Dating a single mom

If you want to know what it takes to date a single mom, you are on your way to discovering the real deal

dating a single mom

It’s a cool Friday evening. She is sitting with a cup of hot chocolate and unwinding with her phone. Her dating app has 10 unread messages. She hopes that at least one match will lead to a conversation and a date that weekend. 

One profile seems promising because the guy is well read and well travelled. She smiles and continues with their banter before they start asking the mundane but essential questions like relationship status. Suddenly her smile turns flat and she rolls her eyes as the message pops:

“How can you manage to date? Who looks after the kid?”

Well, let’s see. She’s 45. She has a successful career. She knows her calendar. And, most importantly, she is on the same dating app. Clearly, she is not looking for a babysitter on the app! 

But, in 2022 it is still difficult for a single guy of 44 to accept that she knows what she is doing! Why ask her about her domestic arrangements at the outset?  Then there are those who are wondering how she is managing her finances.

“How are you managing? Is the guy supporting you?”

Again, why would anyone be comfortable sharing details about their financial matters with someone they barely know? 

“How have you managed to abstain? You said it has been a few years since the divorce?

It’s difficult to gauge, which is worse: The assumption that a single mom on a dating app would not have sex outside marriage, or, the assumption that she would be so desperate that she would be ready to hook up with absolutely anyone who is available if she is not looking to remarry! It’s as though these are the only choices that they have deemed suitable for single moms.

If you are reading this sometime in the future, we hope that the myths around single moms on dating apps have all been busted. And no man, absolutely no man, assumes that all single moms on dating apps are looking to get married, or desperate, or broke, or looking for a baby daddy! And if you want to know what it takes to date a single mom, you are on your way to discovering the real deal.

Overcoming a traumatic relationship makes you stronger, yes?

Nivedita Sinha, 42, lives in the Himalayas and has played unpaid therapist to men on dating apps! She is compassionate and caring because that is how mothers are and she finds herself playing agony aunt to men who are drawn to that side of her. But, she is also a trekker, yoga teacher and a very disciplined person with a no nonsense attitude!

“A single mom is a very tough lady. She handles her job. Her kid. And all the challenges life throws at her. Everybody admires strong women, but very few can handle that. You need to be courageous to handle a strong woman.” 

Sometimes a woman who is independent and successful can seem overwhelming, especially if she is doing better in her career and multitasking and the man she is dating can’t keep up! 

Nivedita is clearly shattering myths as she gave up custody of her kid after many years just so he could grow up with his dad while she is on her spiritual quest and continues to be part of every important milestone in his life and, of course, in touch every single day! Asking a woman like that whether she is available to date after she has put herself out there is like asking The Rock whether he is available for action movies, when he is good at comedy!

Nivedita knows that most men are not cut out to date her and she really appreciates the men who back out after learning that she is a single mom because they are not ready for it. She has seen men who date single moms and then they make excuses while backing out of the relationship after leading them on. “Don’t add bad karma to your life,” she cautions!

Being a badass is a good thing, no?

Ritu Gupta, 44, is a graphic designer in Mumbai and gives herself a pat on the back for healing and being open to relationships. “My life was shattered when my ex walked out of our marriage. I give myself complete credit for the way I handled myself, my son and my career. I never got addicted to anything or let my personal health or my finances slip. I wouldn’t dream of just lying on the couch all day doing nothing because I could easily do that if I wanted.” 

She is clearly a softie with a core of strength who meets her commitments and makes time for travel and fun! She feels that many men who are used to women who are completely dependent on them for something as basic as making an online payment, tend to perceive all women on dating apps like that. “They perceive us as weak or ignorant and are not authentic in their dealings with women. They have labelled women and boxed in some category and follow the same playbook to deal with all women."

Ritu travels extensively and knows how to party on a weekend. And many a single mom who is in her shoes still gets asked questions like, “Do you think you’d be able to take a vacation or overnight trip?” Obviously, just because she can, a woman won’t commit to taking a trip with someone, the moment they match, that is why it is important to establish a connection before trying to rule out whether couples travel is on the anvil for the future! Ritu wishes that men on dating apps stop seeing all women or all moms in the same bracket and open their minds to a deeper and more fulfilling relationship.

The key is finding a balance, maybe?

Pavitra Iyer, 46, is a professor in Mumbai and wonders when she'll find a guy who gets that a relationship needn’t be either/or: Marriage or hookup! “Most of them are very surprised to hear that I am independent. These kinds of conversations usually happen after I have met the guy a couple of times. If someone brings it up initially then I don’t encourage this conversation because I don’t want to disclose such details. And if the guy has encountered someone looking for financial security through dating, I am very clear about telling them not to project that on me.”

It may be their experience, but she is quick to point out that it is not fair to think of everyone like that. Also since she is not looking for marriage, but doesn’t rule it out either. “Never say never,” she says. It is tough for her to make them understand the nuances of such a relationship. “They think that I am out to have sex indiscriminately with anybody. They are unable to grasp that I am not up for a random hook up if I am not looking to get married. They start with snide remarks like, 'Oh you have a type or are you holding out for marriage'.”

In the case of single fathers who have custody, she feels they are very clear about the time they have demarcated towards dating based on their kid’s schedule and their own but they don’t think twice about the convenience of the woman. 

BOTTOMLINE

Most single moms who didn’t make it to these pages and those who did agree on a few things that are absolute Nos when it comes to dating a single mom. Here’s their combined list of Don’ts

* Don’t ask the kid’s age, school etc. at the outset It is super creepy, especially when you don’t know whether you will unmatch at some point or not

* Don’t assume that she is poor or broke or on child support! For all you know, she is making more money than you

* Don’t think she must be desperate or horny! You are not the only fish in the pond to make that assumption and if she is so inclined she does have a spread of more respectful and sophisticated lovers who are not so on the nose

* Don’t ask her about her time management or question her ability to travel! She knows what she is about. Enough said

There is a difference between not having time and being available 24/7! 

If a guy is taking a management course over the weekend and is not available to date, he doesn’t think twice about being on a dating app because his weekday evenings are free. But, if a woman does the same, they become a bit whiny. Generally, it’s men who don’t have kids or fathers who don’t have custody of their child are the ones who pose these questions

DATING DONE RIGHT

“There was one guy who offered the services of his full-time help to babysit my kid for the duration of the date. Of course, I refused because I wouldn’t send my child to anyone’s house but it was sweet of him to offer,” says Pavitra.

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