Dipping my toe into the dating pool after twenty years of being out of the loop (and holy shit has the loop changed) has led to a lot of interesting discussions between me and my divorced- mum friends.
One thing that keeps coming up for us is we feel so much smarter and intuitive than we did the first time we were looking for a partner. With age comes wrinkles and grey hair, but it also comes with a lot of self-assurance and knowing what you will and won’t put up with.
Red flags are so much easier to spot, and as mums, we realise we aren’t just going to date or have a relationship with someone alone, because there is a chance our kids will meet and grow to love them, too. If they are worthy, that is.
The fact we don’t only have ourselves to consider when it comes to our next relationship makes it easy for divorced mums to be picky about who they are going to spend their time with. And the realisation something may just be a fling comes to us a lot sooner than it used to, whether we are the ones who don’t want to commit, or the person we are spending time with doesn’t want to be in a relationship.
Either way, when something comes to fruition, be it a crappy first date, a person who comes on too strong, or someone who is only interested in seeing us every other Friday night, we know what’s good enough for us and we aren’t afraid to let them go, even if it does hurt our heart and ego.
The thing is, after enduring something like a divorce, you grow a shield of armor. And breaking it off with someone you’ve been with for two weeks, or even two years, doesn’t seem like such a huge hurdle after what you’ve just been through. In a short amount of time you’ve gone from being married to being single; a full-time parent to a co-parent or single parent. Maybe you’ve had to sell your home and move, put on 20 pounds, lost weight, or had to go back to work or change jobs.
There’s no way around it; divorce is a shitshow.
In a nutshell, you’ve already been put through the ringer. And through that, you’ve realised what you are actually capable of– and it’s a lot. Even if some of it was the worst pain you’ve felt, and a transition that still doesn’t feel comfortable, you know you’ve made it this far, and you’re going to get through it.
The last thing you want is a shitty, not good enough partner dragging you down. Firstly, because you want to set a good example for your kids and show them you aren’t going to be treated in a way that doesn’t meet your standards.
But also because you know you deserve it, don’t want to make the same mistakes, and have more confidence than ever about what you’re looking for – and you aren’t afraid to wait for it.
Maybe as a divorced or single mum you are trying to find a second father for your kids, or maybe you aren’t. No matter the case, you know if they can’t be present for you and treat you with all the respect and love you deserve, how the hell are they going to do that for your kids?
A divorce is a reminder nothing is guaranteed, so you set your standards high knowing there’s no way you want to waste your time or settle- you have important shit to do and you need a strong supportive partner, and just as important, your kids are watching you.
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