Being a single parent is tough enough, but dating as one is even tougher. In fact, it’s a real bitch, especially if you find guys who clearly need some guidance on just how to handle the situation. Here’s what I wish some of my dates had known.
1. My kid finding your condom will not make me happy.
A guy picking me up for our first date wanted to come in so that I could put the dozen red roses he had brought me in water. My seven-year-old daughter wasn’t home, so in he came. He took off his coat and tossed it on a chair.
We went out and at the end of the night, I said farewell outside and didn’t invite him in. I thought all was said and done until the next afternoon, when my child walked up to me holding out a square, shiny silver package.
A condom. (Fear not, it was still in the wrapper, unused. Give me a little credit.)
“Where did you find that?”
“Under the chair,” my kid said, pointing to the chair where the guy had draped his coat the night before. “What is it?”
“Uh… I don’t know,” I stammered. “But you know what we should do with things that we find and don’t know what they are? Throw them away! I’ll take that and put it in the trash.”
That guy wasn’t going to be getting any in the first place, but dropping condoms of the floor for my kid to find guarantees that it will never, ever happen.
2. My kid’s affection can’t be bought, and neither can mine.
Watching a guy who is great with kids can make a woman swoon. A guy who uses kids, however, has the opposite effect. It’s not just a turn off, it’s downright creepy.
A male acquaintance from my neighborhood aspired to be more than friends. He decided he could achieve his goal by bringing my daughter random gifts, like an extra bottle of dish soap. Too bad the kid couldn’t reach the kitchen faucet… and that I knew it was BOGO at the grocery store that week.
3. Be a Kleenex-free zone, at least for the first five minutes.
Speed dating seemed like a good idea. A group of friends having fun with minimal commitment and no angst, right?
In the just three minutes that I had with my last “date,” he cried. He asked what I did for a living, and I said I was a lawyer. One of his relatives who had died 18 months prior was a lawyer. He missed him, so cue the ugly cry.
I scrounged in my purse for tissues and murmured my sympathies, but couldn’t help thinking that I wasn’t looking to add more waterworks to my life. Having kids means you have the crying category well covered.
The lack of Kleenex in my purse was a big metaphor for the emotional resources I had to devote to this guy—I had nothing.
After that, I took I break. I swore off dating and kept the Kleenex for me.
A few months later, still embracing my vow of celibacy, I met a guy. He didn’t cry right off the bat, he didn’t drop condoms, and when I finally introduced him to my daughter, he came without gifts. My daughter said she liked him. I did, too.
We’ve been happily married for three years now.
This original piece by Shannan Ball Younger was written exclusively for In the Powder Room, a division of Hold My Purse Productions, LLC. Featured image © depositphotos.com/atholpady.