Someone once told me I should write a book about dating as a single mum. Though I wouldn't go that far, I have to admit, the guys who were asking me out looked pretty amazing on paper. And most of them were great in person as well.
There was the doctor, the restaurant owner, the professional soccer player, the dentists—oh wait—then there was that other doctor, the anchorman, and the author (he's the one I kept and the one I'm marrying this weekend…more on him later!).
Now, I don't mean to tell you all this to brag, or even to suggest that a man's resume is what should define his attractiveness, but as a single mum, my time and resources were extremely limited, so dating someone I didn't find interesting at the get-go was not a luxury my life could accommodate. Not to mention, I was very wary of letting someone who was potentially creepy anywhere near me (or, more importantly, my kids).
My friends wondered what I was doing that helped me attract (mostly) non-duds. Was I doing something special? Perhaps…or maybe it was just luck. Here are the rules I dated by:
1. I waited a very long time before I dated again. I didn't even look at a guy (except Hollywood hotties like Henry Cavill and Matt Damon) until my divorce was final. Even after I was "out there" as George Costanza would say, I took my time focusing on my kids and focusing on myself.
2. I found a good therapist. And that took awhile, actually. I saw several therapists before I found the one that was a good fit for me. Once I did, I worked on finding the old me that had been buried under years of an unhealthy relationship. I was also able to learn from mistakes I had made in the past so I wouldn't repeat them.
3. I didn't act desperate (for the most part). And trust me, there were times when I felt desperate. There were times when I could barely pay the bills, and barely keep it together. It might have been easy to see a man of financial means as a way out of my struggles. But I always separated the men's earning potential from who they were. I wanted to be sure that whom I was in love with had nothing to do with his wallet or his resume. Not being desperate meant being willing to move on without someone.
4. I tried to be interesting. I pursued my career and a lifelong dream. In the time between my divorce and when I dated again, I dusted off the dream of writing a cookbook, which for me meant attending writing conferences, writing my blog, finding an agent, and sticking to something that others may have said was a waste of time.
As I worked on becoming the person I wanted to be, I was able to attract the right kind of man. What are your single-mom dating secrets?