me, I let go and walk away leaving everything but my newfound knowledge behind. Sounds easy, right? It’s not! It’s hard to walk away from someone I really cared about without any justification but it’s the quickest route to recovery. I love myself too much to hold onto pain from the past so that’s where I leave it, is in the past.
Be the exception. Everywhere I look there are single parents who’ve given up on dating and relationships because they’ve been hurt and they’ve allowed themselves to come to a point where they no longer believe in love. It would be so easy to give up and join them. To just accept that finding love is too much work for me and not worth it. But I’ve chosen to be the exception. It’s a choice I have to make over and over but it’s one I continue to make despite what everyone else is doing. I’m not everyone else and I don’t need to see a bunch of single moms finding their “happily ever after” to know that mine is out there somewhere. I don’t need proof that I can find love. Relationships are not a science and there will never be a statistical number or miracle drug to help you find love. You just have to believe in it even if the rest of the world is telling you otherwise. So be the exception, the one who inspires the rest of us because you are special enough.
Be open-minded. We all have our ideals about how things are supposed to happen. These are called expectations and you know where they get you in relationships? Disappointment! A few years ago I was dating a guy that I really liked a lot. I had a lot of fun with him and after a few months I decided I wanted to be exclusive. I expected him to feel the same way but to my surprise, he didn’t! I was so hurt and I started making all these unnecessary assumptions such as he didn’t want to be with me because I’m a mom, He wants someone younger, he was just using me to fill up his time etc…I ended up leaving him and carried that pain of rejection with me for some time. Now I realize that things never had to be that way! Why? The problem was that I had expectations about where our relationship was going. I expected him to act in a certain way and when he didn’t, I reacted in a way that hurt me. What if I had gone into it with no expectations? What if I made it a point to realize that this relationship involved 2 people, not just me and that I needed to respect what he wanted as well? Every time I was with him, I had a great time. He made me smile. What if I had let go of all my worries and expectations and just enjoyed spending time with him? Things probably would’ve turned out different and even if we’d still ended things, I wouldn’t have been as hurt as I was.
When we have expectations of people, we end up hurt when they don’t do what we expect. That pain eventually causes us to become jaded and bitter. But expectations of other people are a projection of our own fears and selfishness. You can’t tell another person how they should act (kids not included). If you allow yourself to just enjoy your time with them without expectations, you free space in your heart and mind for happiness and life becomes so much lighter.
Quit feeling sorry for yourself! We all get hurt and it’s perfectly fine if you want to cry about it from time to time. I know I do! But then I get over it and get back to the rest of my life because to me life is too exciting to close myself off under a constant rain cloud. I have had friends who just want to spend all their free time talking about how much their dating life sucks and lock themselves away in their house for the next year because life is just “too hard”. No man is going to want to invest his time in a woman who feels sorry for herself. They want a woman who is strong enough to overcome pain. This doesn’t mean you can’t feel pain, cry or even allow a night here and there where you lock yourself in, indulge in bottle of wine and ice cream and allow yourself to come undone while watching Titanic (yes I’ve done this). Just don’t allow that pain to control you. Don’t let it keep you from living and loving people. Life is full of possibilities and there are billions of men out there. If you allow the heart ache that a few men caused you to convince you that your life sucks than you are denying yourself a lot. And you have no one to blame but yourself. Trust me; I used to be one of these women until I realized that feeling sorry for myself was getting me nowhere. I’m the only one who can allow me to be unhappy and there’s no way I’m ever going to allow that again. Life is just too big and I love myself too much to let anyone keep me from being happy.
You’re the only one who has the power to let love in. I’ve never truly and honestly without a doubt been in love so how could I possibly believe in it so much? Maybe it’s because I’ve seen how happy and in love my mother is or maybe somewhere in one of my relationships I got a glimpse of it that affected me more than I realize. But I think it’s one of those things we instinctively know about. We’re made for it and we just know that it’s worth fighting for but where we lose sight of it and become so jaded is that we turn it into a science. We need proof of it. So we take all of our past experiences and all the statistics out there that say we are doomed to never finding love as single mothers and we sum this all up to one big heavy theory. But you know better than this or else you would never feel pain. How can we feel pain for something that isn’t real? You know that love is out there for you and you know that all you have to do is trust yourself and have faith. Faith is what keeps us searching for something despite a lack of visible proof. You know you want to fall in love but you are the only one who can allow it. So let go of the pain and anger and make room for something amazing!