Attention Single Parents: It’s Okay Not to Date
There's a special kind of stigma that comes from being an unattached single parent. In some cases, the pressure to date comes from the outside. Never mind if you and your ex are on friendly terms, doing a great job co-parenting, and both actively involved in your children's lives. You're not living together, and that means your children are lacking in some way. Better find yourself a partner — and your children a “bonus” parent — quick.
If you feel like you need to keep searching for The One despite the fact that you're actually pretty content with your life, you're not alone. I made the decision not to actively date after my first post-divorce relationship imploded and I realized how much time and energy I had wasted. Time and energy that could have been spent on my kids or furthering my own goals. So here are just three of the many reasons single parents may choose not to date.
I don't want a revolving door of people in my children's lives. It's hard enough for children to deal with their parents' breakup or parents who come in and out whenever it's convenient for them. They don't need to wonder how long mom's next boyfriend is going to stick around or what kind of guy will be next.
I've got nothing left to give. Single parents are busy people, and they are exhausted in just about every way all the time. From kissing boo-boos and making sure our kids are packed decently healthy lunches to keeping up with the never-ending laundry and providing financially, it's a wonder we manage to keep it together until bed time. (That wonder is a perfect combination of caffeine, chocolate, friends who are willing to listen, and the magic that is Netflix, by the way.) There's no way I have the energy to be emotionally present for a partner or to invest the time and care a healthy relationship requires.
I'm selfish. I've been single and living alone for five years now. I'm used to doing things my way and spending my time how I want to. I want to watch what I want on TV. I want to spend my limited grocery budget on food I like. I want to stretch out in my bed and hog all the covers. If I'd rather leave the house a disaster and take the kids out for an impromptu day at the lake, that's my choice. And I don't like the idea of having to answer to or justify my decisions to anyone else.
You should be dating or in a relationship only if it's a healthy situation for everyone involved and you want to be in a relationship. If you'd rather fly solo for a while — or forever — that's okay too, and don't let anyone tell you different.