Something To Think About

When I was raising Damien, I wasn’t always single, but I was always a single parent.

I had a few boyfriends, but most of my attempts at a relationship were short-lived and ended after a few short weeks. Both my relationships that lasted longer than a few weeks, ended very badly. Yes both- as in two relationships. And I SO do not believe in being friends with ex-boyfriends. When it ends, it ends. There’s no contact afterwards. There’s no being friends. There’s too much history.

This was just one of the reasons I stayed single.

Everyone knows that when you start dating someone as a single mom, it means you allow a man into your home and you allow him to get to know your child. You allow him to get to know you with your child. You allow him to see a side of you that is not just a woman, but a mom. And a mom, well, a mom is an incredible being single or not. You don’t want to cross her, and you don’t want to interfere with how she parents her children.

There have been many fabulous articles written about dating a single mom and the complications and wonderment that go with it, check out Cath Jenkin, Beyond Your NoseFemale2Female, The Jackson Files and Harassed Mom for just a little of what I’m talking about… and that’s not what I’m writing about today.

Today, I am addressing another side of dating a single mother.

The extended family.

When you start dating someone as a single mom, you eventually have to meet your beau’s parents and family.

I’ve seen this particular scenario now from several angles. Me being a single mom and allowing a boyfriend’s parents to meet and befriend my son. Meeting my sibling’s partners and getting to know their children. Seeing my extended family and grandparents deal with their children and grandchildren meeting people with children from previous relationships and how they react to them. I was always afraid of Damien being a “not ours” because I’d seen it happen time and time again. My own granny darling- as much as I love her- only had pictures of her biological grandchildren in her house because the other children are “not really hers”. It broke my heart time and time again because I could see that in Damien’s future.

I avoided relationships to protect myself and my son from heartache.

But the single moms and their children are not the only ones who can get hurt.

I know the boyfriend or girlfriend who gets broken up with also hurts, but the extended family feels it too. I have seen my mommy and daddy darling get to know and get to love my siblings’ partners’ children. And then the relationships end and the child (or children) are gone. My parents hurt. And it makes them leery to love again. Its not only the single mom who gets burned when a relationship ends. It has made my parents afraid to help out or babysit or even try to get to know the new partner’s child or children because it hurts like hell when they are gone.

The single mom hurts because a relationship has ended. Her child hurts because he has gotten to know and love the mom’s- now ex- partner. The ex’s family hurts- if it has gone that far- because they have gotten to know and love a child that is no longer a part of their life.

And people wonder why I opted to stay single.

18 thoughts on “Something To Think About

  1. I only date one person before The Geek and the kids did not have that much exposure but they still asked for a while.
    One thing I am so glad of is that The Geeks family is so accepting and they treat my kids like their own relations. The kids even call his mom Ouma Annatjie and they love her a lot, it made it a lot easier than if they were disproving. I think it would hurt everyone if we every split
    .-= Sally-Jane´s last blog ..Looking back =-.

  2. At the end of a letter/email/phone call certain members of my immediate family tell me to “send love” to my two little dogs (who they’ve never met), yet they forget to mention my stepchildren (who they’ve known for 16 years).
    Yep, it sucks.
    .-= Terri´s last blog ..I thought exercise was good for you! =-.

  3. Shew. I have SO many things to say here.

    The biggest adjustment for me since Richard and i became serious is the idea that i’m not going to be a single mom anymore. It’s sort of a badge i’ve worn and have battled to take off!

    It’s also been tough to think of myself as a step mom!!

    From a grandparent point of view, my parents pretty much ignore jordan’s existence and there’s no way they’d ever except him as a grandchild, which i find very sad.

    We’ve recently had to deal with the fact that Richard’s step-mom, although divorced from his father now, wants to meet Jordan and considers herself a granny… when the folks start getting divorced and re-married, things get even more complicated…

    all in all, it’s up to each mom to decide how involved they and their kids get with extended step families and also to make sure that all parties are protected.

    Awesome post!
    .-= MeganTS´s last blog ..The Weekend That Was =-.

  4. So true, and what about the fear from a single who just refuses to even open herself up to the fact that someone wants to love her. I know I’ve viewed many “men” with utter suspicion and wondered why they would want to get to know me, was it to get to my child?
    .-= Sharon´s last blog ..Pathways Charity Festival – Part 3 =-.

  5. I’m a girl that completely adores the steps, extended, fostered and friendfam as dear as blood fam however after seeing een my bff not fully share that sentiment it makes it hard on my heart. Whenever we can finally get a child I hope I can share that trueism. I can’t share your experience completely but I’m glad you met Glugster!!
    .-= Darla´s last blog isnt so promising =-.

  6. Good, good Mommy. I wish more people would approach this situation in this way. When I was teaching I saw the effects of partners coming in and out of kids’ lives…even in situations with a parent that cares and not a lot of chaos it’s still so hard for them…
    .-= dyna´s last blog ..Useful- Indded =-.

  7. weirdly, Dave and I are far more concerned about this than Jackson is, perhaps it’s because he’s still quite small but he’s happy when Dave’s around and happy when he’s not. It just doesn’t seem to bother him at all. Not sure if it’ll always be like that, but hopefully I’ll never have to find out.

    And as for his “real” Dad, Jackson doesn’t have a clue who he is and could care less if he’s around or not. If I show him a picture and say “that’s your father” he’ll be all “NO HE’S NOT. YOUR JUST JOKING.”
    .-= thejacksonfiles´s last blog ..Winker =-.

  8. Indeed…
    I count myself so unbelievably, incredibly lucky not to have to raise my kids on my own or deal with this type of issue to any degree. I can’t imagine having to pick up the pieces in a situation like that…
    .-= MeeA´s last blog ..Oh! By The Way =-.

  9. I read this on my phone earlier, but just had to come back to comment and once again just express my wonder and absolute .respect for single moms. You guys are the true heroes/
    .-= cat@juggling act´s last blog ..Today =-.

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